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mwah_xx

mwah_xx
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Member since: 23.07.2010

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    • More +
      24.08.2013 20:13
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      I love it - anyone with a baby should have one

      You may have seen my previous review on the bjorn, well after a lot of begging, pleading and a test week with my friends baby carrier, I finally brought home my new baby toy, my beautiful ergo!

      *THE CARRIER*
      The ergo is what is known as a soft structured carrier (SSC) which clips around your waist then your baby is sat in a tummy-to-tummy position with you. It's available in a variety of colours, the colours mean a variation in price and there are limited editions out there. We have gone with the very boring camel coloured for no other reason that it was the only one in the shop at the time!

      The ergo (or Elmo as the husband has started calling it) works by clipping round your hips with a padded strap, which is adjustable so both parents can wear it, you then hold your baby with their legs spread round your waist, pull the shoulder straps on (again they are padded) which pulls the back support up round your baby and allows them to "sit" and clip the shoulder straps together. William feels so secure I had no problem with using my hands straight away rather than protectively hovering them round William in the carrier which negates the reason for me using the carrier (to have my hands free!)

      The material which comes over William forming his back support, comes with a very handy pocket (think phones, card, keys) which I use when I am shopping with him to save trying to carry a big handbag as well. And a hood which can be clipped to the shoulder straps using poppers. I feel that the hood is multifunctional, it acts as a support when he falls asleep, it can aid sleep by blocking out all visual stimulation, and the other day when I forgot Williams sun hat, it protected his head from the sun on my dash to the car!

      *THE CARRIES*
      As we only got this when William was 10 months old we moved straight onto normal carries, of which there are 3; the front, the back and the hip carry. You can only start using these carries once your baby is 12lbs (5.5kgs) before this you can use a branded insert with the carrier which makes it suitable from birth (well from7lbs or 3.2kgs) until you move on. Obviously getting the ergo at 10 months William was well within the weight limit so I have no experience with the insert. And for those who think it may be a bit silly getting a new carrier so late in the game; the ergo can be used until your child reaches 45lbs (12kgs) I think we have a long way to go until our monster hits that!

      *FRONT CARRY*
      You are only able to carry in a tummy-to-tummy position, not in a forward facing position. This doesn't mean that your baby will not be able to see out, William is able to look left and right, pull one arm out of the top of the ergo (he isn't quite big enough to be sat higher yet!) and most importantly if he gets overwhelmed (doesn't happen very often) he can immediately hide in my boobs until he's feeling braver. This also helps him sleep as his head is directly on my breastbone so he can hear my heart beating.

      The ergo sits the baby so their knees are higher than their bum which is a more natural position and is the way you would carry them if you didn't have a carrier strapping them to you. So Williams feet are poking out either side, his head at the top, and as he gets bigger his shoulders will be out of the top of the carrier too. But he is not restricted in any way, his arms are free for him to suck his fingers, he can touch what he wants when he wants (generally stroking my hair) I love that his arms are not pinned out like they are in so many other carriers.

      The front carry is simple to do, easy to manage on your own which is often essential, the stages of me putting it on are as follows:
      1. Clip the waistband round my hips and adjust if husband has been wearing it and fiddled with it!
      2. Pick William up, hold him in a tummy-to-tummy position with his bum resting on the top of the waistband, his legs either side of the back material
      3. With one arm holding William I pull the material up his back so he is secure and I bounce him down to get him comfy
      4. Pull the shoulder straps on one by one
      5. Clip the straps together with the back strap
      6. Away we go!

      My main bugbear with the bjorn was William got very heavy very quickly and my back was in massive amounts if pain. William now weighs somewhere in the region of 19lbs (9kgs-ish) and I can comfortably wear him in this for the whole of my weekly shop (90 minutes at least) and I tend to wear him for walks in it when I have forgotten to take the pram out of the car and the car has gone off to work with the husband! The weight is distributed across your hips and back, and it really is no different to the weight you'd feel carrying your baby in your arms, except of course your arms don't feel like they are about to drop out of their sockets!

      *OTHER CARRIES*
      I'll touch briefly on the other carries that you can do, although I have only tried the back carry once!
      BACK CARRY; in brief this is like having your child in a piggy back position without you needing to hold on and them needing to cling on. So far I have been unsuccessful in every attempt to do this on my own and my husband needs to help me otherwise we have major fear that we will have William falling. I have watched countless youtube videos and know it can be done, but I think I need to first of all do this over the bed and second of all wait until he is bigger and will cling onto me when I tell him too. This carry will come into its own as he gets bigger and doesn't want to snuggle with mummy. And as mentioned you can use up to 45lbs which I believe is the average weight of a 4 year old, I can sense it coming in handy to the strains of "I want a piggyback etc."
      HIP CARRY; I haven't tried this at all yet, though the idea behind it is that you carry on your hip in a natural child holding pose. The reason I haven't tried it yet is that you need to readjust the straps and buckles to allow the support to be in the correct places for baby and you, and so far my sleep deprived brain hasn't got its head around it. Though I need to study youtube as this is the perfect hold for the 4:30 whine time, pick me up, I want to be held, all while I'm trying to get his dinner ready. The hip carry would mean I have both hands free to chop and that he is away from anything potentially dangerous (knives, cooker etc)

      *COST*
      It's not the cheapest carrier out there retailing at £80 for an original. For the length of time you get to use this I think it is worth every single penny. Especially if you have a clingy baby who needs to be close to mummy even though mummy has things she needs to do.

      *PROS*
      - baby held in a comfortable position which is not detrimental to their hip development
      - machine washable for when you get baby drool, baby vomit, mummy's dinner....on it
      - 3 different types of carry that you can change to suit your baby
      - handy pocket allowing you to leave the bag at home for short trips (ie ones where you don't take nappies!)
      - hood to hide visual stimulation and help promote sleep
      - great for settling an upset fussy baby by holding against your chest
      - comfortable padded straps
      - weight of baby evenly distributed and you don't end up with back ache
      - easy to take out and about with you, fits in a bag, bottom of the pram and is always n hand if I need it

      *CONS*
      - you need to buy a separate insert to use from birth
      - back and hip carry are tricky

      *SUMMARY*
      Even though William was starting to get restless with the bjorn, in the ergo he is happy to be carried for as long as I want to carry him which says something as he is now on the move and generally wants to be on the floor to crawl and stand.

      I love it and would recommend to anyone with a baby!

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      • More +
        05.08.2013 19:39
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        Snugly mr panda just not quite for bedtime

        Having foolishly left Mr Cow our sons bedtime blanket on holiday I even more foolishly sent my husband off to buy a replacement, he came back with this blanket and no idea that he had even done anything wrong.

        *PANDA BLANKET*
        A beautiful and bright tactile blanket with a range of different textures for little hands (and mouths of course) to explore with a large panda rattle head. A fantastic piece of tactile learning that is not conducive to sleep as of course there is too much going on (fail for hubby!) so instead of making it to the hallowed space of the cot poor panda has been added to the toy box and not even the home toy box, the toy box in the back of the car (on 3 all say ahhhhhh)

        *PANDA HEAD*
        At one corner of the blanket is a large panda head which is of course, a rattle. The rattle is not over load and sounds as though it is a single bell inside the panda head. William is able to make the rattle make noises both by shaking (and shaking and shaking) the blanket and also by squeezing the panda head, though more noise is made during "shaky" time. Pandas ears and arms are made from the lovely crinkly stuff that babies seem to adore though William is more likely to overlook these in favour of shaky shaky. The arms are covered in a black felt which picks up every piece of fluff going, currently our poor panda arms look like he has some form of white spot disease.

        *TACTILE BLANKET*
        One side of the blanket is made up of 6 different materials in a patchwork style edged with black satin which is tied in knots on the other 3 corners where there is no panda head! When we are in the car and William is busy playing with panda I often look and see him sucking one of the knots and generally gnawing it like a dog at others so I have to assume that it both tastes nice and is soothing for teething pains.
        1. Red satin square
        2. Blue furry square with what I can only describe as a snakeskin pattern
        3. Orange cotton square
        4. Green cotton square
        5. Purple cord square
        6. Yellow velour square
        Each square contrasts to the others and Williams favourite is the yellow square. When he isn't busy stroking this, I often see the blanket being slapped with both hands as he's lying on his belly amid squeals of delight (especially when he hits the head and makes it rattle)

        The whole thing is backed with a red velour material which is lovely and soft to touch.

        *OUR USE*
        As I said the main purpose of buying this was to replace as a comforter, this is far too exciting to do that whilst in the cot however out of the cot William is too old to get full enjoyment from this as he isn't limited in what he can explore as he is (and was when we got this) fully mobile to explore rugs, tiles, carpets, bits of fluff, random peas from dinner etc. I imagine this would have been wonderful as a newborn when you are trying to introduce bits of the world to them slowly. As it is, we still find he likes to use this when confined in spaces such as the car seat. Another use we have from this now he is older is to play the game peekaboo, its a perfect size for him to lift to his face and pop out from behind.

        *COST*
        We bought this from debenhams at the grand total of £9, there are other stockists out there but it seems t be a fairly consistent price.

        *WASHING*
        Again, as with all Lamaze toys this is a surface wash only toy. So far I haven't put it in our washing machine but I have no qualms about doing so given my experience of putting other Lamaze toys in the machine successfully. As I say, it attracts all sorts of fluff that sometimes a surface wash will not remove. And we must not forget the fact that baby's vomit, regularly, on everything....!

        *RECOMMENDED?*
        I'd recommend this blanket for younger babies, it is something you could use from birth and chances are your baby could get totally attached to this and it become the security "lovey" I was looking for, though I do think it is too stimulating to be associated with sleep.
        William definitely gets bored of this quickly due to his age I suspect so it only has a short shelf life (or a 5 minute play window) and so for that I will have to knock off a star. For my husband, well I think he deserves only 1 out of 5 stars for getting it so wrong!

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        • Lamaze Freddie Firefly / Baby Toy / 70 Readings / 68 Ratings
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          04.08.2013 08:17
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          Freddie the firefly flew straight into my heart

          Armed with vouchers from work and heavily pregnant I stormed down Oxford street to spend spend spend! While in John Lewis I decided my poor little one had no toys to play with (not realising that he wouldn't actually care for toys until he was older) and I absolutely fell in love with Freddie the firefly (or as grandma calls him fredfly she just can't get her head round it!)

          *FREDDIE*
          My little mate Freddie the firefly caught my attention because he is so brightly coloured. His body is bright and bold primary colours in solid blocks, with the "activity" wings being patterned and bright. The back of the wings are strong black and white designs, this was better when my little one was a newborn as they have no concept of colour and it is said that you should stimulate their sight using black and white patterns.

          Freddie is a tactile toy, with a variety of different textures, sounds and colours to help mould young minds, I have found it means my little one uses four out of 5 of his senses; touch, hearing, sight and of course being a baby with everything going into his mouth, taste!

          *HIS BODY*
          Freddie's body is made up of 5 primary coloured sections in the shape of a caterpillar. Each section is a different fabric giving little fingers a chance to explore and stroke. My sons personally favourite is the top section where the face is, though that is possibly because of the way Freddie's nose is means that it fits perfectly into his mouth (for a kiss not to bite of course.....) the 6 legs are all knotted for another thing to explore as are the antenna and again these are all different fabrics to help exploration. When my son was littler the body was far to large for his hands so it wasn't really a toy we could hand to him, this has changed now he is older and he can hold Freddie in a variety of ways, including his body!

          At the top of his head is a sturdy hook which means you can attach to car seat handles, prams, bouncy chairs so when your baby decides to fling (and fling they will) you can be sure of not losing Freddie. This hook has also become an extra feature for my little one, when not attached to his car seat he will use it to fling Freddie round and as an extra teething tool.

          At the bottom of his body are 2 plastic rings in orange and red. Again these are either used to hold Freddie but more often than not these are straight into his mouth to bite down on. Very sturdy rings and I have no worries that they might unattach themselves from Freddie and even if they did, they are of a big enough size for me not to worry (too much) about a choking risk until I could shoot across the room to remove from his (tight) grasp.

          *THE WINGS*
          This is where all the activities of Freddie are situated. Each wing is split into 2 with each portion having a separate activity on. All the wings are that lovely crackly noisy variety that babies, in particular my baby, loves, he likes to scrunch and suck the wings.

          The top left wing is just a cotton feel crackly wing with a ladybird in felt sewn on, my son isn't that interested in this wing as the others hold much more appeal. Below this the wing has a squeaky ball and a fluffy ball attached. My son loves the sound of the squeak and it captures his attention across the room, but he has no strength to actually make the squeak himself even now at 10 months old when he is well versed in making his other toys make noises by squeezing. The right wing top section has a lift up flap with a mirror underneath, mirrors are our absolute favourite for laughing into, for hitting (though this one is too small to hit) and most of all for licking. William gives this one top marks for licking as the whole thing can fit in his mouth! Below this is a wing with a pocket and this has a teether that sits in the pocket. All was well and good when I just looked at Freddie and he wasn't an actual plaything but now he is rough housed with the teether no longer lives in the pocket. Again this is another mechanism for William to hold and swing Freddie round. Not the best as he then tends to hit me/himself with the toy, generally the HARD plastic rings at the bottom making one of us cry!

          *INTERACTION*
          This became a firm favourite about 3 months old when William realised that there was more to the world than eating, sleeping and of course pooping. We went on a 12 hour flight round this time, making Freddie fly passed about 2 hours of this. Of course when younger the interaction was more mummy and daddy waving this in his face! Nowadays this toy, while still loved has been relegated in favour if toys which make more noise and are generally more irritating, however this is still a firm favourite when out and about as it fits easily into my changing bag, clips on the pram and cars eat and it isn't a matter of life and death if it gets left in the car overnight. He will now be entertained by Freddie as long as there is nothing more interesting to go after, and by entertained I mean flinging and chewing!

          *WASHING*
          As with all baby things it is inevitable its going to get grubby, its more inevitable that at some point it will end up covered in baby sick. Reading the instructions AFTER I bunged it in the washing machine on a normal 40 degree wash I discovered that it is actually hand wash only. Freddie came out no worse for wear from his ordeal in the washing machine (and is due back in again soon) remaining bright, with all parts in tact and no running of colours and I will definitely just do again this rather than hand wash, though obviously wouldn't recommend you ignore the instructions. Bad points here is that it does take rather a long time to dry, especially in the winter. This is where my bathroom towel radiator and the hook came in handy. Again probably not recommended but nothing melted and Freddie is as good as new.

          *COST*
          I bought Freddie at the premium price of £10, as small baby toys go it is at the higher end of the scale, but you're paying for a trusted brand which will stimulate them in a variety of ways, some which probably aren't even intended by Lamaze such as sucking the label! In my opinion its well worth the money and although he is being passed up for other toys, he is still taking pride of place in the portable toy box that is my handbag.

          *BEST AGES*
          We definitely got the most use and love out of Freddie between 4-8 months, once William was mobile he was off to the more interesting noisy toys only loving Freddie when confined to pram/carseat. Obviously mobility varies between baby to baby, and babies all enjoy different things.


          Freddie has definitely been a welcome addition to our toy box and I won't be relegating him to the cupboard "for the next one" just yet!

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          • More +
            02.08.2013 19:31
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            Rainforest in your living room

            On having a baby one if the phrases that gets banded about is "tummy time" and another is "independent pay". Having no clue whatsoever and being totally green behind the ears and totally petrified about being responsible for this new little life we were advised to buy a baby gym, and so we bought the fisher price rainforest gym, mainly due to the good reviews it received on amazon, with little clue as to what we would do with it!

            *WHAT IS IT?*
            It's a colourful mat, with a rainforest design through which 2 bars are arched over with hanging activities to entertain your little darling. Recommended from birth to 6 months but we have found that we still use this most days with our 10 month old, possibly not in the way originally intended but we are certainly getting our monies worth.

            *ASSEMBLY*
            It comes in 3 parts, the 2 arches which clip together and the mat where the arches slide through and anchor. It's simple to put together, however be warned once you have clipped the arches together there is really no going back as every time I've gone to pull them apart you have to wrench which such force you fear you are going to break it. As such this has meant it has stayed connected!

            *THE MAT*
            The mat, which is machine washable for when you have the inevitable sick incidents (or in our case the little poop accident during nappy off time) is brightly coloured which has always caught my little ones eye. It is a satin feel to the middle of the mat, which has various pictures of rainforest animals (monkey, frog, parrot, zebra, cheetah) and a big sun which has ribbon sewn on in a taggie form for little fingers to pull and play with as they get older. Around the edge of the mat is a silky border offering a different texture. And of course there is the obligatory crinkly sound in the form of a felt leaf which can be lifted up and down. The variety of textures have been fascinating to my little one and I often used to find him stroking the edge, especially when he was tired. When he was around 3 months old one of his favourite games was to sit on my knee and look at the mat and have me point out the frog, and the parrot, and the zebra, the bright colours really caught his eye and it gave me an extra 10-15 minutes out of the toy before going back to its original use of lying under the arches. Now he is older we still use this everyday, he now plays peekaboo with the leaf (for hours I might add!). The mat has several fabric loops sewn round the edge, this is to attach the toys which come with this to the mat to encourage tummy time, we did this at the very beginning (0-6 weeks) but soon stopped as he couldn't move to the toys and was more interested in just lying on his tummy.

            Other uses we've found with the mat is if you remove the arches it makes a great peekaboo sheet! We also took it on plane journeys (before he could move) so he could lie on the floor and we wouldn't be so worried about him lying on grubby dirty floors.

            Bad points on the mat; it is very thin so if you have hardwood floors I don't think it would be particularly comfortable for the baby. We have always had to put it on either a rug or the foam tiles you get. And although it is advertised as suitable for tummy time from birth, it is really no different to putting the baby on a towel on the floor as no extra support is offered to help in the very early days as they learn to use their arms. To combat this on occasion we rolled a small hand towel to pop under his chest to help him lift his head, however it would be a good feature to be included as it is on so many other gyms.

            *THE ARCHES*
            2 brightly coloured arches with hanging toys attached. The centre point of the arches is the control panel which comes with 2 volume options (loud and louder) and 3 musical options, music, rainforest sounds and what I think is music when you kick the bars. These play for 20 minutes continuously which is plenty of time in my experience, my little man is well and ready to leave the mat after that.

            Directly under this are 2 hanging butterflies which look as though they should be on a mechanical rotation, unfortunately these have to be turned by hand and it is certainly beyond my babies ability, let alone reach t turn them. These have come into play a lot more now he is bigger and more mobile and it is his first port of call to reach and grab as he loves the silky material they are made of. For littler babies they are something to look at but I think when smaller all attention is on the flashing lights behind the butterflies which flash in time with the music. We found that trying to swing the butterflies and have the lights on (which happens automatically when you switch the music on) was far too stimulating when he was little and often resulting in mass hysteria, never fun.

            Across each bar are the same fabric loops to hang toys from. This means that each toy is interchangeable and can be moved higher or lower to suit your babies needs. The other great thing about this is that you can remove most toys if your baby becomes over stimulated from too many toys. And again as they get bigger you can add other toys from your ever growing collection to the gym.

            Arches now he's bigger; are a tool to try and pull up on, are a great source of entertainment to shake and pull down on himself, are more fun to kick, provide an obstacle course to get round while crawling. I probably get more use now than I did when he was little as he will also circle the whole thing as if to see which space is best to go in through!

            Bad points; once they are clipped they are clipped. While they can still be folded in on each other so they aren't in a square formation but you still need a lot of space to store.

            *THE TOYS*
            The interchangeable toys are a mirror, a toucan soft touch rattle, an elephant with a spinning ball, a parrot with a spinning paddle and a soft monkey. My sons absolute favourite is the mirror, now this is probably because his favourite thing to do is to look at himself and lick his reflection. It has also acted as a wonderful teething tool!

            The monkey; didn't last long on the arch and has been relegated to the toy box. This is because it attaches by its tail and is very easy for even the youngest of babies to pull off. My son still likes this, again to suck on the tail, but all in all its probably not palsied with very often.

            The toucan rattle; my son has not been interested in once! The poor little toucan just bobs along and looks at my son in hope each day. Each day the edge of the mat has more appeal for him topics up and put down than poor mr toucan. Again, this is of 2 different materials, felt and satin so great for little hands to explore and makes a lovely rattle sound. I think It blends too well and can be overlooked by busy babies.

            The elephant; my son loves to kick this with his feet to make the balls spin!

            The parrot and paddle; this is the one that I play with most when playing with my son on the mat. He's not quite got to grips with the spinning rather than putting in your mouth but he loves to watch it spin, and it is the easiest for me to spin.

            *INTERACTION*
            We have used this nearly every day for my son and it has been a marvellous buy. Above I have outlined some of the ways that we have used this, especially now he is past the recommended age limit.

            In the early days it was a great way to grab a 5 minute break as this kept him occupied and happy. Even now I use this while I'm in the shower, this holds his attention on his back for all of 5 minutes before he crawls off, but still that's 5 minutes in the shower for me! I'm probably lucky still though as my son will lie on his back still for short periods of time, for babies that sit and stand I can imagine that the arches would become tools to pull up (as my son is desperately trying to do now but can't quite work it out) and to hit and push over.

            The music is catchy and not too annoying though it will get stuck in your head!

            *PRICE*
            We bought ours off amazon for £50. Which is a lot of money. However we have had constant use from this mat and will continue to use both the mat and toys if not the arches as he gets bigger.

            *RECOMMENDATION*
            I give this 4 out of 5, stars lost for storage issues as you can't unclip the arches, and the hefty initial layout as I think in part you're paying for the name (and to keep up with the joneses) however my little one loves this and I can see use continuing to use this for a while yet!

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            • Avent Microwave Steriliser / Nursing / 41 Readings / 40 Ratings
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              28.07.2013 19:24
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              Good for the occasional bottle not for full time basis.

              Even though I've predominantly breastfed my little one from the get go, there came an occasion where I tried to go to the cinema one night and didn't even get into the screen before I got called home to deal with a hungry crying baby. Following this he has had a bottle of milk every night. Only recently has this changed to formula rather than expressed milk so I had to make sure that both bottles and breast pump was sterilised daily.

              *HOW IT WORKS*
              It is a circular tub with a clip on on lid that goes into your microwave. I have a normal sized microwave and find this a bit of a farce to put in and take out as it is as wide as the microwave plate, especially not good when taking it out as it is hot!
              The base of this comes with a plastic tray with various indentations to hold bottles and breast pumps. This is blue in colour and covered in holes to allow the steam to rise through. Underneath this is a space of about 1.5cm where you pour 200ml fresh water which once heated in the microwave, provides the sterilising steam.
              Once you have filled the steriliser you then microwave for 6 minutes. The bottles inside then stay sterile until opened or up to 24 hours whichever is sooner. I found this plenty of time because I had minimal equipment that I needed to sterilise.

              *HOW MUCH FITS*
              As I said I only ever needed this for one bottle and one manual breast pump at a time. These fit easily. There is room for 4 bottle or for 2 breast pumps though an average newborn feeds anywhere up to 6 times a day (if you go by routines, I demand fed which felt like some days I was feeding 20+ times!) which is more bottles than the steriliser will hold, I imagine this is very inconvenient to have to re-sterilse bottles in the day. It serves its purpose wonderfully for irregular bottle feeders though.

              *WHAT NOT TO PUT IN THERE*
              Aside from the obvious, I have got a bit excited when cleaning some of his toys and thought to put them in the steriliser to make sure any germs were killed, I can safely say that water filled soft rubber teething rings burst, rattles lose their rattle and anything that has a mirror on it, well the mirror will bubble and buckle. Stick to bottles and dummies!

              *ONLY AVENT?*
              You'll be able to fit other bottles in here, but only wide necked bottles will fit in the indentations. Obviously being an Avent brand they are designed with Avent bottles in mind!

              *COST*
              We bought this for £24.99 in Asda as I was getting close to having my little one with no steriliser (at this point we didn't know if I would be able to breast feed or not) we choose this because it was the cheapest available an matched the bottle set we had bought. However if I was bottle feeding full time I would have gone out nd bought another!

              *USE*
              We still use this now, most days, just for the bottle (no more pumping yippee!) though when I'm feeling lazy the dishwasher also acts as a steriliser at the high temperature and the steam produced.

              *STORAGE*
              It is big so if you have a small kitchen its probably not the best. We currently store ours on top of the icrowave, though to be honest a lot of the time it lived in the microwave until I needed the bottles!

              *RECOMMENDED?*
              For occasional use only, otherwise I'd look at the more expensive plug in steam sterilisers.

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            • More +
              28.07.2013 08:36
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              Keeps your rooms as fresh as a daisy

              Babies, all they do is eat, sleep and poop. Obviously as they get a bit older they do a bit more but poop still features highly on the list. You clean it, you talk about it, poop in general is a big part of your life.

              Not realising quite how much a part of my life poop would become, whilst still pregnant we purchased the Tommee Tippee sangenic nappy bin, on offer in mothercare at the time, to put all those poopy nappies in!

              *WHAT IS IT?*
              Well, in simple terms, its a bin that stores dirty nappies. It's white and has a clipped lid which holds any smells at bay which alongside the nappy wrapping works remarkably well. I change the bin once a week-10 days when it is full and with the lid closed and nappies wrapped my sons room still doesn't smell at all.

              *NAPPY WRAPPING?*
              The way that the bin works is there is a refillable cassette that sits in the lid of the bin. You get one free when you purchase the bin then you have to keep buying the cassettes going forward. This cassette is filled with thin plastic bag material, it pulls through and you knot the bottom to seal it. This then is tucked up in a hook under the lid of the bin and you are good to go. The nappy drops through the hole, you push it down and then twist to seal it, put the lid down (which has a big plastic peg type thing) which means that the hole is open ready for the next dirty nappy. Continue until full! This results in a long sausage shape of nappies all wrapped in thin plastic, each separated by a twist. It seems to work at keeping the smell at bay, though it is starting to struggle more now we are eating real people food and as such are having real people poop.....

              *GETTING FULL*
              A small gripe, maybe I let the bin get too full, but towards the end you really have to force and push the nappies in the bin, which means prolonged contact with stinky nappies!

              *CHANGING THE BIN*
              One cassette tends to last me 2-3 weeks with one change in the middle of that. I have had one explosion in the 9.5 months I have used it, but oh my, it was horrific!
              Considering that the bin can have week old poop in it, the smell is not too horrific, as I've already mentioned, when the lid is closed on this you cannot smell anything in the room. To change, you take the whole top off the bin, slice the plastic with the handy slicer on the bottom of the top and your nappies are free to be disposed of. I used a swing bin bag to put over the top of the bin and tip upside down. This is when a whiff of poop and pee can escape up your nostrils! A carrier bag is just too small to do this job!
              In the whole time we have had one leak, other than that once the nappies are out the bin, the bin still smells fresh and normal. I tend to bleach and rinse this once each cassette is finished. Other than that any stray traces of poop, I simply use antibacterial spray to wipe and clean. Very easy.

              *COST*
              I bought mine from mothercare on offer at £9.99 with a RRP of something silly like £19.99. I always see these on offer so I wouldn't buy this full price, its definitely better to shop around.

              *CASSETTES*
              It is a little annoying that you have to replace with the approved cassettes which are more expensive (£10 for 3) but each cassette lasts me around 3 weeks so I don't find this too much of an issue. Yes nappy bags are cheaper, but I find that they don't contain the smell as well and I'd have to change the bin a lot more often with nappy bags!

              *RECOMMENDED?*
              I definitely would recommend, these are fab especially when you have a newborn who goes through what feels like hundreds of nappies a day as you both get to grips with pooping and changing! I never felt like I had an extra chore to do with emptying a nappy bin at the end of the day as this lasted a week. It's still coping well with real people poop and his room still smells as fresh as a daisy, if you do find your bin smelling, we put some olbas oil on cotton wool just inside. overall the bin is Well worth the money!

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              • Tommee Tippee First Cup / Nursing / 49 Readings / 48 Ratings
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                20.07.2013 19:59
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                A great starter cup for little ones

                As the little guy gets older I am finding that I need a whole host of new equipment just to meet his every day needs, the big one being that he now needs to drink water and not just milk. Cue endless trips to Boots to walk up and down the weaning section before deciding what to buy. If I'm honest I bought this one because it was the cheapest as well as the fact it can be used from 4 months plus.

                *WHEN I USED IT*
                I bought this before I started weaning my son so he could have this as a "toy" in his high chair before I introduced the concept of there being another source of nutrition other than mummy's boob! We used it (in none toy capacity) from 5 months through to 7 months. To be honest we would probably still be using it now if I hadn't gone on holiday and forgotten his cup having to buy a new one which he took to like a dream but that's another story....

                *THE CUP*
                When I went out looking I knew I wanted a free flow system to get my little one used to drinking rather than sucking. A free flow system is where no valve is used so you can tip it upside down and water just drips out. Not great for leaks!

                The cup itself is a simple design with 2 handles either side easy for little hands to hold onto. It holds up to 190mls but I have never filled it more than half full as it gets too heavy for my son to hold and lift to his mouth. The cup is made of coloured but clear plastic so you can see how much liquid is in there (or how much has been drank/spilt)

                The lid is made of opaque plastic which is a push on top. The spout is a flip spout that closes when pushed down (so no leaks in your bag). A big tip when taking the lid off make sure the spout is open because otherwise what I assume is a vacuum is created making it difficult to prise the lid off, requiring lots of force and water being thrown everywhere!

                One final point is that the cup is BPA free - good for babies!

                *MY SON AND THE CUP*
                From the get go my son has loved this cup, he liked the independence of being able to pick it up himself and the 2 easy grip handles have made that possible for him.

                The lid and spout are all made from hard plastic, while not good when the bang themselves in the head, great when they are teething, even when the cup was empty he would spend hours biting down on the spout which must have offered some relief for painful gums

                There have, however, been many many occasions when it has been more fun to tip the cup up and watch the water drip out. I think this is more my little one than a cup fault because even now he likes to drink and then open his mouth so the water dribbles out....

                *WHY WE STOPPED USING IT*
                As I said I forgot it when we went on holiday so "upgraded" to the next stage cup, again my little one took well to this and as the next cup wasn't free flow we relegated this one to the back of the cupboard as the free flow meant he was getting soaked every time he used it and needed a full outfit change.

                However, we have now found a new use for this, it has left our kitchen and now lives in the bathroom, its a great cup for hair washing!!

                *RECOMMENDED?*
                It's cheap (c.£2), its cheerful, its a great starting point. And if your little one doesn't take to drinking out of it then its a great bath addition!

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                • Packed Lunches / Recipe / 41 Readings / 39 Ratings
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                  15.07.2013 12:27
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                  Cheap filling food for thought

                  Now I am a stay at home mum with our little man I make the Mr his lunch every day to take to work. Being a fussy eater its a pain at the best of times, now he's decided to reduce the amount of bread he eats, well that's even worse!

                  Here is a snap shot of what I am feeding him this week if anyone would like to be inspired:

                  *QUICHE LORRAINE*
                  I make this myself and the recipe is as follows

                  1 pack ready roll short crust pastry
                  7fl oz single cream
                  3oz cheese (grated)
                  6 slices back bacon cubed
                  2 eggs
                  1 egg yolk
                  Salt and pepper

                  1. Grease a quiche dish. Mine has the loose base which makes it easy to pop out. Line with pastry and then prick with fork
                  2. Blind bake for 10-15 mins at 180 degrees. Blind baking is when you line the case with grease proof paper and weigh it down, I use rice personally, to stop it rising
                  3. In the meantime fry the bacon and out to one side
                  4. Whisk the eggs and egg yolk into the cream and season
                  5. Once the pastry case is baked, arrange bacon on top, sprinkle with the cheese then pour over the egg and cream mixture
                  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes

                  *SANDWICHES*
                  Now he is on a no bread diet so I am doing tortilla wraps currently filled with a variety of combinations

                  - coronation chicken (2 tbsp salad cream, 2 tbsp may, 1 tsp curry mixed with chicken and raisins)
                  - ham and cheese
                  - tuna mayo
                  - Cajun chicken

                  *SALADS*
                  Normal salads, pasta salads, potato salads all mixed up. Current favourite is "tuna pasta pesto"

                  1 tin tuna
                  200g pasta
                  2 tbsp pesto
                  Feta cheese to taste
                  3" cucumber

                  1. Cook the pasta
                  2. Mix all ingredients together

                  Voila! Of course if you are less fussy you can add more veg in there! To stop the pasta getting dry I often drizzle a bit of olive oil over it!

                  *AND THE REST*
                  Soups, baked potatoes and the old classic, last nights leftovers, the wonder of having a microwave in work!

                  Happy eating!

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                  • Avent Feeding Bottle 260ml / Nursing / 36 Readings / 36 Ratings
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                    14.07.2013 13:11
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                    Reliable and simple bottles

                    Before the little man arrived I wasn't sure whether I would be able to breastfeed and even if we could I always knew I wanted to be able to give bottles as and when required. So when a sale came on the newborn Avent bottle starter set the Mr grabbed it straight away.

                    *THE BOTTLE*
                    You can get 2 sizes of bottle; 4oz (125ml) and 9oz (260ml) with the idea being that when they are little you use the smaller bottles as feeds tend to be between 1-3oz migrating up to the larger bottles as they get bigger and their feeds need to be larger.

                    For those that don't know, as a baby gets bigger it requires a larger amount of formula as formula composition is the same from birth, however a breastfed baby will need a lower volume of breast milk as the breast milk composition changes to meet your child's needs. Either way once you hit 2-3 months you are generally up to the bigger bottle!

                    Both bottles are straight up and down and have clear markings down the side in ml, UK oz and US oz. ours have now been through the dishwasher numerous times and the markings are still in tact on all our bottles. The shape makes them ok for an adult to hold but its tougher for little hands and there are definitely easier bottles out there.

                    *USE OF SMALL BOTTLE?!*
                    A lot of reviews have said they see no point in the smaller bottle. To this day I still use the smaller bottle we received in our set namely for making up formula to go on his breakfast cereal. I find that the smaller bottle is easier for making smaller volumes of formula and I only use 3oz on cereal.

                    If you wanted to measure out just 1oz of formula (or 30ml) I find this nigh on impossible to do accurately in the larger bottle. Even though my little man is now 9 months old I do find that I still make up these small amounts of formula to "hide" in his food when I think he needs an extra boost of formula.

                    *PUTTING THE BOTTLES TOGETHER*
                    The bottles come in 5 parts:
                    - the actual bottle
                    - the teat (more on these later)
                    - an "anti-colic" ring
                    - the screw top which holds the teat
                    - the lid

                    Very simple to put together, you pull the teat through the screw top. You place the anti-colic ring on top of the bottle, you screw the teat on and the push the lid on. Easy peasy. The good thing about this is that as every piece comes apart you can clean each piece separately and thoroughly.

                    TIP; don't forget to use the anti-colic ring. If you forget to put this on then the bottle leaks everywhere, cue the sour spilt milk smell radiating from all surfaces.

                    *TEATS*
                    There are a variety of teats you can buy which fit all the bottles. Bonus as it means that as your baby gets bigger you don't need to replace the whole bottle!

                    Size 1 - new born
                    Size 2 - 1m
                    Size 3 - 3m
                    Size 4 - 6m

                    Each teat comes with the size number on, useful as they all look the same if you have forgotten to get rid of your old ones. We found that as the little man was predominantly breastfed we used the teats for a lot longer than normal, he didn't move up to size 3 teats until he was 4.5 months old as he was used to working harder for the milk and could still down a bottle in 5 minutes!

                    We have never suffered from nipple confusion using Avent bottle and teats and I'd hope that continues because if my nipples ever looked like these teats, well, it wouldn't be pretty! The teats are large and elongated. The perfect size for little mouths to latch onto.

                    *CAN BE USED WITH.*
                    The whole Avent range; sterilisers, breast pumps (handy as milk is decanted straight into the bottle) bottle warmer s, you name it there is sure to be an Avent version.

                    *RECOMMEND*
                    I'd recommend these bottles, they work well for us, they are easy to clean, my son took to them well and they are inexpensive in comparison to ther bottles out there.

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                    • Bumbo Baby Seat / Nursing / 59 Readings / 56 Ratings
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                      05.07.2013 19:44
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                      Sitting on my bumbo but for how much longer?

                      Until you have a baby you never really understand all the associated stuff that comes with the little creatures! One such thing which wasn't even around when I was a young one is the slightly controversial Bumbo.

                      *WHAT IS IT*
                      A bumbo is a piece of moulded plastic that is designed in order to help a baby sit. The theory behind this is that it helps to "teach" a baby how to sit but I still think that babies will still do their own things in their own time no matter what gadget or gimmick you buy to assist them. In my mind it looks as though they used took a cylinder of clay, sat a baby in it and then removed the baby leaving you with the resulting seat.

                      A seat designed to be used only on the floor - and herein lies the controversy - a recall was made to fit a waist strap on all models as it had been reported that babies were falling out and being injured. It has since transpired that a lot of these cases were due to incorrect use of the bumbo. The waist strap is fiddly and awkward to use and involves a lot of fishing around and squishing your child.

                      Available in a range of colours, pink, blue, green there is something for everyone!

                      *WHEN TO USE IT*
                      Designed to be used when the baby is desperate to sit but not able to hold themselves unaided a baby will need good head control and reasonable back strength. We started using ours when our little one was 4 months old and I still use it now (he's now 9 months old).

                      There is a maximum weight of 10kg but no mention of minimum weight. I mention this namely because our son is a smaller baby (25th percentile for those who follow growth charts) and has also inherited daddy's skinny legs. This meant that when we first put him in the bumbo he had a lot of wiggle room and could twist and turn. At times I was worried he was going to arch himself backwards out of the darn thing! This risk has reduced now he is bigger and it fits snugly as intended, now I am just waiting for the day I have to contend with him throwing himself forward out of it!

                      *GETTING OUT*
                      Now my little one is bigger getting him out isnt as easy as it used to be because his little legs, whilst still skinny, are chunkier. I now have to pull him to a standing position (oh how he loves to stand...) where he's stood with the bumbo on his bum, then I have to pull it off. Quite an amusing sight.

                      *HOW WE USE IT*
                      In the beginning; it was namely my tool so I could get in the shower. I used to pop him in, jump in the shower and play peekaboo with the shower curtain. Kept him entertained, meant I could keep an eye on him and of course the old "it helps them learn to sit"

                      Moving onto solids; it became my portable "highchair" easy to chuck in the car and it meant we could feed on the go when visiting those without kids. It also comes in handy on play date days when there is a queue for the highchair and crying hungry babes.

                      Now he can sit on his own; I still use it to feed in situations where the highchair isn't available. I find that although he can sit when I try and feed him without the bumbo he tends to lunge forward to try and practice his crawling, or to pull my hair, or get the spoon...you get the picture. The bumbo means that he is held in an upright position and I can actually get his dinner into him.

                      Going forward; I think this will still be a useful tool, especially because we have a way to go to the 10kg weight limit. I will only be able to use it to feed, especially as he is getting more mobile and does not like being confined.

                      *COST*
                      With an RRP of £39.99 this is not cheap, especially as that comes without tray. Though mothercare currently have this on offer (July 2013). The problem with paying £40 is the limited time span you can use it for. We are able to go longer than most I would say because my son is smaller and because he is quite happy to be popped in and fed in it. We have had 5 months use out of it, but realistically I would say you'd probably be pushing your luck to still put your 9 month old in. On top of that, it is used infrequently (if it is used)

                      *CLAIMS ON HELPING TO SIT EARLIER*
                      We've used this on and off with my son since he was 4 months old, he only became a happy confident sitter at 8 months which I don't think is early at all (he much preferred to roll about) so I personally don't think it makes any difference babies do what they want when they feel like it!

                      *RECOMMENDED*
                      I think they have their place and they are good to own. However if you can borrow one or buy it second hand do it that way instead due to limited shelf life!

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                      • More +
                        04.07.2013 07:43
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                        Pregnant 2-3 weeks; in other words your life is about to change forever

                        February 2012 we discovered that I was pregnant with our little boy....and thanks to clearblue knew roughly how pregnant!

                        *BACKGROUND*
                        We went away on our annual backpacking trip in January 2012, before we went away we decided that we should throw my pill packet away and see what happened! So off we went, living dangerously with no pill, enjoying lots of red wine (did I mention we were in Argentina??) and caipirinhas (then brazil!) when all of a sudden my other half changed the ball game and proposed! Cue us then deciding that when I got home I needed to go back on the pill until after the wedding. How little did we know that our little man had other ideas...

                        *BUYING THE TEST*
                        We came home and it had been 6 weeks since I stopped the pill, coupled with other symptoms such as sensitive boobs and nausea we threw a double pack of these in the trolley during our weekly shop at asda. They weren't too expensive at the time, £14 for 2 which given that in boots you can pay £12 for one I didn't think it was too bad. Just to digress a little bit, they are in the protected box so when we get to the till, on a busy Saturday afternoon to put the weekly shop through it took the checkout woman a good 7 minutes trying to open the box to give us access to the test, with a queue forming behind us, waving the test in the air until it finally got opened. I looked like a beetroot by the time we left. It was like she was waving a massive sign around saying these people have had sex....

                        *USING THE TEST*
                        You are recommended to use first morning urine with any pregnancy test as the level of hcg (pregnancy hormone) is more concentrated and you are more likely to get an accurate result. Now it was mid-afternoon by the time I got back and I wasn't waiting. So we sat there and waited until I needed to "go"

                        The tests come packaged in a box and then each individual test is foil wrapped. The instructions are clear and easy to follow giving diagrams on how you need to pee on a stick....opening the foil was relatively easy once I found the tear strip, I did use my teeth though (no pee involved at this point!) the pregnancy test is wider than many others on the market and has a screen about 1cm x 2cm where the results are read from. The absorbent tip is covered by a blue top which can be replaced once the deed has been done to stop pee getting everywhere. This top needs to stay on until you actually use the test to ensure that it is not contaminated by anything else which could cause an inaccurate result or test failure.

                        The test is no worse to hold than others when peeing, you still run the risk of getting yourself but to stop that you can test by collecting your pee and holding the test in it. I went for the traditional hold
                        Midstream for 5 seconds.

                        Now unlike most tests where you need to set a timer ad can watch as your pee travels along the test window this one flashes up with an egg timer until its ready. I think this is the best thing, no wondering if time is up or timing! I personally left it on the toilet seat and went to sit back down nervously awaiting with the other half.

                        *READING THE RESULT*
                        There are 4 possible results; not pregnant, pregnant 1-2 weeks, pregnant 2-3 weeks and pregnant 3+ weeks. The weeks are approximately how many weeks since conception, so pregnant 2-3 weeks would mean you were actually 4-5 weeks pregnant seeing as the first 2 weeks of pregnancy aren't actually weeks pregnant at all!

                        My other half was the one who went up to collect the test and I was stood at the bottom of the stair watching him, I swore he was joking as he did a mass gasp of surprise with eyes bulging at the test. It wasn't until he came down and put it in my hand did I see the "Pregnant 2-3 weeks" and believe him!

                        The result is obviously so clear there is no mistaking or squinting at a test thinking that you've seen a line or not seen a line.

                        *CONTINUING WITH THE TESTS*
                        As we had 2 tests I did another he next week to see progression onto 3+ weeks! I wouldn't have bought another test to do this but as we had one lying round! And they do expire

                        *WORTH THE MONEY?*
                        They are expensive. And they are less sensitive than the first response tests that are available so should only be used once your period is missed. But what a great confirmation!!

                        Make sure to take a photo if you want to keep a memory as they run out of battery and the display goes blank after about 12 hours. I have a photo and did a different test to keep so I can relive that oh my god I'm having a baby moment!

                        *RECOMMENDED?*
                        Yes as a confirmation tool if you are trying for a baby and testing early with Internet cheapies (as those who use baby forums should know about!) or if you miss a period. I wouldn't recommend to those who avidly test regularly as it will start to hurt your bank balance!

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                        • More +
                          30.06.2013 08:04
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                          I wouldn't buy into the hype again

                          Before our little one was born my husband was very excited about being "Superdad" with the baby in the carrier walking round the shopping centre while people go "ahhhhhh". So, with my handy boots points accumulated buying tons of baby things I purchased the baby bjorn classic and it must be said - without a lot of research! I once again fell into the "yummy mummy" trap of everyone is walking round with these it must be good.

                          *THE CARRIER*

                          We have the classic navy blue carrier though I believe you can get it in other colours (red and pink I have seen) but we didn't know whether we were having a boy or girl so went back to basics (plus it was all boots stocked at the time!)

                          The carrier arrived and we took our trusty baby size teddy to try it out. Now this poor teddy had already been subject to nappy changes, trying the pram out, the car seat so in it went to the carrier!

                          The carrier comes in 2 pieces, the "harness" for want of a better word which is worn across your back. And the front piece which supports the baby. You simply put the harness on your back, think like a pair of braces, and clip the front piece to the 2 clips at the bottom which joins the whole thing together. The baby (or teddy) then sits across the join and you pull the piece up and clip it around them (more on this shortly!)

                          Firstly - the harness, there is NO lower back support, all the weight is carried across the top of your back and shoulders. Though the weight is evenly distributed by the cross strap section, even more so when you position it correctly with the baby bjorn logo between your shoulder blades, you find that after a while the top of your back aches, the bottom of your back aches and you want to take the baby off!

                          The "front piece" a padded and relatively comfortable support for your baby. Depending on age and head strength you can wear the baby either forward facing to see the world or against you. Most parents start easing this with newborns as I did, so we start with the parent facing position. So you wrangle yourself into the straps in your sleep deprived state, your newborn looking up at you from their Moses basket thinking what on earth are you doing, clip the front piece on, pick the baby up and position the baby so their crotch is over the clips, still holding the baby to you think how on earth am I going to do this, sit and have a hormonal cry, work out you can do it (and it does get easier with practice!) and proceed as follows:

                          1. Baby sat across the bottom of the baby bjorn, facing you
                          2. One hand supporting your precious cargo use the other to pull the piece to your baby's back
                          3. 2 long clips either side around baby chest height, you lift up and slide in one ach side. These are colour coded so you know you are putting the right clip in the right hole
                          4. Bring the rest of the piece up, make sure your baby's arms are through the holes and clip on either side of their head
                          5. Use the straps to pull this tighter if needed creating a secure head support for baby
                          6. Pull straps on harness so comfortable as you would with a rucksack
                          7. Go about your business, hands free and more likely with a baby asleep on your chest as they are comforted by your heartbeat and being close to you.

                          This was a godsend during those first few weeks when he had his little fussy hour meltdowns, especially when said husband who was going to use this all the time (ahem another story) had gone back to work and I was alone in the day. I pottered round and sometimes it was the only way he would sleep.

                          WORD OF WARNING; our little one was small when he was born, only 6lbs7oz (or 2.9kg for anyone who wants new money) you can't use the bjorn until they are at least 8lbs (3.6kg) we had to shelve this until he was about 6 weeks old.

                          Moving on - your baby is aware of the world, they don't want to snuggle to mummy any more (yes its still mainly mummy that uses this despite daddy's big chat) so at around 3.5 months we switched to forward facing. Same process as above follows, but baby faces out instead of in (well duh) and instead of the top being uses as a head support you fold this over and clip, again with their little arms poking through the 2 holes so it is right up to their chin. This often results in a soggy carrier from teething dribble babies biting down on this! Most of the time we still use it this way (little man now 9 months old) but we do sometimes rather than putting him into a restricted star shape position, clip the top piece under his arms so he has his whole upper body free.

                          Now even as they get older you can still wear them parent facing, especially useful for nap time. In this case now he is older I only put one arm through into star position as he is a finger sucker to get to sleep and needs his hand by his mouth, not possible when they are at right angles to your body!

                          *PROS*

                          - can be forward and parent facing
                          - good to settle an upset newborn as their head is directly on your chest and by your heart
                          - not too expensive (we paid £64.99 and of course used advantage points so that was good)
                          - easy to store as its small
                          - great for travelling; airports and planes especially!
                          - small and squashy so easy to store and carry round with you

                          *CONS*

                          - is what as known as a crotch dangler ie baby is supported by their crotch which is not good for hip development
                          - as baby gets bigger it gets more and more difficult to wear and I have started wearing it for shorter time periods
                          - as baby gets more wriggly it gets more difficult to put on and often they don't like being contained
                          - I find it difficult to sit with it on, so if he's gone to sleep and I try to sit down I often wake him unless I squat and I look a bit strange!!
                          - changing it between my settings and my husbands settings, whilst easy (just like changing the straps on a rucksack) is still more of a pain than I'd like and it ends up me wearing it the majority of the time!

                          *WOULD I BUY AGAIN*

                          Knowing what I know now I probably would not buy this again, or if I was to buy a bjorn I would go for one of the newer (and more expensive) ones which has lower back support. We don't really use it as much as I thought we would, especially now he is a lot bigger its generally tossed in the bottom of the pram in case of emergency when out and requiring constant holding, or in airports when putting the pram through security/getting on the plane. Saying that it was fantastic in the house when he was a tiny (and light!) tot!

                          If you only want to use sporadically and you have good back strength then this is ok for you! Otherwise go out and look at what else is out there. I would look to buy another but I think I am firmly in the I am a pram user camp!

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                          • Bugaboo Bee / Pushchair & Pram / 48 Readings / 46 Ratings
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                            28.06.2013 17:39
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                            Bugaboo bee - every yummy mummy's dream

                            When my son was first born we invested in a second hand bugaboo cameleon for him, after a couple of months this broke (but was still usable) a couple of months after that my husband got a new job and as a result promised me a new pram which is where the bugaboo bee comes in! I've been using this since the little fella was about 5 months old.

                            *WHAT WAS I LOOKING FOR IN A PRAM*

                            This time instead of being sucked in by the "in crowd" of yummy mummies parading round the park with their bugaboos and their iCandys I decided to write a list of what I felt was important to me in a pram.

                            - The ability to fold as a one piece
                            - Able to be forward and parent facing
                            - Could be used with a maxi cosi car seat
                            - was light weight so I could carry it plus baby of required
                            - Could be used from newborn (forward planning I didn't want to spend a fortune and not get my money's worth! Wanted to use it for the next one if we are lucky enough to have a next one)
                            - Could fit in a small boot
                            - Could be used as he got bigger as well as when he was small!
                            - Could lie flat so he could nap in it (ha who was I kidding needing this ?!)

                            Round and round the shops I went trying out all these prams and each assistant said the same to me, you want the bee. Determined not to be trapped in the yummy mummy trap I continued on, only to admit defeat as the bee is the only one that can do all of the above. I am now that yummy mummy you see!

                            *THE BUGABOO BEE - A YUMMY MUMMY DREAM*

                            The pram itself, I think it is gorgeous to look at. The black seat and the customisable hood (and footmuff) adding a spot of colour. You'd think that you'd buy it all as one as a sun canopy is a pretty essential part of the pram, not so with bugaboo you purchase the sun canopy separately at a hefty price tag of £40 (mothercare June 2013).

                            - THE SUN CANOPY; as stated comes in a variety of colours, hot pink, blue, red, yellow, black and beige to name a few and that's before you even start to look at the custom ones, examples include missoni.
                            When the pram is in lie flat mode the sun canopy comes up and covers the babies head and the baby is still visible to the parent. You move the seat up to half recline, some of that visibility is reduced, at full upright position I cannot see more than my sons arms and legs poking out! His head is completely covered so much so I have to bend under the canopy to see him. In one way I think that's a good thing because his head is protected from the sun, another way of thinking is if I can't see his face what can he see!! Somewhat defeats the object of my taking him for a walk.

                            - THE SEAT; has a standard 5 point harness to clip baby in. I find that the waist portion of the straps are very loose, but my son is very slender (not sure where he gets that from!) I have had no issues with the buckle and it's quite stiff so requires an adult to unclip,no problems with little fingers finding and pressing!

                            The 3 reclines are good, and EASY to operate. You simply squeeze the button on the back and push up or down as required. My only complaint is that it is a little jerky so sometimes when I see the little mans eyes go and rush to drop the seat back the action actually jars him awake.

                            Adjustable harness heights! Wow. This is good! I have the newest model of the bee and it is so simple. The top of the seat extends a further 4 clicks moving the harness with it. Caution; I couldn't find the handle to pull when first looking for this, it had hidden itself under the sun canopy! This feature means that as the baby gets bigger the back and the harness grows with them so they remain comfortable, safe and secure.

                            The seat - pulls outward, so you can extend to keep little legs from dangling off when they are small and to accomodate bigger bums and thighs as they get bigger.

                            FORWARD AND PARENT; I wanted this option as now my son is still quite little he likes to look at my ugly mug. Changing it to forward facing means lifting the seat off, easily done but not with a baby in your arms/tht you are trying to contain from crawling away so you can't really change your mind at will when you are out, which would be a nice feature - baby happy looking at the world, starts to grizzle bang you turn it round and happy baby again, something for bugaboo to think about! To actually take the seat off you fold the seat all the way forward using the recline lever and then lift! I also take the seat off if I'm just going to use the car seat but will come onto that shortly!

                            BRAKES, HANDLEBAR AND STORAGE; brake is a standard foot pedal, no problems it's easy to find even with bags swinging from the handlebar! The handlebar, EASILY adjustable, unclip the lock each side and pull it up and down, 2 criticsms are that it had to click into the correct groove for you to be able to lock the handlebar again I have missed the essential clic on a few occasions and struggled. I also find that they don't go up that high, should I wear heels I feel very stooped over the pram. Under buggy storage is not the best, maybe one bag of shopping as long as you take it out the bag! I tend to use mine for toys aand rice cakes! I bought separate buggy clips to clip my pram bag to the handle bar but this is not recommended and I can see why as putting extra weight can damage the locking mechanism of the adjustable handlebar! Their ia also a wrist strap to wear attached to the handle bar for any potential brake issues or runaway hill issues, I use it most on the bus when a vicious turn has spun the pram regardless of the brake being on.

                            FOLDING; it folds as a one piece in either parent or forward facing mode, simply align the back of the seat sit the handlebar and push the 2buttons while pushing the pram down. My only issue is that you do need both hands to do it so baby needs to be contained first

                            CARSEAT; shock horror you have to pay extra for the adapters! Easy to clip on and can be used while the seat is in position. I like to just take the frame if I'm going in a taxi as it means I don't have to remove the adapters to fold the frame down which you do have to if you keep the seat I place as you can't bring it forward past the adapters. Slightly annoying but not a deal breaker.

                            TRAVELLING; the bee fits in most boots and is relatively easy to get through an airport! They often make you put it throug the X-ray scanner, which I struggle with when travelling alone!
                            *COST*

                            Being a yummy mummy comes with a hefty price tag, we paid £450 for our pram and adapters and that was considered cheap! Shop around and a lot of independents will price match for you!

                            *NEWBORN*

                            Now all is said and done I personally would not be comfortable putting a newborn in this pram, I probably wouldn't start using this until they are nearer 12 weeks old. My main reasononing is that I wouldn't want to strap a newborn in when I'd rather they go in a carry cot and could lie without restrictions. There is a carrycot you can get called the microlight corro tht will attach to the frame using the car seat adapters. Now I haven't tried this as we got the pram when little man was 5 months but it is something to be aware of. And if that's all that is putting you off buying then there is a solution!

                            *RECOMMENDATION*

                            I love my bee, it's lightweight yet still sturdy, it pushes like a dream, my little man naps in it, I like the look of it. If you have the money I would defintely recommend buying one, they also keep their resale value ao you can always get some money back on eBay!

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                            • More +
                              27.06.2013 18:12
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                              A friendly light up bear that's too friendly sometimes!

                              I'm sure that every mum has a toy in their toy basket that they want to hide, for us its this one! Unfortunately it also tends to be a toy that is very much loved!!

                              *THE BEAR*

                              As I have a little boy we got the blue bear (stereotyping much?!) but the bear is also available in pink and a tan colour. A lovely soft head, arms and legs with a hard body encasing the batteries to make the bear a singing bear. A very sturdy loop is attached to the top of the bears head with Velcro attachments which means that it can be attached to a variety of bars such as pram, car seat, cot each which will be of different thicknesses. I find this means that the bear is secure and safe, which means it can't get lost (shame.)

                              There are no loose attachments on the bear such as googly eyes which could pose a choking hazard for babies which is relaxing as babies put everything in their mouths.

                              The front of the bear has 4 buttons, all easy for little fingers to push and explore. A heart shaped on/off button and 3 number buttons. You press the heart shaped button and the bear comes on with the following ditty "I'm a friendly light up bear, I'll teach you 1,2,3 a sleepy, hungry, happy bear hey come and hug me" once the bear is on the lights flash up and then each button (button "1" "2" and "3") each has 3 different tunes, the first telling you if the bear is hungry, sleepy or happy, the second counting the number and the third a musical melody. If the bear is not played with for any length of time it prompts you by telling you "I love you" and then switches off after about 1 minute if inactivity telling you "bye bye"


                              *THE BABY AND THE BEAR....*

                              We first got this when my little one was 6 months old. At this point he loved watching flashing lights but hadn't mastered the fact that if he hit the buttons he could make them flash and sing. In fact his favourite pastime with the bear at this point was eating its nose, which is just the right size for little mouths to bite down on while teething. The best thing about this is that I was happy to operate the flashing lights and singing for him as I could control when it STOPPED when it got annoying!

                              As he has got bigger and is coming up to 9 months old he has now figured out that he can make the bear flash and play music. And that he can turn it on, oh my ears! He still doesn't have any discernible way to "play" with this other than bashing and laughing when the songs start to play. He has become a lot more active with this toy and will stretch and reach to get it, when I hold him to his toy box he tried to find it. This means that of course there are some days that the bear just goes missing, especially if the day before I end up with the "friendly light up bear" song in my head!


                              *GOING FORWARD*

                              As he gets more in tune with his surroundings and his pointing comes on, alongside the obsession with pressing buttons which I'm sure is just round the corner I can see a lot more mileage from the bear. And a few more headaches for mummy coming along....


                              *OTHER ISSUES (aside from the annoying singing!)*

                              Because it is battery operated, it can't go in the washing machine! As we have a lot of baby slobber, bits of baby food, baby sick, it could get pretty grubby pretty quickly. We find that we need to give it a good wipe with baby wipes (ah they are useful for everything!) and Milton sterilising wipes leaves the bear looking as good as new.


                              *COST*

                              We picked ours up in a toy bundle from ebay but you can buy new for less than £10.


                              *RECOMMENDATION*

                              He loves it. There is no 2 ways about it. Would I buy it again? Probably he likes it and I can see that it will help him develop, especially pointing as he presses the buttons. Do I think it "teaches 1,2,3" maybe but I don't it! Would I buy it for someone else - definitely! Let them love you even more when you present their child with this noisy singing bear! A great gift for an uncle/Aunty to give to their niece/nephew, see the look the mum and dad give you!

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                              • Lansinoh Lanolin / Nursing / 47 Readings / 45 Ratings
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                                27.06.2013 08:23
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                                Best thing for your nipples out there!

                                *BACKGROUND*

                                October 2012 my life changed forever and my little boy was born. That same little boy is the worlds biggest boobie monster, which has led me to this review!

                                *PRODUCT*

                                Lanisoh is billed as the "worlds purest lanolin cream" and is 100% natural. Lanolin is also known as wool wax and is (obviously) created from sheep. It is a very thick substance and I had problems initially with squeezing it out of the tube. This difficulty increased as the weather was colder and the temperature in the flat dropped. Once I finally managed to get this out it did require rubbing between your fingers to warm up leaving your fingers a bit sticky! But once warmed easily applied to nipples.

                                An easily recognisable purple tube containing 40ml of cream. The downside to the tube is as you get to the end it gets more difficult to squeeze the lanisoh out and I find you end up wasting that last little bit (similar to the end of a tube of toothpaste!)

                                The tube has an expiry date of 12 months, which is plenty in my experience.

                                *MY EXPERIENCE*

                                On the day we were released from hospital, my poor nipples had already taken a battering, and the own brand nipple cream I had packed in my bag was proving useless. My nipples cracked, blistered and bled in that first week, leaving me begging my husband to go and buy me some of this miracle cream everyone was on about. He returned home with the magic stuff and I as I eased myself out of my maternity bra whimpering with pain as the air hit me I (eventually!) managed to smear on this cream. INSTANT RELIEF! I wouldn't have believed it be possible but the second it was on me I no longer winced when my nipples brushed the inside of my bra, or were exposed to air (I did initially still wince when my little boy latched until they toughened up a bit!). The best thing was that it didn't need to be removed before feeding ike so many other creams. My little boy had no idea if I was using it or not he latched and took milk the same if I had the cream on as to when I didn't have the cream on,

                                I found that it treated the cuts and cracks and when my nipples did bleed, it stopped the bleeding giving my nipples chance to scab over and heal. I used it before every breast feed and after every breast feed (cue much groping round in the dark during night feeds trying not to wake the sleeping baby). I found I only needed to use this for 2-3 weeks in the beginning until my nipples stopped being so sensitive. I have used it since my little man got teeth, bit me and blistered my nipple again, and I can confirm that it also helps to heal that!

                                My skin is extremely sensitive and I had no reaction at all to this cream (hypoallergenic)

                                *COST*

                                Yes it is expensive at £10 a tube, especially if like me you aren't ready prepared and could have bought it for much cheaper on amazon (£8) however, that one tube has lasted me the 9 months since my little boy got here and is still going! So if I weigh it up that is less than a £1 a month and I think that is extremely good value for money.

                                *OTHER USES*

                                Now I found I didn't need to use this on my nipples continuously so I had a tube of expensive cream that I was a bit cross about not using. Until I realised that I could use it for other things, breastfeeding left me with very dry and chapped lips to the point where my skin was peeling off. Every fight before bed I used to apply lanisoh and it worked wonders!

                                My husband also found that he got good use out of it too for runners nipple - so lanisoh not just for breastfeeding mums! Though he did get embarrassed when it fell out of his gym bag.

                                *SUMMARY*

                                There are so many variables with breastfeeding and a lot of people plan to and are not able to do it. Even with that said I would still recommend any mum thinking of attempting it to take this in your hospital bag. Those first few days are where a lot of damage is done and regular use at the beginning can save pain later on. And if you find you can't breastfeed? You have an amazing lip balm or runners nipple cream.

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