Bringing a baby into your home for the first time is a daunting experience. Bringing a baby home when you already have pets can bring extra worries, so its important to prepare your cat for the new arrival.  Cats are highly sensitive creatures and a new baby in the home massively changes the dynamic and this can be very stressful for them.

We had our two cats, Oscar and Max, before we had children. They were my furbabies before I had any babies. When I was pregnant for the first time I worried how the boys would adapt. We followed some simple rules listed below to help  from the first meeting onwards, hopefully they will help prepare your cat also.

 

Ways to minimise your cats anxiety

Quiet introduction – try to minimise stress by introducing the baby to the cat at a quiet moment. Allow the cat to explore the baby and sniff its head safely. Stroke your cat so he understands the baby is not a threat.

Give them a cuddle – the baby will take over, but when you can, try to give the cat a cuddle too. He will feel a bit abandoned if he never receives

any affection.

Create a safe zone – allowing your cat space to be alone and away from baby is important.  This is especially true when your baby starts moving and your cat doesn’t enjoy his tail being pulled.

Pheromone plug-ins – they release synthetic pheromones into your home to relax the cat. You can also buy sprays but a plug-in ensures there is a constant release.

 

There is a lot of evidence about how a child benefits from having a pet at home. Parenting magazine covers in-depth five benefits:

1. Pets help with learning
2. Pets provide comfort
3. Pets encourage nurturing
4. Pets keep kids healthy
5. Pets build family bonds

The easier you can make that initial introduction and how prepare your cat the better your they will cope. The relationship that your cat and child will forge will be monumental in both their lives.  So enjoy the relationship as it grows between your furbabies and babies.

Christmas Eve boxes have been increasing in popularity each year.  A Christmas Eve box is a festive tradition where you take a box and fill it with goodies to enjoy on Christmas Eve. The trend started in the states and has been picked up around the world.

Now my eldest daughter is almost three we are going to start this tradition in our house. I got our boxes this year from Sue Ryder charity shop, £2.99 for two small boxes, perfect size for some pjs, treats and new Christmas books.

If you are looking for ideas to what you should put in your box this year see below my recommendations.

Christmas Eve Boxes

What should I include in my Christmas Eve Boxes?

There are so many creative ideas for what you can fill them with.
These are some favourites I’ve found;

  • Christmas PJs and socks – perfect for snuggling in together as a family.
  • Christmas book/story or film – something to watch together on Christmas Eve.
  • A family board game – perfect to share as a family across the holidays.
  • Snow globe or tree decoration – start a tradition to add a new one each year.
  • Sweet treats for the kids – most children love sweets or chocolate.
  • Hot chocolate powder – warm drinks to have while watching Christmas TV
  • Treats for Santa and his reindeer – a tipple for Santa and food to leave out for his helpers.
  • A plate for Santa’s treats – children will love leaving out the treats.
  • Bath bomb – encourage the children to have a bath before Christmas Day.
  • Letter from Santa – if they haven’t recieved one already.

Whatever you choose to fill them with, the children will enjoy the anticipation and process of opening them.
Christmas Eve boxes can also be sourced in places such as Home Bargains and Not On The High Street.

If you are looking for other traditons to enjoy over the Christmas season see my post on festive traditions.

Oh my long-lost friend how I do miss you! 

Sleep is without a doubt the number one thing I miss most about my life prior to children. I always assumed that sleep deprivation was something that only occurred in those early newborn days….boy was I wrong.

I now know that even as toddlers not many of them subscribe to our ideal image of sleeping through the night. Whether it’s tears at bedtime, waking in the night, nightmares or needing the toilet, sleep continues to elusive.

I have no idea what is around the corner for my children’s sleep habits. Best I don’t know and just live in the hope that one day I will be able to hang out again with my friend sleep.

There are an endless amount of products for babies on the market. After having two of them I’ve done a lot of research and product testing at home!
Here are my top ten baby products which I’ve found to be essential during that precious first year:
  1. Moses basket/bed side crib – a safe place baby can sleep in your bedroom
  2. Baby wipes – you will never not need a packet of these with a baby around
  3. Pram – the best option is to find a pram that has the longest use for your needs as they are one of the more expensive investments
  4. Car seat – buy the best option for your car and budget, this could be a life saver so worth doing some research
  5. High chair – you will absolutely need some sort of chair when they start weaning, look for one that’s easy to clean
  6. Bouncer – look for one where it’s safe for baby to fall asleep in for daytime naps
  7. Playmat – essential if you have hard wood floors like us so babies can play safely
  8. Babygrows- nothing beats a baby dressed in a baby grow for comfort
  9. Thermometer – a decent one to check babies, if you notice they are too hot or cold
  10. Nappy bin – not on everyone’s top 10 but I think there is nothing worse than the smell of nappies in a normal bin

 

My daughter Beth and I have just completed a full term of Baby Sensory.
They are a nation wide franchise of classes specifically developed to encourage sensory interactions for babies and toddlers.

Each class focuses on a theme, and activities are created around the theme to engage the children. Classes aim to utilise all the senses with lights, fabrics, toys, musical instruments and sounds/songs.

The changing nature of the class week by week means that the class not only is highly engaging for the child but also keeps the adults happy.

A few of the theme highlights we enjoyed this term were On The Farm and Space.

The class always starts with the welcome song, followed by some activities, a break and then ends with further activities and the goodbye song. The babies enjoy the structure of the class as they begin to learn the order. During the break the babies are given freedom to enjoy soft play which they love.

Our experience of Baby Sensory

I didn’t have many expectations for the class apart from enjoying the one on one time with my daughter. So I was pleasantly surprised to actually see Beth get involved in all the activities and enjoy the hour we spent there each week.

She particular enjoyed activities that included lights, balloons or musical instruments. The soft play also seemed to engage her, as it was different each week and matched the overall theme.

Overall

Sadly today was our last class as I will be returning to work in a few weeks. I am so happy we decided to do the term though, as I think it has made her more sociable with other babies which will help her transition to nursery.

If you are interested in attending other baby classes with your child, consider looking at your nearest Rhyme Time class. These are sessions run by libraries across the country.