Has it really been 12 months?

Firstly I must apologise for the long silence, and secondly I’m not even sure where to begin as it’s been so long. The balance between having a job and a mobile little one who naps less than previously left me with far less time to myself. In turn, I had to juggle all the tasks that needed to be completed and, sadly, the blog was the easiest to neglect.


I now have a two and a half year old – where does the time fly. Last time I posted she was just 18 months old. So much has happened in the last twelve months – mostly involving her development and how rapidly that seems to occur!


I wont even begin to discuss all of it in one go. But I’m going to set myself some new rules for the blog. I’m going to try to blog more frequently, though it’s likely to be less than I managed previously. In a bid to keep going with the blog, I will probably keep the posts a little shorter. I’m going to stick to posting honest thoughts and situations, because that’s what I want to hear when I read other blogs. I don’t want to dramatize everything, and I also don’t want to appear to live in a perfect little bubble. Because few people really do, if any!


The last twelve months has been a steep learning curve – from what I thought were the terrible two’s come early, to what actually is the terrible two’s! I have juggled my desire to develop my career whilst trying to be a mummy, and not feeling guilty doing so. I have also been attempting to find time for myself, and the opportunity to be just ‘me’ and not ‘mummy’ or ‘doctor’. I find myself in a position, where I genuinely feel I have struck a really good balance, and I am satisfied with how things are going. I can honestly say that it has only been in the last few months where I have gotten to the point where I feel like I’m ‘me’ again, and that I’m on top of things (most of the time).


I have found owning a toddler a real challenge – perhaps more so that anything else I have ever done. Her character and personality is really clear to see now, and she has a lot of my traits. This, weirdly, is one of the most frustrating things I have found. I realise how annoying it must be to live with me at times! And I must be really irrational at times – especially with our shared ‘need’ to have things that we really don’t need!


In a few bullet points I will list some of the changes over the last twelve months. They’re areas I hope to get around to discussing more in a future post:

  • She has gone from eating whatever was given to her to having quite the opinion on what she does and doesn’t eat. But – she doesn’t breastfeed anymore.
  • Her language skills – she now talks for England!
  • Her tantrums are real, and frustrating, and irrational, and persistent. Yet they can all be mostly predicted.
  • She loves pink – we have no idea where this love came from but she does!
  • She loves to sing and dance and entertain – but only when she’s decided she isn’t shy anymore.
  • She loves her babies, and her kitchen, and all her other imaginative play toys.
  • She has gone from being sad to go to nursery, to accepting, to devastated, to asking to go.
  • She runs, climbs and generally tears around the place.
  • We’re in the process of nappy training.
  • I finally kept a new years resolution, and have a gym subscription that isn’t going to waste (that is a big milestone in my life)


There’s no ‘I’ in Mummy


I must apologise for a quiet week in the blogging world. It had been a busy week. Amelia had her Auntie come to stay and play, and mummy left her for a whole seven or so hours. This had never been done before, and there was a lot of fear since she became fussy over having milk from a bottle. I needn’t have worried and I suspect the day was more traumatic for me than her. I came home\e to find her having a great time! We had a lovely day all together on Wednesday, and even stayed out later than usual, with Amelia having her dinner out too. Daddy was away on a course for the night so it had been a very girly affair. Daddy, Amelia and I were going to be going away on the Friday so I had spent some time getting everything ready to pack on Thursday morning. I appreciate that this really was a bit last minute. My sister confirmed this with the look she gave me when I told her I hadn’t packed yet. She’s right, and I will learn from this error…hopefully. All was going well (busy, but well) until Thursday afternoon. I realised that I had left home without my coat and it was a wet, cool day. As we drove in the car I suddenly felt really shivery and cold. Though I seemed to be the only one feeling like this. Clearly it was down to having just one cup of tea several hours earlier. Even the husband thought it was that simple. He made me a double strength tea, with a sugar in for good measure. But it didn’t work. The sore throat I’d woken with, and believed was just due to catching too many flies overnight, was the start of a cold. Not ideal. I hadn’t packed. The husband could see the situation arising and took matters into his own hands. He forced us to pack the big pile of stuff into a bag.

The next day I woke still feeling ill, and with an even sorer throat. At this point in the past I would have shut down and gone in to all but essential behaviour mode. But Amelia woke at her usual time, and Daddy had to get to work earlier than usual. I had to suck it up and get on with the day…at 7am. As I slowly walked to the kitchen in a way that might be likened to what Amelia might look like when she takes her first steps I felt awful. The only thing I would most like to do is get back in bed, pull the duvet right up and sleep for the rest of the day, with someone bringing me cups of tea on a regular basis. However, I was sat at the kitchen table feeling exceptionally sorry for myself, with Amelia looking at me with eyes that said ‘Please can I have some porridge?’ And so the day progressed. We visited Grandpa over lunch, where Amelia decided she didn’t want to make having a nap an easy process. She got grumpy, and I got more tired. Grandpa noticed a bit of muck in one of her eyes. It didn’t look much. Anyway she finally fell asleep, as did I. I’m pretty sure Grandpa was thinking we were not the best company ever!

On our return home I knew we had the other set of Grandparents popping by. I had thought it would be a good time to put the last bits together – the nappy bag, etc. However, I didn’t realise just how rotten I felt. So I did this by sitting down every 5 minutes or so.  We finally got on the road at Amelia’s bedtime, as we try to do when we have to go somewhere in the evening. By the time we arrived at our hotel, Amelia had woken and was grumpy. Her eyes looked sticky. She was not happy and it was hard to get her to sleep. I had fallen asleep early too. Then just before midnight we were rudely awoken by her cries. I could barely function. Daddy tried his best but she was screaming and screaming. Even breastfeeding wouldn’t settle her, which could only indicate illness. Normally the breast calms her down easily. So we dosed her with medicine. She woke again in the morning extremely upset again. I knew it was going to be a difficult day. I could barely eat, and walking was even taking its toll. With us both dosed up on Paracetamol for the next 48hours we were in a sorry state. I can only apologise to anyone in the neighbouring hotel room. But luckily my cold is now on the way out and her eyes are getting better. Neither of us are requiring medicine to make it through the day.

These last few days have been an eye-opener (pardon the pun!). I wouldn’t say that I am a wimp where illness is concerned but being unwell and having to be ‘on-call’ for Amelia 24/7 was tough. Especially since she was ill too. It really solidified the point that I am living primarily to care for someone else at the moment. I have no problem with this, but I can safely say that anyone out there living as a single parent, or with a long-term condition is doing an amazing job. I am truly grateful to have had the husband around, and for it to have been a few days only. The husband was in fact a great help – looking after Amelia, dragging me through the weekend, and allowing me to have a pity party at times. I don’t look forward to the winter, and the prospect or more times like this!

Amelia turns 1!


This week we will celebrate Amelia’s first birthday. It is hard to believe that she is really that old and that a year has passed by already. Yet it also seems like she has been in our lives for a lot longer. Thinking back to a year ago, when she was still comfortably tucked up my tummy, we had no idea what she would look like or what kind of character she would be.

These 12 months have passed by in a whirlwind of sleepless nights, feeding marathons, developmental leaps and milestones, laughter and a love we have never known before. Our life would be far less exciting without her. Watching her personality unfold and develop has been our favourite part of the journey by miles.

Amelia is good-natured and on the most part laid back. She can fall down in excitement and gets right back up, giggling as she goes. She dances, and practices her singing (don’t get me wrong – if mummy and daddy’s vocal skills are anything to go by you wont be seeing her on the X-factor or the voice anytime soon). She happily embraces new people, and is learning to share her food (not always welcome) and toys (slowly but she’s trying!). She can now sign for milk when that’s what she wants. She can say a word here and there (mama and dada are the most recognisable) and she is working on others – dog, all gone, yes, and other essentials! She loves bath time, but bedtime not so much! When you go to get her after she’s been sleeping she greets you with a huge smile, and often bouncing up and down excitedly. She is energetic and hilarious. She laughs at seemingly inane things.

How is Amelia doing? She is crawling at the speed of light, cruising proficiently and letting go on occasions. She is clearly thinking about taking her first steps but is not quite brave enough yet! She loves to feed herself and is great at picking food with her fingers. However the use of a spoon is still a little hit and miss, and requires some ducking and diving on our part! She can use a Sippy cup, and is working on sipping from a Doidy cup. This often results in a soaking wet Amelia and anyone else within close proximity. She loves to wave hello and goodbye, and in the right mood claps her hands together. She enjoys reading her books and turning the pages, and generally emptying boxes of toys or books. She is more destructive than constructive when it comes to making towers!

There have definitely been moments of frustration, mostly fuelled by exhaustion. The early days brought hours of cluster feeding from 10pm onwards for 2-3 hours. The worry of getting the breastfeeding established was stressful and at times I was desperate to give up and give her bottles. It was annoying when she decided, overnight it seemed, to quit bottles when she was 4 months old and I was responsible for all feeds, day and night. Weaning was fun yet it has made me feel like I need an extra 3 hours in the day to accommodate this sometimes lengthy and messy process. The amount of time I spend doing laundry has tripled since Amelia arrived, and I should probably have part ownership of the company that produces Vanish, since we get through so much of it. Who knew carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. could stain clothes so much and be so stubborn to remove. Don’t even get me started on Weetabix and it’s magical ability to stick to clothes and remain stuck despite said item being spun around a washing machine! Nappy changes started out as a delicate process, and though relatively mild smelling the poops were sticky and also excellent at staining clothes. Again, I have never spent so much time soaking clothes. I now have a dedicated bowl for soaking baby clothes in Vanish and washing detergent. I have also found a use for my out of date bicarbonate of soda! I never knew how much effort babies put into pooping, even when not constipated. I also never believed I could find it so heart-breaking to see another individual constipated! And who knew prunes tasted so good and sweet! Another thing to note about nappy changes is the way in which babies seem to have a natural talent for pooping immediately after you have changed a nappy. My lesson learnt – always wait five minutes or so as often more poop is produced after the first go. Yet always be on guard for a poo-losion. They happen, and resemble Vesuvius erupting!

Amelia’s first birthday will be spent on holiday, with mummy and daddy, having fun. It will be the perfect way to end our first year as a family of three, and enter the next stage – the toddler years!

A new S.E.T. of challenges – Sleep, Eat, and Teethe!

Once upon a time Amelia’s (and our) routine was ‘Sleep Eat Poop Repeat’. This was a rapidly cycling process occurring several times per day. We have progressed from this to what I like to call the S.E.T. cycle – Sleep Eat Teethe – which are longer cycles of changing habits with respect to these areas. In all honesty I think it’s the teething that causes the others to cycle between being really good and truly awful!


Teething is now easily recognisable by the ‘symptoms’ Amelia displays when a new tooth or two is considering popping through. The obvious feature is the dribbling, and need to chew anything within reaching distance – food, toys, furniture, knees, whatever isn’t a specific teething toy really. Her sleep becomes extremely disrupted, and her eating habits altered. Her behaviour also changes – she is more clingy, whingey and at times does what I could only describe as throwing a tantrum (which at 11 months old leaves me worried about what the terrible twos might hold). All of which leads to a really difficult period of time until the troublesome tooth causes a whitening of the gum. The actual popping through doesn’t seem to cause much bother!


The change in sleeping habits is one of the hardest. I know I go on about the sleep a lot but it really is one of the hardest aspects of parenting that I have found, on a personal level. I have never enjoyed night shifts, and once comfortably asleep have not tended to wake in the night. So being rudely awoken in the early hours by loud crying is a challenge! Especially now I am back at work. The feeling of waking at 4am, wondering how long you will be up for, and that your alarm is set for 7am (cutting it a little fine to get us all up and dressed and out of the house but I can’t bring myself to set it for earlier) is pretty miserable. We have cycled through so many sleep habits in her nearly 12 months of life. The early days of feeding every couple of hours, the treat of a six hour run of continuous sleep, the dream of 12 hours of straight sleeping for Amelia, to the cycles of teething. During these times she wakes again in the night, once or twice and for variable lengths of time. They can be up to two hour stretches where she seems wide awake and ready to play. She just doesn’t understand why mummy or daddy doesn’t want to get up and play too, and why they are so grumpy with her. These stretches can start at any time of the night. Part of the frustration is the difficulty we had trying to get her to go to sleep in the first time. I remember a period when she was struggling to stay awake much beyond 6.30pm. Now, she shows signs of tiredness but just wont go to sleep. It can be 8-9pm before she finally drifts off. Getting to this point has usually involved milk, reading with her, her climbing over us and trying to dive head first on to the floor, lots of rocking, and pacing the bedroom with her in our arms, trying to get her to go down in the cot (and stay down). It has involved her sitting and then standing up in the cot a number of times and being laid back down, and then patting her rhythmically whilst singing to her. This may then be repeated from the start again. I admit that one night I even left her to cry it out and just went in every few minutes to lie her back down and remind her it’s bedtime. She will have had medicine to try and relieve the pain of teething. It is really tough, when looking back just a few months she was a dream to put to bed. It was a simple matter of putting her down, often awake, with her comforter and leaving her to fall asleep by herself with no drama. I think her ability to stand herself up has been one of the big contributing factors because now she automatically rolls on to her front and pushes herself up. She has learnt to get herself back down again now, because previously she would cry out because I don’t think she was sure how to get herself back into a good sleeping position again.


When she’s teething mealtimes can become quite a battle too. She becomes very disinterested in food. She’s never been a big eater, and it’s a lot of time and effort to build up her appetite for food. It’s not that she wont try food – she’s actually very good at trying new flavours, and is really good at eating savoury foods and vegetables. She’s done a lot better since working on her fine motor skills and being able to use her thumb and forefingers to pick foods up herself. On a good day she can polish off a three-course dinner (of sorts!), but when she is teething she might eat a few spoonfuls or a couple of sticks of vegetable before deciding to ‘wipe’ her tray table clean and let us know that she is done for that meal. Again it becomes frustrating, because of the worry that she’s not eating enough. I know that she is getting plenty of nutrition from her milk but it still seems a bit concerning.


The ‘tantrums’ are hard work. It’s not easy trying to get things done when you have a clingy baby. But I would rather this than the Amelia that doesn’t want to be held, but at the same time doesn’t want to be put down. She is screaming because you are holding her, and then if you dare try to put her down she throws herself about on the floor screaming. It’s at this point that I reach for the medicine and cause even more drama by trying to convince her to take it. But I can only believe that it’s pain that makes her behave this way. I guess if I could throw myself around screaming if I was in pain, then I would!


The best bit about these times is that they do go away. They’re just phases that last a couple of weeks and ease off again. They are just so frustrating at the time as there’s not a great deal that you can do. They’re part and parcel of her growing up, and it’s always lovely when the tooth finally pops through because it’s just another step forward in her development. I guess it’d be more fun if she were like some other babies who’s parents report that they don’t teethe and new teeth just pop through without any trouble!


I would really like peoples opinions on the best ways to manage teething, and thoughts on amber beads to help. I have had mixed feedback as to whether they really work or not. Also, any thoughts on managing her sleep, now she tends to stand up when we try to put her down, would be much appreciated.



Happy Mother’s Day!

IMG_9946Happy Mother’s Day to all the mummies out there! Today’s my first Mother’s Day. I can safely say it was not a wild or fabulous day but a typical Sunday!

Much like my birthday, Amelia started the celebrations extra early by waking at 3.15am. Then to make it even more fun having a dirty nappy, which as I changed it by candlelight (or something similar but more modern) she decided to have a mini meltdown. It led to a pooey nappy hanging off her, poo stuck to her bottom and me trying to save the situation before she sat up onto my beige carpet and used that, rather than a wipe, to clean her up. Anyway, once she went back to sleep I luckily got a lie in as Daddy kindly attended to her once she decided morning had arrived at 6am. The rest of the day was fairly straightforward with a long morning nap, a trip to the shops and then a tour of the major A-roads in the area after she fell asleep in the car. We went off to swimming, which she loved today. To round the day off we had dinner with the grandparents, where she alternated between happiness and tiredness in fairly rapid cycles. If only she could appreciate that a good night’s sleep might prevent such excessive tiredness in the day! But her current sleeping habits are a separate topic for discussion. I wanted to use this opportunity to celebrate being a mum, and how we are all different, with very different little ones!

I can safely say that no two babies seem to be the same. You can’t divide them into girls and boys and presume girls behave one way, and boys another. What works for some mums doesn’t work for others, and some tips that we receive are invaluable! Parenting is not easy, but somehow you just pick up the skills as you go along with little or no training. As many books or websites that you read, you will always develop your own style that takes on board your hopes, needs and beliefs, and your baby’s personality.

I have taken advice over the last year, and in all honesty I don’t remember where which tip came from. So I decided to go back to some of my close relatives who are going through their own parenting experiences, but a bit further down the road, to ask them a few questions. I asked them about the best advice they were given when starting out, what advice they would pass on, and what their best time as a parent has been so far. One thing that cropped up again and again was to enjoy every last minute because they grow up so quickly. Most of the mums said their favourite bits were the all little things that happened – impromptu and funny.

My sister’s best piece of advice from our mum was a very practical one – always raise the head of the cot when they’ve got a cold. Mum always used a towel apparently. Her advice to me was to go with the flow because you can’t assume both kids will be the same. She said her favourite times have been watching them grow and all of the funny things they do. Her top highlights included questioning the older daughter about who wrote on her dining table. Emily explained that it was Sophie. My sister then questioned why Sophie would choose to practice writing Emily’s name then. (Always blame it on the younger one – that’s my advice as a sister!) She also found potty training Emily was tough as Sophie had just become proficient at crawling. She once found Sophie just about to scoop Emily’s freshly produced poo out of the potty. Yikes!

My sister-in-law said the best piece of advice is to never get tired of nagging. Instil boundaries and stick to them without fail. Her best times are the little looks and impromptu cuddles her boys give her. I can confirm that youngest son is very good at the ‘look’, which he gives along with the phrase “love you mummy”. It’s pretty cute!

My cousin felt that the best bit of advice was that there is no right or wrong way of parenting. There is no magical parenting manual and everyone is making it up as they go along. Her advice was to love unconditionally, sleep when you can and ignore the competitive mums! She also advised that we stop and smell the flowers along the way! Although there are a million best moments, she thought that maybe the highlight so far should be that they are all still alive and two have even made it to the teens so far!

I think the best advice I have received so far was creating a bedtime routine early on and trying to stick to it. I would certainly pass this advice on, along with the advice that you can only do your best. Do not beat yourself up if things don’t go as you expected, particularly with breastfeeding. If you want to breastfeed then give it a go, but it’s ok if you find it tough, need help, or decide it’s not working for you. Finally, you will know your baby best. You will spend many days, and nights, with this little being. You will come to know them better than anyone else and, as such, your instincts should always guide you. You will come to know what cry means what, what they need, and you will recognise if something is wrong. As a doctor I always listen to a mother’s concerns. I may have only met their little one a couple of minutes ago. Mummy knows them inside out!


I really hope you have had a lovely Mother’s Day, however you have spent the day. If you have any advice to share or little anecdotes about the best times you’ve had with your little ones I would love to know!




Preparing for baby’s arrival – what you need now!

Preparing for Amelia’s arrival was pretty daunting. Not least because we needed to make sure we were ready with all the right equipment we might need to look after a newborn. It was around this time last year that we were in the process of amassing all the ‘essentials’. A number of my friends are currently in the same position. I thought I would share with you what we found to be the most useful purchases in the run up to her birth. The best way to look at what is essential is that you need to be able to keep baby warm and clean, provide them with somewhere to sleep and move them from A to B!


Car seat


By far the most important piece of equipment! You are expected to take baby home in a car seat, and be able to strap them in with no assistance. We didn’t do a great deal of research on car seats, instead choosing to go with recommendations from friends. Most friends had gone with a Maxi-Cosi. Research that we did do showed that there was a lot of support for the Kiddicare Shuffle. However, we preferred to have a car seat that fitted in with isofix. We selected the family fix base to go with our Maxi-Cosi Pebble so that when she moves to the next size up we would not need a new base. The most reassuring part of the car seat is that the base lights up and beeps when it is correctly fixed into the car, and the seat is correctly attached to the base. In addition, the car seat fixes to our pram base with the correct adaptors. It is sensible to make sure the base is fixed into the car a couple of weeks before the due date, or that you’ve practiced fixing the car seat into the car. Being ahead of schedule the husband had to get the car seat fixed in whilst I was getting ready to leave for the hospital! We hadn’t tried fitting a teddy or doll into the seat and tightening the straps so we had to get a little advice ‘off the record’ from our midwife who discharged us. It can be a little fiddly to get out of the car, and one day I couldn’t get the seat back into the car because one of the fixings had not reset itself when I had last removed the seat from the base. Cue a lot of panic until my rational side took over and retraced all the steps!


Sanitary towels and breast pads


It’s easy to make sure you have everything ready for the baby but forget about yourself and what you might need. Trust me – these two things are crucial. Get plenty. Get the biggest maternity towels you can. They don’t need to be fancy – I had Tesco’s own brand maternity towels and found Asda’s breast pads to be perfectly comfy and functional. A tip – if you think your waters might have broken, but are not sure, then use a maternity towel. I used a standard sanitary towel and they’re actually very good at being absorbent. So much so that the midwife could not tell whether my waters had gone or not. Some other useful pointers related to these two items – I bought a couple of cheap packs of big pants from the supermarket, and used these after the birth. Some people suggest disposable pants but I found a pack of simple pants worked just as well, and are reusable. Get some good maternity bras. I really liked the M+S ones (http://www.marksandspencer.com/2-pack-maternity-non-wired-santoni-full-cup-bras/p/p22278630?prevPage=plp). They’re perhaps not the cheapest but they have stood the test of time (lots of wear, use and washing). I found I needed to wear bras at night, with the breast pads, for quite a long time and these were really comfortable. Plus they accommodate the wide changes in size that your breasts go through whilst breastfeeding. If breastfeeding I cannot recommend nipple cream enough. I used Lansinoh HPA lanolin cream. Numerous people recommended it, and one friend explained that though she had tried plenty of cheaper alternatives this was by far the best. You don’t need to remove it before feeding either. I found that it was most required in the early weeks as feeding was established. You don’t need much each time, and as such I only used one tube so it was pretty good value. A word of warning – it’s greasy. Make sure you put a breast pad on after using it as it stained my pyjama top to the extent that I couldn’t get rid of the grease marks and had to throw the top away.


Crib/Moses basket


We bought a moses basket following reading what we should buy in preparation for baby’s arrival. It lasted about three months before we decided to get a crib as she was outgrowing the basket but we weren’t ready to move her into a separate room, and therefore into her big cot. The moses basket was useful since it was portable around the house. However, our pram top was also suitable for moving around the house, and was designed so it could be used as a travel cot. In fact during the first couple of weeks she preferred to sleep in this compared to the basket. Though perhaps this was due to us not getting a better mattress than the one that came with the basket. On reflection I am note sure whether we would buy the moses basket again if we did it over again. I think we would go straight for the crib. Quite a few people I know bought the cribs that fit alongside the bed and have found these really useful. What I do wish I had bought earlier was the Sleepyhead. I wonder if she would have settled in the crib more easily from a younger age had we had this from birth.


Nappies and wipes


Stock up on these in the run up to the birth. I took advantage of baby events at the supermarket to buy the biggest sized pack of both. My initial supply of wipes lasted me about six months! Plus we had stocked up on enough of the first size nappies to last until she was ready for the next size up. It was great to not have to worry about last minute supermarket dashes or online orders. We bought one changing mat but some friends gave us a couple more. At the time we tried to resist being given them, thinking that we already had one. However, it was useful to have them as it meant we could keep them in different locations and not have to either a) change nappies in the same place each time or b) carry changing mats around the house.


Pram/Travel system


We probably spent the most time researching this. We took advice from friends, looked at awards for baby products, the Which website and product reviews on websites. We settled for an Uppababy Vista. The reasons for this being it’s multifunctional use and longevity of use. It has a great pram top that doubles up as a travel cot when required. I really love how much space the basket has – I can go around the supermarket with the shopping bags in the bottom and do the scan as you go. The car seat fixes to the pushchair base with an adaptor. I would say this is a little fiddly to remove. I don’t have anything else to compare this too so I don’t know if this would be the case with other car seats or buggy systems. This buggy is also great for future proofing. Using adaptors it can be doubled up to become a double buggy. I have used it for this purpose to transport Amelia and one of her little buddies, using the car seat and the pushchair seat. It worked very well and was easy to set up. The buggy is also really easy to manoeuvre and has a great turning circle for tight spaces! It is perhaps a bit bulky when collapsed down, compared to some others. However the wheels are easily removed which does make it more compact. I also like the height of the seat. I have noticed that some other systems are very low in height compared to the Uppababy. The handle bar is also adjustable which is fantastic for parents who are a foot apart in height difference!


Muslins, vests and babygros


A reasonable collection of these is very useful. It is likely you will be gifted with many babygros but it is useful to have a few of each to start with. Some inexpensive ones are all that’s required. Muslins are extremely useful for wiping any milk or vomit up. Or averting a spray of wee when incidents occur! Larger ones can be helpful for swaddling baby too. We had numerous poop escapes from nappies. Baby poop in the early days is amazingly good at dyeing clothes a nice yellowy colour. Therefore inexpensive vests are all that is required. I spent a lot of time soaking vests in vanish and washing powder.


Ewan the Dreamsheep


He may be seen as a luxury item to some but in our household he has become a necessity! We have used him from day one and found him to be of great help in settling Amelia. See the recommendations page for more details on him. The only piece of advice I will give on him is make sure you have a stock of AAA batteries to hand. Though we look back on it fondly, I am not sure my husband found searching the house high and low, at 3am, for batteries to bring Ewan alive, the highlight of paternity leave!


There were many items along the way that we couldn’t understand why you would ever need them, such as a mirror for the car seat, or a nappy disposal unit. However, we now have a mirror for the car seat, and we completely understand why you would want a nappy disposal unit. We bought the mirror soon after her birth and find it really useful to keep a check on what she’s doing whilst we are out and about driving. The nappies are pretty innocuous in the early days, but as soon as we started weaning her they changed! We haven’t given in to the nappy disposal unit so far but I think that time might come soon.


There are also things that are useful but just not straight away. Examples include monitors. We didn’t use a monitor until a few weeks after the birth. We started using it once we started putting her to bed upstairs. Even then we only used it until we went to bed and then she was in the same room as us. As I said at the start – the essential all relate to sleeping, travel and keeping baby clean and warm. I should add that it might be useful to have some basics for bottle-feeding, even if you are hoping to breastfeed. I meant to get around to this but with her arriving two weeks ahead of schedule I didn’t. Some friends had they baby over Easter weekend and needed some formula due to breastfeeding difficulties. It was not as easy as you’d think when the shops are closed for Easter. Think ahead if your EDD is close to a bank holiday!


If there are any items you found ‘essential’ or wished you hadn’t bothered with then please share!