Your baby is now the size of an apple seed. The first steps of your baby’s development is the development of the circulatory system, along with the heart. Another key development is the growth of your baby’s neural tube which will ultimately become your baby’s brain and spinal cord.
It is important to only bring the essentials into hospital with you. We have created a handy Hospital Checklist. Most people will have their hospital bag packed from 32 weeks or – just in case!
Many hospitals have limited the amount of things that you can bring in so do check with your hospital first.
If you ever have any questions about your pregnancy, please contact our Careline. We have heard it all before.
It can be very easy to go overboard and buy things you don’t need when preparing your home for baby. Write a list of the essentials and stick to it as best you can, here’s a sample Baby Essentials Checklist to get you started.
Yes, in your first and second trimesters it is safe to travel – although check first with your doctor if you have had any medical problems during your pregnancy.
Most mums-to-be find that the second trimester is the easiest time to travel as energy levels are higher and morning sickness is behind you.
Some airlines may even allow women of between 28-36 weeks to travel but do check with your airline first and be aware of the risk of premature labour.
Feelings of nausea or morning sickness can be very common.The good news is that by around 14-16 weeks these symptoms should have passed. While there is no cure, many mums have found that ginger or peppermint tea has helped them to deal with these feelings. For some useful tips read this article about morning sickness.
Your diet is more important than ever while pregnant. A healthy balanced diet will help your baby to grow and develop in your womb. Eat small amounts regularly. Try adding a small snack mid-morning, mid-afternoon and bedtime. Avoid foods that are very high in sugars and fats as there will not be much nourishment in these foods. Choose healthy options like fruit, vegetables and yoghurt. For more information visit our pregnancy section.
The Department of Health recommends that you take a supplement containing 400µg folic acid every day during the first 12 weeks in pregnancy. If you haven’t already, start taking a daily folic acid supplement of the recommended 400µg.
You should also speak to your GP or pharmacist about taking a pregnancy supplement as normal multi-vitamins are not suitable during pregnancy. For more information read our article on folic acid.
The first thing to do is to visit your GP. They will be able to do a test to confirm your pregnancy and advise you about booking your antenatal appointments and tests.
Most babies’ take their first steps between 9- 12 months but don’t worry if it takes a little longer. Some babies are happy to wait until they are 16 or 17 months. Once your baby gains confidence and their balance, you will start to find it hard to keep up as they are so fast when they start running.
Babies typically begin teething at between 4-6 months, however some babies begin a little earlier and a little later. Some tell-tale signs of teething are flushed cheeks, excessive dribbling, refusing feeds and crying more at night. Teething can disturb their routine but there are some things you can do to help comfort them. Offer plenty of water, gently rub a teething gum into their gums or offer them a teething ring cooled in the fridge to chew on. Your doctor may recommend infant pain relievers if their teething is very bad. Don’t forget to distract them with lots of hugs and cuddles.
Reflux occurs when your baby’s feed comes back up from his stomach into his throat and mouth. The reason babies bring back up their feed is because a muscle, called the sphincter muscle ,is not fully developed and so babies have no way of keeping down their feed. During the first year of life this sphincter muscle will gradually develop so the degree of reflux will decrease as your baby grows. Roughly half of young babies experience reflux, with varying degrees of intensity, but by 10 months this number drops to one in twenty babies. For more information read our article about reflux.
If you notice that your baby is bringing back up a little of his feed, don’t worry, this is known as posseting and is quiet common in young babies. A little regurgitation is expected in babies, however if your baby is bringing back up a lot of his feed quite frequently this may indicate that your baby has reflux.
A baby who is constipated will pass small, hard stools with straining or difficulty. A change of diet, dehydration or a minor illness like a cold can cause your baby to become constipated. Give your baby extra drinks of cooled, boiled water. Gently massage your baby’s tummy in a clockwise direction and move their legs in a bicycle motion. If you are worried about it or symptoms persist contact your health care professional.
When it comes to teaching good sleeping habits, there are no hard and fast rules. You will you’re your own routine that works for both you and your baby. Establishing a bedtime routine is important as it helps your baby get into a good sleep initially. Also, do not be afraid of naps during the day, these are as important as sleep at night, particularly in the first year. For tips on establishing a bedtime routine click here.
Your baby’s first weaning foods should be both gentle in flavour and smooth in texture. Baby rice is the best food to begin with. When mixed with your baby’s usual milk your baby will experience only a slight taste difference and therefore be more likely to accept it. Baby rice is also very gentle on your baby’s tummy and easily digested making it a great first food. Begin by offering a very small amount, 1-2 spoons after their lunch time/afternoon feed.
Wait three to four days before the introduction of a new food to get your baby settled on one food before moving onto the next. For more information on weaning, the equipment you’ll need and for handy recipes check out our weaning section. Alternatively, please contact our Careline and speak with one of our Advisors, Nutritionists or Dietitians.
Latest national guidelines (FSAI, 2012) recommend that weaning should begin close to 6 months (26 weeks) of age, no earlier than 17 weeks and no later than 6 months of age
It is important not to introduce solids too early and let your baby guide you, they will show signs when they are ready to be weaned.
Tummy Time is important as it helps to strengthen your baby’s neck muscles. It also helps your baby to recognise that they have two sides to their body so it will help them to develop the crawling motion. Most babies don’t tend to like being on their tummies for the first time, so it is important that you make it a positive experience! Lie with your baby – rub their back and speak gently to baby letting him/her know you are there to comfort them.
You will recognise colic by lots of crying, screwed up eyes, a flushed face, clenched fists and legs pulled up into their chest. Colic affects one in four babies at different degrees of severity, some experiences short bouts of colic whereas others experiences more severe bouts for long periods of time. The good news is that your baby will grow out of it but while they are suffering there are a few things you can try which can help. Create a soothing atmosphere, play white noise from the tumble dryer or hoover, give your baby a warm bath and massage their tummy. Pushing them in their pram or bringing them for a drive can also help. For more tips read our article on colic or contact our Careline.
The Health Service Executive (HSE) recommends that all babies, from birth to 12 months, whether breastfed or formula fed, be given a daily supplement of 5 μg vitamin D3. This should be provided by a supplement containing vitamin D3 exclusively and not part of a multivitamin.
Offer your baby sips of cooled, previously boiled water during very warm weather or if your baby is unwell e.g. during a bout of diarrhoea, to ensure they are keeping well hydrated.
Otherwise, your baby’s usual milk feed (i.e. breastmilk or formula milk) will provide all the fluid your baby needs during the first 6 months of his life, assuming weaning takes place around this time. Once your baby has reached 6 months of age it is a good idea to introduce a beaker. Up to their 1st birthday their milk feed is an important source of nutrients and now in combination with a good weaning diet. Water and milk are the most tooth friendly drinks. As your baby progresses through their weaning journey, sips of cooled, previously boiled water in a beaker at meal times are fine to offer to your baby.
We would advise bring the formula your baby will need with you. It is difficult to guarantee that the product will be available where you are travelling to.
However, Aptamil Follow On Milk is available in some countries abroad so please contact our Careline and one of the members of our team can check this for you.
It is important that you follow the instructions on your pack and ensure that each feed is made up when the water is at 70°C, to ensure that it mixes correctly and is safe for your baby.
For more information read our guide to preparing a bottle.
Every baby’s appetite is different – some babies may take a little more or less than the Bottle Feeding Guide. It is important to make sure that your baby is gaining weight as per the Department of Health and Children’s growth chart. Your public health will plot this and track your baby’s development over time. If you are worried that your baby is not getting enough milk or is taking too much, contact your public health nurse or GP who can advise you further.
Don’t worry you are not on your own. A lot of parents worry that their toddler is not following a healthy diet by continuously refusing certain foods. Some tips to try would be, try and be an example for your toddler by eating healthy foods.
They will learn from copying you and older siblings so include them in family meals as much as possible, praise your toddler when they have eaten well and encourage your toddler to help you prepare and shop for meals. Also, toddlers love finger foods as they are able feed themselves, try offering them healthy finger foods like carrot sticks, broccoli florets, rice cakes and chopped fruit. For more information read our article on Fussy Eaters.
A varied and nutritious diet and good eating habits are essential for healthy growth and development. The toddler years are a time of rapid growth and development and your growing active toddler has specific nutritional requirements to meet their needs. By offering meals and snacks made with nutritious healthy food, your toddler’s energy and nutrient needs can easily be met. With a tummy that is at least 3 times smaller than yours, your toddler needs to eat little and often.
Three small meals and two to three regular nutritious snacks in between will give them a steady stream of energy and nutrients throughout the day. Read our guide to a Healthy Toddler Diet.
Your baby will learn to talk during their first two years and throughout this time they are listening to the world around them, learning rules of language and learning how to communicate. As they get older they will begin to develop and strengthen their tongue, lips, palate and teeth to make sounds which will begin to form real words.
As they get older they will pick up words from those around them and between 18 months and two years will begin to construct mini sentences and will begin to describe the world around them and their feelings and thoughts as they become more confident.
There is no specific age at which you should begin toilet training. It is important that you do not begin until your child is ready. Every child is different so look for these signs that they may be ready to be toilet trained.
Many people also advise toilet training during the summer months as your child can run around for most of the day without a nappy but if you feel your child is ready there is no point waiting around for Summer, particularly as there is no guarantee of sunny weather in Ireland.
Water and milk are the best drinks to offer as they are the most tooth friendly drinks. Encourage water drinking throughout the day. Unsweetened pure fruit juice is a good source of vitamin C but if giving juice to your toddler, give it with meals or snacks rather than between meals and dilute the juice 1 part juice to 4-5 parts water to keep their teeth strong and healthy.
Fruit drinks, juices and squashes should be avoided if possible as they contain sugar and are acidic and so can damage your toddler’s teeth. Sugar-free varieties contain artificial sweeteners and are not recommended for young children. Avoid any kind of fizzy drinks, tea and coffee.
During the toddler years and beyond, milk continues to be an important source of calcium for strong bones and teeth and also a good source of protein and energy. But now that your baby is a toddler, they do not need to drink as much milk as they did in the first year of their life, as food plays a larger role .
We recommend just 300mls per day (i.e. two small beakers) as part of a balanced diet. Drinking too much milk can supress their appetite for other important foods, making them feel full up and not eating enough food.