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Mumzine can now be found at www.mumzine.com

Still confused? Send us an e-mail at michele@mumzine.com and we’d be happy to point you in the right direction.

In light of the current recall of the Infantino “SlingRider” and “Wendy Bellissimo” slings in the UK, Europe and North America, Rebecca Ward of the Consortium of UK Sling Retailers and Manufacturers says, “We are pleased that steps have been taken to ensure that using a baby sling is a safe way to carry your baby. If you are using a ‘bag style’ baby carrier and have concerns, we urge you to contact the manufacturer. The majority of baby carriers and slings are still safe to use, if they hold baby in proper alignment and fit snugly by design and instruction. These safe designs of sling include shallow pouch-style slings, ring slings, soft carriers and wrap slings.”

Advice for Parents

If you carry your baby in a bag-style sling, Rebecca Ward of the Consortium of UK Sling Manufacturers and Retailers says, “While we are unaware of any fatalities in the UK in these bag style slings at the present time, we would caution against using them in light of the recall”.

If you use a ‘bag-style’ carrier, you can contact your local babywearing group through Sling Meet, www.slingmeet.co.uk, for advice on alternative slings.

If you have another sort of baby carrier, Rebecca advises, “No safety problems have been brought to our attention with any other baby carriers. Make sure you read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.”

When using a baby sling, follow these basic principles:

Keep your baby close and keep your baby safe. When you’re wearing a sling or carrier, don’t forget the T.I.C.K.S.

Tight                                       P

In view at all times               P

Close enough to kiss            P

Keep chin off the chest      P

Supported back                    P

Baba Ganoush with griled Halloumi and Beetroot salad by Dalziel Douglas from the Black Douglas Coffee House.

This makes a fabulous  starter or light lunch

Serves 2 for lunch or 4 for a starter…I often serve it as part of a middle eastern spread.

Baba Ganoush…

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 aubergines
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 teaspoons tahini or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or more to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • smoked paprika to garnish
  • fresh mint to garnish

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  • Place aubergine on baking sheet, and make holes in the skin with a fork.
  • Roast it for 30 to 40 minutes, turning occasionally, or until soft.
  • Remove from oven, and place into a large bowl of cold water.
  • Remove from water, and peel skin off.
  • Place aubergine, lemon juice, tahini, and garlic in an electric blender, and puree. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer aubergine mixture to a medium size mixing bowl, and slowly mix in olive oil. Refrigerate for 3 hours before serving.
  • Dry fry sunflower seeds on a low heat until golden brown but not burnt – to decorate when serving
  • When ready to serve, sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds, some smoked paprika and fresh mint

Beetroot salad – see previous recipe

When you are ready to eat you need to prepare the Halloumi. You should have Beetroot salad and Babaghanoush prepared well in advance

Grilled Halloumi…this is actually dry fried rather than grilled.

Ingredients:

  • 1 packet Halloumi cut into 0.75cm slices
  • Chopped fresh mint

Instructions:

  • Get your frying pan really hot and then place the halloumi slices in it.
  • Leave for 1 minute and check the under side. It should be golden brown. turn with a spatula and repeat on the other side.
  • When golden on both sides it is ready to serve. arrange on plates.
  • Sprinkle with chopped mint and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.

Delicious!!

My three year old daughter is desperate for another sibling and regularly asks me how we can get another baby.  Many parents know that these difficult questions can start from a early age and arming yourself with the answers in advance can make those moments easier.

Linda Goldman author of Great Answers to Difficult Questions about Sex: What Children Need to Know sets out tips for dealing with those tricky questions.

“Children are human beings. Human beings are sexual beings.  A newborn child’s experience with sexuality begins at birth. A mother’s touch, a father’s kiss, a warm bath, and a changed nappy are all a part of our children’s sexuality. As they grow, girls and boys are naturally curious about themselves and their bodies. Toddlers begin exploring genitals in the bathtub. At some time between the ages of two and three the question “Where did I come from?” emerges. Their minds are innocent, not filled with embarrassment or shame. This makes it simpler to answer questions about sex with confidence and humour.” (The Times)

Answering early questions from young children can set a family tone of trust and safety. And by the time a child is older discussions on birth control, abstinence, and sexual activity can be comfortable and relaxed.   By having an open and honest approach to discussing sex and love you will prepare them to be more open with you in the future.

Here are Linda Goldman’s top tips:

  1. Encourage communication. Children need to know they can talk to parents about anything.
  2. Initiate discussion. “Did you notice Aunt Ellen is going to have a baby. Her tummy is so big and the baby is inside. How do you think it got there?”
  3. Start early. Begin to teach in a soft way for the very young child. Include in a toddler’s vocabulary “eyes,” “nose,” “penis,” and “vagina” to ensure appropriate labelling of body parts.
  4. Maintain a safe environment. Build a nonjudgmental environment free of punishment or reprisal about discussing sex.
  5. Honour and respect children’s questions. Remember they are a signal to what they are thinking and feeling.
  6. Understand children’s questions and concerns. Check with your child about the facts of what you heard them ask and what they mean.
    Listen carefully to your child and respect your child’s views.
  7. Remind young people that thoughts and feelings about sex are common.
  8. Remain calm. Children are often satisfied with clear, simple, and factual responses. Wait to see if more is needed.
  9. Practice your response to different questions about sex in order to feel confident when the discussion arises. The more comfortable you can be the more you create a positive and natural message about sex and gender issues for your child.
  10. Explore your attitudes. Children who feel they can have open dialogue with their parents are less likely to later manifest high-risk behaviours. If you are fearful of the subject find material to learn from. Your confidence will grow as you explore the subject.
  11. Have a sense of humour. It creates a relaxed and open family environment.
  12. Answer questions as they come up. There is no one “birds and bees” talk.

Despite the headlines about co-sleeping and cot death nearly half of us still do it.  A study in 2004 showed that 47% of infants in Britain bed-share with their parents for at least part of the night. Most of my mummy friends have spent some of those early days co-sleeping and others have kept it up into toddler-hood.  So why do we feel like its a dirty secret?

The Department of Health does not recommend bed-sharing because of an increased risk of infant death.  A documentary in 1991 presented by Anne Diamond, whose son had died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (Sids), discussed co sleeping research undertaken in New Zealand. The Maori community co-slept and they had a high rate of Sids and the two were linked. The conclusions of the documentary were amended two years later. Researchers acknowledged that the Maori habits of smoking and drinking alcohol had a great connections to the Sids rates that co sleeping.

In countries such as China and Japan where co-sleeping is the norm, Sids is virtually unheard of.  One 2006 study of children age 3–10 in India reported 93% of children co-sleeping.

Co-sleeping on its own is not the problem, but if combined with alcohol, drugs or cigarettes it can be.  And actually the NHS guidelines reflect this.

To reduce the risk of cot death, the Department of Health (DoH 2009) recommends you should not share a bed with your baby if:

  • You or your partner smoke
  • You or your partner have been drinking alcohol, or have taken medication or drugs
  • You feel extreme fatigue
  • Your baby was premature

Pro’s and Con’s of co sleeping

  • Great bonding time
  • Some studies have shown that sleep-sharing babies tend to breastfeed more, and disrupt their mother’s sleep less
  • Mums who share a bed with their baby tend to breastfeed their babies for longer periods of time, this could be because they find it easier to breastfeed in bed rather than getting up
  • Babies who sleep with their parents tend to stay awake for shorter periods of time as its quicker to see to their needs

Cons:

  • Sharing your bed with a fidgety baby means you may not sleep as well as you do when your baby sleeps in a cot.
  • If your baby gets used to falling asleep next to you, she may become reliant on having you there to go to sleep.
  • Depending on how long you co sleep you may find transitioning your child out of the bed and into their own a difficult process.
  • Sleep sharing can affect your sex life.  For obvious reasons.

What are the do’s and don’t of co sleeping?

  • Keep bedding light and minimal to avoid risk him being smothered or overheating.
  • Make sure the mattress is firm.
  • Never sleep on a sofa or waterbed as they could get wedged in the cracks between the cushions or between you and the back of the sofa.
  • Do not put your baby to sleep on pillows.
  • Don’t leave your baby alone on the bed.
  • Make sure the baby cannot roll out of the bed in the night.

Easter is on the way and personally I try not to use this as an excuse for a massive binge but my family always want to indulge the kids so this year I am going to try and point them in the right direction and get some high quality fair trade chocolate.

So if you need to buy gifts for kids or want to treat a friend (or yourself) what are you options if you want to avoid bland and soulless chocolate Easter eggs?

1. Ethical superstore has a great range of fair-trade and organic Easter products.  For children this Dubble egg is perfect, at £3.50.  They also sell in a pack of 6 so if you have a big family or a few to buy for you can save almost 20%.  The Dubble Egg has a quiz competition on the reverse, and proceeds from sales go to assist Comic Relief.

2. Oxfam Online and in store have a great selection of fair-trade chocolate.  My absolute favourite are the Divine dark chocolate mini eggs £2.99.  Mumzine have been testing these this week on kids and parents and they are loved by all.  Perfect for Easter egg hunts.

On the high-street head to the Co Op.  The Co-operative is stepping-up its ethical Easter offering by reducing the packaging on its Fairtrade Easter Eggs.  The two best-selling thick Fairtrade eggs – one milk and one dark chocolate – were a firm favourite with ethically-minded customers last year.  This year, packaging has been reduced by 28%.

Peter Rabbit – £12.95 – If you are steering away from the chocolate this Peter Rabbit soft toy is beautifully made with 100% soft cotton fabric and stuffed with eco-friendly recycled filling.  With an adorable linen jacket and a carrot to munch on, this is a very cute alternative to an egg.

And for a grown up Easter present with a twist how about this fair trade applique Chicken Tea Cosy – £9.95

Lastly, I find it hard to talk about chocolate without talking about Green and Blacks.  So for anyone out there thinking of buying me an egg this is my adult egg of choice.  Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate Praline Filled Mini Egg – £3.49 at Ethical Superstore

When Al Gore was caught running up huge energy bills at home at the same time as lecturing on the need to save electricity, it turns out that he was only reverting to “green” type.

According to a study, when people feel they have been morally virtuous by saving the planet through their purchases of organic baby food, for example, it leads to the “licensing [of] selfish and morally questionable behaviour”, otherwise known as “moral balancing” or “compensatory ethics”.

Do Green Products Make Us Better People is published in the latest edition of the journal Psychological Science. Its authors, Canadian psychologists Nina Mazar and Chen-Bo Zhong, argue that people who wear what they call the “halo of green consumerism” are less likely to be kind to others, and more likely to cheat and steal. “Virtuous acts can license subsequent asocial and unethical behaviours,” they write.

The pair found that those in their study who bought green products appeared less willing to share with others a set amount of money than those who bought conventional products. When the green consumers were given the chance to boost their money by cheating on a computer game and then given the opportunity to lie about it – in other words, steal – they did, while the conventional consumers did not. Later, in an honour system in which participants were asked to take money from an envelope to pay themselves their spoils, the greens were six times more likely to steal than the conventionals.

Click to read full feature here.

Source: The Guardian

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