Sophie Pickles

Early Years Child Development Specialist

As a qualified teacher, mum, parenting coach and all-round Early Years expert, Sophie has a wealth of practical, real life experience to share with parents.

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Dr. Stephanie Ooi

General Practitioner

As a mum of two and a registered GP, Stephanie has seen more than her fair share of little ones! She has lots of practical tips and professional know-how on hand to help parents.

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Laura Matthews

Nutritionist

Laura is our nutrition whizz – bringing her expert advice and experience from working with chefs, schools and nurseries to the Kiddylicious expert panel.

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Long journeys

Sophie:

Longer trips are trickier. We’re up in Yorkshire and my Dad’s in Devon, that’s a six-hour journey. The first time we did it with my son, it was a living nightmare. Because we’d never done it before, we didn’t know how a long journey would work with a baby. I think he screamed solidly for about two hours. It was horrendously bad and we got stuck in traffic, which made it a 10-hour trip. Now, we travel at night and that makes a huge difference. When we’re coming home from Dad’s, we’ll have teatime and bathtime at his house, get them into their pyjamas and then they just sleep the whole way back. We’ve even got travel sleeping bags that clip into the car seat. When we get home in the middle of the night, it’s so easy to transfer them to bed and they stay asleep. You don’t have to worry about food or anything else on the way back.

Stephanie:

That’s such a good tip. We’ve all been there with a screaming baby in the car. You can plan as much as you want to but sometimes, these things will happen. That’s not a reflection on you, or that you haven’t planned correctly, because sometimes they just kick off. Some babies like to sleep in the car seat, some babies don’t. Also if they’re not used to being in the car for that long, try to plan a few breaks.

Sophie:

It can be incredibly stressful, if your child is crying in the car. So much of what we’re told centres around not leaving your baby to cry. When you’re in the car, you feel like the worst parent in the world because you can’t do anything. It helps if there’s two of you, so one of you can sit in the back with your baby, that often makes a huge difference.

Laura:

It’s good for parents to appreciate that that happens to all of us. It’s not just you! When it’s your first born, it can come as a shock.

Stephanie:

At the beginning there were a number of times when they’re just screaming and I remember thinking, I know you want to stop but I’m driving and when you’re by yourself, it’s really stressful. You need to remember that if you are driving, that’s your focus, because you need to be safe. I also think you need to be able to say that you don’t feel comfortable going on a long trip just yet. When you’ve got a newborn, the grandparents are so keen to invite you to stay but you need to set boundaries and say, look, we haven’t done a long journey yet and I don’t feel comfortable. Perhaps they can come to you instead.

Snack safety

Laura:

We always stop just for breaks where we’d sit together and have a snack. It is just a snack at the end of the day but try to enjoy it together rather than just having in the car. It might be that we pull over somewhere and still eat in the car but it’s much safer.

Sophie:

I was just thinking about snacking in the car as well because so often we reach for snacks as a distraction tool and they work really well. However, it can be a choking hazard; you can’t get to them and can be really dangerous.

Stephanie:

If you’re weaning you have to think, how comfortable would you be leaving your baby alone with food? Would you walk away and go into another room and feel confident that they will be okay? I don’t think you would. You want to be present when they’re eating.

Sophie:

Certainly, when we’re talking about babies up to 18 months, there’s not a chance you would want to leave them with a snack on their own is there?

Getting creative with snacks

Sophie:

Plane journeys can also be tricky. A good tip is to try fine motor skills snacks. Pop blueberries, small cereal shapes, anything small into the compartments of a little compartmentalised plastic box. Then they have to get their fingers into the space to pick them up. It means that a snack that would usually last just five minutes lasts half an hour. And they really enjoy it.

Laura:

You can offer a few different things for them to choose from, small quantities in each compartment. I think they also like the idea that there’s lots of different things, in different colours for them to choose from. It’s a bit of novelty from the norm.

Stephanie:

Avoid the snacks that just seem to disintegrate and go everywhere in favour of things that won’t create much mess in terms of crumbs. We used to take those kids’ veggie straws everywhere just because they take a little while to munch and they create no crumbs.

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