run out of womb

... learning how to be a mum from scratch

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Baby sun care

The phrase 'sleeping like a baby' soon started to drive me mad as a new mama: its out-for-the-count meaning bears little resemblance to the reality of short bursts of sleep and broken nights with a newborn. But another phase - 'as soft as a baby's bottom' rang far truer. A photographer pal told me recently that she loves snapping newborns because their skin is so perfect it requires zero time-consuming editing - and my tiny man's skin is certainly silky soft and perfect. Particularly the bottom of his squidgy feet.

So the sun poses a bit of a problem for baby skin: it doesn't have enough natural melanin to protect itself from UV light. I obsessively use my buggy's sunshade (and shade itself) to keep the babe out of the sun entirely (although there's a whole other debate about Vitamin D deficiency to think about too!) - but sometimes 100% shade is impossible, so I was keen to try out baby sun cream from Bepanthen*. It's made by big German pharma firm Bayer, which made me confident about the science side, but also doesn't contain parabens, preservatives, colours or fragrances - the kind of unnecessary chemicals that can irritate babies' skin. 

But then it turned out that the tiny print on the back of the bottle says its factor 50 Baby Sun Cream is only suitable for those older than six months, so I'm holding out until then. For now, it's a buggy sun shade, tiny hat (with crucial-for-any-staying-power chin strap), UV tent and cool clothes for sun protection, but as my baby gets older I'll be thinking a lot more about sun cream - and if you have any tips or recommendations, please comment below.

* Item sent to Run out of Womb for review. Rest assured, though, that I'm seriously gobby and would never rave about something that's rubbish.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

These are a few of my favourite things...

Sometimes Western World parenting is a battle against Stuff and people trying to make you feel guilty for not having the Latest Thing or doing the hot new class or using the most natural/expensive/hardest-to-get products... etc. Living in a two-bedroom London flat we really try to only get necessary stuff. But I thought I'd do a post about some baby essentials and some totally non-essentials but really pretty/useful/happy-giving things that my tiny man and I are currently enjoying using.

Also, I've accidentally made them look like a bingo card... But they're definitely not about telling everyone to get a full house (not least because too much baby shopping leads to one).

First up is this cute Paul Frank baby grow (£16). It's really soft, the poppers work smoothly, and it looks great on. I go through phases of wanting to dress my baby up in jeans, shirts, tiny man outfits, etc, and wanting him to be cuddly and cosy in babygrows: this one doubles up by being smart and easy. 

Number two is the bath soak from Love Boo. One of my friends bought me the mama-to-be pack of Love Boo toiletries for my baby shower, and I've loved looong relaxing baths in the products ever since - albeit less often since becoming a mum. The potions all smell amazing, and don't have any parabens or other yuck stuff. LB also makes a miracle oil that I've been using on my stomach since birth. No idea if it's really miraculous or would have happened anyway, but my stretch marks have almost entirely disappeared.

Third up is Babycademy's Music Time box. On rainy indoors days I sometimes don't know what to do next with my baby. He's napped, we've gone through our song repertoire (four times), done dancing, mat play, he's not yet into toys.. So this box of songs, games, toys, noise-makers and a book has been really useful. It's a bit like going to a music class like Monkey Music or similar: a CD has 10 hours of songs, activities and stories, each session lasts from 5 to 20 minutes, depending on age (it's aimed from birth to 12 months) and claims to focus on development skills around language, intelligence, sensory, and social skills. It's not cheap at £50, and I don't yet know if the Music Time box is going send my tiny man to Oxford... But I will say he really likes Wilson the frog who lives inside it and it keeps him - and so me - happy for a good amount of time.

Number four is Ikea's baby bath. Just because it's easy to spend a fortune on these, but Ikea's is £6, easily moveable, has a useful rubber tread on the bottom and works really well.

Next are Babymoov's pretty muslins. Most of the time I use plain cheap ones from Mothercare - but I have noticed these are softer and bigger (they come in a pack of three of varying sizes) than the bog standard ones, so I use them in my baby's cot as they're kinder to his so-soft cheeks.

Meanwhile, Diono's car mirror -at number 6- is never going to win a prize for being cute, but it's v. useful. I bought a cuddly, elephant-adorned mirror originally for the car, but its rubbish flat-ness meant I could never actually see my baby in the reflection. This one twists to every possible angle, so you can see your baby, he/she can see him/herself (mine coos at himself admiringly) and it even has a remote control light so you can easily check on them whilst driving in the dark at night.

On the opposite end of the useful spectrum, this set of John Lewis crocodile dungarees (7) has no serious purpose except looking totally gorgeous. I love it especially as designers often seem to make baby boys' clothes a little boring, and this is so fun. Also, you can endlessly croon 'never smile at a crocodile' to your baby... Costs £16.

Number eight is the Sky Baby travel mattress. Travelling with a baby already means a helluva lot of stuff so I was curious to see if this was worthwhile for a plane journey. It rolls up into a small sausage shape and you unfurl it so your baby can snooze easily on your lap. It's really only useful on journeys where no on-board basinette is available, but if that's the case, it's great. You can easily snap the seat belt around the mattress and let your baby stay slumbering during take-off/landing/turbulence and it gives them support for a more comfortable journey. It's light and inexpensive (£30) too.

The last thing I'm loving this week is the Pacapod Idaho changing bag. Pre-baby, I couldn't understand why anyone paid three-figures for a bag which seemed to me like an oversized handbag. Well, I've found the answer here: my usual handbag is a mishmash of old tissues, decomposing bananas and a lot of receipts, which I had to rummage between to find my keys/wallet/etc. This bag makes you organised. PacaPod's USP is having three bags - an outer feeding one with an insulated bottle holder, another changing one for wipes, nappies etc, and a mat in between. You can just grab one of the small pods if dashing out and only needing, say, nappies, and best of all to me, this bag has the appearance of a good-looking handbag and doesn't say 'I love cupcakes' anywhere on its surface! 

*Some items were sent to Run out of Womb for review. Rest assured, though, that I'm seriously gobby and would never rave about something that's rubbish.


Friday, 14 August 2015

baby lifehacks

A baby? A mop? Or both.. pic credit: Firebox
You might get nine months to prepare for becoming a parent, but that doesn't stop it all feeling like a bit of a shock when you've got a tiny, vulnerable baby to look after. So these genius baby hacks - crowdsurfed from experienced parents - could save you time, money and sanity...

Pic source:
1. Avoid poonami disasters
Those random 'envelope' folds on baby vests and growers aren't for accommodating huge heads: they let you pull the outfit down over a baby's chest and off their legs if they have a poo-nami - so the poop doesn't touch their head.

2. Limit the nappy damage

Place a clean nappy open under the baby's dirty nappy. Change, wipe then place the clean bum on new nappy. During winter, placing a few wipes on the radiator can make night-changes a little quieter..

Pic source:
3. Help teething traumas
Freeze the teat of a dummy in an ice cube tray filled with milk (breast or formula) or cooled, boiled water to cool painful gums. (Advised for babies aged six months-plus)
Pic source: Pinterest

4. Never be without a bib

Attach a sticky hook to the back of a high chair to hang a few bibs so you never forget one.

5. Save the outfit... 
Feed your baby in a nappy, and put newspaper or a towel under the high-chair. 

6. Brainy breastfeeding 

Put something on your wrist or bra strap to remind you which boob to start on next feed!

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7. Avoid finger trauma
Slice a pool noodle in half, and slide onto the edge of a door to prevent trapped fingers.

8. Keep the car clean 
Put cupcake liners in the cupholders so you can whisk away all those crumbs/bogeys/rubbish rather than let it get stuck in the nooks and crannies

9. Potty-training hack: stop them using up all the loo roll by doing this... ---->
Pic source:

10. Never forget your baby monitor.
Download an app like this one - live video, and uses white noise or even your voice to soothe the babe.

11. Sleep soundly 
Don't do all the poppers up on your baby's vest during the night - it gives the nappy more room to expand.

Pic source:
12. Never run out of wardrobe space: attach the ring-pull of a drink can to a hanger and then hook another one through it to double the space.

13. Avoid wet night disasters
Layer your baby's bedding - so sheet, mattress protector, sheet, mattress protector - make a late-night bedding change far easier.

14. Muslin hack
Put them everywhere. In their carrycot, on their activity gym, on the sofa - then any sick/wee/poop means you just have to wash a muslin, not a whole set of furniture.

15. Stop chucking stained clothes
For berry stains on clothes, boil the kettle and pour the water over the clothes before washing - magically disappears! To get pasta sauce or ketchup out of clothes, scrap excess off (even if dry) with a knife and then run cold water through the stain (from the inside) then use washing liquid rub into stain! Simply vanishes! Then wash as normal.

16. Bathing hack: when your babe outgrows a baby bath, use a dam rather than filling up a huge bath with water. Or pop them in a washing basket to keep them still.

17. Hot car hack
 When it's boiling hot, keep a spray bottle in the car to cool the metal bits on the car seat to prevent them from burning baby legs.

18. For tummy-time haters
Recline on your back with baby lying on you, tummy to tummy. It's the same thing but it works for those who just cry when placed on a mat in the same position.

19. Messy face magic
 To clean up after eating, use a wet muslin. Wipe her face, then her hands then the high chair then the table. So everything is wiped with one cloth which then gets washed. Easy and avoids using loads of baby wipes!
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