Ruth is a Baby Wearing Consultant and has some great tips and advice on baby carriers and baby slings and baby wearing tricks.
This is based on the live interview that you can also access below, where Ruth came into the Buddha Buddies Facebook page and offered some great tips for the parents.
Why Choose A Baby Carrier?
Ruth: “My name’s Ruth, So I am to baby wearing consultant. When my boy was born, he had severe reflux from day one, basically as much milk came up as went in.I knew that the only thing that seemed to comfort him and keep some of the milk in was keeping him upright. So I got some cheap baby carrier, from Ebay, and I looked at my baby and I looked at the carrier and I thought, there is no way that it’s going to be safe to see my baby in this carrier. So I went to my local library and I had a trial of one with them and it just it changed my life.
It changed our parenting journey. And it helped me to keep Matthew up, to keep him comfortable, to keep him close and connected. And, yeah, I just enjoyed using it so much that I actually trained up to be a supporter. And I’m a trained consultant, which means that I’ve done by intensive training. I had to do CPD. I’m insured and all of the boring stuff and the advantage of that being, I do all the research, I do all the technical stuff so that you as a parent can just concentrate on choosing a nice product and being safe and comfortable and confident in using it.”
Rachel: “I know exactly what you mean with the with the reflux and colic. When I am teaching in classes, I’ve had a lot of babies with reflux and colic and it’s one of the things I always say, again and again most probably my number one tip. Do not let your baby lie flat. Yeah. And for classes, obviously that can be problematic. But actually if you put them in a more upright position, they’re more comfortable.
But it’s lovely for me because where I teach locally, a lot of the people live locally and more and more over the last few years, I’ve seen rather than people turning up with Pushchairs or Buggies, they’re turning up with with a sling or some sort of carrier so that they’re walking, they are wearing their babies. Happily, they’ve normally got a rucksack for the mummy stuff. Yeah, but inevitably always have a coffee cup in the other hand, which I think is another is a hidden bonus that nobody talks about.”
“And it’s that moment when they go, oh my goodness, I’ve got my hands back, that moment when they realise that they can play with a toddler or have a drink or hold the child’s hand, which is a bit of a novelty in those early parenting days. And we know that actually keeping your baby close is better for them. It’s better for you than it just helps you in your parenting journey.”
Who Are Baby Carriers Suitable For?
“There’s pretty much no family for whom I cannot work with. I’ve helped parents whose babies have had additional needs, a heart condition, cystic fibrosis, things like that. Babies that were born premature. Babies were they have little muscle tone. Most parents, we can help them with support to get that close connection.”
Ruth and I discussed how a parent’s natural instinct is to hold their baby. We are often put under pressure in our society to put our baby’s down, and although we both agree that we cannot simply hold our babies all day and night we also could have that close contact with our babies when they needed it, without feeling guilty.
That for me is one of the biggest benefits of using a baby carrier or baby sling.
What is your instinct telling you to do?
Ruth: “And it is always to pick my baby up. If you are grown up upset, you wouldn’t just leave and see if you calm down. You wouldn’t expect them to make themselves better. You go over them, you’d speak to them gently, you comfort them. Why would it be any different with babies? And I think we are seeing change. I think we are going back to more responsive parenting and I think we’ve got a long way to go.
Old habits die hard. I get a lot of parents whose own parents are pressuring them into being a certain way with their child. And yeah, hopefully carrying is something that, you know, ultimately it’s your choice. But I’ve yet to get here a good argument against carrying the baby.
Benefits Of Baby Wearing
There are so many benefits to carrying your baby. We discussed a few:
Ruth: “I’m not saying that a sling is going to solve every problem I know. But it feeds into so many areas. It helps with like connection, it helps with bonding, it helps with sleep, and it helps you to pick up other cues. If you’re breastfeeding, it helps with breastfeeding. If you bottle feeding, it still helps because you can still maintain that connection and the bond. And if your partner is helping you by using a sling, it helps them to bond with the child. But it also means if the baby is in the sling, stay with that. It’s a nice, comfortable content space and you can go and have a bath or have a break or have a snooze, whatever it is, because that baby’s still in a kind of really comfortable place. Safety. Yeah, a place of safety that you as a mom know that your baby’s in a place of safety.
Which Baby Carrier To Choose?
Watch the video to see some of the carriers that Ruth actually demonstrates. As she is not affiliated with any ONE company she really can offer the best impartial advice.
How To Wear Your Baby Sling
Again this is covered with a live demonstration in the video – much better than still shots and lots of text.
How To Connect With Ruth And Learn More About Choosing Your Baby Carrier
Ruth: “Simple. So I’ve got three options. One is that you can go looking for your own carrier or, you can book a video call with me where we go see different things.
Or you can purchase my online course.
It doesn’t matter if it’s the middle of the night, if it’s 6:00am on the weekend. The course is there to take you from knowing nothing about slings or maybe being overwhelmed. And there’s so many choices. And by the end of the course you should feel confident, comfortable and safe.So it teaches you the different choices of baby slings and the advantages and disadvantages of each type of baby carrier or baby sling. And it will tell you how to use them step by step videos, because the feeding in a sling and a lot of sort questions that people have come up, you find come up a lot.”
Why You Need Baby Massage In Your Daily Baby Routine
We are all very aware of Baby Massage, however, it has only become so widespread during the last 10-15 years. This is mainly due to the amazing research that took place around 2004 by Dr Tiffany Fields at the Touch Institute, Miami. Studies were run in Neo-Natal Units, where pre-term babies were massaged daily.
The results were profound with research showing that babies fed more, slept better and therefore left the hospital before their non-massage counterparts. As you can imagine, it has now lead to the integration of Baby Massage into most Western Cultures as we all accept the benefits of Baby Massage.
As parents, we know that although our little baby may not have any verbal language they are able to let us know whether they are happy, unhappy, hungry, tired or content in many other ways. It is one of those amazing skills that parents develop quickly – how to ‘read’ their baby! Other’s will come up to your crying baby and say ‘oh he must be hungry?’ but you know that is not the way he acts when hungry, this time he is tired. How do you know?
It’s all about the non-verbal communication, how he cry’s is just part of it. Is he also using his any other parts of his body? Are his eyes closed? As a parent, you learn to read these cue’s very quickly.
How does Baby Massage fit in? Well, how about touch as communication? Parents use it instinctively, we stroke our babies when they are tired or upset, we rock them to soothe them, we pat their back to reassure. Massage is yet another method of adding touch into this language. We call it the power of ‘positive touch’.
Video on Baby Massage Benefits
Benefits of Baby Massage
Bonding With Baby
Every parent assumes that when their baby arrives they will ‘naturally’ feel a connection. That is not always possible, as for many babies they may be taken away from birth due to arriving early or problems during labour. For parents this trauma can be ongoing, they feel they have missed essential moments with their baby. Massage can help every parent with this bond. A time that you set aside just between you, your baby is the only focus. You are both able to develop that connection in a calm, relax environment. The use of repeated strokes can assist you both to allow a sense of security but also activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This is our involuntary system, that regulates heart rate and blood pressure. Massage can help to regulate the heart rate and lower blood pressure, in both baby and parent – both win! You can read more on Bonding with your baby on our Guest post from Parenting expert, Sarah Weller.
Health Benefits for Baby Massage
There are so many different ways that massage actually benefits the physical, emotional and mental well-being of your baby.
Lowers blood pressure
Reduces heart rate
Produces oxytocin (the feel-good hormone)
Decreases adrenaline (one of the hormones relating to stress)
Deepens the breath – deeper and longer breathing
Assists in weight gain due to the above
Health Benefits for Parents When Massaging Your Baby
Yes, you too benefit when you are performing a baby massage.
The repetition of the strokes can also address your para-sympathetic nervous system in a similar way to your baby’s, including:
Lowers your blood pressure
Increases the emotional bond between you and your baby
Deepens your breath as you tend to breathe more deeply as you perform the strokes
Increases your confidence
Establish Baby Routines
At some point in the early months, most parents strive to establish a routine for themselves and their baby. Based around feed times, sleep times and other family aspects (such as an older sibling).
Newborn massage is a great way of assisting in setting habitual behaviour, that you can create by making baby massage part of your baby routine EVERY day.
In all classes, I discuss how adding simple things like lighting and music all help ‘set the scene’. Creating an environment that is then always associated with their baby massage gives your baby a sense of security which adds to the benefit of the routine. With this added security babies often feed and sleep better.
Again a great win for parents.
Many More Benefits Of Baby Massage
There are lots of other benefits for both you and your baby from regular infant massage. However, the key is to learn some techniques that you feel confident enough to take home and use regularly. Many more benefits are discussed during the Massage Your Baby Course.
This course is available in person (UK based), but also online. Often parents in classes bring up new ideas of how massage benefits their family, as we have plenty of time to chat over a cup of tea at the end of classes.
You will cover more of the benefits in both the online course and in person classes.
How Can I Learn Infant Massage?
You can come to local classes if you are in Kent. See the class page for all the details of when and where baby massage classes in West Malling run.
The ability to pop to a live class is not always possible. We have all learned to adapt over the last 18+ months, and many new parents will still be shielding, or just unsure if they are ready to come to a in person class.
Also, I know that many of you reading this will be based in other Countries, so do not worry. You can still gain from all of the baby massage BENEFITS listed but know that you and your family are safe.
The LEARN BABY MASSAGE AT HOME Course is designed to be as full of information as any course that I would normally be delivered in person.
You can check out all the details including a FREE Basics Of Baby Massage Video too. All created by Rachel, a Parenting expert who has been teaching parents all the essentials of baby massage and much more for 17 years.
I love teaching baby and toddler yoga, even after 15 years. The benefits of Baby Yoga continue to amaze me, and other parents too.
Although it is now far more wide spread than back then, it is still one of those baby classes that parents are often unsure of what the real benefits to their baby are. This comes up frequently when parents contact me regarding what is involved in a baby yoga class. Time to put some of those amazing baby yoga benefits out there for you all.
Benefits of Baby Yoga – For Parents
Yes, you too can gain from attending a baby yoga class!
Bonding – The time that you spend with your baby during a class is precious. It is really is just about the two of you, and this allows for building those deeper connections.
Support – Never underestimate the power of support when you have a baby. You really do need to have a tribe around you. Other mums who know what you are going through, who can offer that much needed ear to listen or shoulder to cry on. Most of my classes end up creating Whatsapp groups that offer support to each other. Many develop friendships that last years.
Benefits of Baby Yoga – For Babies
Brain Boosting – You may have seen from my other posts that I love how baby’s brains develop! One of the main features of baby yoga that make it really great to boosting that brain power is mid line crossing. This where we take arms and legs across the body. You can read how important this is for baby brain development here.
Body Awareness – How your baby learns about not only his body, but where is body is in relation to other objects (known as propreoception). Working out how movement can benefit motor functions as well as sensory development are integral to my classes. For more information on how your baby’s brain is structured you can read my article on the baby brain.
Establishing Routines – Getting your baby moving can really help alongside other activities to sorting out some routine in your day. If your baby is a bit grumpy before bed (the witching hour as I used to call it), then putting in a couple of fun yoga moves can really help to tire them out.
Break The Mood – Even the best of babies can get grumpy for seemingly no reason. No matter when people ask – “is he hungry”, “is he tired” and you know that answer is NO! They can get themselves into quite an emotional state without much effort. How about some tools to help you break that cycle? Well that is one of the most surprising benefits, if you can get singing and moving your baby, they often forget what was making them all emotional in the first place!
Singing & Movement – I love the combo of using baby songs and movements in classes. You can watch one of these in action in my Baby Songs Videos, on my Youtube channel.
How To Get Started With Baby Yoga
If you can attend a live class then that is great. Buddha Buddies run a combination baby development class that offers baby massage and baby yoga. You can also watch lots of baby yoga videos on Youtube, or meet up with friends and have a go together. For inspiration, check out my Yoga Songs Videos and have a go with your baby. You can watch the great Baby Yoga Action Song Wind The Bobbin below.
How Baby Yoga and Baby Massage Compliment Each Other
I love using both baby massage and baby yoga together. The movement followed by a chilled out baby massage really does lead to the most relaxed babies. You can catch my online baby massage course below. At only £57, it really does cover everything you need to confidently massage your baby at home.
I hope that you are able to start with some baby yoga with your baby or toddler, as you can see there really are some great benefits of baby yoga, not just for your baby but for you too. As always I love to hear what you think, so please do leave a comment below or connect with me on my Facebook Page.
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For a natural baby bath alternative, this recipe will do the trick. If you are looking to use a natural remedy in your baby’s bath, using simple ingredients that ensures that your baby’s skin is kept chemical-free and feels super soft, then try this easy to make at home method. Reduce your plastics, reuse your muslin and compost the waste. This Baby Bath Soak is easy and fun to make.
[Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]
Healing Power of Plants
So, if your baby gets dry skin, or you are in need of a remedy for the symptoms of Chicken Pox, Eczema or viral rashes. This easy to make natural recipe can be a lifesaver!
Suitable from Newborns onwards, there are no nasty chemicals or preservatives. A perfect natural option for baby bath time.
Natural Remedies for your Baby
Oats have been used for thousands of years to naturally feed the skin, calming and nourishing it is a great base for this remedy.
Lavender has been used medicinally for centuries and is known to be both anti-inflammatory and anti-septic.
Together these are both safe, natural, edible ingredients. If your baby swallows any of the water, it should not cause any side effects.
Put your oats and lavender together in the bowl. Mix thoroughly.
Scoop out a large handful of the mixture and put into the middle of your muslin square. Tie the muslin closed tightly (WARNING – if it is not secure, the mixture will come out in the bath)
Just throw the bath soak into the bath. The water will turn milky from the oats and the smell will be amazing.
When you have finished, untie and empty the mix into the garden compost. The muslin can be washed and used again.
You can add other lovely things into the mix too, I often cut up some Chamomile Tea Bags (about 8) and put them into the bowl. Again this herb is so gentle on your baby’s skin but is also great for healing and inflammation. If I have any I will sometimes use: dried rose petals (just keep some from your garden) and Calendula (or Marigold), which again is great for soothing skin.
Reduce Your Plastics
Not only is this Baby Bath Soak a great natural remedy to use with your baby, children or in fact the whole family; but you are also reducing your plastics, reducing your waste and lowering your toxic load too! If you would like more ideas on replacing your plastics with more natural solutions, check out the blog over on our Mindful Parenting site. It has ideas on easy ‘swops’, where you can replace some of those single use plastic products that we all have in the home with a more sustainable option.
As the main ingredient is so readily and cheaply available, the cost per bath soak is tiny! You can often pick the lavender from your own garden, or if you are purchasing a bottle of Doterra Lavender Oil then you will realise that it lasts a long time, you should be able to make at least 100 Baby Bath Soaks with just one bottle.
Make Your Own Natural Remedies
If you would like to know more recipes that use natural ingredients, then check out the Home Cleaning Products article. You can also sign up to the monthly Parenting Tips newsletter, which has lots of great resources.
As parents, we are constantly amazed by how fast our baby grows and the new skills they seem to develop almost daily. As an Instructor, I have relished learning more and more about just how babies develop and how to incorporate these new skills into a part of our lives. In every Buddha Buddies Baby Yoga class I teach we include activities that practice ‘midline-crossing’. For me, they are an essential element of baby and toddler development, easy to do and repetitive (for embedding) and fun.
Why is it so important to add midline-crossing activities into part of your baby’s day?
Well, we all know that the left and right hemispheres of the brain control different things. (You can also look at our previous blog on how the brain is structured.) However, what is also key here is how the two sides are able to communicate. There is a bridge between the two sides called the corpus callosum. This allows both sides to essentially talk to each other. As each side carries out different tasks they need to be able to work together in order to coordinate learning and movement.
For babies, this communication is the foundation for later work on the development of such things as the dominance of hand and bilateral movement (both sides working together – i.e pushing and pulling).
So how can we add in activities early on in our baby’s development?
That is where our Baby Yoga comes in, specific moves are practised to enable the crossing of one limb over the middle of the body. Of course, we always make it fun and we never force any movement!
So to keep you going here are a few activities for you to try at home – or you can always pop along to a class or watch one of the various Videos including Action Songs that work on crossing the midline FREE on the Youtube channel.
Half lotus – with your baby on the floor in front of you start by taking hold of the right lower leg, now take this leg and move it across the body to the right thigh. Repeat each side several times. In class we also sing ‘pat-a-cake’ while we do this, adding other elements of singing and language into the mix!
Give me a hug – in the same position as before, this time take the arms out to the side and then cross over in the middle of the body, give them a little hug with their arms as you go. Repeat, this time ensuring that the arms move position, whichever one was on top is now underneath.
Hand to knee – with your babysat on your lap take the right hand and move towards the left knee. Repeat each side several times.
As you can see, they are all easy moves to incorporate as part of any routine. You do not need any special equipment and if you can, always make good eye contact, so you work on your non-verbal communication and bonding at the same time.
If you would like to know more about the activities or baby development, then do pop along to a class. You can also check out the YouTube channel, which has some great videos to watch on all things baby.
I have put together a little list of some great baby (under 1-year toys) that can help with mid-line crossing activities at home.
Stacker – a great one to build hand to eye coordination too.
Have a look at some of these developmental toys, you will notice that not only are perfect for adding in some midline-crossing but they also address other skills such as; problem-solving, hand to eye coordination and fine and gross motor skills.
Rachel is a mother of twin girls. She is a graduate with a combined honours degree in ‘English & Psychology. She is also a Complimentary Health Specialist, running a Wellbeing Centre and also is founder of Buddha Buddies – baby classes based around child psychology.
You can read her book on Mindful Parenting on Amazon. Sign up to receive more top tips to help you on your parenting journey.
There are Amazon Affiliate links in this article. Only products used or recommended by other parents are ever endorsed.
As a Baby Yoga Instructor, I love the simplicity of baby action songs. A simple nursery song combined with some movements never ceases to bring a smile to a baby’s face.
However, did you know there is a lot more going on in that baby brain while they are smiling and moving?[
Disclaimer: Please note this post may contain affiliate links. This means I may receive a commission if clicked at no extra cost to you. Though the opinions remain my own.]
Your Baby’s Brain
You know that your baby has the most awesome brain, every parent is always astounded at just how quickly their baby develops and gains new skills. Let’s face it, even at birth the amount of brainpower that your baby shows is pretty mind-blowing! (did you know that your baby knows your smell as soon as they are born – amazing and true!)
During the first year, the physical size of your baby’s brain doubles! That just goes to prove that they really do get smarter every day. Also, the area of the brain that shows the most development in the first year is the cerebellum, which is responsible for movement. You can read more about this in the great article by LiveScience.
So, how can we harness this rapid growth and boost your baby’s brainpower?
Doing – Yes, really! The main method of really working that grey matter and the method that works best for your baby is the act of doing, watching and engaging in something.
By working on song and movement you are utilising both the left and right sides of your baby’s brain. This really is a double winner for boosting that early development. Different areas of the brain are being activated at the same time! I cover various songs in baby yoga classes but I have also started to put them together in a FREE VIDEO SERIES over on youtube. You just need to grab your baby and you are all good to go! I have put one below so you can see me in action.
Singing, love it or hate it? Luckily enough, your baby is tuned to love the sound of their caregiver’s voice, so even if you think you are sounding horribly out of tune, do not worry your baby will still love it! It is another way to get other family members involved. There really is nothing cuter than a sibling signing to his or her little baby brother or sister! If you have Grandparents who are not nearby, you can always set up that Zoom call and get them singing too.
Movement with Song
Adding in movement during the song really is the next step in working that brain. Your baby will always love listening to songs you sing, but when you start adding in some movement with them, it really takes make the whole thing far more exciting and interactive, which all helps with that brainpower. There are various songs that are available, and you one of the joys is always making up your own too. I have listed some of my favourites below, but feel free to add in any that you know. The lovely thing is that lots of traditional ‘nursery’ songs work so well for this, and many of them are regional. It is a great way of adding in some real diversity and also family history to the next generation.
Your baby learns by watching and doing, so what other baby activities can you add into your day?
Baby Massage – this still remains one of the best ways to add-in soo many benefits to your baby. From bonding to singing, there really is a whole lot of techniques there to build that baby brain. You can start baby massage today with the online baby massage course. It has all you need to learn baby massage at home, all delivered in video modules that allow you to learn at your own pace. It also has full support via the private Facebook Group too.
Books – reading with your baby, especially if you are choosing interactive books is another brain-boosting baby activity that you can easily add in every day. I have put in a couple of my favourites below.
Keep It Going – From Birth To Age 3
These are all suitable for the first year, but remember that your baby’s brain will continue to grow and the first 3 years at the biggest times of brain growth during our whole lifetime. There is more to read on how your baby’s brain is structured and activities for working both sides of the brain too. So keep going with those activities! You can check out more baby and toddler activities here and also how to add in some mindfulness activities for the toddler and beyond years
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Welcome, I am Rachel Hawkes, owner of Buddha Buddies and mum to twins. I have been teaching baby and kids classes for 18 years and love seeing the connections made and the confidence that builds within classes.
I hope that you will find the advice and tips here useful and that they provide some little ways of helping you on your parenting journey.
If you would like more tips and tools then please do sign up to the newsletter.