THE LIFESTYLE HUB

Welcome to my official Blog where I talk about everything from ‘Beauty & Fashion’, to ‘Travel & Fitness’ to ‘Pregnancy & Motherhood’ and everything in between.

New Mummy Book Club

New Mummy Book Club

Hey Lovely Mama’s, 

Welcome to the new Mummy book club!  Now, I know i’ve had a fair bit of time on my side what with being in quarantine for the past few months. Therefore, I have managed to get through a fair amount of books and audio books in the run up to welcoming my baby boy into the world. 

Here is my personal recommendations of what to read during pregnancy!

The Positive Birth Book – By Milli Hill

This book is by far my number one recommendation for any expectant Mum. I read this book during my first trimester, and it was a real education in pregnancy and birth. It takes you on a journey from the start of your pregnancy through to the fourth trimester, and it covers everything you need to know from changes in your body, the growth of your baby, your emotional wellbeing, what exactly is happening during labour and what to expect from your care providers. Most importantly it lays out everyone of your birth options clearly and teaches you about your legal rights during child birth. I loved how at every turn this book is littered with positive birth stories covering almost every situation that may occur.

But what I found really helpful was how empowered, knowledgable and in control it made me feel, you know what they say “knowledge is power”.

So you’re going to have a baby – By Adam Ringham & Chris Kirkcof.

Okay, this is definitely a controversial one, so brace yourself. I wont lie, this book is pretty heavy, but I am not one to bury my head in the sand. I would rather have all of the information available from both sides of the argument to enable me to make an educated decision.  In this book you’ll learn about Heavy Metals, Pitocin, MTHFR, Fluoride, Ultrasounds, Vaccines, Vitamin K shot, Strep B, Eye Ointment, Delayed Cord Clamping, Folic Acid, NSAID’s and Glutathione, mitochondrial disorders, aborted fetal tissue, and more. I did warn you, its intense! This isn’t a book to tell you what decision to make, or to sway you towards being pro or anti vaccine, but it does help you curate an educated list of questions for you to ask your doctor and give you food for thought so to speak. 

This book has really helped me and my partner finalise the medical decisions that are best for our child.

Babyopathy – By Angela J Spencer

I picked up this book during my third trimester which was a shame really as it is another book that guides you from the first trimester through to the fourth. This is the perfect book for someone who like me appreciates the power of crystals and essential oils and is into a more holistic approach to pregnancy and birth. This book is written with a focus on relaxation and highlights the importance of combating stress during pregnancy. It also guides you through babies first year of life with a natural and holistic approach. Overall, I wouldn’t say this book is an extensive information based book like ‘The positive birth book’ or ‘So you’re going to have a baby’, but it is a lovely addition to those books and brings some balance between a medical and holistic approach to the journey to motherhood.

Ina Mays Guide To Breastfeeding – By Ina May Gaskin

Now, I don’t know about you, but breastfeeding genuinely scares the hell out of me. It’s much like birth, you can have a “Birth Plan” but how it actually turns out when the time comes is not within your control. I guess the same goes for a “Breastfeeding Plan” the reality is, it could go either way. You could struggle with nipple pain or baby can struggle with his/her latch. So I wanted to get as much information as possible both to motivate me through the hard times and remind myself why I am persevering with breastfeeding, but also to help trouble shoot when the going gets tough. The book covers everything from soothing remedies for cracked nipples to all the tricks in helping baby get a good latch. It also teaches you the history of breastfeeding, the benefits of breastfeeding and covers every solution to every breast feeding problem. I will point out the audiobook version has a pretty annoying narrator so swerve that and get the paperback version on this one.  

Your Baby week by week – By Simon Cave & Dr Caroline Fertleman

Now, I cant say I have actually finished this book as it is best read weekly. As my baby is due next week I have only read week one and two of babies life. But this book came highly recommended by several Mummies and already I can see why. This one is purely practical and that is exactly what you need when overwhelmed and under prepared. This book covers feeding, how many wet nappies you should expect, what to expect from babies sleep pattern, what is normal and when you should seek help from your midwife or health visitor, perfect for every first time mum especially if you don’t have a huge support network with lots of on hand advice at the ready. 

The book you wish your parents had read (and your children will be glad that you did) – By Philippa Perry.

Full disclaimer this is another one to swerve on audiobook, the narrator has a habit of putting on silly voices when telling stories that are both distracting and annoying, so my advice is to stick to the paperback version on this one!

However that aside, this book is really quite good. It is super thought provoking. Firstly it makes you really take a look at your own childhood and how your parents raised you, which is a good thing to process when you are about to become a parent yourself. 

Then it uses personal stories, and psychology to really talk through how best to communicate with children and help understand their behaviour as they grow through different phases of life. It definitely made me analyse how I want to parent and which habits I may have as a person that may be detrimental to communicating with a small human. I would definitely recommend this book for both mum and dad to read. 

 

I hope this helps you navigate your way through the sea of parenting books on the market!

Do let me know via Instagram what you think of this reading guide and if there is any awesome books I have missed off of my list that you would recommend that I read. 

Keep an eye out for my next blog instalment, hopefully I will post it next Sunday… presuming I don’t go into labour first!

Love from Shanie & Bump x

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The Ultimate New Parent Shopping List…

The Ultimate New Parent Shopping List…

TRAVEL

Pram – We opted for the ‘iCandy designer peach Cerium’ which came with the basinet and rucksack style changing bag as well as foot muff and rain cover. 

Bassinet – It is a great option for your baby between 0 -6 months, a basinet aids babies breathing and lung development. It is also recommended for spinal development and muscle tone.

Changing Bag – Our changing bag came with our pram bundle. But it couldn’t be more perfect, its quite large so fits everything we will need for baby and it doubles up as a hospital bag for baby. On top of that style wise it is unisex so works for both Tony and I. 

Foot Muff – Our foot muff came with our pram bundle, but if it didn’t we would have purchased one for the winter months. Perfect for keeping baby snug on those winter walks.

Pram Bundle £1,300

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Sling / Baby Carrier

We opted for 3 different types of carrier after a few friends mentioned to Tony and I that we would likely have different preferences.  Also most parents like different slings when out to what they might use when they are in the house. So personally have a variety at the ready to try, but if you don’t want to dive into your purchase, you can always try a baby sling library where you can hire different types on a weekly basis before choosing which one to invest your money in. 

These are the ones we chose;

  1. Baby Bjorn Air One £163.99
  2. Close Parent Close Caboo £55.00
  3. FreeRider Wrap £49.99
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Travel Accessories

Here are a few accessories we felt could be helpful for travelling.

  • Car Mirror – £10.59 (Amazon). Great to be able see baby when the car seat is rear facing.
  • Maxi Cosi Back seat protector – £16.00 (Maxi Cosi. Perfect to protect the back of your seats from little muddy feet when your little one gets bigger.
  • Rockit Baby Rocker – £39.99 (John Lewis). For all those parents who’s baby likes to be rocked in the pram, it basically does it all for you. 

Car Seat & Base

We opted for the Cybex Cloud Z i size car seat and 180 degree rotating base, check out my previous blog on pram and car seat choices for a full review. 

  • Cybex Cloud Z £224.95
  • Cybex 180 Degree Base £185.00

 

SLEEPING

Co Sleeper & Cot

There is many benefits to co sleeping particularly if you are breast feeding, baby will only be in the co sleeper for the first 6 months, before it is recommended that you settle them into there own room and cot. 

We checked out quite a few nursery furniture options at the baby show and decided on the following Scandinavian brand. 

  • Snuzpod 2 – £199.95

This co-sleeper is a good size, light weight, lift off bassinet with a reflux incline option and plenty of storage underneath. Its a breathable mesh fabric on the side, which zip down so baby is right next to you. 

  • Snuz Kot – £349.00 (Plus mattress £139.95/ Extension kit is £79.95)

This cot was a no brainer, it takes your baby from 6 months to 10 years old! It is made of natural beech wood and has a modern Scandi style which we loved. It was also easy to put together. 

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Sleeping Accessories

  • 3 x Fitted Sheets for Co- Sleeper
  • 3 x Fitted Sheets for Cot
  • 2 x Waterproof mattress protectors.
  • Cot Bumpers
  • 3 x Cellular Blankets
  • 3 x Grow Bags
  • Room Thermometer
  • Baby Monitor
  • Sleep Aid / White Noise
  • Humidifer
  • Night light
  • Blackout Blinds

Breast feeding & breast pumps

Let’s talk about breast feeding & pumping!

Whatever route you decide its a personal choice, after reading the Ina May’s guide to breastfeeding and after taking into consideration the fact that Tony and I don’t drink dairy ourselves we decided that “Breast was best” for us personally. However, Tony does want to be involved in the feeds, as will the grandparents and also being self employed I will need to dip in and out of work projects quite soon after birth so we also needed to explore the wonderful world of breast pumps and feeding expressed milk from a bottle as well! 

After reviewing TONNES of breast pumps, we settled on two…. 

  • The Elvie Double Breast Pump – £449.00

This is a revolutionary new to the market product that allows women to pump discreetly and quietly. Im talking you can pump at your desk or whilst filling your car with petrol and no one would know kind of discreet.  Its completely quiet, and fits snuggly into your bra. No wires, no tubes and no bottles hanging from your chest like you belong in a dairy farm. Its all connected to an app on your phone, is USB chargeable as well so thats a super useful feature. 

What is included:

  • 2 Hubs
  • 4 Bottles (5oz/150ml, BPA free)
  • 2 Breast Shield (24mm)
  • 2 Breast Shield (28mm)
  • 4 Valves
  • 4 Spouts
  • 4 Seals
  • 4 Storage Lids
  • 4 Bra Adjusters
  • 2 USB Charging Cables
  • 2 Carry Bags
  • Instructions for Use
  • Medela Freestyle Flex 2 Phase Double Breast Pump – £349.99

This brand is one of the most highly awarded brands in the market. This electric breast pump is perfect for pumping at home or in a private space. It produces an outstanding 11% more milk than any other pump on the market due to its technology that very closely mimics the suckling of a real baby. Its not as quiet or discreet at the Elvie but in terms of being effective this is your best friend. 

What is included: 1 x Freestyle Flex™ double electric breast pump
2 x Medela PersonalFit Flex™ breast shield size 21 mm
2 x Medela PersonalFit Flex™ breast shield size 24 mm
2 x Medela PersonalFit Flex™ connector
1 x tubing
4 x 150 ml breast milk bottle
4 x lid
2 x bottle stand
1 x power adaptor with USB cable
1 x carry bag
1 x cooler with cooler element

The reason we opted for both is I wanted the Elvie for work purposes such as pumping in the dressing room at QVC I would rather the discreet option, however when at home the Medela was my top choice to ensure my pumping time is the most effective and I am getting the most milk possible for baby. 

OTHER FEEDING ESSENTIALS

  • Lactation Consultant on speed dial! (Search Locally)
  • Manual Suction Pump
  • Bottles
  • Steriliser
  • Bottle Warmer
  • Breast Feeding Pillow
  •  Nursing Bras
  • Breast Feeding Cover Up
  • Nipple shields
  • Nipple Cream
  • Breast Pads
  • Milk Storage Bags
  • Sharpie & masking tape to label the milk bags
  •  Low wattage feeding night light
  • Formula ( If you have chosen not to breast feed)
  • Muslin Cloths

After much research below are my top feeding essentials recommendations…

BABY TOILETRIES & BATHROOM ESSENTIALS

  • Organic, Chemical Free baby bath & shampoo 
  • Organic, Chemical Free Baby oil
  • Organic, Chemical Free Nappy Cream or Baby balm
  • Organic Chemical free baby powder
  • Eco Friendly, Biodegradable Nappies or reusable nappies
  • Eco Friendly, Biodegradable Nappy sacks
  • Biodegradable or Reusable Wipes
  • Cotton wool balls
  • Changing Caddy
  • Changing Mat
  • Baby Bath
  • Natural Bath Sponge
  • Hooded Towels
  • Dressing gown
  • Baby Nail clippers / file
  • Bath Thermometer
  • Nappy Bin
  • Dummies

Medical for Baby

  •  Baby first aid kit
  • Sudocream
  • Baby Olbas Oil
  • Infacol
  • Gripe Water
  • Snot Sucker
  • Baby Grooming kit
  • Saline Spray
  • Baby Ibruprofen
  • Baby Thermometer
  • Sterilising Wipes
  • Vitamin D Drops

Baby CLOTHES 0-3 MONTHS

So here’s a thought, the most important thing for Mumma and Baby is skin to skin…. and that requires zero clothing! So here is my bare essential guide to stocking up on the bare necessities for bringing home your newborn.

  • Short Sleeved Vests (7x Newborn & 7x 0-3 mths)
  • Long Sleeved Vests (7x Newborn & 7x 0-3 mths)
  • Sleep suits (7x Newborn & 7x 0-3 mths)
  • Cotton Cardigan  (x2 Newborn & 2x 0-3 mths)
  • Hats (x2)
  • Socks (x7)
  • Scratch Mitts (x2)
  • Booties (x2)
  • Bibs (x10)
  • Outfits (7x Newborn & 7x 0-3 mths)
  • Pramsuit (1x Newborn & 1x 0-3 Months)
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The First Trimester… My personal experience!

The First Trimester… My personal experience!

I found out I was pregnant after several days of very clear signs that ended with Tony telling me it was time to pee on a stick!

First up I was constantly tired, I literally fell asleep in the middle of a conversation with him and woke up 3 hours later (FYI: I am not the napping type!). Then every time I went outside I would complain about the smell of fox poo,  (I haven’t ever been aware of the smell of fox poo before have you?) , thirdly I had an actual toddler sized tantrum and yelled at Tony for not plumping the cushions properly before bed. Now, I am a clean freak who likes the house kept a certain (immaculate) way, but even for me this was ridiculous, I got so upset over it I actually cried and threatened to sleep in the spare room for the first time in 4 years of living here. After that embarrassing performance he gently suggested that I might be pregnant and perhaps we should do a test that weekend.

We did, and there it was… two blue lines that appeared within seconds! We were having a baby!

This was good news for us as we had started trying the month before however, we did not think it would happen that quickly, so it was also still a bit of a shock.

I wanted to share the details of my first trimester, because it was not bad at all, and I have to say, I was expecting the worst after speaking to friends and family… pretty much everyone was telling me how awful the first trimester was for them, full of nausea and vomiting, bad smells and exhaustion, they made it sound so bad that I began to dread the few months ahead. But for me personally it wasn’t as bad as everyone had led me to believe and perhaps if  I had heard a few more positive experiences maybe I wouldn’t have worried so much.

So here is my first trimester run down..

“Dammmnnn i’m tired”

The hardest part was the tiredness… it’s like a cross between a mild hangover meets severe jet lag. I went from a 1am bed time to a 9pm bed time, from sleeping 5-6 hours a night to sleeping 10-12 hours a night with a nap thrown in for good measure. It was the most fatigued I had ever felt, yet I was really enjoying my bed! I don’t think i’ve ever enjoyed my sleep so much, it always felt like such an inconvenience to have to sleep when there was so much else I could be doing that was way more productive! Yep, I was one of those workaholic overachiever types who has legit said  “I’ll sleep when i’m dead” before (*rolls eyes). But when you are growing a child all of sudden my attitude towards rest changed, i’m not sleeping for me, i’m sleeping for the health of my developing baby, as well as to assist my body in all the changes it is going through. So my entire mindset changed instantly,  if i wanted / needed to sleep 15 hours on a Wednesday night, I was bloody well going to!

Don’t get me wrong, the tiredness sucked when I had a full day of work on my plate and I knew come 4pm I wouldn’t be able to stay awake, it was a struggle. But, on the upside for the first time in my adult life, sleeping and resting was my friend and not the enemy, and that felt pretty damn good! My advice; enjoy the sleep, every moment of it, it will be the best sleep of your life and remember its a important element of growing your baby.

“I feel sick”

I think how sick you feel during your first trimester really does make a huge difference as to how a woman remembers her entire pregnancy experience. I’ve literally had to help wash the hair of a friend who suffered so badly with morning / all day sickness that she couldn’t even manage to wash her own hair, however her condition was severe and rare, but it was safe to say it put her off having another child. I think most women expect to experience something like that, after all its what they show us in the movies; head down a toilet bowl every morning vomiting and feeling dreadful. Well I expected the same, but thankfully this was not my experience. Medical professionals still aren’t sure what causes sickness in pregnancy but the most popular theory is that it is the body’s reaction to the pregnancy hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which is produced at higher levels during the first trimester than at any other time.

My experience was not to Hollywoods movie worthy  standards… it was a routine of waking because of feeling nauseous at around 4am and then that sick feeling continuing until around 11am every day. It would usually settle down after I had devoured my first pregnancy craving of well cooked crumpets with vegan butter on top and then I would be good for the rest of the day. The other time I felt pretty fragile was when I was a passenger in a car, I am already someone who gets a tad travel sick, so team this with early pregnancy and it was my least favourite place to be! For me, keeping water and some dry crackers with me at all times really helped subside the waves when they did arise. Luckily I was not sick once during my first trimester, however I did still manage to drop 4lbs in weight due to my minimal bland diet. My advice; Don’t expect the worst and ignore the movies, sure 80-90% of woman suffer with some degree of nausea or sickness during the first trimester, but each person has a different experience and a different way of helping keep the nausea at bay too. Your not automatically doomed to 3 months of feeling like you have the worst hungover, it genuinely might not be that bad for you or you might find a great anti sickness hack that works a treat.

Here is a few of the things that worked for me…

  • Sip water constantly; Hydration helps.
  • Think dry, beige, carb loaded food as your friend …. Toast, Crumpets, Crackers, breadsticks all work a treat when the nausea starts!
  • When life gives you lemons! Im talking lemon water, lemon ice lollies, lemonade ice lollies,  lemon hard boiled sweets can all help with even the most severe sickness.
  • Ginger …One study showed that ginger capsules with 250 milligrams of ginger four times per day were effective, but a bit of grated ginger root steeped in 1 cup of boiling water with a slice of lemon may also do the trick.
  • Ice Ice Baby – Sucking on or crunching ice – try it and you’ll see!
  • Peppermint tea (this also really helps with the bloating)

“I really fancy a ____________ (insert craving here!)

I’m not going to lie, I was a bit excited to discover what my cravings would be! Yet also a little tiny bit nervous as Tony and I had decided we were making the jump from Veggie to Vegan, we were doing really well and I did not want to pull a “Pheobe from friends” and start craving bacon sandwiches and beef burgers all of a sudden! But, reality kicked in and its safe to say cravings can be powerful!  Now i didnt go full carnivore, but within weeks the vegan diet went out the window as all I could think about was cheese! I hung on for as long as I could thinking the craving would pass. But as soon as I started to get headaches and lack concentration with just thinking about cheese (yes that can actually happen) I decided to listen to my body and to give in. It was like magic, one cheese sandwich and I was cured! It was a similar story with the eggs, I haven’t eaten eggs in over 3 years, we stopped eating them around a year after turning veggie. But boom! Second trimest hit and I wanted nothing more than scrambled eggs with chives (important detail)! Again I gave in… but I drew the line at meat even though I could murder a KFC chicken burger some days Lol…

My cravings went as follows… 

First trimester: 

Crumpets with butter

Cheddar cheese and silver skin pickled onion sandwiches

Blueberry muffins (this one was short lived), 

Second Trimester: 

Iced decaf coffees 

Scrambled eggs with chives ( worth mentioning I haven’t eaten eggs in over 3 years since turning Veggie).

Salty crisps

Third Trimester:

More Iced decaf coffees

Chocolate – Milky ways or Dark mint chocolate.

When it comes to your cravings, just listen to your body. I craved a lot of calcium rich food around the time that my baby development App was telling me that my baby’s bones were developing. Then the crisps cravings were always about wanting salt. Just try to keep an eye on the difference between a craving that genuinely holds a nutritional benefit, or you can get an idea of what it is about that food that your body needs. To those cravings that are just an excuse to eat what you want because your pregnant. In my experience the difference is pretty obvious, remember what you eat is the building blocks of developing your baby’s little body and the last thing you want is to give yourself gestational diabetes from all the junk food you’ve been eating as it puts both you and baby at risk. 

“Get that smell away from me”

Who knew that the human nostril could be so sensitive… I could smell EVERYTHING on a canine level….

Fox poo, the food compost bin even with the lid on, most of Tony’s aftershaves were gross to me, and don’t even get me started on the smell of raw chickpeas and kidney beans. The chickpea thing was so bad I still cant eat them now as I am still traumatised from how the smell affected me in my first trimester! Truth me told, its part and parcel of being pregnant, it only lasted around 12 weeks and its a great excuse to get your partner to do all the cooking, and emptying all the bins unprompted! 

ME: “Sorry WHAT? Why are you being so mean? I hate you”

HIM: “Babe I only asked if you wanted a cup of tea”

Let’s talk about hormones… genuinely I have never cried so much in my life! I’m talking; I cried at the Battersea dogs home advert (I don’t even own a bloody dog), I cried every time Tony didn’t talk to me like I was a Disney princess, I cried when my mum forgot to call me back, I cried when I couldn’t get the chip shop chips I wanted at 10.30pm because they were closed. The worst part…. I was also totally aware of how unreasonable I was being, and was mostly embarrassed of what a knob head I had become but yet, it was totally impossible to stop! 

Its inevitable that you are going to feel emotional, short tempered and sensitive, the hormones very quickly take over and there isn’t much you can do about it. I think it helped the person on the receiving end of my blunt tongue or the innocent witness to my crazy ass behaviour when I acknowledged what a mess I was. Especially because during the first trimester when it’s all new for everyone involved including your partner or family members the adjustment can be tough. Im sure in the first few weeks Tony thought to himself ” Ohhh lord why am I having a baby with her again” Lol. But just simply saying ” I know i’m being silly but I cant help it…” reminded both him and I, that i’m not feeling 100% myself, and he even said a few times he felt quite sorry for me, and responded to my tantrum with cuddles and love. 

The only advice I can give here is to give in to your vulnerability. It’s okay to admit you feel a little nuts and there is nothing you can to do to control it, its okay to need extra cuddles and support, and its okay to throw a tantrum for no legit reason and then say “Sorry i’m a mess” and leave it at that. 

“Aghhh I’m so excited”  “When should we tell people?” “OMG do you think the baby is okay? “

One minute we were excited and planning the next 9 months of pregnancy / 18 years of life with a child. The next we were scared something would go wrong. It is such a fragile time the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, excitement and worry in equal measures. Then there is this unwritten rule that you shouldn’t tell anyone you are pregnant until you reach 12 weeks. For all of about 10 minutes we considered this, but then decided no. If anything was to go wrong we would at least want to rely on the emotional support of our parents and close family so we would end up telling them in that case anyway, so we found out we were expecting when I was just 5 weeks pregnant and by 8 weeks we had told our close family. We decided against telling friends until 12 weeks, and didn’t announce on social media until after our 20 week scan as this felt like a sensible decision. It is such a personal choice of when to share your news, do what is best for you and have fun with it… this is how we told our family…. 

 

 

 

The Sum Up!

Other things to look out for during your first trimester are…

Bloating / Sore & swollen boobs / Needing to pee LOTS / Mild abdominal cramps / Spotting.

I started this batch of blog posts because I genuinely struggled to find a single person who spoke positively about their first trimester. I personally look back at mine fondly, yes I moaned about sore boobs and the constant need to pee, and yes it was all a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but I was excited to be at the beginning of my journey to motherhood, to be exploring a holistic pregnancy path with Tony, to be blessed enough to be able to fall pregnant quickly and easily. I’m not saying it was perfect, or easy. But my mindset was a positive one and I think it makes all the difference when pulling through the tough moments. I love that when someone tells me they are pregnant that I can share positive vibes with them and give good energy to them even if they are having a more difficult first trimester than I did. As for all those ladies also having a great pregnancy, don’t be shy talk about it and share!  

Shanie & Bump Xx

 

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MY TOP 4 PRAMS & CARSEATS

MY TOP 4 PRAMS & CARSEATS

Once the first trimester passes and the icky sickly feeling and exhaustion lifts, if you are anything like me your mind will turn to the excitement of organising the house, decorating the nursery and buying everything that your little bundle of squishy cuteness could possibly need. So one thing you need to know about me is I am a super organised person, who loves a tick list! BUT even i’ve got to admit, this task was very daunting and a little over whelming!

Who new preparing for your first baby would be such a  mammoth task of navigating what you REALLY need, what are considered new mum essentials, which brands are the best, and what are really newborn must haves! I spent hours researching the brands I recommend, and took a trip to the baby show to road test prams and carseats and hit the high street to see whats out there.  

So with all that said I wanted to create an easy to follow buying guide that takes all the shopping stress out of becoming a new mummy.

I’m starting with my shortlist of prams and car seats as these are the two biggest and most expensive decisions, I will also be doing an easy shopping list to follow on from this so check back next week for that! 

MY TOP 4 PRAMS...

 

Who knew it would be easier to choose a brand-new car last year than it was to choose a pram? I can imagine that many parents to be, especially during the pandemic have really struggled with this decision particularly with nowhere open to road to road test all the many options available and see them in person. Luckily for Tony and I, a few weeks prior to lockdown we took a trip to London to the baby show where we got to see and handle so many different types, we spoke to the experts and even got to try them out on different terrain on the buggy obstacle course! We also had a one to one at Mama’s & Papa’s which really helped too. So, with that said here is my mini guide / top 4 prams list.  

Here are my top 4: 

 
1: BABY ZEN YO-YO: £359.60 
This pram is the perfect city stroller, a great fit for those who travel a lot on public transport, it's a must have for those who regularly travel abroad as it fits within an overhead cabin locker, its lightweight enough for the grandparents to handle and its super easy to carry when folded down, and its compact enough for those with smaller vehicles. The only downside I could find is, it's so lightweight that even something such as a heavy handbag on the handlebars could tip it backwards with small baby inside. So, with that said I would only recommend this one for when your baby is over 6 months old and I wouldn't put anything too heavy on the handle bars. Secondly the seat is not parent facing, so for those parents wishing to chat to their baby and pull faces whilst on the daily walk this isn't the one for you. 
 
*Shanie's score card 9/10* 

 

 2: STOKKE BABY BEAT: £520.00 
This pram is fairly new to the market and is a nice mix between a compact city stroller and a traditional more heavy-duty pram. The design is pretty slick and it's not too heavy for lifting in and out of the car. It is also a great ride so to speak with shock absorbing tyres and easy smooth turning. It is compatible with most car seats and the seat flips to be both parent facing and outward facing which was a big bonus for me as it is great for baby's development. 
 
*Shanie's score card 8/10* 

 

3: BUGGABOO FOX 2: £1,029. 
Now this is one of the most popular prams on the market, it is more expensive than the previous two options but you do get everything you could possibly need included in the package for the price. This pushchair is suitable for all terrains, so it is great for those who enjoy long walks in the countryside, or for those parents who live where there is cobbled or uneven streets. It is a similar weight to the Stokke baby beat so not super lightweight but light enough to lift into the car. It also comes in five colours. 

 
*Shanie's score card 8/10* 

 
 
4: ICANDY PEACH DESIGNER COLLECTION CERIUM: £1,300. 
The I candy peach is a great option to consider, there is a couple of different versions of the peach so check out all of them. However, the designer collection cerium version is the smartest looking with premium fabric, and a slick black on black colour code. This is definitely one that the Daddy's will enjoy pushing down the street, it is a smidge heavier than the other two prams above, but it is still manageable, particular with its easy carry strap you can just pop it on your shoulder like you are carrying a sports bag. Again, the price includes everything you could possibly need to get baby from new-born to 4 years old. This one has the bonus feature that the bassinet is approved for overnight sleeping so great for a night away, it also has a very useful large matching rucksack / changing bag, large enough to store everything you need for an overnight stay for bubba. It also has the multi-facing seat which is important to me for those long walks. 
 
*Shanie's score card 9.5/10* 

 
 
SO WHAT DID I CHOOSE?  
In the end Tony made the final choice on the pram, first reason being I am the most indecisive person ever, and secondly, he majorly preferred the design and look of the Cerium and the unisex changing bag was the cherry on top for him. I also really liked the Baby Zen Yo-Yo particularly for trips into London and for travel abroad. We won't buy it until baby is 6 months old, but it's definitely on our shopping list before we go on holiday to Thailand next year. 
 
Full disclosure; We were gifted the I Candy Peach designer collection cerium, but only after we had committed to buy it anyway. (Ad - Gifted) 

 

MY TOP 3 CAR SEATS...

 

Let's talk car seats.... this is going to feel like the most important decision you have made, especially when you strap your brand-new bubba in for that first drive home from the hospital (I am certain we will be doing like 10mph the entire drive home Lol) 
Car seats are such an important thing to really do your research on before you buy, firstly you need to find one that is compatible with your chosen pram so do check compatibility before buying, secondly you need to research safety features, and it's also worth paying attention to how long your baby will actually fit into that particular seat choice verses the cost of it.  
 
What took us by surprise was the fact that the first car seat tends to only fit baby for between 12-18 months. I mean bloody hell, it's a lot of money for something they outgrow so quickly, but we've rapidly learnt that that rule of thumb tends to pretty much go for everything. Baby stuff is expensive and nothing lasts longer than a year! Get used to it folks! 
 
Here are my top 3: 
 
1: CYBEX Z CLOUD ISIZE: £224.00 ( Plus base £189.00) 
Age: 0 - 24 months  

 
Let's kick off with something that is top of the range and has two very special features, the first being the fact that it rotates on the base 180 degrees, meaning that it is so much easier to place baby in and out of the car seat without straining your back which you will be thankful for when your tiny baby rapidly becomes a bigger heavier baby. Secondly it is one of the only seats on the market with an ergonomic lie flat position, this means that when baby is asleep you do not need to disturb them and remove them from the seat when you get out of the car. You can flat lay the seat easily and leave baby to sleep for as long as he / she wants without worrying about the usual 2-hour rule. Many car seat manufacturers do not recommend that babies should be in a car seat for more than 2 hours within a 24-hour time frame as to not cause damage to their developing spines. However, with this seat having the ability to open out and lay flat this massively reduces that risk. This seat also has a one base two seat plan, so when baby outgrows this one you can keep your original 180 degree rotating base and buy the next size seat up which is the Cybex Sirona Z I size (£260), this seat will see you through from new-born to 18kg or approximately 4 years old (however it is a fixed car seat that you cannot remove or place on a pram and it does not flat lay (hence why you might wish to purchase the Cloud z first). If that wasn't enough the Cloud Z also comes with a new-born removable inlay for extra snug comfort, an extra-large sun canopy at UPF 50+ so when you transfer baby onto the buggy in the lie flat position to continue their nap you can protect them from strong winds or sunshine. It comes in a range of colours but I personally love the black as it goes well with our pram. It is also suitable for strapping into a car without the base for when you travel, take a taxi or the grandparents take little one for the weekend however remember that i size means the seat has been safety tested up to 70mph, the child can be rear facing which is 75% safer than forward facing, however as soon as you use the seat without the base, the seat is only safety assured up to 30mph. This one may be a little pricier than others on the market, but it will last you longer as a first car seat option than the standard 0-12 months. I love the fact that the flat lay feature means no disturbing baby when you get out of the carit has a smarter look than most designs and it has an extra safety feature of L.S.P which is optimised linear side impact protection.  
 
*Shanies score card: 10/10* 
 
2: MAXI COSI PEBBLE PLUS: £199.00 - (Plus base £199.00)  
Age: 0 - 12 months. 

 
I had heard that Maxi Cosi was the most popular brand on the market for car seats prior to visiting the baby show, so I was keen to check out what they had to offer, after all apparently they have transported over 50 million babies home from the hospital worldwide, Wowza The pebble plus was recommended by the expert we spoke too, and it is a part of their ‘2-way family range’ and it appears to be compatible with most major pram manufacturers. We liked it because it is compatible to place onto a pram base, taking baby direct from car to pram,  it is I size (tested to 70mph, 75% safer when rear facing), it has an isofix base for ease of use but it can also be simply strapped into the car for when grandparents or friends have the babyThis seat has an adjustable head rest which is great for comfort as your child grows taller, and it has machine washable covers which will 100% come in handy when baby throws up everywhere. It has a hidden UV sun protector hood which is perfect for when baby is in the seat and on the pram however remember with this car seat the baby should only be kept in there for 2 hours in 24-hour period anyway. The design for this one is a classic, with multiple colour options. As long as it is registered within 3 weeks, Maxi Cosi gives you a life time warranty and it is one of those brands that keeps a good resale value. The price point was definitely appealing but then again it only lasts 12 months before you have to shell out for the next one which would be the Maxi Cosi Pearl (£123.20) which is a fixed option that goes all the way to 4 years old.  

*Shanie’s score card 7/10* 

 
3: MAXI COSI MICA 360: £299.00  
Age: 0 - 4 years old   

 

Now the price point on this one is brilliant, it is perfect for parents only looking to make one purchase that will last as it  will take you from new-born to 4 years, and believe it or not the price actually includes the base and it has a new born inlay for when baby is littleThis one like the Cybex also has my favourite feature, the rotating 360 features to save your back from lots of trips to the chiropractor, it doesn’t flat lay, but when your little one is a big bigger it does have a recline function to aid in car naps. This one only comes in 3 colours, Black, Graphite & Authentic grey (dove grey). It also is a fixed car seat, so it is difficult and a bit of a fuss to transfer it from one vehicle to another, it cannot be used without the base and will not slot onto your pram, so with this baby will need to be disturbed every time when moving them from the car to the pramThe base has a cool beeping sound feature to let you know it is safely installed which is helpful, and again all the materials are machine washable which with a toddler and snacks will be needed. In terms of safety it ticks all the boxes, I sizeIsofix and it has a special shell developed for maximum side impact protection.  

*Shanie’s score card 8/10* 

 

WHAT DID WE CHOOSE?  

Until we discovered the Cybex, we were 100% going to purchase the Maxi Cosi Mica 360, we loved the 360 features, the value for money verses time used and the design. However, the fact it wasn’t easily transferred to the grandparent's vehicle and couldn’t go onto the pram made us want to look again and explore a few more options before making a final decisionSo, when we discovered the Cybex Cloud Z, it was a no brainer, with the cherry on top being the flat lay feature. Yes it means we will eventually with the one base and two seats end up spending around the region of £680.00 to get our little one to 4 years old verses the £299.00 that we would have spent on the Mica 360, but for us it came down to lifestyle and the ease of not disturbing a young baby getting in and out of the car. Basically, we chose the option with the least amount of crying involved Lol. 

So, there you have it guys, my personal buying guide when it comes to prams and car seats. I hope it helps! Please be sure to do your own research on each of these before making a decision as i’m not an expert, mearly a Mummy to be, just like you. We chose the pram & carseat that we feel will work for us as parents, but that might not be what works for you! 

Don’t forget to check back here next week when I will be sharing my full shopping check list that any first time parents will not want to miss.

 

Shanie & Bump xXx

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“Yay I’m Pregnant” (& loving it), This is a positive vibes only zone!

“Yay I’m Pregnant” (& loving it), This is a positive vibes only zone!

It’s been a hot minute since i’ve posted on my blog, so welcome back! 

If you follow me on Instagram you will know that my  incredible partner Tony and I not only got engaged this year but we are also expecting our first child together in August. We were blessed enough to fall pregnant super quickly, and despite experiencing my first pregnancy during a world wide pandemic and as a result of that, then spending most of my pregnancy in quarantine…. so far I have had a very positive experience with only a few shitty moments along the way. But mostly its been great and rather than shy away from that fact, or keep quiet about it, I wanted to share it with you and speak openly about my positive pregnancy for the following reason…

Its funny, as soon as you tell people that you are pregnant, their first reaction is always surprise and excitement, however  what I wasn’t prepared for was that within 5 minutes of the  buzz and excitement dying down, “it” begins!

What is the “it” I hear you ask?

Well here “it” is…. I noticed quite quickly that despite their good intentions, people have a strange habit of projecting their own experiences of pregnancy and birth onto you and your partner even if its super negative! It is often unsolicited advice, inappropriate comments or detailed story telling, and i’ve got to be honest, in my experience so far, more often than not, it isn’t the positive kind of story telling, comments or advice that you would hope for from people who are supposed to be happy for you. Where is the positive energy guys???

Tony and I heard everything from… Tony should “Move out for the next 9 months, as with all the hormones I would be a nightmare to live with”, to people describing how “awful” their birth stories were; sharing gory details and displaying their trauma for us to see in plain sight. People were even telling me that my pregnancy was going to be this miserable experience that I needed to strap myself in for, oh and then there is the insensitive “your gonna get fat” jokes! I mean really guys? How is this helpful?

Overall people tend to be pretty negative, however, they don’t actually realise they are doing it because everything is said as some sort of joke or in jest which is the worst part about it I think. They don’t even realise how insensitive they are being, or that what they are saying could negatively impact our experience and conjure up anxiety and fear at a time where it is vital to be calm and relaxed!

So with that said, VERY quickly Tony and I decided, that we needed a plan to protect ourselves from anything that might cast fear or uncertainty over our journey to becoming parents.

 

Step number one in our quest to have a positive experience was, we were going to have to get comfortable with being blunt and perhaps at times even quite rude to people who try to protect their negative experiences onto us!  We made a pact that from now on neither he nor I would not be allowing anyone to get past the first sentence of any story or comments that might make us feel worried or fearful of the journey ahead. We would literally shut down the conversation with “i’m sorry, but we aren’t open to hearing anything that isn’t 100% positive at this time, so we are going to have to stop you there”.

Next we booked a consultation with a holistic pregnancy coach (@Lacinne & @CoupeDC). I got to know them when they featured on episode 12 of my podcast ‘Influence Me’ CLICK HERE TO LISTEN. They themselves had a holistic pregnancy, followed by a free birth (aka unassisted birth) and they have raised their daughter exclusively on breast milk and a plant based diet. They seemed like our sort of people, and “parent goals” so we decided to book an appointment and they didn’t disappoint. They were super positive yet honest about their pregnancy, birth and parenting experience and gave us lots of confidence that we too could have an enjoyable journey and birth. This was the kind of people and energy we wanted to be influenced by, so we sat down with them before we even saw a midwife to establish the balance between the holistic approach and the medical led approach to pregnancy and birth.

Shanie with Lacienne & Coupe 

We also did some research and put together a reading list; One of my favourite books that both Tony and I listened to on Audiable was ‘The Positive Birth Book’ by Milli Hill. After reading this book I felt instantly empowered, educated in both pregnancy and child birth. I felt in control of my journey to becoming a parent and confident that I could have a positive birth regardless of how it played out. Tony also read this one with me and now feels confident that he will know what is happening during every phase of labour and he knows how best to support me when the time comes.

My final step was to follow some positive birth accounts on Instagram such as @ThePositiveBirthCompany @Birth_ed @BadAssMotherBirther , you would be surprised how powerful it is the randomly take in incredible birth photos, videos and positive stories every day whilst scrolling. Even on a subconscious level it helps eradicate fear and fill you with excitement at meeting your newborn baby when the time comes.

@Birth_ed

It is such a shame that so many women and men automatically pull for the negative pregnancy and birth stories, and i’ve actually found that the women with the positive experiences are the quietest in the group and the least likely to share and speak up. I’m sure a lot of it comes down to people not having dealt with the trauma of their own experience properly so therefore they project it onto others whenever they get the chance because it is their truth, even if it is a case of the “wrong audience”. Then the people who had a great experience end up feeling guilty or uncomfortable sharing a positive version of events as they don’t want to boast and brag so instead they keep quiet.

However, as a first time mum to be, it can be pretty toxic to be hearing awful stories, especially when you are feeling so vulnerable already. So I wanted to write about my experience so far by adding some pregnancy focused blog posts into the mix that are still super honest about the tough parts of pregnancy, but that have a little more  balance between the tough moments and the positive magical experience of growing a human being.  Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing my personal experiences of the first, second and third trimester, exercise in pregnancy, the truth about expecting during a pandemic, as well as sharing lots of useful and practical information from writing my birth plan, packing my hospital bag and what was on my new baby shopping list!

Overall, my pregnancy has been awesome, i’ve loved feeling my baby grow, wriggle and kick over the past few months. I have loved this new developing bond between Tony and I as we get closer to becoming “Mum & Dad”, and i’ve even loved the experience of watching my body change (which honestly I thought I would hate! I’ve genuinely surprised myself there). Pregnancy does not need to be a list of crappy things you go through, or that happen to you. Yes some of it is bloody hard, and I know plenty of women have it really tough and don’t enjoy it at all and I honestly don’t envy them whatsoever. But some women have a beautiful experience, enjoy pregnancy and that should be allowed to be spoken about and celebrated openly too, so here I am saying its not been easy at all, but i’m pregnant and i’m loving it! (most of the time).

Check back soon for my first trimester post!

Shanie & Bump Xx

 

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