Found In Translation: UK English Baby Glossary

When I moved to the USA many years ago from Ireland (which is not my home country, if you ask), I had the occasional run-in with the different words used on either side of the Atlantic (or, more often, SAME words with different meaning). Now as a new mum, I had to learn a completely new word book of baby vocabulary.

Here for those of you who might travel to Europe – or just want to have a good laugh – today I present you with some basics of British baby-talk.

Let’s start by changing the baby, shall we? For that, of course, you will need some nappies. Dirty ones go into a nappy bin or, if you’re a bit more posh, into a nappy disposal system. Since we just established the absence of “diapers”, there are no diaper bags. Your baby items will fit comfortably into a changing bag.

But before you put a new nappy on, you will want to clean your baby using a top and tail bowl and drying her afterwards with some cotton wool.

Are you going out? If you don’t want to use a carrier, you will need a pram. The term pram can be confusing.  Many people use the word to mean a pushchair or travel system, but it is also the name for a traditional, coach-style pram. Make sure your tyres are in good shape!

Are you staying in? Baby can be put to sleep in a cot (or if you’re visiting, you’ll probably have a carrycot or Moses basket). You might notice that more European parents are rather concerned that their baby might kick a blanket off and get cold than suffocate underneath it. That’s because the use of cellular blankets is more popular than fleece blankets. Also, European parents don’t give their babies pacifiers, but pacify them with dummies.

If you’re bottle feeding, make sure you have some extra teats (however if you pronounce it ‘tits’, you may as well just stay with nipples:) and a bottle and teat brush.

Lastly, stock up on bibs and cloths to wipe the posset. Now this word is tricky. What is posset you want to know? Wikipedia will tell you that “A posset (also spelled poshote, poshotte) was a British hot drink of milk curdled with wine or ale, often spiced, which was popular from medieval times to the 19th century”. That’s not really helpful. And although somebody once said that it sounds like something the British would wear on their heads to horse races, it is rarely worn on heads (although as a new parent you possibly had it on yesterday:))). Americans call it un-euphemistically spit-up!

What other British words do you find confusing?

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DIY Infant Stimulation Mobile

This post contains an affiliate link to Brillkids.com.

When I was pregnant, I was thinking “I will make so many things for the baby! Toys, blanket, clothes! I was always good with crafts, I can do this!”
Dear momma-to-be. It’s not that easy. If you still have time, work on your crafts before your baby arrives! I mean it. Once your little monkey makes her way to this world, your mind will be set on a million things, but baby DIYs. I still have a crochet half-blanket somewhere, I don’t think I will finish it unless I decide to make it for someone else’s baby in the future:)

But there IS light (at the end of the tunnel? Eh, I’d say more like a skylight on the way:). Aditya is really enjoying his tummy time and spends more time in his baby gym without me having to hand him toys or dangle play-stuff above his head, so I decided to make him a few mobiles while he was at (baby)work. Yes, not just one mobile. This baby gets bored so easily, so I thought if I’m able to finish a few of them, I can rotate them throughout the house to keep him entertained. So there will be more DIY mobiles on the way:)))

This one is for the smallest babies and I wish I made it when he was really tiny. He enjoys it anyway, but I recommend this as one of the very first mobiles for a baby. The mobile is Montessori inspired and covers the principles of many early education methods. There are lots of ways you can modify and customize your mobile. I didn’t use anybody else’s instructions, so I had to figure out some things and kinks along the way, but I hope my half-baked instructions will help you or at least inspire you!

Here are the things I used:

  • black and white printouts (I used Infant Stimulation cards from BrillKids)
  • construction paper (you won’t see it in the picture though, I couldn’t find any in the house, but I found 5 non-winning lottery tickets… don’t ask… and used them instead)
  • glue
  • scissors
  • thin ribbon
  • wooden sticks (I used skewers)
  • steel wire (not pictured)

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There was a small change along the way: the wooden skewers didn’t work very well, so I changed them for a WIRE.

First I cut out the shapes I selected and glued them onto the cardstock (non-winning tickets, I mean;))) and then made a hole in the middle to pull a piece of ribbon through. I made a little loop at the end – this is how you will hang the pictures. You can tie them directly to your mobile base, but I wanted to make them interchangeable and use different pictures after a week.

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The I made a base with wire – from the top: a large hook (to hang it wherever you fancy), one wire arm – looks like an arch with a loop in the middle and on each end), loop to hang both arms above each other and the second arm – same arch with a loop in the middle and on each end.

You will want the two arms to form a cross, so the mobile’s pictures are spread out evenly.

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Make hooks to add at each arm’s end and one in the middle:

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Hang your pictures and voila!

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I will be delighted if you share your mobile ideas with me! And as promised, when I have time, I will post other mobiles.

This post contains an affiliate link to Brillkids.com.

 

Supporting Brestfeeding on Social Media

Last month one of my Facebook statuses said this:

I do it in a restaurant. On a park bench. On the back seat of the car. First time at church was weird… Of course, I prefer doing it in bed or on the sofa, but I’ve done it even while shopping or on the street.
Breastfeeding.

Lots of “likes” and comments followed!

And it was not to shock, it was just to stir a debate. Let’s support breastfeeding mothers and raise some awareness so it’s not that darn difficult in some public places! Even if you cant’ breastfeed, but want to bring attention to the subject, do something like this, please.

How do you raise awareness of motherhood-connected issues?

Poop Proofing Infant Swimming Lessons

I was looking forward to the age I could take my baby for swimming classes. A local pool offered classes from 3 months of age which might seem too young, but our son really liked it from the first time we went in!

The pool, like most pools with infant and children swim classes, requires “double diaper” policy – meaning a reusable swim diaper over a disposable. We have been using cloth diapers since Aditya has been 2 weeks old (before that he was too small for the ‘small’ size) and one of the reasons was keeping a one-time item out of landfill. Plus have you checked out the prices for disposable swim diapers? Insane and insane!

So I have decided to employ my wits and figure out a way where I would respect the pool policy and keep my decision to reduce waste. And believe me, I wanted this to work, I would certainly NOT want to be the mom, whose baby cleared the pool;) And after all, I ended up triple-proofing my baby’s butt…

Now, if you’ve never used a swim cloth diaper, this is how it works: it’s not supposed to keep the pee in, just “numero dos”, the poo. So if you’re going to the pool, you want to change your baby into the swim diaper at the pool, not at home, or you might end up with a piddle pool in your car/ stroller/ carrier before you get to the pool at all. The swim diaper lets the pee out – if it held liquids, how would the diaper distinguish between your baby’s juices and the pool water unless it was completely sealed off (which it isn’t)? It is meant to contain only solid waste. And don’t be grossed out. The reality is that many adults pee in the pool too (!!!) and because urine is sterile, it doesn’t pose any health risks. Mostly. Sorry, if you didn’t want to know…

Here is what I do now even if we go to the pool in our community:

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First I use a cheap reusable diaper that I actually got as a gift when we were staying in some hotel (it was part of their kid’s amenity), very similar to “i play” brand. You can get “i play” at almost any kids store and major department stores.

I insert a fleece liner or a small cloth insert (also known as “doubler” or “booster” in the cloth diapering community) into the diaper. Reason? If there is a small poop in the diaper, I don’t have to wash the whole thing, but throw the liner into the laundry bag with other cloth diapers and rinse the cover unless it is soiled. It also gives me the feeling of security that there is an extra layer that will encourage the poop to adhere to. I use Bummis brand for cloth diapering, so I use their liners and boosters too (both available on Amazon and major cloth diapering sites).

Here you see the diaper on my son. My problem with pull-ups is that Aditya is quite skinny and as you can see, the diaper is not sealed properly around his thighs, which is the key for it to work properly:

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Next step is to wrap the cheapo brand cover with a reusable cover with hook-and-loop closure. I love this style, because it is easily customizable and your child is likely to use the same cover for a longer time as he’s growing and the little body is changing shape. The hook-and-loop seals the thigh and tummy area really well:

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Now the staff at the pool sees that we are really wearing two diapers – no cheating here:) And by pulling the top part up a little I am pretty sure that Aditya won’t get his skin scratched by the velcro (it doesn’t happen often, but some reviews mention it, so I  thought I didn’t want to find out, if it happens to my baby;))) – every child’s body is different, so even the diaper will fit slightly differently on each). Again I use Bummis, I love the prints they have (AND their reviews are great)!

And then we just top it off with a rash guard if we’re in the outdoor pool and voila! Happy poop-proofed baby!

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Here are Amazon links to the diapers I like using so much:

 

Liners:     

Diapers:  

 

This post contains affiliate links from Amazon.com. I never link to products I would not recommend based on personal use or products I believe are not healthy/ eco friendly/ ethical.

Supercute Baby Shower Idea – DIY Onesies

On my baby shower I decided to put my guests to work 🙂

I bought 10 white onesies (5 for 3-6 months and 5 for 0-3 months size) and a pack of colourful Sharpies. Then I printed some funny T-shirt quotes as an inspiration and gave it all to the friend who was organizing my baby shower.

Here are my one-of-a-kind onesies (sorry, some of them are already worn, I didn’t take a picture when they were all shiny brand new):

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For good success, if you wish to try this at your baby shower, I suggest:

  • Take into account the number of guests attending and buy about half that many onesies or shirts (not everyone is into crafts and couples sometimes collaborate) – but if buy too many, it’s OK, you have white onesies to give to someone else, use them plain or decorate them yourself in those long evenings when you’re out of work and enjoying your last days before the joyous arrival!
  • Depending on the number of guests see if you need more than one set of Sharpies/ markers, so that nobody cries they can’t find the colour they need (yes, adults turn into babies during times like these:)))
  • Let your guests know there is no do-over. If they make a mistake, it will stay.
  • Make sure you collaborate with your host, so they have an adequate space ready – a work table with a cover or something similar. You wouldn’t want your guests to leave marker stains on a friend’s fancy couch!

Alternatives:

  • Strictly black & white version is very cute too. Or choose another marker colour and use only that.
  • Do this on your kid’s birthday – small kiddo = adults do the crafting. Older kiddo = his/ her friends make t-shirts for him!
  • Dyed shirts with bleach (the design will be white on coloured shirt) >>> careful, this one would be messy!

So Baby Boy is Supposed to Wear Blue?

When I was carrying this little bumblebee in my belly, me and my husband chose not to know if we’re expecting a boy or a girl. I am a bit old fashioned in these things – if God wanted us to know, He’d give us x-ray vision, you’d hear me saying.
“But how will you decorate the baby room?” I’d hear EVERY SINGLE TIME when people asked for the gender of the unborn baby. Well, first, this baby will not have a room (about that later:), second – I honestly failed to see a problem there… until I was a guest at a joined baby shower for two friends, who were carrying a month ahead of me. Nothing was gender neutral except for some books and toys. It seemed that every gift either had “Daddy’s little princess” smeared all over it or it had to have trucks and screwdrivers (one friend was expecting a girl, the other a boy).

I never noticed a ‘problem’ like this in Europe. Things are changing, of course, thanks to imported things that are popular in the USA, but in general, finding colourful and gender neutral clothes and decorations is not a problem. Nor it is a problem in India (my husband’s home country) – a country where any guy can pull off a pink dress shirt.

I think the big sellers and department stores are screwing with us, people. It’s like bad pharma, but in baby clothes and toys – good marketing is making victim of a nation.

And then there was my baby shower. You’ve never seen that many yellow onesies! I love yellow colour, it’s actually my (second;) favourite. But on everything, seriously? So boys have to wear blue and girls pink? And poor babies of granola parents like us have to put up with tons of yellow and green? Are there only 4 colours in this world?

Once upon a time childhood was the time of innocence. Time of play and freedom. Time where everybody wore cute white cotton dresses that mums could easily clean. Time when strangers didn’t have the need to see the gender of a baby the moment they laid their eyes on them. Time when babies and children wore baby clothes, not shrunken adult clothes.
European royalty and noble class had another reason for dressing little boys into dresses – male heirs were in danger of kidnapping for ransom. But when nobody could recognize young boys from girls at a glance, there was less chance of them being taken!
I find it interesting, that originally, when colours were introduced to baby clothing, blue was mainly reserved to little ladies, because blue is the colour of Virgin Mary, and pink was considered a strong, manly colour.
But now, when I have my own little man, I just moan every time I go baby clothes shopping. Why, why in the world, are the boy clothes so boring? And sad, colourless? Can a boy not wear flowers? I could buy many girl shirts and onesies, but many of the companies put cleverly some sort of girl detail on girls’ clothing – frills, bows, princess pictures…
Here is what I do. I always look in the girls’ section first. If the only girly detail is a bow, I buy it and cut the bow off. If there’s no specifically girly detail – well, it just became unisex.
Only one thing consoles me deeply despite boy clothes being excruciatingly boring: I have already saved so much money!
How about you? Do you have a baby boy and a problem finding fun clothes that don’t break the bank?