This Mummy Can – Top 10 products we used and loved in Scout’s first year

This week has marked some pretty major milestones in Scout’s life as we approach her first birthday on Thursday.

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Firstly she took her first steps the other day which was quite unexpected and we were pretty thrilled…and then scared as we realised how unprepared we are to have a walking baby. Cue panicking buying lots of magnetic cupboard stoppers to prevent little hands disappearing inside them. No one wants an emergency trip to A&E with a baby who’s happily drank the bleach. 

She also graduated from sensory class! I can’t rate sensory enough – I started taking Scout when she was about 2 months old, mainly because I was lonely at home and had no idea what else to do. I met some wonderful mamas there and Scout has had a blast. But after watching her scoot up and down on her bum narrowly avoiding taking newborns eyes out and biting in to balloons much to everyones horror it was time to call it a day. I’ll miss it though – especially as it was on at a lovely tea house in Stoke Newington so my lovely  cousin and I would meet for Chai Lattes before every class. 

But as we approach her first birthday I wanted to put together a list of all the things I found essential in the first year. These aren’t horribly expensive things – or there may be cheaper alternatives but they really helped us out across the year. 

 The baby-chino machine aka The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Perfect Prep Machine, £59.99 from Mothercare

 

download.jpgI haven’t yet blogged on my breast feeding ‘journey’ but after a rough start Scout was given formula a few hours after she was born and has continued to drink it since. I’m a huge believer in breast feeding and I wished I could have done it for longer but I also believe fed is best. I hate to think of women feeling bad that they can’t brevast feed when products like Aptimal exist which contains all the goodness our children need. This milk maker allows you to quickly prepare bottles at the perfect temperature and has been totally essential in our lives. We still use it now and it’s so easy to use even the most tired parent can operate it in the middle of the night. It’s a bit pricy but I promise you won’t regret it. Mothercare are currently stocking it with £66 off!

Poddle Pod, £39.99 from www.poddlepod.com

This was a spur of the moment purchase just before Scout was born – you know one of IMG_2601.jpgthose ‘I’m so pregnant I can’t sleep so I’ll panic buy everything on Amazon’ ones? However, it totally paid off. Scout napped inside it from the moment she was born and because it’s so portable it meant we could take her into whatever room we were in easily – even the bathroom. She loved snuggling down in it and it comes in a variety of stylish covers. We even used it on the first night she came home from the hospital and stuck in our bed between us.

A Spare Buggy, £40 – £100 from Mothercare

Before Scout was born we were lucky to be gifted a totally gorgeous Donna Wilson Mamas and Papas buggy. It’s brilliant – robust, stylish and great for napping…but totally useless for public transport, dragging up and down stairs and putting in our tiny hallway. So when Scout was about 6 months old we invested in a cheap Mothercare ‘Chicco London’ buggy in the sale for £45, including a leg warmer. It’s a copy of the old Mclaren style and hasn’t let us down yet. It’s been thrown on to planes, buses, back seats of cars and pushed all over London. We keep it up in our hallway and it’s light and easily foldable. Totally worth the money! We keep the posh buggy in the car and use it all the time too – it’s much better for napping and easier to push so it totally gets it’s fair share of use. 

Mountain Buggy clip on highchair, £45 from John Lewis 

This was actually a C232169340.jpghristmas present from my Mum but it’s proved so useful. At first we thought about using it for our main high chair at home as it quickly and easily clips on to a table, but as she was so tiny at six months we decided to buy a cheap and cheerful (and wipe down) Ikea highchair and use this for outings. It’s been a godsend on any train journey as it clips on to a table and so Scout can easily eat and play without clambering all over us. It’s also been great to take on holiday as it packs completely flat. Only downside is that you can’t take the canvas seat off to wash it so it’s basically wipe down only which can be a pain, but still definitely worth buying. 

Braun Thermoscan Thermometer, £38.99, Amazon.co.uk

Kate insisted on buying a ‘professional’ thermometer when I was pregnant and of course I was slightly horrified at the cost and didn’t see the need at all. But actually the ease of using it – you literally place it in your baby’s ear for a second and it quickly reads their temp – is so worth it. I must have taken Scout’s temperature hundreds of times this year, especially when I was a completely brand new Mum and every cry made me worry she was dying. 

Colief Infant Drops £9.99 from Amazon.co.uk

Scout didn’t take to her milk very well in the early days and was very sicky and cried because her tummy was hurting. A friend recommended these miraculous Colief drops that you pop in their milk before giving it to them and literally as soon as we started using them Scout became the happy and content baby she was meant to be. They are pricy but so worth it, we ended up nicknaming them Liquid Gold!

Amazon Prime Now

This isn’t exactly an object, but I guess it’s a ‘thing.’ Amazon Prime Now which is available where we live in London has been amazing. Ordering things like nappies, wipes, milk, dummies etc and then them arriving in a paper brown bag on our doorstep a couple of hours later has been incredible! You know those days when you’ve got a newborn and you haven’t worn proper clothes in days and can’t face going to the supermarket? Enter Amazon Prime!

Macamu Children’s Music CD, £10 from macamu.com

One of my closest friends is a wonderful and talented musician and a few years ago wrote a musical theatre production called Macamu for small children. She gave us the CD when Scout arrived and it’s been on repeat in our car ever since. 

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The songs are brilliant and catchy and unlike other children’s CDs in that they are for adults too so it won’t drive you insane when listening to it for the hundredth time. All the songs are about life – playing in the park, car journeys, water in the bath, monsters under the bed and I can’t recommend them more.

Digital Video Baby Monitor, from £100 from Amazon.co.uk

Until Scout was born I thought it was totally over the top to buy a video baby monitor. I mean, our parents all survived without one right? But after a friend told me she wished she had purchased a monitor with a video I decided to get one and I’m so glad we did! When we first brought Scout home being able to see her sleeping (and breathing!) was a real comfort and saved my sore c-sectioned self from having to get up and check on her physically.

Etta Loves Muslins, £22.95 for three from Ettaloves.com

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Obviously muslins are essential, especially in those early days when you are constantly mopping up milk, sick, your tears, your babies tears etc. But Etta Loves muslins come with the added bonus that they are specially designed so your little one can enjoy the patterns.

 

Would love to hear your baby essentials that you used and loved in the first year!

 

This Mummy Can – What They Don’t Tell You About Your Post Pregnancy Body

By Holly

When you are pregnant you are filled with so much information about your changing body, the little person growing inside you and of course, the looming birth. Midwifes, doctors, NCT courses, bloggers, friends… you could literally spend the whole 9 months educating yourself about pregnancy and child rearing.

Last July I skipped to hospital (scheduled c-section due to my kidney transplant being in my tummy) to have Scout thinking I knew EVERYTHING there was about my daughter’s upcoming birth. I had packed a hospital bag with literally everything you could think of in it. I was totally ready to let my baby crawl up my tummy to my breast (did anyone’s child actually do this!?) and had my leaflet all ready containing my post c-section exercises.

The c-section went well (as ‘well’ as someone effing up your epidural, hitting a nerve and then proceeding to play Pokemon Go whilst you were being cut open can go…) and I was completely in love with tiny 5’lb11 baby Scout. What happened next I didn’t expect though…

Hopefully these tips will prepare you for the things no one ever tells you about having a baby. I mean, one could argue that ignorance is bliss but if you’re like me it’s good to have a heads up on things…

The First Period – my period didn’t kick in for about 3 months after I gave birth (after I stopped breastfeeding) and having been a trouble free period type of gal before I was not prepared for the Niagara falls type of flood that happened. Not only this my PMT is awful and for at least a week every month I am a complete dick much to Kate’s delight. After talking to other Mums I found that this was quite normal. Who knew?!

Complications – Think this is quite a rare one but as I’m sure we all know when pregnant our organs are all squashed up in to our rib cages to make room for the new boy or girl. Then when you have the baby they all come back down and move in to their proper spaces again…. only this didn’t happen. My diaphragm decided to not move back down at all so I was stuck with bloody awful shoulder pain and was out of breath as I only had 50% lung capacity. The Doctors were stumped and just gave me painkillers which barely helped. In the end I needed a few sessions of acupuncture which fixed the problem. I’m sure this risk is all in the small print somewhere we you sign consent to have the CS, I just didn’t expect it to happen.

The Big Cry. I was warned in my NCT class that during the days when the milk comes in (around day 3 – 5) that my hormones would go a bit cray and I might get a little emotional. A LITTLE??? I was in floods of tears for about 5 days about everything and nothing. I banned all visitors as I couldn’t bear to just cry in front of them and howled as I held my precious little baby. I saw the health visitor who assured me this was entirely normal and that it would just go away as fast as it came. And it did.

 

The Fear. Scout was born a couple of weeks after the Brexit vote and as soon as I brought her home I suddenly realised what an unsafe, dangerous horrible world I’d brought her into. I couldn’t imagine ever leaving her side and cried to Kate about what we would do when she became a teenager and on earth would I let her cross the road alone? Crazy Mama.

Skintag City – I’ve spoken to other Mums about this and apparently it’s a ‘thing’ but I’ve never heard about it from a health advisor or in print. During pregnancy I got loads of little skin tags – mainly on my chest. It was really weird and I had to stop myself from wanting to pull them off. After I had Scout they all disappeared almost at once…why?!

Weight estimates on scans can be bullshit –  If having a late pregnancy scan (ie. anything from 34+ weeks) the ultra sound technicians often can estimate how much the baby weighs at this point. Now some hospitals have actually banned this completely as some women have got so worked up that they are going to have their vagina ripped open by the world’s biggest baby that they’ve decided it’s best not to say. My hospital do however give you this info and thought that Scout would be pretty large – in the 90th percentile – I mean, I definitely had the bump size to match this. But obviously they were totally wrong – as they have been for many of my friends so take it with a pinch of salt if you get told a weight.

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The Big Bleed – no one warned me that when I stood up from c-section – once I could feel my legs obviously that so much blood would pore out of me that the whole floor would be covered, as was I and Kate. I mean, it totally makes sense but would have been nice to know and would have stopped us skating around in it…

I would love to hear about any of your experiences of post pregnancy stories that you think other Mama’s might benefit from knowing. Leave me a comment and I’ll add it to the ever growing list.

This Mummy Can Survive on Holiday

We’ve been back from our week in Spain for almost a month now and I’ve just about caught up on sleep! Every year Kate’s extended family plus all the kids go to a place called Salou near Barcelona and previous years have seen Kate and I read multiple books, work on our tans, have day trips in to Barca, take leisurely swims and hit the theme park and water park. But this year was a little different…

Firstly we pulled up at the airport and very quickly realised that we had SO much stuff that we couldn’t possibly carry it ourselves.  Kate was in her wheelie, Scout in the buggy and then about a million suitcases. We persuaded some poor lad from a car rental company to help us take us to departures. Now this is a rare moment where being in a wheelchair is amazing as you get to skip all the queues in the airport. That’s right ALL THE QUEUES IN THE AIRPORT. It’s totally worth the dirty looks as Kate wheels to the front of the security check-in with me and Scout following behind. I’ve gotta say though, that’s about the only good thing as getting on the plane is a total palava with so many different airport workers asking me (the one NOT in a wheelchair) whether Kate can walk up stairs, what kind of battery her wheelchair needs and how much it weighs. It’s infuriating that people do this – like Kate isn’t capable of responding herself.

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Anyway after a full on flight with Scout turning into Monster-Child, kicking the poor girl’s chair in front so much that we offered to buy her a sorry-my-baby-kicked-you-for-two-hours-drink, trying to pull the hair of the people in front of us, shouting, screaming and most

IMG_2861definitely not sleeping at all as we had hoped, we arrived at our hotel.We had a lovely week spending time with family and watching Scout in the sea was literally the best thing ever. But it wasn’t the relaxing snoozefest I’d hoped it would be (I use snoozefest in the most literal term there.) However, it was brilliant having Scout’s Grandparents there – they took Scout for a walk most days allowing us to chill out which was amazing. I can’t imagine going on holiday without some sort of grandparental tagging along ever again now!

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Next year though I definitely would do a few things differently – here’s my list of how to survive a holiday with a baby.

  • Get a villa or Airbnb if you can so you don’t have to share the same sleeping space with your baby. We had no evenings as Scout is such a routine baby and after taking her out for ice cream one eve where she spectacularly lost her shit we decided that it was evenings in for us. Bedtime at 7pm!
  • Cook your own food. We brought quite a few snacks for Scout but she ended up eating with us every night in the hotel and the food was packed full of salt. Would definitely try and get some sort of kitchen facilities if we can.
  • Fly with family! We struggled alone and will try and tag along to Scout’s grandparents flights next year. (If they’ll let us!)
  • Make an activity bag for the plane. A friend recommended bringing a few new bits that she wouldn’t have seen before and so I thought I could get away with bringing a couple of toys she hasn’t seen in a while. You know, the ones that are at the bottom of the toy box? Well, turns out they haven’t been played with in a while for a reason. She was less than impressed.
  • DSCN1767.JPGMore beach, less pool! Scout was happiest on the beach and it was definitely a much safer place to play than by the pool which was a bit of a concrete jungle. We wanted to spend time with other family members who adore the pool but it just wasn’t best for Scout.

 

  • Invest in one of those little tools that digs a hole for your umbrella or parasol. Lots of the beach side shops were selling them for about a euro and they were a godsend!
  • Make friends on the beach! These lovely Irish ladies were so taken by Scout that they’d spent ages waving at each other keeping Scout entertained!

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Scoutfits:
Fish all-in-one swimmers are from Mini Boden and spotty hat from Jojo Maman Bebe 

White and blue dress is from Marks and Spencer