The Motherhood Lessons Series- Part I: The Most Overrated Baby Items. (& the items that you can’t live without!)

The Motherhood Lessons Series- Part I: The Most Overrated Baby Items. (& the items that you can’t live without!)

Negotiating the ocean of baby products that are available on the market can be quite suffocating! Add to that the tides of “advice” and “recommendations” from everyone and their Nan- “Buy this!” “Buy that!” “This helped my LO sleep!” “This contraption is all singing and dancing!” “Buying this product will make you a better parent…” … you get the picture.

I didn’t ask for advice but I was lumbered with it in every direction I turned. I was one of those Mother’s who never picked up a baby book throughout my entire pregnancy because I believe (and still do nearly 8 months down the line of Motherhood) that babies can not come with a manual… they come with a Mother… who learns best the systems that work for her and her child! Don’t try and force your square baby into a round hole (what a strange image! I hope if there is anything you take away after reading this piece is this silly analogy; you have a little smile to yourself at the lunacy of suggesting squishing babies into different shaped crevices, then remember how individual and wonderful your own child is and appreciate all their idiosyncrasies, their love for you and how YOU too are as individual as a Mother!) #DoYouBooBoo!

If my parenting was analysed by textbooks I think it could be labelled “attachment parenting” and I am sure a lot of people would tell me what I was doing was wrong. But so far; there have been no scares and Beatrice and I work together to get through babyhood and Motherhood respectively!

It has taken some time, and a cloak of bravado to finally have confidence in my decisions as a Mummy. And judging by the Little Person who accompanies me on this journey daily, I am now confident in my ability as a ruddy good Momma Bear. And you are too! Did you feed your child enough today? Did you change them when they needed? Did you give them cuddles that sent them into soft slumber?… you did? Then you my friend have done a good job today!

But I digress… this post is primarily targeted at Momma’s-To-Be to ensure that your purchases are streamline, smart and save you money! You may be tempted to go all in, and a lot of recommendations will have suited the child of that particular Mummy. My main message is to stock up on the essentials and take the time to find out what products can be adapted to your personal lifestyle.

It is hair raising how much you could potentially save yourself. I believe a lot of baby companies are capitalising on New-Mother fear or even the fear of being a Mother to another child in this time. Perhaps there has been a 5 year gap between this child and the older child who didn’t have the wealth of products available in 2013 and in that time laws and parenting rules seemed to have changed over, and over so it can be overwhelming and quite confusing! Bam! In sweeps a retail giant with false promises of a happier baby. If they use this version of a rattle their cognitive abilities will advance three fold… blah blah blah.

A lot of products take up space and burn a hole in your pocket, so I also learnt that shopping second hand is not to be sniffed at! The quality is often so high because babies grow so fast that many items are used just a handful of times. It turns out also that one of Bea’s favourite toys was a £5 animal carousel that can be stuck on the highchair or just popped on the floor, that she bashes to spin and it features some adorable, colourful animals (including a tiger, lion, monkey, zebra and bee.) #CheapAndCheerful.

This is my own personal experience and list, but I hope it may help you make decisions at to what you want to include as part of your baby arsenal. I have also taken the liberty of including the savings to be made from either not including these items on your shopping list, or opting for less expensive alternatives.

So first things first…

1) Moses Basket.

Admittedly we had a much longer shelf life with our purchase because our tiny, preemie baby came home with us just over 5 and a half pounds and grew at a slower rate! This meant that she was still comfortably fitting in the Moses basket at 4 months old, by which time we were in the position to replace this sleeping arrangement with a more IMG_8242permanent solution (which has been a very USEFUL transition piece before getting Bea into her own room! More about this shortly!)

Moses baskets are most aesthetically pleasing and will look adorable… for a few weeks! We had been very lucky that a friend was selling her Clair De Lune Noah Moses Pod (RRP £110 and often these are sold without the stands! Madness!) and we snapped it up for just £35 which was a complete steal!

Knowing the lunacy of the market for these we sold the pod on again for £70 so we never lost money on this purchase, but if I were to “do over” the initial baby shopping experience I would have never opted for a Moses Basket in the first place. Instead the best bet is to spend out on a crib or next to you solution as it can be used until such time as you move your baby out of your room. 7 months of co-sleeping (the definition I use here is baby in same room), so for us the Babystyle Oyster SnuggleCrib has been invaluable!

I was lucky enough to have won this bedside crib through my hobby (some may call it addiction) of entering Facebook and Instagram competitions! So again this saved me over £70. I would however suggest that if you want to invest in a great piece of sleep kit then go for a Next To You style crib like the Chicco Next 2 Me. This is for longevity and is also very useful when breastfeeding.

Saving- £75 on the Moses Basket.

Saving- £80 on the Snuggle Crib.

£35 profit on selling Moses Basket on.

Money in my pocket- £190!!!


2) Sleepyhead of Sweden Deluxe.

I would describe this piece of luxury baby kit as style over substance. Yes… it’s very pretty and makes for some very cute photo opportunities but it is an extortionate price to pay!

The three occasions that we actually used the SleepyHead!

If you have been living under a rock and are unfamiliar with the Sleepy Head is essentially a pod that can be used as a bed or mat for supervised play or Tummy Time, but it is touted by famous people and those with more money than sense!

I barely used ours and it ended up taking up space in the living room. Sure it is more aesthetically pleasing than your standard, gaudy kiddy pillows or mats but you pay through the nose for that privilege! It is oh so hip, Indie and Scandi and a lovely “prop” to have if you are lucky enough to have a spare £130 knocking around… but in reality that is a sum that most Mothers-To-Be do not have!

There is also hot debate as to whether this pod actually meets the standards of Safe Sleep as defined by the Lullaby Trust etc as it only definitely meets the standards of  a pillow which it is not being used as, it is being promoted as a sleeping environment replacement and I would NEVER recommend it as such! The only truly safe sleep environment is a basket/bassinet/cot crib with fitted sheet and NO loose blankets, pillows, cot bumpers or teddies.

Influencers all over social media praise the SleepyHead but I personally found that Bea would not sleep on it any way and an activity mat provided more comfort, play opportunity and she would even fall asleep better on an activity mat after a good twenty minute kick about.

Luckily the SleepyHead was a prize I won in my mad, comping spree before going into labour! This saved me £130 of my own money!

The claims the proponents make about it are slightly ludicrous, especially when they say use it as a changing mat… this boggles my mind! Why would you use a white surface if there is the imminent threat of a PooNami?! Sure the covers are machine washable but I wouldn’t want to get any kind of unwanted staining on this overpriced pillow.

You could quite happily have your child propped on a decent Boppy Pillow at the fraction of the price!

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In the first six months there is very little sleep observed by your LO and Bea maybe napped for her 20 minute stints two or three times in the SleepyHead as she much preferred to nap on me!

I would certainly suggest doing your own research on these types of products but I feel like they are marketed to provide a solution for all your worries as a parent and prey on those unwelcome insecurities. Believe that you are able to provide the best comfort for your child without having to part with your cash over it. Not having a SleepyHead will not compromise the care of your child.

I would even go as far as to say that if it does work for your child, it is an excuse for lazy parenting!

To have Bea sleep in the day I would mostly just move my Moses Basket into the living room or have her sleep on me as she never slept/nor sleeps now for longer than an hour and a half at one time. Tummy time was hosted on an activity mat (Bea hated being on her tummy way up until her fifth month!) and changing was and continues to be done here, there and everywhere!

I feel like the SleepyHead very much is a statement to be made about being a fashionable/luxe Momma (that I am not!) and is very nice but not a must have! It is not as functional as the company try to make you believe and it is a bit gimmicky that it only lasts up to 6/8 months before your have to upgrade your Duluxe to the Grand (throwing more money at SleepyHead!!)

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When your little one has grown out of their Deluxe…why not spend another hundred or so on essentially the same item again…but with a different name… *rolls eyes*

Here’s a Boppy Pillow that you could use in exactly the same ways stated in the SleepyHead blurb (“around the house”, “changing”, “playing”, “bonding”, “co sleeping”, “lounging” & “resting” which are clearly not exclusive to this product!) and save you over £95! Sure it’s not as beautiful but it means that you can spend out for other products to use alongside it for the play & tummy time aspect.


3) Burping Cloths.

Luckily our little Bea was not a sicky baby so had I had an experience where she was covering myself and our home in vomit then I may have a different opinion on the matter, but as it is I can not recall a time I have ever used a burp cloth.

Instead just ensure you have a good stock of muslins which are hands down the most useful items to have at your disposal and invest in (other than the essential nappies/wipes). We particularly love the large muslins as they can be used in so many more ways.

We particularly love our Aiden and Anais Disney Aristocat 3 pack. They look so stylish mopping up food spills or sick!

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4) Nappy Stacker.

As a busy parent, I don’t understand why you would allocate time to removing nappies from their perfectly adequate packaging to organise/stack them in an “organiser”. They are not conducive to bleary-eyed night changes, attempting to grab at a nappy for a prompt response time. In the dark and state of confusion it is likely that you will rifle through and cause disarray to your precisely stacked nappies that can remain in perfect formation in the day time!


4.5) Nappy Bin.

In a similar pooey fashion the idea of a nappy bin disturbs me! Surely it is not hygienic to have poopy sausages festering away for a week?! Why not just make a poo run to the regular bin once or twice a day?


5) An expensive steriliser.

Again I don’t know if this is because I was primarily breastfeeding and it may have been different had I been formula feeding  for the majority of the time, but a fancy steriliser took up valuable kitchen top space and was a bit of a bind to maintain. Who knew these sterilisers had to be descaled so often which takes another 20 valuable minutes up of your time when you are running around trying to do 800 other tasks?!

I had the Tommee Tippee “Closer To Nature” 5 bottle steriliser (RRP £58.99) and it was fab because it is literally a push-button-and-go system. Though, I found that its condition deteriorated pretty fast (I initially had no clue about the need to de scale your steriliser on a 3/4 weekly basis!) so think money could have been better spent using the Tommee Tippee Essentials 2-in-1 Steriliser for just £12.99! I would always highly recommend  the Tommee Tippee products as I found that their electric pump worked better for me than the Medela Swing!


One thing that many people will argue is an item to avoid purchasing is a changing table as you do become a pro at Ninja Changing on all and any surface. You often just have the baby whipped down to their nappy in seconds on your lap!

However, I have a massive soft spot for my changing station as it was lovingly re-purposed by Nannie H. I paid nothing for the changing station (which was not the most beautiful piece of furniture in its past state!) and my Mum took it on as a fixer-upper project as part of my Baby Shower Gift. She lovingly laboured away on that piece over a series of evenings after work. She sanded it down, painted it, sorted out the shelving and then decorated it with the nursery theme in mind, and it makes a stunning focal point in Bea’s nursery.

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I try to use it every few days as part of our Bath, Book, Bottle, Bed routine, but I must confess it is not something I used every day, but I would never say it is an overrated item. I love that changing table with all my heart. I would highly recommend taken on a cheap piece of furniture and doing a little DIY project as it will save you a whole chunk of Baby Budget.

Other things that could be a drain on the purse: designer dummies (you will still lose these like regular dummies!), a wipe warmer, bath thermometer (just use your own judgement! Surely you know the acceptable range of temperature for the water!), baby shoes and one for the Mummies- stretch mark creams (regular lotions works exactly the same!)

Obviously this list is not the definitive list of useless items (there are some really bizarre items that can be found on the internet!) and I am sure people will disagree with the list and had a much better experience with the products I have listed.

It all comes back to the point that I initially made that we will find what works for us, so I would hope that this tongue in cheek piece does not serve as an instructional piece. Do your own reading, find what makes you and your baby happy. Just make sure you have the basics and you will have a happy baby.

Remember: a baby doesn’t need THINGS! It just needs you. #FreeHugs

What do you feel like you wasted the most money on? What’s been your Best Buy? Do you buy baby items second hand too?

#StaySweet

-Bea’s Mummy x

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Eco Mom! Warrior not Worrier & Review: Lil Cubs.

Eco Mom! Warrior not Worrier &  Review: Lil Cubs.

I think, like the majority of the general population, I was shocked and appalled at our careless, throw-away culture whilst watching Blue Planet II.

Quite rightly it sparked an outcry and awakened the Eco Warriors within, that were latent and waiting to burst forth in battle cries of “No More!”towards producers of this toxic waste.

Following these images of plastic waste, drifting through our oceans and the coverage of albatross chicks being unwittingly fed plastic (this made my stomach turn as a Mummy To Be!) there have been various campaigns to ban the use of plastic straws, bottles and levy a tax on plastic packaging (which could be introduced by law by 2021.)

Because of this increased awareness about use and dump products and their detrimental effects to the world around us “single-use” has become the buzz word of the year in the Collins Dictionary for 2018. This refers to products- often made of plastic – that are made to be used once then thrown away.

“Single-use” has seen a four-fold increase since 2013 which I think highlights our socio political concerns about the environment and I for one welcome this conversation!

Sometimes it is difficult to live in full eco-conscious mode when you have offspring to attend to on the daily and sometimes (unfortunately) convenience is king which means the environment will take a hit. As much as possible I try to live green in the most basic ways (recycling, reusing, upcycling and buying organic as much as possible. I did also consider the use of cloth nappies but I just wasn’t brave enough to take that lifestyle plunge.)

Of course any parent may worry about the state of the world that we hand over to our little people but we can contribute to a happier world by pledging to do one thing that is green. Alone we can not change the world but if we are concerned enough joining together as a green collective will be the way forward.

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Source: Lil Cub’s Website.

One easy and fun way to live more eco-consciously is to add organic products to your little ones wardrobe.

Lil’ Cubs is one such company that formed in 2015 to offer goodies (from muslins, sleepsuits to baby gift boxes) that are full of personality and crafted with the wider world in mind. Organic cotton and jersey materials are used and the fun, graphic prints are created from eco friendly dyes.

Since choosing to shop Organic there is no way I would go back now. I was introduced to the wonderful, wacky world of Lil’ Cubs through one of their stockists Rhubarb The Bird (whom Bea brand reps for.) The first product Bea and I put through its paces was the glorious Clouds & Bolts sleepsuit. The suit features a rather cute rainbow coloured design and as the name suggests clouds and lightning bolts and a nifty little zipper!

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It made me feel better about my environmental & socio economic impact. Last year 220,478 organic farmers produced organic cotton over 18 countries and there was a 10% year-on-year increase from 2016! Lil’ Cubs is a brand that has a sustainability strategy to do their part in reducing global warming, over fertilisation of the soil, water consumption compared to conventional farming.

One of my favourite unique selling points of the brand is that the designs are unisex so can be shared between little boys and girls. I have found that organic products last much longer. Because organic cotton is harvested by hand rather than machine it does not require the chemicals to clean and bleach it so it is more durable upon being turned into textile. I have also personally found that the bodysuit has coped better with washing & drying! So I will be passing these items on to Baby Goddard To Be…

Apparently organic clothes last five times longer than their conventional counterparts and the cotton will not break down until the hundredth wash… I will test this claim out but so far the vibrancy of the suit has not changed!

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Source: Lil Cub’s Website!

We were sent the beautiful “Oranges & Lemons” muslin swaddle. The print is really individual and I love that it is a design that is relevant every season. It is bright! It is “zingy!” As I opened our package it certainly packed a visual punch.

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It is super soft. The cotton is 100% breathable and perfect for Bea’s delicate skin. I couldn’t wait to wrap her up in a beautiful, cotton-soft bundle.

It is 120x120cm so it is large and multi functional. Throughout its test period I have utilised the muslin in a variety of ways. It is great for mopping up spills, napping under a light “blanket” and most recently it has been used as a fun backdrop for an Autumnal themed photo shoot. It looked super cute behind a wicker basket and pumpkins.

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Its a staple tool in my Mum Arsenal. I have always only ever heard positive feedback about the Lil Cubs’ muslins from other Mummy friends and now I join in these voices of praise.

61D8C5F8-063B-4452-8C23-85AF58D7B3E7The pricing is very affordable at just £17.

I have been known to use the muslin as a scarf. I can confirm that the softness is out of this world! I happily share the muslin with Bea who now associates it with “sleepy time”.

Lil Cub’s is a fresh baby product company that has come a long way from just muslins and bibs back in 2015 and I see them growing and becoming a widely recognised organic baby clothing brand.

If you too want to be more Eco Warrior than Worrier I highly recommend Lil Cubs’ as a provider of organic products. Obviously it takes time to change your buying habits and create a fully organic wardrobe, so my tip would be to add capsule pieces (they WILL last) so over time your core wardrobe will shift from regular clothing to organic and it will be #FeelGood both physically and metaphorically.

Check out the colourful Instagram page to see the products in action!

How are you doing your bit for the environment? Do you have plans to adopt greener lifestyle choices?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

I was gifted the Oranges & Lemons swaddle muslin as part of my agreement with Tabitha of Lil Cubs. All views are my own.

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The “Organised Mum” Saga Continues & Review: Grizzli Bear.

The “Organised Mum” Saga Continues & Review: Grizzli Bear.

The depths of a Mother’s bag are a lesser explored world… much like the deep sea or the farest reaches of our galaxy! With great trepidation we reach in to retrieve the required item, the “gold dust” item; all the while navigating crusty wipes, smooshed bananas or worse! It’s is a lucky dip as to what your hand may brush past. Sometimes unlucky! I love it when you find a snack bar or a missing dummy that your LO has been longing for.

I was having one of those “Mum Meltdown” days and the final straw came when I could not get instant access to a nappy after a particularly ferocious PooNami and it was a literal shit storm as poop trickled down Bea’s legs! It’s these “precious” moments that you feel like you fail as a Mother. Bea was crying. I was crying. I wondered if in a parallel universe there was a version of me doing a better job at Mumming with handy, hacks and tools of the trade that could avert disaster.

So I was looking through Instagram and cheerfully came across a business that produces gorgeous bespoke nappy pouches and tote bags. Jenny Baker is a fellow Momma & designer, creative and sewer at Grizzli Bear based in our Capital! She truly makes the daily grind much more colourful. Who doesn’t love an extra rainbow to drag them through their storm?

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The imagery of the rainbow is very central to our ethos and close to our hearts, what with Little Miss Bea shining light into our lives following our difficult 2017. She is our Rainbow Baby and along with the bee emblem, I incorporate the majestic rainbow in as8113DA53-F9A1-4792-BA6B-74283BFB582A many of the items I purchase as possible. I was instantly drawn to the rainbow nappy pouches and loved that I had the option to showcase the Bea & Me identity I am busily attempting to establish in the blogging arena.

The business was established through Insta & Etsy just this year, though Jenny has been sewing much longer and you can truly see this from the quality of the pouch. It is robust and fortified, ready for filling with “Mum Stuff”. There is so much scope for bespoke design and the only limits is the customers imagination.

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Jenny says of her items:

“my favourite piece to create is anything personalised. I love making something that I know someone will love and is just what they want. I found some cute Peter Rabbit fabric for a customer once as their little one’s favourite comforter was a Peter Rabbit and they were so excited!”

It is clear to see that these items are truly handmade with love.

I really enjoyed my conversations with Jenny (who always makes herself available for a friendly chat.) She is very open and honest and has a passion for people and her craft.

“My main motivation for setting up Grizzli Bear was to help new parents. There’s so much stuff that you have to lug around with you when you have a teeny human to look after, and with so many post-birth hormones whizzing around, the last thing you need is an overflowing changing bag to stress you out even more. My pouches try to sort all that extra stuff out so you don’t have to think about it. No more rummaging around for wipes and finding a half-chewed rice cake, a random toy, and no wipes!

I really struggled with postnatal depression and organising all the baby stuff into pouches helped me feel more in control. I want to help other people feel that way too.”

In the crazy introduction to the world of parenting Grizzli Bear offers a beacon of hope and the goodies are “funky” and “modern” adds Jenny. I agree. I loved scrolling through the Instagram feed and thought very apt wording have been 538AAF7E-A34D-4AFD-97F2-6855E0D13F6Bincluded as part of the designs including “You got this Mamma”, “You are the light”,  “Held Fast” (all very positive and empowering affirmations) and she doesn’t forget that dads co parent too with her designs “Daddy’s Turn” and “Dad Bag”. I love that the pouches are so inclusive and unisex.

I would suggest the best way of staying organised with these pouches is to have each one labelled “nappies”, “clean clothes”, “fast food” & “everything else” so there are no unpleasant surprises inside the bag and you can control your outside circumstances as best as possible in the fast paced world of raising little whirlwinds!

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Making Parenting simpler! Grab & go pouches for all the necessities!

Having utilised the pouch for an intense two week “testing period” I have since implemented it as part of my arsenal daily as it is fab for impromptu trips out so that you don’t have to lug around a full Mary Poppins bag. It is also great for day trips. I brought it along as part of our recent trip to the zoo and it was a godsend for finding my wipes easily for sticky, monkey fingers! (No I am not talking about the enclosed animals!)

You literally “Clutch-And-Go” but you can look stylish and appear as if you have your shit together! It’s a refreshing feeling to have the important items to hand because you can feel out of control at the drop of a hat! I love having a slice of Grizzli (Momma) Bear in my life and the style is not sacrificed for ultimate utility.

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Check out Jenny’s goodies at @grizzlibear_gb (Instagram) or at GrizzliBear on Etsy!

Things I have done this week to get organised:

1) I batch cooked and froze Bea’s meals for the coming week. It was the first time using my cute Ikea ice cube trays! It certainly beats whizzing up Bea’s dinners at the same time as trying to cook our dinner.

2) Hoovered the livingroom before heading up to bed. It means I feel confident letting our little Commando roll around the floor in the morning.51CTuZZ5+9L._SL250_

3) Colour coded my diary for the purposes of planning and scheduling my upcoming product reviews and Baby Classes. I used these rather snazzy Post-It Index Flags!

4) Shopped online for upcoming birthdays! This saves so much time in a few clicks rather than wandering around a physical store because I tend to get distracted! It also meant I saved money because I found offers that meant the item I had my beady eye was actually 30% cheaper than I expected. Huzzah! More SMP in my pocket to stock up on all things baby.

5) Bea is a rice pudding Monster and by happy coincidence I found it reduced to clear at Tesco for 66p a jar so I cleared the shelf! Rice Pudding for days!

I feel much more accomplished and it is rather tremendous to celebrate these mini victories when times get darker! I also have my beautifully vibrant nappy pouch by my side.

How have you stayed organised so far this week? What wording would you select for your own nappy pouch?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

I was gifted the nappy pouch by Jenny at Grizzli Bear as part of our review agreement, but all opinions are my own!

I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme so if you purchase products through my links at no additional cost to you I may earn commission on that sale to ensure I can keep producing content that you want to see.

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So how much sleep does your baby actually need?… You may be surprised…!!!

So how much sleep does your baby actually need?… You may be surprised…!!!

We have just made it through that 4 month Sleep Regression stage; battered and bruised… but we fought through it together (I think I may have cried more than Bea for those 5 weeks! Man it was hard! And Sleep Regression IS real!) We have come out the other side and I believe that Bea now has a much keener appreciation again for day naps (she had been keeping herself awake by all kind of means included but not limited to what sounded like singing to herself and scratching her own face!) so we also had the added challenge of dealing with an over tired baby.

I think there is certainly a lack of medical/scientific information readily available at your local GP about baby sleep and in a panic that I wasn’t parenting right I read many a horror story of sleep regression on Parenting forums. Then on the other side, I was airing my own sleep deprived woes with two Mummy friends who both seemed a lot more bright-eyed and bushy tailed than me (despite having their daughters around the same time as me) and one of the little ladies had been sleeping in their own room from the start and the other was not waking up in the night and sleeping through. This lucky Momma had consistently been achieving 8/9 hours of unbroken sleep!

Is my baby broken?! What was I doing wrong to have to deal with hourly wake ups?! There was a week period where I saw at least one minute of every hour in different iterations each day- 12pm…1am…2am….3am…..4am…..5am so as you can imagine this did start putting a strain on my relationship with my Husband (who is about as useful as a chocolate teapot in the early hours) as I felt like he should be doing more to relieve me and I was ashamed to recognise it, but it felt like I was starting to dislike my baby at these crazy hours. It’s insane to think the depths you plunge to (the lack of sanity) when you have not managed to get enough “shut eye”. Then I would feel so guilty to even be thinking like that! But shit happens when you don’t get sleep! I realised I can be a very crabby kind of person. Historically, I have never struggled with waking up early and being fully functional and quote “annoyingly chirpy”… but this was certainly one thing I was not. I was less an early songbird and now some kind of permanently exhausted pigeon!AF988229-D5C8-4AE7-B70C-8432D4F1B159.jpeg

But there is light at the end of the tunnel and I think we have a very squiffy expectation of baby sleep! To distill the answer to the age old question “How much sleep does my baby need?” … simply put: however much THEY need as an individual so your baby will lead you. It does not mean there is something wrong with your baby if they wake themselves up after a 20 minute Cat Nap or do not sleep through the night. It becomes problematic when we put an adult expectation on their sleep patterns. Perhaps these “baby sleep problems” are more our own issues?!!

There is no normality in the field of babysleep. Recommended guidelines for Sleep are so broad. For example The National Sleep Foundation state that the limits of acceptable sleep are between ten to eighteen hours over a 24 hour period in babies between 3 and 11 months old so most patterns of sleep should fall within realms of normality.

The NHS advice on sleep suggests that by 4 months old a baby should be sleeping double the length spent in the day. This seemed to work as a rule of thumb for me as Bea got out of any sort of habit/routine for daytime napping! This is where advice “sleep when you baby sleeps” was utterly useless to Bea and I!!

What made me feel better about our Sleep Journey was finding “Why Your Babies Sleep Matters” by Sarah Ockwell-Smith (follow her fabulous blog here!) because she is a gentle parenting proponent and has a relatable way to translate science to actual parenthood.

 

 

The advice is refreshing because essentially it is pointless to track our child’s sleep pattern; parent reporting night-wakings are inaccurate. There is an expectation in our society that our babies should be sleeping through the night by 6 months old, but this is an unfounded because in reality research in Sarah’s book shows that 84% of children aged 6 months are still waking up at least once a night. Our expectations of our children’s sleep is unrealistic and it would allow us all a sleep-deprived sigh of relief if we realised that these “expectations” (turned limitations) are just constructs and “sleep problems” are just our little ones actually sleeping completely normally!

Did you have an expectation of when your child would be sleeping through the night? Have you put any successful routines in place that has encouraged sleep through the night? How much do you find yourself waking with your child?

– Bea’s Mummy

 

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How to be an organised Mummy (and why I am still not quite there yet!) + Pacapod Changing Bag Review.

How to be an organised Mummy (and why I am still not quite there yet!) + Pacapod Changing Bag Review.

(Please read this in light of my tongue in cheeky satire. I would never profess to being a font of knowledge. I think we are all just trying to do the best job that we can to help our little ones thrive… there are many, many, in-exhaustive paths to Mummy Nivarna! But if there is advice along the way I try to exert as less energy and stress as possible by utilising tried and tested methods. This is not to say every way will work for your little person as they are an individual but if trial and error is involved it may be worth considering tips and tricks that you may not have thought of yet!)

This blog post includes affiliate links so if you chose to purchase one of the ace products I am talking about (and independently fully endorse) at no extra cost to yourself I can earn commission to keep bringing you the best content!

 

I think one of the biggest shocks (not including things directly linked to all things Baby: including my premature labour, the first poo’splotion and that time Bea had an anal prolapse!) of Motherhood was the significant drop in income from regular working wage, to 90% of wage (which was but a dip of the toe into the money management struggles to follow), down to Statutory Maternity Pay which is, as we can all agree; peanuts!

When under £800 is coming into your account (not including Child Benefit payment), you realise that you are going to have to cut your cloth accordingly. Part of my organisation has been pushed by the very real and noticeable money plummet! It wasn’t as if I was the most extravagant spender pre baby, but the Hubster and I would indulged in a weekly  meal out (of some description) and if there was money to spare I was a “Treat Yo’Self” kinda gal…

But… Baby Times have forced me to very quickly learn to budget. It was actually terrifying the first time I sat down to draft our budget with my meagre Mummy Money in the mix. However, the key to better living is full, transparent honesty. It certainly made me re evaluate my priorities (I have not had my eyebrows waxed at a beauty place since Bea’s arrival and have had but one salon haircut!)

On paper, after all bills were paid it looked as though we would have £380 left to play with but that didn’t seem to work out with a new baby in tow and the fact that Daddy G is a car salesman so his pay fluctuates month by month. I think it has certainly helped paying our bills by direct debit. We have recently just had our Smart Metre fitted so I hope this will make a positive different to the outgoings as it has certainly made me acutely aware of not wasting as much energy in the day by switching off plugs at the wall. It’s a mixture of both amazement and dread that this little box is recording our energy useage and you literally see the money leaving your pocket! #GameChanger!

Its all about cutting costs where you can and changing your materialistic mindset. Yes it’s nice to have Netflix/Amazon/Now TV but do you NEED all these paid services? (I would love to follow my own advice here as we have only been able to let go of Now TV as we keep rationalising keeping Netflix and Amazon! Here is the first reason that I am not organised or thrifty for that matter. Though dropping one out of three for me is a good starting point!) I think that having less to binge watch would force me into finding alternatives to occupy spare time which could include more time planning, tackling the ever present laundry piles or getting crafty to save money!

With revised budget came a new Food Shopping spend and a revision to weekly as oppose to monthly shop which has saved approximately £30 overall! In all honesty, most shops I have been “winging it” to pick up as close to my budget as possible and sometimes it is hard not to be swayed off course by attractive looking ‘deals’, so my next goal is to write & STICK to a weekly meal plan!

I have learnt that batch cooking is a Momma’s best friend! Forget diamonds… after a full day of childcare it is nice to know that you have still managed to “Wife” and have food to fill the Hubsters belly. It’s great to do it the lazy way! I pick out our favourite dinners and cook up quantities to feed 6 that I then divvy our into freezable bags. In the microwave they go and that is one less chore to consider. It’s difficult to motivate yourself to do the batch cook initially and it does require a certain level of organisation but the output is certainly greater than just one day a week having to plan the babba’s  naps around your cooking as best as possible.

I found that in the early days if I didn’t get myself up and at em the whole day ahead was a no go. To get organised I would highly recommend that you start the day by getting yourself ready first. If you set an alarm half an hour before your little one is due to get up then you can at least have a shower and try to present yourself.

I am pretty sure in the blur of attempting to Mum there was an almost five day period that I enveloped my hair in another layer of dry shampoo each day and maybe only brushed my teeth twice where Bea decided to get herself comfy in a routine of 6am breastfeed/bottle, then we would dress her for the day ahead, play with her then she would go back to sleep ON me so I was held hostage from 8am anywhere up to 11am! This was not conducive to getting anything done!

I have since revised this routine to ensure that we make it downstairs to start the day. Bea is what I would describe as a somewhat “needy baby”- I am sure she would prefer to be held at all times if that was an option. So many people said that I was “going to make a rod for my back” with the way I would allow her to sleep on me. I guess they were right. It is hard to be organised when you have a tiny human being clinging to you. We found that the only way to get things done was to babywear so about eight weeks into the parenting journey we finally started utilising the Hana wrap that allowed for  some kind of semblance of order to the day. I could strap Bea in and wash the dishes and put the washing on the line.

Talking of washing, don’t put it off! The best washing policy is to do it as a daily task. I never realised quite how much washing such a tiny person could go through! Also a top tip is to get a washing basket for each member of the family as it makes it so much easier for drying then sorting. In all honesty I started out dividing the piles and attempting to do washes for each of us, but because I am still not an organised Mummy I ended up reverting to the bung & load method again where I would just grab whatever was closest to hand, like an arcade claw, indiscriminate and only successful perhaps one in one hundred attempts! This “method” does not make for happy sorting so do as I say….not as I do (hopefully this will not be a parenting mantra I settle on…) and for your own sanity keep on top of the washing and have enough self respect that you maybe take fifteen minutes longer before the task to save the heartache and utter annoyance the other side!

I feel as though the key is balance and routine, you can have everything if you put the steps in that achieve the goal of organisation. Real talk: I am probably too lazy to be an organised mum and I maybe don’t herald organisation as “up there” in

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Grab your Hartland today!

my own personal Mom Priorities. I should probably revise this… but the Un Routined Routine seems to be working just fine for Bea and I.

I don’t believe you can ever fully control the world around you, and certainly not a mini person. Ultimately they dictate the course of the day. I guess there are pockets you can influence through your own action for that illusion of control! But I quite like to be surprised on the daily- “let’s see what today brings!” There is certainly value in organisation (for other Moms!) I have started changing habits that cultivate success and promote order. But they are baby steps, which is why organised is not an adjective that would appear in a Top 20 list to describe my parenting style! From the outside other Mummy friends have said it looks like we have our shit together (but does any Mummy though?!!) I think a big part of that is making the effort to look as good as you make your baby look. You may not feel like it, but a lick of mascara and tinted lip balm can go a long way to making you look more “put together”. That is why I have found having a Pacapod changing bag is a nice (stylish and functional) stepping stone into organisation.

I was lucky enough to win the Pacapod Hartland Pewter Acorn on a competition hosted by Mummy and Little Me. To say I was thrilled was an understatement as I have followed the #MyPacapod hashtag on Instagram since my first pregnancy. I was, however, always sat on the fence as to whether it was just marketing magic that had me on board and was the cost of the bag outweighed by the utility or vice versa? The miser in me felt like I would need some solid reviews from people I knew in order to invest the quite costly price tag, in my humble opinion.

So upon my win, I could be that person I knew to put the bag through rigorous testing! Would it’s design improve my organisation? Is it worth the hype? Most recently the brand has been winning awards again (gold in the Made For Mums Awards 2018) and there are more designs than you can shake a stick at for all kinds of Mummy Bears. What’s a real plus about the brand is that every design works but doesn’t compromise the “looking good” aspect. Because the Pacapod has been designed by a mum for other mums the bags offer a slick transition between work and home if you are a working mother, because let’s face it… who wants to spend any extra time packing seperate bags for you and the LO?!!

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I love the comfort of a backpack style changing bag – perfect for days out.

When I received my bag the first thing I did notice was the superior quality of the bag compared to other brands that I have personally used. Amazingly each bag is handcrafted out of 257 individual pieces! This quantity blew my mind. This is why 1) the cost may seem higher than other brands but 2) the longevity of the bag far exceeds other makes and accompanies you and your child on your journey for a longer time!

The creator behind the Pacapod Jacqueline Waggett used to design for a well known outdoor lifestyle company, and her love of travel is evident in the designs of the bags and more specifically in my Hartland: the limited edition world map print of the Feeder Pod! I love the whimsical print, it reminds me of my pre Momma zest for jet setting! Now that I mention travel, the Hartland bag would be just perfect as a cabin bag! It is compact (42cmx31cmx18cm with a 36 litre capacity at just 1.03kgs!) and allows you to go handsfree with the backpack design. It is also super easy to transform it into a messenger bag. I love its multi 56016BF4-FBE1-4B14-8066-E9F2B334BF8Afunctionality and with the ingenious 3-in-1 organisation system, it has increased the time (I would actually guess three fold) of accessing the baby bits and bobs you need to hand.

I am a big fan of the collapsible pods for easy wipe-down cleaning and storage and each “pod” can be used independently, as they can be clipped onto your pram handle. The attention to detail is everything. The new map print is also utilised on the mini dummy pouch. I just love the continuity aspect and that no design feature is half baked. Everything has its purpose and it’s place.

You can use both pods, one pod or no pods at all! The main bag can be used for just “Mum Things” and can easily transport a laptop. It really paves the way for you finding your own best practice for organisation. The Hartland comes from the new Travel Light range and on the Pacapod website it is described as:

“the travel seekers ultimate baby bag”

and it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

We live in sunny Devon so I couldn’t wait to get the Hartland out and about. So I prepped two bottles for the feeding pod (cool bag) which perfectly insulated the milk and kept it at a Bea-Approved warm temperature. We went for a walk on Dartmoor, managed to feed Bea then comfortably change her back at the car on the padded changing mat for maximum comfort and utility because for a luxurious looking mat it also follows closely the lightweight credentials of the Hartland and its pods! (Excuse the windswept and “interesting” look of the photos… we seemed to pick the windiest day in Devon for our outdoor adventures!)

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I liked the fun acorn print. The more serious MumReviewer seems to opt for the tan version…. but the quirky design piqued my interest and I felt it was the perfect representation of what “Bea & Me” is about as a team and direction of our blog style!

I have used the bag daily and it has improved my organisation to a degree, though I am not going to lie… I am still guilty of throwing a nappy or two in the main compartment! One step at a time…

Hey Pacapod!… if you ever fancy gifting me a new design to review please do not hesitate to get in contact and I will happily spend time with Bea and your bag!

How have you ensured that you are an organised Mummy? Have you also used a Pacapod changing bag and did you find that it improved your organisation too?

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy

 

I am part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme, as such I may get commission on the links to products that I list in my reviews. My reviews are honest and my own and I will only link products that I have used/have found useful.

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The Baby Box Debate.

The Baby Box Debate.

In my humble opinion, any initiative that raises awareness of SIDS is not to be ignored. In the UK, sadly 300 babies a year pass away due to unexplained death and these numbers could potentially be avoided by putting simple (but effective) guidelines in place to protect your baby.

The Baby Boxes (popularised in Finland that have been given to the new member of a family since the 1930’s) had been rolled out in Scotland for all babies born after August this year, but now (as with many topics surrounding babies and parenting) there seems to be a new voice of doubt from researchers; particularly Professor Peter Blair from Bristol University, who have penned a letter to the British Medical Journal to suggest baby boxes should only be used as a temporary measure and are not necessarily any safer than cots (as there is no evidence as yet to suggest that they minimise the numbers of babies that die from SIDS.)

I believe any sensible parent will realise that these boxes are not suitable long term and are certainly not a “substitute”- more an additional item in the Baby arsenal! Babies grow so fast even for regular sleep environments (bassinets/Moses baskets.) Prof Blair says the boxes are too small for babies over 3 months old but I highly suspect parents will not be attempting to jam their quarter of a year olds into what is essentially a cardboard box!!! Clearly they are not fit for purpose at this point, just like other traditional products so this seems like a rather pointless argument!

I believe the Royal College of Midwives understand the real value to these baby boxes. These pieces of kit could be invaluable to parents (particularly in more economically deprived areas) who may not be able to provide their child a cot straight away. There is no surprise there is a causal link between SIDS and poverty. Baby boxes give the opportunity for “an equal start in life” – as they have done in Finland for decades. This duty of care to new patents is a refreshing notion and I think it is important for new mothers to feel supported and that they have been provided tools to be responsible and loving caregivers.

My post today is in response to this mornings piece covered by BBC News here.

(Other BBC articles about Finnish Baby Boxes- 2nd August 2018 and August 15th 2018.)

I fully understand that any healthcare scheme requires rigorous testing and on one hand support that it is useful to get a better understanding of how families are using these boxes and any safety implications, but I more strongly believe (that as a Mother) you can’t really gain insight or perspective from science alone.

If just one at-risk Baby is saved by this initiative then I would describe Baby Boxes as an overall success. As a parent of loss, I can categorically confirm that nothing has ever (or I suspect shall ever) be as painful as losing a child. Our Nordic/Scandi European cousins are certainly socially more advanced and this impacts on excellent overall wellbeing. Finland has very low numbers of SIDS death, although this can’t be solely attributed to the boxes I think the levels of compassion and care available for families is undoubtedly contributing to a healthier and happier society and thriving children.

The bizarre arguments against baby boxes include: low airflow because of the high sides, parents having to look directly over the box to view child, flammable lids, risk from pets and siblings when boxes are left on the floor and questionable durability in wet and cold.

Now correct me if I am wrong but a) the box containing sleeping child will not be exposed to the elements/left outside to get wet and cold. b) if there is a risk of fire a cot will be just as susceptible to flame damage as a cardboard box. c) a responsible parent will not leave a child sleeping unattended for long periods of time and would be checking on their child regardless of what they were sleeping in and how the visible the material surrounding their child may be.

I was blown away by the Baby Box offerings whilst looking into essential baby products: in particular the My First Baby Box as it seemed the best value for money compared to other brands (although I did fall in love the Moomin design Finnish Baby Box as it is so whimsical and reminded me of my own childhood love of the Moomins!!) There is a link to it in case you have been inspired to go #ProBabyBox and enhance your babies first few, formative weeks as part of their new family unit.

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My First Baby Box – Essential Collection

 

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It is quite obvious that there has not yet been enough time utilising this initiative to have any quantitative data available, but until such time as there is a fatality that is a direct consequence of a box, I see no harm in enjoying the potential benefits of a Baby Box and I hope that this post will also get parents talking about the very real and tragic consequences of SIDS. It is good practice to have any scheme in place (whether it is successful in itself or not) that gets people talking about how best they can protect their baby.

Here are some potentially lifesaving tips to minimise the risk of SIDS-

1) Sleep baby on their back (not side or tummy.) If they roll over and you are able to do so return them to the back sleeping position.

2) Ensure the head and face are uncovered. (Be mindful of a Safe Sleep environment- no loose fitting sheets blankets, avoid using cot bumpers and make sure sleep space is not cluttered with teddies or cushions.)

3) If possible keep your home a smoke free area.

4) Put baby to bed in their own, safe environment and ideally in the same room as caregiver for the first 6-12 months.

5) If possible it is great to breastfeed baby in early weeks. (Obviously this may be a contentious point. I am not suggesting that formula fed babies are at more risk of SIDS but there is research that suggests breastfeeding may prevent SIDS for the immune benefits that can not be replaced by formula.)

The Lullaby Trust
Description: This poster provides an ABC approach to safer sleeping for babies, as a way of preventing SIDS. Resource details Publisher: The Lullaby Trust Date: 2017 Subject: Accident Prevention Language: English Format: Text/Images A4 poster

I think a debate about the benefits of a Baby Box is not required at this point in time. They have been championed by health professionals and at this moment in time are considered safe and have benefits that outweigh any negatives so far. I will be keeping an eye out for any information that suggests there has been no benefit to them but any awareness that improves the care of our children can only be seen as a good thing and I think Prof Blair forgets the human element; that these boxes are creating confident caregivers and providing the best possible sleep environment if homes are not equipped for a newborn.

Would you use a Baby Box as a sleep environment for your little one? Have you personally used a Baby Box? (I would love to see pictures of them in use and any testimonials are greatly appreciated).

#StaySweet

– Bea’s Mummy x

 

I am Part of the Amazon Affiliate UK scheme so if you purchase a product through any of my links I earn commission on that sale (at no extra cost to you!) but it will help me to keep my blog relevant and get hold of the most up to date products to review!

 

Know Better… Do Better: Car Seat Safety.

Know Better… Do Better: Car Seat Safety.

It absolutely boggles my mind that with the wealth of support available and the body of work that has been done on child passenger safety, that parents are still putting their child’s lives at risk every time they pop them in their automobile.

I often see tiny humans wobbling about in ill-fitting car seats; parents unaware of the dangers of their child’s seat not reaching minimum standards, whizzing past and it turns my stomach. I don’t know whether it is because I have come face to face with human mortality that I am now a stickler for health and safety and making sure any baby product protects my Little Bea, and I make sure to ask the right questions to get the answers that matter!

We are only parents all trying to do the best for our children! We are not experts and policy and guidelines are frequently changing with best practice improving and sadly information gleamed from the statistics we are ignorant to (that involve children’s death.)

Are we doing enough as a Nation to take Car Seat Safety seriously enough? Are we failing our children when we are not getting the most basic safety credentials correct in the first place? The way I see it, I wouldn’t trust a stranger to care for Bea in the manner of which my Husband, close family and I do. Putting your child in a car seat with a history that you don’t know about is essentially the same. With more seats being purchased second-hand online there has been, and will likely be again an increase in serious injury and child deaths on Britain’s roads… all because a large majority of car seats in use are not fit for purpose because they are incorrectly fitted, are not suitable for size and weight of the child or not meant for a particular make/model of the car.

Parents/Grandparents want the best for their children/grandchildren and that should extend to outside the home and on the road more specifically. With such a plethora of designs and makes available it is no wonder that we can be bamboozled by car seats. One basic requirement should be ISOFIX child seat securing points which have come as standard with newer cars for a long time now. This means that the seat is bolted into the frame of the car and is not entirely dependent on the adult seatbelt’s tightness around it. This provides stability essentially from the ground up! ISOFIX is always the safest starting point.



I was internally screaming just the other week when I saw a little girl (who must have been no older than 9 months old) being strapped into a forward facing seat! Babies should be rear facing (legally) for 15 months then it is recommended to remain rear facing if possible until 4 years old. Obviously this may not be practical for every family, but for a year and a quarter our children should be rear facing because this offers maximum protection against the most dangerous types of collisions!

We are using a combination seat for Bea- the Joie EveryStage Car Seat as it is suitable from birth to 12 years old so is a real investment piece. In all honesty when we were bringing home our tiny 5 pounder even the adjustable padding didn’t quite cut it for a teenie-tiny baby, but it has grown well with her and easy to adapt to her growing body. It has won several Parents Choice Gold Awards and is a name I trust in the baby arena.

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Children are safest staying in the lower stage seat for as long as possible. Though it sounds extremely obvious seats may be fitted correctly but if the child isn’t strapped in safely, then they will not be adequately protected. The harness will not fit correctly if the child remains in puffy coats/extra layers. The straps must be levels with the child’s shoulders and tightened to allow for just one finger distance between the child and the harness at collar bone level.

I think it is essential that parents & grandparents practice installing the car seat multiple times, and get an idea of best practice for getting their little one in the car first and foremost safely and happily. Nannie H used a YouTube video created by the car seat manufacturer to learn how to install the seat and we sat in my living room putting Bea in the seat in the middle of the floor (the seat that she has does not have an ISOFIX base and her ancient vehicle doesn’t have the ISOFIX compatibility!!) – but she would not even think about putting her precious  granddaughter in the car without knowing exactly how the seat worked and that it was the safest it could be as let manufacturing guidelines and the law.

Here are some questions you should be asking yourself whilst shopping for your car seat (a handy Which? Guide) and don’t be afraid to ask for a demo in store because the car seat needs to make sense to you.

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Car seat Safety is a very important aspect of your little ones every day life so it is paramount that you get it RIGHT. It is a matter of life and death! There needs to be a much more intense focus on it as statistics have historically been grim and have made my toes curl! It is not a sexy topic, but it is something I have become very passionate about. Having had my own child I am much more aware of the world around me and will do anything to ensure the highest quality of care for our little Bea.

There is a wealth of information out there and laws are put into place for a reason. So I say if we know better (from reports, tests, compiled research around a topic) we owe it to our children to do better and use that information!

#StaySweet (& Safe!)

– Bea’s Mummy x