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Picking a pram for a new baby is one of the most tricky things to do as a new parent. People said to me that they had had three or four prams before finding one they loved. I was positive I didn't want that to happen to me. After many deliberations over prams, it finally came down to a toss up between the Uppababy Vista and Babystyle Oyster. In the end we decided to go for an Uppababy Vista (hereafter refered to as a Vista) as we felt the frame, suspension and overall quality of the pram was much better than the BabyStyle Oyster....and so it should be for £200-£300 more.
==The UPPABaby Vista==
UPPABaby are an American company who are relatively new to the pram market so it is quite tricky sometimes to find stockists of the pram in the UK, though if you go on their website, you can find all the UK stockists in a list. Last year when we were looking to buy this pram, everywhere had sold out of it, I'm not sure how difficult it is to get now, but basically the demand for this pram has been unprecedented. They come in a range of colours (pink, blue, cream, red, maize etc.) and most have a silver frame (as per the photo here on DooYoo), but the pram we went for is called Jake Black (it is a black pram) with a black/granite frame, one Mum asked me if it was a limited edition version, which to my knowledge it isn't, I think all of the Jake Black prams come with this colour frame. The pram we bought was a 3 in 1, it comes with (1) the frame (2) the carrycot/flat pram (seen detatched in the photo) and (3) the buggy part. It also comes with Maxi Cosi adapters which means you can put a Maxi Cosi car seat onto the frame of the pram.
You also get a rain cover for each part of the pram i.e. one for the buggy, one for the flat pram and an insect net which come within the price.
At £629, it isn't a cheap pram, but equally it isn't the most expensive. I seriously balked at the thought of paying £1000 for a pram such as a BugaBoo or an iCandy, when in actual fact, apart from the name, there wasn't too much I was impressed with. My "lower budget" version of this pram would be the Baby Style Oyster as I mentioned earlier which was around £400. However, whilst I haven't had more than a practice with my friends Oyster, I can confirm, I think the UPPABaby is worth every penny of the £629. It is worth noting that Winstanley's Pram centre online usually do this pram for £599 and John Lewis price match to get the John Lewis 3 years free warranty. I haven't found it any cheaper anywhere, sometimes at baby shows you can get a free car seat thrown in which makes it really really good value, but really, £600 is a very good price to pay.
Considering how sturdy the frame is and how well it handles when pushing, I don't think the frame is particularly heavy, but it is heavy if you have a bad back for example. It isn't light enough to lift after a C-Section, but as you won't be driving anyway, you shouldn't have much reason to fold the pram down and lift it anyway. To fold the pram, it is quite tricky to get the hang of and the instructions aren't particularly helpful. It took us an hour to work it out, and that was with the help of a YouTube video. On the verge of sending the pram back to the shop, we decided to give it one more go and finally managed it. What I'm saying is, do persevere as we now know how to put the pram down in literally seconds. Though you do need two hands to put the frame down unlike the BabyJogger City which you can do one handed which may have implications for people using public transport. Once you have the hang of it, it folds up within a second and is really easy to put in the boot of a car. Do check the frame will fit, it finds into our Astra with a bit of space to spare. Each wheel has a quick release button which is really handy if you go through mud or dog muck :( - you can just pop the wheel off quickly and easily before putting the frame into the car, then wrap up the wheel. We have found this useful a few times and the wheels come off and go on within seconds. The frame and wheels have suspension which means that it is quite good "off road" even though it isn't an off road pram. We have taken it on dry woodland paths and it has coped quite well, the baby didn't seem to mind too much! One thing I would say about the frame is that the back wheels are wider than the front wheels so quite often you can get into a space and then crash the back wheels - I do this all the time in shops, or get half way through a door and then realise I can only just squeeze the back wheels through. This isn't a big enough issue to put me off buying another one though but it may be important for someone on public transport. It is worth noting that whilst there is no matching changing bag to go with the pram, there are mini hooks on the side so a changing bag would hang nicely off the side.
==The Flat Pram==
The flat pram just pops on and off the frame, really easily, there is a quick release button at the top end of the pram. I would say we used the flat pram for 5 months, but really, 4 months would have been better as we did have quite a big and long baby and by then they do like to sit up and look out of the pram at the world around them. The pram was snug and made of a suede type of lining and came with a mattress and an apron (top cover) to keep the baby warm. We used to put a pile of blankets on top of her to keep her warm too as she was a winter baby. The raincover and insect net are both fine for this part of the pram. My two main issues with this part of the pram is (1) the sun visor and (2) the basket. The sun visor is a very clever pull down blind which is stored in the hood of the pram. Many Mums have commented on how clever the design of this is and negates the need for a sun visor umbrella. My main gripe is that it isn't quite long enough and therefore, the sun can sometimes peek through into the pram, it can also get through the side vents in the sun visor. I didn't have such a problem with this as we used this mostly through the winter but if you have a summer baby you may need to buy an umbrella regardless. It is a shame as the design should work brilliantly but doesn't quite manage it. My second issue was the basket - once you put the flat pram on, it is tricky to get large items out of the basket. I learnt this the hard way after filling the basket with parcels for the post office, clipping the pram to the frame and walking to the post office. I had to take the flat pram off (with baby in it - no mean feat let me tell you) to get my parcels out. Not ideal! The basket, whilst brilliant, has been designed to work with the buggy part rather than the flat pram so well. The flat pram is also safe for the baby to sleep in overnight and you can buy a stand for this to go on, which negates the need for a moses basket - we had already bought the moses basket and stand so didn't use it for this purpose but I think it is a great addition to the pram and also makes it better value for money.
The same issue with the sun visor on the buggy applies, the visor isn't quite long enough and if the buggy is reclined, the sun can peep through. I hope this is something UPPABaby realise soon because it is such a shame that this is the only real thing that lets the pram down. The buggy can be clipped on to face outward or to face the parent. I really like this feature as we have great interaction with the baby on our walks. Now she is almost one, she quite likes to face outward on days out so she can watch people as she is being pushed in her chariot. The buggy fully reclines so the child can lie down. One of my friends commented on how big the chair was for a little one, which is good as I truly believe it will last our baby until she doesn't need the pram any more. So often, I see toddlers squashed into prams which are too small for them, I don't think that will be the case with the Vista. In fact, I would say at five months to come out of the flat pram and into the buggy, it was almost too big for her - UPPABbaby sell an Infant Snug Seat which is like a head hugger for the pram which I think we could have done with really as we didn't have a footmuff or anything on the pram and the baby wasn't supported as well as she could have been. In hindsight we would buy one, but at £30 I really think this should be included in the price of the pram as many babies will be too small for the buggy but too big for the seat. For me though, the buggy looks comfy but I do feel it needs a footmuff for the winter, particularly if you have a small baby. The straps adjust so it can fit small babies and large toddlers which I think is really good.
The footmuff that is compatible is called the Baby Ganoosh footmuff and has been described on forums as looking like " a bin bag". True, it doesn't look very attractive, but the material it is made out of is supposed to be really warm. We have an incompatible footmuff at the moment which is tricky to zip up so we are looking to buy another one. Ganoosh footmuffs are like hens teeth though and this comes back to the supply issue due to high demand for these prams. All I can get at the moment is black or silver and they are around £80 from one retailer. I will update this review once we get one or if we get another one which will hopefully be cheaper and still compatible.
The basket is like a dream come true for parents. I wasn't even bothered about a basket on the pram but now I have this massive one on the UPPABaby, I really couldn't do without it. I have had a lot of comments from parents about how handy the basket must be and it really really is. It takes all the shopping, coats, spare blankets and all sorts of things. It is probably my favourite thing about the pram!
==The Car Seat==
I liked the fact that this pram came with Maxi Cosi car seat adapters as the Maxi Cosi Cabrio Fix was the car seat we had decided to buy based on reviews we had read online. Some pram companies do have adapters but you have to buy them separately. The car seat adapters pop onto the pram easily and you can drop the car seat on quickly and easily (until you have a heavy child, then it gets more tricky!). This is ideal for little babies who love to sleep in cars and means you don't have to wake them which is also ideal! I still occasionally use the car seat and my baby is almost 1, I will miss this feature when she grows out of her car seat!
Another deciding factor for us was the fact that the pram can adapt for additional children, you can have another seat put on at extra cost or attach a buggy board at extra cost. We have neither yet so can't comment but it is handy to know in case you were planning more than one child.
Overall, I have tried to give a balance review of this pram but really and truthfully, I love it. I can't imagine having any other pram. Despite being expensive, it is a brilliant pram which handles really well on the road, on snow/ice (to a certain degree) and does quite well off road too. I have highlighted the issues I have faced with the pram, but I still don't think I could find a pram I would be this happy with for the same price. If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to answer them if you drop me a message, I can also update the review. You won't regret buying one, I promise!
I am a huge fan of books and wanted to buy some books for my little girl even when I knew she wouldn't necessarily understand or enjoy them, but having something to read to her where she could watch my face change and listen to my voice was a great idea and we started reading together from about 8 weeks old (about the time I'd come out of that "omg I have a newborn baby and get up at 2pm every day" phase). I specifically picked "touchy feely" books as I thought the textures would be a good idea for her so she could touch as well as listen. This book 'That's not my monkey' is one of a number (20+) of a series from Usborne who are well known for making quality children's books. Each book retails at around £5.99 but you can often get them on Amazon for around £4.
This book is a board book which is great for small babies and even better for rough Toddlers. My baby loves to eat everything and it doesn't matter so much if she chews at this book compared to a softback book where she might get a paper cut. Having said that it has been chewed and flung about, the spine and book are in great shape which shows how well made and durable the books are. There are about 6 or 7 double page spreads in this book, each page has a different type of monkey picture on it which will be good for when a little one is older as it shows that there are different species. However, my little one is nowhere near that cognitive phase yet but it shows that the book will be useful for many years to come. Each page has a different monkey and part of the monkey is textured. Each page states "That's not my monkey....." and then goes on to explain why, so for example "it's tail is too velvety" - on this page the monkey's tail has velvet in it so the little person can touch the tail and experience the texture. Then next page might be "it's feet are too smooth" and the monkey's feet are made of a vinyl so your little one can experience that texture. The final page of the book identifies your monkey by saying "that's my monkey". My little girl absolutely loves this book, I suppose it must be the way I read the story and do difference tones and intonations with my voice, she is only 7 months old and claps and laughs every time I turn the page. She also likes to turn the page and then tries to put the book in her mouth again. I like that she listens to my voice and listens carefully to the words without too much distraction. I have begun to show her how to feel the textures with her fingers and after the first page, I see her feeling around the pages for the textures and she managed to find them and touch them after a few seconds which I think is brilliant. The pages are brightly colour with bold images.
The only negative points for me are (1) the price and (2) the size of the textured areas. Firstly,
I managed to get it on a very special Amazon Family deal which was 3 for £5 which is brilliant when you consider that these books have an RRP of £5.99. £5.99 in my opinion is too expensive and I think paying somewhere in the region of £3.50 would be more realistic, even though I do think they are well made and quality book. Secondly, some of the textured areas are quite small, particularly the velvety tail areas which makes it tricky for little fingers to find. Both of these points are minor negatives but I have knocked one star off for these reasons.
I think this is a great series of books to introduce reading and words and pictures and textures to very young children. I also think there is much more mileage in the book yet and look forward to reading the book to my daughter for some years to come. Not to mention her facing lighting up with a beaming smile every time I say "That's not my monkey" - even when I don't have the book with me! We also have That's not my tiger and I plan to get a couple more in the series to vary things...mainly for my sake!
I purchased these three Tommee Tippee weaning spoons from Tesco during a baby event when I was around 25 weeks pregnant. Finally, I've gotten round to using them the past few months! They cost me around £2 but retail usually at around £4. You get three per pack. The idea is that the spoon changes colour when the food is hot. It is usually red, orange if warm and yellow if hot.
To be honest I haven't found them that useful for early stage weaning, I much prefer the Tommee Tipee basic spoons as they seem to go in my little one's mouth better. These spoons seem to have a deep fill on them which I expect will be better when a baby is older as they can shovel more food in at once but for dainty little mouths, I think they are a bit big and clunky. The reason I bought them was for the heat sensitivity. I thought it would be useful to be able to feed the baby the food when the spoon was orange - i.e. warm but not so hot it would burn her mouth. However what seems to happen is the spoon goes yellow even when the food is just warm, and only turns to orange when it is virtually cold. So actually when the spoon is yellow it could be a perfect temperature or boiling hot so I still end up blowing on the food and testing it on my wrist which seems to defeat the object of the spoons to me? When orange, the food is almost stone cold and I wouldn't serve it to a baby like that. The positives to the spoons compared to the basic TT range is that the spoon itself is soft for little mouths and gums which I think is useful when first weaning, I just found the shape of the spoon not as good as the basic ones for my little one.
I personally didn't find these spoons worth the money and have subsequently bought just TT basic range, 6 spoons for 99p in Aldi which do the job really well. We may come back to these spoons when little one is older and feeding herself but for the 'heat sensitivity' I personally think it is just a gimmick.
After much hype and many awards, I decided to buy The Gruffalo as a paperback for my baby daughter, who although can't read it herself, absolutely loves being read to. Many of my friend's children have had Gruffalo themed birthday parties so I figured it was probably a modern day classic amongst children's books. It was written by Julia Donaldson who wrote Room on the Broom which you'll probably remember from school if you are about 30 years old like I am. The cost of the book was £4 from Amazon.
First of all, this book would be perfect as a board book for my inquisitive daughter who likes to touch and eat everything. As it is paperback, we never give it to her to hold in case she gets a paper cut, but give her another board book to do what she wants with at the same time we are reading. After reading this book just once, I can see why it has been such a big hit. It is a book about a mouse who tries to fend off potential "diners" (an owl, a fox and a snake) by inventing a scary character who he describes in detail....of course it's a Gruffalo. The Owl, fox and snake seem scared by this creature and leave the mouse alone and decide not to eat him. Imagine the mouse's surprise when he meets an actual Gruffalo in the woods!! The moral of the story is kind of "don't pick on the smallest in the forest" I guess.
The book takes between five and ten minutes to read, so ideal for a bed time story. The pictures are vividly illustrated and brightly coloured and my little one loves to look at the pages. The real strength of the book is the fact that it rhymes so I tend to half talk and half sing the story to her as it has a lovely rhythm. There is a lot of repetition in the book with just slight variations on words which is good to develop older children's vocabulary and help them memorise the poetry within. It can teach them about rhyme and rhythm. Obviously at the moment my daughter is too young to understand this but she absolutely loves it when I do different voices and get excited or whisper the words to her. Her face lights up and she claps her hands more than any other children's book I read to her.
I think this is a classic for little ones and will be interesting for babies up to children aged 7-8. I am looking forward to buying The Gruffalo's Child which is the sequel. A bargain for £4, I personally would have preferred a board book and paid a bit more for it, just so grubby little fingers and chewy little teeth could have enjoyed it a bit more.
Despite originally purchasing the MAM steriliser set from Amazon for £13.50, I had an unfortunate incident with a microwave and a (metal) bottle brush. Needless to say the steriliser was not usable after that! The MAM steriliser was priced at £20+ and I spotted this Philips Avent Steam Steriliser on hotukdeals for £6. For that price it was worth a punt! This product sterilises baby bottles after you have cleaned them to ensure the are clean and safe for the baby to drink from. It is a must have for all new parents, even those who breast feed as if you want to express milk you will need to clean and sterilise the breast pump.
== My Opinion ==
I am a big fan of the steam steriliser as I think it is quick and easy to use. The Avent steriliser is one of the smaller on the market which is particularly good if you have a small microwave or if you need to transport it. It sterilises in 6 minutes compared to the MAM steriliser which took 8 minutes in my 650w microwave. Despite being branded with the Avent logo, the steriliser also holds other bottles, so my MAM bottles fit in there just fine. I can probably successfully sterilise 3 bottles at once in this steriliser compared to 6 in the MAM. It depends what you need and what you want. I combination feed my baby so only need 1-2 bottles per day so the Avent steriliser is fine for me. If your baby needs lots of formula feeds, you might like to go for a bigger steriliser. The MAM has a second level basket which allows it to hold more and isn't much bigger than the Avent. You need to measure 200ml of water which you can do easily using one of the baby bottles - this ensures the bottles are properly sterilised. The water goes in the bottom, the basket goes on top, you put the bottles in and clip the lid on, pop it in the microwave and wait for it to finish then leave to stand for a few minutes to cool before putting the bottle together with tongs. Easy peasy. It also fits the Medela breast pump pieces in. The product feels well made and none of the pieces are flimsy.
For £6 it does the job perfectly. It is just the steriliser and a set of tongs, no bottles included but for £6 I think it is super. It is currently £12 at Amazon. Personally, I think if you can get the MAM steriliser for £13.50 on Amazon, that is a better buy as it holds more bottles, it comes with a newborn dummy and two bottles which is another good bargain. Anyway, for what I needed it for this steriliser has been great for £6, it only loses one star for the size as I think they could have designed it slightly better. Overall, I would purchase this again but would go for the MAM steriliser if I was starting out.
The Braun Thermoscan is a thermometer which can be used on all of the family but we specifically bought it for our baby. We paid around £28 for the thermometer on Amazon, as of today it is £24 which is a considerable saving compared to somewhere like Boot's who sell the same item for £45+. A thermometer was a last minute purchase before having our baby and I had read a lot around the subject of which type to get. In the end I decided I liked the sound of the in-ear thermometers as they seemed to give the most accurate readings plus Braun Thermoscans are used as the thermometer of choice in the NHS so that gave me confidence in the product.
The design and style of thermometer was not a factor for me, nor was anything too complicated. The thermometer came with a standard issue book which showed you how to use the thermometer. There are only 2 buttons so even a monkey could work it without too much trouble. Basically you press the ON button, place a "lens filter" (i.e. a plastic disposable cover) over the end of the 'in ear' bit and put it in the ear. You press the second button (can't see this on the dooyoo picture) and if the thermometer is placed in the ear correctly it will give a 'beeeeep' and you can read the temperature on the screen. Obtaining a temperature from a child takes just a second or two which is great if you have a wriggly baby. There is an inbuilt memory which stores the last temperature which is handy if you are hoping your child's temperature will come down. The product comes with 40 free 'lens filters' and you can buy more cheaply from Amazon.
For me, having a thermometer with a new baby has been a godsend so far. The booklet gives an indication of temperature range so if we have had a wailing baby who has been fed, watered, changed and who isn't tired, it is always handy to rule out a fever or illness by taking the baby's temperature with this thermometer.
It is really easy to use and I also have used it on myself! The downside is changing the lens filters and having to pay to replace them as you need a new one each time you use the thermometer. However, they aren't too expensive.
For ~£25 I don't think you can go wrong with this thermometer. I've read reviews of other in-ear thermometer brands and contactless thermometers but ultimately decided this was the best for us. I would recommend this to any new parents.
Gaviscon Infant sachets were prescribed for our baby when it was suspected that she had reflux - a condition by which milk/stomach acid is regurgitated in the babies' throat and they cry for more milk, the milk soothes the pain of the burning but then the cycle starts over again. Babies who cry when they are lay flat on their backs and babies who cluster feed may show signs of having reflux. They are often 'sicky babies' and may throw up more than just a bit of milk.
== My Opinion==
I should say that after just a few feeds of using this, it became clear that reflux was not the issue, more like over indulgence of milk/being unable to produce dirty nappies - both of which caused our baby to be sick. For us, the Gaviscon Infant made no difference to whether the baby could keep the milk down or not. However, I have heard many a parent saying they swear by it if indeed the baby did have reflux. However, having used the Gaviscon for over a week for six feeds a day, I feel qualified to have an opinion on it. Firstly, it comes in sachets which you have to fiddle around with to make into a paste with boiling water, add 5ml first then make it into a paste then add another 10ml to make it into a solution - mine never seemed to go into a paste, 5ml always seemed way too much given the amount of powder our little one was supposed to have (varies with weight/age of baby - check box!). It is then suggested to give it to the baby in a bottle. Going out of the house with enough sterile bottles for both the milk and gaviscon separately was a pest for me. I also felt like the baby was sucking in more air trying to drink a small 15ml out of the bottle and ended up giving herself more wind and caused her to be sick more often. Surely it would just be simpler to provide a non-needle syringe with the sachets or better still provide a syringe PLUS a liquid that could be syringe'd into the babies mouth or added to the babies bottle really easily and quickly? I'm sure there is some reason why they must provide it as a powder but for me it was just a nuisance, although obviously you'd try anything to make the baby feel better, I felt the manufacturers could have thought about it a little bit more!
The Gaviscon didn't work for us but although it was diagnosed as suspected reflux, I don't think it was which is why I don't think the Gaviscon worked particularly well. I do think they could produce the product in a more parent-friendly manner, so for that reason I'm giving the product a 3 out of 5. However, if your baby does have suspected reflux, it could help so don't rule it out as a possible solution
I purchased the Avon Strawberry body scrub back in October along with the shower gel as something to put in my hospital bag for when I was having my baby. The scrub was on offer at around £2, it is 200ml in size with the cap and opening on the base (see photo) so you can get all of the scrub out of the tube easily without shaking the tube/bottle. The scrub contains strawberry extract and shea butter and promises that it is a "moisturising body scrub, leaves skin feeling velvety smooth and refreshed with a polished glow" (Avon Website).
The first thing you notice is the delicious smell. I'm a big fan of strawberry smelling items and this is no different. It is quite difficult not to to want to eat the scrub as it smells so very lovely! As far as scrubs go there are plenty of exfoliating beads in the scrub but they are quite gentle. Compared to something like a St Tropez or Soap & Glory scrub, I'd have to say this was much more gentle and for me did not exfoliate the skin as well as the other two scrubs I mention. I particularly like to be well exfoliated and felt that this scrub only brushed the surface of the skin whereas the other two really scrub at it. It isn't, however, as poor as other scrubs that I have had in the past and think for the £2 price tag, it is quite a good alternative and probably better for more sensitive skin. The hole in the the bottom where the scrub comes out of isn't too big so you don't squeeze out more than you need which is good as this means less is wasted.
Overall I feel that this scrub is well priced, smells absolutely delicious and it fairly good compared to other scrubs that I have owned but not a tough exfoliator so if you are looking for something to really scrub, give this one a miss. However for the price and delicious smell, I would definitely buy this again.
These bottles by MAM interested me for two reasons, firstly, the promise of anti-colic and secondly the "self sterilising" nature of them. I got a six set starter kit which should have been £28 but was £14 in Tescos when on offer. The set contained a few items by MAM plus 6 bottles of various sizes.
Although our baby is mostly breast fed she does have the occasional bottle of formula milk or we used bottles to give her a bit of boiled water through the day. Each bottle is comprised of 6 pieces, the lid, the teat, the teat holder, the bottle, the base and the anti-colic ring for the bottom. It's not surprising that washing and sterilising and putting the bottles back together has become quite the faff and makes me grateful for breastfeeding! Had I realised they were in so many pieces, I probably wouldn't have gone for them. The MAM steriliser we have had a little set of tongs which is handy to help put all the pieces back together once sterile, otherwise I think we would be shoving the bits together with our fingers which defeats the point of the steriliser.
Word of warning: if you don't put the white disc in the bottom back quite right, or if you don't screw the bottle to the base quite right, you can be sure the baby will be wearing the milk rather than drinking it! It is definitely a drawback of the bottle design and sometimes I think I've done it right but it will still leak which isn't ideal.
The main advantage is that the baby gets absolutely no wind from these bottles, she won't even burp once when I try and wind her which can only be a good thing. She is quite a windy baby so I would like to think that the anti-colic device in the bottle does work.
The self-sterilising isn't something you would get rid of your steriliser for but it is useful for when you are out and about and have access to a microwave. You need to learn how to set the bottle up for sterilising, add 20ml of water (the lid of the bottle has a handy measuring guide so you can pour the right amount in which I think is quite clever) and stick it in the microwave. It would be handy on holiday or if you are at someone's house and don't want to take an enormous steriliser. I think having this option is good but we don't use it very often, perhaps we would if the baby took more bottles in the day.
Sadly, I can't fully recommend the bottles as I find them to be time consuming and messy when they leak but the baby is much better at keeping the milk down with these bottles than with the Avent bottles where I think she took too much air in as well and was consequently always violently sick. So in one respect they are great but they are faffy and messy! For the price of £14 they were great value for 6 bottles as I know some bottles are much more expensive than that. For how often we use them and for the price we paid, they are fine but I would say that if we started fully bottle feeding I would probably have to look into other anti-colic type bottles for our young'un.
Lansinoh "cream" is a lanolin ointment sold in 40ml tubes from most supermarkets, baby shops (Mamas & Papas, Mothercare etc.) and chemists (such as Boots). It was an item recommended to me as a 'must have' if I was going to breast feed my baby. The cream is essentially a barrier cream to prevent nipples from getting too sore and damaged when feeding. At around £10 for a small tube (40ml), the cream is not cheap but is worth every penny in my opinion - keep an eye out for in-store discounts, I managed to get mine for around £8. The cream isn't really a cream, it is more like a balm, a similar consistency to Vaseline but much stickier.
Normally I would wait until I had a problem before trying to solve it with a cream but in this case I used the cream as a method of prevention to stop my nipples becoming cracked and sore during breast feeding. I don't think the cream advertises itself very well, it says it "soothes and protects the nipple" - personally I found when I stopped using the cream after a few weeks and had a slightly sore nipple, the cream didn't particularly soothe the soreness. However, where this cream excels is in the prevention of sore nipples. I luckily had a tube in my hospital bag upon recommendation by a friend and I was so glad I did have it! I religiously applied the cream after every feed for over a month to ensure I didn't get really sore nipples. I think people fail to tell you that breast feeding does hurt for about the first month but this cream really protects a sore nipple becoming cracked, red and even worse than just the normal sort of sore!
As I mentioned earlier, the cream is more like a balm and what I found was that if it was very cold in a room (or the time I left it in the changing bag in the car!), the balm would be very difficult to squeeze out of the tube, yet at higher temperatures it would ooze out very easily so try and keep it at room temperature so you don't get too much/too little out. You literally just smear it over the nipple after every feed and you don't need to wipe it off before the baby feeds which is by far one of the best things about the product! After about a month, I stopped using it after every feed and when my baby developed a bad latch, I didn't half notice how sore my nipples were without the product so once I'd solved the problem of them being sore with a moisturising cream, I went back to using this product and haven't had an issue since.
I would say that one tube lasts about a month and that is giving the baby about 8 feeds per day.
The one bad thing about the product is the effect it has on clothing! If you use it with breast pads and a bra then you won't have a problem, but I used it through the night (braless!) and my dark pyjamas ended up thoroughly stained and completely ruined - obviously its unlikely you'd have this problem in the day but I wasn't impressed by my poor ruined PJs!
I can't recommend this product enough if you plan to breast feed your baby. I am so glad I had a tube "just in case" in my hospital bag. Use it religiously after every feed! I am positive that is what has kept me largely pain free when feeding my little one. The price is obviously not cheap but it does last a while so it isn't too bad overall. I really recommend this product but be careful not to damage your clothes with it!
The Medela Swing is an electric breast pump which may be something to consider if you are planning to breast feed a baby and want to express your milk. The Swing costs around £100 for a single pump, however, I kept an eye out on Amazon and got it for £65 which is pretty good as they sell for a similar price on Amazon second hand. Included in the box is a pump, the funnel, a bottle, a cap for the bottle and a Medela Calma teat which are worth about £10 on their own. I decided to get a breast pump prior to having the baby with the plan of expressing milk so that I could take a bottle out for the baby when we went out rather than having to breast feed in public or leave a bottle with Dad if I went out for a few hours. As it happens I can't express a huge amount so it hasn't been a huge success but that isn't down to the pump!
==Set up and Use==
The pump is easy to set up, there is the motor (large yellow circular thing in the photo) which is connected to the pump via a long tube. The other connection on the motor is a plug to plug into the wall. You can put batteries in this part and clip it on to you so you can pump on the go but to be honest I think that would be quite difficult as you have to hold the pump quite steady to ensure there is a vacuum - however I suppose it is nice to have the option should you wish to wander around the house pumping!
There are three main parts to the pump, the funnel and the other two bits which I assume are the main parts of the pump. I can literally put the whole thing together in less than a minute and every bit of the pump (not the motor) is able to be put in a microwave steriliser (not sure about an electric one?). The thing to note with the funnels is that there are 3 sizes however, Medela only provide one size which is the 24mm so if it doesn't suit your boob/nipple size then you have to purchase a different size from Medela. I think this is pretty poor in my opinion but the problem is you won't know if you need a different size until you have tried them. They are about £10 each which I think is quite pricey especially if you need to try 2 or 3 until you get the right size - I think they should just provide all three sizes as it can't cost them £10 to manufacture a simple funnel! Its worth noting that boob/nipple size doesn't correspond to funnel size, there is a handy guide on the Medela site which may help you: http://www.medela.com/UK/en/ breastfeeding/good-to-know/right-size-of-breastshield.html (without the gap in the middle)
Anyway, once you put the whole thing together the yellow part has 4 buttons so it is really easy to use. You press the on button, position the funnel around the nipple and press the + button to increase suction. At this point the nipple is sucked down the funnel to stimulate the milk, you can increase suction using the + button or decrease using the - button depending on what you need to get milk out. At this point expect your husband/partner to laugh his socks off at his wife/partner being "milked like a cow" !! It is quite amusing I must say. The pump at this point is a bit noisy, you definitely couldn't pump milk in church or anywhere quiet with it but it isn't so loud you can't hear the TV! Once you see milk coming down the funnel you press the 'let down' button which eases the suction and provides more of a natural rhythm similar to that of a suckling baby. On the whole the pump is very easy to set up and to use.
The main reason for buying this was all the superb reviews on this and other sites. I can't get a lot of milk out but that isn't because of the pump, that's due to my milk production. I can only get about 3oz-4oz at a time which isn't enough for my hungry horace so I need to do two expressions a day which means sterilising twice and pumping twice so basically I decided on the whole its easier to just feed the baby out in public if I need to! It is nice to have the pump as an option if I decide to go out which I haven't done yet. The Medela Calma teat which is included is a special teat which also costs around £10 if bought alone which allows you to switch between breast and bottle feeding more easily as it mimics the sucking action a baby has to make to get milk out of a breast and makes the baby less "confused" at switching between breast and bottle. Many mums I know have been successful with this, however, I have no idea why but my baby just can't figure out what to do with it! She just ends up getting annoyed that the milk isn't coming out fast enough so I don't use it and use regular feeding bottles instead which she seems fine with! However, I do think this is a good addition to the package that you get along with the breast pump. The teat fixes onto the bottle which the milk is pumped out into. I can pump 3-4oz (which is essentially the breast completely drained) in about 10 minutes which I believe is quite fast compared to a manual pump. I know some people spend an hour manually pumping that much out which is not ideal when time is precious anyway with a newborn!
The pump is undoubtedly pricey for what it is but the time saved on a manual pump is priceless for me at the moment! The pump is fairly quiet, it is very easy to use and isn't particularly messy like some manual pumps I've heard about! The biggest issue I have is the funnel sizes and the fact you have to pay to try each size if the "average" size isn't right for you, considering how much you are paying, Medela should just put all the sizes in for no additional cost I think for £65 I have got it at a great price so it is worth keeping an eye on Amazon and using the CamelCamelCamel site for price watches to ensure you get it at a reasonable price. I wouldn't hesitate to buy this pump again if this one broke.
Woodwards Gripe water is one of several products on the market which can help a windy baby. It can be used from 4 weeks old and we literally counted down the days until we could try it with out little baby. The baby isn't particularly windy but screams in pain sometimes with trapped bottom wind and pain in her tummy. The gripe water does two things, it relaxes the tummy muscles and neutralises the bubbles in the tummy and helps the baby to burp. 150ml costs £2.99 in Boots and this Gripe water is alcohol and sugar free (worrying that some WOULD have alcohol in them!).
In my opinion because the baby doesn't suffer with burpy wind, half of the function of the gripe water is lost as she doesn't need it to help her burp as her wind comes out the other way! However, when she is screaming in pain with her tummy, as soon as she gets this, literally within 30 seconds she calms down so I can only assume something about it helps to ease her tummy pain which for us is only a good thing. The worst thing about Gripe water for me is the difficulty to administer - we use a medicine spoon which has been sterilised in the microwave and you can give 0-6 month babies a 5ml teaspoon 6 times per day. Its quite hard to pour out of the bottle and onto the spoon without getting it every where and then keeping your hand steady whilst someone else holds the baby still while you put a spoon in her mouth! I'm sure little syringes would be easier but I'm not sure where to get some so for now we will continue this (not fun in the middle of the night!). The other problem with the gripe water is that the consistency is quite oily so if you do spill it, it is sticky and oily - many a pair of pj's have been changed in the night due to spillages! As a side and personal gripe with it (!), the main ingredient is Dill which is a smell I can't bear! The only other thing we have found is that if you give the baby a couple of doses a day it can make the nappies smell bad which we found unusual as our babies nappies have not yet had that awful smell about them.
The positives far outweigh the negatives and we are glad to have some of this in the cupboard for the occasions when the baby is suffering with her tummy. We find it really helps to ease her tummy pains and for those babies who have trouble burping it will likely help them too. For the price and the longevity of the bottle, overall for me it is a 'must-have' in the cupboard!
For our delightful new arrival, we decided to buy a moses basket rather than a crib as it was easier to transport around the house. Moses baskets are used when babies are small, up about 6 months old (though our long baby will not last that long I'm sure of it). We had looked at a few places for Moses baskets and found them to either be really tacky in terms of colours, quite expensive or poorly made. As we didn't know if we were having a boy or girl, we decided to go for a neutral cream colour and this basket from Mamas and Papas fitted the bill perfectly. We paid £49 for the basket and £25 for the basic stand.
The baskets from Mamas and Papas all looked good quality and this was no different. The front of this is plain cream and has no design from the nursery collections in Mamas and Papas, this alone saved us about £50 as identical baskets with the nursery designs cost nearer to £100 which I find ridiculously expensive for what it is. I personally think that for £49 the stand should come with the basket too but it doesn't! The hood of the basket comes up and down which we like, we put the hood up at night to indicate night time and leave it down in the day so lots of light gets in. Our baby had a troubling few weeks figuring out night and day so these sorts of things helped her a lot and we actually tried not to put her in the basket in the day for the first few weeks so she could figure out that it was night time when she needed to sleep there! The basket has handles on it which we have never used as it isn't safe to carry a baby around in the basket and carry it by the handles so we just pick it up and wander around with it. In the 2 months we have used the basket for I would say it has gone wider on the stand and slightly out of shape with the weight of the baby in it and I assume this will only get worse. However, it still does its job well. The mattress in it has air holes which is good and this came within the price of £49, it was not extra (unlike the matress-less cot - that's another story!).
Overall, I like the design and quality of the moses basket. I also like the colour and it fits in nicely with our home and could be used for any future boy babies as it is a neutral colour. I do think £49 is the maximum I would pay for it and wouldn't entertain any of the others in Mamas and Papas just because they match a nursery collection. I am inclined to say it is a little on the expensive side but as it is good quality hopefully it would last another baby if we had another in the future. Dropped one star due to price.
Having just been lucky enough to welcome our darling baby girl into the world, we had spent the months prior to the birth sorting out a lovely nursery for her to sleep in. We decided on a lemon theme and the Zeddy and Parsnip range out of Mamas and Papas. Zeddy is a Zebra and Parsnip is a rabbit. One of the items we purchased was a Zeddy the Zebra rug. The rug costs £65 at full price but we got it at a discount for £52 from Mamas and Papas store. The size is 122cm x 78cm.
== My Opinion==
I think the rug is well made and in the first instance looks quite fluffy and good quality. However, after only a few weeks of using it in the room, I feel that the rug now looks quite matted and flattened which isn't something I'd expect from a Mamas and Papas product so soon after buying and using it. We don't wear shoes in the house so it isn't as though the rug is getting too much wear and tear from shoes. The other slight issue I have with it is that it moves quite a bit on the floor and so sometimes ends up under my feet and I have tripped - not ideal when carrying a baby! Between the shabby look and the potential hazard (I know this applies to any rug), we decided to put it away never to be used again.
I feel as though I haven't got my money's worth from this item as it has been £50 spent on a product that looks shabby after only a few weeks with very light foot tread on it. I feel quite disappointed and wish we had saved our money to buy something else that wouldn't wear out so quickly. I can't recommend purchasing this item and I would think twice before buying another rug from Mamas and Papas in case the same thing happened again.
After using a Bic disposable razor once and only once in my teens I soon switched to Gilette Venus razors and blades for fear of death by blood loss from the Bic razors! I bought (and continue to buy) a razor handle in a set which came with some spare blades. Quite often these are on offer whereas I find the blades by themselves are not on offer. Granted, I don't always need a new handle but sometimes it works out cheaper to buy the full razor at half price than it does to buy the blades alone. A pack of 4 blades (not on offer) costs around £6.99 and can be bought from Boots, Superdrug and major chemists.
First of all the blade head is easily fixed onto the handle with a minimum of fuss, it literally just clips on straight from the packet - you hear it click and know it is in place. Similarly to unclick you just click a button on the back of the razor handle. The head has three blades and a sensitive strips on either side of the blades to make the shave a lot smoother. Unlike the Bic disaster, the blades don't drag over the skin - I'd go as far to say that there was a small amount of lubrication in sensitive strips and if you were really struggling you could probably just wet the blade and your legs and shave your legs without using shaving gel or shower gel - only if you were really stuck though as there is some sort of irritation (however, try doing that with the Bic and you'd have ribbons for legs!). The head is flexible and makes it easy to manouevre around knees easily without fear of being cut too easily. I have had a few nicks and cuts from the Venus blades but nothing compared to the Bic and mostly it has been my own fault (hand slipped in the shower etc). The blades shave the hair from your legs so they feel perfectly smooth which is the aim of the game - this is helped by the three blades on the head as each hair gets cut three times with one stroke. I would say that the blades last quite a long time depending on how often you shave your legs - they blunt more quickly in the summer for me as I use the blades much more often but typically one lasts around a month.
For the cost of replacement blades when they aren't on a special offer, the Gilette Venus can be considered to be quite expensive. However, they are really good blades for shaving with so for me they are worth it. I tend to keep an eye out for a special offer and get them when they are around £1 per blade head. Overall I think they are much more safe to use than disposable razors and would recommend them.