Meet and Greet: Victoria (a.k.a. Girl about Town)

Good Morning readers! As we have a growing roster of regular contributors, some new, some old timers, I thought it would be fun to get to know them a little better. Victoria is now my longest standing contributor of the Girl About Town series and I’ll be bringing you a post from her tomorrow but for now, have a little read of this and find out more about why she is super qualified to be our monthly stylish city hostess with the mostess!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m a married, early-thirty-something, marketing and business development manager who works crazy hours at a large global law firm by day, but by night/weekends/annual leave days I’ve made it my mission to visit the world’s coolest bars, sights, cities, beaches and parties.
I love to travel, party, explore, decorate, event-plan, outfit-assemble and generally seek out the best that life has to offer. I love to eat, but I can’t bear to cook. I pride myself on always striving to be the Hostess with the Mostess and cocktails are my life skill.
I’m fiercely independent, but really, I just couldn’t do “it”, or be “me” without my amazing and inspiring friends and family nor my long-suffering husband, without whom I would likely never eat meals that require knives and forks, nor would I ever get out of bed in the mornings!

What do you write about?

All the fun stuff I find to do, eat, drink or experience in London and any other city I happen to be visiting.

What is your weekday/weekend uniform?

You’ll either find me at one end of the spectrum or the other… I’m either dressed up and ready to stalk the halls of my office/to party in a black dress and killer colour-pop heels (tights on for the former, off for the latter) or dressed down in jeans and boots, or my fave pyjamas!
I’m all about the accessories. For me, they add my personality to an outfit and make me feel like me.

Favourite Food?

Does tequila count? No? OK, so, depending on the day of the week I could be craving any of the following: Mexican, Japanese, Thai, Lebanese or Italian. If it came down it, I’d have to go with my mum’s lasagne. It’s a recipe that’s been handed down from the Italian side of my family, and which I have no intention of ever learning. However, over the last 10 years, my husband has come very close to perfecting it! I’d have it with a rocket, tomato and avocado salad with a homemade dressing!

Holiday destination recommendation?

So, so, so many! Holidays are kind of my “thing”… tweet me, or message me and let’s chat! @VictoriaHale

Can’t live without Beauty product?

Karin Herzog Vita A Kombi Oil.

Last book I read…

I have a number on the go on my iPad but the last tangible book I read was a recommendation from Florence Finds in fact: The Girl with all the Gifts. It had me hooked from paragraph one.

What does your perfect weekend look like?

A lie in and a leisurely breakfast and quality time with my husband (he works shifts and I work long city hours, so QT is rare!), over which we plan travel, home improvements, social events and talk about work. Then I or we get dressed up and hit the town or a party or get dressed down and snuggle up on the sofa or in the local for catch ups with friends. Sunday is brunch day at home or out, just us, with family, friends or both, catching up on chores and jobs and then a family dinner followed by some Sunday night telly as I relax before another crazy week at work. Sometimes my weekends are more tiring that my working week, but I love them and I wouldn’t change them for the world!

Come back tomorrow for the latest instalment of Victoria’s Girl About Town series, on a pop up dining experience with a difference!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Reviewed: Pacapod Napier changing bag

A while back, before Bea arrived, I mentioned changing bags. I wanted something wipe clean, not too big, with a cross body strap, and that fitted my style. I eventually settled on the Pacapod (I am a sucker for an organisational system) and was thrilled to be offered one to review so I’m here to dish my thoughts on it.

First up, I love it. It does everything I need and I like the way it looks too… here’s a front and back view for you. I chose the Napier, in charcoal.

It’s got 3 main ‘area’s: The pod section which I consider to be baby’s, with 2 velcro in ‘pods’ They are designed as ‘feeding’ and ‘changing’ pods, i.e. one for bottles (or snacks later on) and one for nappies etc, but I use them for changing and changing(!) as we don’t need lots of feeding supplies just yet and a poo-splosion is much more likely.

As well as all the compartments there are several other ‘extra’s’ like the changing mat, and bottle insulating sleeve, that I like. The pods are roomy and the changing pod has extra pockets for nappies, elastic to hold your wipes, and side pockets for whatever else you might need. The feeding pod is insulated, but as you can see I keep a change of clothes in there, bib, and some spare breast pads. There’s also a wipe clean bag for dirty nappies or clothes not shown here.

I often hook the changing pod onto the pram if we are nipping out or throw it into our pram basket, to save taking the whole bag.

The rest of the bag has a large middle compartment and 2 front pockets. I use the middle one as a combination of my stuff, ( I often carry a change of top, just in case,) perhaps a book or magazine and laptop, my camera, purse, a bottle of water, a toy for Bea and a muslin.

Then the front pockets hold my stuff. There’s a zip pocket for my phone, lip balm, hand cream and pen. Then I tend to stuff things like the Red Book, or my diary and post to be sent in the front pocket, along with a couple of cereal bars for emergencies.

And my favourite little gizmo is the key clip – no more rooting around in the bottom of a huge bag for my keys on a rainy day!

I am really happy with the Pacapod – its big enough for us to use for swimming trips with Bea’s towel etc and we have even packed it up for a couple of nights away with friends – it holds plenty of nappies and clothes. I have it ready packed and restock it after we have been out a couple of times. It’s always ready for us to go, so I never have running around the house getting ready nightmares before we go anywhere and best of all I know exactly where everything is.

Have you got a Pacapod? Would you consider one after reading this – I really can’t recommend mine enough.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Disclaimer: Pacapod sent Rebecca the Napier changing bag for review but all reviews featured here are 100% honest and genuine. If I didn’t like it, you wouldn’t be reading about it.

Bea @ 6 weeks and Nursery sneak peek!

A few weeks ago now Laura and Pete came over to capture some images of Bea while she is still tiny. We had discussed when would be the best time when we did my maternity shoot and one thing Laura said stuck with me, ‘You’ll never want to do it, you’ll never feel ready, don’t worry about tidying and everything, just get us round.’ So at 6 weeks we bit the bullet (once she was smiling,) and arranged a date. In typical fashion we had a bad night prior to them coming, and Bea then proceeded to have the most out of character day she has ever had, grizzling her way through the photos. I was tired, managed to do my hair and not much else, even throwing on some everyday clothes. But you know what, I didn’t care. I wanted images of us in our daily life, just celebrating the every day joy that Bea brings us. And that’s exactly what we got.


Head on over to the Lawson photography blog to see the whole post AND some of the photos were taken in the nursery, so you’ll get a sneaky peek of that too. :) Full post on the nursery coming soon…

Thank you so much Laura and Pete – you really do amaze me every time with the moments you capture forever.

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Would you… Express?

Hardly as controversial as the title sounds, today I’m looking for a bit of advice.

So far (10 weeks in,) I haven’t expressed any breast milk at all. I haven’t had any need to or wanted to really – I’m quite happy feeding her myself, although I can imagine I might have tried sooner if she wasn’t sleeping as well! The only thing that has tempted me is the thought of an ‘emergency’ and the benefits of having a stored milk supply. This week I also have a work meeting to attend in the evening which I will have to take Bea along to, and I’m starting to see how much easier it would be to be able to leave her with daddy for 2 hours, worry free.

I didn’t buy a pump at first as I knew I could buy one quickly if I needed it (I know some people use them early for babies that won’t latch properly, or to build supply etc…) and I planned to follow the advice on not expressing until your milk supply is stable. So now I have 2 questions: Can you recommend a pump and do you have any advice on when/how to pump and store/re-use?

I’m also thinking ahead a little here as Bea already refuses a dummy and I’m worried will refuse a bottle. It’s not an issue now but I will be going back to work at around 8 months and if all is well at that point with the breast feeding still, I would express at work for what she needs on top of solids she is taking. (I don’t even know anything about this! How much of her requirements would be met by food at this stage? I’m guessing not so much?) So I need her to be taking a bottle well before then to minimise back to work stress.

Thanks in advance for your advice and thoughts readers! :)

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Essentials for the first 6 weeks…

This is an epic post as an update to the one I wrote before Bea arrived. There’s a lot of information around on what you NEED for a baby and I thought it would be useful to document with what we managed with. These are the things we had and actually used for the first 6 weeks. Bookmark it for the future and if you are already a mum and can add an essential that you found invaluable (because this is what worked for us and I fully acknowledge everyone is different,) please do add it in the comments. I have linked to products we used and discussed what and why below.

Travelling
Car Seat
Car mirror for rear seat rest
Wrap Sling
Pram, plus 2 sheets that fit the pram
Changing bag
Giant muslins x 3 (ALDI)

Bathing
Baby Bath
Baby shampoo and body wash
Baby sponge
Baby towel (or hand towel)
Baby nail clippers or scissors (+/- hair brush)

Changing
Changing mat
Cotton wool pads (not pleats or balls)
Bowl for water
Nappies (6 x 24 lasted us 2 weeks)
WaterWipes for out and about

Clothes
Sleepsuits x 12 (2 x NEXT first size, 7 x JL/M&S newborn, 3 x NEXT 0-1m)
Short sleeve vests x 7 (H&M baby, George at ASDA, GAP)
For hospital: Hat for first 24h, optional scratch mitts.
Blankets: 1 for the pram, 1 for car seat, 1 for around the house. (But you could easily have the same one for all of these.)

Sleeping
Grobag Swaddle x1
2 x Cellular blankets (ALDI)
Crib/moses basket/cot
2 x fitted sheets for crib
Pampers Changemats

(Breast) Feeding
Breast Feeding App
Lansinoh Nipple cream
Lansinoh Breast Pads
Muslins x 11 (5x M&S, 6 x ALDI)

For you
Maternity pads
Giant knickers
Something to wear to feed in at night
H&M stretchy vests for day
Snacks
Braun Thermometer

Travelling
This really depends on what kind of person you are but if you were looking to save money you could make do with just a wrap sling. We also had the Ergobaby but this was invaluable and I would say should be a pre-baby purchase for all parents to be as it’s so useful around the house too. Don’t forget sheets for your pram (we did,) or we use giant muslins doubled over and tucked in like a sheet (as I still haven’t got around to buying more fitted sheets!)
A changing bag could be seen as a luxury but I love our Pacapod and it makes life so easy leaving the house when it is ready packed. I just empty and top it up when nappies have been used or clothes changed in the evening and when we need to go out we just pick it up and go.
We also found as soon as we were taking Bea out and about in the car we wanted a mirror to be able to check on her from the front seat while on the move. This one doubles as a seat back iPad holder for later!

Bathing
We didn’t bath Bea for 2 weeks (top and tailed instead,) and the first time we did was in the sink but I felt it was very hard for her to be lying in and as a result we have used the IKEA baby bath since, which she loves kicking around in. She has also been in the bath with me so you don’t ‘need’ a special bath, it’s just a preference. Also, you can use a baby bath anywhere (kitchen worktops, floor, the warmest room etc,) and we fill ours pretty deep to keep her warm and let her kick around, which would take a lot more water in the big bath. We forgot to buy baby wash stuff or a sponge which you obviously need, although you could use a soft flannel if you have one. Equally, you don’t ‘need’ a special baby towel but I included it here because I like the little hood on them that keeps their head warm as soon as they come out of the bath. :) Scissors or nail clippers are a must to avoid scratched faces! (We didn’t bother with scratch mitts as she didn’t need them but she did cut her face a couple of times grabbing her face until the nails were dealt with.) We also have a bath thermometer which I don’t feel I need to use but Pete much prefers to, so that’s an individual preference too.

Changing
You don’t need a changing mat but you do need something waterproof to put baby on to change them in case of sneaky wee’s when the nappy is off or nappy explosions! We opted for cotton wool pads to prevent cotton wool fluff getting in all the creases and WaterWipes were a saviour when out and about as they don’t irritate sensitive newborn bottoms yet make life super easy.

Clothes
We keep Bea in sleepsuits most of the time. As she was a summer baby we also used to dress her in bubble or romper suits a lot because it was hot and I thought they were super cute ;) She was 6lb 5oz when she was born, and even the tiny baby stuff was big on her. By 6 weeks she had grown out of those but she is still comfortably wearing her newborn and 0-1m size baby stuff and 0-3 is still drowning her (at her current weight of 9lbs). We had more sleepsuits than vests as we didn’t always use them, plus initially we needed to change her outer layer more often than the vest. You will probably need equal numbers for a baby at any other time of year though. As I said, we didn’t use scratch mitts, booties or socks as her feet were covered (all sleepsuits seems to have built in scratch mitts now too.) We used a hat in hospital for the first 24 hours only then it was too hot. It’s a little known fact (I think) that babies thermoregulate to the external temperature after 48 hours so don’t need to be wrapped in a million layers, plus not allowing them to overheat is part of the safe sleep guidance.
We had a lot of blankets as we bought 2, and were given some too. I love our aden + anais swaddle blanket which we don’t use for swaddling (although we could) but made a perfect blanket when it was warmer and we now use on the car seat. I prefer having a few as we spread them out on the floor to put her down and it saves hunting for ‘the blanket’ when you’re going out if there is always one ready.

Sleeping
For sleeping we use our Grobag Swaddle every night. We swaddle Bea under the arms as she doesn’t like having them tucked in and she kicks her legs free every night but it stays on her body and better than a blanket. At other times (when the swaddle is in the wash) we use a single cellular blanket doubled over and tucked in on all three sides. At almost 9 weeks, think we will be graduating to a Grobag at 3 months as she is almost getting too long for the swaddle.
One of my best discoveries has been Pampers Changemats (you can buy these in many forms, these are just the ones we picked up.) We kept having to wash our crib mattress cover (that zips off) along with the bedding as Bea would be a little bit sick in the night and we would find it wet. It was quite thick and took ages to dry so couldn’t be done in a day but then I found these lifesavers. Now we have them on the crib mattress and the pram and it means if she is sick we just change the sheet which is so much easier to dry quickly and replace.

Breast Feeding
I was told Lansinoh Breast pads were the best so bought them, but found out for myself when I forgot some on a trip home and had to buy Tesco’s own. It’s hard to explain the difference but I guess it’s the difference between an old fashioned or cheap sanitary towel and Always! They are more absorbent, don’t leak, stay put and keep you dry. Don’t bother with anything else! I had 2 tubes of Lansinoh cream and was very lucky in that I didn’t have any soreness so only used the cream after every feed for about 2 weeks, then morning and evening thereafter until about 2 weeks ago. Now I don’t use it at all and for that amount of use I’ve only gone through 1 tube, but I liked having one to hand in my BF box and one upstairs with the fresh pads.

I have put muslins in this category as I use them to tuck under my boob (between my folded down bra and skin) to catch dribbles and squirts when feeding. Realistically however you can use them for so many things – burp cloths, swaddles, blankets, to wipe up with… and my favourite use is in the cot or pram folded in half and tucked in across the head area, again to keep the sheet clean and swiftly/easily change instead of the whole sheet coming off. We only have 11 which has surprised some people but they drive me mad being all over the house so I have a system of replacing them daily (different patterns help to differentiate with this!) and keeping one on the bed upstairs and one with me downstairs, then one clean one in the changing bag although I often grab the one I have and take that out too. I find I’m washing that often that this is just enough, but I could easily use another 5, particularly when you have a day that burns through them with leaks and sick etc! The ALDI ones are actually softer but nothing beats aden + anais.
I haven’t expressed yet as I haven’t wanted or needed to and we didn’t buy a pump or bottles, and I can’t comment on the requirements for bottle feeding as obviously I have no experience of it!

For Mum
Lastly, there’s you to think about in those first few weeks too! I think it’s really tough planning what you will need as you don’t know how you will feel or what kind of delivery you will have. These are the things you will definitely need though. Big knickers are a must – probably labelled ‘full briefs’ I bought 8 pairs, 4 black and 4 patterned from Primark. You will need them if you end up with a C-section but you also need them for the giant maternity pads as they simply don’t fit normal knickers. Speaking of maternity pads, they’re not glamorous but they sure do work. They are extremely absorbent and without going into too much detail, I found when I really needed them they worked brilliantly, despite my skepticism and with no leakage despite their lack of ‘wings’. I bought Boots own.

In the day time, initially I lived in H&M mama or normal vests which I pulled down to feed in. Use a muslin to cover the top half of your boob and chest if you feel self conscious. You do need to give some thought to feeding at night though – I have been through a a variety of things – specially designed nursing nighties, stretchy nighties to pull down, crop top sports bra’s and just my normal nursing bra. My Boobs are still huge, and as a result the biggest problem I’ve had is keeping my boobs in place inside the bra (as I lie on my side,) so the pad can prevent leaking. The best thing for this has been my normal bra’s and a soft sports bra I have from Primark. I did buy their crop top style bra’s but they were far too small even in the large (I’m about a 34E currently.) On colder nights now I’m using low cut jersey tops pulled down over my usual bra. In the winter I imagine I’ll keep a cardigan to hand to throw over my shoulders or feed lying down.

I also added a baby thermometer here for 2 reasons. Number one, as a GP it drives me mad when people say their child is feverish or has a temperature when they haven’t actually checked it. Children feeling hot and having a temperature are 2 different things – a baby can feel hot but not have a temperature and vice versa so it’s worth being able to tell unequivocally one way or the other. Secondly, if you are nervous they are too hot (and I have even done this,) when you check their temperature it will give you instant peace of mind, or conversely alert you that they need medical attention.

As a last note, the absolute best thing you can give new parents is food. Bake a cake or take food with you to visit and don’t expect to eat it with them or bring things that still need cooking other than just shoving in the oven. Lasagna, cannelloni, shepards pie or similar are perfect. Think carby all-in-one meals that need minimum effort and perhaps consider avoiding spicy things – I haven’t had problems with Bea but some people feel spicy foods affect their breast milk and hence the baby’s digestive system too. I promise, nothing will be better received than a meal!

Please do add any essentials that you couldn’t have lived without if I haven’t included it here!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

The Big Autumn list

It’s the 21st of September this Sunday, the date I always regard as the first of the new season and so my thoughts are well and truly turned towards log fires, fruit crumbles, falling leaves, bonfires and fireworks. Even though its more Indian Summer than crisp Autumn weather it’s fun to plan so here’s my big Autumn list of things I want to see, do, make and experience, and I hope you will join in with yours in the comments.

Last Autumn I made this list and then everything changed as I found myself pregnant and asleep most of the time on the couch. I’m hoping for a much more active and productive few months this time around!

  • Getting back into Autumn cooking with pies, roasts and crumbles
  • Shopping for a fireplace to kickstart our Lounge renovation
  • Kicking the leaves on autumn walks
  • Wearing my new capsule wardrobe and seeing how it works for mummy life
  • Our first family holiday as we head off to Florida to celebrate my Mum’s birthday with Bea
  • Meeting new people and making new friends at Baby and Mummy groups locally.
  • Celebrating 1 year in our ‘new’ house – 4.5 rooms done, 5.5 to go!
  • Slowly reclaiming my body with some dedicated post-natal exercise.

Make a list or share just one goal you have this season – I’ll be looking for more inspiration for mine!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS! Need more inspiration?
Read my previous Autumn lists here and here.

2 months with Bea

Wow. Where did the last 8 weeks go? Seeing your little baby grow is simultaneously thrilling and terrifying – time is going so fast!

So much has changed already in the last month. Last time I updated you all Bea was a tiny newborn, all snoozy and helpless. In the last month she has grown feisty and smiley and like a tiny best friend I always have around. :)

I was recommended The Wonder Weeks App just after Bea was born and was a bit sceptical – it talks about babies all having developmental ‘leaps’ (where they learn how to do something new,) at certain ages. The night before Bea was 5 weeks she was way fussier than usual and fed more, in a really out of character way and I was clueless as to the cause. Then the next morning she woke up and smiled at me! It was the best thing ever and now Pete says he will do absolutely anything to make her smile. (I also bought the book but admit I haven’t had much chance to read it! – The Wonder Weeks. ) The smiles were a bit hit and miss at first but from 6 weeks we reliably get them every day, always best in the morning.

That 6 week mark was a real turning point for us. After the smiles started we noticed Bea seems so much more alert and awake. Now it’s like she sees us when she looks at us and she looks for my voice and smiles when she hears it. She’s so much more sturdy now and looks around all the time at things when we’re out and about. Her sleep patterns are changing too, with longer and longer stretches at night, we’re now onto one ‘night’ feed between 3 and 5am then another morning feed between 6 and 9am which is pretty great. Those long ‘wake’ periods she had in the night have also settled thankfully.

At 7 weeks we had to go for her first injection – in Manchester all babies get a BCG (TB vaccination) as newborns and I was surprisingly (to myself at least) nervous about it. The thought of my little baby being hurt was awful and she did cry, but it was over in a second and she settled straight away. I managed not to cry, but it was a close call!

At just 8 weeks now she seems so big (although she is still wearing all newborn or 0-1 month clothes.) She is so much more vocal about what she does and doesn’t like now – often whinging a bit when she needs a cuddle to get off to sleep. Her sleeping has got better and better and we have had 2 nights where she has slept straight through but to be honest I prefer when she doesn’t, as a ‘full night’ means she wakes at 7 after a late 11ish feed and I get less sleep in total that way. The first time gave me the fright of my life though when the alarm went off and I realised she hadn’t woken me at all! I’m also seeing daytime patterns emerge with 2 sleeps in the morning and 2 in the afternoon before what I call ‘the witching hour’ starts and the evening cluster feeding begins.

The other big change this month has been her interaction with Pete and I. Since Pete went back to work there is a definite difference in the way she responds to both of us and when she is tired or fussy it’s me she wants and settles better with. I feel in equal measure disappointed and delighted by this – after all it’s selfishly so lovely to be her favourite person, but I always wanted Pete to be a completely equal partner in parenting and interchangeable with me. I suppose that was naive looking back as with maternity leave and breast feeding I was bound to have the upper hand at this stage and I hope in the future she will love spending time with Daddy just as much. For now though, when Pete is home, he’s left ‘holding the baby’ – it means I end up cooking often or doing housework instead but its worth it for him to have quality time with Bea and work on his quota of smiles. ;)

In some ways it has also been a month of adjustment. Although I have no desire to do anything else right now, it has been a big mental shift towards becoming a ‘Mum’. Now I’m at home I feel under pressure (although not from Pete, only myself,) to keep the house in order too, doing housework and preparing meals or shopping. I have at times felt insignificant in the world knowing I have so little impact in a wider sense as Bea and I go about our daily business together, despite my belief that mothering itself is an unmeasurable contribution to society as a whole. It has been a passing thought though and I’m finally getting into my groove of balancing all the different aspects of this new stay-at-home life.

I hope you have enjoyed the update and perhaps some of you can identify with my thoughts?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Would you… Use a Dummy?

One of Bea’s most/least endearing behaviours is her vast repertoire of noises, made mostly when asleep in her crib, leaving me wide awake at night. She doesn’t do it as much in the day as she is often either in my arms or in the sling and having listened to these noises extensively over the last 7 weeks, they seem to mainly be made when she is getting herself to sleep or in light sleep. It’s probably the only thing about having her that has been a challenge so far, as it’s so frustrating to listen to when I’m trying to get a couple of hours sleep before the next feed!

When I was little I had a dummy, so did my sister and like so many things pre-baby, I never really had a problem with them before. I still don’t on other children. The only time I register it really is when you see some kids with a dummy in 24/7, but really, each to their own. One long night listening to her I thought, I wonder if a dummy will keep her quiet? She’s not a particularly ‘sucky’ baby and doesn’t for example need to fall asleep on the breast, she will happily be rocked off cuddling or in the last week or two in her crib by herself at night. But, if you put a finger in her mouth she will also drift off sucking that too and even better, soundlessly!

There’s a lot of chatter about dummies – some people just don’t like them, there’s the ongoing debate over whether it can cause ‘nipple confusion‘ in breast feeding babies and also if it can reduce feeding demand because the suck reflex is overused. It’s often recommended that you don’t use them before a certain age (6 weeks minimum) too. On top of all that is the whole dummy versus thumb discussion and which is better for a developing mouth and teeth? (FYI – Bea has found her thumb and does suck it but not at any particular time or as a comforter particularly…) I actually bought some dummies before Bea arrived and now I kind of don’t want to use them. Pete is dead against it as he feels it is too early and we’ll never get her to give the dummy up. Typically Pete’s judgement isn’t coloured by lack of sleep as he has ear plugs in when he is working the next day! My thoughts were that it would simply be a night time thing to get her to keep quiet (if it worked at all!) and drift off quicker so I could get more sleep. But would it then become something she was dependent on to sleep and cause her to wake if it fell out etc? Would I be making a rod for my own back?

So readers, I thought this was a good topic for discussion today… would you or have you given your child a dummy? Are you happy with that decision? Why did you give it and did it work? I’d love to hear your experiences…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Friday Finds… Back to School!

Well, it’s September now, which means back to school time. The roads are busier and the leaves are turning which so it’s time to treat yourself to some properly grown up stationery. I’ve spotted a few bits recently along with some old favourites here. The best part about this little treat is that you can kit your pencil case out without breaking the bank. :)

Book worms and English Literature students take note of this fab print – The entire text of Charlie and The Chocolate factory to celebrate the books 50th anniversary. So clever!

Happy weekend readers!

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Would you… wear your baby?

Since having a little one I’ve been slowly getting to grips with getting around with a baby and all the stuff they require. Because we live somewhere so handy for those with children, the few weeks I spent not driving weren’t a hardship at all and I pushed the pram out often when we went on walks or for coffee or visiting local friends. When we drove I had Pete acting as Jeeves, which included getting the bags buggy. However, when by myself I quickly realised that lugging a pram around can be a royal pain in the behind and often opt to use our baby carrier. (This isn’t strictly news to me – I anticipated I would feel the same about being hands free and more mobile as I’m quite a ‘busy’ person.) Quite a few of you have asked so I thought I’d share my thoughts and ask your opinions on baby wearing too.

For this of you who haven’t heard of it, baby wearing is simply the practice of carrying your baby or child in a fabric or specially made sling or baby carrier. They range from technical contraptions to simple stretchy wraps and costs vary hugely. It’s a centuries old practice and women around the world wear their babies, with well known and accepted benefits to both baby and the adult carrying them. In short, babies are happier and cry less. Parents are more confident as a result and less frazzled as they can get on with their daily lives. Sold? I was.

We opted for the Ergobaby 360 – a new carrier on the market by Ergobaby and had to wait for it to come out. It’s not cheap – £139.95 at John Lewis and we had to buy the infant insert to make it suitable from birth too, for an additional £20. However we justified it with the knowledge this allowed us to carry Bea (and any future babies) right through to toddler and beyond as it allows baby to be carried facing inwards or outwards on the front, on the hip or later on on your back. We chose it over a BabyBjorn as it is supposed to be better for hip development by seating baby in an ergonomic frog leg position.

Once I started using it I loved the freedom, just like I expected. On my first excursion out of Chorlton on my own I took Bea in the Ergobaby on the tram (super easy not having to find space for the pram) to the sling library in Sale (most places have local sling libraries where you can try and rent out slings before buying your own and meet other mums too,) and back. The best thing about it is how convenient it is and that she sleeps in it much of the time she’s in there (much like a car seat,) due to the movement and her being all snug and cozy next to me. We have only used it front facing inwards as thats the only position suitable for her age right now, but it feels secure, brilliantly made and even at this stage is flexible to allow for her position and size.

The major downside for me is the weight of the actual Ergobaby itself – I do get backache wearing it, though I’m not sure if that is due to my ligaments still being stretchy post pregnancy. The Ergobaby has a waist strap and shoulder straps much like a large rucksack you would use for hiking or D of E in school and so the weight is well distributed and it’s comfortable otherwise. I don’t see this as a major negative as we bought it mainly for Pete to wear and for us to use when going places where it wasn’t convenient to take the buggy, and it’s perfect for that as well as the future hopefully.

The other negative I felt was it’s bulk and as Bea woke up out of her newborn haze, she started to get less keen on being put down unless she was in just the perfect stage of deep sleep. One thing that kept her happy of course was being held and I started to get frustrated that I couldn’t get anything done, particularly when Pete went back to work and I had to get on with normal life. I decided to look into a wrap style (this site was a really useful resource in finding more about the different types, as was the site of my local sling library,) to keep her close and happy whilst being light and cheaper, given our initial Ergobaby outlay.

After looking into the various wraps I chose a Victoria Slinglady, (very similar to Moby or Karime wraps), mainly because it’s brilliantly priced (£14.95 on eBay). Baby carrying is very individual and there are loads of different wraps out there but this was perfect for me and I have used it loads since. I did look into DIYing a stretchy wrap (there are lots of tutorials online) but the cost of the jersey was more than this ready made one and as the sling library helpers pointed out, this way I know the fabric dyes are safe if she starts chewing them. Since then we have been out for dinner using it and this post was written with her in it too. I love having my hands back and having her so close!

So, have you got a baby carrier. Do you use it? Or has it always seemed a bit hippyish for you to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts on baby wearing and reviews of the various options and types available…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

Resources:
Little Possums sling shop
Sale Sling Library (also known as Harmony Babywearing)

*This post is the beginning of a new series to encourage discussion and promote the sharing of opinion on a wide variety of motherhood subjects. Please share your thoughts and knowledge in the comments!