Planning a Baby Shower

from Bounty

A fun celebration before baby arrives

Baby showers have seen a huge rise in popularity over the last few years and are no longer just for celeb mums-to-be. They have been a 'thing' in the US for years, and are now catching on big time here in the UK too.

The trend has doubtlessly been helped along by celeb mummies tweeting and Instagramming pics of their swanky bashes to the world, but a baby shower doesn't have to come with an A list price tag!

Organising a baby shower

Showers are usually organised by friends of the mum-to-be, although of course there is no reason why you can’t throw your own. Sometimes work colleagues will arrange a baby shower for when the mum is about to go off on her maternity leave. However, bear in mind that mum will get tired as she begins to bloom so don’t leave it too late!

When and where to hold one

What you do is down to personal preferences – but bear in mind if you are organising the event for the mum-to-be, that she is unlikely to appreciate a boozy lunch she can't participate in, or a late night do. The practicalities of pregnancy must be taken into account.

That's probably why most baby showers are held at the mum's house, and usually during the day. Afternoon tea-style is always popular, and friends can all contribute by bringing a platter of sandwiches and cupcakes so the guest of honour doesn't have to do anything beyond enjoy herself.

Depending on the number of guests, and mum's stage of pregnancy, the party could just be a nice girly afternoon chatting and eating, or a pampering session or party games could be planned. If you are organising for a pregnant friend, always try and get a handle on what she would like (check with her partner or mum) so that she doesn't get any 'surprises' she might not want to participate in.

Present ideas

As baby will no doubt get a load of presents on their 'birthday', a baby shower is a nice opportunity to treat mum, so think about gifts for her at this stage – maybe a hair salon voucher to use after the birth, or a mobile beautician to come and give her a manicure and pedicure at the party or a few weeks before her due date (by which time reaching her own toes will be nigh-on impossible!).

Whatever you decide to do for your own – or your friends – baby shower, make it a day to remember by taking lots of pics and videos –it could be the last time you all get together before baby's arrival.

New Study Reveals Moms Need a Full Year for Recovery After Giving Birth

from Red Tricycle

Growing a baby a beautiful experience, but it’s also demanding on your body. New mothers may be told by books and doctors that they’ll be back to ‘normal’ within six weeks of giving birth, but a new study has found that most women take much longer to recover.

Dr. Julie Wray, a researcher at Salford University in England, interviewed women at different stages of post-partum life. She found that the standard six-week recovery period is a “complete fantasy,” and it can take a full year to recover from childbirth.

It’s not just physical recovery that’s needed, but mental as well. Many feel the pressure to get back on their feet soon after childbirth and feel it may be necessary to head back to work as early as six weeks.

Wray found that recovery should start in the hospital. Back in the day, women spent more time in the maternity ward learning how to take care of their infant and getting breastfeeding advice. Now, some women are discharged as early as six hours after giving birth and expected to just go with it, according to Wray’s research.

“The research shows that more realistic and woman-friendly postnatal services are needed,” Wray concluded. “Women feel that it takes much longer than six weeks to recover and they should be supported beyond the current six to eight weeks after birth.”

Recovery after childbirth is different for everyone, but the general consensus is that a full year to heal the body and mind is much better than a month and a half.

Find expert help for your growing family with British American Newborn Care.

The Complete Checklist for Car Journeys with Kids

By Jennifer at Jenography

Being from Texas, I have a particular love for road trips; the journey is part of the experience, with the open road, good music on the car stereo, chat, everything you need packed inside. Once you have kids, that list definitely expands and changes, as it does as children grow up.

Here, our list, honed over thousands of miles and hours spent in tailbacks.

1. Water

Better than sugary drinks or juice, whose taste can encourage kids to neck it…then immediately need a loo break.

2. Healthy, non-crumbly snacks

Crisps end up all over the footwell, raisins get ground into the upholstery. We opt for easy-to-hold snacks that you can pop into your mouth in one go or don’t leave reminders: dried apricots, nuts, ham sandwiches, fresh fruit like apples.

3. Pillows

What wonderful memories I have of taking long family trips lounging in the back of our station wagon surrounded by pillows, back before seat belt laws. Yet even now our tween and teen love taking a fluffy pillow to use as a table, sleeping cushion and, when it comes to it, divider between enemy territories.

4. Blanket

Travelling with kids frequently means setting off very early or late at night, to minimise traffic hold-ups. A fuzzy blanket turns the back seat into cosy den. A cuddly toy also helps.

5. A mental list of conversation starters, songs and games

There are loads of games you can buy for car journeys; just as good are family games from I Spy for younger kids to license-plate spotting to singalongs. We like Mad, Sad, Glad, where everyone goes around and tells what made them mad, sad and glad in the past week, month, etc. A great way to catch up with laconic teens. Looking for ideas? Check out The Lost Art of Having Fun.

6. Adapter to charge devices from the car

We’re living in a digital world. Of course you’ll set off with fully charged phones and tablets, but if you hit traffic they’ll drain faster than you can say, “Boooooring!” We use adapters into which you plug in a USB as well as a regular 3-pronged UK plug — good for my laptop. During heavy travel times — bank holiday weekends, last Sunday before school term — a charged battery pack doesn’t go amiss either.

7. Stick-on sunshades

Even with tinted windows, light streaming in can make riders hot and cranky. We like the suction-cup versions because they can be transferred to granny’s car, rentals on holiday, etc.

8. A downloaded Spotify playlist

We used to set out with a huge stack of CDs. These days, I curate a playlist with my daughter, featuring songs all of us like…or at least the grown-ups can countenance.

9. Extra earphones

Inevitably the teen and tween want to listen to different music or play games with beeps and buzzes. Inevitably, someone has misplaced their earphones. Keep an extra set or two to hand, just in case.

10. Playing cards

Good old-fashioned cards are great for impromptu back-seat games like Go Fish or family Spades game at rest stops or your destination. Top Trumps always endure. We keep a pack in the glove box at all times.

11. Wipes/paper towels

Spills, sticky fingers, messy mouths. You know they will happen. Be prepared.

12. Spare plastic bags

Grab a handful of regular shopping bags from the kitchen and a larger black bin bag to serve as everything from emergency carsickness containers to laundry bags in the event that clothes get wet or soiled.

13. Spare set of clothes

Bring a full set for younger kids and tops for parents if you have a toddler or baby, in the event of nappy leak or spit up.

14. Clean dustpan brush

Great for brushing off seats, shoes after walks or feet sandy from the beach.

15. Emergency equipment

As parents we first think of bringing items to make the ride more comfortable and fun, but we can’t forget safety essentials. An RAC European Family Driving Kit is a good idea to have to hand. We also carry jumper cables and an extra bottle of water. We always ensure at least one phone is charged and available for emergency calls.

50 Things To Do In London Before You’re 5

From Not Another Mummy Blog

London is awash with places to take the kiddos – whether it’s raining and you need to entertain them undercover or it’s a glorious sunny day and you can take advantage of the city’s outdoor spaces, there’s plenty of choice of things to do with kids in London. And when you’re under 5, there’s SO MUCH FUN to be had. Some of it costs money, some of it is free. Here are my favourite 50 things to do with young kids in London… how many have you ticked off so far?things to do with a baby in London

  1. London Zoo is an awesome day out. Under 3s get in for free and for kids older than that, it’s £17.50 a ticket. So not the cheapest day out, but you can make a proper day of it, take a packed lunch to save money there and enjoy seeing the lions and tigers and bears, oh my! Afterwards, walk through Regent’s Park – it’s huge and beautiful.
  2. The Southbank Centre on the, er, Southbank of the Thames (near Waterloo) has loads of family events and shows on from storytelling for under 5s to dance and music events. Check their listings and book to see something fun. There are plenty of family friendly restaurants nearby from Wagamama to Giraffe.
  3. Frozen Sing-a-long at Prince Charles Cinema, Leicester Square. Yes, you heard me right. This independent cinema in central London is doing matinee screenings and fancy dress is essential. *warbles Let It Go*
  4. Get on a red double decker bus and ride past the sights (The No11 bus from Liverpool Street drives past loads of famous landmarks like St Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and Nelson’s Column for less cost than a tourist bus ticket.)
  5. The Discover Centre is one of my personal favourites in London. A five minute walk from Stratford station (and Westfield) it has indoor play areas, storytelling rooms (pre-book tickets when you arrive) and craft sessions. It’s always been raining when we’ve visited, but the outdoor play area looks awesome too.
  6. Centre For Wildlife Gardening in Peckham has a great nature trail and runs kids’ gardening sessions where they can learn about the natural world. In the middle of town. Cool.
  7. Make pirate biscuits or monster cupcakes at baking classes for tots run in East London by BKD. Adelle, who runs the classes, is brilliant with kids (she has a two-year-old herself who helped out at the class we went to.)
  8. Watch classical music aimed at 3-8 year olds and do music related activities and crafts at Crash, Bang, Wallop at Cadogan Hall, Chelsea.
  9. The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park looks fantastic and is on our To-Do list. There’s the Tumbling Bay Playground and fun activities like kids’ Zumba classes.
  10. Hire a pedalo in Regent’s Park (be ready to do most of the pedalling!)
  11. There are a few farms in London – Hackney City Farm is a great one. As well as the usual animals, they offer pottery painting sessions and mosaic making. Don’t leave without buying some fresh eggs!
  12. See a puppet show at the Little Angel Theatre, Islington.
  13. The Diana Memorial Playground in Kensington Gardens is a joy. You can only enter if you’ve got a child (they have security on the gate) and once you’re in, there are lots of places to explore, play areas and a giant pirate ship to climb over.
  14. Ice skating doesn’t have to be a festive activity – head to Alexandra Palace in north London and have a family skating session all year round.
  15. Paint a plate at Biscuit Ceramic Cafe in Greenwich.
  16. We haven’t been to Coram’s Fields but it’s up there on my ‘must do’ list. Seven acres in the middle of London, it has a farm and play areas galore.
  17. The Southbank doesn’t just have a Centre, it also has cool stuff like a carousel, entertainers making giant bubbles and in summer months, there are water fountains to run through. Hours. Of. Fun.
  18. Buy some seriously amazing ice cream at Scoop in Covent Garden.
  19. Museums aren’t always my first choice for family fun (too many memories of boring school trips) but the Science Museum is something else. Check out the Garden Gallery where under 5s can play with sound, light, contraction and water (take a change of clothes – they might get wet!)
  20. The Unicorn Theatre near London Bridge regularly has kids’ shows on but it also has the Up Club every Saturday between 12pm and 1.30pm, where kids can do activities like rocket building and cake decorating. No need to book.
  21. Another museum I’d recommend – the London Transport Museum in Covent Garden is great for any bus-obsessed child (that’s all of them at some point, right?) and you can visit Shake Shack afterwards for a cheeky burger.
  22. Feed the ducks in St James’ Park. Quack.
  23. If you fancy a boogie, Big Fish Little Fish family raves are fantastic and happen all over the capital, from Hackney to Crouch End to Balham (my favourite venue). Proper DJs play music you’ll love and remember from your youth, while the kids bop away with glow sticks, munch on healthy snacks and make stuff in the craft room.
  24. For a visit to an aquarium that won’t break the bank (*looks at London Aquarium’s ticket prices and faints*) then the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is brilliant. Small, but perfectly formed, the aquarium is downstairs from lots of cool exhibitions and a great cafe (eat early if you want to find a free table or high chair). The grounds are fun to explore too, with giant musical instruments and space to RUN.
  25. Wimbledon’s Polka Theatre is a theatre that just shows performances for kids, but they also have a drop-in play area and cafe which you can visit at any time.
  26. Take a boat to Greenwich and see the Cutty Sark. Big boat! Ooh. They regularly have family fun sessions where you can make captain’s hats and the like.
  27. Wander along the Regent’s Canal Path and look at the canal boats on the water. Or better still, go on a water bus barge that will take you from Little Venice to Camden.
  28. Go to Buckingham Palace at 11.30am and watch the Changing Of The Guard. Go at another time of the day and stand outside, counting the windows. Bonus points if you see Queenie waving from one of them!
  29. The treetop walk at Kew Gardens is supposed to be pretty cool and if your kiddo’s a bit scared of heights, there are indoor and outdoor play areas to keep them happy. (The Orangery Restaurant serves Peyton and Byrne food so you’ll be kept happy too…)
  30. Making puppets and designing t-shirts are just two of the things on offer at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green. Sounds like a great day out, to me.
  31. One of our favourite things to do, on a weekend is visit Brockwell Park in Herne Hill. They have a kick-ass play area with loads of slides, swings, sand pits, a zip wire, climbing frames, cubby holes and more. There’s also a lido and posh cafe which serves the best boiled egg and soldiers.
  32. Have a mid afternoon wine while your little one plays in the garden of The Paxton pub in Gipsy Hill. They have a fab child-friendly menu too.
  33. Watch street performers in Trafalgar Square, then mooch up to Covent Garden to watch some more. Take coppers for your little one to throw in their hat.
  34. For a brilliant Sunday afternoon family show, hit The Albany in Deptford. Dance shows, puppetry – it’s all going on. Sign up to their mailing list for advance notice of what’s on.
  35. The London Eye is a winner for family fun in my book – mainly because it’s a cool thing to do for grown ups too. Book ahead to save yourself 10% and  tickets are free for under 4s.
  36. Try Toddler Time at The Ritzy Cinema, Brixton – special half hour screenings of things, like Peppa Pig or Timmy Time, that cost just £3 per child (grown ups free).
  37. Once a month, the Royal Academy of Arts do a free family activity afternoon, where you can do things like getting green fingered with plants or creating your own story book. Afterwards, stroll along to Piccadilly Circus to look at the big TV screens (and if you are that way inclined, head to the Trocadero).
  38. If you’re visiting the Museum Of London get a free Explorer Bag when you arrive – it’s packed with fun activities that’ll help you and your under 5 explore the exhibitions. Great idea.
  39. Watch the skateboarders on the South Bank. My tot could do this for hours…
  40. Go for a ride on THE TRAIN WITH NO DRIVER (aka the DLR). Ride out to Greenwich or Stratford and back.
  41. Got a dinosaur fan in the family? They’ll love the giant dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum. You can watch the butterflies in the butterfly house too – you might even see one emerge from a chrysalis!
  42. Dinosaur fans should also make their way to Crystal Palace Park where they can climb on them in the play area and see large sculptures poking out from the trees.
  43. I’m 35 and even I love the lights and fountains at Granary Square near King’s Cross. They’re fun for kids to run through, and they can also swing in the giant birdcage. Don’t miss the street food stalls for a quick bite (the burgers and ice lollies look amazing).
  44. Check out a craft or storytelling session at the Geffrye Museum, Shoreditch.
  45. Get a bird’s eye view of the city by going up 72 floors to the Viewing Platform of The Shard. Check their website for any deals on kids – they often do ‘kids go free’ deals during the holidays.
  46. Battersea Children’s Zoo is well worth a visit. As well as the animals they have a fantastic play area and a nice cafe.
  47. Strut your stuff to the sounds of child-friendly reggae, folk and pop tunes at Toddler Jam at Stratford Circus – £3 for a child and parent/carer.
  48. Camley Street Natural Park is a bit of a secret in London –  many people don’t even realise it’s there, nestled near King’s Cross, but it’s a lovely green space run by the London Wildlife Trust.
  49. If you have £100 burning a hole in your purse, head to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in Harrods where your little one can have a royal Disney experience to rival no other – dressing up, having their hair done, face painted and generally treated like a princess.
  50. Go for a boogie at Monksi Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall on the Southbank – it happens every Sunday between May and September and costs £8.

18 book club suggestions from mums that read

By Susanna at A Modern Mother

It's book club time again! I'm always looking for suggestions on book that are interesting and entertaining yet gritty enough to spark heated discussion. I asked my mum blogger friends for some ideas and it resulted in a plethora of good reads.

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1. One Day by David Nicholls. "It's about a couple who meet each other on 15th July (their graduation) and it follows their lives on the very same day until they are older. The ending is fab and totally unexpected. They're making it into a film and Anne Hathaway plays the main female character! x" (Jo Jo Kirtley)

2. The Help by Kathryn Stockett. "About the American deep south at the time when slavery was being abolished in the north. It's written from the perspective of one of the maids and is a really easy brilliant read." (Kate Takes Five)

3. Fingersmith By Sarah Waters. "By the same author as Tipping the Velvet. Victorian crime novel – lots of twist and turns in the plot and I haven't even reached the end yet…" (Kate Takes Five)

Room-Emma-Donoghue-Mom-Book-Club

 4. Room by Emma Donoghue. "Absolutely brilliant, compelling and heartbreaking. Written through the eyes of a 5 year old boy who has only experienced life in one room." (I Heart Motherhood

"Room is incredible – really different. I've already blogged about it!" (Not A Notting Hill Mum)

5. "And if you like Sarah Waters – try The Little Stranger – because the ending is quite ambiguous and I think it would be really interesting to hear what everyone thought had happened. And if you do PLEASE let me know as I am none the wiser!" (Not A Notting Hill Mum)

6. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre. "It's an eye opener to poor media reporting (and screwing with statistics) of science and medical stories which are often presented as fact,but more closely resembles fiction. It's also very funny and a great read, Ben is very witty…" (Cheeky Wipes)

 7. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver "Love and survival in the Congo. Lots to talk about. And Major Pettigrew's Last Stand is lighter but with lots of class and race issues to discuss." (In a Bun Dance)

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8. "My real life book group all loved 'The Book Thief' by Marcus Zusak. It is astonishing, about the redemptive power of love and is not as 'creepy' as the synopsis makes it sound!  Everyone should read it. (Not A Good Mother)

9. "And my virtual book group had massively divided opinions about'We Were the Mulvaneys' by Joyce Carol Oates.  This is about how a family in small town America manages when the daughter is raped.  A story of massive breadth and depth, it has stayed with me for years.  I often think of it and wonder what I would do if I were in the mother's position (and thankful that I am not).  Really good read, it willmake you stay up late into the night to read it." (Not A Good Mother)

10. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. "It has just been made into a film. Very chilling and thought-provoking. Perfect for a book club discussion." (Living Abroad)

11. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas."It really divided people in book group and was great for discussion. A lot of very bad language and some full on sexual scenes so not for the prudish. We did One Day over Christmas and our meeting to discuss is tonight! I enjoyed it but not really sure what there is to say about it."  (Eggs, Cream and Honey)

 12. "I just finished 'The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet' by David Mitchell  and thought that some of the writing in there was beautiful.  Great story too and keeps you going." (Mummy Squared)

13. "If you want an oldie but goodie how about Catch-22 by Joseph Heller…  everyone should read it." (Mummy Squared)

14. "I think The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins would be an amazing book for a group to talk about.  It's the first book in an amazing trilogy, but could easily stand alone for discussion purposes." (Oh Abby Really)

15. Another David Mitchell book (author of The Thousand Autumns of Jacob Zoet) is Cloud Atlas. Utterly brilliant. Shortlisted for Booker and a Richard and Judy winner. (Archers at the Larches)

16 and 17. "For non-fiction, I'd recommend Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and for fiction,Sophie's World by Jostein Gaarderor for something more recent, Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and read it before you watch the movie that's about to come out! Our book club is reading The Way to Paradise by Mario Vargas Llosa at the moment…. (Mummy Zen)

18 (again) Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell "You'll never run out of things to talk about with this extraordinary book. It's difficult to quickly explain what it's about, but it presents six separate stories and over the course of the book you realise that they are all intertwined, despite taking place hundreds of years apart. It's the sort of book you want to start reading again as soon as you've finished it. (Here Be Boys)

That should keep you bust for a while. If you need any other suggestions, check out my previousposts.

Happy (book) clubbing!

6 Mother’s Day Ideas for New Mums

mothers-day.jpeg

from Bump to Baby

Your baby might not be able to buy you chocolates or take you to the spa, but it’s never too early to set a good example and show them what makes Mums happy.  Being a new Mum is not easy, so make sure you take this Mother’s Day to celebrate. Allow someone special in your life to do something nice for you, or take it upon yourself to take a break and do something all for you! Here are some of our favourite ideas for new Mums looking to cash in on some Mother’s Day love!


1. Mums Only Brunch

How long has it been since you’ve had a girls’ day out?  If you’re a new Mum, it’s probably been a while. This might take some planning in advance, but try to organise with your girlfriends and other mums to have a baby-free meal and catch up on each other’s social lives.

 

2Take Your Mum Shopping

Now that you know what having a little one is really like, it’s likely that your heart is swelling with admiration for your own mum. Why not invite her out and show your appreciation with a day of shopping and a meal or a trip to the cinema?  It’s sure to be an afternoon full of laughter and helpful advice.

 

3. Treat Yourself to a Takeaway

If you can’t manage to leave the house for some alone time, celebrating Mother’s Day can be as easy as skipping a night of cooking and cleaning and ordering your favourite comfort food. Hundreds of takeaway and delivery options are available at the click of a button, so you won’t even have to pick up the phone.  Finish the evening off with a glass of wine and a girly flick!

 

4. Mums Gift Exchange

If you can’t get any time free to visit with friends or family, you can always organise a gift exchange.  Everyone is assigned a number and chooses one as well.  Then, each person buys a gift that they think a mum would love. The more unique the gift, the better! I love the cute and crafty products from Gadget Baby!

 

5. Have a Date Night

Get your partner to show their appreciation for everything mums do by taking you out!  Even if you have to do the work and planning yourself, let them know that they should clear their schedule for Sunday evening 26th March. Having a date night can bring some of the romance and fun back in your life that you may have forgotten about since the baby’s arrival. Go out to your favourite date spot from before you were pregnant, or try something completely new. Karaoke is a great way to remind yourself that mums can have fun too!

 

6. Sleep

If you’re a new Mum, you know that the greatest gift of all is a little undisturbed shut-eye. Tell your partner that they can give you flowers and cards all they want, but only after they leave you home alone for a few hours!
 

Flying with a Baby

By Carrie Bradley from Flying With A Baby

how-to-fly-with-a-baby.jpeg

 

It’s possibly every parents’ nightmare to have their baby or toddler cry all night on a plane. It was definitely mine and the thought of dozens of eyes silently questioning why on earth did I bring a baby on to a plane, during a night flight? After many long and ultra long haul flights, I’ve pretty much learnt to ignore any stares. With family living in Australia and us in the UK, we are always going to travel long distances. Besides my other half and I enjoy visiting somewhere new, and letting the children experience different cultures too. We’ve learnt a few tips to make it easier for babies and toddlers to settle and have a good sleep on the plane, ensuring that you get a bit of shut eye too. Hopefully, these top tips to help baby sleep on a plane, will help you too.

 

Top Tips To Help Babies Sleep On The Plane

1) The Holy Grail of airline flying- request  a bassinet. See my guide on airline bassinets to check your little one fits the size regulations before you book! Also bear in mind all airlines, except Virgin Atlantic and Qantas, require you to remove the baby from the bassinet during any turbulence. 

2) Choose a night flight. This seriously helps even if your departure time is after normal sleep time. Depending on the flight, we put our tiniest tot to bed at normal time and wake her up when it is literally time to walk out the door. This means she generally has enough energy to get her through the journey to the airport, check in and finally to after take off.

3) I love this baby sleep pillow spray from This Works and it smells divine. I didn’t use it  with my eldest, but my husband bought it shortly after M’s birth and I’ve have found it really helps. A few sprays of it on board the plane, in the bassinet, in the hotel cot etc, means it is a familiar smell which helps settle her.

4) If you don’t have a bassinet, then I highly recommend the SkyBaby mattress. It saves your arms and make it easy to move baby from person to person; handy for in-flight trips to the loo. It can also be used easily with the infant lap belt, meaning no annoying removal of baby if there is any turbulence. Read my full review here.

5) If you do have a bassinet, hurrah! I’ve recently road tested a bassinet cover by Fly Babee. ( Full review is here.)  It blocks out light from the cabin and is fully Fly Babee breathable. Worked a treat and M slept for hours even with the meal service ongoing. Genius idea and beats the old duct tape and blanket method.

6) Still on the bassinet subject, if you have a fidgety baby, or one who cries in unfamiliar surroundings,  settle them in your arms first, then move to the bassinet. 

7) Pack extra snacks, extra milk as they do get thirstier in the drier cabin air. 

 

Top Tips To Help Toddlers Sleep On The Plane 

1) As above, choose a night flight. This seriously helps even if your departure time is after normal sleep time.

2) Choose seats carefully. If it is just the three of you flying, then choosing a DEG seat and deliberately not choosing the F seat, may mean you end up with a row of 4 for free, as middle single seats are always the last to go- and worst case, the person who may be allocated that seat will always be happy to swap to the aisle so you can all be together. 

If you are also traveling with a baby, then the bassinet bulkhead seat in the Emirates A380 seats DEF Seat E/F armest moves up middle in newer aircrafts ( A380, new B777) – seats DEFG have a flexible armrest between seat E and F meaning they can stretch out and lie on you.

3) Dress them in their pyjamas and keep the bedtime ritual as familiar as possible, brushing teeth, story etc

4) Bring a familiar toy or comforter if they have. 

5) With no bassinet for a toddler over 2, consider bringing an extra blanket or using the onboard one to make a canopy over the seat in front of you- slotting it into the headrest. This obviously only works if you are not at a bassinet bulkhead position, but means again they are shielded from the cabin lights.

5) Bring extra snacks- full tummies and food like bananas help with sleep.

What’s new: Baby and toddler classes in South West London

from Mummy in the City

Chelsea Swim Spa opens new slots
In Chelsea, the swimming school situated in the basement of a residential property, Chelsea Swim Spa, has seen growing demand for classes, and the venue has opened up new slots on Wednesdays between 9am and noon. Chelsea Swim Spa is ideal for parents who want their little ones to swim in a warm pool to avoid getting too cold. The pool, which is small, can also be hired for private use, and since it is only £50 to hire for 90 minutes it can make for a fun play date for antenatal groups or other friends.

Teddy Tennis starts football classes
Popular children’s tennis class provider Teddy Tennis has introduced a football programme too, and there are now classes for children aged 3 to 5 on Saturdays from 11am to 11.45am in Kingston. The classes started on 14 January.

Monkey Music adds new Chelsea venue
For this term, Monkey Music in Chelsea and Westminster has added a new venue–The Hut, which is located behind Hall of Remembrance in Flood Street, near Waitrose on King’s Road. There are classes at The Hut on Monday and Wednesday mornings.

Talking Tots starts South West London classes
To boost early communication and language skills, Talking Tots offers classes for babies and toddlers in Clapham on Thursday mornings and Earlsfield on Tuesday mornings. The classes, which feature structured games, singing and rhymes, are designed by paediatric speech and language therapists to help develop concentration, attention, self-esteem and pre-literacy skills.

…And for mums there are new Henry Lamb Tennis Putney Mother’s group classes
After the February half-term Henry Lamb Tennis will introduce a group for mums who want to play tennis. The drop-in sessions will take place  from 8.30-10am on Tuesdays and Thursdays and the venue is yet to be confirmed. The sessions are available to book online or via email on bookings@henrylamb.co.uk.