Cherish Your Dreams with the Best Crib Mattress

baby-sleepEvery couple desires to have a boy like an angel or a girl like a fairy. This is the ultimate happiness for any human being to get a child. Now, as it is the most precious gift in the world, it deserves a great care. There should be no deficiency about taking care of the baby, even a single matter should be considered with high concentrations.

It is one of the first major decisions you will have to make as a new parent that is finding the best pad for your baby’s crib. It is a matter of regret that most parents don’t consider this seriously. They take this matter lightly rather they are more concerned about baby food. Of course baby food is to be dealt with great care, but a mattress can affect baby’s health greatly. So don’t treat this as a simple choice, ignoring the possible effects on your baby’s health. It may cause them to suffocate during sleep or develop back and neck pains. This is why you need to do adequate research before making that trip to the local baby shop. Gathering knowledge from the many crib mattress reviews can be very helpful before rushing to the shop.

Things you should review

Here are the things you ought to consider before making your pick:

  • At first you must select the right size that perfectly fits the crib. Check the dimensions of the two and ensure very little space will remain in between.


  • Secondly, you must consider the stiffness. Irrespective of the type, the mattress you choose must be perfectly firm. Press it with your palm to ensure it is sufficiently firm and quickly bounces back into shape. You can also lift the mattress to be certain about the weights.
  • Take a look for the vents. Ensure that the mattress has vents on the sides. The vents make the pad flexible as the baby bounces on it.
  • Then you should observe the cover. Vinyl covers are the most ideal for any crib. They are easy to wash and do not allow any liquids that spill to sip through. Nylon covers despite being expensive allow tear free stretching of the vinyl.

Variation regarding different components

There are different types of mattress available in the market. Here are the main types you will find in today’s market:
1. This kind of mattress is called Organic. This new line of products includes pads made from natural substances such as cotton, wool and latex. With such a wide variety at their disposal, many parents are left confused on which one to choose for their kid.
2. This is considered as innerspring. These mattresses come with steel coils padded inside a protective cover. They are usually very firm so as to provide optimum support for the baby.
3. Another type is called foam. These pads are made of polyurethane foam stuffed inside a mattress cover. They are the most popular among parents, mainly because they are affordable and readily available.

Buying the best mattress is one of the best gifts any parent can give to their baby. By the right choice every time you set foot in a baby shop, you not only get value for your money but also ensure your child’s health is enhanced.

Choosing a Baby Carrier – Things to Keep in Mind

Discussions about certain styles of baby carriers and the possible harm they could do to the baby and the back of the person wearing it are hot topics at the moment. With this in mind, what should parents pay attention towhen choosing a carrier?

M-position baby carriers

A big advantage of an ergonomic baby sling or carrier is that the child can always be carried in the healthy M position. What makes this position so important for the baby’s health? In the M position, the baby ‘s knees are up higher than its bottom. Thus the spine of the baby is not burdened and, moreover, a good development of the hips is fostered. The fabric of a good baby sling can be spread from knee to knee. Whether the baby is small or somewhat bigger, the baby is always in a right M position.

Carrying Newborns.

Obviously a baby carrier can be used right away from birth (depending on the actual carrier), however the hips of the baby are not quite sufficiently developed for the M position straightaway. In the womb the baby lies in the foetal position with both hips bent in a flexed position (see image below). After birth, it takes a while before the joints are stretched. When children are born breech this can take a little longer.

Babies are naturally very flexible. Using a baby carrier can help prevent hip dysplasia and sometimes even helps the healing of it. For newborn babies though, we recommend using the foetal position, known as the frog posture with legs are lifted in the carrier. Even then though, the legs are still in the M position, just held slightly differently by the carrier.


Carrying facing outwards

It is intended that a child, when carried in a baby carrier, is in the most natural position. If you carry the baby facing outwards, its back assumes an unnatural posture as well as the hips. The back isn’t nicely curved, but instead has a hollow curve facing the other way which is neither comfortable or healthy. Your child may also be over-stimulated and this is also unnecessarily tiring for the back muscles. When carrying your child on the back the same applies, the back of your child should be in its natural position. So, for carrying both on the back and belly the best option is having the baby facing the person that is carrying.

Safe ergonomic carriers

Some baby carrying systems don’t provide a facility to support the legs from knee to knee. Something to be aware of when purchasing a baby carrier, particularly those in high street shops The pressure on the hips should be minimal with a good support, because the legs are spread and are also supported by the wide straps. In addition, the hips are in a stable position.


Have a look at the picture on the right above for an example of a good carrying position. On the left you can see the position of the hips that we do not recommend.

Comfort for the Carrier

Let’s not forget the father or mother. We wouldn’t want a baby sling or carrier causing any discomfort for the person carrying. When a carrier has narrow shoulder straps people can still sometimes experience shoulder and back problems because of the weight that burdens these narrow straps, and the minimal distribution of the weight over the shoulders and torso. A good baby carrier distributes the pressure over the body thanks to the wide straps. When wearing a good baby carrier you burden your back and abdominal muscles in an ergonomic way, affording stronger muscles. Back problems are often caused by the lack of strong back muscles, or by an incorrect burdening of weight. When using a baby carrier or sling you train your abdominal and back muscles in an ergonomic way, making your back stronger.

With the right baby carrier it is a pleasure to carry for both baby and parent. Carry your love, anyway you want!

 By Kay Poelen, found of ByKay Baby Carriers

How to Stay Sane Over the Christmas Holidays – Ten Top Tips!

Christmas – a time of festive family fun and memory making……


……..when it goes well that is, but for many parents of young children Christmas can be a time of stress, anxiety, exhaustion and arguments. From the everlasting lure of the Christmas tree ornaments, just begging to be stripped by curious chubby hands, to the frustration of your little darling refusing to eat any of their lovingly prepared Christmas dinner – not just the Brussels sprouts – and perhaps the worst of all, enduring the tuts and “in my day children were seen and not heard” comments of your mother in law.

For parents of little ones Christmas can be a fierce test of endurance and Christmas spirit. But never fear, there are ways to cope without downing Great Aunt Edna’s 20 year old bottle of sherry in the pantry! Read on for our ten top festive parenting tips.


1. Reset your expectations. Visions of 1950s movies, with roasting chestnuts and rosy cheeked children in awe at receiving a Satsuma in their stocking belong just there – in fantasy land. In reality most homes resemble a bomb site by 10am on Christmas morning, children won’t feign joy when unwrapping a boxed handkerchief set from your Grandmother and the only colour to their cheeks will come from the smeared chocolate orange they snaffled from the kitchen at 5am.


2. Stock up on batteries well beforehand. Even if you don’t think you need them, buy some in every size because inevitably your child’s favourite present will require batteries and you won’t have any that fit, resulting in much trauma for the rest of the day. Alternatively don’t buy toys that need batteries – ever – and save your sanity and nerves when you accidentally set off the freaky doll that says “I want to play” on your way back from the nursery at 3am.


3. Babies and toddlers love boxes, don’t be down-heartened or take It personally when they ignore their lovingly selected presents and prefer to play with the box, this is a universal toddler play law


4. Don’t expect your toddler to eat their Christmas lunch, especially if it involves Brussels sprouts, food tastes stronger and much more bitter to young children, to them you may as well be trying to make them eat neat vinegar.


5. Don’t take any unwanted parenting advice seriously. The chances are your in-laws, parents, aunts and other relatives have a rose tinted vision of their early parenting years and have forgotten what it was really like. Nod and smile sweetly, or better still change the subject when they start to give you advice.


6. Don’t expect your toddler to sleep well the night before Christmas, the excitement is too much for them, why not give in and let them stay up and fall asleep on the sofa in front of a festive family film?


7. Be prepared that the idea of Father Christmas can be pretty scary to young children, think about it, would you like a big man with a long beard in a funny red outfit breaking in to your house whilst you were in bed asleep? You could arrange that you meet him at the door and take in the presents when your child is asleep instead. Much less scary!


8. Stagger present opening throughout the day, or even over a few days so that your toddler doesn’t become overwhelmed (which usually results in a meltdown).


9. Don’t expect your toddler to share his new presents with his or siblings or cousins. Toddlers really don’t understand the idea of sharing until at least 4 or 5 years old. Imagine if somebody told you to share your presents of new perfume or favourite chocolates as soon as you’d unwrapped them. You wouldn’t like it much either!


10. Try to restrict the amount of sweets and chocolate that your toddler eats, all of the extra sugar and colourings are likely to make him hyper which will have a negative effect on both sleep and behaviour. Plus you can secretly eat them all when he’s gone to bed instead.


If you are thinking about making a new year’s resolution to be a calmer parent to your baby or toddler check out the BabyCalm book HERE and the ToddlerCalm book HERE for more top tips!

Soft Structured Carrier Babywearing Comparison and Reviews

We love babywearing at BabyCalm.

We understand though that for many parents wrap slings can be daunting, we also understand that many (especially dads!) are keen on the idea of a more structured buckled carrier – one that they can simply “click and go” and one that looks a little more mainstream and a little more like the baby carriers sold in most high street shops. Enter the ‘Soft structured Carrier’ – a baby carrier that carries baby in an ergonomically/physiologically correct position and one that is comfortable for the wearer. A carrier that can be used on the front and back (and often hip) and can often be used well into the toddler and even preschool years.

There is one problem though – the huge choice – what one should you buy? We would always recommend trying one of first, but if that isn’t possible for whatever reason there are a few points to bear in mind:

  1. Who will be using the carrier? Are they petite? plus size? very tall? Will the waistband fit? Do the straps cross to provide a better fit?
  2. How long do you want the carrier to last? From birth? Well into toddlerhood? Consider the weight capacity and height and width of the carrier and whether you need to purchase a seperate invoice to use the carrier from birth?
  3. Do you want to back carry or hip carry as well as carry baby on your front?
  4. Does the carrier have a sleep hood? To support your baby’s head if he or she falls asleep in the carrier?
  5. Will you be using the carrier in very hot weather? Does it need to fold up small to pop in your bag?
  6. Finally – what sort of budget do you have?

We have created the table below as a good starting point (by no means does this cover all SSCs on the market) – read on for detailed reviews of some of the most popular carriers:


Boba 3G  – £89.99 from Slumber Roo

Review by Gwen – her son is 3yrs old in this picture.


I bought the Boba 3G as I wanted a semi-structured carrier that I would be able to do a back carry in when I was on my own.  After trying out a few I fell in love with the Boba 3G.  I couldn’t believe just how it easy it is get my toddler on my back; it is just like putting a ruck sack on.

The wide padded straps are extremely comfortable, other carriers started to pull on my shoulders after a while but the 3G stayed comfortable.  The wide hip belt sits comfortably on both me and my husband and both the 15 month old and the 3 year old love it.  The straps are very easily adjusted for each parent and child combination. There are a few extras that make it even better, the rain/sleep hood is very useful and folds into a pocket when not in use. There is a pocket for money and keys and even better there is a loop to secure a light bag in place with a popper rather than having it fall off your shoulders.

All in all I would highly recommend it.



Connecta Solarweave – £56.99 from Connecta

Review by Claire – her daughter is 16mths old in this picture.


For me a Solarweave Connecta is an indispensable addition to my luggage for any sort of holiday and wonderful at home too!

Not only is the fabric cool and highly breathable, while being extremely soft and supportive, but it also offers sun protection as the fabric blocks out most of the harmful UVA and UVB rays. All factors that make it the perfect carrier for any warmer weather babywearing.
It also dries extremely quickly and folds up tiny to shove in your bag, not only fantastic for the beach or pool but also for active, rainy-day activities – I’ve often scooped up a damp toddler who’s been puddle jumping onto my back in ours!
They’re comfortable and extremely easy to use, making them a great beginners choice, and with very little adjustment the standard size can fit from newborn to around two years or more.
All in all a Solarweave Connecta is very versatile choice with lots to offer – but in my opinion a holiday must-have whether it’s sun or snow!
Ergobaby  – around £95

Review by Alexandra – her son is 20 mths old in this picture


The ergobaby carrier can be found in almost any childcare shop. You can carry your baby on your front and on your back (and on your hip according to the instructions but clearly I would not recommend it as it is quite uncomfortable!) up to 18kg.

It is made in 100% cotton in lovely colours or designs. There is an extendable waist belt in option so any parents can use it (It can fit sizes 4 to 26.).  The body of the Ergobaby is not adjustable and quite small so it will be quickly overgrown by your LO. However, its dimensions are well suited from 6 month old to about 18mths old.

I didn’t like the pocket on the panel as it is on your baby’s back…. but I must admit it is quite spacious and could be useful.

The Ergobaby seems to be the least flexible SSC compared to the Boba and Manduca: you have to buy a newborn insert, the body of the carrier is not adjustable and the simplistic settings do not allow optimum adjustment. I know many parents who had invested in the newborn insert and found it inconvenient and difficult to install correctly. On the other hand it is perhaps the simplest SSC: no accessory to the basic version, no zips (except for the two pockets/pouches on the panel), no safety button on the buckle belt (which makes it easier to un-clip with one hand), a single point of control for the belt and suspenders. The adjustments are thus simplified but less accurate. A strong point in the settings is that the straps can be unbuckled, allowing a hip carry or to cross the straps in the back.

It was our 1st SSC and I found the Ergo rather limited with our 20mth old boy. A large part of the  belt is not padded and “dug” into my, rather not flat, stomach (when use for a back carry) and I didn’t really appreciated the shape of the belt on my lower back. I also found difficult to use it higher on my back. My husband who is quite thin didn’t find it uncomfortable though. I have since tried out the Manduca with my son and found it more comfortable and more flexible. The Ergobaby still is compact, lightweight and the fabric is nice.



Manduca  – from £99.99 from Cheeky Rascals

Review by Kate – her son is 7mths old in this picture


I initially wanted to upgrade from wraps to half or full buckles mainly for ease of use for my husband.  One of the first full buckles I tried on was a Manduca and immediately I liked the structure to it and how versatile the padded buckle straps were, being able to wear them in a ruck sack style, crossways and use the sling for front, back and hip carrying.  What also immediately appealed to me was the fact that it has a zip feature to extend the body length and so would be suitable for toddlers and small children – a sling you would definitely get extended use from. It really is so comfortable and easy to use.

The Manduca is structured without being too hard and inflexible, it has a lovely deep seat for larger babies and toddlers whilst also having an insert for newborns – (handy for the next one!).  One of my favourite features is the deep, padded waistband as this takes some of the weight of the baby off your back and shoulders onto your hips.  I myself have a little extra padding in the waist department and found tie wraps have a tendency to dig in and slip after a long wearing session.  Not so with the Manduca.  It’s incredibly comfortable and the push and click locking buckle at the waist gives that extra peace of mind that its not going to pull or pop open if strained.  I also really like the thick padding on the shoulders which feel much more comfortable than some of the other lesser padded slings.

I prefer the cross over front carry at the moment as my baby is only 7 months old and I like to keep him “close enough to kiss”.  However, I can see the back carry becoming a favourite once he’s a toddler and we can play “piggy back” comfortably.
My husband is very happy with the Manduca as not only is it stylish and modern (and doesn’t make him look like a hippy!) but it feels secure, is easy to adjust and he loves the “click and go”aspect which is perfect when you’re rushing about and the weather is not so great – the last thing you need is trailing straps of fabric dangling in puddles while you’re trying to tie it in a downpour!

I can’t recommend the Manduca highly enough especially those who are new to Babywearing and perhaps a bit intimated by the huge varieties of fabrics and ways of tying fabric wraps. It’s been an interesting and educational journey for us so far and I’m really glad we’ve found a sling that suits all our requirements –  I’m especially  looking forward to snuggly winter walks in the snow.



Tula Toddler Carrier £103.99 Tula

Review by Emma – her son is 4yrs in this picture


I was so excited to get a Tula Toddler last year –  which in my opinion is more preschool sized than toddler sized – because I was not ready to give up carrying my 3 and a half year old yet. Also he was born with bilateral talipes which meant his legs often got tired especially walking on uneven ground and up and down hills.

As we go to at least 2 festivals over the summer a carrier is an essential part of our kit, the Tula Toddler is great because both myself and my husband can use it. (I also use wraps but he is purely a buckles man) I am 5’1″ and a size 18/20, he is 6’1″ and of stocky build so finding a carrier that suited us both had proven tricky in the past.
The Tula Toddler is very adjustable giving both of us a comfortable fit. We used it quite a lot this summer – even though Alfie turned 4 in February and is above average height and weighs 19kg – carnivals and festivals are a regular occurrence on the Isle of Wight where we live. We use the optional leg extenders with it now Alfie is so big and it has meant that this carrier has lasted us a long time.
I recommend this carrier for larger toddlers and into preschool years.

When Mothering Does not Come Naturally – One Mother’s Journey to More Instinctive Parenting

Before children my life was totally unrecognisable from the life that I lead today. I met my husband in Australia and we spent a large chunk of our first 6 years together travelling the world and climbing the career ladder.

When I was 28, I had a cervical cancer scare and the “broody” feelings finally bubbled through and we decided it was time to start our family. We were fortunate that it only took a couple of months before I took a pregnancy test and a blue line revealed to me that my life was about to change forever.

I had a perfect pregnancy and birth experience and my husband and I soon found out that this parenting lark would be the hardest work we’d ever encounter but the most rewarding. My only exposure to parenting methods was that with which I was programmed with through my own childhood and what my peer group were using. I dabbled with a bit of Gina Ford but soon found that the routine was far too strict for my lifestyle. I was one of those mums who spent her whole pregnancy declaring that “this baby was not going to change me, it would just have to fit in around our lives” and to be fair she did. She was a very sociable. I cringe now as remember my attempts to get her onto a 3 hourly breast feeding routine at 6 weeks old because that was what Gina recommended! No wonder she cried. It took a good friend to point out that if I fed her she’d probably stop screaming! I gave up breast feeding at 10 weeks as I wanted “me” back again, I felt sacrificed.

I adored my little girl and was a very proud mummy but looked forward to returning to work when she was 7 months old to restore my ego and fill my days with hitting targets rather than changing nappies. She was happy, I was happy, I worked full time but ensured that I put in some long days so that a few times a week I could be at home with her in the afternoons to spend some time being a quality mummy. By her 1st birthday she was blossoming into a beautiful toddler and I started yearning for a newborn baby again. One flippant comment to my husband about expanding our family and low and behold there was that unmistakeable nauseous feeling and I didn’t even need to do a test this time…. I just knew that another baby was on its way.

In preparation for the arrival of baby no 2, we blindly sleep trained our daughter, using controlled crying. Horrific at the time and one of my biggest regrets, making an uninformed decision without ever considering that I may be damaging my relationship and brain development of my child. Note to self; if it feels wrong, it is wrong!

Newborn - Baby boy

I sailed through my 2nd pregnancy again, a repeat performance from my last experience although this time a friend recommended I try HypnoBirthing as I’d been disappointed first time round to have quit my home birth dreams after hour 23 of labour at home with my daughter arriving 45 mins after getting blue lighted into hospital for no other reason than I lost my bottle.

This time round thanks to HypnoBirthing I had a quick, easy home water birth with hardly even breaking a sweat. Doors were opened in my mind due to my empowered experience. I started to believe in the mind and body connection and felt close to my 2nd daughter through the amount of time that I spent focussing on her, pre-birth. I trained to be a HypnoBirthing practitioner when she was 11 weeks old as I wanted to be able to share this knowledge with my local community. The more couples I taught coupled with the amazing feedback and positive birth experiences that were shared with me, the more and more I believed in the power of our minds. Freya was your typical HypnoBirthing baby, super well adjusted and super chilled. I couldn’t believe it when she only ever woke up in the night to feed and then went straight back off again. She was a little star. She made the transition into having a bigger family very easy as she wasn’t at all demanding. I could divide my time between the girls and give them both the attention they needed

So my maternity leave this time round was different. It wasn’t so easy to take two young children everywhere with you… My favourite pastimes of lunching, shopping & socialising were a distant memory and I spent a lot more time at home alone with the girls. My two girls were brimming with energy, ever so buoyant and cheerful but I felt pretty glum. I felt unfulfilled and undervalued. I missed my old life and its pay-packets.

This time going back to my full time work wasn’t a straight forward decision to make with two little ones. There was a lot of soul searching taken before I handed in my notice. Sobbing as I did so! I am a big believer in fate and honestly believe that that wasn’t the right choice for me at that time as a week later my boss was on the phone offering me a promotion. I was flattered and the pull of a monthly salary once again convinced me to go back. It was much tougher this time round, a new job role, much more responsibility and tons of travel with two demanding toddlers at home. I started to feel guilty about not being there for the girls as much as I’d like when that sicky feeling returned only 7 weeks after going back to work. It couldn’t possibly be what I thought it was. No way. But 7 days later… there was no denying that feeling. I was pregnant again!

Thankfully, I’d also been running HypnoBirthing lessons for many couples at weekends and evenings and was being pulled in a direction that I could never have predicted. I found the successes couples were having with the techniques and the fantastic feedback I received very rewarding. I felt like I was gaining momentum in raising awareness of HypnoBirthing and wondered if I could turn my hobby and passion into a part time business.

About half way through my pregnancy I became aware of BabyCalm and became a huge fan of Sarah’s blog. I was inspired by the information she presented and started to think very differently about my role as a parent. I loved the BabyCalm concepts which coupled with the Montessori education that I became exposed to via my girls preschool, I started to think differently and realise that this family wasn’t all about me and that by becoming more focussed on my children’s needs they could develop into their full potential. This was such news to me and I began to reassess what type of mother I was and wanted to be. This was such a change as I’d been very conscious of doing things “properly” with the girls. Setting strict boundaries and having strong discipline. I was so proud of my well behaved girls that everyone complimented me on their behaviour where ever we went obliviously to the perils of that “good” girl label making them eager to please whatever the cost.

And so my voyage of discovery continued and after my son’s birth I was a much more relaxed parent and started parenting the way that felt more instinctual to me much to my own mother’s disgust. My son breast feed to 18 months old, and has just chosen to leave mummy’s & daddy’s bed to sleep (mostly) in his own bed without any bribery.

I am far from perfect, and since training as a ToddlerCalm teacher I’ve realised how much more self-development I need to accomplish skills such as emotional intelligence and mindfulness so I can pass these valuable life skills down to my cherished tribe.

Being a mother is relentless. I do consider it to be an ongoing adventure with many highs and lows. I know that just doing what has been passed onto me isn’t enough. Simply loving, is a great foundation to start upon but there are many deeper life lessons I can expose my children to in the hope it will enable them to flourish into well rounded, contented, happy beings one day.

I’ve done things very differently with each of my children and I believe that has impacted upon their personalities. My eldest for example is still very needy at night time whereas the younger two settle and sleep really well.

Natural parenting didn’t come naturally to me, it’s an approach that has been drip fed to me via social media and many great books. When it is all backed up with all the science and brain benefits, it feels like the way forward for my unique family and I love sharing that wisdom & inspiration that BabyCalm &ToddlerCalm provides with new families.

By Naomi Newland

BabyCalm, ToddlerCalm and HypnoBirthing Teacher in Worthing, Sussex

For more insight, science and top tips for positive parenting. Sign up for Naomi’s free e-newsletter

Reflexology for Babies and Children

What is Reflexology?

Reflexology is a gentle form of natural healing that involves treatment by massage to the reflex areas that are found in the feet. Reflexologists believe that by treating the feet we are helping to relieve many common ailments that occur in babies and children, such as:
  • Colic,
  • reflux,
  • teething,
  • asthma,
  • eczema,
  • constipation,
  • crying,
  • earache,
  • and also aiding sleep and relaxation.
What are the Benefits?
A mother’s touch holds a very special place in our memories, and touch through reflexology is a wonderful way to communicate and build a healthy and caring relationship with your child. Incorporating reflexology into your daily routine will help to give you a relaxed and contented child.
Studies have shown that touch through reflexology has helped babies to gain weight, (especially beneficial for premature babies), and sleep better, it also shows that touch is a comfort, it reassures, heals and balances the body.
I have worked as a Reflexologist for the last 12 years, working on feet to help with pre-conception, pregnant mums, babies/toddlers and right through to old age, with the most amazing results, here are a few related case studies.
Case Study 1
8 week old baby with re-occurring sticky eye, mum worked massage movements all around the toes paying special attention to the second toe which is related to the eye. She did this for a few minutes on her baby each day and was pleased to see within the second week the problem had cleared up.
Case Study 2
6 week old baby feeling quite unsettled, mother quite stressed as well. We worked out a little routine, reflexology moves, quite time for her and baby, soft lighting and music. This worked well for them both resulting in a chilled out mum and baby.
Case Study 3
8 week old baby suffering with colic. I showed mum a lovely routine to do for her baby’s colic and she was amazed how her baby would release gas as she worked over the related area for her tummy, and more often than not she got a full nappy!
Case Study 4
18 month old boy affected by eczema, mum said that when it was at its worse the reflexology most defiantly help to calm her child and his skin.
Case Study 5
Girl aged 11 was having trouble with constipation. I worked mainly on her digestive system, nervous system and solar plexus, and showed mum what she could do to help her, but before we could finish the treatment she had to get off the bed to use the toilet.
Going through life with reflexology is an invaluable tool to have as a parent as this will give you the techniques to help your child along the pathway of life.
Alwyn Bessant
Alwyn practices as a reflexologist specialising in fertility, pregnancy and postnatal treatments and runs reflexology workshops for babies and children in Clavering, Essex, close to Bishops Stortford and Cambridge. Her website is or you can email her on
To find a reflexologist near you visit the Association of Reflexologists website HERE.

Urban Babywearing – Why City Life is Easier with a Sling Than a Buggy

I’m a mum of a 17 month old girl, live in London and haven’t used a pram in a year. Something that has grown out of my utter laziness has become one of the best decisions in my first year as a mum.

I don’t know about other metropolises, but getting around in London by public transport is a nightmare with babies or toddlers in tow. Most tube stations don’t have lifts, which is why you can’t really use the Underground network with a pram or buggy, unless you bring your other half or are happy to ask for help wherever you go. The trains are a little better, as long as you don’t travel during rush hour when there literally isn’t any physical space to put a buggy. And the buses, well theoretically you can board any bus with a pram, but if their pram contingency is already used up (not more than two per bus), you’ll be kindly asked to wait for the next bus and hope there will be space. If there isn’t, well you’ll wait some more. Back in the days when I used to get around with our pram and had to go to an appointment on a bus, I had to leave the house at least 20 minutes earlier, just in case I’d have to wait for a bus I’m allowed to board.


…..And then there are the stairs. Ever stood in front of a shop realising you can’t go in there because there are stairs and no one around who could help you carrying up the pram? Yes, I am a lazy person and all this thinking, planning and giving up plans became a real annoyance after my first few months of motherhood. This is when I ditched the pram and put my baby into a sling. It was a revelation. I felt free as a bird; able again to go wherever and whenever I wanted to.

Not only was I able again to explore London without planning the trip in the evening before, also I have two free hands again. And I can carry luggage. I travel to Switzerland on my own with my daughter a few times a year, and I wouldn’t know how I would be able to carry my baby and suitcase to the airport with a pram, without spending forty quid for a taxi.


Boba Air Carrier only £49.99 from

My daughter is 17 months now and aside from the practicalities of not using a pram, over the time I’ve realised that the benefits of carrying a baby/toddler go a lot further. Children in prams experience the world from another perspective than adults – they’re passive spectators, located halfway between the ground and where the action is. And if they’re facing forward in the pram, they’re not even able to maintain eye contact and study the face of their parent, which is what they’re most interested when they’re small. When carried, on the other hand, the child is on the eye level of the adult. She can experience whatever the adult experiences. Words and mimics can be exchanged much more easily, and, maybe most importantly, they get to interact with strangers. People waiting on the bus say hello to my daughter, the staff of our local supermarket love it to chat with her – basically wherever we go people talk to her. And when we go to the shops, my daughter loves handing the products to the cashier, followed by giving the money or pulling the credit card out of the machine. Playing an active part in life makes children happy and calm. Interacting with people helps babies and toddlers learn to understand the social aspects of life. And being physically close on outings helps parents and child (re)connect. Urban babywearing – the best thing that has ever resulted from my laziness.

Franziska Wick

BabyCalm/ToddlerCalm Balham

An Interview with Professor Wendy Middlemiss – Controlled Crying, Cortisol and more….

In case you’re not aware of Professor Wendy Middlemiss, you should be. Her work is vital in opening society’s eyes to the potential damage that could be done to our infants by the inhumane way we treat them when we ‘sleep train’ them.

If you’re not aware of Professor Middlemiss’ research this is a pretty good summary in lay man’s terms: Babies left to cry feel stressed’ in the Telegraph. and here’s a link to the study abstract for those of you who like a little more science.

Here we ask Wendy about the inspiration behind her research and her vision for change.


Tell us a bit about yourself? 

Although born and raised in New York, I currently life in Denton, Texas. I moved here with my family about 5 years ago to take a position at the University of North Texas in the Department of Educational Psychology. The position provided the opportunity to focus my teaching and research on both educational psychology and development and family studies…something few positions offer. I have one son, who will be turning 16 years old this year. He has come to enjoy Texas and his high school experience.


What led you to your career?

  After college and working in New York in publishing, I found a brochure on the subway about a degree program in Educational Psychology. I had loved my psychology class as an undergraduate and thought—perhaps this would be great. The brochure made it clear that there were lots of things you could do with a degree in educational psychology. That interested me very much—and I think I have pushed the bar a bit in regard to what you do as an educational psychologist.

During my time at Syracuse University, I became very interested in learning more about how we raise our children, whether some of our research truly examined the intricacies of family life and looked with a clear lens into the different types of families and family choices. It was my sense that often research defined all families using one description—with then those families fitting that description looking very good and others, not truly being framed with their beauties and challenges clearly seen.

My work, since that time, has focused on how to better understand families and provide families with information that will help them raise competent children in a family context that fits their own family goals.


You are well known for your research into baby sleep training and cortisol levels, what led to you researching this? and do you have any plans to expand on this with more research?

It is always very easy to answer a question of …how long have you been doing this research [about infant sleep]… since the work started with the birth of my son. As a new parent, I had all the requisite nighttime care equipment—crib, bumpers, crib mobiles… everything… even a net for the top of the crib to keep out our cat. When I came home with my son, I didn’t feel comfortable putting him in this big space where I could hardly see him. So, I wanted to know… what is the recommendations about nighttime care, about where babies sleep, about what I need to do and need not to do as a parent.

Given my background, I started reading the research. What I found was, to me, very disconcerting and not as strong a body of research as made me comfortable about any choices. With this, I started to do a literature review… examining the research across the decade or so before my son’s birth. Then, I started asking my own questions. First I asked about the role of mothers’ comfort with sleep routines and babies’ outcomes—finding that it was mother’s comfort with a routine and not necessarily her choices of nighttime care, that were important to children’s later social outcomes.

Then, I started along the path of looking at questions of stress related to nighttime care routines that required having infants cry themselves to sleep. My path in research has always been to help clarify a particular part of nighttime care and provide helpful, clear information that parents can then adapt to their own care routines.

Thinking about the results of your research, why do you think there was an asynchrony between the mothers and babies cortisol levels after three days of sleep training?

Mothers and babies are so well attuned to each other and the communication is so subtle, but so strong. There is research examining microseconds of interaction that show how babies imitate mothers and mothers in return imitate babies… whether in sound, facial expression, or some other way. The research begins to help us see the importance of that synchronous interaction.

As infants grow, mothers and babies become more and more attuned when all is working well. Infants communicate so many different ways. However, with distress, their greatest communicating tool is crying—this is infants’ behavioral response to stress. When infants cry, mothers become attentive to their behavioral indication of distress, the crying raises mothers’ stress level—and together mother and infant resolve the distressing event and the mother helps the infants’ physiological distress response [related to the cortisol] dissipate.

When babies stopped crying during the sleep intervention, the mothers’ physical cue to their distress was eliminated. The mothers’ response to the apparent absence of infants’ distress, was a reduction in her physiological levels of stress. Almost an, ahhh, my baby is okay now…. I can be okay. You can almost imagine the possible relief a mother might feel when sleep had become such a distressing event.

Perhaps the most important part of that research was the finding that infants had been able to dissociate their behavioral response to stress, i.e., crying, from their physiological experience of stress. It wasn’t clear that infants had the ability to do that. However, that was what happened. Infants stopped crying, but their physiological distress remained. Without communicating this distress to mothers, mothers didn’t “see” the indicator of their distress. It seems that in this way, without this behavior cue in this setting, mothers and infants had a different response to the experience.


What advice would you give to an exhausted parent with a baby who wakes frequently throughout the night who is desperate for more sleep?

Find a way to find relief through greater support at night, changing the sleeping context so that there is more opportunity to sleep when the baby is sleeping, find someone who can help with night wakings. It is a hard question in some ways without knowing what options each parent has and what each parent finds comfortable to do. Babies will eventually sleep much better than they are when parents are in this situation…however, for many infants that will be months away.

Exhaustion is a real and taxing state of being. It is important not to dismiss the parents’ needs out of hand to alleviate the situation; equally important, is not to dismiss the infants’ needs out of hand. So, my advice would be to see what you can change to make things easier, without expecting that the infants’ sleeping habits may readily change. Sleeping is important for both parent and baby.

However, there are so many things in that care environment that are essential… safety, warmth, breastfeeding, responsiveness. I would advise that parents identify what is essential for care and then adapt what they can to make things manageable. I wish there were a simple answer… perhaps what is also helpful is for parents to know that there isn’t necessarily an easier answer, that sleep of all sorts is quite normal, and that this will pass. This sort of information and support has been found to be very helpful for parents.

If you could give a new parent just one piece of advice, what would it be?  

Love your child…for who they are and who they will be…

Provide them the love and comfort that will give them the security to grown to be the best of who they can be. Your child is a beautiful, lovely new being… who needs your love, comfort, and care. Let them be who they are and guide them to who they can be… accepting of their needs and their characteristics, but responsive in providing them with the tools they will need to be strong and successful… Then, I would assure them that the first tool is being responsive and respectful.


What support do you think new parents need? How could society change to offer this?

We need to provide parents with information about how important is their role in supporting and nurturing their child. We need to be honest in acknowledging that what infants and children need is not just restrictions but responsiveness and care. We need to provide families with the resources [information, financial, time] that provide them the opportunity to be parents.


What do you think about the current craze of ‘baby sleep experts’?

Any time information is provided in such a context that it tells someone exactly how they need to do something or precisely what needs to be done and when, then likely that information is only helpful to those who would like to engage in that parenting. Our babies, no matter their age, are our babies. We protect them by trying to give them what is the best. If we put together information without telling parents why something is helpful, then we do a great disservice more often than we provide helpful support. “Experts” who are willing to be “novices” in each family’s network, runs the risk of being unhelpful in the suggestions they offer.

Clever kid

Are there any experts in the parenting industry or other scientists in the field whose work you do admire?

I admire the work of those who keep trying to bring to the fore—information. Helpful, well-couched information that focuses on why something is needed and why it helps. Work of people, whether researchers, family practitioners, parent educators… whomever is there telling parents they are important to their children. Some of the people whose work I admire are strong, well-known researchers, such as Dr. McKenna or Shonkoff. Some are people who have taken up a battle but may not be well known, such as Dr. McManus, in Milwaukee.

Others I admire are those who have taken on the challenge of providing information and work tirelessly toward that end, such as Lauren Porter, and Liz Lightfoot and Celeste Pon all in New Zealand. People who, in the case of Lauren, have established Centre’s to continue to bring the message of how important is parents’ responsiveness to children, and Liz and Celeste, who work so tirelessly with parents. I greatly admire the work and energy of Stephanie Cowan who is director of Change for Our Children. She is a wonderful combination of innovation and caution, a woman who does.


But, I also admire the passion, if not the perspective, of those with whom I strongly disagree theoretically, about whom whose work I probably work tirelessly to put in a different light for parents. These researchers and policy makers have the same passion and often the same goal… the health and wellbeing of our infants, children, and parents. I hope that we find those common, essential elements that will bring our work together to provide information, clear information, to parents. Information that will protect our children.

Campaigning for One to One Midwifery Care – Guest Post

Given the choice would any woman opt to have her baby in the presence of people she doesn’t know? Common sense and research would suggest not.

Yet of the 2000 women giving birth today, 1620 will not be attended at any point in their labour by a midwife they have met before.

Despite it being widely evidenced and widely acknowledged that having a known and trusted midwife with them through pregnancy, birth and beyond delivers the best outcomes for mothers, babies and their families (and can save the NHS money), our maternity service is delivering far from this kind of care for the vast majority of women.

This is failing women and their families, as well as midwives.  And it does not need to be this way.


A Midwife for Me and My Baby ( is a new campaign gathering momentum with support from a growing number of maternity related organisations. We’ve identified a shared goal – one that would deliver the woman-centred care that women want, need and deserve, and we’ve started to look at the solutions necessary to deliver it.  Our Manifesto is HERE.

We want every woman to have a midwife that she can get to know and trust, who can support her through pregnancy, birth and beyond, regardless of her circumstances or where her baby is to be born



The current system is working against women and it is working against the midwives providing the care. Maternity care has evolved into its current shape not because the women using the service ask for it or because the midwives delivering the care want it, but because policy makers – government, have not created the environment in which a truly woman-centred system can be delivered. The system as is, drives care into hospital, out of the community, incentivises the wrong things and without enough midwives to cope with the rising birth rate, midwives are stretched and pressured to the max. No time to form relationships let alone provide continuity.

Provision of continuity also fails to grow because midwives providing this level of commitment are not paid to do so. In the NHS they receive the same level of remuneration as those working shift patterns. They are also often lacking the management support to provide continuity and are often expected (on top of their case load commitments) to provide cover when the acute unit is short staffed.



With the advent of clinical commissioning every user of maternity services has an opportunity to have a real say about how local services should look. But the ability to shape and influence will continue to be limited just as it has been for years if the barriers that currently stand in the way of true continuity of care are not taken down.

The maternity landscape must change so that continuity of care is encouraged, incentivised and nurtured rather than fought against or not even considered a possibility. This is about breaking down barriers. Only once the barriers are removed can models of care that deliver true continuity and a known and trusted midwife for many more women, start to flourish.

The government must set the scene and the commissioning groups must honour their commitment to commissioning services that the service user wants.


The government acknowledge the improved outcomes that a known and trusted midwife can deliver, yet has failed to create the environment in which this type of woman-centred care can flourish.  It needs to set the system up so that it incentivises the kind of care that delivers the best outcomes. This is about incentivisation rather than central direction, it is not dictatorial. It saves money long run. It incentivises better outcomes. It allows local contracting and negotiation.

  • Continuity should be incentivised, with midwives being paid per woman and savings made from improved outcomes being reinvested into remunerating those midwives working to deliver continuity
  • The midwife shortage should be urgently addressed
  • PBR should also be designed to ensure there is no incentive for intervention and does not disadvantage midwifery-only maternity providers.
  • Capital charges should be changed from a charge for the space to a charge for the person, so there is less incentive to pull all births into consultant units


Commissioners everywhere must commit to contract midwifery provision that delivers the best possible outcomes for women and their babies. This means woman-centred models, such as caseloading must be included in the mix of maternity care. Everywhere.



First and foremost, please sign up to support the campaign at and like us on Facebook at

The success of this campaign rests largely on policy makers making changes to the maternity care system, so we need MPs to understand the issues women and midwives are facing. We’ve created a print -outable baby for you to send to your MP – You will find all you need here. Please do let us know when you hear back from your MP via or via our FB page

You can also follow us on Twitter @Midwife4me. Please use the hashtag #m4m

And if you want any further information do please contact


Vicky Garner (Founder, The Birth I Want) on behalf of A Midwife 4 Me

Does the UK Government Know Anything about the Needs of Children? A Guest Blog by Oliver James

Despite the posed pictures of her pushing a baby in a pram (I wonder if its hers?), Liz Truss, the minister for education and childcare, has made it abundantly clear that she knows bog all about small children.

Her starter for one was the proposal that ratios of minders and daycare to children should be increased. As Polly Toynbee amusingly pointed out, minders are supposed to take their charges out of the home once a day. Polly laid down a challenge to Truss: let’s see you take two babies and four under-threes out to the park.


Not satisfied with having put daycare nursery profits ahead of the needs of children, Truss then weighed in with a demand for our nurseries to be highly structured in their daily schedules. This would increase the educational value of the places (as is supposed to be the case in France, a country which has a negligent attitude to the needs of under-threes – mothers getting their figures back is put ahead of meeting the needs of neonates). Clearly, Truss has no idea that, for under-threes, play is the only really worthwhile activitiy. The words ‘structured’ and ‘play’ are as absurd when conjoined as the words ‘be spontaneous’. If an activity is structured externally, for a two year old, it ceases to be play.

Truss is a symptom of a much wider malaise. Very few, if any, of our present Ruling Elite have ever spent extended periods caring for under-threes. Speaking anecdotally, I would guess that very few of their partners have done so either – a high proportion of MPs or CEOs have partners who are also workaholic killer-drillers. They leave it to others to do the ‘boring’, ‘repetitive’ task of caring for small children. I have several times proposed that no MP should be admitted who has not spent at least one year looking after and under-three year old for at least one year. That would sort the negligent goats from the compassionate sheep.

What is more, as was so graphically illustrated by the recent documentary featuring Boris Johnson, a great many of the Ruling Elite were severely deprived of responsive, loving care in their early years. Small wonder then, that they have so little understanding of under-threes’ needs. In fact, they are allergic to meeting those needs. I would go further: they think ‘nobody loved me, why should under-threes get the care I was deprived of?’ Put bluntly, deep down, it gives the Ruling Elite pleasure to see under-threes being deprived of love and responsive care.

By Oliver James

Oliver James is the author of Love Bombing – Reset your child’s emotional thermostat

(Karnac Books).

Oliver will be speaking at the forthcoming International Parenting Conference to be held at Cambridge University on July 20th and 21st. For more information about the conference, or to book a ticket to hear Oliver speak, please click HERE.