Babies and Potty Training

So usually when your child reaches their first yearly birthday, you will start receiving questions asking when will they start going on a potty or alternatively, are surprised to hear that the child has not been potty-trained yet.

Q: When is it a good time to start potty-training?
Actually you have a couple of factors you have to consider. First, the parents have to be ready for this. Often times the child is ready but parents keep postponing it as after trying it once, they had 6 pairs of pants to be put in the laundry basket. This is when they usually mistakenly presume that the child is not ready.

Gina Ford, who has written numerous books on babies and children, including potty-training, mentions in her book that you should start potty-training between 18 and 24 months. One of the French specialists on children (can’t remember the name at the moment but will add it soon!) says, that you should start if the child can climb up independently on the playground on those climbing trees.
Earlier than 18 months and the child is not biologically ready.
Different smart books do advise to reward the child with candy or something else if they have used the potty successfully, or when after lunch the diaper is still dry. I’m afraid I do not agree with this, but more about this a little later.

Q: How do I potty-train?
When a child starts walking, then this means that you will not find peace even in the bathroom. This will remind you of those moments when girls at school went to the bathroom together and then waited for each other behind the door. If the little one presses himself or herself through the door, that is the moment when I have taken the little one to sit on the potty with me (me on mine, he or she on theirs). Everything after that is a smooth process, and there is no ‘buying’ them over with sweets.

I have also been at crossroads with a kindergarten where I put 5 pairs of pants in the bag, and we were running on the fifth day when I went to pick up the child after lunch to find that they had been put in a diaper! I got quite angry and said that we are almost finished with potty-training and asked them for an explanation as to why they have put a diaper on a child that is almost two years of age. They only said that they will not start changing pants and the child has to ask to go to a potty. Luckily other parents agreed with me as well and we got into a bigger dispute.

Imagine yourself, you pay many thousands of Euros for a space in a private kindergarten so that there is one child-minder for every 3-5 children, and even then it is too much to ask for a little bit of cooperation…this is quite a thinking point.

Currently it has become a habit with the little girl that when we go to the bathroom, we will see who is able to do their thing first. I kind of feel bad for spoiling the fun so I usually wait for the little girl to say ‘I’m first!’, and then she consoles me ‘next time you just have to be a little faster’. Furthermore, of course it would be a good motivator for the child to buy them underwear with their favourite characters – why? Who wants to pee on their favourite characters? No one! You can also give them a small book to read to keep them on the potty for longer.

Advice for potty-training:
The parents have to be ready for this and cannot get angry at a child even if they pee in their pants. Be supportive, clean up the mess together with the child. This will take time and may take even 2 weeks. Be patient and do NOT show disappointment when the child has peed in a numerous pairs of pants within a couple of hours. Imagine, your parents had to go through the same thing when you were a child.

It would be the best to start in the summer when the weather is warm. This way you will not have to worry about the child catching a cold.
If a child pees their pants, do not change them immediately. Let the child notice this so they can feel the discomfort and they will learn to let you know.
If a child successfully uses a potty, then be happy with the child and cheer them on for being good and ensure they see how happy it makes you. You can even take a picture and say that you will send it to daddy so he can be happy as well (don’t worry, every parent has these pictures in their phone).
Keep the potty in a visible place and take the child with you to the bathroom.

When is it not a good time to start potty-training:
· When you have another newborn in your family, because the child will be too excited and also stressed with the new life in the family.
· If you have just moved as the child will need to get used to his or her surroundings first.
· If the child has been sick recently.
· If the child starts going to a new day care group/kindergarten or you have a new nanny.
· If the parents are under too much stress or there is some tension between the parents.
· If the brothers/sisters do not sleep well and there is overall much tension at home.
· During Christmas or holidays when there is a lot going on at home which can make the child feel anxious.

In conclusion, it is up to the parents to decide when to start with the potty-training. Please do keep it mind that it is not good to leave it too late as I have met many children who are afraid of the potty and even if they pee or poop, they get upset as they do not understand what is going on.

Keep your patience, just as you would when teaching your grandparents on how to use the Internet.

Have a lovely afternoon!

Kadi 🙂

Why I love the early Christmas craze that starts in September?

I was quite ecstatic last Sunday to find that stores are already stocking a wide variety of Christmas products. It’s usually my thing to create a Christmas list at the end of August of all the people who I would like to send an old-fashioned Christmas card by post or for who I need to get presents for. The latter is especially important for children.
I like selecting wrapping paper, Christmas decorations, presents and cards because starting early equals to a stress-free December! I love the huge selections available as if leaving everything on the last minute, you can be sure that all these cards and wrapping papers have been touched by numerous hands and look quite haggard (been there, seen that!).
During the Christmassy month we usually bake gingerbread cookies with the children, get crafty to make some presents and write Christmas cards. We also have a warming cup of hot chocolate in front of the fireplace and read Christmas stories – this is very relaxing and also cosy.
Isn’t it ridiculous how everyone leaves their shopping on the last minute and then buy something just to get it over with, even if by gifting the nonsense gifts they have received previously.
Decorations-wise, last year we picked up a lot of cones from the local park for painting which we afterwards wrapped into see-through little bags. These went on the Christmas tree and looked wonderful. Of course the most heart-warming presents came from the children who had done all the hard work by decorating and crafting.
December is not a month of bankruptcy for me because I start early by managing my finances ahead of time.
During this festive month it is important for me to meet my friends and family members for a chat about how the year has passed and what we await from the new upcoming year.
Have a cosy rest of the day,

How to get babies accustomed to additional food and new tastes

Does it sound familiar – you are giving the baby something new to try, whether it’s a puree or vegetables, and the little one makes a really big grimace and spits it out? Well, this is totally normal and sometimes it may take up to 15 times (!) of trying the same food before he or she gets used to its taste and the texture. Although, in case a child does not like boiled carrots but loves fresh carrots, then there is nothing to worry about as at some point he or she will completely forget about it and will happily eat boiled carrots as well.

Q: When to start giving supplementary food?
Depending on the baby, it should stay around 6 months of age. When you start giving the baby any additional food, keep in mind that the baby still needs breast milk or milk formula.

Q: How to get the baby accustomed to new tastes and what can I give them?
The tongue is sensitive to five taste groups. Ensure that you get them to try all of these group as this is the only way he or she can differentiate new tastes.
These 5 tastes are:
Sweet – parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, strawberries, bananas
Bitter – lettuce, broccoli, salad leaves, grapefruit, dark chocolate
Sour – natural yogurt, lemon, melon, grapes
Salty – celery, beet, meat, fish, eggs, milk
Umami – meat, fish, mushrooms, tomato, cheese

First, offer these foods just on their own and do not mix them. For example, steam or boil the carrots and then blend them very small. Also ensure you prepare the same vegetables or fruits in many different ways, as every way of processing changes the taste and the texture. Fresh carrot can be tasted to experience the sweetness of the carrot juice. Additionally, do not hide vegetables in sauces or in sour cream and eat it with the child so they can see how delicious fruits and vegetables are. Of course always cook all meat and fish before giving it to your child.
Be creative and let your fantasy fly with different purees and smoothies. Easiest way to understand what the baby likes, is to think of yourself. Do you like it? Then this little mini version of you will like it as well!

Q: How to handle spices?
That’s easy. Add some cinnamon to a porridge or cocoa to semolina porridge and you’re done! Regarding this, I have not yet met a child who refuses morning porridge. For rice you can add some softer curry or small pieces of paprika.

As a note, the best time to grow your child’s love for vegetables and fruits is until they reach 2 years of age.
I would also like to stress that always keep an eye on your child when they are eating something raw as this may get stuck in their throat which is quite a hazard. Always ensure you are next to them and never let them run around with food.
Grapes, gooseberries, different currants, small tomatoes and everything that can be dangerous, please cut these in half or even smaller. This would also lessen the risk of some ugly stains on your beautiful wallpaper and you will not have to worry about finding a carrot or a cucumber in a toy box covered in mold.

Over the past five years I have learned together with the children how to prepare different vegetables, fruits, meat, fish and how to fit them together. Quite often I take children to the market with me and let them choose five vegetables/fruits of their liking and then at home we experiment how to get the best taste out of these. And do not forget that sometimes the result can be quite weird for your tongue, but the children will love it because it is something they have prepared on their own. So refrain from making faces of dislike and instead applaud them for the new taste experience. You can always suggest to make a different combination the next time!

My own favourite for all kinds of steaming and pureeing is the steamer shown on the picture, which also gives me a chance to do everything at the same time.

And remember, for the best taste experience, choose the seasonal vegetables and fruits.

Have an amazing time experimenting,

How the pictures for Kadi and Babies came to life

I have always been quite peculiar about who I work with and so I put in a lot of time to find the right photographer who I would trust with the task of taking pictures for my page Kadi and Babies.

Quite a while ago I saw wedding photos of one of my acquaintances and so I dropped a quick e-mail to their photographer – after a month and a half we had an agreement with photographer Anneli Leinemann. I had an idea that I would like to have some pictures taken for my page and maybe to have them taken with massage dummies used for learning.

My biggest concern was that I have actually never been to a photographer before and my confidence before the camera was nonexistent. To my surprise Anneli offered, ‘Hey, would you like to have my twins for this?’. My heart started beating faster and there was probably an excited glint in my eyes as I quickly replied that of course I would.

Working with children and families I know exactly what it means to have a plan and what actually happens. And so it ended up that by the agreed date the twin girls were a little sick. Also it was raining cats and dogs and it just didn’t seem to end.
Then we agreed that even if it starts raining snakes and thunderbolts the next time, we will do the photoshoot on the evening of 5th September.

While planning my outfit I remembered that I have a beautiful green dress I haven’t been able to wear much, but luckily enough I had enough brains to ask Anneli what kind of colour to wear. And imagine the answer I got- she said everything else is fine apart from green! This was because we were doing an outside photoshoot and green reflects to the face, and of course the grass is green as well…so all colours would be fine apart from green.

When visiting Estonia I’m always very busy and this time was no exception as I didn’t even have time to do my makeup or hair. I washed it in the morning and went to the hairdresser’s in the afternoon to get it trimmed and that was it!

We met in the Kadriorg Park and the energy coming off from Anneli was so wonderful, sincere and warm. She unpacked her camera and the objective looked like something used to photograph wild animals! I was obviously nervous and my heart beat a lot more faster than usual. By how Anneli carried herself and her voice, she vaguely reminded me of Liisi Koikson, who in my opinion is a very sympathetic and well-balanced person.

We took a walk around the park and Anneli started taking pictures to get the lights set (or something like that). In between the shots she showed me some photos from her camera and I was so happy that I actually gave her a big hug… she made me look so alive on the photos, even if she said that’s just who I was and she had no part to play in it.

I received the first patch quite fast and these you can see as a profile picture on Kadi and Babies. I will definitely share all these pictures with you later on as well. The little twins, Nora and Lenna, who usually cry a lot and easily let their vocal chords loose, actually found that it was quite fun to play with me, and imagine their curiosity when they found how much hair I have for grabbing and how many teeth I have for them to count!

Amazingly big thanks to Anneli and to her wonderful family who lasted through the
whole chilly autumn evening!

I left the park with great happiness in my soul, not caring a bit of the cold pinching my cheeks!

Have a lovely evening,

Baby coming up: 10 things that should be ready at home

Having a baby always comes with a lot of questions – for example, which items should be prepared ahead of time before the newborn’s arrival?  ( for advice from a baby counsellor Kadi Leppik.
‘For a new mom it is extremely important to have a supportive and a helpful partner, who helps her adjust to the new situation and would ensure that the new mom is able to have one of the most important things – time to rest,’ she starts. ‘Although there are a couple of things that you should consider investing in to ensure you are prepared. For example a good electrical breast pump, breast feeding pillows and a well-fitted specialty bra for breastfeeding. To observe baby’s breathing, I would also recommend to have a baby breathing monitor. As a bonus tip which may seem a little funny, is that I would advise to have some cabbage kept in the fridge so that after breastfeeding you can easily cool down sensitive breasts with a cold cabbage leaf,’ she lists.
‘You will definitely need to invest in a good pram where you can regulate the height, and I would also advise to get one that has a cup holder. Additionally you should have comfortable clothing for different weather conditions (a rain coat, a good parka, warm trousers, wellies/rain boots, gore-tex winter boots) because the baby will need to experience different weather conditions.’ For the bedroom, Kadi recommends darkening shades to ensure that light will not interrupt the baby’s sleep and a wider armchair or a swing chair with wide armrests that would be comfortable for breast feeding. ‘You should also consider getting the baby their own bed and a very simple baby cot will be enough.’

Book recommendation: Bumpalicious by Denise Van Outen

We tend to think a lot about how pregnancy and the baby’s arrival will change our everyday life, our relationships with close ones and with our partner, and this can keep going on and on in our minds like a broken cassette.

I work with babies, whole families and with soon-to-be mothers, so I can definitely understand what it means to have a newborn in the house. I can only say that every family is different and until the baby actually arrives we can only guess how it is going to be.

Denise Van Outen has released this book in which she very simply but sweetly writes about pregnancy and how she went about her everyday life. I definitely recommend this book to be read already before planning for the baby as it gives you a glimpse to what is to come and will prepare you both mentally and physically. It also advises not to shy away from offering help to your friend who already has a baby and to take time to arrange your life exactly how you would think it would be during your pregnancy. Move more, eat well, learn to take time for yourself and plan what you definitely want to do before pregnancy.

You must’ve heard before that pregnant women have to eat for two – I mean who hasn’t? Not many know that this is actually a myth! In reality your body only needs around 200-300 extra calories daily during your last 3 months of pregnancy.

How often you should exercise, what to eat and how much to sleep, how to arrange your work schedule and how to break the news that there is a little ‘teapot’ on the way?

To all of these questions and a lot more you will find answers from the book Bumpalicious – how to relax and enjoy your pregnancy.

Stay warm everyone!

Baby at home: invite guests?

As soon as the newborn baby is placed in your hands, you will probably have a queue of relatives and friends all waiting for an invitation. Some of them can be a tad bit more impatient and try to press themselves through the hospital doors just to see the little one. Good tips on how to deal with these guests are being given to readers by baby counsellor Kadi Leppik.
‘I advise to ask the guests to stay away from the hospital beforehand,’ is her recommendation. ‘For the first couple of months I would also ask them to postpone their visit on a later time – this is so that the newborn can get used to his or her new surroundings and to how it smells. Unfamiliar scents can only create stress in the baby,’ says Leppik. ‘Baby’s sense of smell is considerably stronger than ours. If upon the visitor’s arrival the baby starts to cry, it can actually be stress created by unfamiliar scents.’

If the guests do insist on seeing the newborn baby, Leppik offers them to join the parents for a walk outside. ‘This is how you can keep it less stressful for the child,’ she explains. But if you do wish for the guests to pay a visit to your home, Leppik strongly advises for guests to remain from wearing any perfume or strong smelling deodorant. Additionally, smokers should smoke their last cigarette at least half an hour before meeting the baby, as well as lessen these smells with a mint or a chewing hum afterwards. ‘Of course all hands have to be washed before any contact,’ she adds sternly.

Additionally she would advise the guests to offer some help with cooking or to grab some snacks for the visit itself, as they should not expect a newborn’s mom to start baking and cooking. ‘Visiting time shouldn’t be long, 30 minutes to an hour and half is maximum and this should be mentioned to the guests beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings,’ advises the baby counsellor.

In all of this the newborn baby is the most important. ‘If the baby needs to sleep, then do not wake him or her up just to show them off to the visitors. Some people do tend to kiss the baby directly on lips – please ensure that no one does so as this is the first source of herpes virus which can danger the baby’s life,’ she explains. Leppik also strongly advises to never let visitors enter the baby’s room while he or she is sleeping. ‘You should consider whether you would like to have strangers observe you like an animal at the zoo while you are sleeping,’ she says. ‘You should also not let anyone else hold your baby – he or she should get used to parents first.’

Diaper-free baby

A couple of weeks ago I promised to share some useful information from a book called The Diaper-Free Baby by the wonderful Christine Gross-Loh. First things first, I would like to extend my sincerest gratitude towards the book’s author as this book is incredibly interesting and very informative. The author starts off realistically and is very logical and down-to-earth when giving out suggestions and tips for parents.

She agrees that you can start potty-training the baby from day one, for example by holding the baby over a sink or a different basin depending on what you have at hand. And it may happen that the baby does his or her thing which is the start of this training.
When the baby is a couple of weeks old, you more or less know when it is time for the baby to pee or poop and you can arrange to have the baby without a diaper as fresh air can also help the baby to relieve themselves. Please be patient and flexible if you do wish the baby to be diaper-free. Maybe you decide to do it once a week or during nights, or maybe you find it’s the easiest to catch the baby’s pee and poop in a potty after a car drive. It completely depends on the baby but you will learn to tell the cues.
Please do note – do not potty-train if you are tired or if it is unacceptable for you for any kind of reasons.

Although, in many countries it is concerning that children are put in diapers even when they are 3 or 4 years old. These are countries where the parents do not do enough research or do not have access to the right information. They also may not wish to understand or do not know that potty-training does take time as the baby has to get used to it. If the child is already 3 or 4, it is very stressful for the child to be put on a potty one day as they do not have any previous exposure to this. I also know a couple of children who have kept in their need to poop until they were put in a diaper for the night. And this is when they let go of everything they had kept in during the day – imagine that! Additionally, even seeing poop can create stress if the child has never seen it before. Let me mention that this child will be extremely unhappy for the next half an hour and I can tell that from my own experience.

In conclusion, this book teaches parents how to potty-train, how to understand the baby’s body language and learn to see the cues of the baby’s needs.
If you have decided that you are not going to buy the widely-used diapers sold at every supermarket, that is totally alright as you can always ensure you have enough of other alternatives you wish to use (like cloth diapers). You will just have to be mentally prepared for this.

I would also like to share my experience in regards to potty-training. Taking into consideration the tips from the book that are mentioned above, then I have also been potty-training babies from the day one by holding them above a sink before bathing. Additionally we have always kept the potty where the child can see it. If they are a little older, it is also a good tip to take the child with you to the bathroom when you go, and to take the potty in there as well so they can sit on it while you do your business. Sometimes it can happen that the child does their own thing as well in the meantime. If the child walks, runs and eats independently, I have started with the actual potty-training where the child is out of diapers for the whole time they are awake. I do ensure that I have at least 5 or 6 pairs of exchange clothes for the couple of hours we spend outside the home.
Let me tell you a little story. We were in daycare one day and I was sitting on the floor cross-legged, the child I had been recently potty-training came to sit on my lap and suddenly there was such a rush to get them to the bathroom immediately. First time I didn’t catch this cue and that meant the child had to spend the whole time in wet pants until it was time to go home. For me it was rather funny and the little one understood as well that something did not go well. When I was finally able to change her out of her wet pants, she put her hands around my neck and apologised…to which I of course responded with assuring that everything is alright and that it was not a problem.

From here I would like to point out that potty-training is a very sensitive process. You should not be angry with the child, make any remarks or make them feel lower in case of an accident and if the clothes get wet. Consider if you would like to receive such remarks if this was to happen to you. This child is your mini version and she likes and dislikes the same things as you do. You have to be supportive and say that everything is alright, that clothes can always be washed. Do not show your disappointment as the child is going through a process of getting to know themselves and this takes time.

To finish off, potty-training only happens in cooperation where the child and the parents understand each other – the child learns about their own body and the parents will learn to be more patient.

Wishing you a wonderful learning time and lots of new discoveries!

How to meet other baby-moms?

Does it sound familiar – you are sitting at home pregnant, waiting for your loved baby to be born when slowly your friends start disappearing one by one and you start to feel very lonely. Keep in mind that everything is good for something and if your old friends are not interested in going out for a walk, then maybe you should consider making friends with others who understand you more, who you can share your happiness and concerns with.

Nowadays technology makes our lives very easy – starting from different apps and ending with online baby groups. Although these may not be the most efficient things to go for. There is another option that is the easiest and usually the most effective for when you are looking for new friends.

Go out for a walk with your little one (even if it’s still in your belly!) and please do feel free to talk to another mom out on a stroll, even if it is to understand if you two would match. You can always ask if they want to go on another walk next time around and yes, it’s that simple!
After you exchange numbers, you can send a message in a day or two and offer them to join you for a fun activity (if they have not contacted you yet). Do not be persistent though, if there is no response then obviously she was not the type of a mom you would connect with. As a note, it may be the case that their child has fallen ill and they forgot to reply – that can happen to the best of us – so you can send another message in a week or so. And if there is no reply then, that means that stroll was a one-off thing.
Of course you can try to make new connections through baby exercise sessions, swimming lessons, daycare groups and so on, which are usually close to kindergartens or sometimes even next to a school (some in London). For me these places have been the top spots where to find new friends. You can easily see if you two match – and at some point I was already having lunches and cups of coffees with them.

Why is it important to socialise after the baby is born?
You will most definitely have a specific day outline and it is nothing better than to leave the house for a couple of hours, to be in a different environment with people who understand you the best. You can share your tips and you can even learn new things on how to take care of your own baby. All the groups where I have been to for the past many many years, they have only given me positive experiences and it also gives you an opportunity to give away the things you do not need anymore to other moms.
The main thing is – do not give up!
Wishing you a beautiful autumn morning,

Don’t kiss Your Baby on the lips!

I have a very informative article for you today. This also explains why I ensure that all parents know that no one else should be allowed to kiss their baby!
Even parents themselves can only kiss the baby on top of the head or on their toes. It is actually important for the mother to kiss the baby on top of their head while breastfeeding as it is a way for the mother’s body to collect information about which kind of milk to produce. And if a child happens to be a little sick, then the breast milk will be the child’s ‘medicine’.
But once again, no one can kiss a baby on their lips as this may cost the child’s life!!!

Have a lovely evening,

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