Thursday, 25 April 2013

Bathtime fun

Bath time can either be a source of fun or stress, depending on the mood of your baby! Initially baby J didn't like being bathed at all, and I dreaded the screams that would accompany it. After the first couple of weeks he started enjoying himself though, and bath time became a fun part of his evening routine. There were (and still are) a few things that made it easier for both of us, so here's a few recommendations:

Tippitoes Mini Bath - we used this for over 6 months, so it was really good value for money at £13.99. The support seat and foam headrest ensured baby J was comfortable, and made it easy for me to wash him while he splashed about.

Safety 1st Swivel Bath Seat - when baby J was around 6 months old, we moved him into the big bath with the use of this seat. As I often bath him on my own, this handy seat has helped me feel confident about keeping him upright and still having both hands free to wash him. He can splash around and play with his toys but without slipping over. The suction pads attach the seat securely to the bath, while it swivels for easy access to wash your baby. Around £8.95 from Amazon or John Lewis.

Bath thermometer - an essential for bath time, as a lot of new parents worry about getting the water just right! We found a cheap option as good as anything else around, a Duck Thermometer Card for around £4. Just dip it into the water and the liquid crystal display tells you with a minus sign, tick or plus sign whether the temperature is too cold, just right, or too hot.

Cussons Mum & Me products - obviously there are loads of baby products out there to choose from, but I really like this range. The products have always been great for baby J's skin, and I would recommend their baby bath and baby shampoo. These are frequently on offer in various supermarkets for half price, so if you wait until a baby event then you can stock up! I also like Asda Little Angels and Sainsburys Little Ones ranges, which again often have money off.

Baby towels - a soft towel is an essential to keep your baby dry and snuggly when they come out of the bath. You can obviously use any towel, but I like the hooded ones that Ikea do. They are a decent size, as some baby towels are so small that you only get a couple of months use out of them! The designs are cute and they are affordable at £7 each.

Bath toys - it wouldn't be as much fun without toys at bath time! When your baby is young, a few
simple toys usually do the trick. We have stacking cups, boats and ducks, which baby J loves playing with (and is usually still clutching one when he comes out of the bath!). I find that the supermarkets usually have a good range of these, and a brand called Munchkin has a wide range.

Happy bathing!


Sunday, 21 April 2013

Bargain summer toys

Just a quick post for anyone getting excited by the warmer weather and the prospect of their babies finally playing outside!

Asda have an offer on some of their toys at the moment, with 2 for £10 on selected items. A friend alerted me to it and I thought this ball pit and play tunnel were a bargain:,default,pd.html,default,pd.html

The balls are £4 for 100.

Delivery to store is free, can't wait to collect mine next week so fingers crossed the weather stays nice!


Friday, 19 April 2013

A capsule toy collection

It can be very tempting to get carried away with buying cute toys for your new baby - I developed a severe Lamaze habit after baby J was born that I've just about managed to kick. Buying too many toys can be dangerous for your bank balance, and there's no need when your baby is too young to exercise pester power in shops!

It's an old adage but the simple toys really are the best, and can be picked up inexpensively (or you can drop a few hints to those who want to buy presents!). Here's a few recommendations that we get out of the toy box every day, all priced under £10:

Stacking cups - babies love to watch you stack these up so they can knock them down, and as they get older will have lots of fun doing this themselves. We got a good set from Ikea, but you can get them from any large supermarket or baby store, usually for less than £5.

Rainmaker rattle - babies are fascinated by the movement and sound of these toys. I discovered at about 12 weeks old that baby J stopped crying if I started shaking it, so that's got to make it worth buying! Can't vouch for this working for everyone, but he now enjoys shaking it himself. Again, you can pick one up from the above mentioned places for under £5.,default,pd.html

Jingle ball - this has a bell inside, so it is nice and noisy to entertain babies, and encourages tummy time if you roll it in front of them. When they are older it is easy for them to grasp and shake. The Bright Starts flexi ball is around £3.50 from Amazon or Asda.

Links - sets of plastic links are great for your baby to chew on and the bright colours stimulate their vision. Handy to keep in your changing bag as an emergency toy! You can also use them to attach toys to a playgym or pushchair. These are easy to find in most supermarkets - we have the Bright Starts ones but these East Coast ones also come recommended. Expect to pay around £5 for a set.

Tomy Hide'n'Squeak Eggs - baby J was given these for his first Christmas, and a couple of months after that became fascinated with them. He likes chucking them out of the box and playing with each egg individually - they make cheeping noises when they are pressed which he likes! As your baby gets older they can sort the eggs according to shape and colour. A bargain at around £4.50 from Amazon.

Shape sorter - there are lots of these around, whether you want plastic or prefer wooden toys for your baby. These help with hand/eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. I really like the Ikea shape sorter which is a wooden house, and at £7 it is competitively priced.

Stacking rings - as with the shape sorters, you can buy lots of variations on this toy. Again this is good for co-ordination and also colour recognition. A friend has a lovely wooden magnetic version made by Tidlo, which is a classic that will be used for years and is a bargain at £9.99:

Lamaze toys - I couldn't finish without mentioning these, and nearly every mum I know has at least one! These are great for taking out and about, as they have a link that attaches them to a car seat handle or pushchair bumper bar. They are also great for customising your playgym. Lamaze toys all have bright contrasting colours and patterns, along with different sounds and textures to stimulate your baby's senses. Baby J's favourite has always been Captain Calamari! Around £7.50 from Amazon or baby shops like Mothercare or Kiddicare.

Happy shopping! x

Monday, 8 April 2013

Feeding time at the zoo

So you've survived the first 6 months and settled into some kind of routine with your baby...then weaning time arrives. I was surprised how quickly this came round, but it's always nice to be prepared when it does. I had been given advice by my health visitor on how to start the weaning process, but not what to buy! Here are a few products that I have found helpful over the last few months...

Brother Max Travel Bowl - this has been great for taking out and about with us. It has 2 sections for separating foods, a secure lid, and a flap in the lid to store a spoon in (2 small spoons are provided). Costs around £6 from Amazon or Superdrug.

Tommee Tippee Explora Heat Sensitive Spoons - before I bought these I thought that 'heat sensing' spoons were a bit of a gimmick! But these spoons are a good shape and size, and it is helpful that they change colour if food is too hot to remind you not to put it straight in your baby's mouth :-) You can get these for about £3.99 from supermarkets.

Tommee Tippee Roll n Go Bib - these bibs are made of rubber so don't stain or add to your pile of washing. The crumb/mess catcher is useful and they roll up easily for travelling (the clue is in the name!). Most supermarkets sell these for around £3.50, but they are often on offer when baby events take place.

Doidy Cup - when we first starting weaning, baby J would reject water from all beakers. I tried about 4 different brands and had no joy with any. Then I bought an open cup called a Doidy cup, and surprisingly he took to it straight away. If you don't mind getting a bit wet then I would recommend them! They cost around £3.75 from Amazon. The Tommee Tippee First Cup is also a nice simple beaker for when your baby starts drinking water with meals. It has a free flow spout as recommended by health professionals, and costs about £1.50 from various supermarkets.

Oxo Tot Snack Disc - this is a useful little pot for carrying snacks like rice cakes around with you. The lid is secure so no mess in your changing bag, and the pot is slim so it doesn't take up too much room. Around £4 from John Lewis or Amazon.

Annabel Karmel's New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner - I fancied making most of baby J's food myself, and this book has been excellent from starting weaning. Obviously you don't have to follow it precisely, but it gives ideas of which foods to start off with and how to build up to more adventurous meals week by week. I have tried quite a few of the recipes and they have all been well received by baby J!

Beaba Multi Portion Silicone Freezing Trays - these have been invaluable when cooking batches of food for baby J. They are just the right size for the first few months of weaning, and once you have frozen the food the portions pop out really easily. They are not the cheapest at around £7.50 but they are worth it - a lot of trays are hard plastic which makes it impossible to get food out once it has been frozen. Once your baby is eating bigger portions you can just use two cubes per meal instead of one.

Happy weaning! x