Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Top Tips for Keeping Babies and Children Cool in Hot Weather

baby-sleep-coolBabies and young children should be watched carefully during hot weather. They can quickly lose body fluids through perspiring, which can lead to dehydration. They need to drink regularly, wear light clothing and be kept cool.

Babies and young children may not show early signs and symptoms of the effects of heat. They may just look unwell or be more irritable than usual. Babies may seem floppy, have drier skin, and refuse to drink, or have fewer wet nappies than usual. The soft spot on top of a baby’s head (fontanelle) may also be lower than usual.

Top tips for keeping your little one cool

When keeping your baby or young child cool during a heat wave, it’s important to remember that their bodies aren’t the same as older children or adults and react to heat differently.

  • Dress your baby or young child in light, loose clothing such as a vest and nappy, or loose top.
  • Regularly bath them in lukewarm – not cool or cold – water. If your child resists having a bath, wipe them down with a sponge or muslin dipped in lukewarm water.
  • When putting your baby or child down for a nap, choose the coolest place in the house. Make sure the cot is clear of bumpers or blankets so air can circulate through. Never leave babies to sleep in a pram as they may overheat.
  • If you have a fan, direct it towards the centre of the room to keep the air circulating, not directly at your baby or child.
  • If you have an air conditioner, try to keep the room your child is sleeping in around 18C – 20C so they don’t get too cold.
  • If you do not have a fan or air conditioner, you can cover your baby’s or toddler’s body with cool damp cloths or muslins. You can also place wrung out wet towels or sheets around the cot to cool the air near them. Check on your baby regularly to make sure they are not getting too cold.

Eating and drinking

Keeping your child hydrated is one of the most important things you can do during a period of intense heat. Young children and babies in particular, are not able to tell you they are thirsty, so it is important to make sure they are getting enough to drink. If you wait until your child is thirsty it is too late, he is already dehydrated! Get your kids drinking before thirst develops and consume additional fluids even after thirst is quenched.

    • Breastfeeding mums don’t need to give very young babies extra water during a heatwave as the breast milk provides their babies with all they need, although mums should make sure they drink plenty of fluids.
    • If your child also consumes other food, you can give them small amounts of cooled boiled water between feeds.
    • Bottle-fed babies may need extra formula or small amounts of cooled boiled water if they seem thirsty.
    • Make sure your child has regular drinks throughout the day, such as water or at worst, fruit juice. Avoid giving sugary or fizzy drinks. They can actually dehydrate them further!
  • If they’re over 6 months old and get bored with water, try giving them a combination of very diluted fruit juice, frozen fruit pieces (orange quarters, watermelon) for them to suck on and homemade dilute fruit juice lollies throughout the day. For older children, plenty of fruit and salad will also help keep their fluid levels up.

How to keep cool when travelling

Ideally, it’s best to avoid taking your baby or toddler out during periods of intense heat as babies and young children can overheat very quickly, particularly in cars. Even during cooler days, cars can heat up to dangerously high temperatures very quickly. However, if you have to take your baby or child out:

  • Try to make trips during the coolest part of the day.
  • Never cover a baby seat in a car with a rug or towel to shade from the sun as this will restrict air moving around the baby, which will make them hotter.
  • Use sunshades on windows. Use a muslin, towel or stick on shade screen to cover the window next to your baby or toddler so the sun doesn’t shine directly on them through the window.
  • Never leave babies or young children alone in a car, no matter what the weather (even in mild weather cars quickly become too hot for small children).
  • Don’t leave babies to sleep in a pram in hot weather – prams can be hot and airless; make sure air can circulate around your baby.

How to keep cool at night

  • If possible choose the coolest place in the house.
  • Keep bedrooms cool throughout the day by closing blinds or curtains. Turn a room fan on before bedtime. A fan can be left on all night – but well out of reach and never pointed directly at the cot or bed.
  • Open windows in several rooms to create a through breeze.
  • Give them a tepid bath, or sponge bath, before bed and let them air dry while lying on a towel so the evaporation of the water will cool their skin down.
  • Make sure the cot is clear of bumpers or blankets so air can circulate through.
  • Hanging wrung out wet towels over chairs or windows cools the air.
  • Cover waterproof sheets with several layers of cotton sheets to absorb perspiration.
  • Remove unnecessary bedding and opt for a cool muslin sleeping bag.
  • If your baby is still hot let them sleep in a vest and nappy, or even just a nappy.
  • A nursery thermometer will help you monitor the temperature of your baby’s room. Your baby will sleep most comfortably when their room is between 16C (61F) and 20C (68F).
  • Remember that the air temperature usually cools during the night. To find out if your baby is at a comfortable temperature – not too hot, not too cold – put your hand to the back of his neck. This will give you an accurate feeling of how warm or cold the rest of their body is, because it is near the core. Arms and legs don’t give an indication of baby’s internal temperature, rather giving a reflection of the external air’s temperature.

Sick babies and children need special care in hot weather

Even with minor illnesses, such as colds or gastroenteritis, babies and small children need special care in hot weather. These illnesses often lead to a slight rise in temperature by themselves, but in hot weather this could lead to dehydration.

Frequent breastfeeding and extra drinks are important if your baby is ill. To cool a baby’s or a child’s hot body, try frequent lukewarm baths – NEVER cold – or sponge your baby or child down. Seek help if there is no improvement or if you are worried.

https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/childrens-health/how-can-i-keep-my-baby-safe-during-hot-weather/

Cradle Cap

cradle-cap

What is cradle cap

If your baby’s scalp has flaky, dry skin that looks like dandruff, or thick, oily, yellowish / brown crusty patches, it’s probably cradle cap. Cradle cap is a skin condition that is very common. It might not be beautiful, but it is harmless and it’s not itchy and won’t cause your baby any discomfort and it isn’t contagious.

What causes cradle cap?

Cradle cap is not caused by poor hygiene or an allergy. It’s thought that it happens as a result of hormones left in your baby’s body from pregnancy. These stimulate secretions from the oil glands in the skin, making the dead skin cells, which normally fall off without us noticing, stick to the scalp. The secretions tend to reduce in the weeks and months after birth, which is why the condition usually clears up on its own a few weeks or months after birth.

Other thoughts are that it is caused by a reaction to a yeast called malassezia which occurs naturally on the skin.

Your baby may be inclined to have cradle cap if there is a family history of allergic conditions, such as eczema.

When does it occur?

Cradle cap most commonly occurs in the first few months and usually clears up of its own in about six to 12 months – although some children have it for longer. Older children up to toddler age can get it, too.

Cradle cap can also appear on baby’s face, ears and neck, and around the nappy area, armpits and behind the knees, although this is rare. It’s the same condition, but here it’s called seborrhoeic eczema (dermatitis) rather than cradle cap.

How can I treat my baby’s cradle cap?

For mild cradle cap, time is often the best treatment, as many children get better on their own by the time they are about a year old.

We left cradle cap to clear naturally in our little ones, and it eventually did just that.

The scales start to become flaky and come off easily, often with a few strands of hair attached, but the hair soon grows back.

However, if you want to try and treat it, never be tempted to scratch or pick at the crust because this could lead to infection.

While your baby has cradle cap, there are some ways to gently remove the scales:

  • Gently massage a mild baby oil into your baby’s scalp. If you want to, you can leave the oil on overnight, and then carefully and gently brush off the softened flakes in the morning with a soft baby brush or towel. Clean the remaining oil off by shampooing with a mild baby shampoo.
  • Stronger shampoos are available in pharmacies, but you probably won’t need them. If you do decide to use a stronger shampoo, make sure you read the instructions first and keep it out of your baby’s eyes.

Should I take my baby to the doctor if he has cradle cap?

There is usually no need to see your GP if your baby has cradle cap. However, you may want to ask them for advice if your baby’s cradle cap starts to look red and swollen as this could mean it is infected, or if the cradle cap spreads to your little one’s face or body. Your doctor can prescribe an antifungal cream or shampoo.

little-green-radicals-scalp-oil  martina-gebhardt-calendula-body-oil

weleda-calendula-shampoo-body-wash weleda-calendula-body-oil

 

www.nhs.uk/conditions/cradle-cap

Crafted wooden toys, made with Love

When we are looking for new products to bring to Ulula, we use our heads and our hearts equally, in the belief that if both are in agreement, we feel that we have found the right product!

When we started looking to expand our range of toys, our hours of buying and trying led us to Hohenfried.

In this modern world, Hohenfried Heimat feels to us a real gem in our midst. Hohenfried is an open community of learning for disabled adults and children, providing sheltered accommodation, schools, and employment in organic agriculture, craft workshops, carpentry, gourmet kitchens, and bakeries. Hohenfried is not simply a ‘place’. It is a home; a field of learning, a gathering of people, wildlife and most importantly of all, purpose.

Sitting in the Bavarian Alps, the landscape alternates between woodlands and meadows with flowing transitions between nature and the areas of living and working.

For Ulula, the wooden rattles that came to our attention made us fall in love! The rattles are made in the community workshops, and are made entirely of local timber, cut mostly (and sustainably) from trees grown in the communities own grounds; the toys are beautifully machined, and finished only using pure vegetable oils.

The various rattles or greifling (clutching) toys are handmade to the renowned carpenter, pedagogue, and educational theorist Hugo Kükelhaus’s original 1930s ‘allbedeut’ designs. Kükelhaus was a well-known German architect, educator and environmentalist, who designed a range of special baby toys which promote sensory, motor skills and the imagination.

Hohenfried Dreilochring Rattle
This beautiful, chunky, handmade wooden rattle, containing two balls of beechwood securely enclosed within an outer ring of strong cherry wood, makes a lovely, gentle sound when shaken. The silky, smooth surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. A quality rattle, made with love, that is certain to become an heirloom. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

Hohenfried Kugel Rattle

This handmade wooden ball rattle is made of pear tree wood with an inner ball of hard cherry wood. The ridged, textured surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

“My mum had a rattle just like this, and as soon as she saw it at Ulula she had to get it for my little one – it already feels like an heirloom because of the familiarity, and my LO loves it so much x” Johanna

Hohenfried Urfisch Rattle
This fun, eternally classic, quality handmade wooden rattle contains a wooden inner ball which makes a pleasing sound when shaken. The multi-textured surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. A delightful rattle, beautifully made with love, that is certain to become an heirloom. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

 

Hohenfried Greifling Rattle
This lovingly handmade wooden ring rattle contains a central bar holding three loose disks which make a lovely sound when shaken. The silky, smooth surface is finished with a natural oil so you can rest assured it is safe for little mouths, and the size is perfect for little hands to grab, hold, explore and shake. Comes packaged in an unbleached cotton drawstring bag.

“Love this so much – it is so beautiful to hold, and just brilliant for my son – he is teething, and he loves a good gnaw!!” Anna

 

Making family traditions – celebrating Martinmas together

lantern-walkBefore our little ones came along, we’d best confess that Martinmas wasn’t a part of our lives, but being invited to be a part of first the story, and then the singing as we strode out on our Lantern Walk at their kindi that first November was wonderful! We discovered this amazing opportunity to be together under the stars, singing with our lanterns. How fabulous!

It has now become a family tradition for us to celebrate this special day – we sometimes make new lanterns, and sometimes we use last year’s… we always make sure we have one each of course! The anticipation of waiting for dusk to fall and getting our wellies on to walk is wonderful!

Sometimes we walk as an extended family group, and one year when ill health restricted how far we could go, there were just the two of us and we wandered along the pavement beside our home singing away together!lantern-walk-drawing

We had never made a relationship with what Martinmas actually is, but have enjoyed enormously learning about it for this blog! Martinmas is on November 11th, and is a wonderful festival.  “This day celebrates the burial of St Martin of Tours (316-397 AD) who devoted much of his life to establishing Christianity in France, and became one of her patron saints.”*

Many of you will perhaps know the story he was most famous for – that of meeting a poor beggar at the city gate, who was shivering in the cold.  Martin drew his sword and cut his own cloak in two and gave one half to the beggar.  Legend has it that Christ appeared to Martin in a dream the following night dressed in the piece of cloak Martin had cut.

“Martin’s half cloak brought hope and comfort to the beggar – his compassionate gesture may warm us also, and protect us from wintry despair.”*

gnomes-with-lanterns

To celebrate Martinmas, we carry lanterns, walking together, singing, as a symbol of the small light we can shine into the dark wintery world. When we make our paper lanterns, we are making a protection for the flame that joined us and began to shine for us at Michaelmas. Our lantern light may be only one small, fragile light, but each and every light “brings relief to the darkness”*.

Here are our own two favourite Lantern Walk Songs:

dsc08945I go outside with my lantern: A Lantern Walk Song
I go outside with my lantern, my lantern goes with me.
Above the stars are shining bright, down here on Earth shine we.
The cock does crow, the cat meows, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

I go outside with my lantern, my lantern goes with me.
Above the stars are shining bright, down here on Earth shine we.
So shine your light through the still dark night, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom
‘Neath heaven’s dome till we go home, la bimmel, la bammel, la boom.

Glimmer, lantern, glimmer: A Lantern Walk Songdsc08957
Glimmer, lantern, glimmer.
Little stars a-shimmer.
Over meadow, moor and dale.
Flitter, flutter, elfin veil.
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tikka-tikka-tik.
Rucoo, rucoo.

Glimmer, lantern, glimmer.
Little stars a-shimmer.
Over rock and stock and stone.
Wandering, skipping, little gnome.
Pee-wit, pee-wit, tikka-tikka-tik.
Rucoo, rucoo.

lanternIf you want to learn the tunes, there are wonderful video clips here:
http://astorytellingofcrows.blogspot.co.uk/search/label/lantern%20walk%20songs

A beautiful story which could be told through perhaps a puppet show or simply by being told to listening ears before your lantern walk can be found here:
http://www.waldorflibrary.org/images/stories/Journal_Articles/GW3808.pdf

All Year Round includes instructions and patterns for three different lanterns, or these sites also have wonderful suggestions for your family lanterns: http://lusaorganics.typepad.com/clean/2011/10/how-to-make-paper-lanterns.html

Which ever songs you sing, and wherever your lantern walk takes you, have a very happy Martinmas!

*All Year Round: Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, Marije Rowling

Making family traditions – celebrating Bonfire Night together

“Remember remember the fifth of November,bonfire
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot.” Anon

The sorry-old-tale of the plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament  in 1605 has been well preserved in our British folklore. It is fun to find ourselves teaching our little ones the poem, and sharing how we celebrated this day when we were little – because each family has their own way to celebrate together, and we share these ‘traditions’ when we share our memories.

This celebration also gives us a wonderful reason for a family bonfire and the sparkles of fireworks that brighten the night sky. The perfect time for us to say together this wonderful poem:

Fireworks Nightfirework
Who is drawing pictures on the black night sky?
Swirls of red and yellow up so high, so high?
Noisy cracks and bangs make the babies cry.
Who is drawing pictures on the black night sky?
 Julie Tonkin

 

The ritual of a ‘celebration fire’ actually stems back of course from pagan times – the key moments of the year such as the transitional moments of spring and autumn were celebrated with a fire, and even now, most of us love the occasion of a bonfire – flames can be so mesmerising and heartening to watch, and of course, making the bonfire is such a special act for the whole family to be a part of. A favourite song of ours to sing when we are making is bonfire is:

Heave and heave-ho**bonfire

Dray the branches to the heap,
To the heap, to the heap.
Drag the branches to the heap,
Heave and heave-ho.

Pile them high and stack them steep,
Stack them steep, stack them steep.
Pile them high and stack them steep,
Heave and heave-ho.

Pack the spaces strong and firm,
Strong and firm, strong and firm.
Pack the spaces strong and firm,
Heave and heave-ho.

Stand well back, it’s time to burn,
Time to burn, time to burn.
Stand well back, it’s time to burn,
Heave and heave-ho.

When we were little, in our family, we would enbaked-potsjoy the bonfire, the sparks, the flames, dancing fire fairies, and of course, the being out late!! Then our parents would cook baked potatoes in the embers, wrapped in tin foil – delicious!

Bonfires are a wonderful opportunity for little ones to ‘stay up late’ – and this time with permission! To be out under the night sky is very special, able to gaze at the stars above, and enjoy the fire fairies amongst the flames of the fire.

And, of course, it doesn’t have to be a large the-gnomes-around-the-bonfirebonfire.

A small fire for your family of gnomes is perfect, especially if together you have been gathering collecting-for-autumntreasures collected in your garden and on your autumn walks, which can be brought together to create a wonderful way to celebrate the end of Autumn; A Gnomes’ bonfire party*!

To create a Gnomes’ Bonfire Party “prepare a small fire… and allow it to establish a good bed of hot embers. waiting-for-the-conker-to-pop

Seat all the Autumn Garden gnomes comfortably at a suitable distance from the fire and then gather every pod, leaf, cone and other scrap from the Autumn Garden that the gnomes have not been able to use, and feed them into the fire one by one.

They will each burn in an individual way – some with a bright flare, some with a crackle, some with a shower of golden sparks. (Chestnuts and acorns that have not been pierced with a knife may explode, so be sure the fire is guarded.) Take time to enjoy each ‘firework’, but leave the pine cones until last – if the conditions are right and they are undisturbed, they might turn to gold before your very eyes!”

And for the Gnomes?? Perhaps a feast as a rcakeeward for all their hard work…

 

…but be quick! It will soon be gone!its-going-fast

 

 

 

 

bonfire-gnome

 

However you celebrate this night together, happy Bonfire Night!

 

 

 

 

*All Year Round: Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, Marije Rowling   ** Julie Tonkin, and Candy Verney – adapted from a traditional song

Making family traditions – celebrating Halloween together

Once September has passed, and we are heading towards Halloween, it is so easy to feel that the colder, dark days are dragging us down into our own forthlbtu9xywm of sleepy hibernation – the warm cosy bed in the morning is always harder to leave in October, and is Halloween really anything that we can celebrate as a family together anyway?

It was wonderful to discover through our reading that Halloween is also the Eve of Samhain, a pagan celebration of the New Year – an especially significant time, the Earth Goddess pictured as the Old Wise Woman who stands at the dying of the old year, on the threshold of the new*. What a wonderful re-frame of our year. No more might we feel that the winter is the last season of the year, and time to ‘survive’ until the spring, or that Halloween is something to avoid.

Perhaps then the trick is the sense we have grown up with that Halloween becoming something of a commercialised moment in the year, and the treat is that it is actually our doorway through to wonder and delight of what is to come!

Despite the costumes and frightening masks in the shops, marking the day Halloween does give us a moment in time to look towards, and prepare for, because even when your little ones are tiny, starting your family traditions – forming them, creating them, allowing them to develop around and for your family are all very wonderful exciting times.

Pumpkin carving is as simply or elaborate as your carving skills can make it; bringing the light into your home amongst the dark and cold eautumnleavespumpkincarvingpatternvening is a very special, meditative craft that you can do together as a family, or when the children as a little younger, you can make the magic appear. Allowing those pumpkins to shine out in the cold evening is a wonderful beacon.

When my little one was still only one, we carved our pumpkin and lit it on our nature table in our sitting room, and as she came in from the kitchen the sense of wonder and delight was so gratifying. She couldn’t have been more amazed, and we couldn’t have felt more pleased!

Halloween is a perfect time for a family story around the lit pumpkin. There is a wonderful story about The Little Hobgoblin: A Halloween Story: http://www.waldorfhomeschoolers.com/the-little-hobgoblin

Cooking together to make biscuits cut and iced into the shape of pumpkins or making a pumpkin soup out of the inside of your carved pumpkin are both activities that you can do together to allow the moment to be recognised and celebrated. It is a special day, and can be acknowledged in such small ways, but your little ones, they notice the feelings, and it becomes something they look forward to, year after year – however old and sophisticated they become!

It is always wonderful to focus on the animals and plants at this time of year too – noticing the squirrel tucking away the nuts for her long winter, and the leaves changing colour. There are things to notice in the garden too – seeing the garden plants fold back down into the earth; raking up the leaves for the compost heap. To us these are chores perhaps, but for our little ones, who remind us really of the wonder of life, these acts, these ‘jobs’, help us notice and appreciate the passing of the year, and the rhythms of our world around us.

The story of the enormous Turnip is always wonderful to tell as a story or as a puppet show, and even to perform together. We have always rather felt that if they had only asked the gnomes if they might pull the turnip, it would have been a lot easier… but then, ease is not the point of the story! http://www.outoftheark.co.uk/ext/pdfs/ET%20script%20for%20easy-reading.pdf

There are so manthe-root-children-1y wonderful stories, poems and songs to tell and share as we notice the leaves crunching under our feet, or when we think about the gnomes and ‘root children’ who carry the flowers, animals and seeds back to mother earth, to care for them until the earth is warm enough again for them. If you don’t know Sibylle Von Olfers Story, it is a wonderfthe-root-childrenul book, and she is a wonderful author.  https://www.florisbooks.co.uk/book/Sibylle-von-Olfers/Story+of+the+Root+Children/9780863151064

*All Year Round: Ann Druitt, Christine Fynes-Clinton, Marije Rowling

However you and your family mark this day, happy planning, and happy new year 😉

Heartbleed Bug Advice from Ulula Baby Food

Ulula & Worldpay Not Effected by Heartbleed Bug
Heartbleed bug logAs you may have heard in the news, a vulnerability, which the media are calling the “Heartbleed Bug”, was discovered this week in a piece of software that is used across much of the internet. I have checked with both our web developer and hosting provider as well as our secure payment processor and can assure Ulula customers that we have not been effected by this potential security risk.

The Ulula website site itself has never used the module in question and from our very earliest days we decided not to process payments on the Ulula website itself. Worldpay, as a leading payment processor, has an extensive dedicated security team to keep your sensitive data far safer than we could hope to do in-house. I am assured that Worldpay have not and does not use the effected module and that all systems are continually checked for potential vulnerabilities. All systems are working safely and you can buy your baby’s food with confidence.