Glass half full

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If there’s one glass I don’t want to be half full in my house these days it’s Ralphie’s water cup! Who knew getting a baby to drink water could be so tricky?

So far I’ve bought three little cups to get him to try. One – the Nuby Grip N Sip – has a valve, which I thought he would like to suck on. He loves to chew on it instead! So while it’s great because it doesn’t spill, it’s also not getting any water into that boy’s mouth.

Another, the Vital Baby freeflow sippy cup, has been slightly better received. If I hold him and tip his head back, he does take a little in. I need to tuck a muslin cloth under his chin though, because he ends up a bit soggy otherwise. We started off well, but he’s lost interest and only seems to take in a very small drop at a time.

After he kept grabbing my own glass of water and sipping from it, I went out and got him the Bickiepegs Doidy cup – an open beaker with a slanted rim so he doesn’t have to tip his head right back. So far so good. Although those two handles on the side have a lot to answer for when he’s enthusiastically grabbing the cup and tipping it all over the place. We both got covered yesterday!

The Boots aisle is quite a minefield for an indecisive mama like me – so many beakers to choose from! No doubt I’ll be heading back at some point for another. I do hope he takes to a beaker with a valve when’s he’s bigger, because I really want this one. Think of the photos!

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I don’t know how much water these babies of ours are meant to drink. All I know is that Ralphie’s not been getting all that much since we’ve started weaning. I’ve been sneaking it into him through his purees, and snacks like watermelon and pears have helped. But try as I may, he’s not that bothered about drinking it.

We’ll get there, I’m sure. Maybe he’s more like me than I think. I don’t know why but eight glasses of water a day always ends up being a struggle. No wonder I’ve got wrinkles on my face.

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Seven months of snoozing

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I had hoped I would start this post by proudly announcing that Ryan and I have finally assembled Ralphie’s cot. But it hasn’t happened yet. The weekend got quite away from us. The sun was shining and Harry Potter was on the tele – a dangerous combination for avoiding chores.

So it’s at least a few more days in the Snuzpod for Ralphie. I’m sure he doesn’t mind; he’s quite cosy in there. And it means he still gets to sleep next to me!

Now six and a half months old, our boy is getting maximum use out of his little bed. The good folks at The Little Green Sheep recommend you use it until your baby reaches the six month mark, when they can roll over, sit, or pull themselves up. Ralphie can do the first two, but we’ll definitely have him in his cot before he shows any signs of being able to escape. We hope!

It’s quite an investment. Including the mattress, the Snuzpod will set you back about £200. And then you have the mattress protector and sheets on top of that – pretty hefty compared to most moses baskets.

Luckily for us, ours was a generous gift. And it has been by far our most useful, particularly considering that I ended up having an emergency Caesarean section.

For the first few nights, Ralphie slept on his dad’s side of the bed, because I couldn’t twist to pick him up, but after that it was ideal for me. When he woke up for a feed, I could easily whip him out, latch him on and then, when he was done, put him back. Even if I was half asleep – and I usually was – it didn’t take much effort to return him to his own safe sleeping place. I don’t know why, but I was absolutely paranoid about falling asleep with him in the bed with us. I used to wake regularly with a start and frantically ask Ryan where the baby was. Of course, he was in his crib. Crazy lady!

But let me start at the beginning. How did we fair building it? Not too bad, which is pretty good for us! We’ve been known to have raging arguments when assembling furniture together. A rocking chair once nearly ended us.

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I was heavily pregnant at the time, so relegated to the role of assistant – passing Ryan the parts and reading the instructions. It was our most successful team build yet. A few minor mistakes and a couple of hours later and we were done – and we were still talking to each other.

The quality of the crib is second to none. You could tell that before we’d even unpacked it; the box was so heavy. Solid beach wood, thick cotton sides – it’s a robust bit of kit.

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It looks great too. I didn’t know it at the time, but you can buy it in different colours. We have the classic beechwood, but it also comes in grey, white and black – very cool for you monochrome lovers out there.

For the first three months, we had the Snuzpod attached to our bed with the included straps. I had the side down and it was lovely being able to lie next to Ralphie and hold his hand or stroke his head if he was a bit unsettled.

Since then, we’ve used it as a standalone bed. It’s still right next to me, but after sleeping better in his very cosy carrycot when we were away, I thought I’d see if he slept more soundly being a little more enclosed. I think it was the right move.

Although Ralphie has now exceeded the recommended age for the Snuzpod, I’m in no rush to turf him out. There’s something very reassuring about having your sleeping baby next to you. Plus, he does still wake in the night for a feed – or two – so it’s easier for me. Of course, we could have his cot in the room with us instead, but it’s big and I’m not quite sure where it would comfortably fit.

It’ll be a sad day when we pack the Snuzpod away and move Ralphie into his nursery, but the time is coming. And this, I would say, is its biggest flaw. You mean we have to unbuild it in order to store it? We’re not exactly blessed with much storage in our house, so putting it away whole is not an option. Actually, I don’t even know where we’re going to put it once it has been unassembled!

So would I recommend the Snuzpod. In short, yes. But if money is a bit tight then I wouldn’t say it’s an essential. When we go to my mum and dad’s, Ralphie sleeps perfectly well in his carry cot, which we prop up on a stool. At home, we would have to lug this up and downstairs, which admittedly would be a pain, but not the end of the world.

What I will say is that I feel very glad to own one, and we will be keeping hold of it for Ralphie’s future siblings (I hope!). In the meantime, if anyone has somewhere we can store it, feel free to get in touch!

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Silicon beads are a mum’s best friend

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Forget gold, pearls and diamonds – thanks to a tiny pair of busy hands, not much is safe around my neck these days. So when I discovered teething necklaces, I was intrigued.

I’ve never really been one for wearing costume jewellery. Call me a snob but I have a few favourite pieces of jewellery and they’ve been my go-to staple for years – a pair of pearl stud earrings (a gift from mum and dad); a gold chain with pearl beads (one of my most treasured items as I inherited it from my very dear Grandma); and a gold charm bracelet (one of my favourite presents from Ryan).

But these past six months (yes, Ralphie is now six months old – I can’t believe it!), I haven’t dared to wear any of them, other than the earrings. My boy has very prying – not to mention strong – fingers, and most things he grabs these days tend to end up in his mouth. A teething necklace, then, was just what I needed.

I now own three, plus a teething bracelet. They’re all from cute little shops I found on Instagram – two from Indigo and Wren, and a gorgeous nude necklace and matching bracelet from Organic Mama. I love them! They look good, add a welcome splash of colour to my outfit, and Ralphie can chomp away on them to his heart’s content.

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And chomp away he does! From what I’ve heard, the teething process is a long and arduous one. I think it’s a bit like childbirth – nobody bloomin’ talks about it! But, from what little I have heard, it sounds like we have a fair few sleepless nights to look forward to, not to mention a grizzly baby. Can’t wait.

I’ve actually got a confession to make. I wrote a while back about how I thought Ralphie was getting his first tooth. Well…it hasn’t actually appeared yet. False alarm! Sorry. So yeah, we’ve got the whole teething business to come. I think it’s happening now, but I’m not so sure anymore.

All I do know is that I’m pleased I’ve got my handy teething jewellery. I wear it pretty much every day – even when I’m not with Ralphie, although this is rare! I get plenty of compliments, and most people don’t even know it’s practical too – cue a few perplexed faces when I let Ralphie ram it in his mouth!

The colours are lovely. Grey, black and a pop of mustard to match my rather extensive grey wardrobe. And peach, white and oatmeal, because you just can’t go wrong with a nude palette – my other staple wardrobe colour.

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One of the handiest things about this jewellery is because I’m wearing it, I don’t have to worry about Ralphie dropping it on the floor or throwing it out of his pram. He’s just started doing this thing where he madly flails his arms around; it’s hilarious but risky for the toys in his hands! The only slight flaw is that if I don’t have a muslin cloth handy (although I usually do), you can end up with a bit of dribble on your top. But it dries. And really, I have bigger issues to worry about. The other day, I got sweet potato smeared all over my white t-shirt – that was painful.

Will I ever wear my gold chain again? Of course I will. But for now, I’m happy to have a trusty bit of colourful silicon around my neck. Pretty and practical – I sound like such a mum these days!

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Things every new mum should have

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Last night, a close friend of mine asked me for some baby shower gift ideas – something that’s useful, a little bit different from the norm, and won’t break the bank. Ralphie was asleep, Ryan was watching the football, so I got to work. Unsurprisingly, I got a bit carried away.

I thought it’d be a shame not to share my research, so here it is – a readymade baby shower gift list!

Muslin cloths: Any new mum will need a lot of these. The Aden and Anais range is a little more pricey than your traditional white ones, but their prints are gorgeous. For the monochrome lovers out there, you can’t go wrong with Modern Burlap.

Baby blanket: Because one just won’t be enough; one messy poo or puke and you’re done for. I’m a real sucker for a good baby blanket, but some of the best I’ve seen are from Turtledove London, Bee Bee’s Boutique, and Tobias and the Bear.

Teething necklace: A perfect but not completely obvious gift for mum and baby, and it’s stylish yet practical! Most necklaces have beads made from food-grade silicon, which are perfect for tiny gums to chomp on. Indigo & Wren do some gorgeous colour combinations, and Fox’s Felts have a lovely personalised range.

Dribble bibdanas: This wasn’t something I had really thought about, but babies dribble a lot! If you don’t want your little one to have a constantly soggy top or romper, a dribble bibdana is an ideal solution – useful and they look really cool too. Bilibib have the biggest range of prints I’ve ever seen, and Cribstar is adding to its collection all the time, plus their quality is second to none. Milk Moustache Apparel have some lovely prints too.

Baby leggings: Clothing is quite a personal choice, and Ryan and I are very particular about what we like, and what we don’t! Plus it can be a bit tricky if you don’t know the baby’s gender yet. But I don’t think you can go wrong with a pair of baby leggings. There are so many gorgeous ones out there (I’m a bit obsessed); here’s a shortlist of my favourites:
Dil&Gray
CarlijnQ from Bee Bee’s Boutique
Milk Moustache Apparel
Turtledove London
Blaebird
Ted&Co
Tobias and the Bear

A print for baby’s nursery: Again, this can be quite a personal choice, but if you know the parents well and have a good idea of their tastes, then this could be a great gift idea. Alfie & Co have a fabulous range of prints, most of which can be personalised.

Dummy clip: I still don’t have one of these for Ralphie and I don’t know why, because it would save a lot of agro (and sterilising!). Simply clip one end to the dummy and the other to your baby’s top, and it doesn’t matter when they spit it out, which they will! Plepleple does some lovely wooden and silicon ones.

And if you’re not convinced about any of the above, here are a few more suggestions:
-Your favourite childhood book: Ryan’s sister bought us a set of Roald Dahl books, which is still one of my favourite gifts for Ralphie. Thanks Kelly!
-A night light: handy for night feeds without waking everyone up
-A pack of white baby vests, because you can never have enough
-Burt’s Bees baby wash and moisturiser: I didn’t realise how harsh the Johnsons stuff is on baby’s skin
-A hooded towel
-A baby sleeping bag
-Cool baby socks: Gap do some lovely thick cotton ones
-A cuddly toy or comforter: Jellycat do the best ones in my opinion
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-Fresh coffee for mum and dad!

 

Choose your pram carefully

I was intending to write this post earlier this evening, but instead I’ve spent the last few hours entertaining Ralphie, feeding him, and changing his nappy…again! To say he is regular is an understatement. Tonight, we’ve gone through four nappies, and I don’t think we’re finished yet. It’s exhausting.

Unpoppering his romper, catching his flailing legs, removing the dirty nappy without getting poo everywhere, cleaning up the poo, putting on the Sudocrem, fastening the clean nappy (and you can’t be flippant about this, because it will leak if you’re not careful!), wrestling his legs back into the romper leg holes, repoppering the poppers. And repeat! Ralphie finds the whole thing hilarious. I’m glad one of us does.

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But this post isn’t about changing nappies. It’s about the importance of the pram and its many uses. Okay, I can only think of three. The first two are quite obvious – transporting Ralphie and carrying shopping. The third I only discovered today, and it was pretty handy – a support for me when walking over ice. No more Bambi moments for me!

If I’m honest I didn’t really think this pram purchase through very well. We looked at a few, awkwardly wheeled some round the shop, and plumped for the one that looked the part and wouldn’t completely break the bank. Joke was on us, because when it arrived and we got it out the box, we realised we’d have to fork out an extra £150 for the hood. Thanks Silver Cross. You should have seen our faces! This was before I made the discovery…

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Given the chance to reconsider my investment, I’d go for one with a practical basket (one that actually fits stuff in it), and one with wheels that collapse enough so they fit in a normal sized boot. But it’s not all bad. I’d give mine 10/10 for manoeuvrability. It feels very solid too, so much so that when I slid over a patch of ice today, it saved me from coming a cropper. Pretty handy! I tell you, if it properly snows, I’ll be feeling pretty smug while I’m sliding around holding onto this chunky pram!

But when walking around town, I do find myself eyeing up other pram models. Some look like they have it all – big basket, light wheel frame, cosy carrycot, cool fabric. And yes, I’m not afraid to admit that I get a pang of jealousy when they waltz by. So one thing I would say to those who are yet to make such a purchase is this – don’t get fooled by style over substance! Practicality is key, and baskets are important.

 

 

The plastic invasion

It’s started. Despite my best intentions, the first of what I fear will be many plastic toys are making their way into our home.

I’ll admit that it’s completely our fault. We made the decision to buy the Jumperoo this week. And now it’s sat taking pride of place in our not so minimalist living room. As you can see, Ralphie is impressed!

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I’m sure he will get a great deal of enjoyment out of it as he gets a little bigger, particularly when his feet can touch the ground and he can bounce himself around. But for now he looks entirely perplexed (and somewhat unimpressed) when I pop him in it. As for me, well I’ve already got the annoying tunes stuck in my head.

This week we’ve also invested in a Bumbo seat after hearing good things about it. It looks a bit like a potty, but it’s just a nice squidgy seat that provides a good amount of support as Ralphie gets his head around sitting up.

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Again, I think we’ll feel the benefit when he’s a bit older and is ready to wean; it’ll serve perfectly as a portable high chair. For now, he’s quite enjoying wacking his toys on the removable plastic table. And it’s great for when I’m in the shower.

Ok, so we haven’t exactly gone overboard on the plastic front yet, and I hope it stays that way. We’re yet to buy any storage for Ralphie’s nursery so, aside from the cot, that’s the next priority. I need a good chest to hide everything in at the end of the day. If anyone knows where I can find an extra large one, let me know!