I am delighted to be back for another guest blog post, this time celebrating my favourite season, Autumn! I absolutely adore Autumn - the smells, the sensations, and the seasonal changes that take place in the natural world all around us. It can be daunting to be a parent of a small child when the weather outside starts getting colder, and the afternoons get darker, but trust me, there is plenty to enjoy in the changes of this beautiful season, and plenty to get excited about!
Seasonal Changes are Afoot!
Autumn is a season of change (the temperature changes, the weather changes, the clock changes), and just like the furry and feathered creatures around us, we gather our resources and build our nests to prepare for the winter ahead!
When you put your central heating on, make sure your baby’s bedroom is not too cold or too hot. It can be hard to judge the temperature of a room yourself, so invest in a baby room thermometer, and make sure to keep the temperature between 16-20 degrees. You don’t need to keep your heating on all night, but make sure your baby has an extra layer on – in the winter your baby is likely to need a 2.5 tog sleeping bag, long pyjamas, plus a vest at night (you will be able to tell if your baby is too warm after a sleep if they are hot and clammy behind their neck). Babies often get very cold hands and feet in the winter, but this is usually normal and simply because their circulatory systems are not fully developed. Pop a pair of socks on as well at night if their room is particularly chilly – it certainly helps me to sleep better in the winter!
Don’t be afraid to take your baby outside during Autumn, even if it is cold and wet – Scandinavian style forest schools teach us that there is no wrong weather to go outside, only the wrong clothing! As a rule of thumb, children need one more layer of clothing than adults do in colder weather (and one less layer in warmer weather!). Get your baby an all-in-one rain and snowsuit, and let them enjoy the natural world around them! They will be delighted to spot squirrels, robins, berries, and the white vapour trails in the sky left by airplanes passing overhead! Getting outside into the natural daylight each day is also very important for your baby’s (and your own!) circadian rhythm – our natural, inner process which guides us to sleep and wake based on external patterns of light and darkness.
The clocks go back an hour on October 31st, meaning that your baby will suddenly have to stay awake for an extra hour in the evenings (what was once 8pm will now become 7pm!) – ease your baby into this by gradually working up to it 10 or 15 minutes each day in the week beforehand. For your toddler, split the hour into two 30 minute changes in the preceding days – but remember to shift their mealtimes, snack times and nap times as well – mealtimes and sleep times are very closely connected in young children! Be mindful that this change may be hard on your little one, and that you will probably get a few days of grumpiness, crankiness, and an extra afternoon nap may be required to smooth the transition!
Boost your Baby’s Immune System with Seasonal Foods and Spices!
One of the things I love most of all about Autumn is the seasonal foods that suddenly appear all around us – the gorgeous colours, tastes, and flavour combinations that suddenly become so tempting when the weather gets cooler. Nature provides us with exactly what we need to survive each season, so look out for local, seasonal produce, and make the most of nature’s harvest! Apples, blackberries, butternut squash, pumpkins, carrots, cauliflower, purple sprouting broccoli, and of course potatoes are all in season in the UK at this time of year! Eating these fresh, nutrient-packed, seasonal foods will help to boost you and your baby’s immune systems and help to fight off those coughs and colds!
Try adding cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, nutmeg, mixed spice, and paprika to your Autumn cooking for gentle warmth, and extra immune boosting powers (and to bring those wonderful Autumn cooking smells into your home!).
The NHS recommends that all children aged 6 months – 5 years are given Vitamin supplements containing Vitamins A, C and D every day (unless they are having more than 500 ml of formula per day, which is already fortified) – so keep your baby’s health (and your own!) in tip-top condition with some high-quality supplements!
Let your baby explore the natural sensory delights of Autumn – shiny conkers and their spiky shells, scratchy pinecones, brightly coloured Autumn leaves, the crunchy frost on the windows, the sun shining through a beautiful spider’s web, and the cooler, crisper air on their cheeks! Let them touch and your Halloween pumpkin, see the fireworks in the sky, and smell the wood smoke in the air! Autumn is an extravaganza for the senses – not just for your baby, but for you too – let yourself soak in these sensations yourself, and be mindful of the changes in the natural world around you!
Need a little more Autumn inspiration? Read my Autumn newsletter on the blog pages of my website (for more ideas about mindfulness, sustainability, and Oktoberfest!), and sign up to my mailing list to get my upcoming tips for Winter straight into your inbox!
Get in touch if you feel your positivity and parenting could do with a bit of a boost this Autumn – a problem shared is a problem halved, and I would love to hear from you! Check out my new small group online sessions by visiting the Offers and Events page of my website, ideal if you are struggling with mealtimes, bedtimes, tantrums, or Mummy burnout this Winter!
And have a wonderful Autumn!
All the best!
Visit Isobel’s website at www.isobelmarychampion.com and follow her on Twitter @isobelmaryc and Instagram @isobelmaryc