The Wonder Weeks Blog #4: What the BLEEP do babies know?

Logo_TheWonderWeeks_300dpiHave you ever seen the movie, What the Bleep Do We Know? If not… do so! The way they explain the basics of quantum physics is quite similar to the way I explain how babies’ brains change dramatically every so often and why they can’t perceive certain things before each change in The Wonder Weeks.

In What the Bleep Do We Know?, they explain to us that the Native Americans couldn’t perceive Columbus’ boats at the horizon. Why? Not because they had problems with their vision, but because the boats at the horizon were so very different from anything they had ever seen before.

With babies, it is a little like this, too. If their brains are not yet wired to perceive something that we adults can see, then that something isn’t there as far as the babies are concerned. Of course, there are huge differences between the Native Americans not perceiving the boats and babies being unable to perceive certain things, but the basic idea is the same.

After years of studies, we found out that babies go through 10 mental developmental leaps in their first 20 months of life, and after each leap they perceive the world around them in a totally different way. That frightens them and that is why they get fussy for a while! The bad news is that such periods are very difficult for both parents and babies and they are characterized by the three C’s: Clingy, Cranky and Crying.

And now the good news: We know exactly when these periods start, what babies are able to perceive and learn after each leap and why babies can suddenly do and understand ten times more than before each leap.

image What The BLEEPThe 10 new types or levels of perception that are given to your baby at predictable ages are arranged hierarchically. Each new higher level of perception is superimposed onto the lower levels of perception that are present already. If your baby has reached only the fifth level of perception, that level is on top. Also the peak experiences for your baby are things that we adults take for granted. Every Wonder Week leap enables your baby to perceive the world more in the way we adults do; every leap brings your baby one step closer. So, the younger your baby is, the more difficult it is for us as parents to descend to our babies’ way of looking at the world. But, it is crucial that we try. If you succeed, you can understand and better able to deal with things such as:

•           Sleeping problems

•           Cranky, Crying and Clingy phases

•           Separation anxiety

•           Temper tantrums

And so on…

The best solution to all these problems is to know and be aware of how your baby perceives the world. Basically, to Know What the Bleep Babies Know…

Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!

www.thewonderweeks.com

The Wonder Weeks: How Your Baby’s Brain Grows

Logo_TheWonderWeeks_300dpiNature is a remarkable thing.  I am sure, as new parents, you have already experienced this. But the innate abilities babies are born with never stops amazing me.

When a baby is born it is perfectly capable of sensing “what”, for example hot, cold, loud and bright, and “how much”.  A baby placed on its mother’s tummy will root around, searching for more warmth until it finds the hottest spot – the nipple.  It may take the better part of an hour but the test has been done!

The “how much” perception may even precede birth; we call it “intensity”.  The “what kind” perceptions comes a little later — we call them “sensations”.

Sometimes I am asked what I mean when we say “mental development” and “leaps in mental development” when it comes to describing what’s happening inside your baby’s head.  From a scientific perspective we mean the natural growth of the brain and entire nervous system, from a few neurons making connections in the embryo all the way to the fully functioning brain and nervous system of an adult.  Just like the various physical parts of the body, the brain grows, adds new functionality and matures.  As it does, in stages, on nature’s schedule, the cranium grows, neurons are added and successively higher perceptual functions emerge.

This is what is happening with every leap… more functionality, more skills to learn and master.

We know with indisputable certainty that all babies, no matter what, make 10 major, predictable, age-linked changes – or leaps – during their first 20 months of life.  With each leap comes a drastic change in your baby’s mental development but this development can also manifest itself as poor sleep, bad appetite, crying, clinging and crankiness.  It is hard on your baby and exhausting and frustrating for mum and dad.

Why?  Well, each leap sets the stage for the subsequent development of skills.  Suddenly your baby can think, feel, notice and understand what is happening around him in a new way.  These new, higher levels of perception begin to emerge one after the other in rapid-fire and, amazing as this is, it is also scary for the baby.  These cognitive changes can influence what the baby can do and how he behaves. That is why, before he is comfortable exploring his new abilities, a baby often cries more, is more clingy and crankier.

image_How_Your_Baby_Brain_Grows[1]You see, each stage or period of mental development described here is accompanied by an initial period of confusion as neural connections in the brain are rearranged.  To your baby, this is bewildering.  He’s taken aback — everything has changed overnight.  It is as if he has woken up on a strange planet.  In each case your baby seeks reassurance, which means “back to mama”.  Your baby will cling, cry and get cranky.  The clingy periods alert and worry you as parents, resulting in more intensive care giving and interaction with your baby.  This facilitates the new learning and helps your baby to make the leap into the new world.

When parents understand, even before these periods occur, what each of these developments mean for a baby’s understanding of the world around him and how he uses this understanding to develop the new skills he needs at each stage of his development, they can use this understanding of their baby’s developmental leaps to help him through these often confusing times in his very new life.  They will be able to understand better the way their baby is thinking and why he acts as he does at certain times. They will be able to give the right kind of help, when needed, and the right kind of environment to help him make the most of every leap in his development.

Meet Xaviera Plas-Plooij at BabyExpo Berkshire and hear more about The Wonder Weeks!

More information: www.thewonderweeks.com

STOP PRESS – new show announcement

BabyExpo Bounces into Surrey!

What’s On 4 – the organisers of the highly successful regional babyshow brand BabyExpo are delighted to announce the launch of a brand new show in baby-centric Surrey!

The show will take place on November 24 2013 and there are some very special show deals available for a limited amount of time for exhibitors attending the flagship Brighton event and new Surrey Show. Read on for more!

Why Surrey? Surrey has seen a 20% rise in birth rates over the past decade. With a resident population of 1.1 million it is the most densely populated county in the South East region with the largest sub-regional economy and had the highest Gross Disposable Household Income per head in 2010 of all the SE counties.

The organisers have had a Surrey event on the radar for several years but were waiting for a venue large enough to accommodate the show and to meet the needs of such an exciting event.

Event Director Suzanne Borrell says

‘We are delighted that we have now secured a fabulous venue in Surrey Sports Park. This University of Surrey owned multi million pound facility is ideally located close to Guildford town centre, the Royal Surrey County Hospital and the University and is on major bus routes with lots of parking – it offers a wonderful space to showcase our fantastic exhibitors and to welcome thousands of parents from the Region’.

The Park offers 2 inter-linked, highly spacious exhibiting areas on the ground level with easy buggy access and modern facilities and is already well-known to local parents and the wider community.

The show will follow the proven model of the previous highly successful BabyExpo events – welcoming over 100 exhibiting companies, VIP parenting experts, high profile sponsors, a packed entertainment programme and thousands of visitors as the BabyExpo brand continues to expand nationwide.

Need to know information

Show Date – November 24 2013

Venue –  Surrey Sports Park, Guildford, Surrey

Media Partners – ABC Magazine and kids4media.com

Organisers – What’s On 4 Ltd

Cost – £75 per metre to include carpet, shell scheme walls, fascia name, wi-fi and publicity – SPECIAL OFFER FOR BRIGHTON EXHIBITORS – for a limited time, exhibitors who sign up to both shows can get a massive 50% off the m2 rate for Surrey. This will mean exhibitors can get a stand at each event from as little as £112.50 PER SHOW!  Please note this offer is only open until April 17 2013 – to view the floorplan click here.

For more information call Mel on Direct Line: 0121 288 0102, mobile 07730 094670 or email mel@whatson4.co.uk

See more here –  www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk and here – www.surreysportspark.co.uk

RIP Guy Lewis – father to 3, husband to Hanna and Gymboree Brighton Owner and Manager……

Yesterday I had the privilege to join many others to say goodbye to Guy after his tragic and unexpected death earlier this year.

It was a beautiful, emotional service with some very moving tributes and music choices including ‘Always Look on the Bright Side of Life’ at the end, which at least made us smile – so very Guy. We were reminded in the service of many things about Guy not least his kindness, his unbounding energy and commitment to everything he did, his love and passion for his family and his continued drive to ‘seize the day’.

Guy and Gymboree at BabyExpo

This morning, like many I expect, I have woken feeling sad and a little numb having witnessed at 1st hand the pain of the parents who have lost their son and the wife and mother whose 3 tiny, beautiful children will grow up without their lovely dad. I can only imagine how they are coping.

I first met Guy about 7 years ago – I was new to the area, a very new mum and a bit of a disaster really. Motherhood had not panned out quite as I had planned – I seemed to spend my days as a sleep deprived zombie, often covered in sick, I was incredibly lonely and felt a failure on all counts. Then I signed up to Gymboree and suddenly I could start to see some light. Guy would greet you with a massive smile or a hug, little ones were enchanted by him and when we first met I couldn’t believe he didn’t yet have children of his own such was his rapport with the whole class. As with many kids’ activities, I met other mums and made friends, we had a purpose to our day (even if it did take 2 hours to get out of the house) and George loved the classes – he came home stimulated yet sleepy (yay) and he loved meeting the other babies and toddlers. Guy’s warmth radiated and the classes were an oasis and we grew alongside Gymboree.

Gymboree at BabyExpo

Yesterday there was a mention of the thousands of parents who had come into contact with Guy over the 8+ years he ran Gymboree and I hope he knew how important he was. I now know many mums felt the same as me in those early stages of baby and toddlerhood and such classes DO become a lifeline.

BabyExpo is hosting the What’s On 4 Junior awards with Konfidence this year – these awards reward and celebrate the very best activity providers and as always I am so moved by some of the testimonials from nominating parents paying tribute to those class leaders who made such a difference to their and their child’s lives and development.

So, if your lives were enhanced by a fabulous activity, community volunteer, party entertainer or class do make sure you nominate them in the What’s On 4 Junior Awards – just click here – there’s a category for everyone from ‘Best pre/post natal’ to ‘Best after school club’ and you could win 2 tickets to join us at BabyExpo for the champagne awards on June 30.

There’s just a month until nominations close so seize the day and do it now ;-)

Guy on the main stage at BabyExpo with Lucy Piper, Jo Tantum and Phil Gallagher from Cbeebies Mister Maker

I am delighted that Guy’s legacy will live on in Brighton with Gymboree continuing to run under the care of widow Hanna and class leader Bobby and you can see them at BabyExpo on June 30 alongside further Headline Sponsors Sing & Sign, Water Babies and Busy Bees. Guy will be there too in his own way I am sure.

BIG Babyexpo welcome to Water Babies – our final headline sponsor for June!

Happy New Year!

We are delighted that along with the fabulous Gymboree, Sing & Sign and Busy Bees our final headline sponsor for Expo Brighton 2013 is Water Babies!

 

Water Babies runs fun, innovative baby swimming classes across Sussex.  Our fully qualified instructors are world class and could have trained as private pilots – three times over – in the time it takes them to qualify with us.  With a multi-award winning programme which teaches vital water confidence and safety skills from birth, our overall aim is to teach you to teach your baby to swim. So we’ll always explain why we’re doing everything, as well as carefully demonstrate exactly what to do.

Through carefully structured training, babies can be taught life saving skills such as turning onto their backs or, following a sudden submersion, swimming to the nearest solid object. They grow familiar with what it feels like to fall into water, so that should they ever accidentally fall in they are far less likely to panic and drown. And our results speak for themselves.  In the last three years alone, at least ten of our tiny clients have saved their own lives as a result of the skills they learnt at Water Babies – and five of them were just two years old at the time.

Water Babies classes run 7 days a week across Sussex and the surrounding area.  For further details please call 01273 552454, email bubbles@waterbabies.co.uk or visit www.waterbabies.co.uk .

Relax, move and breathe for a healthier pregnancy and easier labour!

Lazy Daisy offers Pregnancy and Baby classes inspired by movement, massage and relaxation.

For mums-to-be, Daisy Birthing’s unique active birth education is designed to make confident birth 2nd nature, whilst Daisy Baby classes help you understand how to use massage and calming techniques to soothe your new baby.

You probably know that breathing, movement and relaxation all have benefits in both pregnancy and labour, but some of these may surprise you …

Relaxation

During pregnancy, being relaxed helps to keep blood pressure low, encourages the release of endorphins and enables you to physically relax your ligaments, muscles and skeleton.

Relaxation also helps to keep adrenalin levels low. This is essential during labour because adrenalin sends your body into fight or flight, which causes the diversion of blood to the organs essential for survival and therefore away from your uterus. This limits its supply of oxygen, inhibiting the uterine muscle from working effectively and making birthing much more difficult.

Adrenalin also inhibits the production of both oxytocin (your contraction hormone), which can cause labour to stall and of endorphins (your natural pain relieving hormones – 200 times the strength of morphine!).

Movement

Movement helps to strengthen key muscles in your body. This helps prepare your body to carry the growing weight of your baby as well as being physically prepared for labour.

During pregnancy movement can be used effectively to influence your baby’s position bringing them into the optimal birth position. In labour, by utilising upright positions and movements which enable your body to engage with gravity, you can encourage dilation of your cervix and help keep your contractions regular so you birth as efficiently as possible.

Breathing

Breathing oxygenates your blood, which then carries that oxygen to the structures in your body that require it to function effectively. During pregnancy that oxygen is, importantly, carried to the placenta and your baby. During labour, it is important to continue that flow of oxygen to baby, but it’s also essential to oxygenate the key birthing muscle – your uterus. When muscles are well oxygenated they work easily, tire less quickly and feel comfortable!

here we go……

baby show venue
baby show venue

BabyExpoUK are delighted to announce the launch of a new
2 day Baby Show to take place this September 29 & 30 at thecentre:mk Milton Keynes!

To visit the new website and watch film testimonials from
last year’s clients see here http://www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk
thecentre:mk offers a fabulous nearly 2000 m2 of ‘blank
canvas’ exhibition space, all on one level, in one, very central high profile
location and exhibitors are already booking fast – Click here for the floorplan
www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk/floorplan
As a shopping centre, the facility is already set up for huge visitor numbers
in terms of parking, restaurant facilities, award-winning baby change/breast
feeding areas, accessibility and superb signage in the surrounding areas and
within. With significant numbers of young families choosing this Region to set
up home, thecentre:mk offers very ‘friendly family facilities’ to include
buggies, rein hire and ID wristbands not to mention ‘Kiddy Cars’ rental! All of
which make an organiser’s life less challenging and enable us to focus on the
content of the event.
There will be no entrance charge for the general public but
there will be a ‘Privilege Shoppers’ opening hour on both days where those VERY
keen visitors can access the event 1st. They will be badged
accordingly so exhibitors can spot them throughout the day.
Price per m2 for this 2 day event is currently
£77 per metre + VAT but this is the Early Bird rate and only valid for a short
while. To take advantage of this special price deal and the very best pitches, exhibitors
should reserve their space now at http://www.babyexpobabyshow.co.uk/exhibiting/babyexpo-contract-form-for-exhibitors

Phil Gallagher from CBeebies Mister Maker and diddi dance get Brighton rockin’!

Phil Gallagher from CBeebies Mister Maker and diddi dance get Brighton rockin’!

Diddi dance joined by Mister Maker star Phil Gallagher at the south coasts premiere baby event

On Sunday 13th November 2011, diddi dance owner Anne-Marie Martin, Croydon Franchise owner, Melissa Lodge and Brighton Franchise owner Laura Gardner went to the seaside to perform live on stage with Phil Gallagher, CBeebies creative king, AKA Mister Maker!

A massive crowd of 4500 people from 23 different counties came to the event which diddi dance was very proud to be headline sponsors of.

With everything on offer from pushchairs to nappy cakes, the Brighton baby expo had a huge number of attractions but it was diddi dance that stole the show with the performance of the weekend.

Nearly 100 children joined in as the diddi dance team, Mister Makers Phil Gallagher AND Number Jack 4 wiggled, jiggled and jumped their way through a brilliant diddi dance session. Diddi dance were also on show in a prime location in the main hall. New Mums and Dads flocked to the diddi dance stand to hear the word about diddi dance classes, nurseries and parties in their part of the UK.

Franchise Director, Arabella Gunn was also on hand to talk to a number of visitors who were keen to find out more about setting up their own diddi dance business.

A rip roaring success of a weekend for everyone ended with hundreds of new diddi dancers going home happy, thousands of new mums and dads seeing and experiencing diddi dance for themselves and one CBeebies star having being made an honorary diddi dancer!

 

 

 

Coming out the other side…..

BabyExpo on November 13 was our best yet – highest footfall, greatest number of exhibitors and a really inspiring programme of activities and entertainment – from conception to colic and tons for the kids.

Every year I say I am going to try and streamline the programme & make it more managable & every year I get carried away – this year we had a record 5 ‘extra’ areas ranging from the new Parent’s Pit Stop Zone with Mayo Wynne Baxter to the JUNO Natural Parenting Zone.

We were delighted to welcome the wonderful Phil Gallagher from Cbeebies and Jo Tantum, the UK’s no 1 babysleep expert as well as Headline Sponsors NCT, diddi dance, Early Years Childcare, Sing and Sign and Yummy Mummy Maternity. Thank goodness BabyExpo is now part of the lovely ‘What’s On 4’ family meaning I had fantastic support from business partner Sam, sales manager Mel, Zena, Susanne, a great team of volunteers, various husbands, best friends and older children but still none of us stopped all day!

The event feedback has been amazing but I have to pay tribute to our exhibitors. Not only do they have faith in us and invest in the event in these difficult economic times, but many go out of their way to assist us in the promotion both professionally – emailing their clients and contacts and personally – taking fliers into their children’s nurseries, placing event information on various intranets, putting poster in their local libraries etc.

BABYEXPO is a partnership and we work hand in hand with our clients to achieve its success. We always learn from every event – ironically some of our harshest criticism this year has been that too many people attended – having been at some other events where just a few hundred visitors came we know there are worse problems to have HOWEVER we will work on the layout and stand design to assist this and are already in discussions to this end.

As usual the post-show blues have set in but am already excited about the next show and a new show we will hopefully be announcing in a few weeks! I really hope you will join us! To read some of our feedback click here and to see more from on the day from the BrightonMums click here

Producing successful exhibitions is not rocket science. They are the result of A LOT of very hard work, luck, experience and a fair bit of charm.  The satisfaction however of combining keen buyers with wonderful sellers under one roof for one day and watching 9+ months work come together is enormous.

 

 

 

Hello Baby Gifts Ltd – towering nappy cake!

Here at ‘Hello Baby Gifts’ it’s all go, go, go in readiness for Sundays’ Baby Expo. Not only are we busy rolling, folding and making up baby gifts for our stall, we’ve also got a competition in the main reception!

Way back in July we had an idea that we’d like to make a 7/8 tiered nappy cake (the average size is 2/3 tiers) and run it as a guess how many nappies are in it competition with all proceeds going to Chestnut Tree House. Everyone loved the idea and we were asked to run the competition in the main reception area.

The massive cake has now been assembled, with nappies donated by ‘Huggies’, and looks stunning. Our next challenge will be getting it to Brighton in a Ford Fiesta!

Our stall will be a haven of gorgeousness with Nappy Cakes, Nappy Rings, Gift Boxes and Bassinet Baskets all adorned with plenty of bows, buttons and flowers! We will also have lots of Onesie Buns (bodysuits rolled up to look like cupcakes) and our new Giant Cupcakes. We’ve also got some really cute Xmas outfits and Xmas Nappy Rings

Come and say hello, we’re on stall 132 or have a go at guessing how many nappies are in the cake…. You never know, you may be lucky and win the lot!!

Look forward to seeing you there

Nikki O’Connor

Hello Baby Gifts Ltd.