Thursday, 19 November 2015

The 8 Best Baby Products (According to Me)

Obviously we are busy getting ready for the new arrival around here, and it had me thinking about what we're going to use again, and what we're not - basically what really worked for us and our baby. They say that you really don't need a lot of baby stuff, but it's also true that the RIGHT stuff can really make life easier. Some of these items are pretty high-end, and while I'm normally quite a thrifty gal, I have to admit that I learned a lesson in false economy when it comes to baby stuff. I also off-set the pricier things in my mind with all the things we didn't buy, like a pram (people couldn't believe we weren't getting one, but seriously, we didn't need it, and the most popular one I see around costs like £1000. When we idly priced them, I think my reaction was just a long string of expletives). Without further ado:

If you don't need a breast pump, you don't need a breast pump (lucky you!), but if you do, you need a serious one. I had originally purchased an inexpensive manual pump, assuming that it would only be for very occasional use, but then we had problems (ALL the problems) and it just wasn't going to cut it. This model was recommended to us by a friend, and we went and bought it immediately. It ain't cheap, but it saved our breastfeeding relationship, and more than paid for itself in savings on formula. If feeding is going really well, a manual might be fine to pump the occasional bottle, or to relieve engorgement (F had a terrible vomiting bug once when she was exclusively breastfed, and I had to borrow a pump while we were waiting with her in the ER! The manual would have been good then, but we were travelling). Alternatively, if you're exclusively pumping for any significant length of time, you'll want a double - again, I think Medela is the bee's knees. For us, this model did the trick. 


So comfy! So convenient! I'd still be using it for dog walks if I wasn't super-pregnant. Again, we purchased this one AFTER trying others (I didn't do much research on carriers beforehand), and the difference is well worth the admittedly hefty price tag. What I didn't know before is to look for a carrier that protects baby's hips rather than leaving them dangling - if you want to wear your baby a lot, it's important. Also, protecting your back! They get heavy amazingly quickly. We used the Ergo almost exclusively until she was about a year, then occasionally until, well, now. 


One of the only things I got right before she arrived! I saw a woman wearing one and thought it looked comfortable, so I asked her about it. It IS very comfortable, especially for the newborn phase and for around the house - and I plan on using it again this time, especially at home. It's also inexpensive - hallelujah! The only downside is that it's a little bit fiddly to put on and off, and I personally don't like to use it once they are a bit heavier - it gets kind of droopy. That said, I don't think there is anything better for the early, early days. 


What the hell is a Poddle Pod? It's a baby-shaped doughnut pillow, basically, which gives them a nice snug feeling. A friend of mine recommended it after trying it in desperation with her son who always wanted to be held. I remember distinctly that I ordered it at around 4am (hence the somewhat reckless leopard print choice), and I loved that it gave me an alternative to co-sleeping at that stage, and it was great for travel. That said, it's utterly useless if your kid doesn't take to it - so it's either a miracle or a waste of space, and there's no way of knowing beforehand. 

God bless IKEA. It's not that this cot is so much better than others, rather it's EXACTLY the same, for a tiny fraction of the price, and still looks great. We've bought another for the new baby. Converts to a toddler bed as well: 

Possibly the single best thing here, along with the Ergo. Before we weaned, I remember thinking, 'it's an effing chair, what could POSSIBLY justify that price'. But there is a HUGE difference. In the wrong highchair, she slumped and wriggled. The wrong chair was hard impossible to clean properly. The wrong chair was ugly, and would only last a year or two. The Tripp Trapp is safe, easy to clean, great for baby-led weaning, attractive, and long-lasting - after it's done being a highchair, it has another life as a... regular chair. Seriously, seriously good design. We're keeping an eye out for another on Ebay, but they go quickly and tend to retain their value pretty well.  

When we finally decided on a stroller (which was a generous gift - thanks Mom!), F was nearly a year old - so our needs were obviously different than they would be for a newborn. I wanted lightweight, and this is the lightest on the market. I wanted portable, and I can take it up and down stairs with one hand if need be, with a baby on my hip, no problem. And while it may be lightweight, it's also sturdy as hell - we've flown with it 8 times already. It also didn't hurt that it came in a cheery orange colour.

8. Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter

Not only is this the best, it's vegan and cruelty-free. Most popular nipple creams are lanolin-based -ew. This is a blend of pland-based oils and butters, it smells divine and it works - I should know, we had actual wounds to contend with, not just a little dryness. In fact, my healing improved from when I started using it (again, I didn't research this beforehand - silly girl).

Those are just my favourites - what gems have you found? What couldn't you do without? I have high hopes for the Milkies Milk Saver this time around, and I've sprung for a Hot Milk sleep bra (nobody told me last time that I'd need to sleep in a nursing bra to begin with! A truly comfy one is going to make my nights a little easier) - here's hoping we're as prepared as I think we are!

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Rainy Days and Birthdays

The weather is well and truly turned, my belly is out-to-there, and my darling girl had a birthday. When I was pregnant with her, I remember thinking, 'I don't really need to worry about having this baby until autumn'. And this time, the holidays - which are fast approaching (eep!). She was absolutely showered with love, and our living room is resembling a preschool more with each passing day (but it's all cleared away by the evening, I swear!), which is actually excellent for winter. 

Just some piccies:

On her second birthday. It's hard to describe how I feel about this little person, other than to say: I love her, I love her, I love her. 

On Halloween. We found an honest-to-god pumpkin patch, and I dragged everyone into a muddy field to indulge my American traditions. I thought it was fun, anyway... F chose our pumpkin, no kidding, by smell - at least once she accepted that we were unlikely to find a blue or purple one. Apparently a 'nice one' 'smells like apple smells'. I thought it smelled like mud, but ok. 

She got to see her cousins on her birthday too. She ADORES her cousins. 

A new puzzle, which is a massive hit. 

F's living room toy basket. Have I mentioned the concept of the crap basket before? Our house is tall and narrow, so we often end up with stuff on the wrong floor, and are too lazy to ferry it up and down all day long. So we each have a basket on the ground floor, which acts as a holding bay for miscellaneous crap. Hers is a permanent toy basket, but mine and my husband's are, in theory, cleared regularly. 

Shh. The Play-Doh snakes are sleeping. 

My crap basket. Lists, paperwork, a super-nerdy coupon file. Gotta save dem pennies. 

Wooden toys, cowgirl boots. (Yes, they are leather. They were a gift.)

So we are just rolling along around here, now likely to stay fairly close to home for the next two months while we prepare to meet this new kid. I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm obsessed with organising the house. Autumn/winter + third trimester = the nesting equivalent of the perfect storm.