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When my first born was due, my partner and I both spoke about getting some sort of carrier as we lived in a top floor flat with only four flights of stairs and were wondering if one of us were alone, how would we manage carrying bags, pushchair, and baby all in one go.
After scouring all of the baby shops we finally set our heart on the 'Baba Sling' which claimed it could be used up to the age of 2, perfect! We also took into consideration the price which was £39.99 from Mothercare, and most other carriers were around £75+ so this was perfect for the pocket too. As we knew we were expecting a little girl we chose to go for a more girly colour but also something subtle enough that my partner could be seen wearing too, so we chose 'Lavender' which to me was more of a lilac purple but a very nice colour. The baba sling had quite a big range of colours including, black, grey, brown, pink, blue, green, red etc.
When I got the sling home, I opened the box which also contained a carry bag and instructions (with pictures which is always important for me as until I can see it with my eyes I get very easily frustrated!) of how to us the sling. So on it went to test it out.. The sling seemed reasonably easy to understand. It had to clips the main one quite large, which would put your mind at ease when it's holding the weight of a baby and a smaller one just incase the first one was to fail. I was quite surprised at how spacious the sling seemed and really couldn't wait to give it a go when our baby arrived.
So our baby arrived weighing a whopping 8lbs 5oz and after a few days of resting I was ready to do my first trip out on my own with baby in tow. First of all I needed to get the pushchair down four flights of stairs to the car, so on went the sling, which seemed a little tighter then before possibly due to my milk coming in, but never the less I then tried to get the baby in and positioned ready for the (bumpy) ride. Within the instructions it tells you to put the sling on, put the baby in and then loosen the straps to fit you, however, whoever designed the sling quite clearly didn't realise my arms don't bend backwards near my shoulder blade and no matter how many positions I tried to get in to undo those flaming straps, it was virtually impossible!
So out came the baby's then the sling so I could adjust the straps to fit around us both. After about 25 minutes of faffing around I finally managed to get the sling to be where I wanted it to be, however, I then had to sort the problem of making my baby comfortable, which somehow she just didn't look and her head seemed so buried into my chest that I was scared I was going to suffocate her when I finally managed to stand up.
Anyway I managed to position her so that she could breathe, I am still yet to be convinced that she was comfortable as her headway wedged somewhere near the top part of the sling, so I could get the pushchair down those four flights of stairs. About another half an hour later, we were down and back again, at this point my back and neck in absolute agony where the sling was pulling at them both. Now I know 8lbs 5oz is reasonably big for a newborn, but how on earth could anybody manage the weight of a 2 year old is beyond me! I did find that the padded edges came in handy especially as I was lifting something quite heavy, it reassured me that it would protect her if I had to hold the item close to us when lifting.
After another few tries I completely gave up with the sling and put it in the spare room until she was ready to sit up unaided in the sling which I thought would help when we were using it. When that time came the sling came out for around 10 minutes and back in the cupboard it went. I found that I was feeling the need to constantly hold her, which defeated the object of a 'carrier'. To cut a long story short, the sling was just absolutely useless for us.
Although on paper the sling is a fantastic idea, neither of us could get the hang of using it. If I could give anyone any advice, it's worth paying that little bit extra for a proper baby carrier and make sure you read the reviews before buying it- I wish I had!
On a family trip to our local steam railway to meet Peppa Pig and George, I picked up this little carry along colouring set to keep my 16 month old toddler occupied for a few minutes here and there whilst on the train.
The colouring pad contains around 50 little colouring and activity pages all with the Peppa pig and friends theme to them along with 6 little wax crayons in a pouch at the back of the book. It also has a little carry handle so your toddler can carry it around with them, but when they've had enough its small and compact enough to just pop in your handbag/changing bag and not take up a lot of room.
I actually purchased mine from the railway station shop for £1.99, but I have since seen these available to buy on amazon and play.com for around the same price, but I also noticed in the other review that they can be picked up from pound shops (bargain!). I would defiantly recommend them for stocking fillers or small gifts not only just a handbag boardem buster.
I was really surprised at the quality if them for the price, the pictures are printed on lovely white paper, not the recycled greyish stuff, and the wax crayons work surprisingly well. You sometimes expect them to be cheap and have to press down quite hard to even get the colour on the paper but not with these. My toddler managed to scribble all over the paper without too much effort at all.
I really am pleased with this product and would consider buying it again.
Throughout my first (and only) pregnancy I was really set on breast feeding my little girl when she finally arrived, infact I hadn't given bottle feeding much though. I had prepared myself with the usual breast feeding bras, muslin cloths, breast pumps, nipple creams and breast pads- although I hadn't done my research and generally picked up what ever I saw on offer in my usual shops or sent freebies to try out which brings me to the Tommee Tippee disposable breast pads.
-So why did I choose the Tommee Tippee disposable breast pads?-
I actually purchased a Tommee Tippee breast pump which came with a handful of the breast pads to try out which made me realise I hadn't yet purchased any so went and picked up a couple of boxes from my local Asda. They came in the usual grey Tommee Tippee packaging in boxes of 50, which being a first time mummy I had no idea how many I would use so I guessed would last me a good month or so per box and cost me in the region of £4.50.
-So how did I get on with them?-
To be completely honest, utter pants! The breast pads are just like any other breast pads I had seen, with a padded disc and some kind of sticky panel across the back to stop the pad from moving around in your bra, and the general idea of them is to catch the milk and stop you having an embarrassing leakage!! Not for me though, I stuck the pad to the inside of my bra as instructed but after half an hour the pad had managed to move around or fold itself in half with sticky bits stuck to me all over the place, not a pleasant experience at all and if that wasn't enough when they did stay in the right place I was changing them less then every hour due to me soaking though them (not good during the night). They just didn't seem absorbent at all or big enough to absorb all of the leakage, maybe I could of just had more milk then normal but they certainly didn't do the job they were supposed to do for me.
-Where are they available to buy and how much are they?-
I purchased mine from my local Asda superstore for around £4.50 but they also can be purchased elsewhere such as Sainsburys, Tesco, Amazon, local pharmacies etc. and they usually cost between £4-£5.
-Would you recommend the Tommee Tippee Disposable Breast Pads?-
Although when they stuck as they were supposed to, they worked for the first half, other then that they just weren't big enough or absorbent enough to do the job properly. Maybe Tommee Tippee should design them in different sizes for different cup sizes and absorbency. I also find the price very steep considering I could get through a box every other day, I highly suggest if you do decide to still buy this product, shop around first. I do feel very let down by usually a very normally, well known and trusted brand.
We were lucky enough to be given the Chicco DJ baby walker by a family friend when my little girl arrived last year, my little girl finally got round to using the walker at around 3-4 months when she could hold her head safely unaided, because the walker was second hand I cannot comment on how easy it was put together from scratch but it was easy enough for us to put up from flat by just pulling up the seat part from the base/wheels.
- So what does the walker do?-
Apart from the obvious, helping your baby be mobile without the bumps and grazes, the walker can also be used just to entertain your baby whilst you get on with the daily chores.. The walker has a board in front of the baby seat which contains on a keyboard, what only I can describe as a flippy thing which looks a little like a book page to switch between modes, a turney spinny thing which eventually your baby can grip hold of and spin round in circles, a drum button and a few beads on a loop, and of course the godsend, two volume settings (quiet and loud!). To begin with my daughter was most interested in banging the keyboard keys which play tunes or make animal noises as well as light up, as she started to grow she started flipping the book page back and forth- much to my annoyment when the sound is on full!
My daughter is now 12 months and not quite walking yet but she loves wizzing around the living room bumping and crashing into walls, the tv unit and so on and I am happy that she is safe and sound from any nasty falls or bumps and the product is durable enough to withstand all of this without hardly a scratch on the walker in sight.
The board actually lifts off the walker so it can be used like a highchair tray, I often lift this off and give my daughter snacks in this so she can still whizz about or do as she pleases without the worry of her falling out of her highchair if my back is turned for a few minutes.
- What does the walker look like?-
As with many children's toys and equipment I'm sure there are a few different versions out there. My version had a blue base with wheels, the typical cross frame to a walker, a yellow top half of the frame with blue reflectors on each corner, a colourful board and a green, blue pink and yellow spotty seat (which can be removed for washing although quite fiddly). Overall I would say the walker is very 'neutral' suitable for both boy and girl, so can be kept for any future children without the worry.
- How easy is it to put up and store? -
The walker is very easy to use, all it takes is one hand to lift the upper part of the walker and when you hear the clicks you know it is safe to use, infact I often can put the walker up one handed whilst holding my baby so that just shows how easy it is. Under the upper part of the walker is a leaver with a button (I presume this is almost like a child lock as you have to press the button and pull leaver at the same time for it to work.) this lowers the walker to different height settings so that once your child is mobile, his/her feet can touch the floor easily without it causing any harm to their legs. If you want to collapse the walker flat all you have to do is pull the leaver again past the clicking point. I find the walker very bulky and quite hard to store flat when not in use, although I think it folds flat for more for permanent storage in the loft/shed/garage etc.
- So where can I buy the walker? -
As I said above we actually were given the walker from a family friend but after a little bit of research you can buy the Chicco baby walker from a number of places- Mothercare, Argos, Amazon, Tesco Direct etc. the walker retails for aroud the £30-£40 mark, although I'm sure with a little shopping around this can be found even cheaper.
- Do you have any negatives towards the walker?-
Generally overall I am very happy with the product. However, If I were to go into a shop and buy the walker it possibly wouldn't be a first choice on my list as its a little boring looking on the surface and a little too neutral for my liking (I am a very pink, pink, pink mummy!) and think it would benefit a boy and girl version but that would be my only grumble.
The product deserves a 5* rating as apart from my love of pink, I really cannot complain, it keeps my child out of harms way and occupied for as long as I need it to.
Thank you for reading, littleminnie
If i'm honest I dump most of my possessions into my little girls changing bag and leave the handbag at home most days.
So emptying the contents of my little girls changing bag I have come across-
'5 Pampers baby dry nappies'- just enough to last me a day out with my little madam.
'1 packet of Asda Little Angel baby wipes'- these are a must for any mum, ideal for when changing bums, to wiping sticky little fingers or mopping up spilt coffee!
'A change of outfit for my little girl and a top for myself'- even though my little girl is now a year old I will never forget the incident when she was a few months old of having to walk around my town covered in baby sick due to my little girl projectile vomiting on me as I lent over the pram to see if she was ok! Also a change of outfit is a must for her incase of any spillages or accidents!!
'A pack of two MAM dummies'- I wouldn't be without these, and always take a few along incase my little girl throws them out of the pushchair (a regular occurrence when out) also a pet hate of mine is seeing other parents sucking a child's dummy after it falling on the pavement and putting it back into their child's mouth, YUCK!
'A fruit shoot'- whoever came up with the design of a fruit shoot is a pure genius! I have tried every other possible breaker/cup and just cannot find one that doesn't leak apart from these, so I have one with me everything I go out.
'Annabel Karmel apple crisps'- Delicious!! These also keep my child happy for a good hour whilst I get on with what I've got to do.
'My mobile phone'- something I am very rarely without, but can guarantee the day I don't have it I urgently need it.
'My bank card'- I am not one for carrying cash, that way I don't spend/waste money.
'A pair of socks'- this has become something I always check that I have with me as I often like to call in to the local soft play with my little girl after a long day shopping.
When I started Christmas shopping last year I had no idea on what to get my 4 week old little girl for her first Christmas. After many hours of scouring the shops and Internet, a friend recommended the VTech baby walker. So off to my local Asda I went to see if I could pick one up. At the time I couldn't ever imagine my tiny little baby ever even paying attention to the walker let alone using it to walk! But, I can quite safely say a year on and it is a firm favourite of hers.
- So why did I buy the VTech baby walker? -
As I said above, a friend recommended the walker to me after being completely stuck as to what to buy my four week old baby for her first Christmas. When I got to the store I noticed the VTech walker was available in two different versions, a 'boyish' version in reds, yellows, greens and blues or a 'girly' version in pinks, purples and white, obviously having a little girl I opted for the pink version. The box looked very inviting for a first time mummy, showing a small child happily pushing the walker along with a huge smile on the child's face- the perfect toy!
- What does the walker do? -
Apart from the obvious, teaching a toddler to walk, the walker also has a musical board which can be detached from the wheels and layed on the ground (brilliant for teaching a baby how to sit). The board contains of a butterfly which when its wings are turned this changed the mode from number mode to alphabet mode. It contains of four coloured buttons numbered 1-4 which play music and count, along with keyboard style keys labelled a-e with pictures of an apple, a ball, a car and so on, these keys light up and play a tune when pressed. The board also contains a set of cog wheels which make noises when spun along with a toy phone which is clear pink plastic with little beads in so it rattles, although as many others have said this quite quickly becomes lost due to in not actually being attached to the board. On the actual frame itself there are 3 spinning wheels which my daughter spends forever spinning round and round and round.... You get the picture!
-So where can I buy the VTech walker and how much is it?-
I brought the walker from my local Asda superstore, but I have also seen the walker in numerous other places such as Tesco, Argos, Toys r us and usually can find them pretty cheap second hand. I paid £10 for the walker as it was on offer but I have noticed it is almost double the price in most other places so I would say they range between £10-25, but it is defiantly worth have a look around for the cheapest place you can find it. Although I do have to say I would of been happy to pay the full price of £25 as it really does keep my child busy and happy for hours on end!
-Advantages and Disadvantages-
My only few niggles with the baby walker are, if you have wooden flooring the walker can become very slippy if your child is still not confident at walking alone due to the wheels having no grip, maybe the walker would benefit a few rubbery grips around the wheels to stop this happening. Also as I said above the little pink telephone would be brilliant if it was attached by some form of cord (obviously its not for safety reason) as this keeps going walk abouts so I am forever hunting around the house for it! The advantages very much outweigh the niggles though, this toy is so fantastic we take it everywhere! It's been on holiday, to friends houses, Granny's house etc. as the legs fold down very easily so it can be easily packed into the car. I would defiantly give this product a 10/10 rating as I really wouldn't be without it now!
Its very daunting being a first time Mummy, with just about every invention being on the market I really didn't even know where to start when buying anything for my soon to arrive little bundle of joy.
-Why did I buy the Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer?-
To begin with I went out and purchased a plug in electric steam sterilizer which when my little girl arrived in to the world, I thought it was the bee's knees! I used to wash her bottles and dummies in hot soapy water and stick them all in, press the big button and away we go. I could trust that my little girl wouldn't be getting any tummy bugs from her bottles, Brilliant!...Little did I think about travelling or going on holiday this is when I realised it just wasn't as practical as I imagined. So off I sent my partner with orders to spend no more than £20 to get me some sort of travel sterilizer that we could just load with enough bottles to keep my little girl going for the day and small enough to pack into the car when we were going away for a few days. A few hours later he return with the 'Avent Microwave Steam Sterilizer'. At first I was worried as we owned 'Dr. Browns' bottles which are a lot larger than the Avent ones and I didn't think that they would fit into the sterilizer.
-Whats inside the box?-
Inside the box is the circular sterilizer with the clip on lid, a pair of tongs, a measuring jug and a 125ml Avent bottle- which for the price we paid I thought this was very good value for money.
-So how do I use it?-
You unclip the lid, lift out the blue bottle holding tray, fill the bottom with 200ml of cold water from the tap, place your washed bottles onto the blue tray (if you own big bottles like the dr browns ones you will fit 4 bottles in at a time, if you own the avent ones you will fit 6 in which is enough to get you through a day!), clip the lid back on and pop the sterilizer into the microwave for roughly between 4-6 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave, you will have to reffer to your instructions manual for the correct times. Once the cycle has finished you can remove the sterilizer from the microwave, or if I can offer you any advice leave it for 5 minutes or you will burn your fingers as it gets boiling hot, also be careful when opening the lid (open it away from you otherwise the steam will come towards you which is as hot as kettle water). If you open the sterilizer the bottles will stay sterile for upto 4 hours or if you leave them in there without opening they will stay sterile for 24 hours.
-How does it stay clean?-
It is reccomended that you descale a sterilizer every 4-6 weeks, but to be honest I wipe clean the sterilizer after every use and i've never found the need to descale it.
-How much is it and where can I purchase it from?-
We paid £10 for this from Mothercare, it usually retails from anything up to £25 and can be brought from a number of places such as Boots, Mothercare, Asda, Tesco, Amazon and many more. If I can offer any advice here, shop around. You may even be able to pick one up second hand in good condition.
-Advantages and Disadvantages-
Brilliant value, small enough to take away yet big enough to use every day at home.My only few bad points- Since buying the sterilizer and after my little girl got over her spell of colic, I have purchased the Avent bottles as they fit in the sterilizer much better and it means I have 6 clean bottles on the go instead of 4 which is much more cost effective and practical. Also some microwaves are rather compact meaning the sterilizer sits rather snug inside and can sometimes take some twisting and turning to get it out again, But I have never had it completely stuck.
Before giving birth to my daughter I had set my heart on breastfeeding, not only was it best for my baby but also free and lets face it thats what breasts are for. I went out and chose a breast pump as I had been told by a few friends that your nipples can become very sore within the first few weeks. So, after spending an hour or so choosing the best one for me I chose the tommee tippee electric one as I had already got several of the bottles at home and knew that they would attatch to the pump- therefore quick, easy and convinient which is just what you need with a newborn baby.
When I got the box home I was quite impressed that it came with a steriliser box, a bottle and storage pots as well as the pump. I took the machine to bits ready to sterilise in preporation for my babys arrival with no problems, putting the machine back together however was a whole new ball game! The pump alone has 13 different parts from tubes to flaps of rubber- and bits that just didnt want to fit back on the machine! I spent a good hour just working out how to put the thing back together, it was a nightmare. Anyway, after getting the knack of putting it back together I put the machine away for my babys D-Day. When the day finally arrived just as everyone had told me my nipples quite quickly became very sore so out came the breast pump. I attached the bottle and switched the machine on, first starting at the bottom of its 3 settings which barely seemed to have any suction at all. I then went onto the second setting which was a little better but the way the suction cup is positioned on the pump my milk just seemed to run down the rubber and down my breast and I only ended up with a few drops in the actual bottle, I actually ended up wearing most of it. I gave the pump a few more attempts after this and gave up. I was absolutely gutted that I had wasted so much money on a machine that did not do its job and had now been used so I could not take it back - hense now the reason why I switched to formula as I couldn't risk spending more money on items that just don't do what they say on the tin!
Please, please take this review into consideration before buying this product as I would hate for you to be as unhappy with the product as I am and it certainly doesn't come cheap!
-Why did I decide on using Dr Browns bottles?-
After switching from breast to formula within a few days of my daughter being born, she quickly began to suffer with colic, she would cry for hours on end, drawing her legs up to her tummy- it was exhausting. I had been out and spent over £50 on a certain brand of bottles which only seemed to be making the problem worse as the bottle was full of bubbles and she was guzzling down her milk far too quickly. My sister in law suggested that I try the Dr Browns bottles. We popped down to our local Mothercare and after noticing that the bottles were quite expensive (£12 or there abouts for two bottles) we decided just to get two incase they didn't work, I certainly didn't want to waste any more money buying more bottles that made the problem worse.
-How do I use the bottles?-
After getting the bottles home, they were a little daunting at first. There were pipes, teats, extra bits inside the bottle, I didn't know where to start! I began to panic, I was worrying it would take forever for me just to make my daughter a bottle. I had previously brought the tommee tippee sterilizer so gave them a go in there before using them, the bottles fit perfectly so I was pleased I didn't have to go out and purchase another sterilizer. I then waited for my daughters feed, making up the bottle as I did before, giving the bottle a good shake (as it says to do on the side of the carton of milk)... and the bottle exploded! Milk shot up the spout, out of the extra rubber bit, out of the teat- it was just a disaster, all over my kitchen floor! I then decided to read the instructions- DO NOT SHAKE!- so off I went again to make her another bottle. This time it was much easier just swirling the formula round the bottle to dispurse the powder, I noticed straight away that there were no bubbles.
-Did the bottle make any difference to my child's colic problem?-
Instantly I noticed a change in my child, she wasnt gulping down the milk, the teat sat in her mouth just right, she brought her wind up much easier with no tears and finally drifed off to sleep without a belly ache in sight! It was like a miricle. We went out and brought another two bottles as it became a nightmare washing, sterilizing and using just two bottles, especially in the middle of the night- and touch wood, the colic hasn't returned. I can quite honestly say its the best £25 I have ever spent on my child.
-Are there any disadvantages to the bottles?-
Apart from the few I have stated- fiddly and leaking - I can't fault the bottles, once you get the hang of it you'll wonder why you ever struggled putting them together.
-Would you recommend the bottles?-
I would recommend the bottles a million percent- I wish I had heard about the bottles before and used them from day one. They were definatly my life saver.
'My Friend Emily Doll'
First of all- Brilliant toy! During my pregnancy I can't say I ever really noticed any of the 'Lamaze' toys I was always drawn to other brands but when my little girl was first born we received this toy from a family friend.
-So what does the doll look like?-
The doll is rather cute with a little ginger curl sticking out from under her sunhat, a little smiley face, she wears a brightly coloured dress which has many textures and also makes a crackling noise when scrunched, she also wears bright striped knitted tights and pink shoes. She has a couple of (what I think are) teething rings in her hand, a flower shaped rattle attached to her front, a squeker in her tummy and a soft jingle in her head. There is a ring at the top of her head for attaching her to pushchairs, car seats, play mats, cot etc. which is brilliant as my little one can't quite hold the dolly herself yet and she would be forever dropping it when we are out shopping.
-How old would you say my baby could use this toy?-
I actually used this toy from day one with my little girl, I attached the toy to her pram, mainly to jazz it up a bit- not that she actually paid much attention to it to begin with!- But as she became more alert and interested in the world around her she began to grab out and touch the doll. She is now 3 months of age and smiles and giggles at her little friend. Emily doll is quite heavy for her to hold as of yet but with the ring at the top I can attach it to the hood of her pushchair or bouncer and she spends a good half an hour playing, laughing... oh and giving the doll a good bash! I have since noticed the 'Lamaze' play and grow selection of toys are meant to grow with your child which this doll definatly does.
-Where can I buy an 'Emily Doll' and how much is it-
As I said, we actually received this toy as a gift, but since having the doll I have noticed the Lamaze brand in Boots, Asda, Tesco, Amazon, they also sell many different colourful toys and we have since purchased the 'Lulu the Hippo' toy which I will also be reviewing. The Emily Doll is priced at around £9.95 which is very reasonable for childrens toys nowadays and well worth every penny.
-How do I look after the 'Emily Doll?'-
On the instructions it says to hand wash the doll only, I can only assume this is so it doesnt damage the toy in any way. The toy is easily wiped clean but if you like to wash the toys thoroughly like me it is also easily washed and dries out on the windowsill within a day or so.
Overall a fantastic babies toy of which I highly reccomend from birth, 5 out of 5 from me!