Why I Loved the TENS Machine…

In both of my pregnancies I’ve practised hypnobirthing to prepare myself for labour, in the hope of it being controlled through breathing and being in my own ‘zone’.  When I gave birth to Indy, I used gas and air alongside hypnobirthing but it made me really sick!  I mentioned this to my midwife this time round, who suggested getting hold of a TENS machine to try out, and it was amazing!  I used it alongside breathing techniques and gas and air, and had the controlled birth experience I wanted.  Here’s why I loved it:

No-needles! 

The TENS machine works by sending electrical impulses through electrode pads that stick to specific points on your back – the impulses prevent the nervous system transmitting pain signals to the brain.  I hate needles and wanted to try and avoid drugs, so this was perfect for me to try initially.  It’s not painful at all, but is an odd sensation that you get used to quite quickly!

It can be Used at Home

My contractions started 2 days before I actually gave birth, so I mostly spent that time bouncing on a birthing ball, going for walks, having hot baths and doing a bit of light yoga to try and get things moving a bit quicker and to make me feel more comfortable! I started using the TENS machine at home when the contractions were getting more intense but I still had a while before I could go into hospital – as they were going on for so long, it gave me pain relief for a specific area which really helped!

It Allowed Me to Sleep

Contractions become exhausting, and as I didn’t know how long they were going to go on for, I had to get some sleep (which is obviously easier said than done!)  I ended up having two full nights to get through, and on the second night I got into bed with the TENS machine on.  I hated lying down when going through a contraction as I felt restricted like I couldn’t absorb the pain properly, but the TENS machine cranked up a notch allowed me to get solid chunks of sleep which made the world of difference in the long run!

It Can be Used in the Car

Sat in a car in a restricted position with a seatbelt on when having contractions is far from ideal, especially when two car seats mean you can’t stretch out in the back either! I made the journey to hospital with my trusty TENS machine on, which made it more bearable, even over speed bumps! 

It Can be used in Hospital

Even when you get to hospital, the likelihood is that you will have a bit of a wait – in triage waiting to get examined, then waiting for a room, and in my case, waiting for the birthing pool to get filled!  Even if you are wanting another form of pain relief, the chances are you won’t get this immediately on arrival, so the TENS machine can give you a bit of relief beforehand.  

I was in Full Control of it

My TENS machine was on throughout Lowe’s birth (aside from the birthing pool!), as well as through delivering the placenta and having a couple of stitches! I loved being in the pool when I had Indy, but this time I didn’t get the same relief from it, which I put down to having had the TENS machine on for so long beforehand, and getting used to controlling what I got from it.  You have so many different settings with different frequencies and pulse settings, as well as a boost button which I used to ease me through every particularly horrendous one! I started off quite light, and built up the intensity as the contractions got worse, but you can set it however you want.  

Easy to Time with Contractions

I enjoyed the sensation of gas and air this time, especially when I was in the birthing pool, but I really struggled with timing it to give me relief when the contraction was at its peak!  The boost button gave an intense relief that impacted immediately, so using this alongside the gas and air worked wonders for me.    

Easy to Rent!

When the midwife first mentioned trying a TENS machine, I imagined they could just give me one at the hospital, which wasn’t the case.  I could rent one from there but it was actually more expensive than sourcing myself, with the added hassle of picking it up!  I got mine from Birth-ease via Amazon. It arrived a couple of weeks before my due date and I could keep it until 3 weeks after in case I went overdue.  It came in a small box with everything I needed, even spare batteries, and I just had to pop it in the post in the returns delivery sack when I was done!  It was so easy, and the best £25 ever spent! 

I’d love to hear your stories using a TENS machine, and if it did or didn’t help you in labour.  Or if you have any questions, please comment below! xxx

 

My Hospital Bag Packing List

It’s March which means it’s finally due-date-month!  I feel like i’ve been in constant nesting mode since the New Year, and as there isn’t as much to buy or prepare for a 2nd baby, i’ve been cleaning and clearing out anything I can get my hands on instead! I’ve been gradually packing mine and the baby’s hospital bags over the last few weeks as I’ve mostly had to buy new things to go inside, and have been ticking off my list as I go so thought I’d share it!


My Bag

I take a small wheeled suitcase for me as it’s easy to wheel around and everything can be organised into sections so they will be easy to find, rather than getting stuffed into a holdall.  Especially if your birth partner needs to find anything for you!

Maternity notes

Do not forget these!  As it gets closer to the due date, I always keep my notes in the suitcase and take out for midwife appointments, just in case! 

Towel

To use after a bath or shower or freshening up, especially if you’re being induced so are in hospital for a while before the birth or have to stay in for some time afterwards.  I always steer towards a dark colour too…

Dressing Gown

It’s absolutely roasting in the maternity and post-natal units so you won’t need a dressing gown to keep cosy, but it’s handy to throw on over your pj’s if going to the bathroom, or having on when feeding or having skin to skin.  

Slippers

To throw on when walking around the wards, and super comfy. 

Oversized Black Tshirt

I loved using the pool in my first birth, so a black tshirt is on my essential list to wear in the pool for a bit of modesty, and won’t matter if it gets soaked.  You can’t go wrong with a Primark mens XXL tshirt for £2!

Shirt Nightdress

I love the shirt nightdresses because they’re really easy for feeding and for skin to skin contact as you can just quickly open them to where you need. 

Pyjamas

I take a couple of different sets.  I was induced last time so wore a big tshirt nightdress for the first night in the antenatal ward, and then a cotton short and top set for the post-natal ward as it was much warmer and comfier after birth. 

Phone Charger

Needs no explanation – you and birth partner can both use.

Headphones

Also need no explanation – music, podcasts, instagram, youtube, netflix… anything I can listen to to focus and zone other people out kept me sane!

Water Bottle with a Straw

To keep hydrated throughout your time in hospital – and the straw means you can drink hands free when you have the baby. 

Sweets

For an energy boost!

Lip Balm

I always read people saying lip balm was a must-have as lips get so dry and chapped in hospital, and they really weren’t wrong!  

Toothbrush / Toothpaste / Shower Gel / Deodorant / Face Wipes

I get travel toiletries so they don’t take up loads of space and aren’t bulky to take into a bathroom on the ward, but are essential for a quick freshen up.  

Hair Clips / Hair Bands

Because the last thing you want to be doing is fussing over your hair!

Maternity Pads 

Lots and lots and lots of pads! 

Night Time Sanitary Towels

I wore the maternity pads in hospital and whenever I was at home, but as they are so bulky I preferred a long night time sanitary towel for going home – I found them much more comfortable to wear when walking and moving around, so I will be packing a big selection of both. 

Maternity Disposable Knickers

Again, lots and lots of knickers as you’ll be wearing these for a while!

Breast Pads

Pack plenty for leakages and comfort!

Loose Jumpsuit

My going home outfit will be a basic black sleeveless jersey jumpsuit – something baggy and without a waistband that I can just chuck on and be comfortable in for the journey home.

Sliders

I wear my summer sliders to go home in so I can just slip them on, and don’t have to bend down to put a shoe on!

Big Comfy Black Knickers / Comfy Bralet

For obvious reasons!

Tens Machine

I didn’t actually use one when I was in labour with Indy, but i’m renting one from the hospital this time.  I’ve read really good things about it, and as gas and air made me quite sick last time, my midwife has recommended this as an alternative pain relief to use before and after the pool, so i’m giving it a go! 


Baby Bag

I take the changing bag for all the baby’s stuff so it is separated from mine.  We will be using the Tiba and Marl Elwood backpack for the new baby and these bags have great sections for organising everything so easy to find.

Nappies

Make sure you pack enough!  I have 12 packed in the baby bag, with another 12 in my suitcase as we won’t know how long we will be in hospital for.  The changing table is stocked up at home, so my husband can also bring in an extra pack if need be.  

Water wipes

Although I will mainly be using cotton wool and water to clean the baby in the first few days, I have packed some Water Wipes as they are gentle and safe to use on newborns sensitive skin. 

Cotton Wool

I prefer to use pleated cotton wool as you can rip off as much as you need.

Baby Grows 

I’ve packed 4 babygrows for any changes.  I’ve packed ‘first size’ ones for the time being, as Indy was in these for a couple of weeks. 

Bodysuits

And i’ve packed 4 short sleeve bodysuits to layer underneath the baby grows in the same size. 

Cardigans

These are good for layering up over baby grows if needed, and for going home in.  I’ve packed 2 white ones hand knitted by Grandma – they’re the ones Indy wore so are very sentimental. 

Hat

A hat is a must when they are just born.  I always go for a white cotton jersey one, so it will be super soft against their sensitive skin – the knotted styles are made for newborns so will also be the right size.  

Muslins

As I always say, you can never have enough muslins!  I’ve packed 5 just in case. 

Blankets

I’ve packed 2 blankets, both cellular and also hand knitted by Grandma when Indy was born.  I’ll use them for swaddling, and for wrapping the baby up in the car seat for the journey home.  

Scratch mitts

Indy was never a great scratcher, but i’ve packed some this time just in case to protect the baby’s sensitive skin. 

Socks

The baby probably won’t need socks in hospital, but i’ve packed some to put over his feet in a babygrow just in case, but mainly for the journey home.  

Oh, and one more thing – don’t forget the car seat!  We have this set up with the Isofix in the car from a couple of weeks before just in case, and it also helps to have a few practise runs of putting it in place and taking it out! 


And that’s it!  It seems like a long list but all has packed in each bag quite neatly.  Please comment below if you have any other hospital bag essentials! xxx

 

Transition from a Cot to a Bed

Indy’s been in his bed for just over a month now, and I’m still amazed at how well it’s gone… touch wood!  Making the cot to bed transition now was mainly due to having another baby – we will need the cot for the baby in a few months and wanted Indy settled in his bed before then.  

He’s a very adventurous and determined little boy, so we were concerned beforehand that not having a side penning him into his bed was going to be a nightmare for us, but i’m SO pleased to say this hasn’t been an issue so far.  There seems to be a strange imaginary force around his bed, that is preventing him getting out and exploring – he hasn’t ventured to open the bedroom door, and the most i’ve seen on the monitor at nap time is a dart to get the Gruffalo from his book shelf and straight back into bed again!  In the morning we have a few grumbles when he’s awake, but he stays in his bed until one of us goes in, so I can’t complain at all. There were a few things we did before the big move to make the transition as smooth as possible for us:

Transitioned to a Quilt a Few Months Before

I bought Indy a toddler quilt in November as he was getting too big for his sleeping bags – he started waking up in the night as he was getting tangled in it, and I just don’t think he had enough room!  It took him a good while to get used to the quilt, so i’m glad I bought it a few months before the bed. Nap times were fine, but during the night he always ‘forgot’ he had to pull it up over him, so I had to go in and tuck him in again!  I resorted to using the duvet horizontally and tucking it under the mattress on both sides, which seemed to help slightly, but he’s still a very wriggly sleeper so it always gets thrown off. 

Gate on the Doorway

This wasn’t a special purchase as he’s always had a stair gate on his bedroom door, but something I anticipated would also come in very handy once he had free reign to get out of bed! It also ensured we knew he was safe if he was to ever escape during the night, which thankfully hasn’t happened… (yet!)

Safety Check the Bedroom 

Indy’s bedroom is obviously a very safe space anyway, but after moving the cot out there were a few plug sockets and cables exposed that we needed to cover up, for safety and also for distractions!  I also made sure that nothing heavy could be pulled off his drawers.  

Don’t Move Straight Away 

We waited a week before moving the bed into Indy’s bedroom and moving the cot out so he could explore the bed over a few days.  We built the bed and kept it in the spare room for the week, where we sat and read together on it, so it wasn’t as strange a transition on his first night. 

Maintain Routine

I’ve always been a sucker for a routine, and nothing about Indy’s bed time has changed due to the bed – apart from maybe getting a bit better now that one of us can climb in with him for his bedtime story!  It’s still milk, bath, story and bedtime, so he knows all his cues for wind-down and sleep.  

A Free Weekend

We found nap times were harder to get him settled (probably as he could see that it was daylight and that he could escape to read his books!), so we kept the first weekend completely free so we could be persistent in trying to make him sleep, as opposed to him being over tired or having to wake him up if we had plans.  This also made it much less stressful for us too as we had no pressure on how much sleep he had or getting out somewhere with a cranky toddler!

Tuck in with a Teddy

Indy’s never been one for going to sleep with a soft toy or comforter, but we started tucking him in with a toy of his choice after moving into his bed.  I suppose this is another bedtime cue we’ve now added in, but it’s a choice he can make, and fills some space in the bed so it’s not as open!  

So i’m going to keep my fingers crossed that Indy doesn’t go backwards and get rebellious at bed time now i’ve written this blog! And if you have any other tips to share, or tips to conquering a tricky transition, please comment below!  xxx

 

Shopping List for a 2nd Baby

As we’re now well into 2020, I need to start getting ready for the new baby as we only have around 7 weeks to go!  I’ve kept everything from when Indy was little, and as we’re having another boy my shopping list isn’t huge but there’s a few things we’ve needed to replace, and others we’ve wanted to buy to make our lives a bit easier with 2! 


Buggy Board

We’ve decided against getting a double buggy, and will continue to use our Bugaboo Cameleon for the new baby.  This decision was mainly based on cost as they are SO expensive and I just don’t think we will get the use out of regularly using a double.  So for the time being, we will just add a buggy board to the back of our existing pram for Indy to sit / stand on when he doesn’t want to walk. 

Baby Zen Yoyo

We invested in a new stroller for our recent trip to Paris, and I don’t know how I lived without a Baby Zen for so long!  It’s so compact for travelling, and squeezes into the tiniest space in the car, so will be really handy when we have a second car seat and extra stuff in general to fit in!  I also loved using the baby carrier with Indy and will do the same with the new baby, so Indy can still use this stroller too when I need to take them both out by myself. And of course, my husband and I can have one each on longer walks / days out at the weekend! 

Backpack Changing Bag

I had a Jem & Bea baby bag for Indy which had a carry handle and shoulder strap, and while I love this bag, I now need a backpack one so I have more hands free!  I love this Tiba & Marl one as it has loads of compartments and a separate pouch (and its snake!), as well as being a good size for Indy’s things to go in too,  and my husband will also happily use it this time! It will also be a great hand-luggage carry on bag for holidays, so we’ll get use out of it for years to come. 

Toddler Bed

Again, this is another purchase for Indy, and will free up his existing cot for the new baby – we didn’t see the point in buying another when we knew he was getting ready for the transition.  We’ve already made the swap (blog post on this to come!) and even though the new baby won’t be sleeping in the cot at night for the first few months, I didn’t want an extra change for Indy to have to adapt to at once.  We bought this one from John Lewis which is really well made and is the perfect size for his next bed (and fits us in for story time!)

Bottles and Teats

The steriliser we used for Indy is still in perfect condition, so I’m just going to buy a few extra bottles with teats for the new baby.  

Baby Monitor

We still use a baby monitor for Indy as i’m just not ready to not have one yet – and especially now there’s the potential for him going walkabout! We’ll need to get another for the new baby, first to use in our room at bed time as we start this routine quite early on, and then we’ll move into the new nursery.  We currently have the Babymoov YOO Moov camera which we love, so will just get the same again so the cameras should be able to connect to the same monitor panel if we want!

Changing Table / Set of Drawers

The new baby is moving into the spare room, so we’ve bought a new changing table with a set of drawers for the baby’s things.  We’ve bought the same drawers Indy has, and have just added a changing mat on top as this worked really well previously.  Inside the drawers, these dividers fit perfectly to organise all the bits and bobs!  

New Babygrows

Most of Indy’s clothes pre-weaning are in really good condition, especially his newborn bits, so I don’t need to go crazy on clothes for the first few weeks / months, especially as we don’t know what the weather will be like!  I’ve bought a few outfits I couldn’t resist, and just want to buy a few new babygrows for the hospital.  

Sleeping Bags

I need to replace the newborn sleeping bags, as Indy’s were put through so much use, I want to get a fresh set.  As the new baby will be arriving towards the end of March, and won’t immediately be going into a sleeping bag, I think I will hang fire on this until nearer the time once we’re sure what the weather will be like and what tog weight to buy! 


And that’s it! The list is short and sweet, meaning there hasn’t been a mad rush or panic to buy everything this pregnancy!  Aside from also replenishing all the baby toiletries and muslins that can be found in our ‘Newborn Shopping List’ blog, there hasn’t been much for us to buy, but comment below if you have any other 2nd-baby must-haves! xxx

 

15 Uses for a Muslin Square!

We’ve finally started to get the new baby’s room ready, so I’ve been going through Indy’s old newborn bits to see what I can reuse (because obviously I kept EVERYTHING!)  I’m amazed how his old muslins are still in great condition, and got to thinking how they literally were probably my best used item when he was tiny.  They are cheap, are quick to dry after washing, can be used for anything and everything, and I always had at least 2 on me at all times for any eventuality.  

Below are some of my favourites:

Swaddle

They are a great lightweight swaddle blanket in summer for newborns.  

Light Blanket

Use one as a blanket in the pram or car seat, and in the crib or cot. They can also be layered up with thicker blankets in winter, or used on its own in warmer temperatures. 

Sheet 

Use one as a sheet in your pram or crib as they can be tucked around and under the mattress.  I also regularly used one to line the Sleepyhead instead of having to wash the cover countless times a day!  Indy also regularly lay on one at baby groups when he was in his ‘sicky’ stage – it made it easier for me to clean up rather than having to wipe down the floor.

Mop Up Any Spills

Muslins can be used to wipe up ANYTHING!  From the obvious sick and dribble, leading onto food and drinks, and as there’s always one lying around, maybe even coffee and wine!

Burping Cloth

I had one slung over my shoulder for the majority of Indy’s first few months… easy to catch anything and they protected me!

Bib

Just tie round the neck like a bandana and hey presto! 

Towel 

In the early days, I used a muslin to dab Indy dry as it was softer on his skin than using a towel.  I also used one to wipe up runny noses, as the muslin was softer on his skin than a tissue. 

Air Diffuser

When Indy is ill with a cough or cold, I always dab a few drops of Olbas oil on a muslin and hang it in his bedroom, which always helps him sleep a bit better as it’s a decongestant.  (Obviously the muslin is well away from the cot, and the Olbas oil is never put directly on his skin!)

Nursing Cover

Big enough to cover you and baby if needed when breastfeeding. 

Changing Mat

They can be folded up into a makeshift changing mat when out and about, or in an emergency!  Draping a muslin over your plastic coated changing mat also makes it more comfortable for the baby and will take the chill off on those cold mornings!

Play Mat

Lay on the floor with baby on top.  Can be used anywhere, from a friend’s house to an airport, and just gives that extra protection to try and keep things clean, rather than toys having to go on a dirty floor. 

Pram Sun Shade

Just drape over the canopy to block out some of the sun. I always ensure there is still an opening to allow air through to keep baby cool.  

Car Sun Shade

How many times have we had to stop on a long journey to tuck a muslin into the window to make a sun shade?  Lots!

Comforter

They are so soft to cuddle and become a really familiar touch for comfort. 

Instant Peek-A-Boo

A restaurant classic!  It will provide distraction and fun for hours. 

If you need to stock up on muslins for your newborn, head over to the Baba Shop!  And if you have any good muslin tips, comment below! xxx

 

Gifts for a 2 Year Old

As the biggest shopping weekend of the year is just around the corner, this is my round up of what is on my shopping list for a 2 year old!  Indy’s birthday is on the 14th December, so we have a double-whammy with the two big present events being within 11 days of each other! As we can’t spread his bigger gifts out across the year, I try and be organised with what gifts he will be able to use and play with now, as well as including some that he will be able to start using in a few months, or leading up to his 3rd birthday.  As always, this is the full list of gifts we (and Santa!) will be getting him, as well as ideas we have given to friends and family.   


Micro Scooter

Indy has been eyeing up scooters in the park for the past few months, so I’m so excited for him to have his own.  This Micro Scooter is a little more expensive than others you can get, but the handlebar height is adjustable so it will last for a few years so I think is well worth the money. 

Balance Bike

This Banwood bike is more of an investment purchase… and it’s so pretty!  Indy has mastered his trike now, so a balance bike is the natural next step. He will have to grow into this over the next few months, but he’s a very active toddler so I know he’ll give it a good go! 

Helmet and Knee / Elbow Pads

These are essential to go with his scooter and balance bike… safety first!

Trunki

Indy has started to enjoy having his own bag where he can put his own things in, so this will be perfect for when we go away.  The bus Trunki has animal stickers you can place at the windows, and Indy will love riding on it and pulling it along in an airport.  As travelling is going to become a bit more hectic next year with a second baby, hopefully this will be a present for us too!  

Easel 

The magnetic side drew me to this, as i’ve bought Indy some magnetic puzzles that are a bit awkward to play on the fridge!  It’s also a chalkboard, and there is a large clip to attach paper on the whiteboard for drawing and painting. This will be good for us all to enjoy together and can be folded away neatly. 

Mega Blocks Table

Indy’s just started playing with blocks more regularly, and this table will really get his attention as he can build up his own little town. It comes with extra blocks and parts that can be stored inside and I love that it can be folded down so won’t take up much space!

Railway set

He is obsessed with cars and trains at the moment, so again, this is the next natural step for him.  I picked this up in the Aldi toy event, so as he is a little young for the more expensive train sets, this will be a good starter set for him to experiment with.  

Lock and Latches Board

This is something different, and includes different locks and latches to open to reveal the animals underneath.  This will help with fine and gross motor skills, as well as numbers and counting.

Car Ramp

I’m sure this will be Indy’s favourite present – he will love watching the cars racing down the slides, and will love matching the colours up and putting the cars in the garages underneath. 

Farm / Jungle Animal Figures

These figures will be good to start Indy with role playing and creating play scenes.  They are small enough to come out with us in his bag, and can be used in the bath too!

Fishing Game

This also came from the Aldi toy event! This kind of game develops coordination skills as well as being something we can all enjoy as a family. 

Magna Doodle

This will encourage mess-free drawing and includes stamps for him to make marks with too. 

Keyboard

This is a good starter keyboard to get Indy experimenting with music – it has lots of melodies and instrument sounds, as well as animal noises – very Ross Gellar! 

Tool Set

We are giving this as a small stocking filler – it’s not huge, but will be something he can have a ‘fiddle’ and play with.  

Woody and Buzz

He is Toy Story obsessed, and as we’re off to Disney for his birthday, the proper Woody and Buzz will be waiting for him when he gets home!

Colours Puzzle

We’ve been teaching Indy colours for a few months now, and this is a great game for grouping colours together, as well as developing puzzle skills!

Books

Because you can never have enough books!


If you were stuck for some ideas, I do hope you’ve found this blog useful.  And as always, if there’s anything I’ve missed that you want to include, please comment below! Happy shopping! xxx

 

The Newborn Shopping List

Becoming first-time parents is a minefield when it comes to your newborn shopping list!  While it’s so exciting to get started and buy all those cute tiny outfits, is so easy to get carried away and to start buying unnecessarily. I’m hoping this blog will help all of you mummy and daddy’s to-be buy exactly what you need for those first few months – this does seem quite a long list, but I still use most of this stuff today with Indy at 22 months old!  


Travel

Pram 

We chose the Bugaboo Cameleon and absolutely love it!  We started using it when Indy was a couple of days old, and I still use it most days now. It’s comfortable and easy to push, even on bumpy dog walks, and is really quick to pack into the car.  It has a long chassis frame, so comfortably fits Indy now nearing 2 years old unlike other prams. My favourite Bugaboo feature is the extendable hood – it expands to cover the majority of the seat so will block out most light / sun, making nap times on the go so much easier!

Car Seat 

We got the Maxi Cosi Pebble.  It was easy to carry, and was really quick to clip into the Isofix in the car.  We also got the adapters for the Bugaboo, so the seat could clip onto the pram which was great for making shorter shopping trips or for heading into baby groups!  Indy used this car seat for about a year, until we upgraded to his toddler seat.  

Baby Carrier 

We didn’t spend loads on a baby carrier, as I didn’t think I’d use it that much – but I ended up using it most days!  On muddy dog walks it was easier taking the carrier and having my hands free, and it was a great workout for engaging those core muscles! We bought the Infantino Flip Ergo 4 in 1 carrier and I loved using it – it was comfortable to wear, and was easy to adjust and change position if I was on my own.  We used this well into Indy’s first year, eventually moving him into the back carrying position, until he just got that bit too heavy!

Changing Bag 

I loved my Jem and Bea changing bag.  It had loads of compartments for all his bits so everything was organised, as well as a thermal insulated pocket which was perfect for a bottle on the go.  Again, I used this for about a year, until we got to the toddler age and I moved to smaller backpacks. 

Pram Suit 

This is dependant on when you have your baby, but I had Indy in December so it was freezing.  I found a pram suit with a footmuff as opposed to legs was much better for him to wear in the carrycot in those first couple of months, as it wasn’t restrictive for him, but still kept him warm and cosy.  


Sleeping

Crib / Moses Basket

I preferred the look of a bedside crib, so chose to have this instead of a moses basket.  We used the Tutti Bambini Cozee Bedside Crib, and Indy slept in this for 4 months until we moved him into his own room.  We started with the crib right next to our bed, so one side unzipped so we could clearly see into the crib, and it was easy to pick him up and put him down.  Eventually we moved the crib away from our bed, as the side can be zipped back up, but has a mesh side so we could still clearly see in when we were all in bed. 

Cot 

We set up Indy’s nursery before he was born, so the cot was all ready to go.  Although he didn’t use it when he was a newborn, I started putting him in it for his day time naps when he was 3 months old, to start getting him used to his own room. 

Sleepyhead 

This is completely up to preference and choice, but the Sleepyhead really worked for us.  Indy used it from newborn up until he was fully transitioned into sleeping in his big cot, so it was integral for us in those newborn days.  I’ve written a separate blog post with the reasons why we loved it here

Fitted sheets (for crib and cot)

I bought 4 x sets for each. 

Cellular Blankets 

These blankets are great for newborns, as they are soft and the tiny holes help babies regulate their own body temperatures to prevent overheating, they’re breathable and can be layered up.  I started with 4 blankets, and used them everywhere, so you definitely can’t have enough. 

Sleeping Bags

I bought two 2.5 tog sleeping bags from Mamas and Papas to start with, but Indy was quite a small baby so it took him a couple of months to fit into them.  He never liked being swaddled, so a sleeping bag at night was perfect for keeping him warm and secure.  

Room Thermometer 

We used the Gro Egg thermometer, and still use it today.  It gave us so much reassurance in those early days when you panic about temperatures, and the easy colour reference helps us decide how many layers Indy needs for him to be warm enough at night, or if he needs less when it’s too hot in summer!

Monitor

We use the Baby Moov Yoo Moov camera and monitor – the screen image is really clear, and the camera is easy to change position via the screen so you don’t need to disturb the baby! It has lots of features including a night light on the camera than can change colour, it can play lullabies, and there’s a walkie-talkie function where you can speak to the baby through the monitor and it plays out through the camera speaker (this is great for stubborn toddlers not sleeping!)


Feeding – Bottle

Muslin Squares

You honestly can not have enough muslins – they get used every hour of every day in those first few months and their uses are endless!  I bought 12 and still accumulated more. 

Steriliser

This is obviously a must for bottle feeding.  We went for the Tommee Tippee electric steriliser opposed to a microwave one.  It was quick and easy to use, and fit enough bottles to be on once a day, so I washed and switched on after the first feed of the morning. 

Bottles / Teats

We bought the Tommee Tippee Complete Feeding Set, which is really good value, and included the electric steriliser and 8 bottles and teats which was plenty for us.  The set also included thermal bottle warmers which were great when on the go, and formula dispensers which fit neatly inside each bottle to save space in your bag!  It also included an electric bottle warmer, which we didn’t use that much but took away with us if staying in a hotel. 

Bottlebrush

This is also included in the Tommee Tippee Complete Feeding Set and is a necessity for making sure all the bottles and teats are thoroughly clean before sterilising – the bristles get in all the small spaces to clean away any hidden milk. 

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine

This was an extravagant purchase, but one that really made our lives easier, especially for those feeds in the dead of night!  Bottles can be made to any volume and to the perfect temperature at the click of a button – so no waiting around for boiling water to cool, or checking milk temperatures on your elbow – this machine really does everything for you. 


Bathing / Changing

Baby Bath

We loved the Schnuggle bath and first used it when Indy was days old up until he was sitting up comfortably by himself.  The back of the bath is very upright, so I felt it supported him much better than the baths that are more reclined.  There are foam panels on the back to make it more comfortable, and in the early few weeks, I just popped a flannel on the bottom for a bit more of a cushioned surface for him to sit on and it gave him more grip. 

Baby Sponge

I specifically bought baby sponges as they are smaller and much softer than regular ones.

Baby Hooded Howels

Three towels was plenty, but make sure they have hoods to keep the baby cosy after their bath and when drying them.  

Changing Mat

We had this John Lewis changing mat and placed it on top of a chest of drawers as Indy’s changing station. It’s wedge shape contained him, and I liked that it was more cushioned and more substantial than others.  

Soap / Shampoo

Although you won’t need these in the first few weeks as you’ll just be using warm water to clean your baby, I bought them early to keep in the bathroom until we were ready. 

Baby Brush / Comb

These will come in a pack, and the baby brush will have super soft bristles so will be delicate against newborn skin. 

Nail Scissors / Clippers

These will also come in a little set and are the perfect size for little fingers and toes. 

Bath Thermometer

Any bath thermometer so you can check the water temperature before baby goes in. This can be a fun thermometer, that can also double as a toy (we have a fish!), and doesn’t have to be expensive at all.  

Size 1 Nappies

This will most probably be the first size you will need, and how many you buy depends entirely on you.  I bought a few packs to keep us going, and our Newborn Box comes with 2 weeks supply (plus other important essentials!)

Baby Wipes

You might not choose to use these in the first few weeks, but if you do, go for a sensitive wipe or Water Wipe so they will be delicate on newborn skin. 

Cotton Wool

I found pleated cotton wool easiest to use, as you could just rip off as much as you need, so you can even take small sections to clean their tiny eyes.  

Thermometer

I bought an ear thermometer to check his temperature, and still use this today.  

Tommee Tippee Sangenic Nappy Bin

Again, this isn’t an essential but made nappy changes a bit easier for us.  Nappies should have their place, and this bin right next to the changing table made disposing of them much quicker and easier, and left no nasty smells.  


Clothing

Babygrows

In the early days and weeks, I only dressed Indy in babygrows – they were easier and cosier for him as it was winter.  How many you buy and what sizes really depend on your preference and what shop you buy from as annoyingly they are all different.  Indy weighed 6lb 9oz, and was in ‘tiny baby’ ones for a couple of weeks, before then moving up to ‘newborn’ and then ‘up to 1 month / 0-3 months’, so it may be best to cover all bases.  But bear in mind, the washing machine will be on constantly in those first few weeks, so you don’t need to buy huge amounts as they will grow quickly! 

Bodysuits

These are a bit easier to judge, as they are a bit more forgiving with fit, so started with 8 in ‘newborn’ size, and 12 in ‘0-3 months’.  I went for short sleeve style so they would fit comfortably under any other clothing, and in white so they would go with everything!

Cardigans

These are great for layering, which is perfect for a newborn – Indy had 2 x cellular knit cardigans that could be worn over any other outfits if he was getting a bit chilly.  The holes in the knit again helped regulate his body temperature, but also kept his cosy. 

Hat

A hat is essential for keeping newborns warm, even in summer, and they will most probably wear one as soon as you have given birth.  Jersey hats are perfect as they are soft against the skin, and remember to pack in your hospital bag!

Socks

Another newborn essential, as lots of heat can be lost through their feet.  If you’re having a winter baby, socks can be worn under and over baby grows to keep them warm. 

Scratch Mitts

I didn’t use these that much as Indy wasn’t a great scratcher, but a couple of pairs are very cheap to have just in case. 

Bibs

Bibs are essential for feeding and dribbling!  I started with 12 and used them for most of Indy’s first year as he was quite a ‘sicky’ baby and a big dribbler!

Snow Suit

Again, this depends on when your baby is born, but I had Indy in December and used a snowsuit for months, especially when he was in the carrier.  

 

It’s quite a list but these are the essentials that will help you buy all the necessities you need for your newborn.  If you have any other tips for things to buy, please comment below! xxx

 

Eating out with Toddlers – My Top Tips

Now Indy’s 21 months old, long gone are the days where he will happily sit or sleep in a restaurant for a long leisurely lunch or dinner. He’s such a ball of energy that he has a very short time limit for being contained in a high chair! My husband and I are huge foodies and love going out to try different foods and new restaurants, and we didn’t really want this to change after having a child seeing as we don’t get out for as many date nights anymore! While we appreciate Indy won’t look forward to going to a new restaurant as much as us, we still want him to be comfortable and to make it enjoyable. It’s become quite a tactical experience, and some meals go better than others, but this is what we do to make it as smooth sailing as possible:

Choose the right time
As all things with a toddler, timing is key! There is no point taking an overtired toddler for a nice meal, so depending on the occasion, we would book earlier or later to avoid nap time, or I will adjust his nap to put him down an hour or so earlier so he still gets a good sleep beforehand. The same goes for dinner – if he’s had a hectic day we don’t try to eat too late so as to overlap too much of bedtime as I find this pushes him too much, but I will also sometimes put him down for a later afternoon nap so he will stay up a bit later than usual.
However, none of this applies when we’re on holiday – he will happily sleep in the pram over lunch and even at night, so we can have a much later dinner as the Spanish do!

Go somewhere where they will like the food
I always scout out menus online first to make sure there will be something for Indy to eat, either from a children’s menu or a combination or starters a side dishes. We also sometimes share our dishes with Indy so he gets to try different bits over a period of time, which keeps him occupied for longer! A successful meal is always the result of having a satisfied and full toddler 😉

Take back-up snacks
I always pack some small bits of food just in case – anything easy that I know he will like and he can have quickly, like fruit and crackers. Snacks stave off hunger pangs when waiting to order, or if the food is taking longer than expected, and fruit also acts as a good dessert for them if you are still eating!

Entertainment. Entertainment, Entertainment
I always try and mix this up, so he doesn’t get bored of the same things. It can be anything from new books, colouring pads and crayons, to small puzzles. I’ve recently bought a small magna doodle which is a big hit, and he also loves wind up toys that move and do tricks across the table. Anything that grabs his attention and keeps him in his seat is a winner, as well as things that my husband and I can play with him too.

Change of scenery
There always comes a point where he needs to stretch his legs, normally after he’s eaten, so a little walk outside works a treat for a change of scenery and to burn a bit of energy. With Indy, there is little point forcing him into his high chair for the duration of the meal, but a little run around will buy us a bit more time!

Involve them in the meal and conversation
This is an obvious one, but this really grabs his attention and focus. This can be getting him to try new foods or part of our meal, talking to the waiter / waitress, or just reading a book or colouring together. Having a meal out can be really good for family bonding time where there are no other distractions. Even if you are dining with other people, it means there are more people to entertain! 😉

Always tidy up afterwards
I do this if we are in a small coffee shop to if we are in a higher end restaurant. It’s inevitable the floor will get a bit messy with a toddler, so I always try and leave the area as we found it, from tidying up the crumbs and bits of food to wiping down the high chair. It makes me feel better that if things have been a bit hectic, we will always be welcomed back 🙂

My final tip is to STAY CALM! It’s so easy to get stressed in a quiet environment surrounded by people, but staying calm will keep your toddler calm, so at least you can make a quiet hasty exit! 😉 xxx

Chicken Pox – My Top Tips

Last month Indy had chicken pox – it took us completely by surprise, and after we’d been sent to the pharmacist to have it confirmed, we had a very LOOOOONG week at home.  Indy was lucky in the severity of the spots – none got infected and he only mildly scratched, but I think that’s because he doesn’t actually know how to scratch with his hands yet!  The worst thing for me was there was no telling on when they would all scab over. They say 5-6 days – his was 8, and we all had cabin fever by the end.  

It’s easy to feel helpless as the spots just have to run their course, but there are lots of things to do and try to help soothe your little one as much as possible.  These are what we tried:

Don’t use Ibuprofen

If Indy’s teething, Ibuprofen is normally our go-to at bedtime along with his milk, as you can use it along with Calpol in those emergency situations!  This is not the case with chicken pox, as the Ibuprofen reacts with the spots and can cause a more serious infection, so steer clear.  

Calpol

The Old Faithful – as you can never actually tell how a child is feeling without them telling you, I gave him Calpol if I felt he was struggling or uncomfortable to relieve the pain a bit.  Also, as the risk of fever is high with chicken pox, I regularly checked his temperature and gave Calpol to bring it down if I was concerned.

Piraton

We had some of this anyway for Indy’s hayfever, but as it’s an antihistamine, it helps to reduce itchiness.  

Camomile Lotion

I kept this in the fridge to make it more soothing when applied to the spots.  I applied whenever I felt he needed it, but always after bathtime, and before getting him dressed for bed,.. a good thick layer!  

Oat Baths 

This is an old wives tale, but it worked!  Oats are meant to dry the skin out so will soothe itchy skin and should help the spots dry out a bit faster.  To make the much less messy, I cut the feet off an old pair of tights, filled the toe with oats, tied a knot in the open end and just chucked it in the bath when it was filling up!

Baking Soda Baths

Indy was having baths twice a day when he had spots – mainly to soothe them but also to keep them clean.  I added a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the water and this also helped to relieve itching. 

Always ensure the skin is fully dry

This is obvious, but it will really help to dry the spots out – always pat the skin rather than rub too.  

Clothes free when possible

We were lucky with the weather during our chicken-pox week, so Indy could happily play inside and out without any clothes on as it was warm enough.  I just had to keep him out of the sun as sun-cream is a big no-no with chicken pox! Not putting clothes on him stopped any chaffing or rubbing on the spots, as well as no sweating, which again stopped any irritation and helped to dry them out.  

Nappy-free where possible

Indy had a few stubborn spots underneath his nappy – these were one of the first to appear and the last to scab over.  At night when he was wearing his nappy, this was obviously a very warm and moist area so they struggled to dry out. Nappy off time in the day really helped to get these sorted, and was also a perfect time to start trying out the potty!

Even though chicken pox is a waiting game you just have to ride out, these are some of the things that helped us, both to soothe Indy and to hurry along those scabbed spots!  If you have any other tips that helped you and your little one, please comment below to share! xxx

Making Ice-Lollies

As the weather’s been warm recently we’ve been spending much more time in the garden which has been amazing, but we all know about the struggle of keeping children cool! An ice-lolly is the perfect snack to instantly cool and refresh children…and parents too! I experimented slightly with making my own ice-lollies last year when we had just started weaning Indy, which turned out to be very messy as you can imagine! 

I thought i’d try again this year, and as all my usual food recipe challenges, try and include some sneaky vegetables!  The lolly mould i’ve used had is one i’ve had for years, and any will do the trick.  

I experimented with a few flavours initially, as opposed to making a big batch of one, and all were super quick and easy to make – I literally put all the ingredients in the Nutribullet, and whizzed up into a fairly thick liquid.  I added water gradually to loosen if I needed to, and then poured into the mould and put in the freezer to set. If there was any mixture leftover, I also watered this down more and Indy finished it as a juice!  

These are the ones we tried:

Carrot and Mango

This was surprisingly the sweetest of them all.  Indy’s gone off carrots recently, but loved this!

Banana and Spinach

This was his favourite – I used a very ripe banana to make this as sweet as possible, and it worked to mask the taste of the spinach.

Avocado, Cucumber and Lime

This was more of a refreshing flavour – I really enjoyed it but Indy wasn’t so keen (I think I added too much lime!)

Blackberry, Kale and Yoghurt

Yoghurt and berries is a classic home-made lolly combination, so I added some kale for some sneaky greens!

The world really is your oyster with these – all the ingredients I started with were already in the fridge or freezer, and i’ve just tried to balance flavours with the right amount of sweetness to not make the veggies bitter, especially the green ones!  I used water to dilute the mixtures, but you could easily use any milk or yoghurt for a more creamy texture.  

I’d love to hear if you’ve tried making your own, and what your favourite flavours are! xxx