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Mother & Child
I spend loads of time seeking advice at the Babycentre.uk where you can chat to people with children or bumps the same age as yours, look up names, find out about medical conditions etc. There are lots of other sites that offer pregnancy & parenting advice, many of which do it alongside selling their own products, one I found that is good and not just out for a buck is Bounty.
Alongside the formal advice we're offered (books, midwives, health visitors, education and health professionals throughout our children's lives) many women seek advice and support from informal communities when they are embarking on new life chapters, in particular motherhood or new aspects of motherhood. Whilst friends and family are usually only too willing, in this age of transient populations and everyone being busy it can be hard to find "me time" when you are a mum trying to keep balls in the air and do the right thing. In this section I'm not giving advice - I'm suggesting where one can get it! I have dipped in and out of various online communities since I first started considering becoming a mum. Babycentre, Netmums and Mumsnet in particular have been great resources for me and I've met some good friends via these sites as well!
I wholly recommend taking a cuppa and sitting down in front of your pc in a quiet moment in order to browse these modernday equivalents to Mrs' Beeton's book of Household Management where you can chat to people with children or bumps the same age as yours, look up names, find out about children's food, sleep, behaviour and development etc There are lots of other sites that offer pregnancy & parenting advice, many of which do it alongside selling their own products, one I found that is good and not just out for a buck is Bounty.
Pregnancy, birth & postnatal support
Whilst the best support a pregnant, labouring or newly postnatal mum can have is often her partner or family member partners, mothers, sisters etc. are not always available or experienced in providing the full range of physical, emotional and practical support possible. Information from classes such as the antenatal classes offered by the NHS is one opportunity but more detail can be gained from the classes one can access through the NCT, Active Birth, LA Leche League and other mother-centred organizations.
Another option is to employ a Doula. You can find out more about doulas at www.doula.org.uk where they describe the two types of doula and how they work with mothers.
Kate's Shopping Tips
I'm a very "online" mum - I do a lot of my fact-finding, chatting and shopping online so I thought I'd share some of my favourite links and tips with you!
Shopping for you and your little one
I'm a member of the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) and (amongst their services) I thoroughly recommend their Nearly New Sales to any mum-to-be or mum of someone under about 10. Its a great place to pick up hardly used clothes, toys & equipment for around a quarter of the original price (and you don't have to be a member to go to one but if you are you can get in early). Car boot sales are also a must for toy shopping. I also recommend the following online stores, some of which took me hours to find so I hope you find them useful.
You may want to splash out on a Doppler to enable you to listen to your baby's heartbeat by looking on eBay or going to: Baby Beats
And as labour gets near and you might want to think about buying or hiring a TENS machine, birthing ball, birthing stool or even a water birthing tank - more info. about each of these and sites that sell and hire such equipment can all be found using Google. Two items I found very helpful during labour (other than the TENS machine) were a bean bag and a builder's bucket without the handle (for sitting on) - think about them!
I've also got some great fact sheets about things like breastfeeding positioning and perineal massage but you'll have to email me to request those as I doubt everyone wants to read about it!
For nice maternity & baby clothes:
Most well-known shops that sell baby & childrenswear have websites too - other good shops that are worth visiting physically include GAP, Gymboree and Monsoon who sell lovely stuff but it's a bit overpriced and not available to order online in the UK.
For lovely soft leather baby shoes that are orthopedically recommended go to:
There are also often these sorts of shoes sold via e-Bay where you can pick them up far more cheaply.
For groovy baby & kids sunglasses
Go to any site that sells BabyBanz & KidzBanz (Google is a good place to start your hunt).
Prams, pushchairs & buggies
Make sure you shop around - there are loads of products on the market and getting the right one for your lifestyle, home, car & child is a must. These sites tell you what to think about when choosing (such as no. & size of wheels, versatility, weight, folded & unfolded size, suitability for newborns etc.) as well as selling the products themselves. Some of them also sell other nursery stuff like furniture.
Remember, when considering weight of a set of baby wheels the whole thing gets heavier as the baby grows and before you start 5kg is LIGHT and 15kg is HEAVY - I couldn't cope with our first buy which weighed more than 12kg . We ended up with a further two to meet our needs (one very lightweight MacLaren for about town and one fairly light and easy to compact ATP for off road). One of my first mistakes was buying a travel system that didn't really provide a flat lying position for a newborn (car seat adaptations aren't really ideal for long rides) - this is something we only really remedied for Oscar - whilst also accommodating Phoebe's toddler seating needs.
Once you think you've decided on the make and model of pushchair you want go to the manufacturers site and you may get a bargain factory second (with just something like a tiny patch of paint missing).
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