What’s What At Baby & Toddler Show South East

Just a mere few weeks after The Baby Show came and went, Baby & Toddler Show South East has come around! This weekend, the show will be held at Sandown Park near Esher, and it is great to catch up on brands you may have missed and discover new brands that may not exhibit at other shows. Once again, Alex was flying, so my dad had another day out with Alice and me. My dad once worked at Sandown Park, so for him, it was a day of reminiscing and catching up with ex-colleagues whilst Alice and I went on the hunt to bring you up to speed on what’s what at Baby & Toddler Show South East this time around.

Getting To The Show:

With the show being held at Sandown Park, there is plenty of parking! However, if you prefer to travel by public transport like us, there are options! Buses from Kingston, Walton-On-Thames and other areas stop either outside Sandown park itself or a short walk away in Esher High Street. In addition, Esher train station is a 10-minute walk from the racecourse. 

At The Show:

Once you’re through the entrance and upstairs, pick up your goodie bag from Pura, one of the show sponsors. It contains a handy pack of biodegradable wipes and some hand sanitiser! There are plenty of eating options at the show, although we decided to bring our own food to keep Alice safe due to her allergies. The show also has a baby changing and breastfeeding area. But, a significant oversight on the show’s part is that there is no lift access and whilst the show has provided someone to help lift pushchairs up, it means disabled parents like myself weren’t able to use the baby-changing or breastfeeding area at all. Thankfully, I’m happy to breastfeed in public, but not all people who breast/chestfeed are! Unfortunately, it also means that disabled parents can’t take advantage of trying out Pura’s nappies for free. 

Photo of the contents of the Pura goodie bag. In the photo is a white plastic bag with light green leaf pattern on, with Pura written in dark blue. There is also some additional text in white on a dark blue background. On top of the bag is a bottle of hand sanitiser, a leaflet with discounts on and a pack of Pura baby wipes in light green and cream packaging with darker green leaves on.
Pura goodie bag

Must-visit Brands: 

Like other baby shows, nearly all of the brands at Baby & Toddler Show are offering discounts and doing special show only bundles no matter their size. We have used some of the brands personally already, and some we’ve only just discovered at Baby & Toddler Show, but we will be ordering if we haven’t already brought from those brands. 

MAM: 

Although Alice is breast/chestfed, we use a range of MAM products, including the soothers (their night range glow in the dark, making finding soothers so much easier in the wee hours) and the bottles when Alice has expressed milk. There are some fantastic show offers, including soothers from £4.50, Bottle accessories from £4.50 and huge savings on pumps. MAM also have their experts snd the MAM midwives at the show on hand to answer specific questions about their products. 

Munchkin & Bear:

We only discovered this brand a month ago at ExCel, so we were delighted to catch up with them! Alice has had the round mat in the emerald green botanical print at home for a couple of weeks now and adores it. When we first tried her on one of the playmats, she couldn’t sit by herself, so it was great to pop her down so that she could show off her new skill to everyone! The mats are reversible (Alice’s mat at home has a speckled grey pattern on the reverse), waterproof, wheelchair-user friendly, and can simply be wiped down with alcohol and bleach-free wipes (Clinell wipes are suitable for this!). They come in 3 sizes, and Munchkin & Bear offers a show discount on all of them. 

Alice, a white baby with brown hair is sat playing on a multicoloured striped patterned play mat with a pink, purple and green rattle which has a character on at the bottom. Alice is wearing a dark blue jacket, white tights with pink detailing on the heel and toes and a multicoloured dress. Alice also has a blue coloured soother in her mouth.
Modelling the Munchkin & Bear play mat!

Cybex:

Again, Cybex is a brand we’ve used from birth, as Alice happens to have two of their infant carriers. The Aton m I-Size and the Cloud Z I-Size infant carriers fit onto the Bugaboo Cameleon 3 pushchair for convenience via adapters. The L.S.P. side impact system on the car seats is also a big plus as it enhances little ones’ safety in the car. However, one of the Cloud z’s features over the Aton M is that it can lay flat in pram mode, something to consider if you’re likely to be doing many short trips using Uber or taxis. 

Snuz:

If you have followed us for a while, you’ll know Alice sleeps in a SnuzPod co-sleeper, and we use the Snuz Pouch and other products in the Snuz range. There are some fantastic offers over the show, including bundles with the SnuzPod.  

Dumforter: 

A brand extremely local to us, we found out about this beautiful creation through both our local NICU and a local craft collective that showcases local goods. The Dumforter is a soother and comforter in one product which also has a teething function to help little ones when their teeth come through! There are several designs, and whilst Alice loves the Zsa Zsa Zebra one, we picked up the Rosie Rabbit design at the show! 

Ubere Mama: 

If, like me, you’re breastfeeding, then you’ll know that trying to find breastfeeding friendly clothes is a mission! Ubere Mama is showing some of their designs at the Baby & Toddler Show, and some of them are beautiful indeed! All of their designs are breastfeeding friendly, with zips on the hoodies, tops and dresses, and clips on the vests. The vests can also be worn without a bra underneath, which is excellent as it means you don’t have to faff around with multiple clips when the baby is hungry! In addition, all of the clothes are designed and manufactured in the UK for the sustainable minded amongst us. I will be doing a blog post on this brand, looking at some of the designs in more detail, so please keep an eye out! 

Sadly, some brands aren’t at the Baby & Toddler Show. Bugaboo and Ergobaby are the two biggest ones that people will miss from the show. We use products from both of these brands, and they have features on some products which are extremely useful for disabled parents. It’s sad to not see them there, but hopefully, they’ll be back in the future! 

One other thing to add is if you’re bringing your little ones and want to get a photo of them at their first racecourse for their memory book, the doors going out to the parade ring are open. It makes for a great little photo spot!

Steph, a white woman with brown hair is wearing a burgundy coloured dress with light pink, red and black floral patterning on. She is sat in her grey and black wheelchair with purple accents holding Alice, a white baby with brown hair who is wearing a dark blue jacket, white tights with pink detailing on the heel and toes and a multicoloured dress. Behind them in Sandown Park's parade ring.
Steph And Alice with the parade ring behind them

Are you going to the Baby & Toddler Show this weekend? Share your favourite moments, brands and tips with others in the comments! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paidfor promotion or a collaboration/advert.

The Lowdown On Baby Show London 2022

I can’t believe we’re actually saying this, but The Baby Show is finally back as an actual event in London this weekend at ExCel! No longer are we tuning into virtual talks from the comfort of home, as we can now try out products once again for ourselves before committing to buy! With Alex flying today, my dad came with Alice and me for the trip to London so we could give you the lowdown on what to expect at The Baby Show this weekend. 

Getting to the show: 

The best way to The Baby Show is by public transport. Not only is The ExCel well served by the DLR, with both Custom House and Prince Regent in easy reach. If you’re coming from central London, take the Jubilee line to North Greenwich and take the Emirates cable car across The Thames for £3 each way (under 5’s free) on the production of tickets or the email to show that you’re going to ExCel London for the event. If you don’t fancy the tube, take the Uber Boat from central London to North Greenwich instead for a different view of London. It’s incredible to compare the sights from the river and then the cable car either before or after, and Alice loved her first boat ride! 

Steph, a white woman with her brown and blonde hair in a ponytail is sat down wearing a blue jumper whilst holding Alice, a white baby with brown hair who is wearing a cream pram suit who is fascinated by the view. They are on the cable car going across the Thames!
On the cable car!

If you do need to drive in, the ExCel has plenty of car parking, and you can even drop your bags and pick them up when ready to leave. However you decide to travel, don’t forget to download your COVID pass before you make your way to the show, as you’ll need this to gain entry. 

At The Show

Once you’re inside The Baby Show, there is a lot to discover! The Made For Mums testing track is back, so you can try out different pushchairs. In addition, there are various other must-visit areas, including the baby changing area sponsored by Lidl, which features free wipes, nappies and other products from their Lupilu range. There’s also the baby feeding cafe with baby food samples from For Aisha. If your little one is allergic to dairy, soy or egg, I highly suggest trying this brand. You can pick up a range of samples to take home with you too! We will be trying out this brand with Alice, so keep an eye out on our Instagram to see how we get on. For Aisha are also running a competition on their stand, which can be found at C50! The cafe also has a quiet breastfeeding area for more privacy. 

Steph, a white woman with her brown and blonde hair in a ponytail is sat in her wheelchair wearing a blue jumper, black trousers and hand splints whilst holding Alice, a white baby with brown hair who is wearing a dark blue floral top with light blue jeans. Behind them is a green tent with a large grey cuddly toy by it. Behind on the wall is a false window with pink curtains.
Inside the changing area
A photo of a baby foodprep area with microwave, prep machine, bottle warmer and cups with pink and purple spoons in. Above is a shelf with various coloured bowls and pouches containing meals for babies.
Baby feeding cafe featuring For Aisha meals and pouches!

Must-Visit Brands

Nearly all of the brands at The Baby Show are offering discounts and doing special show only bundles no matter their size. We have used some of the brands personally already, and some we’ve only just discovered at The Baby Show, but we will be ordering if we haven’t already brought from those brands. 

MAM Baby (B72): 

Although Alice is breast/chestfed, we use a range of MAM products, including the soothers (their night range glow in the dark, making finding soothers so much easier in the wee hours) and the bottles when Alice has expressed milk. There are some fantastic show offers, including soothers from £4.50, Bottle accessories from £4.50 and huge savings on pumps. MAM is also offering 1 to 1 appointments with their experts at the show. 

Photo of various MAM soothers and dummy clips on their stand.
Soothers on the MAM Baby stand

Muchkin & Bear (C44): 

We’ve been looking at playmats for a few weeks now as Alice is starting the outgrow the play gym. Being a wheelchair user, we need a tough mat that can be easily stored or take a good bashing from the constant rolling over and, of course, is suitable for Alice! We got to try the large mat at the show, and Alice absolutely adored it. We just need to decide which colour combination we want (the mats are doubled sided), and then we’ll be ordering over the weekend! 

Alice, a white baby with brown hair wearing a dark blue long sleeved top with floral patterning on is laying on her tummy whilst holing her head up on a grey and cream striped play mat. In front of Alice is a bright green toy with a blue tree on.
Play time!

Snuz (E20, E50, E60, E80): If you have followed us for a while, then you’ll know Alice sleeps in a SnuzPod co-sleeper, and we use the Snuz Pouch and other products in the Snuz range. There are some fantastic offers over the show, including bundles with the SnuzPod.  

Ella Bella’s C41: When Alice had a sock emergency, this gorgeous brand came to the rescue! Not only did we leave with a pair of adorable socks with pom-poms on (they also do bow styles), we also picked up some booties that can tighten, making it more difficult for little ones to kick them off! 

photo of Alice, a white baby with brown hair who is wearing a dark blue floral top with light blue jeans and white socks with pom poms on being held by a person wearing a black leather jacket. They are on the cable car.
Alice showing off the pom pom socks!

Mima Accessories (B11): While Alice doesn’t like to keep headbands on (hence why we don’t have an extensive collection), that hasn’t stopped us from starting a hair accessories collection! We picked up 3 bows from their 3 for £5 bowl, and there are also other various offers on accessories from the brand. Mima Accessories happens to be the newest range from Mima Interiors, and products from the interiors range can also be found on their stand at The Baby Show. 

Cybex (E20, E50, E60, E80): Cybex again is a brand we’ve used from birth as Alice happens to have two of their infant carriers. Both the Aton m I-Size and Cloud Z I-Size infant carriers fit onto the Bugaboo Cameleon 3 pushchair for convenience via adapters. The L.S.P. side impact system on the car seats is also a big plus as it enhances little ones’ safety in the car. However, one feature that the Cloud z has over the Aton M is that it can lay flat in pram mode, something to consider if you’re likely to be doing many short trips using Uber or taxis. 

The Positive Birth Company (C39): Whilst we didn’t find out these lovelies were at the show until after we left, we had to give them a shoutout once we knew that they are indeed at The Baby Show this weekend! We were honoured to be part of their #ProudParent campaign last year, and the courses that The Positive Birth company offer are second to none! The Positive Birth Company also have an Amazon Alexa skill which I loved using during my pregnancy to relax and keep the positive vibes going when the going got tough! 

Some brands sadly aren’t at The Baby Show this time around. Bugaboo and Ergobaby are the two biggest ones that people will miss from the show. We use products from both of these brands, and they have features on some products which are extremely useful for disabled parents. It’s sad to not see them there, but hopefully, they’ll be back in the future! 

Are you going to The Baby Show this weekend? Share your favourite moments, brands and tips with others in the comments! 

Why Children Need To Learn About LGBT History

With LGBT History Month almost over, we’ve only just realised that we didn’t do a blog post. However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been doing anything in real life since we decided that we’d use this month to do a bit of learning ourselves. In particular, we wanted to know more about our ancestors and the fight they had to give us the freedoms which the LGBTQIA+ community has today, to help us in our fight to make the world a safer place for our community as a whole, especially as 71 countries still criminalise same-sex relationships with 11 of those imposing the death penalty and it doesn’t stop there. In 2022, it’s illegal to be transgender in 15 countries. Those numbers are a stark reminder of how lucky we are in the UK that, at least legally, we can be our authentic selves.

However, it doesn’t end there. Just because it’s legal to be who you are, doesn’t necessarily mean safety. As the community knows, attacks against LGBTQIA+ people are heartbreakingly on the rise again, with homophobic hate crimes tripling and transphobic hate crime quadrupling in the UK since 2015. Those stats are scary, especially being LGBTQIA+ and parents. As a community, we’re still feeling the effects of section 28, despite it being repelled in 2003, and it wasn’t until 2020 that schools in the UK were required to teach pupils about LGBTQ+ relationships and identities.

Children need to be brought up to respect, include and accept. People say that no one is born racist, which is true. It’s also true that no one is born homophobic, biphobic, transphobic or interphobic. However, what is heard at home spills out, so it’s vital for parents and carers to teach children to accept and respect others, no matter their differences so that the generations that follow us don’t have to experience the hatred that many LGBTQIA+ people have. Therefore, children need to learn about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, and there is a wealth of information and resources at parents’ fingertips.

Even though Alice is only 6 months, we’ve started to teach about differences already by using reading time with age-appropriate books. For example, Books like Aaaarrgghh! spider! and Perfectly Norman celebrate differences and teach children to accept each other’s differences no matter what they may be, whilst Super Duper You also challenges gender stereotypes at the same time. When exploring different families, Love Makes a Family is an excellent book to show children that families come in many shapes and forms and that some children have two mums or two dads, one parent or one of each.

Of course, you can also introduce the conversation around difference through play. For example, using they/them pronouns for characters to help children learn about non-binary identities and present different types of families when playing with dolls or character-based games. This will help children learn about inclusion and acceptance and the need to respect all people without even realising it. For older children, many video games are introducing LGBTQIA+ characters into their lineup. There’s also plenty of content out there, from content creators on YouTube to films and documentaries on various streaming platforms. So, as you can see, whatever way you wish to introduce new topics and conversations to your children, there are plenty of resources out there to support your and your child/rens learning. By introducing these conversations, you’re then building the foundation for children to learn about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community, which is essential for children to understand why acceptance and respect for others are so important.

Have you found any good films, videos, books or other resources to help teach your children about acceptance of others? Share them below to help others!

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Boosting Milk Supply When Your Baby Has CMPA

Growing up, both Alex and I have had our fair share of allergic reactions. Even as an adult, the list just keeps increasing in length for me whilst Alex’s has thankfully just stayed at one (throat sweets, would you believe). Whilst a family history of allergies can increase your child’s risk of developing allergies themselves, exclusive breast/chestfeeding may help prevent asthma, eczema and allergies in high-risk children. So, imagine my shock when we were told that I had to cut all dairy when Alice was just a few weeks old. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), I knew all about milk allergy as I’ve had lactose intolerance since I was 12. Because of this, until Lactofree and lactase enzyme capsules came onto the market, I was stuck trying to live with using soya milk (yuck!) or deal with the consequences of having milk (not the best idea either). 

Alice’s diagnosis of CMPA (short for Cows Milk Protein Allergy) came as a bit of a shock. Still, thankfully I’ve adjusted really well, especially as I tend to use almond and coconut milk anyway. However, as Alice has an immediate reaction to milk products and other problems with her weight, we’re under a dietitian at the hospital who has just been incredible. Not only have we been on a milk-free weaning workshop, but we’ve also been given information leaflets on everything we need to do to help Alice move safely onto food until her body no longer reacts to milk. But one thing no one talks to you about when you’re breast/chestfeeding is that increasing milk supply when on a dairy-free diet is something that can get a bit tricky.

Most people have heard of the feed every so often advice to increase milk supply, but on top of that is also a whole market for lactation products that claim to help boost milk supply. Unfortunately, most of these contain milk; however, there are a few dairy-free products, so I decided to put them to the test! I power pump in the mornings anyway, which helps keep my supply going for Alice, but I have added the following products into my diet: 

1. Boobbix:

Most people in the lactation world will have heard of Boobbix. They’ve won countless awards, have been featured in parenting magazines, in various social media posts and are seen as some sort of magic cure for all milk-supply issues! Whilst most of the range isn’t suitable for those allergic to dairy or those who are breast/chestfeeding CMPA babies, there are a few products that you can use from the range: 

  • Boobbix Dairy-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies: This was the first product I tried from the Boobbix range and is the one I adore the most! Not only do they taste amazing, but the concoction of fenugreek, brewer’s yeast, oats and flaxseed have definitely helped in further increasing milk supply on top of power-pumping and pumping after feeding Alice. I tend to have 1 or 2 a day, depending on what else I have to eat that day. 
  • Boobbix Hot Chocolate Powder: The hot chocolate powders are the only products in the range that can be consumed whilst pregnant as it doesn’t contain fenugreek. If I’d known that before I had Alice, a pack of hot chocolate powder would’ve been going into my hospital bag! The hot chocolate does have a bit of an aftertaste which takes a little getting used to, but once you’re past that stage, it’s like a little hug in a mug full of goodness for your milk supply! Bit of tip if you’re consuming this a night, though – make sure you have pads or catches on to catch any leaks! 
A photo of a white mug with a slice of pizza on and the words ,you'll always have a pizza my heart, in black writing on the front containing hot chocolate is on a grey kitchen worktop. There is a white, pink and purple bag behind the mug with the words 'boobbix boobie drinks let the milk flow' on.
A hug in a mug – Boobbix Hot Chocolate!
  • Boobbix Granola: Like the cookies, the granola contains fenugreek, oats, flaxseed and oats. All the flavours are dairy-free and go with everything from coconut milk to yoghurt, and it is even good for a tasty snack on the go! The only flavour I’m yet to try is the maple and pecan one which I’m hoping will be back in stock soon as I’m a big fan of anything that has pecans in. 
Image shows a white bowl with granola and a milk alternative in on a black worktop. Behind the bowl is a white, pink and purple bag with an image of granola on and the words 'boobbix boobie granola let the milk flow' on. Next to the bag is a white Alpro coconut and almond milk container with images of almonds and  coconut on.
One of the ways I have my granola!

The other thing I love about Boobbix is that they have made it very clear on their products that they don’t replace frequently feeding on both sides and pumping before, during or after feeds. Instead, their products are merely an aid to help in increasing milk supply on top of the usual things you should be doing, but in my experience, they definitely work. Before using Boobbix, I was lucky to get 3 ounces of milk over a 1-hour power pumping session; I now get anywhere from 5 to 8 ounces over the same time.  

2. HOTTEA Mama Milk’s Up! tea: 

If you’re a tea lover, this is another good product to try, especially if you don’t want the calories that come with cookies (just make sure that you’re getting enough calories in your diet as breast/chestfeeding exclusive burns around 500 calories a day!). Not only is the tea is caffeine-free, which is great if you’re trying to limit your caffeine intake, but it’s full of ingredients known to aid milk supply, such as fenugreek seed, anise, nettle leaf, lemon verbena and rosemary. I tend to have a cup of this either in the morning with breakfast or mid-morning if I’ve had a coffee with breakfast instead. 

Image is of a white mug containing tea is on a black worktop. to the left of the mug is a blue and purple box containing hot tea mamas milks up teabags.
HOTTEA Mama Milk’s Up!

3. Fenugreek Capsules:

If the idea of using food and drink doesn’t suit you, or you’ve tried that route, but nothing seems to work even when doing things like power-pumping, then fenugreek capsules could be the answer. I used these temporarily when Alice was really poorly in hospital, which almost killed off my milk supply (thanks to stress!), but I quickly got onto cookies and tea, which suited Alice and me much better. However, whilst fenugreek capsules definitely helped my supply, they had one very undesirable side effect on both Alice and me – gas! Unfortunately, it’s a well-known side effect which is why it’s advised to limit the amount of fenugreek in your diet to avoid it. However, if you can get past that, then it’s definitely an option! 

Like the creators of Boobbix say, no product can ever replace frequent feeding, correct positioning and regular pumping to maintain milk supply. Lactation products are merely aids to help with increasing supply on top of already doing these things, but they can definitely be a solution! 

Do you have a go-to product that helps your milk supply? Let us know in the comments to help others who need some guidance on what is available! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Christmas Gifts: Last Minute Gift Ideas For Babies 6-12 Months

If you haven’t been following the blog the last few weeks, then you’ll be pleased to know that recently we’ve posted several Christmas gift guides for foodies, parents-to-be, new parents, those who are breast/chestfeeding and yesterday, we posted a last-minute gift guide for babies ages 0-6 months. So to finish off our 2021 Christmas gift guides, we’ll be sharing our last-minute gift ideas for babies aged 6-12 months in this post. All of the following ideas are gifts that Alice is getting for Christmas, except the booster seat, which we purchased before Alice’s arrival! So without further ado, let’s start the final guide for this year! 

That’s Not My Dinosaur Gift Set:

Fluffy toy? Check. Interactive book? Check. If you want to gift the gift of getting a little one to love books from a very early age, then Usbourne’s range of interactive books from its That’s Not My series are a great place to start! Each page of the That’s Not My Dinosaur book has textured areas for little ones to explore and develop sensory awareness, on top of the language awareness that reading from a young age brings. The That’s Not My Dinosaur gift set also comes with a cuddly purple dinosaur toy, perfect for little hands to snuggle up to! 

Vtech Sit To Stand Music Centre:

If you want a musical toy to last a good couple of years, then look no further than the Vtech Sit To Stand Music Centre! The centre comes with 15 melodies, 7 sing-along songs, various sounds and phrases, a microphone for the little one to sing into and 4 voice-changing effects. The panel containing the keyboard, drum, saxophone, guitar and microphone detaches from the stand to allow it to be used when sitting down. In addition, the centre teaches animals, colours, instruments and more and being suitable from 12 months to 3 years means that the centre is an excellent choice for a gift if you want something which will last. 

Carotina Blocks And Mat Set:

Previously reviewed on the blog (you can find the full review here), the Carotina Blocks And Mat Set is another excellent multifunctional, space-saving toy. Not only does the playmat come in a jigsaw style, but it also has pop-out animals and houses which can be slotted into some of the blocks for little ones to create their own themes and stories. In addition, the bright colours of the set catch little ones attention for more extended periods, allowing their creativity and imagination to truly flourish when playing with this set. There are 38 building blocks of varying sizes and colours in the set and 24 pieces that make up the playmat if you include the pop-out animals and houses. 

Benbat Portable Booster Seat:

We’ve posted about Benbat’s Portable Booster Seat before, but we’re posting about it again because we love just how useful this is! This portable booster seat has similar functions to a highchair but is lightweight, great for travel so you can feed little one anywhere, and can be placed wherever it is needed. Another thing I like about the Benbat is that not only is it portable, it also comes with storage compartments to pop some bits and bobs in for little ones. This is great, as you can forgo the changing bag and pop nappies, wipes etc., into the storage compartment of the booster seat when going out locally. As they get older, they can pack the storage compartment themselves, which further helps to aid their independence and development! 

That’s the Christmas gift guides for this year complete! If you’ve found any great gift ideas for the little ones in your life, add them to the comments to help others with their last-minute Christmas shopping! Although the gift guides may be done, we’ll also be sharing blog posts on how we’re prepping for Alice’s first Christmas, so do keep an eye out for those! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Christmas Gift Guides: Gift Ideas For Pregnant And Breast/Chestfeeding Parents!

With December 1st here, Christmas prep is in full swing! But, if you’re like Steph and haven’t fully finished Christmas shopping because you have no idea what to get people, then fear not! Following on from our Sous Chef review with gift ideas for foodies and our gift guide for new parents and parents-to-be, Steph’s sharing as a breastfeeding parent what to get parents who are breast/chestfeeding their little ones! Unfortunately, breast/Chestfeeding usually means that the go-to gifts, such as anything alcohol-related, are off the list. However, as a breastfeeding parent, I’m pleased to tell you that there are still good gift options out there! Most of the following ideas also work if the person you’re gifting happens to be pregnant (note: most of the Boobbix products can’t be consumed during pregnancy). 

1. Nursing friendly clothes from Stylish Mum

I absolutely adore Stylish Mum! Not only do they do some beautiful jumpers, dresses and nursing tops, but they also do nursing hoodies! Their nursing hoodies are how I initially fell in love with the brand, as I love my activewear when I’m not going out and about. The other thing I love about this brand is that unlike other nursing wear brands, you can’t really tell that the hoodies and jumpers are nursing wear unless you really look. It means that even once you stop breastfeeding, you can still wear jumpers and hoodies from the range. They also do a matching kidswear range! 

A photo of Steph, a white woman with blonde and brown hair is holding Alice, a white baby with brown hair whilst looking out of the window at Gatwick’s South Terminal. Their backs are to the camera. Steph is wearing a multi coloured floral jumper and Alice is wearing a light pink, grey and white jacket.
Wearing one of the nursing jumpers from the Stylish Mum range!

2. Alcohol-free gift sets

If the person you are looking for really does like a tipple and you don’t want to deviate too much from that, then luckily, there are plenty of alcohol-free giftsets out there to choose from! For those who like wine, the Just Perfect Wines Gift Set featuring 2 mini bottles of Freixenet alcohol-free sparkling wine also comes with a tin of Belgium chocolate truffles for the ultimate treat, as well as a fizz stopper! If they aren’t a wine drinker, there is also a mixed case of non-alcoholic beers, which may tickle their fancy! This case features beers from the likes of Brewdog, Maisels, Juliper and others! The majority of the brands in the case are German, which may work in your favour even more if the person likes their German beer! 

3. Boobbix

Has the person your looking to gift ever said to you that they’re struggling with milk supply or want to increase it? Boobbix is literally a magic potion for helping to boost milk supply alongside regular expressing or breast/chestfeeding. Boobbix does a range of lactation cookies, granolas and even hot chocolate. Although Alice is CMPA, Boobbix do dairy-free chocolate chip cookies and granola, which is dairy-free, meaning that I’ve still been able to benefit from their magic formula! Unfortunately, due to the ingredients, only the hot chocolate in the Boobbix range can be consumed whilst pregnant. 

Photo of 3 packets of dairy free cookies in a box. The packaging is white with purple and pink details as well as a chocolate chip cookie on it. In the background is another white packet with pink label and clear window showing the granola inside.
A recent Boobbix order of mine!

4. Elvie Catch 

I’ve spoken about the Elvie Catch on the blog before. Still, I really can’t recommend this to breast/chestfeeding parents enough! These dishwasher friendly collection cups can each hold 30ml and are great for catching leakage, let-down and more when either expressing, nursing or just going about day-to-day. They are also discreet for wearing during the day and slip-proof. I used these when I was leaking colostrum so that I could freeze it, and I still use them now, catching any stray milk to add to feeds or to store at a later date! The box itself is small which makes the Elvie Catch a great stocking filler.

A photo of two clear plastic Elvie Catch collection cups with silicone backing sat on top of a white box which they come in. The box has a photo of the collection cups on it along with the words Elvie Catch in grey on top of the picture.
The Elvie Catches and their box

Have you found a gift good for a pregnant parent-to-be or breast/chestfeeding parent? Share it in the comments below! Also our gift guides for babies aged 0-6 months and those aged 6-12 months will both be out over the next few days so keep an eye out for those!

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Christmas Gift Guides: Gift Ideas For New Parents And Parents-To-Be

With Cyber Monday here, now is the perfect time to look for your Christmas gift bargains! If you’ve got a new parent or parent-to-be in your life, then gifts that will help them on their parenthood journey will be massively appreciated. Amazon and other stores have some fantastic deals on products that Alex and I are using as new parents to Alice, and so the following gift ideas all come highly recommended by us both. 

1. Nuby UV Sterilisers:

Alex and I are both in agreement that one of the best purchases we ever made was our Nuby UV sterilisers. These are actually genuine 59S sterilisers with Nuby branding, which made us feel much more confident about buying the sterilisers as we’d heard such good things when over in the US about 59S. The dummy one was the first steriliser we brought as a tester to see if we liked the UV sterilisers work. Considering that Alice is fascinated with launching her dummy on the floor, this has been a godsend! We also have the travel one, which can fit 2 mam bottles comfortably and 3 at a push, as well as dummies, breast pump parts, and you can even sterilise your phone and keys! The travel one also has a storage section under the sterilising bit and looks like a posh cooler bag rather than a steriliser. Both sterilisers come with a dummy included, and the travel one also has a Nuby bottle. The dummy steriliser can be battery or USB-cable operated, and the travel one is USB operated via a rechargeable battery pack which is included. Both sterilisers can also be plugged into the mains!

Photo of the Nuby dummy Steriliser and box in the background. There is also a black battery charger and white USB cable in the photo.
The Nuby dummy Steriliser

2. Baby Nails Thumble Set:

If you need just a little stocking filler, then the Baby Nails Thumble Set is a great size for that! We all know that keeping baby’s delicate nails trimmed to stop them from scratching themselves is hard work! Luckily, some fellow parents came up with the fantastic idea of using a thumble with filing stickers to file precious little one’s nails which means less of a fight! It’s that simple to use that you can even file nails using the thumble whilst feeding or during cuddle time! The filing stickers come in two varieties; one for 0-6 months and a slightly coarser one for 6 months plus. 

3. Blink Mini Camera

If you know that the parents or parents-to-be in your life want an app-controlled baby monitor that works with Amazon’s Echo Show, but don’t want to spend hundreds on one, then look no further than the Blink Mini Camera! Not only does this come with 2-way communication and night vision, but you can also view it from your phone, tablet and of course, the Echo Show. It also works as a brilliant pet camera. Alex and I use the Blink cameras to keep an eye on Alice when she’s in either her bed or the lounge if we’re out of the room (for example, in the bathroom), and Alex uses it to check in when he’s at work. We also use our lounge one to keep an eye on Fudge when out of the house.

Photo of a white Blink Mini Camera with black face mounted on a white and grey Snuzpod bedside crib. There is also a grey Snuz cloud attached to the Snuzpod in the photo.
Alice’s Blink camera

4. Amazon Echo Show 

Of course, if you go for the Blink mini camera, you can always bundle it with the Amazon Echo Show! We don’t know what we’d do without ours, from enabling skills to help settle a baby to learning skills, operating smart lighting and more. The Amazon Echo Show is a great assistant to have in the house! We also use ours to find recipes, watch videos and even as a digital photo screen. Alexa also has a skill from Tommys called the Tommys Midwife Skill, so if you’re pregnant, you can literally ask Alexa anything to do with Pregnancy. Steph says, “this skill helped me so much when I was pregnant with Alice, and even Alex was asking questions to do with pregnancy.”

The Echo Show is available in 5″, 8″ and 10″. We have the 8″ in our kitchen, the 5″ at Alex’s mums and will be getting the 5″ to replace the Echo’s in the bedroom once Alice moves into her own room. 

5. Snuza Hero MD

We found out about the Snuza Hero MD after someone we got to know through our Instagram let us borrow theirs whilst we’ve been waiting for Alice’s breathing monitor to come. So if you have an ex-NICU baby in the family or know that the parents in your life just want a monitor for peace of mind, then this is an excellent investment! The Snuza Hero MD is medically certified, and the Lullaby Trust also give them out to parents who’ve previously lost a baby to SIDS as part of the CONI programme. The monitor simply clips onto the baby’s nappy or bottoms (just make sure it’s in contact to track breathing) and will vibrate to rouse the little one if no breathing is detected for 15 seconds, alarming after 20 seconds if vibration doesn’t work. This little monitor has already worked a few times when Alice has either breath held or had another blue episode. 

Alice, a small white baby with brown hair is looking at the camera with eyes open wearing a white long sleeved vest and light blue jeans. On Alice's jeans is a white and purple Snuza Hero MD breathing monitor.
Alice wearing the Snuza Hero MD

Do you have any ideas for what to get parents-to-be or new parents for Christmas? Share them in the comments to help other readers with their gift shopping! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Going To Big Events With A Newborn

For some parents of newborns, there will be events that you wish to attend but are worried about taking your new bundle of joy with you. Whether it be a summer fair or a big event for your town or city, a fireworks display or a Christmas light switch on, attending with a brand new baby in tow means lots more things to think about! Big events typically mean lots of noise and lots of things going on, which can be overwhelming for your little one! 

Despite many stressful events surrounding Alice’s health, we have still managed to get out and about with her. Alex and I crave normality and for us, going out and about to our favourite events gives us that little bit of much-needed normality in what has been a stressful couple of months. But how do you safely take your precious bundle of joy to significant events and on busy days out? Well, here we share products and tips that have really helped us! 

1. A suitable baby carrier

Alice has two baby carriers, one which I use with her when out and about, and the other one is Alex’s favourite. For me, the Ergobaby Omni 360 is the best baby carrier for many reasons. Firstly, as the carrier is structured, I can safely carry Alice despite being a wheelchair user without risking any dislocations. Secondly, the pouch on the front of the carrier is large enough to put cards, passports, phones and other small but essential things in there and keep them on me. Not only is this excellent safety-wise, but it’s also an excellent feature for when travelling and at large events. For example, I used the Ergobaby when taking Alice to her first football match. In addition, the carrier is easy to get babies in and out of. This meant that Alice had lots of time out of the Ergobaby that day! 

a selfie Steph, a white woman with brown and blonde hair wearing a black baby carrier with Alice, a small baby with brown hair and wearing a white jacket inside. The baby carrier has blue and blue ear defenders and a blue Chelsea bib attached to it.
Alice in the Ergobaby!

Whilst I absolutely adore the Ergobaby, Alex loves the wrap style carriers, so we also have the Hana Baby Wrap, which he uses with Alice when we’re out and about. However, he is going to try the Ergobaby later this month when we go to London! The wrap style is great as it can be used with smaller babies subject to clearance from a medical professional. It also allows little ones to be held in many different positions and closer to whoever is wearing them. However, I found that as a wheelchair user, the wrap style isn’t that safe until little ones can hold their head up, which is why Alice is carried by Alex a lot more than by me! 

Alex, a white man with red hair and wearing glasses is looking towards the camera smiling. Alex is wearing a blue and pink jacket, and a black baby wrap which has Alice, a small white baby with brown hair inside.
Alex carrying Alice in the Hana baby wrap

2. Good ear and eye protection! 

Tiny ears and eyes are extra-sensitive. A baby’s hearing can easily be damaged by loud noises and speakers if too close. For us, getting Alice not one but two pairs of Banz Baby ear defenders was a no brainer. Having two pairs means we can keep a pair at Alex’s and a pair at mine, which means no worrying about losing ear defenders and having no backup, or worse, leaving them at the one house when going to an event from the other! True story; Alex didn’t know about the second pair until I took Alice with my dad to her first Chelsea match! He was panicking about her having no ear defenders until I sent a photo of her second pair attached to the carrier, ready for when we got to Kingsmeadow! 

A selfie of Alex, a white man with red hair wearing clear framed glasses carrying Alice, a white baby with brown hair wearing light blue and black ear defenders.
Alice rocking one of her pairs of ear defenders!

As for eyes, sunlight can damage little eyes, and it can be hard to find suitable sunglasses for babies. Luckily, Banz Baby also have a selection of matching sunglasses to go alongside their ear defenders! The sunglasses fit around the head using an adjustable headband, and both the ear defenders and sunglasses can be used until the little one is around 2 years old before needing to move up to the next size. 

3. A good changing backpack

I have raved about this changing backpack in a previous post, but it really is excellent for days out, going to large events, travelling and just as your usual day to day changing bag. Not only does this particular bag from Amazon have a big main compartment for a change of clothes, snacks etc. It also has a bottle pocket that can store three bottles, a phone charging port (need your own battery pack) and a pocket for baby wipes! The most significant function for me, however, is the inbuilt cot and changing mat. Not only does it mean you can change your little one with privacy, but they can also nap in it when out and about during the day if at a picnic, for example. The cot also features a sun canopy for protection on sunnier days or as a barrier against the wind when using it when outside. It’s important to note that the inbuilt cot isn’t suitable for overnight sleeping, however, so you’d still need a travel cot if going away. 

Overall, large events can be done with a bit of planning and organisation beforehand. However, having a baby doesn’t mean life has to stop! You can very much still have a life and attend events like Christmas light switch on, Pride, picnics, fun days etc., with your bundle of joy! 

Do you have any tips to help new parents who want to go to events with their little ones? Then, share them in the comments! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Introducing Your Pet To Your Newborn

If there’s one situation we had to spend months preparing for before we had Alice, it was getting Fudge used to no longer being the only baby in the house and preparing him for the arrival of our bundle of joy! Yes, I’ll admit it, I’m one of those chihuahua owners who babies their dog. Although he’s almost 8 years old, Fudge is a rescue we’ve had for just over 4 years, and from the start, I’ve let him get away with things such as sleeping on the bed with us and having free run of the house. However, we have also trained him with basic commands like sit, stay, wait, down etc. and knew that these basic commands would help massively with the arrival of a new baby in the house! 

Due to Fudge’s history, he hates and is scared of anything or anyone he doesn’t know. We have to lock him away if strangers come to the house, which isn’t great as his separation anxiety goes through the roof. However, we enlisted the help of a behaviourist after getting gran home in 2020 to help with socialising Fudge enough that he’d accept people and gradually get used to those who need to visit repeatedly, as well as working on his anxiousness. When meeting someone new, Fudge is prepped beforehand with calming remedies from Vita Canis and given many treats and fuss whilst the person is there. On the first visit, the person is told to completely ignore Fudge, then the second visit, or if the first visit is long enough, Fudge will gradually go toward the person to sniff them out and eventually allow them to fuss him. It’s meant that he gets on really well with my community nursing team and Alice’s health visitor. It’s also meant we’ve been able to get him to accept friends and family who regularly visit as well. 

Thankfully when it comes to babies and toddlers, we know from experience that Fudge is protective of them and takes to them a lot quicker than adults and older children. For example, he took to Archie, my 2-year-old brother, almost straightaway as Archie never corners him and always allows Fudge to go to him when he wants to play or have cuddles. With Alice being newborn, we knew the introduction would be easy from this experience. However, we still wanted to prepare him as best as possible since Alice would be at home all the time, whereas Archie only comes over a couple of times a month. 

So how did we do it? 

Well, there were several things that we did to prepare Fudge for Alice’s arrival in the months before she was born. 

1 – Setting up the main items earlier.

We had Alice’s pushchair up at 20 weeks, mainly so I could get used to the handling of it by pushing Archie around. However, it allowed Fudge to get used to something new in the house. Then 6 weeks later, we set up Alice’s Snuzpod. Fudge has free run of the house and is allowed on the beds and sofa, so we needed him to learn that this one bit of space isn’t for him, and he isn’t allowed there. Luckily, he learned quickly, which is why he’s still allowed to sleep in our room. 

2 – Calming remedies

We use a combination of calming remedies with Fudge. For example, even before Alice was born, we were using Zylkene each day after it was recommended to us by his behaviourist to take the edge off of his anxiety. We also have two plug-in diffusers from Pet Remedy to create a relaxing environment in the house for Fudge and use calming remedies from Vita Canis before any significant events like going to the vets or groomers and when people come to the house. Before bringing Alice home, I had dad put both comfort blend and calming spray on Fudge to help him relax. 

3 – Allowing Fudge to smell Alice’s clothes before washing them 

If you know that you’re likely to be in the hospital after birth, then taking some of the clothes that your baby has worn and allowing pets to sniff before washing enables pets to pick up baby’s scent so that it won’t be so difficult when it comes to the meeting. For example, I had dad take Alice’s clothes home once we’d been downgraded from NICU to transitional care so that Fudge had a few days to get used to Alice’s smell. It meant that when we came home, Fudge sniffed Alice and then left her for a while before going back to her a few times and laying next to us.

4- Using muslin squares

If you don’t feel comfortable letting your pet sniff your baby’s clothes, you could also get muslin squares to place under them, which pick up their scent and leave those in various locations around the house. We also did this with Fudge and popped some in her Snuzpod so that Fudge knew why that was a space he couldn’t go in. We also put them in her car seat so that Fudge knew she’d be in there sometimes too, which helped when getting home as he didn’t jump at the car seat when we arrived. 

Using all of the above tips, we quickly managed to get Fudge and Alice to live alongside each other to the point that not only is Fudge allowed to sleep in our room still, but this photo was taken a couple of days after Alice arrived home! 

Alex, a red haired man with glasses and wearing a dark green hoodie is smiling whilst holding Fudge, a blonde and tan chihuahua in one arm and Alice, a small white baby with brown hair in the other.
Alex holding Fudge and Alice!

Did you have trouble introducing your pets to your new edition? Or do you have other tips that worked for you when preparing your pets and introducing them to your newborn? Comment them below! 

This post contains affiliate links. This means that we receive a percentage of the revenue made from purchasing products when you click on a link. This does not affect you as the consumer or the price of the product or service. It is also not a paid for promotion or a collaboration/advert.

Meet Our Little One!

TW: This post details our NICU journey and the reason why our baby needed NICU. 

Following on from our birth story blog posts, it’s time to introduce our little one to you all, as well as what happened next! 

Our little miracle and fighter, Alice Frances Margaret, was born at 0710 on 21st August 2021, weighing 2480g. She came into the world face up, which meant the first of Alice’s many facial expressions we were greeted with was her extremely grumpy one which Alex managed to get a photo of. 

Alice, a small white baby with brown hair is wrapped in a white towel and wearing a white hat. Alice has various bruises from the forceps on her face and is extremely grumpy!
Alice at 23 minutes old!

Perfect in every way, I was so glad to get some skin to skin with her. However, my right arm had been severely affected by the epidural, which meant I couldn’t lift my arm or move it very well, so Alex and Paige, the midwife who took over from Sarah shortly after Alice was born, had to help me with holding her. All was going perfectly until 79 minutes after Alice’s birth. 

People always say expect the unexpected, but what happened at 0829 on that Friday, just 79 minutes after Alice’s birth, shook both Alex and me to our cores. It really was the worst moment of our lives so far, as Alice stopped breathing while on my chest, and we didn’t even realise it. I genuinely thought that Alice had fallen asleep on my chest. Even when I mentioned it to the nurse looking after us in recovery in search of reassurance, the fact that she didn’t respond made us both think it was ok. It wasn’t until Paige came back in 30 seconds later and realised what had really happened that all hell broke loose. 

Having your baby swiftly taken off of you and seeing medical staff resuscitate them whilst the emergency buzzer means more medical staff are swarming into help is something that neither of us would wish on our worst enemy. I honestly thought we’d lost our baby, and Alex was that focused on trying to see what was being done to Alice that one of the staff had to try and force him to come and comfort me as I was being pushed out of the bay to a different area of recovery. We had no idea at that moment in time if our baby would make it. The 15 minutes it took to find out the update was the longest 15 minutes of my life. It truly felt like hours. 

The doctor who came to give us the initial update on Alice happened to be one of the doctors who looked after my mum in 2013 when she was fighting for her life in ICU. The second he said Alice was breathing, I felt the most enormous wash of relief pour over me. It didn’t matter that they were still trying to stabilise her and that the neonatal team were transferring her to NICU at that point, she was alive, and that was all that mattered. 

Shortly after the initial update, I was transferred back to the labour ward, and Alex came with me. At this point, I was trying to process exactly what had just happened to us, but if I’m honest, my brain couldn’t take anything in. As soon as I saw my dad and he realised that Alice wasn’t with us, I burst into tears once more because I couldn’t get out exactly what happened and Alex had to tell him for me. It would be another 24 hours before my dad met his first grandchild, as our NICU had a rule that grandparents could only visit on weekends in the afternoon due to covid. Still, it was a lot more lenient than most NICUs in the UK. At the time of writing this blog post, some weren’t even allowing parents to visit their child/ren together. 

Soon we received another update from the doctors working on Alice, and with them came the news that our baby was finally stable but not yet out of the woods. One of us was allowed to go and see her, but I couldn’t push myself in my wheelchair, so I told Alex to go down and get lots of photos and videos for me until I could go myself. As upset as I was that we weren’t going together, I knew that Alex would be able to prepare me for when I finally got to see Alice. After Alex got back, we were moved to postnatal, so I sent dad home to get some rest before bringing the colostrum we’d harvested to the hospital. I was an absolute hot mess, so before going to neonatal myself to check up on Alice, Alex helped me get showered and changed. He then briefed me on all the rules and what to expect, but if I’m honest, nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to be wheeled into. 

Having a baby in NICU is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. Seeing your child so unwell and not being able to hold them is tough. Once Alex wheeled me down, and we’d both washed our hands, he took me over to Alice. She looked so unhappy, which make me shed tears once more. She was covered in wires, hooked up on oxygen and on fluids. Her incubator felt like this massive barrier; I couldn’t hold her or do skin-to-skin to comfort her. It was a far cry from how everyone expects the first few hours after giving birth to go. Thankfully, one of the nurses came over to ask if I wanted to put my hand in and comfort her that way, which I jumped at the chance to do. I felt awful for Alex, who couldn’t hold or touch Alice the entire time she was in NICU. It wasn’t until Sunday, when Alice was on transitional care, that he got to hold her for the first time since she’d stopped breathing 2 days earlier. On the other hand, I got my first cuddle on Friday night whilst being able to feed her. However, it was filled with anxiety as the position I had her in for feeding was the same position she was in when she’d stopped breathing 12 hours before. 

Alice, a small white baby with brown hair is laying on a pastel yellow and pink coloured patterned mat in an incubator. She is wearing a nappy as has oxygen prongs in her nose, a cannula on her right hand and various wires over her body. She looks very grumpy!
Alice in NICU

Although Alice was out of NICU after 40 hours, followed by 2 days on transitional care before going home, those 40 hours taught me so much about a world few know about. Being NICU parents really showed Alex and me just how strong we are, even if we doubted that strength before. Before going home, we managed to catch up with Paige, the midwife who literally saved Alice’s life and between her and the neonatal doctors got as much information as we could. Unfortunately, not all the questions were answered; we’ll never know the reason why Alice stopped breathing. The fact she did in the first place shocked even the team looking after us, especially as Alice had an Apgar score of 9 just 1 minute after birth and then a perfect 10 at 5 minutes. A few have asked us if my Group B Strep infection caused it or if the reduced fetal movements played a part, which again is something we’ll never know. However, although we were fully covered with antibiotics for Group B Strep, Alice’s infection markers were raised when checked, so she was placed on IV antibiotics for a few days as a precaution. Since we’ll never know what caused her to stop breathing, we have been warned it could happen again. It’s something I constantly hope doesn’t happen, but if it does, Alex and I both know how to resuscitate babies and infants thanks to work. 

September is NICU Awareness Month, and we’re so proud of our little fighter who made it through. We’re forever thankful to all the staff who worked on Alice and got her well enough to come home as quickly as she did. We’re also grateful for the support of Bliss, a charity here in the UK that provides information and support to parents of babies born premature or sick, as well as research into improving care and treatment.

Alice, a small white baby with brown hair is wearing a white vest and laying on her back with her head turned to the side in her snuzpod, which has a white sheet with grey stars on the mattress. There is a grey blanket covering Alice and she is asleep.
Alice Now!