Step by step
Everybody's been waiting a long time for this moment, and with some babies it may already have happened: The first step is an incredible achievement which will make the parents just as proud as the little child.
Reading is great fun – especially when you're sitting comfortably on Mummy's lap and you both look at all the colourful pictures together. But then it's time to scamper around again; after all, you want to practise this new experience.
As each day passes, the child's walking becomes more and more perfect: It's now time to try a bit of running and jumping. This new freedom of movement provides a new lease of life to the little sports star.
Mummy and Daddy are without doubt the most important people in the child's life. But children find it really interesting to play with other children and practise their new-found skills. They like to stand on one leg, explore the climbing frame in the playground and show just what they can do.
More than just a Mum
Even though being a Mum is the best thing ever, in between changing diapers and breastfeeding you still have your own needs. You need to relax, be stimulated and swap experiences with other adults.
- Organise child-free days: ideally spend them with your partner. They are also hugely enriching for super mums, and really help to nurture your relationship.
- Take a break from motherwear: If you feel like being feminine for a change, an appropriate outfit will help you out. A little black number, a costume, an evening dress … Even though a certain amount of effort is required to make you feel chic, you'll feel great afterwards.
- You must make sure you pamper yourself, especially at strenuous times in your life. Pick up a care pack for your hair, pay a visit to a beautician or masseur – and you'll feel fit and sexy again in no time.
- Although it's interesting to swap experiences, if you want to take your mind off things, you need new topics to talk about. It doesn't matter whether you talk about your next holiday or your plans after you finish maternity leave, outside input will help you relax. You should therefore seek contact with non-parents and meet up with old friends again.
- Concert halls, theatres and bars are all child-free areas – not suited to discussing childcare and ideal places to switch off.
A baby room becomes a child's room
Want to go faster, further, higher? More space for more action in a child's room.
The baby has made his first steps and from now on he'll discover the world on two legs. His self-confidence will grow with every metre he covers, and his own play area will literally expand.
To ensure that the living space reflects the little one's desire to exercise and let off steam, a few changes now need to be made to the child's room:
- The baby wants and is now able to get out of his cot on his own. To allow this, remove individual bars or a whole side of the cot – but at first just do this during the daytime.
- For princesses and astronauts: If there's a (starry) sky above the bed, going to sleep will be even more fun.
- Play corner: Having a dedicated area for this in the child's room or living room is important for the child's development. You need to provide a soft floor covering and a shelf which can be used to store toys and picturebooks.
- Furniture for little people: Whether it's from a designer or the local furniture store, the furniture needs to be child-friendly and stable. A great idea for intrepid little children is multifunctional furniture where the table and chair can be transformed into spaceships, doll's houses and hideouts (Internet search tip: "Themed furniture").
- Mural art: Stencils and the new wall stickers from the local furniture store or the Internet can be used to create colourful art and children's motifs on the wall.
Successful start to a holiday
Fancy taking your child on holiday with you? Make sure that the journey is well planned.
Small children have higher expectations of holidays than babies: If you want to relax and recuperate, you need to make allowance for their needs, ideally before you set off:
Doctors advise against flying in the first few weeks of a baby's life. The key thing after this is only to fly with healthy babies. The good news is that the risk of thrombosis or circulation problems that can occur in adults is negligible for little ones.
- Be aware of the change in pressure during take-off and landing. The best option is to allow the baby to suck on something: give him a pacifier, beaker or bottle.
- Sitting in a confined space and being obliged to wear a seat belt can unsettle little ones when flying. One tried-and-tested tip is to take someheadphones with you and play the baby's favourite music or favourite fairytale to him.
- Be aware of the air conditioning in the aircraft: take an adaptable outfit with several layers.
- Collapsible buggies can often be carried as hand luggage – check with the airline before you fly.
- Children aged up to twelve months can fly without their own ticket, but this means they don't get their own seat. Space can be at a premium. If you want more space, you must either hope for some empty seats and friendly cabin crew – or pay around 80 per cent of the standard price for a baby ticket.
Travelling by train
- Travelling by train may sound relaxing, but for small children this is only the case if the journey's not too long. The average tipping point is two to three hours; maybe longer at night.
- Trains offer greater scope for moving around (no seat belts), but it can often be dirty – make sure you pack plenty of cleansing wipes and spare clothing.
- A good compromise if available is to take the car on the train. You can relax as the train takes the strain, but you'll have the flexibility at your holiday resort and you don't need to worry about your luggage.
- Have the child sit in a buggy? No, buggies and prams have to be folded up on trains because there's not enough room for them. Lots of train companies offer parent and child compartments. Make sure you reserve a space well ahead!