Tuesday, 30 January 2007

A bit of excercise

I read somewhere that now babies start to crawl and walk much later than a few years ago. They say the reason for this delay is that now babies do not lay on their tummies (because of the risk of cot death) and thus do not exercise certain muscles and certain movements. In this article it was said that, if you want, you can turn the baby on her tummy while you are watching her so she can exercise this muscles. It strengthens, for example, their neck muscles helping them keep their head earlier. I turn ours every now and then, maybe once a day, on his tummy for a few minutes (or less if he complaints).

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Big scream

It could be the title of a post regarding the colic that seems to have started. It is a few evenings that around 8 he starts to cry and scream without an apparent reason. The thing lasts for a couple of hours. I guess it is the famous and feared colic. Anyway scream due to colic is not what this post is about. "Big Scream" is the name of a screening in a cinema in Oxford (Phoenix Picturehouse) gives for parents with babies under one year on Saturday at 11:30 am. All noises and screaming and shouting are allowed at this screening. I have not been there (it is a bit far from us) but I definitely like the idea and the name very much. It must be fun. If you have been to something similar tell us what it is like.

Saturday, 20 January 2007

We are going organic

We have decided switching to organic food. This means eating mainly organic vegetables and meat but not freaking out if not 100% of what we eat is not organic.
The first thing that we have noticed is that organic food is more expensive but also a lot more tasty. The main reason for switching to organic food has been because it seems that is healthier, specially for babies. Organic vegetables contain much less residues of pesticides than conventional vegetables and also contain more vitamins and minerals. Organic meat contains less residues of antibiotics and growth hormones than conventional one. To keep it short, organic food is supposed to contain more of the good stuff and less of the bad stuff. Kids and babies are more affected by the "bad stuff" than adults because they are growing and their metabolism goes much faster than that of an adult.

However, there is quite some debate about the organic food being better than the conventional one. Many scientists and laboratories claim there is nothing wrong with conventional food. I think the best thing that one can do before making a judgement is have a look to what is said in favour and in detriment of organic food. Just type in a search engine "benefits of organic food" or read the entry at the Wikipedia (it is really good) and the articles referred in it. My particular view is that it is quite clear to me that it cannot be worse than conventional food and it is much tastier.

Friday, 19 January 2007


I must apologise for not having written anything during the whole week. It's been my first week at work since we've got the baby. In addition to the effort of catching up at work, the baby has given us some bad nights. We are now trying to impose a routine so he gets used to sleeping at night. So far it seems to work but it is definitely too early to say that, so in a few days I'll tell you how this day/night synchronization is going.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

What to expect the first year

A friend of this blog recommended us the book "What to Expect the First Year" by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi E. Murkoff and Sandee E. Hathaway. We bought it and I can only thank the person who recommended it to us and recommend it to everybody else. It is only a few days we have it and it has proved really useful. Among many other things, it dedicates one chapter to each one of the first twelve months of the baby. In each month it tells you what to expect from the baby like what should the baby be doing by now, what and how often should the baby eat and what are the common problems of this months (colic, bottle rejection, environmental hazards, ecc...). It also has a section for each month called "What you may be concerned about" which is really practical. It is written in the format of questions and answers and it covers the concerns parents have expressed to doctors and pediatricians. It is very exhaustive and you just need to "jump" to your particular concern to find advice. Really useful.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

What nappies to use?

It has taken us quite some time to decide what nappies we are going to use. Basically we have considered three choices: normal disposable nappies, washable nappies and "ecological" disposable nappies. At the end we have decided to use the "ecological" disposable nappies. In order to make a decision we have considered firstly the health of the baby and secondly the impact of the nappies to the environment (both during manufacture and once in the waste). We have taken the impact on the environment into consideration because of the sheer quantity of nappies produced and disposed off every year: in a household with one baby 50% of the waste is made of disposables and 4% of the overall waste produced in the UK are nappies (about three billion nappies a year)!!!.

These are the main reasons of our choice.

  1. Normal disposable nappies. We have discarded them because they contain many chemicals and bleaching agents that are suspected of being carcinogen. In addition, their manufacture is quite pollutant for the environment (because of all the chemicals they use) and once you got rid of them it takes 500 years for a nappy to biodegrade.
  2. Washable nappies. They seem the cheapest option but they involve quite a lot of work to wash and you need a lot of space to let them dry. There are companies that provide the service of collecting your nappies and washing them to very high standards. I guess they use powerful washing powders and drying machines. It is not clear to me how ecological this is, but I am sure somebody has studied it, does anybody know of any study about how pollutant washing is?
  3. "Ecological" disposable nappies. This are the ones we have chosen. I write "ecological" because it is not that they are 100% biodegradable but I think they are a good compromise. The brand we use is Moltex Eco. They perform as well as any of the leading non-ecological brands (they were voted "Best Nappy" by mums on Channel 5 TV). This nappies do not contain chlorine or any bleaching agents nor harsh or unnecessary chemicals like deodorants and bactericides usually found in disposables. They are also certified TBT (Tributyl-tin) free, a potentially dangerous chemical usually found in disposable nappies. They consist of a biodegradable breathable protective film (made out of unbleached cellulose) and absorbent gel of which 80% is conventional gel (polyacrylate) and 20% is biodegradable gel made out of maize starch. To say it in fewer words, it is better for the baby because it does not contain harsh chemicals and it is a step in the right direction from the environment point of view.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Night light.

Today I'll be writing about something as simple as a night light. It might seem stupid but it has proven so useful that I want to dedicate a post to this article. Before having it, we would switch on the light of the bedroom every time we had to see the baby, either because we had to feed him, change him, check that he was properly covered, because he cried or just to check whether he was sleep or not. Switching on the light resulted in awaking him or at least exciting him, and it would then be much more difficult to put him to sleep. With one of this night lights we can perfectly see his face, so you do not need to switch on the light every time you have to check something. They are, or at least the one we have, very dim so it does not disturb us at all to get our sleep. The quality of the baby sleeping has definitely improved since we have this light.