On-line Child Care

Babies aren't just very small people - they're future Internet users. But it is not just people that have been breeding. The Web has been at it too and now there are plenty of sites offering advice to parents and parents-to-be
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The Independent Culture
PARENTHOOD

www.parentsplace.com

If you're expecting a new addition to the family in the near future, this should be one of your first stops. It presents itself, as do many of these sites these days, as a kind of on-line community. It includes a lot of useful basic advice aimed at young parents along with recipes and book reviews. But it aspires to be far more than just an information resource, and has plenty of pages aimed at keeping you up to date on new ideas as your child grows up. If you're expecting soon, you can also sign up for its real-time newsletter, which emails you with relevant information as your pregnancy develops. It also has an excellent agony aunt page. And do take the time to look through the chat rooms, which offer a chance to discuss anything from pregnancy diets to water-birthing.

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BABY BOOM

www.clicked.com/babytime

Babytime has a more focused brief than Parents Place and sells itself purely as a pregnancy resource. It includes a month-by-month guide through your pregnancy and also has a good maternity-dress fashion guide, pointing out - perhaps vitally in these fashion obsessed days - that the trick is to go for comfort rather than style. It also takes you through your "labor bag" (sometimes you're forced to remember whether you like it or not that most sites are US based). There's also information about the different schools of thought prevalent in pre-natal class techniques. If the site has a flaw it's only that much of the follow up information on offer requires a call to a US phone number, but if you accept that, there's plenty of useful information at your fingertips.

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THE BEST OF THE REST babyparenting.miningco.com HHH

This site is particularly useful, not just for its own pages but for the huge number of links to other Internet sites. If you can't find what you want elsewhere, this could be the place.

www.kidsource.com/ kidsource/pages/Preschoolers.html HH

The writing on this site, dedicated to caring for pre-school children, can be on the dry side but it covers a number of serious topics - such as safety in the home - very well.

www.tnpc.com/parentalk/newborns.html HHH

Another site, actually run by Parents Place (left) but dedicated to the first few months of coping with a new baby.

www.homepagers.com/names/index.html HHH

This is a baby-name locator, containing approximately 20,000 potential names for your children. They range from the traditional to the unusual.

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