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We’re celebrating with Bigjigs toys

January 17, 2013

Jules is back from Maternity Leave! So we are celebrating with a Bigjiys Toys giveaway…

WIN Bigjigs toys with AmoraliaWith Baby Sacha recently celebrating his first birthday, Amoralia‘s founder Jules has been looking at new toys, what SHOULD he be playing with at 12 months, and how can these toys provide the foundation for the development of his future learning and still be fun! (and giving Mummy Jules time to get dressed in peace!)

With Bigjigs Toys all over the press this month, following a really fun exchange of letters with the Department of Transport (see image left, to read more on this click here ) we asked George Poole if he could recommend some suitable toys for Baby Sacha for 12-18 months; read on for George’s recommendations!Amoralia Bigjigs letter

George WRITES:

A first birthday is such a milestone! Congratulations baby Sacha!
Many babies learn to walk around 12-14 months, so I’m sure he is getting more mobile, and finding ways to communicate with adults, by mimicking his parents and even perhaps using limited sign language? Exciting times!

Research has shown how these first few years of their lives are so important so do take advantage of his eagerness to learn; watch how he plays, thinks, and problem-solves, as his little brain develops – playing with your children stimulates their curiousity and senses, and that interest in learning too.

Bigjigs toys have such a wide range of toys suitable for just this age, which will engage a one year old, and help them to learn – Your soon-to-be One Year Old will most definitely enjoy investigating shape sorters such as the Rolling Activity Centre; He’ll love the moving bead feature on the Farm Pullalong, encouraging his delicate finger movement, as he learns how one bead must be moved for the rest to follow on. Also, the classic Alphabet Brick for building, knocking down, again and again!

For a chance to WIN a Bigjigs Toys Rolling Activity Centre and a Sort-Shaper, visit our competition page by clicking here.

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Baby Shower gift ideas for baby

January 9, 2013

With our lovely Director Jules due back at Amoralia after having Baby Sacha last year, and a good friend of Amoralia’s about to go on maternity leave, we asked Jules to tell us her favourite and most useful baby gifts – for that ever popular Baby Shower!

So here’s a selection of affordable gifts, which any mama (and daddy) would love to receive and cherish.Baby Shower Gifts for Baby

1) A retro soft toy, great as they learn to read (much later on!) Alphabet sausage dog by the wonderful JaneFoster.co.uk

2) Selection of indestructible cardboard books, our favourites are HUG by Jez Alborough, and that’s not my Puppy! by Fiona Watt, Rachel Wells

3) Sophie the Giraffe, BPA-free and a ‘must-have’ for teething and distracting – BabyRug.co.uk

4) Rolling shape sorter, environmentally friendly, educational and suitably noisy!  shop.bigjigstoys.co.uk

5) A comfort blanket, made in the UK  – we know you love them, a classic from Raggy-Tag.com

6) A money box – retro 1970’s elephant, from Norsu in Finland perfect for those first savings, not a toy at this stage though! from molly-meg.co.uk

7) High contrast black and white faces mobile, as seen in Peaches Geldof’s bedroom! socialbaby.com

8) We love a bit of crochet…. Adorable Octopus – and it’s Fairtrade from littlehathi.co.uk

9) No baby’s wardrobe is complete without a pair of English-made little leather shoes from daisy-roots.com

10) Eco-friendly beakers and plates – they won’t break when pushed off the table! (don’t panic, weaning is fun) becothings.com

11) Classic babygrow with neutral grey trim from amoralia.com

12) Soft organic receiving blanket from aravore.com

Let us know what we’ve missed… post your ideas here or on facebook or twitter, and we’ll add them to our Pinterest Board here.

Hyperemesis Gravidarum – alleviating the symptoms

December 6, 2012
With the exciting news that the Duchess of Cambridge is expecting her first baby, came the distressing headlines about her suffering from Hyperemesis Gravidarum.

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?

Morning sickness is quite common amongst pregnant women. Fortunately, for the majority it’s a temporary and minor problem. For others, though, sickness can occur at any time of the day or night and may continue throughout the entire course of the pregnancy.

For women, as with Kate Middleton, with hyperemesis gravidarum, the problem is even worse – and potentially can be quite dangerous. The vomiting is so severe that no food or liquid can be kept down, leading to shocking weight loss and possible hospitalisation.

Unlike morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum does usually persist past the first trimester (third) of pregnancy. It typically subsides by week 21 of pregnancy, but can last much longer.

Stephanie James OsteopathWe asked Stephanie James (pictured right), a Registered Osteopath, and friend of Amoralia, if Osteopathy can help Kate Middleton during her pregnancy?
Stephanie writes:

Osteopathy can help with the symptoms of the Hyperemesis Gravidarum. As experts we believe that hyperemesis gravidarum during pregnancy can be positively influenced with osteopathic treatment. Since each treatment is tailored to each individual needs, there is not one “magic” recipe, but a few common approaches that could help alleviating some of the symptoms. The whole body would be examined and looked at.  Some example of areas that we would address in such case are:

– Stomach: the organ itself but also its innervation (around the thoracic spine 6 to 9 but also from one of the brain part)

– The “vomiting centre” is located at the base of the 4th ventricle in the brain and can be influenced by gentle cranial osteopathic techniques

– Dehydration: vomiting depletes the body tissues from water.   Connective tissues, membranes are irrigated through cranial osteopathic techniques

– Breathing :  mums-to-be can be stressed and  their breathing impaired with the growing foetus.  A gentle work around the diaphragm as well as around the cervical spine would also be included in the treatment. Such release technique would also be beneficial for equalising the problem of difference of  pressure between the thoracic and abdominal cavities that  can accentuate the symptoms of nausea and vomiting.

–          – Shock of the tissues due to regular violent bursts of vomiting episodes: gentle techniques around  the sympathetic and parasympathics systems situated along the spine would also be considered to calm down the irritated tissues and offer the body a new equilibrium.

Stephanie will be writing more for Amoralia about the benefits of Osteopathy for mums and babies in the new year.
Useful contacts:
http://www.pregnancysicknesssupport.org.uk
http://www.sj-osteopathy.co.uk

World Prematurity Day – Tommy’s guest post

November 16, 2012

Guest post via Tommy’s Charity,  who are Amoralia‘s charity of choice, for #WorldPrematurityDay

With thanks to Kylie Hodges (@kykaree) who is a keen supporter of Tommy’s and mother of Joseph who was born at 27 weeks.

“You sit in the waiting room of your antenatal clinic like every other expectant mother. You look around the room, at women at various stages of pregnancy. It unites us all, we all have this in common: being pregnant, expecting a baby.

But without knowing it you are different. You are one in 13. You won’t deliver a full term baby, you will deliver prematurely. Maybe like me, you will develop pre-eclampsia. You might go into pre-term labour, your placenta might fail, you might have a medical condition that necessitates early delivery of the baby, there are many reasons and sometimes there are no reasons for pre-term birth.

Suddenly your world won’t be Moses baskets and the latest prams. You won’t be thumbing through the Mothercare catalogues or browsing the nursery stores. No, the journey you will take will be very different.

Your baby lies in a plastic box. Perhaps they are having help with their breathing, being fed through tubes. Perhaps they have some additional complications, your tiny baby might need surgical interventions. You are having impossibly complex conversations with consultants and nurses, having to make decisions that will have far-reaching consequences. Suddenly your baby’s life lies in the hands of strangers – experienced, well-trained experts but strangers all the same. You are no longer the best person to take care of your baby’s complex and changing needs. And that hurts.

Motherhood interrupted. You are no longer taking care of your baby in the womb. You are restricted to six hourly nappy changes. The rest of the time sitting, waiting, hoping and maybe praying. Every day you will go out of the ward for lunch, to use the toilet, to phone anxious relatives and you will see mothers and fathers walking down the corridor with their full-term babies in car seats, going home. If your baby has been born as early as mine was at 27 weeks, you will have days and days of it being rubbed in your face. You are different. Your baby is different. Your journey is not the same.

However, as your journey progresses, things start to change. You find an inner strength you didn’t know you had. You start to understand the machines, the equipment, and the medicine regimes. You start to get to know your baby in a way few others will have the opportunity to. You see your baby grow in ways that seem so improbable. When Joseph was born his ears were still fused to his head, he had no nipples. I got to see stages of development and growth usually hidden away.

Over time, you learn how to deal with doctors, nurses and other professionals. You learn how the system works. You know what developmental stages to look out for, the next steps to progression from the intensive care unit, to high dependency, to nursery and eventually the holy grail- the rooming in room for a couple of nights to learn how to take care of your baby’s needs. Alone. You get used to the fact that your milestones are different. That you are waiting for your baby to learn to breathe, feed and eventually manage the two simultaneously, more difficult than you might imagine.

My baby was born at 27 weeks gestation three years ago. Our experience I think, in some ways does define the way I parent now. I hold on quite tightly but work to let him go, to let him shine. We are one of the exceedingly lucky families. My son defied all expectations, despite being only 1lb 7oz at birth, he has now caught up with his peers and is thriving at preschool.

Having Joseph at 27 weeks completely changed my outlook on life. I was taught a very hard lesson in not ever taking things for granted. I learned that I am, as the cliché goes, stronger than I ever could have imagined; braver than I ever thought possible. Joseph taught me that in the tiniest little human, there is an unbreakable will to survive. He taught me trust.

I strongly believe that prematurity needs to be looked at in closer detail by the NHS and health professionals. I believe too often we say “well it’s one of those things”. It appears to me that there is an acceptance that one in 13 babies will be born prematurely. Prematurity is costly, it comes at a huge personal cost to families and babies and a financial cost. I strongly believe we need much better care of high risk pregnancies, from identifying which pregnancies are at high risk, and providing appropriate support.

I also strongly believe that the heroic measures taken by our neonatal teams need to be backed up by investment in the people that make up those teams, and the equipment that it requires. I also believe that we need a much more cohesive system to provide support to those children who are born prematurely and will need long term, often lifelong care and equipment provision.”

Tomorrow is World Prematurity Day and it is a time when we can focus on prematurity, celebrate our tiny babies, and truly concentrate our efforts on prevention and care.

To read Kylie Hodges’ blog click here

Kylie has contributed to a guide on premature birth entitled ‘Having a Premature Baby’ which has been produced by the baby charity Tommy’s. The guide aims to support families expecting a premature baby or who have recently had a baby arrive early. The guide is funded by the Asda Foundation and can be ordered for free from www.tommys.org/store

Tommy’s funds medical research and provides information on the causes and prevention of miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth.

For more information visit www.tommys.org/worldprematurityday

This article first appeared on the Independent Blog earlier today.

Getting a good night’s sleep

November 15, 2012

This week’s guest post, How to get a good night’s sleep, by Kate Bedding, parenting consultant for the NCT Bednest (and enter our prize draw for this fab prize! scroll down to enter)

Just how can you ensure you get a good night’s sleep? If you’ve just given birth in the last few weeks you’ll know that this is a question that many new parents are desperate to find an answer to – and not just for mother and baby. The whole family can be kept awake at night during a particularly vocal bout of crying.

A regular routine, comfortable surroundings and the ability to be able to respond quickly before little sniffles turn into a full-blown wail all help. But importantly it’s creating an environment for your baby that allows them to feel safe and secure enough to sleep.

Research by the Infant Mental Health Journal highlights that an early physical relationship between mothers and infants is extremely beneficial for the baby’s wellbeing and development, whilst UNICEF recognises that safe bed-sharing, or co-sleeping can assist in creating that strong bond and promoting longer sleep. However, the associated safety concerns, recently further fuelled by the tragic deaths of babies who have shared a bed with their parents, are also enough to put off many parents trying this sleep arrangement.

Health professionals agree that the safest place for babies to sleep is in a bedside crib. The Department of Health and the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths (FSID) state that “to keep your baby safe and healthy, the safest place for your baby to sleep – night and day – is in a crib or cot in a room with you for the first six months”.

The NCT Bednest is an innovative solution to the sleeping arrangement dilemma. As an award-winning bedside crib that attaches securely to the side of the parents’ bed, it not only helps mums to sleep close but safely alongside their baby, but also helps those mums recovering from a caesarean or those choosing to breastfeed.

Celebrity fan Jools Oliver, who used the Bednest with her youngest Buddy, even said: “I could practically roll little Buddy from my boob to bed!”

By being so close to your baby and being able to respond quickly to their needs means that babies, parents, and the whole family, get more sleep. In fact more than 90 per cent of those who have used the Bednest, claim it has helped them and their baby get more sleep.

Professor Helen Ball, of Durham University’s Parent-Infant Sleep Lab, explains: “Our research has found that when babies sleep next to their mothers in a bed-side crib, with no barrier in between them, they are able to easily attract their mother’s attention without crying. Mothers are aware of their babies’ arousals and feeding cues more quickly than when they sleep in a separate cot, even in the same room. This makes night-time breastfeeding easier for the mother, while minimising sleep disruption.”

The Prize Draw:
Tamzin Outhwaite, and Jools Oliver loves the Bednest, WE love the Bednest, so, Amoralia has joined forces with Bednest and the NCT Shop to give you the chance to sleep well and sleep safe for free, in the comfort of this stylish bedside baby crib, along with one of our button-through nighties!
Pop over to our facebook page and tell us your sleeping story, do you co-sleep? What do you plan to do if you are still preggers?
Then Click here to enter with your email details. x

The NCT Bednest baby crib provides all the benefits of co-sleeping but without any of the perceived risks, allowing you to breastfeed, soothe and bond more easily with your baby without having to share a bed. It’s also a huge help if you’re recovering from a caesarian and your mobility is reduced as there’s no need to get up to breastfeed or comfort.

Its patented design, for babies up to six-months-old, means it can be securely attached to the parents’ bed, with the fold-down side panel creating a safe bridge joining the baby’s sleeping space to that of the parents. Health professionals agree that the safest place for a baby to sleep is in a crib right next to their parents’ bed, so the NCT Bednest provides real peace of mind and a good night’s sleep for all the family.

The NCT Bednest costs £299 and is available, along with lots of additional information on its benefits and how it works, at www.bednest.com and from the NCT Shop at www.nctshop.co.uk or on 08458 100 100.

Join our team

November 14, 2012

Amoralia are on the hunt for a bubbly and bright graduate

Sales & Marketing role in fashion
Location: Amoralia, London
Salary: £20,000 per annum + commission
Date posted 14/11/2012 reference: click here to apply: Totaljobs ref: 55036665
A junior sales and marketing role in the fashion business, you will be responsible for finding, and retaining, wholesale accounts.

You will learn consumer and B2B marketing, excellent sales skills as well as the nuts-and-bolts of how a small business like Amoralia.com works.

You will have initiative, be comfortable on the phone, and get excited about contributing significantly to the company’s growth.
You will report into the director and work within a small, dedicated team.

  • Graduate with a minimum 2:1
  • At least one year’s office experience
  • Impeccable written English
  • Good Microsoft Word, Excel and Outlook
  • Have an aptitude for learning new software
  • Languages a bonus (especially German, Italian or Russian)

If this sounds just like you, and you feel you’re up for the challenge, click this link to email your CV and covering letter, answering the following questions, by Monday 19th November:

  • What do you most enjoy about your current job?
  • When did you last persuade someone to do something they didn’t want to do?
  • What is your best quality?

This is a role in which you can develop and grow, and you would be expected to stay a minimum of 2 years with the company. You’d be based at London Bridge, with a £20k basic salary plus commission.

Please click here to apply through TotalJobs.com who are managing this recruitment for Amoralia

Guest post: Penny Alexander on the UNICEF breastfeeding research

October 18, 2012

UNICEF report reveals the cost of failing to support women to breastfeed

New research by UNICEF has revealed the staggering cost, to women, to babies and to the NHS, of not supporting women who want to breastfeed. I was asked to be among the first to share these findings over on my blog Alexander Residence and I am pleased to be able to share the on the Amoralia blog too. Basically the report suggests moderate increases in breastfeeding could reduce thousands of illnesses and in turn potentially save the NHS an estimated 40 million pounds a year, possibly in as little as one year.

Breastfeeding is an emotive topic, but for once this report isn’t about making women feel guilty. The Infant Feeding Survey indicates 90% of women who stopped breastfeeding in the first six weeks discontinued before they wanted to. Many of those women could have continued to breastfeed with the right support, from health workers, from wider society. We have one of the lowest rates of breastfeeding in the world, the UK is still failing to support women who want to breastfeed. UNICEF want the government to see breastfeeding as a public health issue.

UNICEF’s researchers, from universities across the UK, identified all the illnesses with links to breastfeeding, they then focused simply on the 5 illnesses where evidence of the positive effects of breastfeeding are strongest (breast cancer in the mother, and gastroenteritis, respiratory infections, middle ear infections and necrotising enterecolitis (NEC) in the baby).

The report then translated moderate increases in breastfeeding into health benefits for mother and baby, and into 40 million in savings for the NHS:

If half those mothers who currently do not breastfeed were to do so for up to 18 months over their life (e.g. 9 months per child for two children), there would be:

– 865 fewer cases of breast cancer
– With cost savings to the NHS of over £21 million
– Improved quality of life equating to more than £10 million
(Over the lifetime of each annual cohort of first-time mothers).
If 45% of babies were exclusively breastfed for four months, and if 75%
of babies in neonatal units were breastfed at discharge, each year there
would be:
– 3,285 fewer babies hospitalised with gastroenteritis and 10,637 fewer GP consultations, saving more than £3.6million
– 5,916 fewer babies hospitalised with respiratory illness, and 22,248 fewer GP consultations, saving around £6.7million
– 21,045 fewer GP visits for ear infection, saving £750,000
– 361 fewer cases of the potentially fatal disease necrotising enterocolitis, saving more than £6million
A small increase in breastfeeding could also increase the UK’s IQ, reduce obesity by 5%, and reduce at least 3 incidents of SIDS annually.

The report is the tip of the iceberg, there are many more chronic conditions, responsible for significant amounts of NHS budgets, such as heart disease, cancers, diabetes, asthma, where breastfeeding is linked to reduced incidence. More research is needed to comment on how significant an impact breastfeeding could have in these areas.

After I read the report I reflected on my own experiences. I might have spent 90 hours in labour, I might have had 2 emergency C sections, but I was incredibly lucky with support when it came to breastfeeding. I had amazing hospital staff and daily midwife visits for the first week, they taught a very tired, emotional and shell shocked me how to feed my baby.

It helped I’d had breastfeeding passed down to me by my mum, that I was surrounded by completely supportive friends and family. I also live in one of the highest concentrations of under fives in the UK, breastfeeding is a very normal sight.

Talking to new mums now, I realise what I thought was ‘normal’ just isn’t, daily midwife visits don’t exist in some areas, women are still made to feel really uncomfortable about breastfeeding, the media still undermines breastfeeding, and the right advice, which could fix so many problems, isn’t readily available.

UNICEF are now calling for government and policy makers to recognise breastfeeding as a major public health issue.  UNICEF want to ensure sufficient levels of well qualified staff in the NHS and consistent good quality support services.

UNICEF want legislation to tighten the law and prevent formula companies undermining breastfeeding, urgent research into how breastfeeding helps protect against some of the big killers like heart disease and diabetes, and campaigns to raise awareness of the health benefits.

Preventing Disease and Saving Resources: potential contribution of increasing breastfeeding rates in the UK, was carried out by a multi-university academic team including Dundee University, Oxford University, University of York, Brunel University, and St George’s, University of London, as well as the National Childbirth Trust.

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