When you first bring your baby home from the hospital, it can be an incredibly daunting time- whether you are a first time parent or not! Nobody knows it all, and often we can feel that the smallest of tasks should come naturally to us straight away. This isn’t always the case though, so there’s no harm in reading up on the things that you’re not sure of. Hopefully you also have a good support network around you too, as help and support in the early days can be essential! So in a bid to be helpful ourselves, we’ve written a few key points about one of baby’s firsts that often leaves new parents in a bit of a cold sweat. The bath. Here is a very quick guide to bathing a newborn baby.

tips for bathing a newborn baby_Cuddledry.com

Be prepared

This may seem silly, but bathing a newborn baby is not the easiest of tasks! It’s a good idea to have everything ready before you start, because once baby is in the water you won’t have any hands free and you certainly won’t be able to leave the room for anything. Newborns rely on you 100% at this point, and have no control at all over their bodies, so you will need two hands for this task. One to hold baby and one to wash gently. If you have an extra person on hand to help you we recommend that you make the most of that too! The things that you’ll need to prepare are:

  • A soft, warm towel to wrap baby in after the bath. Of course we recommend the Cuddledry apron towel here! Our towels are made with bamboo and cotton so they are super soft and they are also double layered, so that water is kept away from baby’s skin.
  • Nappy changing items.
  • A towel or blanket for you to kneel on- leaning over the bath is not going to be good for your back, but you want to keep your knees protected too.
  • A changing mat and liner.
  • Clothes to dress your baby in after the bath.
  • Anything you need for feeding your baby ready to go.

It’s also a good idea to make sure that the room is warm ( a baby’s temperature can drop quite quickly) and double check the temperature of the bath water too. It should be warm enough but not hot.

Getting into the bath

It can be nerve racking! Once wet, newborn babies are slippery and no doubt the biggest fear here is that your baby could slip from your hands. Don’t worry- this is not likely to happen if you hold them properly. It’s a good idea to undress baby, then wrap in a towel for a moment while you wash the face. Then, you need both hands to lower baby into the bath. Place one arm shoulders and neck, holding the outside arm with your hand. Place your other hand under the bottom and lower gently into the bath. Once baby is securely resting on the bottom of the bath, remove that hand and use it for washing. Do not let go of baby!

Gently scoop the water onto baby’s skin, so that the temperature is maintained throughout, but look out for signs that baby si getting cold. There is no need to use soap at this stage unless it has been recommended. Wash baby gently from top to bottom, front to back, talking soothingly as you go. Some babies love bathtime, but some may find it stressful so watch your baby and when you feel time is up, it’s time to get out.

Getting out of the bath

This is where your Cuddledry towel proves it’s worth! We’ve struggled with this step many times, and it’s not easy removing a baby from a warm bath to wrap them into a towel that’s waiting on a cold floor. The Cuddledry apron towel is attached to you the whole time that you are bathing baby. This means that it is on hand, warmed from your body heat, and ready to go- meaning that you have two hands free to lift baby gently from the bath. Simply pop your free hand back under baby’s bottom and lift exactly as you lowered. Bring baby to your chest, wrap, and hold close for a moment. Then all you need to do is cuddle your baby is you gently dry the skin (pat, don’t rub) and when you’re both ready, use the single hand poppers to release baby onto the changing mat. Baby will be snug and still wrapped in their towel, thus eliminating upset from the cold. Put on the nappy and bed clothes as quickly as you can, but remain gentle at all times; hopefully baby is nice and relaxed, so you don’t want to ruin that now. Lots of babies will want a feed almost immediately after a bath, so if you have everything ready for this then go for it.

How often to bathe?

Newborn babies don’t need a bath every day- usually a top and tail wash is enough. But if your baby enjoys bath time and you find it is an activity that helps to strengthen the bond, there is no harm in doing it daily. Once your baby is crawling around it’s a good idea to make it a daily activity, and lots of parents find that it ends the day well for bedtime.

If you have any questions at all regarding bathing a newborn baby, or any of our products do please get in touch- we’re always happy to help!

This week’s fantastic giveaway is with the beautiful reusable nappy brand that is Tots Bots. If you are prearing for your summer holidays then this is the giveaway with you, as along with one of our SPF poncho towels, you could win a Tots Bots Swim Nappy!

With more than 13 years experience Tots Bots know a lot about babies and cloth nappies, and with the focus always on performance and quality, not only are they bombproof but they are foolproof! TotsBots has a virtual cabinet full of awards. From Five Mother and Baby Golds to Ethical Consumer Best Buy, proving they are top in their market.

To enter this fantastic giveaway follow the Rafflecopter below, and be in with a chance of winning products from these award winning brands!

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Are you going away this summer? Are you also pregnant? No doubt you’re looking forward to one or two weeks of putting your feet up and relaxing by the pool? And why not? We all work hard and when you’re pregnant, relaxation is a must! But what about the flight? Are you prepared for your possible additional needs this year? Fear not. We’ve put together some tips for flying when pregnant, thanks to our lovely followers and fans over on Twitter.

Tips for flying when pregnant~ Cuddledry.com

Before the flight

Preparation is key! As with anything, you will need to be prepared ahead of your flight, so make as many lists as you deem necessary. And don’t forget to refer to them as you pack, and mark off items once they’re done. There’s nothing like a completed checklist for saving your sanity ahead of a big trip!

Loved By Parents (@LovedbyParents) recommends a good night’s sleep ahead of your flight too, which we think is a great idea. If you don’t manage to sleep well on the flight itself, at least you have slept well the night before, and hopefully you can rest once you arrive at your destination. Being rested ahead of the journey also means that you are more likely able to deal well with any potential delays or mishaps- but fingers crossed these don’t occur!

Clare (@AsmilebyPost) adds that it is essential to leave in plenty of time for your flight too. This will save you rushing about and stressing about being late, and will give you extra opportunity to get your feet up in the airport too.

It’s also a good idea to pack as lightly as you can, so that you’re not hauling around a really heavy bag that could cause strain or discomfort. And in case there is nobody to help you, you won’t be struggling to lift and carry too much weight either. Of course, there is nothing wrong with asking for assistance when you fly, so do speak to the airline staff and explain you’re pregnant and would like some help. Beckha (@LoveBeckha) recommends bags on wheels too, so that you don’t need to carry your things at all.

Another good tip is to think about your travel outfit. If you’re going somewhere hot, wear layers that you can strip off when you get there and pack extra water to drink in the airport when you arrive.

Lastly, before you fly it’s a good idea to see your doctor to ensure that you are fit and healthy for the flight. Ask for a letter that confirms this too, so that you are covered in case there are any questions raised at the other end. Check your airline’s policy on flying during pregnancy and make sure that you are within the limits for travel.

On the flight

Pia (@PiaMaria79) says that flight socks are an absolute must when you fly, because the the change in air pressure can cause uncomfortable swelling in some cases. She also recommends drinking plenty of water, and moving around as much as you can.

Flying with baby (@Flyingwithbaby) also recommends stretching and walking around as much as possible, and says that packing an extra cushion is a good idea to provide added back support and comfort if you need to rest.

Don’t be afraid to let the airline staff know that you are pregnant, and ask for as much help, support and extra cushions/ blankets as you need. Comfort is essential during pregnancy, and especially whilst flying. Jai (@KiddyReviews) says there is no need to feel uncomfortable making it known that you are pregnant and in need of various items, so don’t be shy about it!

Sarah (@TobygoesBananas) recommends asking for an aisle seat so that you can escape to the loo easily when you need to- fab advice!

Dealing with sickness

If you’re flying whilst in the throws of morning sickness, it’s a good idea to plan ahead of your journey as much as you can. If sitting by a window helps, then request a seat change if needs be. Keep hydrated as much a you can, and if you are likely to vomit ask to be seated by the bathroom if possible. Vicki (@ElliebearBabi) says that when she has travelled during pregnancy, she has always ensured that she has plenty of mints with her to ease symptoms of sickness, so make sure you’re armed with all the necessities that help to make you feel more comfortable.

When you arrive

Take your time. Don’t rush to collect your bags and if you can, sit down if the queues for passport control are long. Keep water with you as it is bound to be hot at the other end, and if you’ve worn layers now is the time to start stripping to keep as cool as you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.

And relax- you’re on holiday!

Sophie La Giraffe and Cuddledry Giveaway

This week we are running a huge giveawaybundle with Sophie La Giraffe! Along with a Cuddledry Apron Towel (giraffe print of course!), we have body oil, baby lotion and hair and body wash from Sophie as well as an original Sophie teether, all worth £90!

Born in France in 1961, Sophie La Giraffe is now a well-known and much-loved gift for newborns and babies. Slender, flexible, and soft, baby can squeeze and chew her in complete safety. Since then the company has expanded into cosmetics and now offer a range of organic skincare for babies delicate skin. Gentle and nourishing, these products are made especially for baby’s skin.

To enter this fantastic giveaway follow the Rafflecopter below, and if you love our product both Cuddledry and Sophie are in the shortlist for the Loved By Parents Awards and we would love your vote!

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Bath time is the perfect way to end the day for anyone, but particularly for a baby. Many families use this part of their daily routine, and many babies see is as an essential sleep cue too, knowing that after bath comes sleep. Not only that, but the warm water helps to relax and soothe baby ready for the night ahead, which makes the whole ritual of a bath indispensable for so many. But water is also fun. When baby discovers splashing the fun factor intensifies and before you know it you have a situation on your hands! How to keep bath time as a relaxing and soothing experience ahead of bed time, without taking away essential learning and inevitable fun? Here are some tried and tested tips for a relaxing bath routine.

Tips for a relaxing bath routine~ Cuddeldry.com

Let them play

We’ve already written about the fun that can be had at bath time, and if you’re looking for some serious wind down time, you might not want to try all the ideas in that post! But there is no reason why you can’t still add in some toys for gentle stimulation. Babies learn through play- as we all do to some extent no matter what our age- and so a few well chosen toys in the tub won’t hurt at all. Play helps to relieve stress and makes baby a lot more receptive to new situations too. Choose toys that are not noisy and that don’t require a lot of activity; toys that baby can gently explore are perfect, so waterproof bath books and plastic model boats are perfect for the more relaxing bath.

Add something soothing to the water

Be mindful of what you add as you don’t want to irritate delicate skin. Some bath products have been specially designed for bedtime baths and contain lavender to help relax and soothe. You could also add 2-3 drops of lavender oil to the water to create a soothing bath too. Mixed with chamomile oil, this helps with minor skin complaints such as eczema too.

Play some soft music

Babies respond well to music, and have done since they were in the womb. Soft, gentle music can also help to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere  but make sure the volume is low.

Have everything ready

Don’t start scrambling around for nappies and towels at the end of a relaxing bath, as this can bring the mood right down and get baby worked up. Make sure you have everything ready before baby gets in, or ask a partner to get the things ready for you. Place your towel on a warm radiator so that you can wrap baby up nice and cosy afterwards too. Leading to our next tip…

Choose your towel carefully

One of the reasons why we are so proud of the Cuddledry apron towel. When you are ready to take baby out of the bath, there is no need for slippery shenanigans that often occur, and baby will not get cold or distressed either. You wear the Cuddledry towel like an apron so that you can gently lift baby from the bath and hold him/ her close. Then wrap baby in the soft, warm towel and enjoy a cuddle. What a perfect way to end a perfect bath.

Get baby dressed in a warm, quiet roomTop tips for a relaxing bath routine~ Cuddeldry.com

If there isn’t enough room in the bathroom, move slowly to another room to dress baby. This room should be dimly lit, warm and quiet. If you’re using a Cuddledry towel, all you need to do is un-popper the towel from you and lay baby down gently, still wrapped up snug and warm. The towels are made from bamboo and cotton and are double layered, so slightly thicker than normal towels and highly absorbent. You may find baby is already dry, but pat gently in case. Then dress, quickly but gently. Hopefully the transition from bath to bedroom has not disturbed the relaxed mood you’ve created!

Baby massage

This can be a wonderful addition to your bedtime routine and is best done after the bath. Read our guest post from Mumma Love Organics for fantastic baby massage tips.

End with a story or a lullaby

Depending on your routine (baby may have a feed before or after the bath), end your day with a short story or a gentle lullaby. Baby won’t mind whether or not you can sing in tune!

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Next week is National Baby Massage Week, and to celebrate we have a guest post from Samantha, creator of Mumma Love Organics, a family run business “based on three simple steps: Comfort, Settle and Sleep.” Mumma Love Organics specialise in products that have been designed to soothe delicate baby skin, and are perfect for use in baby massage. Today Samantha shares her tips and tricks to make baby massage a part of your daily routine with baby.

The wonders of baby massge~ cuddledry.com

Ask anyone that has had a decent massage, how they feel afterwards and the words they tend to share are ‘amazing’ ‘relaxed’ and ’soothed’. The human body is made up of millions of nerve endings that respond positively to the power of touch, and babies are no different. Studies have shown that massage releases oxytocin hormones in the body that make us feel happy and safe, and so these sensations can work wonders for a baby that is feeling unsettled or irritable. Babies also tend to develop a heightened awareness during a massage, that helps to strengthen the bond between parent and child too.

If you’re interested in trying baby massage as part of your bedtime/ bathtime routine, here are my tips and tricks to get you started:

Have everything ready for your massage session

  • Dim the lights and play music softly to create a calming atmosphere.
  • Gather all your equipment together: nappy changing items, massage oil and a change of clothes.
  • Spread your Cuddledry baby change mat liner on your bed (or changing table, or wherever else you intend to massage your baby) so that baby has something soft to lie on.
  • Talk to your baby softly, making sure you explain what you are going to do. Just as you would an adult, you need to tell your baby you are going to be touching body parts and making sure that he/ she is prepared.

Once you have everything set up, you are ready to begin! The best time to do baby massage is right after bath time, as baby will be relaxed and skin will be softer too. Start by:

  • Gently stroking the legs. This body part is often best to start with as babies are used to legs being touched during nappy changes. Tell you baby you are going to massage his/ her legs and do so with soft, slow strokes. Use a massage oil that you have warmed in your hands first.
  • Move on to the arms, tummy and chest area, making sure each time that you explain what you are going to do next.
  • Keep an eye on baby for any reaction to the massage. Stop immediately if baby appears distressed or irritable.
  • Talk gently to your baby and even sing if it helps to relax.

The wonders of baby massageThe wonders of baby massge~ cuddledry.com

Baby massage has so many benefits! Not only is it a wonderful way to wind down after a busy day, but it provides the ideal opportunity for you and baby to connect, and to form a lasting parent-child bond. As part of your regular bathtime routine,  baby massage can help to:

  • increase blood flow and improve oxygen levels to the brain.
  • promote deeper, calmer sleep – great news for parents with a fussy baby!
  • encourage babies to form a sense of trust.
  • improve symptoms of postnatal depression- experience of the child’s non verbal cues has been shown to be particularly helpful to mothers, who tend to benefit from greater levels of eye contact and to gain confidence from the physical and emotional interaction.
  • improve minor skin complaints such as eczema.
  • improve weight gain- studies have shown that low birth weight and premature babies show an encouraging increase in weight from the physical contact.

At the end of your baby massage session, don’t forget to thank your baby- wrap him/ her in their favourite Cuddledry apron towel and enjoy a warm hug to finish the session. For more information on baby massage techniques, you can also speak to your health visitor for details on special courses that you can attend together. You can also access instructional videos on the Mumma Love Organics site here and purchase Mumma Love Organics baby massage oil here. Good luck- and enjoy!

It’s something that comes to all parents at one time or another- potty training. It can be a source of frustration, despair and endless worry. OR it can be easy as pie- a breeze. It depends on how ready your child is and how relaxed you can afford to be. While there is no ‘one rule fits all’ and, indeed, no ideal age to potty train, there are signs that you can look out for to see whether or not your little one is ready, and lots that you can do to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible. Take a look at our potty training checklist- we hope it helps!

Potty training checklist~ Cuddledry.com

Is your child ready?

You might be ready to ditch the nappies and move on to big pants, but that does not necessarily mean that your child is ready. If you try to potty train before your little one is ready, you may find the whole process is a lot longer and far more stressful than is necessary-  there are certain physical and emotional developments that need to happen for your child to be able to make the step from potty to pants. There are signs to look out for that can help you to decide:

  • does your child tell you when her nappy is wet or soiled?
  • does your child take off their nappy by themselves?
  • does your child show an interest in the potty/ toilet when other family members use the bathroom?
  • is your child’s nappy dry in the morning?
  • does your child tell you that she needs the toilet/ potty?

How to get started

As with any aspect of parenting, there is no right or wrong way- whatever works for you and your family is best. Many experts do agree, however, that when you potty train it is best to take away the nappies and introduce proper underwear from day one. Once your child is in knickers rather than nappies, it is easier for her to realise when she is wet (if she has an accident) and easier for her to make the association between wearing knickers and going to the toilet. Swapping from nappies to knickers throughout the day can be confusing, and staying in nappies whilst you train even more so- your child is used to ‘going’ in her nappy so won’t necessarily see the need to use the toilet. To help your child transition from nappies you can:

  • let them help to choose new underwear
  • help them to decide where to keep their potty and make sure that they are able to get it by themselves
  • praise,praise, praise. Tell your little one how grown up she is by using the toilet/ potty. Many experts advise against rewarding for using the potty, but you can always let your child know that you are pleased at their efforts!

To stay in or not to stay in?

This is another debatable point where potty training is concerned. Some parents set aside a week in their diary and stay around the house as much as possible so that they are close to the toilet and so that accidents are kept to a minimum. Some parents prefer to leave the house armed with all the essentials they need- spare clothes, wipes, potties/ toilet seats etc. It is up to you and what works for you.

Potty or toilet?

Again, this depends on you and your child. Some parents find that potties are more handy as they are portable and less daunting to smaller children at first. Some parents buy special seats that fit on top of normal toilet seats so that their child can use the toilet like the rest of the family. If you do go for potty, bare in mind that eventually your child will need to learn to use the toilet too.

It may be Spring, but that doesn’t always mean warm sunshine and dry land when you live in the UK! But why let that stop you? Recent studies have proven that children need at least 15 minutes of outdoor play every single day, and let’s face it- they don’t tend to mind a spot of rain, do they? So if you’re looking for excuses, look elsewhere. These tips for outdoor play have been designed to inspire you to get those wellies on and get out and play!

Tips for outdoor play~ Cuddledry.com

Why outdoor play is so important

Being outdoors has so many benefits for children (and adults too!) and these are just a few of them:

  • Vitamin D. Being outside boosts the intake of the vitamin we need to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. For growing children getting enough is essential!
  • Gross motor skills. Children need to learn how to run, jump, climb, kick balls and pedal pedals. Being outdoors promotes gross motor skills and gives children wide open spaces to exert themselves.
  • Fitness. Give a child an open space and that child will run! Being outdoors promotes a healthier lifestyle for our children and boosts fitness levels too.
  • Knowledge of the world around us. Being outdoors is a wonderful learning experience for children, and an opportunity for them to use their senses to explore. Just being in green spaces boosts a child’s knowledge, but also being able to investigate new surroundings has huge impacts on learning too.

So now that you know how important being outdoors is, here are some tips to getting out there and playing!

  • Make sure you have appropriate clothing. The UK is not known for it’s warm weather all year round, and we do tend to get a lot of rain too. So make sure you have thick waterproofs and welly boots to hand at all times. As they say- there is no such thing as poor weather, just poor clothing!
  • Make outdoor play a natural part of playtime. Don’t make a big deal out of going out to play- it doesn’t need to be planned, or something to ‘get over and done with’. As soon as you view being outdoors as part of everyday life, the easier it will become.
  • Indulge in your child’s interests. If they love creepy crawlies, go on a bug hunt. If climbing is their thing, find a good, solid tree and see how they go. Take a picnic to the park, and bring teddies to make it extra special.
  • Take the paints outside. Outdoor art is a wonderful way to get kids creative and you won’t even notice you’re outsideTips for outdoor play- take the paints outside~ Cuddledry.comonce you get going! Another plus is that the house stays clean too…
  • Clean the car. A simple, yet wonderful sensory experience for children. And you get a clean car in the process. Result!
  • Go for a walk. Take bikes, prams, scooters or just little legs. Where you go doesn’t really matter- take a letter to pop in the post box? Buy a comic from the newsagent?- but once you’re walking and breathing fresh air the world is your oyster!
  • Take an empty bag with you. Sounds strange, but you’ll notice that children like to collect things when they’re out and about. Let them find brightly coloured leaves, oddly shaped stones and smooth, round rocks. Let them collect their treasures!
  • Run. Yes, you too. Get outside, get the endorphins flowing. Take a ball, or a skipping rope, or just run. Get the heart pumping and enjoy being outdoors!

The best thing about being outdoors in cold or rainy weather can sometimes be coming back inside again. Make sure you have some warm milk or hot chocolate to hand, and wrap cold children in a snuggly Cuddledry to warm up… until the next outdoor adventure!

Bath time doesn’t always have to be at the end of the day. Of course, a bath is an integral part of most bedtime routines for many families, but sometimes it can be fun to make a splash at other times too! Water play is a wonderful sensory experience for babies and toddlers and if the weather is not permitting, why not bring it inside? The bathroom is the ideal place and so we’ve put together some tips and ideas for making bath time fun!

Make bath time fun~ cuddledry.com

  • Create a colour themed bath. This can be as simple or as extravagant as you like. Colours are a great way to add a fun element to bath time, and all you need is to collect toys of the same colour, add a few drops of food colouring to the bath and you’re set!
  • Make the water glow! Submersible lights are a wonderful way to transform any bath tub. You can buy various types quite cheaply and the colour changing versions make for a rather magical experience. If you can, close the blinds and turn out the lights too so that your little one can enjoy the experience to its full potential.
  • Cook up a storm! Kitchen utensils such as wooden spoons, colanders and whisks don’t need to be restricted to the kitchen. Encourage imaginative play and introduce them to bath time instead. Perhaps your little one will create a bubbly feast for a king?  Or a magical potion for fairies? The possibilities are endless.
  • Give dolly a bath. Children love to role play and bath time is a great opportunity for you to encourage self care. If you have a baby doll that can go in the bath, bring her in and let your little one take turns to wash her hair and body.
  • Let them paint! If paintbrushes and all the paraphernelia that goes with it sends shivers down your spine, why not bring it into the bath instead? You can buy specific bath crayons and paints, or you can bring small pots of washable paint into the bathroom instead- it depends how brave you are! The best thing about this activity is that your little one gets to express himself, and you get to hose him down afterwards!
  • Play sink or float. Let your little one help you to find waterproof objects and take turns to guess which ones will sink and which will float.
  • Make paper boats- and sail them. Simple fun!
  • Add some ice! Add a few drops of food colouring to the water before you freeze it, then pop them into the bath for theMake bath time fun~ cuddledry.comlittle ones to chase! Once melted, the water will change colour- and you can have a chat about why the ice melted too.

All of the above can be done during the usual bath time if you prefer, but if you know that your little one needs extra wind downtime after activities like this, then you might want to choose a different time instead. As always, make sure you supervise little ones at all times, and don’t forget to wrap them up warm in their Cuddledry towels afterwards!

What are your little one’s favourite bath time activities?

OK, it’s time to ‘fess up.

Have you ever dressed up your baby as a bunny? Ever squeezed them into an adorable monkey suit or drawn whiskers on them with a Sharpie while they slept?*

As parents, we seem to have a growing obsession with dressing up our kids as animals. Chubby babies and toddlers are adorable enough at the best of times but add in costumes, face paints and funny ears and it’s all just too darn cute.

Retailers have seized upon this fetish of course and it’s possible to get just about any animal theme that takes your fancy. For less than $40 you can even dress your baby as a lobster, courtesy of Annie’s Costumes.

Feeling the chill this winter? Never fear – animal hats are here! You can keep your toddler’s head toasty and make them look like a bear, all at the same time.

We are not in a position to judge of course – we are all about the animals with our toddler towels. Our Cuddlemoos come complete with tiny cow horns and our Snuggle Monkey even has a tail. It doesn’t get much cuter than a toddler with a tail.

But what is it about tiny people dressed as animals that sends our hearts and tummies all a flutter? We wouldn’t actually want a live monkey wreaking havoc in the bathroom, drinking the organic body wash and drawing on the tiles with toothpaste, so why is it so cute to play dress-up with our little ones?

On the flip side of course, there are lots of people who like dressing up their animals as people. There is nothing quite as adorable as a guinea pig in a hat.

*That one might just be me.

By Jo Middleton aka Slummy single mummy

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