Dear First Born Daughter

Dear Willow 

On the 9th of March 6 years ago I became a mum for the 1st time. I gave birth to you, my daughter. It was scary, it was new and it was strange. You’ve taught me lots of things in the shortest amount of time. Many times I have doubted that I could look after you properly or bring you up well enough. I live in fear of thinking that I’ve done things wrong. I’m trying to bring you up to be a clever, polite, well mannered little girl and I think I’m doing alright right… so far. You are doing amazingly at life, people always comment on how lovely you are. These people tell me that I am wrong to ever doubt myself, and that I really am an amazing mother. I must be doing something right, so maybe I should start listening to these people, I think they could be correct. You are perfect in every way.

Willow of the Newhouse family

Most of the kids in your class at school are the youngest member of their family. They don’t have any smaller brothers or sisters. If they do, they are only just welcoming new brothers and sisters into their lives. But, you already have three small sisters and a brother. Sometimes I feel guilty that you’ve had to grow up so fast or that I should have spent more time with just you, before introducing new members into our family. Don’t get me wrong, I would NEVER turn back the clock or change anything but I just wish I had more cuddles with you as an only child. You’ve had to be ‘the big girl’ for as long as you can remember. 

When you arrived 6 years ago, little did we know that in another 6 short years I’d marry your daddy, you would have two more sisters and a baby brother arrive so quickly. Time really does go very fast. In just the blink of an eye, everything changes. But you’ve always remained a beautiful, polite, clever little girl. You have never struggled to adjust to new siblings, new houses, or a new way of life. You take everything in your stride and your ability to adjust makes me very proud indeed.

Despite that I am always moaning that I have so many jobs to do- a million thoughts running through my head, I still always remember the first time that you smiled, the first time you had a cold, the 1st bath you ever had and you first steps that you took. I remember your first day at school, the first book you brought home and I remember how happy you looked every time and how proud I felt. 

One day you will find love. You will find someone who you can’t bear to be apart from. It’s how I feel about your daddy. You may want a child of your own. You may want 10 children of your own. But there are a few things I want to tell you first to help you prepare.

  1. It is ok to be scared. You’re allowed to live your life with a little worry or confusion. It is human nature. You will learn to deal with these emotions. You become a better person with a little life experience.
  2. Admit to your mistakes. There are lots of mistakes that I made before you arrived and there are lots of mistakes I’ve made since you arrived. These mistakes have helped me to become the mother that I am today. I do try hard to get things right the 1st time. I also lose my temper, I cry, and I struggle to smile some days. But when you look into the face of your baby you will realise that everything is ok. The world will keep spinning and tomorrow is a new day. 
  3. Don’t feel like money is everything. I was once very, very poor. I owned nothing, I had no money and no home.  I am now living a comfortable life. Despite having a completely different life now, I have learnt that it is ok to watch the pennies. Sometimes I don’t give in and buy you or your siblings treats or sweets. That is because I want you to understand that buying things isn’t necessary to make you happy. You will see people splash the cash, go on expensive holidays and always buying new things- but are they really happy? My family makes me happy, you make me happy… not our bank account. 
  4. You can never give too many cuddles. Sometimes I worry that I didn’t cuddle you enough.  Sometimes I worry that I STILL don’t cuddle you enough. When your brothers and sisters arrived and I felt like I cuddled them more. I want you to know that you can still come up to me and give me a cuddle no matter how old you are or how you feel. I want you to cuddle me right until you an adult and you have your own children and then I want your children to cuddle me. I will make up for the lost cuddles. I promise.
  5. If people call you names, say that you’re crazy or say that your dreams are too big- don’t ever listen to them. If you want to do something weird or wonderful just do it, as long as you are safe and happy that is all that I care. Get that tattoo, jump out of a plane… run around like a Power Ranger! Please only do the first two after the age of 18 though!! 
  6. Don’t worry about the future. Everything will be OK. Your dad and I shall be there for you. We will do whatever we can to help you and whatever we can to make you happy. Be that Today, Tomorrow or in 10 years’ time. 

So I as I write this letter today, a few days past your 6th birthday, I want to keep a note of it and keep it safe forever. One day I will show you this list and I want you to keep it somewhere safe. One day, I want you to show your own children.

Willow, I love you I will always love you forever and ever.

Lots of love, Mummy x

This post was written in collaboration with Vicks Baby Rub. A superb relief for babies with colds and stuffy little noses.  Vicks BabyRub is a cosmetic, non-medicated product for babies aged six months and older.

Vicks BabyRub

I mention in my letter to Willow that I remembered her 1st ever cold. I felt so helpless seeing her struggling to breathe with a blocked nose and heavy chest. Together with dad’s loving touch, we cuddled her better and steamed classic Vicks. But now, there is a much better method to help your baby. Obviously, your baby still needs lots of loving cuddles but now you can use Vicks BabyRub to moisturise, soothe and help your baby to feel relaxed- even during the tough times. It is the first of its kind and is a multipurpose product providing moisturising & soothing comfort for delicate skin.

Vicks BabyRub smells amazing! It features mild fragrances of Rosemary, Lavender and Aloe Vera. If you are familiar with the classic scent of Vicks, then Vicks BabyRub is very similar just slightly milder, with the added relaxing aromas from the herbal ingredients.
Vicks BabyRub isn’t just for colds and runny noses. It can be used at any time of the day to help to wind down and settle your baby. I’ve started using Vicks BabyRub after bath times to help calm and wind down Jimmy. He has a bath, we spend time massaging in the Vicks BabyRub and he is then breastfed to sleep. The beautiful aroma makes both of us feel so relaxed. Baby massage can help soothe your baby during unsettled times and it’s a great way to bond with your baby. Some of these scenarios include:
  – After bath and before bedtime
  – If your baby is irritable through teething
  – Before nap time
  – If your baby is unsettled due to feeling unwell
  – If your baby is overtired/over stimulated
  – If your baby’s routine has changed; have they dropped a day nap or has the season /clocks change
Vicks BabyRub isn’t greasy and massages easily into baby’s skin. It is a perfect addition to baby’s daily routine, and is great for cough’s, colds and stuffy noses too… for the whole family!

This post is an entry for BritMums #VicksBabyRub Challenge, sponsored by Vicks BabyRub. Specially designed for babies aged 6 months and over, Vicks BabyRub is available at Boots, Superdrug, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and all good pharmacy chains. RRP £3.99.

Why Your Baby Needs Tummy Time

As a new parent or parent-to-be you will probably hear about tummy time, but you may not understand why it is so important. Let me talk to you about some of the huge benefits tummy time has for your baby, and why you should do it. I also have a super cute tummy time toy to show you from the ever popular brand Galt.

What is tummy time?

Tummy time is when you place your infant onto their tummy (with their forearms in front of them, taking their weight) for a period of time during playtime. It can be done from birth and the aim of tummy time is to strengthen the muscles in your baby’s head, neck and back. You should start tummy time from birth for just 1 minute at a time, and gradually extend the period of time spent on their tummy as they get older. Doing this a few times a day will really strengthen their upper body muscles.

You should only ever place your newborn baby on their tummy when they are awake, and on a flat surface on the floor. As your baby gets older, you can place toys in front of them to play with, or use a simple and safe tummy time aid. Why not join your baby on the floor with your baby, to share toys and books and chat to your baby. Tummy time is the perfect way to bond and play during their waking hours.

If your baby really doesn’t like being on the floor, you can have tummy time with your baby laid safely across your lap. Do keep trying them on the floor though, as they will soon start to enjoy playing in this way.

Why should you give your baby tummy time?

There are many benefits to your child spending time playing on their tummy, even from birth. I mentioned above that tummy time strengthens the muscles in your baby’s head, neck and back but there are many other reasons why you should give your baby tummy time each day.

  • It will help your baby reach their key milestones, such as crawling and walking. This is due to those nice strong muscles developed from playing on their tummy.
  • Improves head control.
  • Helps baby learn how to roll.
  • Prevents flat head syndrome.
  • Reduces gas and constipation.
  • Helps to develop hand-eye coordination.
  • Stretches and develops hip muscles

Toys to help aid tummy time

Your baby may benefit from some toys to play with during tummy time. Toys are brilliant to keep baby happy during tummy time, and as your baby learns how to reach and grasp, toys will help their hand-eye coordination and make tummy time more fun. Tummy time never needs to be boring!

We love the Tummytime Ted by Galt. Jimmy has really taken a shine to this toy and it keeps him happy for ages. I’ll be honest, Jimmy hated tummy time and really panicked when placed onto his tummy. We got our hands on the Tummytime Ted to see if a product such as this would make a difference to Jimmy’s enjoyment of tummy time. It worked!

Tummytime Ted by Galt

Suitable from birth, Tummytime Ted is a support ‘cushion’ that is placed under your baby’s chest. It raises their chest, neck and head off of the floor so baby doesn’t feel so close to the ground- the common cause of tummy time panic!

This tummy time toy is super soft, machine washable (THANK YOU!), Features lots of different materials, textures and even rattles and comes with 3 detachable super-cute picnic themed toys. An all round perfected tummy time toy. Teddy Bears Picnic, anyone?

Jimmy loved the rattle located in the apple. He found Ted’s ears fun to chew too. Tummytime Ted is a perfect size. Jimmy is 5 months old now, and just starting to sit by himself but he loves tummy time now that he has something close to his grasp to play with.

There is no hard set-up for Tummytime Ted. Simply blow up the inflatable cushion (like a beach ball) and slip into the fabric cover. That’s it! Place your baby onto the cushion with their chest on top of Ted’s face, with their arms reaching outwards. I recommend getting down on the floor with your baby, and encourage play with the sensory toys.

Tummytime Ted has beautiful bright and vibrant colours and different textures. Ted himself has a soft furry face and hands, with cute 3D ears! Jimmy loves sucking on Ted’s ears, making a soggy Ted!

Jimmy also loves playing with Tummytime Ted while sat on the sofa. Ted can be placed across your child’s lap for fun play sitting up. We’ve also had Ted placed on the Bumbo tray! A versatile toy, that is perfect for tummy time play, but also great for when baby wants to sit.

The Tummytime Ted can easily be deflated and folded flat. Perfect for storage, or packing into a bag when traveling. With no complicated set up, just a breath of air, Tummytime Ted can be ready for play within moments!

Jimmy has Syndactyly, but that doesn’t stop him from playing with Tummytime Ted!

Where to buy

Tummytime Ted is available from the Galt website and is £15.99