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Does your mum/MIL freak out when your baby cries?
Should their anxiety be greater than mine?


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#1 treefalls

Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:48 PM

This is bordering on a vent, but I'm actually curious to hear from others in the same situation...

I just had an intense exchange with my mother because my 10 week old baby girl has had a couple of really unsettled mornings over at her place (she usually helps me out with the kids at least one day on the weekend). It's really nice to go over there and have the help... but whenever my daughter cries, she's always going on and on about "tummy pain" and what I've eaten (I'm breastfeeding) and saying things like, "You poor thing, you're in pain" to the baby and generally making me feel as though I'm somehow torturing my child by feeding her my milk. My mother in law, whilst equally helpful, loving and supportive in all other respects does exactly the same thing.... it drives me pretty nuts!!

They are both supportive of breastfeeding.... but they absolutely cannot STAND to hear my kids cry. If either of them are holding my daughter when she starts crying, or if I ask them to hold her while I get something for her or try to get settled somewhere to offer her the breast, then they instantly let their own anxiety about it completely override my own assessment of how serious the situation is.

If I say, "she's just really tired - she should have been asleep ages ago" (which usually produces that crying that winds up and up the less able she is to settle herself and the tireder she gets) they argue with me and say, "she's pulling her legs up. She's got wind." Or, my MIL produces some 1970's book about colic and how I shouldn't be eating tomatoes and lettuce or some other cr*p.

Mostly I try and patiently talk them through what I've observed with her patterns of crying and what generally leads to a fairly intense episode like the one that happened this morning. I quote all of the usual tomes such as 'Baby Love' and parrot wisdom from our independent midwife... but they WILL NOT hear it. I can see the sound of my baby's crying hot-wiring itself straight into the anxious-mother cortex of their psyches, which seem to be impervious to any kind of calming stimuli.

Today it was too much for me. I was managing my own anxiety and upset about whether there might be something more seriously wrong with my baby - watching her carefully for anything unusual - I tried changing her position, changing her clothes, feeding her (of course) and just rocking and comforting her. I tried distraction and it wasn't working... but she didn't have a temperature, and she did manage to take small breaks from time to time before starting up again. I felt her body for any reactions to my touch and she seemed comfortable. She wasn't even pulling her legs up or stiffening her body in the way that would normally get my mum 'going'. It was horrendous, as it always is, to feel powerless to understand the needs of my child or to provide comfort from something distressing.

... So WHY in the midst of all this do I find myself dealing not only with my own anxiety, but the anxiety of these two other mothers? They have had two and three of their own children, respectively. Did their babies never cry? Do they not remember? .... or is it really my fault that I don't instantly panic and take my daughter to a doctor and demand a barrage of tests for this 'unexplained' crying. When I told my mum she was stressing me out, she said, "Well if it was ME, I'd be taking her to the doctor and checking that there's not something more seriously wrong".

(Private thought: Well, it's NOT you!)

After all of this, I put the baby in the car and drove home. As I approached the house, I felt my anxiety levels halve. I was still reasonably concerned about what had been going on, but my anxiety was my own and back to being more manageable. By the time I had got inside the house, the baby had calmed down and her dad (after hearing how stressed I was) took over holding her and talking to her, after which time she seemed completely happy and normal, eventually did a big poo and then promptly went to sleep as if nothing had happened. His observation was that there was absolutely nothing wrong with her.

So - should I be worried, or not? Are any of you dealing with something similar? ... My daughter has a reasonably long unsettled period, usually in the evening between 8:30pm and midnight. Sometimes it seems she's awake for nearly this whole time, completely unable to get settled until she's fed and cried and fussed and jiggled and burped and pooed and cried some more until she's completely spent.... and then she sleeps soundly for 4 or 5 hours and then another 3 or 4 hours until morning (which I think is fantastic for a very young baby), and then has very contented awake periods and goes very easily to sleep during the day until the evening crazy period comes around again. For the last two days she's had her crazy period in the mornings instead of the evenings, therefore it has been witnessed by outsiders and invited this speculation about her wellbeing.  sad.gif

#2 mummame

Posted 22 April 2012 - 04:57 PM

Oh yes I have got this with all my kids from my MIL. My MIL used to get really anxious when my DD was just behaving like a normal baby. And my DD did the same as yours, very unsettled for the 1st 9 weeks and needed to be held/fed/cuddled all night, and sometimes most of the day. She grew out of it and eventually accpeted her cot as a nice place to rest! Totally normal for a newborn to be unsettled during the day. And normal behaviour from a MIL as well, the amount of times I heard 'she's in pain, shes got wind' *concerned look* AHHHH frustrating!

#3 Kemma

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:03 PM

My mil cannot deal at all.
Once when DD was about the same age we were all in a car together and DD would not stop crying in her car seat. She was pretty worked up but we only had about 2 min to go and mil starts yelling to FIL - pull over pull over I can't stand it and ringing her hands. It was spectacular in its freak show-ness.
Dd always hated the car. From experience I knew there was no point stopping. It was better for all to deal with it for the duration.  

My FIL asked me what I would like to do and I said to continue on it was only a couple of mins.

Mil continued mumbling under her breath and we very happily got out the other end all safe and sound.

She has 2 children, DH & BIL. She told me once my BIL used to cry in his cot so much he'd vomit. So I'm not taking any parenting tips from her.

I think she's happier just to drink out the sound of the crying
(who said that? original.gif )


#4 Tesseract

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:03 PM

Freya - LOVE the name!

In relation to your post: I'm sorry but I had to have a little giggle, my mum was exactly the same, even down to the words "oh you poor baby yes you're in pain, you've got wind"! It must be a generational thing. It used to drive me nuts too. In the end I just gave up and let mum walk the baby around and jiggle her (as long as I was sure she didn't want to breastfeed) during the fussy period. Let me have a break! And eventually mum would get over it and hand the baby back. And then eventually the "wind" episodes passed as she got past about 12 weeks.

If they're attributing the "wind" to what you're eating then that's no good, do try to set them straight on that one. I was seeing an LC (about other breastfeeding issues) and I asked her and she said there was no evidence about food intake and fussiness etc. Once mum heard it from the LC she didn't argue with me anymore...maybe you could print out some info from the ABA, under the guise of "researching it" yourself.

You know what though? Mum kind of convinced me of the existence of "wind" in the end!

#5 kelbelblue

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:06 PM

Had my MIL to stay over easter, and she was the same but for some reason it never occurred to her to give me DD back to feed her...had to ask for her back EVERY DAMN TIME!!! DD hadn't pooed for a few days and was trying really hard, so MIL was making horrible grunting noises at her, when we questioned her she was 'just trying to do it for her' wacko.gif
agree with PP about others over stimulating, sometimes bubs just want a cuddle from mum or dad in quiet, other people just smell different, its a lot to get used to!

Edited by kelbelblue, 22 April 2012 - 05:08 PM.


#6 Soontobegran

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:06 PM

If going over there is not really helpful then I would give it a miss. Invite her into your home to help, maybe under your roof she may be less inclined to hand out advice. One part of me wants to say that you are lucky that she wants to be involved however I do understand that what she is doing would grate on you. sad.gif
In answer to your question though...no, I do not freak out when I have my grandchildren with me. I hope that my children would say I was level headed and had a calming influence.......I still don't like to hear them cry though.

Good luck with this.

#7 4WD_Baby#1

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:10 PM

My MIL offers unwanted advice so much she stresses me out. She told me I can't breast feed as I'm on an antidepressant and that hospital will take my baby off me! Which is untrue! I am close to hating her already. She smoked with her pregnancies, I don't. She reckons that was ok.

#8 treefalls

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

Thanks heaps for all of your replies. I'm glad I posted. It always feels a bit strange to 'go public' but already I am cheered up biggrin.gif

QUOTE (kelbelblue @ 22/04/2012, 05:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
DD hadn't pooed for a few days and was trying really hard, so MIL was making horrible grunting noises at her, when we questioned her she was 'just trying to do it for her' wacko.gif
roll2.gif

QUOTE (soontobegran @ 22/04/2012, 05:06 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If going over there is not really helpful then I would give it a miss. Invite her into your home to help, maybe under your roof she may be less inclined to hand out advice. One part of me wants to say that you are lucky that she wants to be involved however I do understand that what she is doing would grate on you. sad.gif
In answer to your question though...no, I do not freak out when I have my grandchildren with me. I hope that my children would say I was level headed and had a calming influence.......I still don't like to hear them cry though.
Don't get me wrong, I consider myself spectacularly lucky to have so much help!! They are very loving women, both of them... so I think that's partly why it's so frustrating. Where is trust in their (and my) ability to calmly provide whatever the baby needs? I wish I could look to them for a more steady, calm and helpful response as I'm sure they have bucketloads of wisdom if they could ever just relax and tap into it!


#9 MilkyWhite

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:28 PM

I reckon every woman over the age of 50 who ever held one of my babies while they were crying would say "Oh you poor little thing. You must have wind / colic / reflux / gas / sore tummy". None of my children (in hindsight) ever had gas / wind / colic / reflux. Every now and then they would get a bit cranky if they hadn't pooed for a day or two, but then don't we all? They cried much like yours did because they were overstimulated or tired or it was the end of the day or they were sick of being passed round to strangers and they were BABIES!.

And like you I would always feel terribly insulted like these women were trying to tell me I was doing something wrong as a mother or worse, I was ignorant of how to be a mother and care for a baby.

But you know what? EVERY baby is different (something they have clearly forgotten). And the person who knows that baby best in the world is YOU!!!! YOU have spend countless hours looking at her little face and feeding her and cuddling her and getting her to sleep and knowing her every move. You feel like a new mum and a beginner at this but you are the WORLD EXPERT at that particular baby. Add to that that you have mothers instinct that cannot be ignored. Thankfully MILS and everyone else can be ignored. Just say "Oh really? Maybe. I'm pretty sure it isn't. I'll pop her in bed now if you don't mind....".

#10 au*lit

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:57 PM

Every photo of DS and MIL together when he was a newborn, DS is screaming his head off. I think she felt anxious around him while he was so small and never seemed to handle him confidently. Despite having two kids of her own and two older grandchildren, she never seemed at ease around him and he seemed to pick up on her anxiety.

She also drove me up the wall attributing everything to 'wind'. He cried and it was wind, he smiled and it was wind, he grunted and it was wind, he farted and it was wind (OK so technically, farting was probably wind, but you get the picture).

She also was not good with the crying. I remember once he was tired and crying and she said 'oh it just breaks your heart, doesn't it?' and I remember thinking 'no, it doesn't, it makes me think he's tired and I hope he goes to sleep soon'.

My mum on the other hand is pretty good with little babies and will be calm in the face of crying, so was great when the crying got too much for me to handle.

#11 MrsDamonSalvatore

Posted 22 April 2012 - 05:58 PM

oh my god yes! MIL drives me crazy, its always hes too hungry, hes too cold, he has gas, blah blah blah. half the time he just wants a cuddle...

#12 AryaStar

Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:14 PM

QUOTE (MilkyWhite @ 22/04/2012, 05:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I reckon every woman over the age of 50 who ever held one of my babies while they were crying would say "Oh you poor little thing. You must have wind / colic / reflux / gas / sore tummy". None of my children (in hindsight) ever had gas / wind / colic / reflux.


So true. Babies cry for so many other reasons but my mother and MIL would always say exactly that!!

OP what you are describing sounds like totally normal baby behaviour. Breastfeeding is often the popular target of blame when a baby is fussy or unsettled. If it's not what you're eating it's that you don't have enough milk and the baby is starving or some other nonsense.  rolleyes.gif

I do think that it is definitely a generational thing and very much a case of having forgotten what young babies are like. I'm sure once we'll get to a certain age we'll only remember the good things too  original.gif

#13 lozoodle

Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:23 PM

Yes. She flaps around going "omg omg I can't stand it" and gets all panicky.

Its just a baby crying, for gods sake its what they do you stupid woman lol

#14 Princess.cranky.pants

Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:28 PM

Yes I have had it too. I think the thing is to remember that things were different in those days and some mothers from that time think that nothing has changed. They think what they did/know is the right way because it probably worked for their kids. And I think they just want to help. But they forget that they have had their turn and things are done differently now.

My mum is not bad but she used to tell me things I shouldn't be eating because it would upset the baby. Mil is worse- she worries and fusses. Recently she said to me she wouldn't give my 19 month old have diluted juice (hardly ever has it) because the last time she had juice at their place DD did a big poo right after it. She thought the juice upset her and made her poo! It just happened to be DD's time to go.

Totally normal for a baby to be unsettled when in a different environment. They get overstimulated and probably even feel a little insecure with unfamiliar environment. Little babies especially are often unsettled when not in familiar play. It would explain why your DD settled down once you got home and in quite, familiar surrounds. And they can have days when they just cry and are unsettled all day. It's all very normal.

I remember as a first time mum feeling really anxious when my baby is crying and there was nothing I could do to help her. And those feelings didn't change when I had DD2 and DD3. It was worse when we were out and I had this crying baby because I felt pressure to stop the baby crying. I felt like everyone was looking at me and thinking I am a bad mum. Your mil and mum are not helping you. You only had a baby 10 weeks ago. You do not need to be over there every week putting up with that. If you feel more comfortable at home then get them to come to you.

And I wouldn't bother trying to educate them. When they offer advice just smile and let it go over your head.

QUOTE
For the last two days she's had her crazy period in the mornings instead of the evenings, therefore it has been witnessed by outsiders and invited this speculation about her wellbeing.


It's normal and nothing to worry about. If she was unsettled and crying all day every day then yes there could be something wrong. But all babies (especially the little ones) have unsettled periods.

#15 Unatheowl

Posted 22 April 2012 - 06:43 PM

QUOTE (MilkyWhite @ 22/04/2012, 05:28 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I reckon every woman over the age of 50 who ever held one of my babies while they were crying would say "Oh you poor little thing. You must have wind / colic / reflux / gas / sore tummy". None of my children (in hindsight) ever had gas / wind / colic / reflux. Every now and then they would get a bit cranky if they hadn't pooed for a day or two, but then don't we all? They cried much like yours did because they were overstimulated or tired or it was the end of the day or they were sick of being passed round to strangers and they were BABIES!.


This, totally.  I find the gas/colic thing far more frustrating and annoying than the actual baby crying.  They cry because they are tired or whatever...they are babies that's what they do.  Sometimes there is no explanation!

In answer to your question though, my mil and my own mother cope better with my babies crying than i do, however, it seems to trigger my anxiety like nothing else so that's not surprising.



#16 treefalls

Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:24 PM

QUOTE (CherryAmes @ 22/04/2012, 06:20 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Maybe time visits to mum/in-laws when you know she'll best likely to be settled? Of course, you may have a mum like mine who deliberately wakes the baby up "because I want to see her beautiful eyes!" (!!)

LOL! Yeah, I reckon my mum gives her a sneaky poke sometimes for the same reason.

I am usually really good at letting it all go over my head, but I think I was getting caught up in the idea that maybe I am being TOO cavalier - almost as a stubborn reaction against their anxiety; and I wondered if I could be objective, would I REALLY think there was nothing wrong... or am I just telling myself that because she is a much more settled baby than our son was and because I just want to 'deny' the anxiety that sometimes seems to be all around me!

As soon as I was home with my husband I was thinking how I normally do, which was just that she's tired and strung out and all of that. It's difficult to balance the costs/benefits of just staying put and keeping her in a familiar environment. Pretty much the only place I take her is my mum's and it's only a short drive. But I agree I think it's not a 'relaxing' environment... whether it's because of the extra people, the noise of my son running around and doing things with my parents; or whether it's the fact that my mum is wound up a bit tighter than everyone else, too. It's probably a combination of all those things.

With the IL's, I only see them once a week and it's on my own turf, so manageable.

#17 Feral-as-Meggs

Posted 22 April 2012 - 07:52 PM

It's definitely their generation.  And actually I feel a bit sorry for them.  

We get educated about overstimulation, and to expect some unsettled periods, because "that's what babies do", and can at least try to ride it out without assuming we have caused it.

They were told it was wind - which always came down to something they were doing wrong - not burping enough, eating the wrong things, feeding too frequently (not on the 4 hourly schedule), breastfeeding itself.   My auntie was told to burp her baby for 40 minutes after every feed  ohmy.gif - as if she didn't have anything better to do.  No wonder the kid was unsettled.


#18 GoodGollyMolly

Posted 22 April 2012 - 09:39 PM

Good point meggs.

Another one here who's mum and MIL are always on about wind. Although my mums got a bit better recently but for the first few weeks every grimace/grunt/cry was wind....

But they can cope with the crying ok and not add anxiety at least.

#19 Diana_Barry

Posted 22 April 2012 - 10:46 PM

Yep.  My mum is like this with my DS.  Sorry, I had to laugh at your post, it was so familiar.

Everything is cause for panic - in the early days if DS so much as whimpered she was rubbing his belly and trying to burp him.  She was always announcing that he was "teething" too - nope, just happily chewing stuff and dribbling the way all babies do!  When his first teeth finally did arrive (quite late), they didn't give him any trouble at all.  And she definitely overstimulated him - seemed to be literally incapable of just leaving him alone when he was trying to go to sleep.  It got to be point where I had to  growl "leave him!" every time she heard a coo and went darting for the bassinet.  

The performance from mum when he was learning to walk almost broke me.  Every time he so much as wobbled, she was leaping toward him gasping loudly in horror.  If he gags on a bit of food (often, as he seems to believe he is a python) she's launching herself at him to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre while dialling 000 with her toes.  I'm kind of worried that she might actually make him choke by giving him a fright while he's trying to cough and dislodge whatever's gone down the wrong way.  And she wants me to take him to the doctor every 30 seconds too.

Still, they're absolute best friends and it is so adorable.  DP and I joke about having our feelings hurt - when DS is with his Grandma and either of us try to take him, or kiss him, or engage him in any way, he literally reaches out a hand and pushes us away.  He doesn't see her that often, you'd think he'd forget or take some time to warm up to her, but she appears and his whole face lights up and we lose him until she buggers off home again.  

So yes, not only did we feel like our parenting was being questioned all along, now his behaviour suggests that he knows she's the only one who loves him properly wink.gif

It would be a lot nicer if your mum/MIL could be the calming voice of wisdom and experience and give you lots of reassurance and tell you what a great job you're doing, but it seems like that only happens in the movies.  I think they do forget - to be honest, I've almost forgotten already myself!

#20 SylviaPlath

Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:02 PM

I cant really give you any advice, other than I hear you. My mother has total meltdowns when DS starts to grizzle, let alone cry. My MIL immediately hands DS back to me which is really annoying when the whole point of her coming over is to watch him so I can do some housework.      

The other things mum and MIL do is, "Its wind", "It's tummy pain". It's bloody annoying!!



#21 sarkazm76

Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:17 PM

My mother once instructed me to bring childrens panadol to her house "in case he needed it" while we would be there for the afternoon.  I got there "did you bring it".  No I didn't.  "Well why not".  And have to go on and explain that I understood it was stressful for her to listen to him cry and not feel like she can "fix" the problem but giving him panadol every time he cries is also not the solution!!  I don't even know what she thought she was going to be treating!  I had to tell her when he had his afternoon crankies he's overtied and overwhelmed - just cuddle him and ssshhh ssshhh him and wait it out.  Is it hard... yes!  Suck it up.  biggrin.gif  Oh and it was always "oh you poor little thing you're hungry" and/or "oh he has wind again!" and/or (after being told he just fed) "oooohh are you sleepy little man".  And you know they are annoucing it to you so you will action it - and doing it by talking to the baby just makes it even more aggravating.  Mine also told my son I was a "fuss-pot" for fixing his nappy after I didn't like the way she put it on (too tight and all folded over around the waist band).  Maybe I should have been less worried abotu him being comfortable and more worried about his hunger/ wind/ tiredness.  biggrin.gif


#22 MrsDamonSalvatore

Posted 22 April 2012 - 11:32 PM

QUOTE (MelbChick @ 22/04/2012, 07:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
LOL! Yeah, I reckon my mum gives her a sneaky poke sometimes for the same reason.


haha my mums not so sneaky. she comes up and says "poke poke poke" and tickles him. but we only see her every few weeks so i dont mind lol

#23 CallMeFeral

Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:14 AM

I think it's normal laughing2.gif I do feel for you though! My MIL was exactly the same - I think it's because they've just forgotten how much babies just CRY. I read some statistic on it, and the average is a fair bit. As kids get older, they tend to only cry when there is something identifiable (and usually solvable, if you are willing to cave in) wrong, and I think they forget that very small babies just CRY sometimes. And I certainly have noticed a tendency amongst the older generation to put it down to digestive issues! I don't think the philosophy/knowledge about overtiredness/overstimulation etc etc was very big in those days - it was all about colic, gas, wind - my IL's would never believe me that when DD cried it was time for her to sleep - as opposed to feed - they'd nag me to feed her and act like I was a cruel mum for not doing it.

I have no advice for you... just that at this age... nothing lasts for long, so it will pass soon! And if they are not normally troublesome people, as your kids get older and more able to communicate, they will probably relax a bit.

#24 AryaStar

Posted 23 April 2012 - 08:56 AM

QUOTE (Diana_Barry @ 22/04/2012, 10:46 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
If he gags on a bit of food (often, as he seems to believe he is a python) she's launching herself at him to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre while dialling 000 with her toes.  I'm kind of worried that she might actually make him choke by giving him a fright while he's trying to cough and dislodge whatever's gone down the wrong way.


LOL all of your post had me nodding my head and giggling but this the most. It would do my bloody head in. No, he's not choking!! We did quite a bit of BLW and it totally freaked her out.

I have no idea how she coped with two of her own children. I think my brother and I were on purees for the first two years. We were the original cotton wool babies  biggrin.gif

Edited by Shady Lane, 23 April 2012 - 08:57 AM.


#25 Soontobegran

Posted 23 April 2012 - 09:16 AM

QUOTE (meggs1 @ 22/04/2012, 07:52 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It's definitely their generation.  And actually I feel a bit sorry for them.  

We get educated about overstimulation, and to expect some unsettled periods, because "that's what babies do", and can at least try to ride it out without assuming we have caused it.


No it's not 'their generation' so no sympathy needed. original.gif  Since I am that generation as are many of my peers who care for their grandchildren on a daily basis quite calmly and competently, I can assure you it is a personal thing.
Just like mothers differ in their responses to their babies, so will their mothers parents and unless they are toxic people in their lives it is worth putting up with their 'quirks' just to have that added support.






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It's nice to celebrate a child making the shift from nappies to 'big kid' undies, but do we really need a semi-realistic used toilet cake to do it? Here are some of the best and worst cakes parents have used at 'potty parties' around the world.

7 tips for a financially festive Christmas

Plan ahead - and do it now - to ensure festive season expenses don't break the bank.

'Go the F*** to Sleep' author's new book for frustrated parents

A sequel is coming soon to the 2011 hit book 'Go the F*** to Sleep' - and this time, it's about mealtimes.

Great birthday party buys from Etsy

Handmade crafts to decorate and personalise your child's next birthday - from banners to cake decorations, we've got gorgeous party finds from Etsy.

Creative storage ideas for the kids' rooms

Creative and practical storage ideas for the kids' toys and books can also add some stylish decor to your home. Visit babyology.com.au for more stylish modern finds for hip kids & parents.

Student shocked by surprise baby

Kate Hudson, 22, was on a dream European holiday with friends. She didn't realise she was about to become a mum.

To the mum in the doctor's waiting room

Maybe the mum I saw in that waiting room, seemingly disconnected from her baby, doesn’t have the support she needs.

10 space-saving nursery ideas

Starting a family doesn't always mean moving into a bigger house - not yet, anyway.

 

What's in a name?

Baby Names

Looking for a classic name, or an unusual name? Our Baby Name Finder is for you, search or browse to refine your shortlist.

 
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