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How to prepare for a cake smash

You've managed to keep your baby and your sanity alive for one whole year, if anyone deserves cake it's you! But images of you with cake squished in to your fingers and toes are more disturbing than cute...

Anyway, I think parents have an idea of how cake smashes go versus what actually happens in reality. So here's some tips to help.

Pick a date

I don't know why but in my family everyone's birthday seems to be at the same sort of time. March and April are particularly challenging. It also seems that village halls, soft play centres and bouncy castle hire seem to be booked-up at the same time. So secure a session in plenty of time. Select a colour scheme

It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. The finer details can be worked out later, but knowing what colour-theme you would like and letting me know as early as possible will help with the preparation of the set up and props.

What to wear

This actually applies to both baby and parent, the last mum that left a cake smash was covered in icing. So wear something you don't mind getting 'decorated' in hand-shaped cake marks. For baby's outfit I would suggest something with exposed arms and legs. For one it's easier to get cake off skin than it is clothing. But its just generally cuter to evidence their little podgy limbs before they turn in to a toddler. The cake

Some people buy a cake, others make it. Either way the most important thing (aside from allergens obviously) is that it compliments the colour scheme. The other thing, and there's no easy way of saying it... chocolate cake looks like poo and is more likely to stain. So where possible stick to a Victoria sponge or Madera, it matches every colour scheme and there's no danger of it looking like a dirty protest. Not all babies love cake

Or at least they don't know that they do before they have tried it. I know, I know, it's bizarre! You'd expect every one-year-old to want to shovel cake in to their face and ride high from the sugar rush. But many babies sit and stare at the cake unsure what the circular item in front of them is, moreover why they are dressed in a weird outfit surrounded by grownups desperate to make them smile. It all feels very odd to them and to be fair, I can understand why. Some babies have a bit of cake shoved in their mouths, get a taste for it and perform gloriously. Others take a little bit more convincing. My advice would be to let them see and sample a complete cake before the session so they at least know what it is and what it tastes like. It's easier to do this in an environment they are comfortable with. It's also not a bad idea (with the exception of the cleaning issues) to let them explore the feeling of it in their fingers. If we have to smash the cake up and treat the session as sensory/messy play then that's ok too.

On the day of the session

Try and time naps and snacks accordingly so they are neither tired nor hungry at the time of the session. Bring some water for them as it can be thirsty work smashing up and eating cake. Try not to use mobile phones as entertainment, once they come out it's hard to put them away without a meltdown and often it distracts them from the task in hand. Have a clean change of clothes for afterwards. There will be warm water on hand to sponge them down afterwards.

Siblings and spectators

Siblings can do one of two things, help with the entertaining of the baby and it becomes a lovely memorable family activity or get bored and fed up of their little brother or sister being in the limelight and eating (or not) cake that they want and make their feelings known accordingly. Only you know which category your child is likely to fall in to. But if it is the latter I recommend leaving them with someone (preferably whom you trust) to spare them the agony of having to sit for an hour watching someone else have all the fun.

Lastly. Relax and enjoy it!

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