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Changing Time!!

Your baby’s changing station is one that definitely needs to be resourced correctly – you don’t want to end up in a messy situation.

In the months before your baby is born I would strongly recommended stocking up on all the changing essentials each time you visit the supermarket to do your weekly shop. Stocking up in this way spreads the cost and means that you wont need to purchase anything in the first few months after the birth of your baby. My little one is four months old and as yet we’ve had to buy very few changing products as a result of all the things we collected before the birth of our baby. Not only is it useful having a hefty supply of changing essentials, it also means that the cost of baby changing is spread which is really useful during those first few months of maternity leave when your income may be tight.

So, what exactly are the changing essentials?

(1) Nappies – obviously these are very important. Some parents opt for re-usable nappies however, most chose to use disposable ones. My main advice here would be don’t over buy on the size 1 nappies, your baby will most likely not be in the size for very long and so over buying can lead to a massive waste of money. Babies tend to spend longer in size 2 nappies however this really does depend on the size of your baby when they are born. My little one was a big baby and so we have found that she has spent most time in size three nappies. My advice to you is, buy in the months leading up to the birth of your baby. Buy only 2 of the small packs of size 1 nappies (see how you go), buy 3 of the large packs of size 2 and 3 large packs of size 3. These are sure to see you through the first few months of your baby’s life.

(2) Large cotton pads (not balls): When your baby is first born you will not use baby wipes to clean your babies bottom. Instead, you will use cotton pads and water. Initially, I invested in quite a few bags of cotton balls – big mistake! In my opinion, these are useless when it comes to cleaning your baby’s first poopy nappies. Lets just say they leave your baby with a fury bottom (cotton wool and water are not always a fantastic combination). Large cotton pads are much better for cleaning up those messy nappies and are great for drying baby’s bottom when you do move on to using baby wipes.

(3) Baby wipes: Eventually, you will move on to using baby wipes. There are many stories of babies reacting negatively to certain baby wipes (parents have suggested that certain brands can cause sensitivity, nappy rash, blistering etc…). I’ve found that the Johnson’s sensitive wipes are fantastic and are kind to my little ones’s bottom. There’s a fantastic offer on Johnson’s baby wipes here – http://amzn.to/2oaWqDw – these will definitely see you through the first few months after your baby arrives.

(4) Changing bag: This really is a personal preference. You’re looking for something that is a decent size with lots of internal compartments. I purchased a pink lining changing bag which has been absolutely fantastic and come complete with changing mat and an insulated pocket for storing a bottle of formula. Check it out here – http://amzn.to/2niofwl

(5) Nappy sacks: Supermarkets own brands are absolutely fine. In particular Sainsbury’s own brand is excellent quality and they smell lovely.

(5) Nappy cream: Can you really beat the trusted sudocreme?

Feeding Time!!

There are so many things to think about when you’re planning for the arrival of a little baby. As a matter of fact, sitting for too long and thinking about all the things that you have to buy can lead to the biggest headache in the history of mankind. After many days of getting myself in a complete muddled because there was so much to buy, one night I decided to categorise all the baby necessities that we were going to need and, rather than trying to deal with everything at once, I would deal with all my baby essentials category by category.

What were my main categories?

(1) Feeding                                                                                                                                                           (2) Changing                                                                                                                                                     (3) Clothes                                                                                                                                                           (4) Bathing                                                                                                                                                           (5) Sleeping                                                                                                                                                       (6) Safety                                                                                                                                                          (7) Playing

In this article, I am going to deal with feeding – specifically looking at the things that are useful to have if you have decided NOT to breastfeed.

After giving birth, it was quickly recognised that I was not going to be able to breastfeed. I had a very hungry baby and was unable to keep up with her demands therefore, my baby is a formula fed baby.

The key things on my shopping list;

  • Formula: My little one has tried a couple of formulas, the one that she has taken to the most is Aptamil as other formulas seemed to upset her tummy (and created some nappies that I would rather than remember). Obviously, every baby is different, so when it comes to finding the formula that is right for your baby it may be a case of trial and error.
  • Feeding Bottles: Hands down, the only bottle that I would recommend is the Dr Brown feeding bottles (anti-colic). Dr Brown was the first company to create a bottle aimed to reduce/eliminate colic in babies. We were using another brand of bottles when out little one was first born and experienced some problems (she was flattening the teats which was making it difficult for her to feed, she was suffering from colic and was experiencing quite a frightening ‘gag’ reflex when taking her formula). We spoke to our midwife and she recommended the Dr Brown bottles. We were dubious that changing her bottle would make such a difference but, as if by magic, all our feeding problems were solved. Granted the Dr Brown bottles look a little old fashioned but, they have made feeding our baby an absolute pleasure.

Dr Brown 4 pack of bottles – http://amzn.to/2neugtK                                                                            Dr Brown starter kit – http://amzn.to/2neyWQA

  • The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine: I am in love with this product. It makes feeding time so much easier. No waiting for boiling water to cool down at 3am – an instant bottle in around 2 minutes! Many of my friends raved about this product, I remember thinking ‘why not just boil the kettle early and wait?’ As a first time mum I quickly learned it’s not as easy as this. What if the baby wants to feed early? What if you forget to make the bottle early? Believe me, this does happen once the baby brain has started.With the Perfect Prep machine, these problems do not matter, baby cries, bottle is ready pronto!! There has been some controversy regarding the Perfect Prep machine of late however, providing you use the Tommee Tippee branded filters and follow the new and updated cleaning instructions on the Tommee Tippee website the product works absolutely fine and should remain mold free.

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep – http://amzn.to/2mTMwpW

  • A bottle brush: simply pick up one from a super market or pound shop.
  • Bottle steriliser: There are a number of these on the market. Electronic ones, microwave ones. The choice is completely yours. If you are going to invest in a microwave steriliser make sure your microwave is big enough to accommodate the canister. I have been using the Tommee Tippee electronic steriliser which is easy to use and have been fantastic. If you opt to use the Dr Brown bottles, buying to Dr Brown steriliser would be advisable as the steriliser unit is usually built to accommodate their own bottle brands

Dr Brown Steriliser – http://amzn.to/2nDZueZ                                                                                       Tommee Tippee Steriliser – http://amzn.to/2neC9zj

Weight Loss after Pregnancy

Throughout my pregnancy I was confident – when i’d had my baby, I was going to go on a strict diet for 6 weeks and I was going to shed those baby pounds straight away – for sure, definitely, without a shadow of a doubt! Now about 5 months after the birth of my baby I realise that I couldn’t have broken that promise even more if i’d have tried. What a challenge I was faced with though – I feel I was at an unfair disadvantage, following the birth of my baby came Christmas, New Year, the January blues…ok, i’ll stop making excuses now.

In all honesty, my vow to lose weight so quickly after my pregnancy was foolish. My body had just been through the biggest trauma ever and I was planning the day after the delivery on cutting down the calories at a time when I was going to need all the strength that I could get. So, after getting Christmas, New Year and all my other excuses over I’ve now committed (to some extent) to the deed of loosing weight. The program that I am following is the Rosemary Conely diet. Not as popular as your WeightWatchers or Slimming World but I have had major success with it in the past (when losing weight for my wedding), the main reasons why I like it is because it is so straight forward.

As a female, I am following the 1,400 calories a day program – there is a booster program (1,200 calories a day) but I really don’t have the strength/will power for this just yet. So, simple rules:

(1) When selected food make sure that it does not exceed 5 grams of fat per 100 grams.

(2)Breakfast – 200 cals, lunch, 300 cals, dinner, 400 cals. You are allowed 2 high fat treats (no more than 100 cals each) and 2 low fat treats (no more than 50 cals each), 200 cals are reserved for 3/4 pint of milk.

(3) Do some exercise everyday – this could be a workout DVD or simply taking your little one for a walk around the block in their pram.

Obviously, the more you commit to the diet, the more successful it is. I have only partially committed as yet – I cheated and had birthday cake and a few glasses of wine whilst out for my brother’s birthday but, already in the first week I have lost 3lb!

Hoping that I can get some new mums (and dads) looking to lose weight after the birth of their baby on board with my weight loss journey. If you are interested in the Rosemary Conely regime I have posted a link to her diet book below which outlines the diet more specifically whilst also suggesting recipes and food plans for all three daily meals plus the snacks!

http://amzn.to/2mSkta8

For those who seriously want to buy into the program I’ve also attached the link of some additional recipe books that have some excellent very low fat very tasty meals to try (I’ve purchased these books and feel they are the reason why I have been successful with the diet so far. The books offer meal variety which keep the diet interesting. After all, variety is the spice of life!

http://amzn.to/2o2eHmO

http://amzn.to/2o2nWmZ

Join the Baby and Parent Hub Facebook page to keep me updated on your diet progress and parenting stories.

Safe Sleep!

I strongly recommend that every new parent reads the safe sleep information provided by the Lullaby Trust. Safe sleep is something that plays on most parents mind – my baby girl is coming up to 6 months old and I still find myself waking up throughout the night checking that she is ok. I must admit, the Health Visitors and Midwives addressing safe sleep so often made me a little frightened – is SIDS really that common? They answer to that question is ‘no’ providing you follow all the information currently available from the Lullaby Trust.

I would strongly recommend that you don’t by anything baby sleep related until you have familiarised yourself with the current safe sleep guidelines. When I was pregnant and preparing for my arrival I was naive enough to think that everything that was available to buy in the shops relating to infant sleep would be safe – wrong!! Health Visitors and Midwives advise that you don’t use bumpers in your baby’s cot yet, they’re still available to buy. The guidelines state not to put your baby to sleep on a pillow – there’s a massive market of baby pillows out there none of which are advised to be used. Moses baskets with drapes are a big no no too! I rushed out eager to make my baby sleep purchases only to find out at my antenatal class that I had over spent on item that I didn’t need and that may pose a risk to my baby while they were sleeping.

What are the essential items for the first 6 months?

(1) A Moses basket: Don’t over spend on this. As a matter of fact a plain, cheap basket from a supermarket would be sufficient. Look for something with a mattress and very little cushioning around the sides (thick cushioning can cause newborn babies to overheat – overheating has been found to be linked to SIDS). You will need to invest in sheets for the mattress however, I would advice that you don’t buy ‘traditional’ Moses basket bedding – just a simple cellular blanket will do.

I didn’t use my Moses basket as my baby’s main bed – the Moses basket was simply a place to put our baby when they fell asleep downstairs (saved us having to keep carrying their cradle downstairs everyday). Baby’s tend to grow out of their Moses baskets very quickly so my advice would be to arrange an alternative sleeping method for baby’s actual bedtime.

(2) A cradle/cot: Investing in something like a Chicco Next to Me or Lullago for me is the best option.

http://amzn.to/2ng84zP  – Chicco Next to Me

http://amzn.to/2nXNfqd – Chicco Lullago

Both the Chicco Next to Me and Lullago double up as a travel cot and will last your baby a lot longer than a Moses basket (in terms of size). The Next to Me has a drop down side which allows the crib to fit under your mattress (the cot basically becomes an extension of your bed) providing you and your baby with a safe co-sleep situation. The Lullago is very similar to the Next to Me, the only differences is that it does not have the drop down size.

(3) Grobag/sleeping bag: A lot safer than using a blanket or duvet that could easily be kicked off. Grobags can usually be used from birth providing you buy the right size.Just make sure you visit the Grobag website in order to find out what tog level you should by (this all depends on the season and bedroom temperature).

http://amzn.to/2ng9Pxb – Grobags

Essential Items for Mummy’s Hospital Bag!

I remember the day that I packed my pregnancy hospital bag very clearly. I hate packing at the best of times, as a matter of fact, packing for a holiday can often cause me that much stress that in the end I would rather stay at home. I’d been putting off packing my hospital bag for weeks. One Saturday I woke up full of courage and decided that whilst my husband was at work I would give packing ‘the’ bag ago. An hour later, I was sat on the floor of my unborn baby’s nursery listening to sad songs, crying and a complete emotional wreck. My husband came home asking why I was so upset, somewhere between all the blubbering I remember uttering something about ‘the next time I see these things i’ll be in labour.’ Needless to say the bag packing came to an abrupt end for that day and had to resume a few days later when my hormones were not getting the better of me.

Was everything I took to the hospital absolutely essential? The answer to that question is a resounding ‘no!’ Of course, I over packed!

So, what are the essentials for mummy to be?

  • Maternity pads 2 packs (definitely don’t just take your standard sanitary towel)
  • Larger than usual underwear
  • Nursing bra (if you plan to breastfeed)
  • Breast pads
  • Disposable underwear
  • Nightie or large tee shirt for birth (perhaps take 2 so you have a change)
  • Flip flops (for walking around whilst you’re in labour, wearing when you’re in the shower)
  • Dressing gown (hospitals are usually quite warm so a thin one will do)
  • Hair bobbles/hair band (to keep your hair off your face)
  • Lip moisturiser/lip balm (e.g. chap stick)
  • Hair brush
  • Pjs or nightie for after the birth (when you are on the ward)
  • Slippers (for when you are on the ward)
  • Shower gel
  • Hair brush
  • Deodorant/roll on
  • Face moisturiser
  • Face wash
  • Toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Snacks (high energy such as lucozade, jelly sweets, cereal bars, bottled water, crisps)
  • Change for parking, using the hospital phone/TV
  • Outfit for travelling home from the hospital (something comfortable, leggings are a good idea)
  • Mobile phone and phone charger
  • Tens machine
  • Book, magazines, music – distractions for the labour