laundry tips
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Laundry tips for new parents

Get through that washing basket like a pro with these savvy laundry tips for new parents.

New parents are always surprised at how their tiny baby can create such mammoth amounts of laundry. The fact is, when there’s a baby around, spills and stains will happen every day – the following tips and tricks should help to make your laundry nice and easy.

Bringing baby home

Even though you are going to be washing baby clothes non-stop once you bring your baby home, it is important to wash all of their clothes before they wear them. This will help avoid your baby having any skin irritation that may occur from chemicals being left on their clothes from the manufacturing process. Also wash all products that your baby’s skin will come in contact with, such as blankets and the car seat cover.

Washing baby clothes

Use a non-biological liquid detergent on your baby’s clothes. Also, avoid fabric softeners and any heavily fragranced products. Always read the care tags on the clothes first and follow the instructions given. Treat all stains as soon as possible, as this will make it easier to remove them.

Laundry tips for new parents

How to remove stains

Soak items with stains in cool water before you treat them. Cool water may be able to get rid of some stains, such as reflux or milk, by itself. And if this won’t work, soaking the stain in cool water will make it easier to remove before you wash it with detergent.

Stain removal solutions:

  • Protein stains: this includes breast milk and formula, as well as spit-up and many food stains. Soak the stain in cool water and then pre-treat it by dabbing a small amount of non-bio liquid detergent on it. Then wash the clothes as normal, following the care tag instructions.
  • Nappies: Disposable nappies should be treated the same as a protein stain as above. But, you can also add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the water for the pre-soaking.
  • Oily stains: To treat stains such as baby oils and creams, remove any excess of the substance and cover the stain with cornflour, talcum powder, or baking soda. Leave this on the stain for 15 minutes and then remove it and wash the item as normal.
  • Fruit and veg stains: Soak these types of stains in cool water. Even stains that have had time to set will loosen while they soak in water.

Family laundry tips:

  • Always separate your whites and colours.
  • Most washes are ‘medium soiled,’ but if the clothes are particularly dirty set the wash to a ‘heavy soiled’ wash and a ‘light soiled’ wash for delicate clothing.
  • For lightly soiled clothes or garments that are specifically designed for being cleaned quickly, a quick wash cycle will wash your clothes in half the time.
  • Don’t overload your washing machine. It is bad for your machine and it means that your clothes won’t be cleaned properly.
  • If it is possible, put on a wash every day. Skipping a day, or a few days at a time, will cause your laundry pile to grow very fast and it can leave you stuck and take days to catch up.
  • It is also a good idea that after you have noted how to wash a certain item of clothing, you remove the tag so as that it can’t rub on your baby and cause them discomfort.

Top tip

Instead of using fabric softeners, add a dash of vinegar to your machine to keep clothes soft. Fabric softeners can break down the flame retardant protection on the fabric. Adding a splash of vinegar can also help keep them bright and white.

Mixing baking soda and water to form a paste and spreading it on stains will absorb odours and help to remove the stain.

Laundry tips for new parents

“I put on one wash a day. I iron/fold and put away clothes in the evening watching some TV, that way I don’t feel the time pass.”

  • Kacy Downes

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Ask Sarah

Q I’ve heard a lot about the Paleo diet and as I am very interested in reducing the amount of processed foods and grain based meals my family eats, we are considering following this diet. From what I read it seems to be a back-to-basics type of eating. Is a Paleo diet safe for children? My kids are aged seven and nine.

A The Paleo diet is one of the most fashionable diets around at the moment. It is also known as the ‘caveman diet’ and is based on cutting out processed foods, starchy foods like bread and potatoes and eating more meat, vegetables and fruit.
As fad diets go, it is not the worst but there are some good and bad sides to it. Reducing the amount of processed foods we eat is always a good idea and by doing that you will usually reduce the amount of fat, salt and sugar you eat, which is a good thing! The problem with the Paleo diet is that it also cuts out dairy (on the basis that cavemen didn’t drink milk) and this means that the diet is very low in calcium. For this reason it is really not suitable for children who do need a lot of calcium for growing bones. How did cavemen manage without dairy? They ate a lot more food than we do (up to 10,000 calories per day compared to the 2,000 most of us eat). By eating that amount of food they were able to pick up just enough calcium from green vegetables and seeds. To put it in perspective, you would need to eat 16 servings of broccoli a day to get all the calcium you need. This is easier to do if you eat 10,000 calories per day rather than 2,000.
The other problem with the paleo diet is that it is not entirely based in science. Many of the Paleo diets out there say you should not eat wheat, even though we know that cavemen did in fact eat wheat and other grains. These diets also don’t recommend that you eat blubber and the big lumps of fat that were also a large part of the caveman diet!
A final problem is that many Paleo diets encourage people to cut out beans and lentils and to get their protein from meat and fish instead. Many studies over the last few years are clear that eating too much animal protein is linked with more cancer and heart disease. Eating some vegetarian meals based on beans and lentils is a great way to get your protein without always going for meat.
Is this a diet we should follow? I think there is a lot we can learn from the Paleo diets. We could all do with eating less salt, sugar and processed foods and adding in more nuts and seeds as well as more vegetables. However, I think following a strict Paleo diet could lead to low levels of calcium and vitamin D and so it is not suitable for children or teens and adults would need to think about a calcium supplement.

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ASK LOUISE

Q My son is 18 months old and has just started saying his first words. It is an extremely exciting time in our house and my husband and I are eager to encourage his speaking as much possible. What advice would you give us on how we can foster this without bombarding and confusing him?

AThere is nothing better than hearing your baby begin to talk. All the hard work you have put in over the last two years is coming back tenfold.
Toddlers will vary significantly with ability and speed of which they talk however a guide would be about 50 words by 2 years of age. The most important thing to watch for is that your baby/toddler is cooing and babbling and begins to string sounds together like “Mama/Dada” They should have a wide range of speech sounds and like to imitate you and things they hear.
There are many ways that you can promote Speech and Language development at home:
1. Slowing down your own speech and taking time over conversations with your little one. Every day is a new experience when you are 18 months, nappy changes, bath time, baking a cake brings endless opportunity for you to interact and offer new words for them to hear and repeat. Make eye contact, smile and use exaggerated tones to keep things interesting and fun for your tot.
2. Review the toys that you have on offer to your tot and ensure that they give plenty of open ended play opportunities. Role play is a wonderful way to allow children to take the lead. Kitchens with lots of plates, cups and pots. Fill the pots with dry pasta and allow your child to cook and serve you. Playdoh, painting, gardening and sandpits are also great for allowing your child to take the lead and babble about what they are doing. Read plenty of books together and point and allow them time to answer any questions that you ask.
3. Limit screen time. Overuse of televisions and iPads do not give your child opportunity to interact in a two way manner.
4. Ask your child lots of open ended questions “What’s that?” “Where are we?” Point at things they know the answer to for boosting confidence (Car/ Car, etc.) When they don’t know the answer, explain it to them. Limit baby talk and speak clearly with good pronunciation, remember you are the teacher and they will copy you.
If you are concerned about your child’s speech and language development, be sure to speak with your GP or developmental Health Nurse. They are very skilled at understanding the difference between speech delays and spotting something that may require professional attention.
Enjoy watching their little brains absorb the world around them and listen to what they have to say. It won’t be too long before they won’t stop talking to you, asking “Why Mummy/ Daddy?” every 5 minutes….