Stay and Play – mixed feelings

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Baby Teethers and Soothers – the verdict!

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What has made me write this post?

We have had a number of issues with the teethers and soothers that we have purchased for our little one. There are so many of each for sale, how do you know which are the best ones to purchase.

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Kicks Count

What is Kicks Count all about?

Kicks count is a charity that helps to save babies lives and prevent late miscarriage, by raising awareness of babies movements. The UK has a ridiculoulsy high number of stillbirths and neonatal deaths, and alarmingly is the third worst in developed the world. Interestingly a similar campaign to kicks count in Norway had an excellent result, and the aim is that the UK can follow suit with higher awareness.

I first saw the wrist band on Surprise Surprise with Holly Willoughby, the charity was supported by Alesha Dixon. I thought the band was a great idea. For only £3.50 this is a small price to pay for your baby to arrive safely into the world. Having such busy lives, and in my case a manic, job I used to ensure there were a similar amount of kicks each day. It does not measure the pattern of the kicks but you will recognise this yourselves. It did make me feel comfortable that movement was fairly consistent each day. There is even a free app that you can record them on. Being the geek that I am, I liked the graphs!!

The wrist band comes in a few colours, and is easy to use; it has numbers and you move the guage each time you feel a kick, simple and easy to do while at work, or out and about.  The wrist band has won a few awards which is great! I would endorse it myself too!

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The Verdict

I used my band from around 26 weeks (third trimester).  I have a really busy role, and travelled a lot with work as well as socialising a lot, so this wrist band was great for me to monitor how many kicks. I also had an awareness of the pattern of movements of my baby too, alongside this! The app was great so I could see the rough numbers each day, and see the increase in movements as my baby grew bigger.  It made me feel happy and chilled out that everything was okay.  My baby arrived safe and sound so I am happy to recommend the wristband and app.

If you are unsure about the kicks wriggle around to get your baby moving or eat/drink something sugary, to get the baby moving. 

If at any point you are worried about your baby's movements, ALWAYS call your midwife or go to your maternity centre.

To find out more about kicks count, visit their website: http://www.kickscount.org.uk/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

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Umberslade Farm Park, Warwickshire

About the farm

We decided to take our four month old out to meet some animals, she is very aware of her surroundings and learns a lot, so thought we would give it a whirl. Thankfully, it was not too busy, so we managed to get around quite easily, without queues, and got a table easily in the cafe, perfect when you have a young baby who sleeps in the day still! The approach to the farm, down the driveway is lovely, and the farm buildings are lovely. We had a nice time, and the little one enjoyed it, and thankfully, was not scared by the animals. We would definitely return to the farm again.

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We were really pleased that our little one was not scared of any of the animals. We stood really close to pregnant sheep that were really noisy and she did not flinch!
It is great that there are a lot of demonstrations for you to see how the farm works.

The membership passes are great value, if you want to visit several times per year.

Visit the website at: http://www.umberslade.com/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

Mother-to-child Paternity Pregnant Women Life

Baby essentials

Where do you start?

When you find out you are pregnant, its daunting, what do I buy? Lots of things are expensive and some items are unnecessary. What are the bare essentials that you cannot do without?

  • If you can afford it, buy a travel system. All of the pieces fit to the same buggy base so it is really handy.
  • An isofix, again expensive, but so easy to get the car seat in and out.
  • Muslins are a must have plenty as they can be used to mop up so much, and can be used instead of a bib. Will save you having so many clothes changes for you and baby.
  • Plenty of blankets to keep your baby warm when out and about.
  • A dehumidifier is great to help the temperature appropriate for baby and helps when is poorly with a blocked nose.
  • If you plan to bottle feed, a microwave steriliser is a must. You can take it with you on trips away, without having to buy a plug in one for the home too!
  • For bottle feeders, using powder formula, Tommy Tippee have some powder tubs so you can pre-measure the right amount of powder.
  • Purchase some nappy sacks, for the stinky nappies. Mamia (Aldi) are really cheap with a nice smell to tone down the odour! No need to buy a nappy dispenser!
  • Muchkin spoons are the best we have found, soft for baby's mouth, especially when teething.
  • Dentinox teething gel is a must, its only £1.50 too so cheap, and does the trick for poorly gums.
  • A bottle of Calpol is a must for any household with children.
  • Get some newborn nappies (a small pack in case you do not need them) and some size 1 nappies
  • Buy plenty of baby wipes (I like Mamia by Aldi, they are super cheap and good!)
  • Buy some soothers (dummies) just in case. We like the Tommy Tippee cherry dummies as they fit into small babies mouths, and they are really soft. They will help with your baby's teething.
  • Get the free packs from Emma's Diary; the freebies are useful!
  • Do not go mad and buy too many clothes or toys as people buy these for you, generally up to size 3 months. I felt bad if my baby did not wear everything that was bought so rather than waste money, wait to see what you are gifted! Buy a few plain baby grows to put under other outfits if it is winter as your baby will need the layers!
  • Gro egg thermometers are really useful, with the screen lighting up in red, amber, blue to quickly show you the perfect temperature
  • Sleep bags are excellent to keep your baby warm. Babies move a lot, so if your little one is prone to wriggling, they will stay warm throughout the night.
  • A car mirror is a must, you can easily see what your baby is up to for piece on mind.
  • A playmat is great for your baby's sensory learning such as grabbing, as well as giving them a safe and comfortable environment for playing and to practive their tummy time, rolling etc.

It can be so easy to go mad and buy a million things that you do not really need.

If you are on a budget. Try your local NCT, or baby and local sales websites for second hand.

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This post is entirely my own opinion, it has not been written in exchange for gifts by any brands mentioned in this article.

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Why I am not a baby shower person

What are my thoughts on this?

I chose not to hold a baby shower before I had my little one, and I am also not a fan of attending other people's baby showers here are the reasons why:

  • The games are often really tacky, boring and repetitive, as there is only so much you can do, there is little variety
  • Pretty much 99% of the conversation is about babies, whuch can be so dull, especially if you do not have or do not want children. You attend to support a friend of family member but are bored rigid, thinking surely these people have more in their lives...
  • I am not convinced you should celebrate an impending life/lives until they are here safe and sound. Unfortunately, I know many people who have lost babies at full term, so why jinx this?
  • Everyone gets to drink alcohol to celebrate, but you cannot have any yet...
  • It gets a bit competitive with gift opening, not great if people are on a low budget, it can be quite awkward, even though every gift is thoughtful, it is not great when some gifts are extravagant
  • The whole thing is too American for me! I think they were are novelty that are dying out now, I have not heard of many mums-to-be of recent that are holding baby showers.

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Is there any fun to be had?

Yes, there is cake!!!

I did go to a baby shower once that was a bit different, there was a fab game with lots of nappies with melted chocolate in them. They all looked like pooey nappies! The game was to sniff each nappy and guess the chocolate. It was definitely much better than smelling poop!!

Some people choose to have a baby shower, which is of course personal choice. This blog is entirely made up of my own thoughts and opinions.

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Baby First Aid Course

Why baby first aid?

I was flicking through Facebook, and saw that Boston Tea Party in Solihull had links with Milk Cub. Milk Cub is run by a mum who is a pediatric doctor on maternity leave. I decided to follow these posts. Milk cub recently advertised baby first aid courses, which I thought would be really useful. It was something that I had been meaning to do, since I saw Jamelia on This Morning several weeks ago. Jamelia was running a story advising parents to take baby first aid classes, following an incident where her child had stopped breathing, and she had no idea what to do. This got me thinking that neither did I!
I looked around and saw that many courses were from £25 and thought wow quite pricey for parents who have lost income and have have extra expense with a new baby, and maternity/paternity pay being so low in many cases.
I came across Milk Cub which was only £7.75 for an hour long session. Great as you can learn pretty quickly! The session was not certified like some of the other courses, however that did not matter as that is not what I went for!

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What was the session like?

The group at the session was nice and small, so we got to sit around the tutor easily, it was also so fairly informal, we could ask questions at any time, and interact with each other, as well as bring our little ones, feed and play with them, while still learning. The tutor had a laptop and showed us some things that we needed to remember. The session was useful as it taught us the two main things that you need to know; resuscitation and choking. I was happy about this, as when I am overloaded with information I do not take it all away, so was great just to learn the main things that are needed. It was great to hear that actually what we learned is rarely needed, however it is great that we can feel better if something were to happen! We all got to practice on a doll too if we wanted. Actually doing resuscitation was much harder than I realised that it would be, and has definitely given me some thing to take away.

Here is the link to the webpage on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MilkCubConcept/?ref=br_rs

This post is entirely my own words and opinions.

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The Baby Show 2018

About our day

We went on the first day, and we decided to park at Resorts World as we wanted to eat after the show, that way we could park all day for £2 instead of £10 at the NEC.

When we got there we were pretty pleased to see the hall was pretty child friendly with many cafes with lots of space for buggies! There was a great feeding area sponsored by Tommee Tippee and a nappy changing area sponsored by Mamia (Aldi) with free nappies. Both of these areas were very spacious, and there were no queues to use them.

We spent all day up and down the aisles, collecting freebies, chatting to stallholders, and purchasing our course!

We got quite a stash of freebies!!

A few things were disappointing:

We struggled to entertain our babies at lunch. They love to roll or crawl around, and there was no soft play area, which was a shame. There was a fab tractor area for older kids (toddlers) but nothing for babies, which was odd considering it was a baby show.

I expected some bigger discounts at some of the stalls, to entice people to purchase items. I am also surprised that Aldi only had items to view and did not sell anything that they exhibited; I think that they missed a trick!

It was a little bit odd to see a cat protection stall and guide dogs, as much as these are good causes, I am not sure why they were at the show. I would rather have seen some baby charities such as Tommys, Bliss or Count the Kicks.

A bit of background...

My friend and I have a one year and 4 month old respectively, so we were not sure how much we woukd get out of the show. The tickets were a gift, so why not?! We would have a lovely day anyway with the kiddies, plus the show was 15 minutes from home at the NEC.

About the Baby Show

The show had a number of stands in one hall, that covered many aspects of what you need for your baby, these include; travel systems, nursery furniture, clothes, gifts, books, carriers & slings, childcare vouchers, nappies, bottles & feeding, maternity wear, hand & foot prints, so quite a variety! 

There were also plenty of shows and speakers, such as NCT classes and first aid classes, plus one to one sessions that you could pre-book.

Many stalls did show discounts, and special bundles.

The show is suitable for parents to be, and parents of babies up to around 18 months. Once they get to this age there is not that much apart from books, as the products are aged at younger babies.

It is also good that Emma's diary have a free shop & drop area that you can collect when you have finished at the show.

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Freebies!

Here is a look at the stash that we collected on the day! These included a bottle and soother, nappies, wipes, a bath toy, a range of convenient baby foods, nappy rash cream, disposable bibs and tea bags.
Some of the items were for smaller babies than mine, however I am going to give them to a good cause!

I am pretty happy with the stash! It always feels like you have won the lottery, when you get free stuff, even if it does not cost that much! The freebies were more than the value of the ticket for the day so all in all not a bad effort!

Was it worth it?

All in all it was a good day, we learned some things by speaking to various people at the event. Here is a picture of some of the bargains that we got on the day! I was really impressed that Milton steriliser fluid was sold at only £1 at the event, which is more than 50% off the normal RRP. Nuby was also great with 20% off!

We did not manage to get to any of the talks or lectures with little ones in toe, but not a bad day, and I got some great bargains!

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The final verdict!

All in all, we had a great day! There were some great stalls, it was well spread out so you can manoeuvre buggies around, and the cafes and eating areas were spacious.  I got more out of it than my friend, as there was more focus on products suitable for younger babies (under 1's) than the older babies. I was happy with my freebie stash, and my bargains, and we had a nice day out followed by dinner with our little ones!

It will be interesting to try the Baby to Toddler Show later in the year to see what they have to offer.

Links to the websites:

https://thebabyshow.co.uk/birmingham

https://www.babytotoddlerevents.co.uk/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

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BilinguaSing baby classes

About BilinguaSing

I am one of the most skeptical people when it comes to baby classes, however, I discovered BilinguaSing. I looked at their website, and saw that the concept was award winning, which is great! I really wanted to do a singing/music class with my little one, and I have always wanted to learn Spanish, so this is perfect! The purpose of the classes are that they combine singing with learning a language. The songs are very memorable, and you find yourself singing along to them all the time!! It is well known that babies and toddles that hear foreign speech, or speak foreign languages are more likely to have a higher IQ, as well as heightened creativity, better communication skills, wider vocabulary, enhanced memory and focus and multi-tasking skills‚Äč.

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In fact, speaking to someone recently, who undertakes child studies at Warwick uni, was pleased when I told him my five month old was attending these classes, and wanted us to join his studies, of course we signed up!

The BilinguaSing classes are for babies aged from 4 weeks up until children aged 11, these are as follows:
• Newborn babies
• Mobile babies
• Toddler and pre-school
• Nurseries and pre-schools
• Primary school

About our classes

Our class lead, Emma is really personable, and great with babies.  The classes are nice small groups, so plenty of interaction with Emma, they also vary each week, and it is great that the songs that we sing are different to all of the classic nursery rhymes. I like the variety of songs and the interations that the babies have with sensory items such as puppets and bubbles. In addition, each song is sung in English, and then in Spanish, such a great way for parents and babies to learn another language. Each class is 45 minutes long, with a drink and biscuit at the end, and chance to chat to the other mums.

Each we the babies are introduced to each other and we say bye too! This encourages social interaction between the children; which is great! The activity with each song varies, to make it a great learning experience, such as sensory, toys, massage, bubbles, stars. We really love the classes, and for £72 a term for 12 classes its pretty good value for money, as some play groups charge a £4 entrance fee.

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Additional Learning

You can also buy books and cds that support the learning process. We bought a starter pack with a book, crib sheet with pronunciations and a CD. The books are both in English and Spanish. The CD is great, we (I!) sing along in the car. The CD is great as the words come with the CD.

Here is a link to their website: https://bilinguasing.com/

This post was entirely independent and was not collaborative.

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Why I did not attend antenatal classes

What are antenatal classes?

These are classes either run by your local health authority or NCT, and they run through the preparing for birth, giving birth, and what happens after birth. They are normally a number of sessions for you and your partner/friend to attend. There is a lot of detail around coping with the pain of birth, what your birth supports role is, different positions for labour, what happens in an emergency.

Why I decided that these classes were not for me!

I knew that I was having a ceasarian section for a long time during my pregnancy. When researching the content of the antenatal classes before booking and asking friends what they thought I decided to give them a wide berth. Why? I hear you ask!

• Some friends said that they did not meet anyone worth keeping in touch with, the courses are quite a few hours, often after work, when lets face it at 30 weeks you are too tired to go to classes after work that will teach you nothing

• The key for me was nothing, nothing about a c-section at all, but plenty about breathing and natural labour

• The classes mainly focus on naturals birthing, with breathing techniques, positions etc

• Some providers charge a lot of money for the classes

• I cannot understand why they do not teach you how to make a bottle (albeit taboo) or change a nappy?! I recently saw that NCT run some post natal classes which cover some of these aspects, however at which point you have learned anyway as you have no choice!

This is entirely my own thoughts, and in many cases people have felt that the classes are right for them.