Christmas Gift Ideas for Mum and Baby

Christmas has become more and more commercial, expensive and frankly exhausting for parents, when it should be a time for relaxing and spending time with the people you love. This year, we are stripping back on the gifts that we are buying, rather than spending money we are spending time together and creating memories not mountains of toys.

Pregnant woman happy at home decorative christmas tree with gifts and toys background

That said, when there is a new baby in the family people just can’t resist buying for them so we have put together a list of great gift ideas that are useful, affordable and that both mum and baby will love.

PRE OR POST NATAL MASSAGE

Pregnant woman lying on white wooden bed in spa center and waiting massage. Preparing for parturition.

This is something that I personally was a BIG fan of. Friends bought me vouchers for Christmas and as a new baby gift as just for a single hour, a massage allows a new mum to switch off and just relax. Which is usually quite rare when you have a new baby.

Our personal top picks for the most relaxing venues are:

The Hart Spa – based in Middleton in the Heart of England, they offer a range of treatments including pre and post natal massage. The Hart Spa instils a sense of calm, well- being and serenity, it’s a perfect retreat. Their signature candles are lit throughout the spa, hair studio and treatment rooms providing a delicate and beautiful aroma which is designed to bring comfort to a stressed nervous system to deliver peace, calm, and encourage relaxation.

Clarins – This is a nationwide brand and accessible in most large towns and cities. Their therapists are trained in helping you to choose the best treatment and adapt it to each stage of your pregnancy,

NADUR PULSE POINT – £19.50

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The NADUR pregnancy anti-nausea pulse point contains Red Mandarin essential oil which is one of the safest essential oils to use during pregnancy. Mandarin oil helps to calm the nervous system and its relaxing properties make it effective for alleviating nausea and ideal for a mum to be. We all know that during pregnancy, certain smells can make you feel nauseous but a quick roll of this on your pulse point and inhaling its relaxing scent can make all the difference.

It isn’t just suitable for pregnant ladies as it is 100% Natural, NON-TOXIC, vegan & gluten free, it appeals to a wider audience too. At 10ml it might be a little gift that can make a big difference.

JOHNSONS TOP TO TOE BABY RANGE – New Born Starter Kit RRP £11.99

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JOHNSON’S® Baby Products really need no introduction as for over 100 years, JOHNSON’S® Baby has been the trusted expert in baby skincare. All JOHNSON’S® products are free from parabens and phthalates and are also dermatologically tested and formulated to minimise the risk of allergies. The JOHNSON’S® range simply contains mild but effective ingredients which are specially formulated to care for babies’ delicate skin.
JOHNSON’S® Baby Products are synonymous with quality and they are the perfect practical gift to give to a new mum at Christmas time. Whilst a cute baby grow might be adorable for 5 minutes, baby wipes and baby bath will usually be much more welcomed by a mum who doesn’t need the hassle of running out of the essentials on Boxing Day!
NATTOU PIU PIU – £14.99
Nattou Piu Piu
We have been big fans of Nattou since our own girls were little so we were delighted to meet Piu Piu the octopus, the latest cuddly character from Nattou that comes in 6 soft and calming colours. Little ones will love to stroke, pull and twirl the tentacles.

There has been a lot of talk in the news about knitting octopuses for premature babies and this is supported by the Bliss charity but if like me you can’t knit or haven’t got the time, then Piu Piu the octopus is perfect. The plaiting of the tentacles remind them of the umbilical cord, which helps them feel safe and secure. Research has found that the babies snuggle up to the octopus as if they are still in the womb and surrounded by water. In the incubator, this sensory mantel is lost. This idea originates from Denmark – as well as calming babies, their tentacles make them less likely to pull on their monitors or tubes.

This is not just a gift for a premature baby, it is a beautiful baby shower present or new baby gift. From experience we know that Nattou products are not only adorable but long lasting too and at £14.99 it is really well priced too.

GIFT VOUCHERS

We don’t mean the kind of vouchers that you can buy in a department store, we mean vouchers for baby sitting or sleep tokens. There is nothing more valuable to a new mum than someone they can trust staying with their little one for a few hours just so they can grab a few hours sleep!

Pregnant woman lying in bed sleeping

Once you have decided on those few Christmas Gifts this year, the next decision is wrapping paper and making sure that it is the ethical and environmental choice as not all wrapping paper is paper. Some is plastic-based. Then there’s the issue of gift wrap that’s covered in “metres of Sellotape”, not to mention gift tags or paper that contains foil or glitter, none of which can be recycled. So how do you check? Try to scrunch up the paper into a ball. If it scrunches, and stays scrunched, it can probably be recycled.

The best option, choose brown paper and decorate it. It is much more personal and better for the environment. If you want something a little more festive, try and find a recycled paper instead.

We started this post about making sure that there is no over indulgence at Christmas time. The Rose Diaries is all about natural choices, empowering and supporting each other and while a few select gifts like those we have chosen above can be given from the heart, spending time together rather than money is always the very best gift of all.

Woman´s hands wrapping Christmas presents on brown paper decorated with painted snow, fir branches and pinecones on a rustic wooden board. Top view

Finding balance between the idea of a ‘perfect’ birth and the reality

Today we are delighted to share a guest blog post from Rosie at Mamawell. Mamawell focuses holistically on the balance between mental and physical health throughout motherhood, which is a perfect discussion for The Rose Diaries.

There is increasing pressure felt by new mums to have the ‘perfect’ pregnancy and birth experience, and to bounce back like it was a small insignificant event. But as anyone who has given birth knows, it is life changing and emotional in all cases, and in some circumstances extremely complicated. Birth and pregnancy should not be dismissed as just something women have to go through, and that we should just keep quiet about the experience, the mental and physical challenges, the loss or overwhelming emotions both positive and negative. All pregnant women have their own idea of the ‘perfect’ birth – for some this may involve an epidural, others may want to be in a birthing pool, others may prefer to opt for C-section. The most important thing is to find a method that you are not just comfortable, but confident with, and own it without judgement.

Birth is rarely a textbook, linear process, but can meander through so many stages and it is where it’s starts to move from the planned process that women start to feel like they have lost their ‘perfect’ birth and are out of control. But instead, if we follow nature, with the addition of the guidance of the experts, we can allow the changing birth process to become our new ‘perfect’ plan. Finding balance between the envisaged birth and the reality can be very challenging for many women, and rightly so. In many cases there are underlying instances of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) present months after the birth. Often even family can’t fully understand, as it seems like life is complete once the new baby is here. If the birth didn’t go to plan it is really important to gain understanding and closure, and the post-birth consultation with the hospital staff is often incredibly useful in bridging the gap between the perception and reality of the birth.

Pregnant Woman & Husband

On the flip side, there is sometimes judgement passed about those women who have a natural birth, with few complications, maybe no painkillers and not too much drama. This side of the story is equally important and should be celebrated without judgement. My own experience with hypnobirthing thankfully led me to the conscious, quiet, intervention and medication-free birth that I had hoped and planned for, and I’m beyond thankful for that opportunity. But as I approached full term I remember talking to my husband about what I would do if things didn’t go the way I planned. I felt that my months of focus on reframing the terminology of birth, and breathing exercises would be all for nothing if I had to change to a different birth plan. On discussion, I realised that all the research and practise I had done had prepared me for my birth, whatever form it took. That using my breathing and meditation techniques would be helpful from the moment my waters broke, that being quiet and still where needed, and keeping active where required would also be useful whether I birthed in the birthing centre or on the ward. Just having the possibility of using these techniques gave me so much more freedom and confidence and helped me manage my expectations of birth vs the reality.

In conclusion, giving birth is not something you can programme to ‘perfection’ and there are a multitude of interactions that can cause things to go off plan. Educating yourself on the birth style that appeals to YOU will allow you to focus your energy, but understanding that if things don’t go to plan there are still many options is key. The ultimate goal for the midwife is safety of the baby and mother, and they will guide you on the most suitable route for this. Talking about your birth, being kind to yourself, not judging yourself or others are key ways to start processing the birth. And if you’re lucky enough to have a healthy baby in your arms, be reminded that the birth is just the beginning of your motherhood story.

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Rosie runs MAMAWELL – wellness and fitness for new mums and had a positive hypnobirthing delivery of her daughter Charlotte, 2 years ago.

Please visit www.mamawell.org for more details.

Babywearing and Science

It’s International Babywearing Week, making this the perfect time to talk about the scientific benefits of slings, wraps, and carriers. The evidence is fascinating; did you know that research has shown that babywearing can lead to a more secure attachment between mother and child?

This infographic shows a comprehensive list of benefits backed up by scientific literature:

Babywearing-Science-Backed-Benefits-INFOGRAPHIC

For a more in-depth look at the academic research about babywearing visit Wetheparents.org.