8 baby firsts — haircuts, shoes and jabs

Beware: These apparently simple things could set your bub a-screaming. But SmartParents gives you the low-down to prepare for these basic tasks...

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Haircut

Unsurprisingly, many babies are terrified by the sight of a stranger waving a big pair of scissors close to their head. So, how do you make sure that first trim doesn’t turn into a showdown at the salon? First, choose a salon that caters specifically to children and make sure you ask for a stylist who regularly cuts children’s hair.

        It might help if your child sits on your lap ― then you can read her a story while her hair’s being cut. If she’s frightened of the scissors, ask the stylist to show her how it works before using it. Then, take it slowly and keep telling her how well she is doing.

Shoe-fitting

Once your toddler has been walking confidently for a few weeks, he’ll be ready for his first pair of “big boy” shoes. So, how do you avoid an ear-splitting tantrum when he has to sit and be measured and try pair after pair? The first tip is to try to go midweek when the shop is likely to be quieter. Again, ask for staff who have been trained to fit children’s shoes.

        You may want to show him how your and even his favourite toy’s feet are measured, before his. Make a big fuss of his new shoes and ask him to show you how fast they go — encouraging him to run in them will allow the assistant to assess the fit. But don’t push it — if your child really hates the experience, go away and come back again another day.

Aeroplane flight

When you book, notify the airline that you will be flying with a child, and tell them her age. Some airlines provide bottle-warming facilities, bassinets for infants under 1 and safety seats for children aged between 6 months and 3 years. Most offer baby changing facilities and children’s meals, and kits to entertainment little action terrors.

        Try to book flights that fit in with your baby’s natural sleep pattern or take lots of toys to keep him entertained. Most babies find the “white noise” of the aeroplane calming, but take-off and landing can be distressing, as can the change in air pressure, which can hurt junior’s ears. Give her milk, because gulping reduces the discomfort.

Birthday party

Keep the party short ― no longer than an hour. Yes, you want to show your child off, but remember that he will tire fast. Mornings are best because your baby won’t be over-tired and you can just offer guests light bites rather than a full meal.

        Make sure you have lots of help because your baby will want Mummy by his side, not running around serving guests and handing out the nibbles. And don’t let guests hand the birthday child round like pass-the-parcel, or there will definitely be tears before cake-time!

Read on for more "firsts"...