Monday, 29 February 2016

[Maternity Monday] Exercise During Pregnancy: Can You Continue With Your Normal Routine?

Can you continue with your normal exercise during pregnancy?

Well, back in the old days, pregnant women were considered to be fragile beings that should be hidden away until delivery. Thank God we don’t live in those times now.

Just because you’re pregnant, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get out there and get some active exercise. After you get the “all clear” from your doctor, be sure to fit in daily exercises during your pregnancy. In order to clear you for exercise, your doctor may give you some guidelines to follow to ensure a healthy pregnancy, but to get you started, here are some exercise guidelines of our own.

Sports & Recreation activities and exercises to avoid include:

-Contact sports and most competitive sports
-Any activity that can result in falling, such as downhill skiing or mountain biking
-Lying on your back or stomach during exercise, after the beginning of the fourth month
-Lifting heavy objects or heavy weight lifting
-Intense cardiovascular exercise – your heartbeat should remain under 140 beats per minute during your workout.
-Scuba diving or any activity that involves pressurized air

The most appropriate exercise during pregnancy can include:

-Prenatal Yoga

Exercise is important during pregnancy. It can alleviate aches and pains, depression, and fatigue. Exercise also gives you the endurance and flexibility to get through your pregnancy and through labour.

So what are you waiting for?

Get out there, get active, and stay healthy. Exercise during your pregnancy is a great thing to do for you AND your baby.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

[List] 4 Tips to Help Write Personal Wedding Vows

A person’s wedding is one of the most memorable, important, and high points in an individual’s life.  At a time when a man and a woman want to make the ultimate commitment to spend the rest of their lives together, the desire to have personalized vows is certainly understandable. 

This is one of the most unique and special days in a person’s life, so if you want to speak your own personal wedding vows, than by all means, you should go for it!

Writing your own vows can be intimidating. 

Wedding days always add pressure to even the most mundane of tasks, and certainly writing the vows you want to say to your significant other in front of all your friends and family is no small matter!  Still, don’t let fear cause you to go along with some basic commonly used wedding vows if you really want that personalized touch.  Just follow a few basic tips, and this will help you be on your way to writing the tips your future spouse deserves!

1. Write from the heart.
Your wedding day represents the epitome of love between you and your future spouse.  The two of you are together for a reason.  Anything you write should be honest and from your heart, because that is what will really make your words special.

2. You don’t have to be Robert Frost or Emily Dickinson.
If you are a poet, great.  Keep in mind, though, that in the end words are just words.  Your wedding vows do not have to be an amazing classic piece of literature—they need to be an honest display of your feelings for the other person.  Don’t use long poetical words if all it does is put distance between your words and your feelings.

3. It’s okay to brainstorm.
Before you set down to write everything, make a list of the things about your spouse that you absolutely love about your spouse, then make a list of the commitments you want to make.  Figure out what parts of those lists you really want to include (keep in mind the vows are read in front of families and friends) and keep those.

4. Short and Sweet.
It doesn’t take many words or a lot of time to make your heart known to everyone present.  A lot can be said in a really short time, so don’t feel like you have to make the vows any longer than they naturally come out.

Follow these four tips, and you’ll find yourself getting over your worries to write some great wedding vows that your spouse will love!

Thursday, 25 February 2016

[Baby] A Baby Gift Basket Can Be A Perfect Present

When a close friend or relative is having a baby, there are always presents and baby shower gifts to think about getting. The new mother is going to have an intense period of adjustment before she gets settled into the routine of having another human being to look after, so she will need all the help possible from family and friends to make that transition as easy and memorable as possible. This should be a celebratory time for the new family, not a time of worry or stress, and a gift basket to commemorate the new addition can be just the thing to brighten their spirits even more, and maybe even supply them with some things that will end up coming in handy.

A baby gift basket can be one of the easiest way for you as the gift giver to be creative, and show the person your giving it to just how much you care about them. Instead of one big gift, you get to give out a plethora of trinkets, toys, and other fun items, wrapped together in a beautiful package which, in itself, can be a gorgeous thing to receive. A popular thing to do when buying a gift basket is to let the company who makes it fashion the wicker basket as a bassinet, within which are all the things you want to bestow upon the new child, making your gift all the more thoughtful and appropriate. Better yet, there are so many companies out there that are experts at making these sorts of things, so even if you’re not exactly Martha Stewart yourself, you can let an anonymous craftsperson make it seem like you should have your own cable show.

Within the gift basket, you’ll want to include the basics, those simple bare necessities. This means, teddy bears and or dolls are a given, as any parent will know a young child can never have enough teddy bears. If you want to be gender specific, you can go for the standard pink or blue color palettes to appease notions of femininity and masculinity, but many people nowadays are shying away from such black and white notions of sex, so your best bet is probably to stay as neutral as possible. This also means that you can go nuts and include just about anything in the toy department that you want to give the new baby. No longer do Tonka trucks mean ‘it’s a boy’ nor do Raggedy Ann dolls indicate the infant is a girl, so take advantage of this freedom in creating a truly unique and baby gift basket. Baby oil or baby wipes can be the new parent’s dream as well, since they’ll surely be running through plenty of both, so don’t be afraid to include the practical as well as the sentimental.

In addition to the variety of contents you can include in your basket, you also have the luxury of having a wide range of prices and sizes to choose from, as crafting gift baskets for babies is a burgeoning market right now baby. Obviously, if the expecting mother is only a co-worker or a casual acquaintance, you don’t want to present them with an elaborately fashioned and ornately packaged baby gift basket, as you’d probably be shelling out more money than you really want to spend. A nice, small gift basket can say everything you want to say, and do it in a classy, memorable way, without costing you the proverbial arm and leg.

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

[Wedding Wednesday] Paying For Your Wedding

Many couples are opting to pay for their weddings themselves. Some couples decide to pay for their own weddings because they have no other choice, some do so as a matter of choice. The best reason to pay for your own wedding is because you do not want to compromise on how, when and where you get married and you are ready to pay for it all on your own.

The sooner you start planning and saving for your wedding, the more time you have to come up with the necessary funds. The average time between the engagement and the wedding day is 12 to 18 months. Such time frame gives you an opportunity to plan and save for your wedding. The most important task you have is to determine the total amount you wish to spend on your wedding. Then, divide the amount by the number of months to determine how much money you need to put aside each month to meet your goal. If you are unable to save enough to cover all the costs, you may need to start cutting costs until you come up with a figure that you can meet. Aside from cost cutting, you can do a lot by saving one everything you do. You can save by taking your lunch instead of going out, spend less on clothes and entertainment. You could also, take on a part time job to help you with your budget. You have many options.

Opening a separate savings account for your wedding may help enforce the need to save. Even if you start with a modest amount a special wedding savings account should help you make the right spending and saving decisions.

You can find ways to save money by learning as much as you can about the products and services you need for your big day. The more educated you become about prices, the more you can bargain with vendors to make sure you get the best possible deals in town.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

[Baby Names] Baby Name Meanings

Speaking as an Adele (a German / French name meaning "Noble") it is something that we research when we are younger. Or comes up for discussion at the most random of times.

My mum is Angela, a Greek Origin meaning "Heavenly Messenger" and Dad Colin, which is Greek for Victor - I'm quite astonded that I didn't end up with some kind of Greek Name!

And that's the fun of baby name meanings - parents make naming decisions based on many, many different reasons, including family traditions, religion, culture, uniqueness and "it just sounds really nice."  But - in the Western world - we rarely do any real research into the history or real meaning of baby names.  So when the poor/lucky child finally finds out the meaning of his/her "really nice sounding" name, the results can be interesting, ironic, unfortunate or just sometimes hilarious.

You can have a lot of fun thinking up family/friends names, finding out the meanings and trying to make a connection between the two.

Some cultures have very interesting traditions when it comes to baby name meanings. For example, Hindu names usually have connections with very positive things such as truth, beauty, happiness, blessings, etc, or one of the Hindu gods.  In the Sikh culture, girls traditionally have the middle or surname "Kaur", meaning "Princess", whilst the boys have the middle or surname "Singh", meaning "Lion".

Whatever type of name you have chosen, or are thinking about for your "bundle of joy", its worth doing a little research into the meaning. And it's never been easier, with the wealth of Internet resources and books available, including my own site at, which is jam-packed with resources, tips and information on baby names, baby name meanings and baby products.

Your search may yield some surprises; for example, the lovely-sounding name "Malory" is French and means "Bad luck". You could get round this by spelling it "Mallory", but this means "Without good fortune" in Old German!

Happy naming!

Saturday, 20 February 2016

[List] 7 Themes for Baby Shower

It is always a joy to have someone added to your family, especially if it is a cute little baby. And how else would you celebrate the joy of having one? Plan the most fun and unique baby shower you’ll ever have.

Preparing for a baby shower should be fun and exciting. You can be as creative as you want. Go simple or go real extravagant. As long as you will make your party special and unforgettable, you can go ahead and experiment on the different themes you can have.

You can go traditional or get a little creative and make your baby shower a lot more unique. You can spice up the party with different themes that can either be serious, adorable or humorous.

Below are some popular themes ideas that would definitely be a hit in any baby showers.

Fairytale Themes
There are thousand of fairytale characters that have been a tradition throughout baby shower parties. Cinderella and Snow White are the most common ones for girls. Peter Pan is the most suitable character for boys. This kind of theme can be made interesting with colorful decorations and creates a fantasy- like atmosphere.

Baby bottles theme
You can have a baby bottle as your centerpiece in this particular theme. Use them as cute containers for game prizes. You can make fun of them too by using baby bottles as cups or mugs.

Teddy bear theme
Everyone loves these cuddly teddies. They are perfect for decorations. You don’t have to buy teddy bears though to fill up the room. Old but presentable ones will do. It would be memorable to have the guest of honor’s favorite teddy as a centerpiece.

Nappy theme
Begin with sending cute Nappy cut- out invitation. Guests should bring their own nappy gifts with a particular size. This way, you can save on nappies even up to three months!

Nursery rhyme theme
It’s a good idea to make nursery rhymes as theme for your party. You can make use of famous character like Humpty Dumpty, Little Bo Peep, or the famous Mother Goose. Pictures could be nice as decorations but it would really look nice if you have some kind of a replica. You can also add on some of the line to your invitations.

Themes for twins
Remember the famous Noah’s ark story? All animals are paired in two’s when lodging the ark. It’s the perfect theme for expectant mothers of twins. Don’t forget to note in your invitation that you will be having twins, this way; guests will have to bring two gifts of either the same kind or two different ones.

Colour themes
The usual colour themes for girls are pink and blue for the boys. These are simple themes that can be just as fun as other themes. Decorate your venue with your chosen color theme. In putting up colored ribbons, intertwine them with a white ribbon too. This would give the room an elegant look. If you are unsure whether your baby would be a boy or a girl, settle for neutral colors like green or yellow.

Having a theme in your baby shower can add a little more coordination in the things you need to prepare. A theme would dictate which kind of food you need to prepare, the look of the invitations and how you would decorate your chosen venue. Without a theme, you would have to be groping in the dark on how you would create that wonderful baby shower.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

[Baby] An Introduction to Baby Car Seats

Becoming a parent for the first time involves a huge amount of learning, as there are hundreds of things involved which childless people will have had no reason to come across before, nor had any incentive to learn about.

When you first learn of the impending new arrival, your thoughts will probably be taken up with decorating and equipping a nursery, buying clothes, bottles, and much more, but many people don't think of a baby car seat until later on in the pregnancy. It's very important to make sure you know what to look for in a seat, as after all, you'll need one on your baby's very first journey, from the hospital back to home.

For this first journey, you'll need a seat which faces towards the rear of your vehicle. This provides the best protection in the event of an impact for an infant who is unable yet to support the weight of their own head. The seat will be nicely reclined backwards, providing a safe and comfortable coccoon for your baby.

It's important to choose a rear-facing seat which is sturdy and dependable, yet light to carry. Young babies sleep a little and often, and the last thing you want to do after finally getting your child to sleep in a car journey is to wake them by removing them from their warm and cosy seat. Having an easily detachable model which is light to carry means you can ferry your baby from car to house with as little disturbance as possible.

Before we finish, there are two extremely important things to bear in mind when buying a car seat.

Firstly, you should be very careful when buying one that isn't brand new. Although it might seem like an economy to get a second hand seat, there's no way of knowing for sure its history. It may have been involved in an accident at some point in the past, resulting in weaknessess that may not be visible to the naked eye. These weaknesses could endanger your baby even in a minor accident. You should only buy a used seat when you can be absolutely sure of the history - such as when buying off close friends or family.

Finally, baby car seats shouldn't be fitted in front seats where an airbag is fitted. In an accident, the inflation of the airbag could cause serious injury or suffocation to a child, so always fit car seats in the rear of the vehicle in this case.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

[Wedding Wednesday] Hiring A Band For Your Wedding

It’s what everyone looks forward to in their lives the big day, your wedding. It has to be special in every possible way not only are your emotions special but so should be all the arrangements for the occasion. You would obviously want to revel in the glory of your wedding reception which should have a right mix of food, music and flowers etc. However your music can give that added edge to your celebration by changing it from just another wedding to ‘The Wedding’.

So if you need to make that extra effort to thrill your guests and yourself on your special day, then do take care of some things while hiring a band for your wedding. Following are some steps to facilitate the task for you.

  • Ask for names of bands from newly married people, wedding consultants and site coordinators or clergy.
  • The wedding venue needs to be checked for any restrictions regarding noise or space restrictions.
  • Then you need to decide what kind of an atmosphere do you need at your wedding, guests dancing in groups to country music? Or perhaps a mellow reception with soft jazz in the background? It’s simply a question of your own taste and mood.
  • You should ask the band to give you any recordings or a more reliable version would be video recordings of the band’s performances.
  • You need to keep in mind certain things like how do they interact with the audience and what variety of music do they play?
  • Ask the band for their play list and make sure it has a wide variety of songs to suit the taste of maximum number of guests.
  • Next is the question of the space that the band would require, the equipment that it would need and your personal room arrangements with regard to their space requirement. Another important thing to consider would be the number of band members and whether all of them are required or not.
  • The next step will be the execution of a contract with the band. The playing hours, the number of sons, the number of breaks that they would take. The food rate, the cancellation and refund policy, the clothing the emcee etc.
  • Now you need to know whether your wedding band has insurance or not?
  • Also you need to know if your wedding band can act as the master of ceremony.
  • You should also be aware of the number of years your band has been playing for weddings.

There are certain personal questions that can vary from person to person for instance if you want that for your dance with your parents as well as well as your first dance together you wish that the band should compose a new song then you should look into such details before finalizing your contract. The band is not just responsible for keeping your guests on the floor but also coordinating with the photographers, managers etc so that all the events are handled properly.

You need to take special care while choosing the band members as you need people who are not only good performers but fun, sensitive and excited and should be open to your suggestions too because the situation demands improvisation at times.

You should prefer a band that has played at wedding receptions before rather than going in for a novice band as the veterans are well familiar with the flow of events and can double as emcees too. You also need to ensure that the band arrives well in time as they would require time to set up their equipment and you don’t want any unnecessary pressures on your big day.

Armed with this knowledge we hope that you will be able to have beautiful music on your very special day.

Monday, 15 February 2016

[Maternity Monday] Different Pregnancy Tests.

If you believe yourself to be pregnant and are interested in using a test to determine the results factually, know that the tests sold over the counter that use urine to detect the pregnancy hormone are incredibly effective. Unlike in days gone by when the only reliable way to determine whether you are indeed pregnant was to visit your doctor's office, these home tests allow you to determine whether or not you need to see a Doctor.

Keep in mind that if you test positive for any type of home pregnancy test, you should be sure to immediately schedule an appointment with your Doctor. This is essential due to complications like an ectopic tubal pregnancies, where the egg lodges in the Fallopian tube and can cause a great deal of pain and medical issues if left untreated. A test will still determine that you are pregnant, although the pregnancy may not be normal or necessarily healthy.

There are two main types of pregnancy tests, those that use urine and those that use blood. Both tests are designed to detect the hormone known as human chorionic gonadotropin. Commonly known as hCG, this hormone is produced when the placenta begins to develop once the embryo successfully attaches to the uterine lining. Although blood tests tend to have less false readings, the presence of this hCG hormone can easily be found in a urine based test. Generally, doctors will perform a blood test in order to determine whether or not you are pregnant. In addition to testing for the presence of hCG, a doctor may wish to run another panel to determine your overall health and levels of vitamins or nutrients.

If you purchase a urine based pregnancy test, there are two main options available. The first option sees the woman urinating in a cup and then inserting a special stick into the cup for a given period of time. This test generally has more accurate results since the instructions are more likely to be followed. Usually, if you visit a clinic and they issues you a urine based test, this is the type of test that you will receive. However, the most popular method of pregnancy tests available over the counter are those that require the woman to hold a special stick in a stream of urine for a certain amount of time. These tests tend to be the most popular since there is less mess and clean up required in this method. There are even versions of this test that can detect the hCG pregnancy hormone almost immediately after the embryo has implanted in the uterine wall.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

[Baby Names] Choosing the Perfect Baby Name

Names are important because they represent a person’s identity. The names we are given typically stay with us for a lifetime. This is why prospective parents struggle so hard to find the perfect baby name.

But, choosing a name can be difficult. After all, there are many different ways to go about it. Names can be chosen based on origins, meaning, uniqueness, or something else. This leaves many people wondering exactly how to get started. If you’re looking for the perfect baby name, here are some baby naming tips that may help:

Though there have always been extremely common names, most baby names tend to follow some sort of trend or cycle of popularity. Some parents prefer choosing a baby name that is rare, while others try to find a name that is fairly popular. Think about how you felt as a child. Did it make you feel special that nobody shared your name? Was it frustrating that others had the same name as you? Your child may end up with many of the same feelings if given a unique or popular name. Carefully consider these feelings before choosing a baby name.

Boy Names vs. Girl Names
Many of today’s popular names are ambiguous. For example, names like Riley, Madison, Jaden, and Taylor can be used for a boy or a girl. While some parents only choose names that provide clear gender identification, others feel this is of little importance. If clear gender identification is important to you, make sure you choose the name carefully. As mentioned, many of the most popular baby names are now interchangeable.

Baby names are words, and every word has a meaning. If you need help choosing the perfect name, you may want to look up the meanings of a few baby names. Many parents choose a name based on a meaning that reflects qualities and traits that they hope their child will possess.

When it comes to baby names, everyone has an opinion. Some people may even suggest that you name your baby after them. Try to take these opinions in stride. It’s impossible to please everyone and it is absolutely impossible to choose a name that everyone will like. You will be much better off choosing a baby name that makes you happy.

Spelling and/or Pronunciation
Spelling and pronunciation is an important factor to consider when choosing a baby name. Because every name can have an alternative spelling, baby name possibilities are virtually endless. Before you decide to go with an alternative spelling, think carefully. Though there is nothing wrong with being unique, your child may have to spend a good number of years correcting people on the spelling and/or pronunciation of the name.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

[List] 7 Money Saving Shopping Tips for New Parents

Perhaps the biggest problem with baby clothes is that they don't last.  Not because they wear out, but because your baby quickly outgrows them.

It's important to plan your baby clothes shopping around the growth of your baby.  If you don't, you could be wasting money.

Keep in mind these seven tips while you plan your baby clothes shopping:

1. Wear a Larger Size

People say babies grow fast, and they're right about that.  You'll be wasting money if you buy perfect fitting clothes because they'll soon be too small.  Buying a larger size will extend the amount of time your baby can wear them.

2. Make a Weather Prediction

Stop and think for a moment about clothes labels that state size in terms of a baby's age, such as 12 or 18 months.  Then ask this question: "When my baby is X months old, what will the weather or temperature be like?"  Get the answer to this question correct and you'll buy clothes that not only fit, but also will be appropriate for the season.

3. Find Easy To Put On Outfits

Sometimes you'll struggle to dress your baby into an outfit you want him to wear.  Outfits that come in several pieces, button from behind or pull over the head may require more of your patience and time.  Outfits that come in one piece, open in the front, have zippers, or snap buttons should be easier to deal with.

4. Have Enough for Emergencies

Food can drop on your baby's clothes while you're feeding him.  If your baby becomes sick, he might throw-up on his outfit.  When a messy accident occurs, you'll need a clean set of clothes ready for your baby to wear.

5. Save at The Clearance Racks

You can save a bundle at the clearance racks.  Almost every type of store has these.  In addition, if you wait for a big sale you can save even more.  Some stores will also mark down the clearance item further at the cash register.

6. Accept Hand Me Downs

Your family and friends may want to give you their children's baby clothes.  They may have new clothes that their baby didn't have a chance to wear.  If you decide to accept what they are willing to give, you'll save yourself some money, especially if they have clothing you would have bought.

7. Exchange Old Clothes for Cash

Sell the clothes your baby no longer fits into on eBay.  eBay is just an example.  There are many other ways to trade your old clothes for cash.  You may not make as much as you had originally paid for them, however, you'll at least earn some of your money back.

Thursday, 4 February 2016

[Baby] Get Dad Involved in Breastfeeding

Many fathers feel excluded from parenting their children during the first initial stages of life. This feeling of exclusion and helplessness can be exacerbated by mother breastfeeding her baby. So, can a father get more involved when it comes to feeding his baby?

The answer is, yes.

The number one thing a dad can do to get involved is to support mum. At times, both parents will feel very tired when caring for the newborn infant, the mother especially. This is why it’s so important for the dad to support mum.

So, exactly how does dad provide support?

The most obvious thing to do is chores: preparing meals, cleaning house, laundry etc. He can also directly help take care of the baby by changing its nappy, bathing and burbing. But the most important thing he can do is to provide emotional support. To listen to what his partner is saying and to let her know how pleased he is with her as a mother. A new mother needs support at this time of life more than at any other time.

A dad can also get involved with feeding his child, even though mum is breastfeeding. A mother can express her milk and store it for later use. The baby can then be fed mum’s milk with a bottle at a later time. No reason why dad can’t do this. In fact it can be a real benefit to the mother during those nighttime feeds as she can stay in bed and catch up on some sleep while dad does the feeding.

Breastfeeding can be a ‘selfish’ activity for a mother. A lot of women who breastfeed, cherish the intimacy between mum and baby. Breastfeeding can be the most intimate experience for a woman; a physical bond between two people where one is nurturing the other in the most fundamental way. So, it’s understandable that some mothers are reluctant to hand over feeding of their baby to someone else, even if it is the baby’s father. But, if the father is feeling somewhat left-out-of-things then perhaps it’s time to let the father bottle feed the baby with the mother’s expressed milk. The level of intimacy they feel toward their baby when feeding surprises most fathers.

Be patient with dad.

When he first starts to bottle feed his child he is bound to feel a little unsure of how best to do things. Show him how to hold the baby; how to soothe; how to notice signs of when the baby is hungry and when he’s satiated. Soon, with a little gentle instruction, he’ll be feeding baby as good as mum. And, he’ll probably exchange notes with mum on the little improvements the baby is making at feeding time.

A couple raising a child need to approach it as a team effort. Sometimes, both mum and dad do things together and sometimes they swap roles. Flexibility is key. When one of the parents is feeling too tired, or fed up to take care of baby, the other can step in, thereby giving the other a rest. This swapping and sharing responsibilities can also include breastfeeding.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

[Wedding Wednesday] A Tradition Of Giving Wedding Gifts

A long standing tradition at weddings is a gift given by the bride and the groom. A popular say about gifts that its better to give than to receive might not be agreed to by a newly wedded couple who probably received some of the nicest gifts ever on their wedding day..

The purpose of giving Wedding Gifts to wedding guests is to show your appreciation. A specially picked out Gift shows that you put thought and consideration into the gift. Including a personalized note with the gift or personalizing the gift itself to thank the person for whatever role he or she played in the wedding is certainly a nice touch that shows extremely good taste and thoughtfulness. The Wedding Gifts need not be very expensive so as to break your wedding budget but should be well thought out and consider the personal taste and likes and dislikes of the person on the receiving end of the gift. Also the packaging and presentation goes a long way in showing how much you care and appreciate the people in your life.

So who should be at the receiving end of the Gift by the bride and the groom?
Members of the wedding party have always topped that list, which includes almost everybody, the best man, maid or matron of honor, bridesmaids, ushers, groomsmen, junior bridesmaids, flower girls and ring bearers.

Although it is not mandatory, but it is a nice gesture for the bride and the groom to give gifts to each other. These days both the bride and the groom include each set of parents on the gift giving list. It is also a nice gesture to give a gift to someone who did something special during the occasion for instance someone who did a special reading at the ceremony or to step in for the bride’s father and walk the bride down the aisle. It is good taste to give gifts to acknowledge the contribution these people made and include them in gift giving.

Gifts should be purchased about four weeks prior to the wedding date, which will give you enough time to have them engraved and to create personalization messages etc.

To help the gifts make an even greater impression on the recipient, take special care in packaging the gifts. Use tasteful wrapping paper and embellishments using colors that complement the wedding colors. The best time to give your gifts is during the rehearsal dinner as it is intimate and the people to whom you're giving the gifts are all present at the occasion.

Last but not least need some gift ideas? Well first check your wedding budget to see how much you have allocated to this category. You have more than likely spent quite a bit of your money by this stage, so it is important to take a realistic look at your remaining budget.

Brides typically give each member of the bridal party a piece of jewelry or a hair accessory that can be worn on the wedding day. Other gift ideas include bud vases, picture frames, bath oils, a collectible item or a gift basket.

The men in the wedding party like to receive engraved pens, pocket watches, cigars, business card holders, clocks for their desk, or key chains. For the parents, a professional wedding photo in an engraved frame is perfect or a personalized letter detailing your appreciation. For each other, anything that conveys your love and devotion is ideal.

The tradition of giving wedding gifts makes the wedding day more special and personal for every couple and it will be alive for as long as there are weddings in one way or another.

Monday, 1 February 2016

[Maternity Monday] Bathing your Baby

Do you want your baby handed to you immediately after the birth or should he be cleaned first? In recent years most babies were wiped down with a towel immediately after birth before mum or dad got a chance to hold them. Nowadays choice is the keyword! It's your decision.

Research shows that the greasy film covering your baby, vernix, is a wonderful source of moisture for your baby's delicate skin. And if you don't wipe it off, it is reabsorbed. So your baby will be less likely to develop dry skin patches. Pre-term babies have much more of this protective layer than full-term babies.

In the womb your baby is submerged in amniotic fluid, so vernix is absolutely necessary for providing waterproof protection. After birth, however, mother nature may need a helping hand!

Returning home can be daunting for new parents. Giving baby his first bath can be terrifying!

Your baby does not need a special bath although many parents are well tooled up for the new arrival. A clean sink or the big bath will suffice!

Probably the main worry for parents is getting the water temperature correct. After ensuring you have all baby's bits and bobs at hand, such as a changing mat, towel, fresh nappy, vest and clean clothes, place the baby in a safe place.

Run cold water into the bath first.

Top it up with hot water. Swirl the water around to avoid hot spots.

Dip your elbow into the water to check the temperature. It should be lukewarm. As the skin on your elbow is very sensitive it is a reliable way to test the water.

If you like you can add a little moisturising, hypoallergenic, baby bubble bath. Swirl it around with your fingers. Young babies do not need bubbles to play with!

Undress and wrap baby in a warm towel. Holding him over the bath, cup some bath water in your free hand and gently run it over his head. Shampoo is not necessary for very tiny babies as it can irritate their scalp.

Dry the baby's head thoroughly. Babies lose a lot of heat through their heads. Wet heads lose more heat.

Placing baby's neck in the crook of your elbow, and your hand holding the back of one of his legs, gently lower him into the water. (TIP If you are right-handed it is easier to place babies neck in the crook of your left elbow. Holding his left leg with your left hand, wash him with your right hand. The reverse is the case if you are left-handed.)

Some babies hate being bathed but many really enjoy it. He may become so relaxed that he falls asleep!

Cupping some water in your free hand gently trickle it over his body. Your do not need to rub or scrub as babies do not get dirty. They just need to be freshened up!

Be careful as he will get very slippery once he is wet!

Only keep baby in the bath for a short time as he will get cold quickly and never leave your baby unattended in the bath for even the shortest space of time.

Lift him out and wrap him up in his warm towel.

Quickly dry him and place a fresh nappy on him before he has any little accidents!

Finally, give him a big cuddle and dress him quickly...

And there you have it - baby's first bath!

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