Category Archives: Mama observations

Baby Stuff: My Metaphorical Luxury Car

In the past 5 years I’ve had and so far, successfully cultivated 2 babies.  I had a baby girl in the British winter and a baby boy in perennial Asian sunshine.  I suspect that I’ve spent the equivalent of a significant luxury car on items for and related to them, not least because for the reasons just mentioned there was little opportunity for hand me downs from one to the other.   Anyway, I’m not writing this to stop you making my mistakes, because frankly, I quite enjoyed making the mistakes and I don’t want to deny anyone the pleasure.  Maybe, though, just maybe, there will be something in here that will help you get a few more miles to the gallon for your own personal metaphorical Ferrari.

  1. The Transport

I can safely say, if I had my baby time again, with regard to prams and buggies, I’d still have very little idea what this little minefield is actually all about.  My experience was, at 5 months pregnant, me and (fake willing) husband went to the Baby Show at the NEC.  We had an open mind, an open wallet, an open boot coupled with the naïve glow of soon to be parents who have no idea what they are letting themselves in for.

We bought ourselves a Maclaren XLR travel system.  Whilst the sales lady did her pitch about attachments, suitability from birth, safety specifications etc., the following things were running through the pre-parental Wilsons minds.  Dad:  Don’t Maclaren make racing cars?  Me:  the colour is called CHAMPAGNE!!  Within days our ride arrived in several packages that my stepmother was able to assemble for us.  We were entirely happy with our purchase.  That was until we experienced the phenomenon that is ……. “other people’s prams”.

So shortly after our purchase, it became evident that the pram of choice for mums of a certain genre (ie mine) was the Bugaboo Bee.  This is the high spec Lexus of the buggy world.  It is pricey, but stylish, in a range of nice pretty colours, of which I believe a champagne “type” is available.  On chatting to owners, allegedly it is also great at turning, easy to collapse and light, with a massive shopping basket.  None of these traits particularly out trumped my Maclaren, but I do admit to feeling a bit left out, like someone in the 70s with a Betamax video.

Then I saw someone with a Phil and Teds.  What a beast!  It looked like one of those long nosed racing cars with (sort of) actual car wheels.  Later that year on a park walk in the snow, it showed its merits when that mum got home in time for Neighbours while the rest of us just about made it back for Panorama.

Then there was Posh Spice in Heat pushing an I-Candy.  This one was so SHINY!   In my simple world shininess out trumps most other features in most product categories.  That was my first experience of true buggy envy.

The thing is though, from what I can see, most kids end up in a Maclaren at some point, so maybe we didn’t do so badly.  I just wish it had been more shiny!

  1. The Clothes

Baby clothing is soft and cute.   It is also an area of potentially gargantuan wastage.  With my first born, I had a baby shower in July when it was sunny.  I accrued 23 short  sleeved rompers in sizes covering 0-6 months.  No exaggeration.  Holly’s 1st – 6th months (September – March) required significant sleevage.   It is with this in mind that I massively encourage secondhand acquisition of baby clothes because it will be highly likely that some will be barely, perhaps even never worn.   The problem arrives however when a baby reaches the weaning stage and is exposed to the phenomenon that is ORANGE FOOD.  Orange food stains everything forever.  Make hay while the food is white.

The second point on clothing is on the subject of outfits.  Many people will say not to bother with these because all you need for the first few months are sleep suits.    Are you kidding?  Have these people never seen a little baby girl’s feet in soft pink tights?  Have they never seen a baby boy in a teeny AC DC t-shirt?  My case rests on this final point.  My baby Holly, probably the cutest in the world, lost out at the Chertsey Bonny Baby contest to a little boy dressed in a tweed suit.  That happened.

  1. The Accessories

I read something recently about how big the universe is, which is infinite.  I think that this is also true of the number of available accessories for babies.  With this in mind I am going to focus on just 2:  Slings and Changing Bags.

Slings:  For me, there was a distinct difference in sling usage across 1st and 2nd babies.   First time round it was to look cute, second time around it was to be able to leave the house.    So I guess what I’m saying is you can’t go wrong with a sling.  It’s either cute or essential.  And, though mine rarely did, I’ve seen babies asleep in slings for HOURS… (even in soft plays).

Changing Bags:  I’ve been a fan of bags for about 85% of my life, so the nappy bag purchase was one that excited me.   5 years on, I still remain disappointed by the offer. I have never felt nappy bag envy and it’s a negative sentiment I longed to feel.  I settled for the closest thing to a happy place, which was a polka dot Cath Kidston, both practical and pretty.  I’m now just in the market for any old big bags so the moment has passed for me, but for future bag loving mummies, I hope the industry doesn’t disappoint you too.

  1. The Toys

In 2009, I lived in a house that didn’t really contain any toys other than the odd teddy and promotional Andrex puppy.  Now, in 2015, my home is 67% toys.    The ratio of plastic to wicker has reversed in plastic’s favour dramatically.  I hereby present you with two points of interest:

a) The fickleness of babies.

When Holly was born I was given a “Taggy”, a square of fluffy material surrounded by tags of other material in many lovely shades and textures.  The giver told me her children LOVED them.  Holly refused to acknowledge its existence.  “But Holly, it’s a TAGGY”, I would say to her, but no, zero interest.  It was similar with Sophie Le Giraffe, the must have toy designed to miraculously soothe teething babies.  Holly eventually did bond with a toy.  She was 2 years and 5 months by that point and the objective of her still begrudging affection was a singing Barney dinosaur.  Ben, after the obligatory offers of the Taggy and Sophie, settled on sucking the very existence out of the legs of a small blue Mothercare snuggly.

I could not have predicted either of these two outcomes, nor are they the same as any other kids I know.  You’ve just got to work it out.

b) Three toys that seem to delight ALL toddlers

These are the IKEA cooker, the IKEA circus tent and the Little Tikes red and yellow push along/sit in car.    Everyone I know who has a toddler has these as do most local businesses that need to provide a toddler distraction area.  If one of the cars appears on any of the secondhand selling sites out here in Malaysia, it goes within seconds.  It’s a while since I’ve toddled, so I have no idea why they appeal, but believe me, they do.

  1. The Memorabilia

Over the past 4 years, I have accrued the following:  2 bracelets, 4 sets of cufflinks with foot and handprints of each child, photos from 6 professional photo shots, footprints on ceramics and baubles, 4 large IKEA boxes of first shoes/rompers/hospital bracelets and a growing box of every greeting card that I have either sent to them or them to me (via Daddy).  Whilst this is saving memories of things I could never forget in a billion years either way, I still love every little bit of it.

And so, to conclude, I would say shopping for babies is like Dorothy trying to get home from the land of Oz.  I can tell you how to do it, but you’ve just got to work it out for yourselves.  So, when bargains come along snap them up, afterwards pass ‘em on… but mostly jump in, rev it up and enjoy the metaphorical ride.

Contributed by our guest blogger Jackie Wilson. Jackie has worked extensively in marketing for brands including Twinings, Del Monte, Kingsmill and Cathedral City.  She is now living the ex-pat dream in Malaysia. She’s mum to two lovely children and is combining looking after them with some freelance writing, most recently for Bonda, the magazine for Malaysia’s equivalent of the NCT and ABWM Mag (Association of British Women in Malaysia).  Her Malaysian journey is chronicled at http://www.malaysiamummy@wordpress.com or if you’d like to get in touch she can be found at Jackie.wilson71@gmail.com.

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M.A.B! Me After Babies.

It’s been nearly 5 years now since the line appeared on the stick that signified the imminent arrival of my first born and nearly 2 years since that of the second.  I’ve changed.  Or have I?  I often wonder if deep down I’ve actually changed or if my little babies just brought out the real me?  What has 5 years, 2 births and the small matter of expatriation to Malaysia actually done to the girl formerly known as me and more importantly, is she any better?  So, apart from the obvious, here are some of the big things that making a couple of humans did to me:

  1. I’m now a writer

Before my babies and 2 years post, I worked in Brand Management.  Now I write.  Through the circumstance of creating my humans and a little pause in career proceedings I was able to see that quite simply what I was best at before was the “proportion” of my old working world that could be the whole of my new one.  And I love it.

  1. I “neglect” my husband (there I said it)

There are so many facets to this its worthy of its own private whole blog.  I don’t know many mums at home with babies who don’t have the “but my life is harder than yours” conversation with their husbands several times a week.  The simple fact is that no-one in full time work will ever buy that staying at home minding 7 – 10lbs of cuteness could be at all hard.  I never did…before.  I thought “at home” mums were laughing all the way to the nappy bin, but hey I’m not here to argue that.  The neglect to which I’m confessing is attention.  Most of the time I’ve just got nothing left in the tank for him.  The irony of this was brought to mind by a good friend of mine who said “I love him more than ever, but can show it the least”.  It’s so true.  My husband is an AMAZING dad.  When he walks through the door after work and my two babies light up like happy sparklers my heart does flips in my chest so it almost hurts.  Can I tell him that?  Not a chance.  I just hope he can hang in there till “hot loving me” comes back, coz she will, I just have no idea when.

  1. I know a whole lot more about how my specific crazy body works

There’s nothing like a pregnancy and childbirth to bring to life the intricacies of reproductive biology.  For me though, it went a bit further.  After 20 years of odd periods, 4 identical miscarriages at 7 weeks and a struggle to lose some baby weight I suspected there might be “a thing”.  The epiphany came after nearly a year of trying to shift over a stone of tummy and inner thigh weight that making Ben and fueling my breastfeeding generously left behind.  As a last resort to shift it I tried a high protein, low carb approach to eating.  Kerpow!  I lost nearly 10lbs in 3 weeks!  The best thing about was that in eating less I just wanted less.   I still have no exact name for “the thing” but I’m guessing it’s linked to blood sugar and regardless I know how to manage it.  Thanks babies.

  1. I “get it”

By this I meant the absolute mesmerising joy of little humans.  I never did before.  Every time a friend revealed a pregnancy, I confess (again) to just mentally writing her off for a few years.  I always declared that kids didn’t like me and placed myself in situations mostly where they were not.  I started to get it when my sister had her first baby, where I found myself leaving my first meeting with him weeping at the prospect of anything bad ever happening to the gorgeous little munchkin that gripped my little finger.  Now I just love them all, even the loud, annoying ones.  I can  see the innocent, beautiful preciousness in all of them and suddenly, mostly, they like me too.  Funny that.

  1. I haven’t really changed THAT much

There’s no doubt that life changes forever after babies.  Multiple consecutive drinking nights, lie ins till lunch, weeks in Ibiza (of that kind) are no longer realistic or wanted.  Me though, I will always long to rock the party.  I still love getting dressed up, I love champagne, I love dancing.  If you ask me on a night out I will come (beware).  My heart will beat faster at sparkly shoes and twirly dresses.  I long for light up dance floors and will gladly occupy one alone if you won’t come with me.    The only real difference is that I’ll be home before midnight and I’ll remember the pint of water before bed.

So, the post baby me is a writing, husband neglecting, size 12, kid loving, party animal.  I guess that’s mostly better, just temporarily worse for husband.

I however, like me better because I made THEM and I know deep down he does too.

Contributed by our guest blogger Jackie Wilson. Jackie has worked extensively in marketing for brands including Twinings, Del Monte, Kingsmill and Cathedral City.  She is now living the ex-pat dream in Malaysia. She’s mum to two lovely children and is combining looking after them with some freelance writing, most recently for Bonda, the magazine for Malaysia’s equivalent of the NCT and ABWM Mag (Association of British Women in Malaysia).  Her Malaysian journey is chronicled at http://www.malaysiamummy@wordpress.com or if you’d like to get in touch she can be found at Jackie.wilson71@gmail.com.

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Apologies for the Utter Disgrace that is Me

If you tell me you are coming between 10 and 11, there’s a chance that I’ll be ready for 10.05 at a push. Don’t turn up at 9.25am or you will find me in a vest and pants, devoid of make up, with lion hair. There’ll be breakfast all over the floor, the children will be feral and undressed, the iron will be out and life is likely to be in general chaos. So, apologies Mr Upholsterer for the utter disgrace that is me.

I’m sorry that you found it difficult to look me in the eye. Perhaps it was due to the lack of make up and the fact that I was wearing a vest that was practically see through with just one Ugg boot, as I couldn’t get the other one on quick enough. And I thank you for pretending to ignore what looked like a tiny bit of hardened dog poo on the sofa. Honestly I’m not sure what it was, but I personally wouldn’t have touched it with my human hand. It was discarded, wrapped in a piece of kitchen roll as soon as you’d gone. All I can say is it had hairs in it. Sorry. Also, when you pulled the chaise longue out, I apologise for the layer of dust, fluff, old plastic toys, tissues and a small child’s coat hanger, that it revealed.

Please don’t tell the husband that the beautiful home and immaculately presented wife and children that welcome him home every evening is in fact, a charade.

Yours,
A (somewhat tatty, crazy looking, embarrassed, disgraced) Confused Take That Fan, 30+

Jo A

Check out more of Jo Avery’s musings on life at her ‘A Confused Take That Fan‘ blog.

We’ve come a long way, babies!

My second baby Ben is approaching his first birthday. For me it feels a bit like I deserve a graduation ceremony for passing the baby phase for the second and almost certainly final time. For me, year one for each of my babies were probably the hardest of life.  Neither were particularly difficult babies and there were no significant dramas – this is definitely a case of it’s not them, it’s me.  I am now more than happy to admit that my cute, blue eyed little hair bears just terrified me to my very core. 

I can’t count the number of times a mum has advised me to enjoy the baby bit; “because before you know it they’ll be running around”.  I’ve always nodded enthusiastically whilst secretly thinking how much I REALLY want to get to that running around bit.  In my mind if they can run then all I really have to do is catch them and I’m darn sure I’ll be able to run faster (for the next 10 years at least).

I’ve thought so much about why it has been so hard for me.   It’s certainly not a bonding issue.  I was head over heels in love with both the little monkeys the second I knew they were in my belly.  Both of them have been nothing short of utterly mesmerising to me from the minute they arrived.  I look back at photos of them pretty much on a daily basis.  Cumulatively in both their first years we’ve had 5 professional photo shoots, I have their foot and handprints in silver, clay and on Christmas baubles.  Each of them has a fully completed “Baby’s First Year” book and each has enough blogs and magazine articles written about them to embarrass them throughout their teens.

 Was it the major life upheaval?  Was it lack of sleep?  Hormones?  Am I just not maternal?   I know so many mums who just rock the baby phase. They love every second and mourn its passing.  I’m in awe of them.   For me though, the whole thing was just, well, enormous.

Firstly, you realise when you become a mum that all the adverts, book covers and packaging photography of babies are actually not “baby babies” at all.  When you see an image of a podgy little cherub in a high chair wielding a spoon, sprouting a couple of little bottom teeth and giving you a cheeky wink, it’s likely that baby is approaching its first birthday.  A real live actual baby is about the size of THAT baby’s left leg.  It can’t see, it can’t digest, let alone hold food, it can’t smile and it doesn’t even know it has arms!

Then, there’s the responsibility of protecting something that helpless, coupled with the unfeasibly ridiculous amount that you instantly love them.  It rendered me almost incapable of breathing.  I barely slept for the first years of each of my baby’s lives.  Ironically, they did!  I remember describing one of my nights to a friend; “yeah finally got to sleep at 11, woke at 2, then 3.30, then woke up for good at 5”,   they looked at me sympathetically and told me  the baby would start sleeping through soon enough.  The baby had been sleeping through for the past 3 months. 

For me though, the clichés were all true.  It did get easier.  There is a point in time when my mummying mojo arrives and that is somewhere around the 10 months mark.  I remember the moment with Holly.  She turned that age just as it turned summer and I distinctly remember coming back to life.  I remember giggling our heads off at rhyme time at the local library, playing on swings, feeding ducks, taking her to her first friend’s birthday party and just loving every second.  No fear, definitely not all perfect but mostly just joyful.

 Only this last week, I had my turning point moment with my little Ben.  We were sat in a coffee shop waiting for Holly to finish her gymnastics class (look how far SHE’S come!).  We were playing mock battles with plastic coffee stirrers and both laughing our heads off.  I lifted him out of the high chair and held him up in front of me, he stared right at me and moved in for what might have been a kiss, a bite or simply to soothe his teething gums on my cheek, but he looked me straight in the eye, held my gaze and didn’t stop smiling.  At that moment the whole world melted away.  It was just me and my gorgeous, perfect little boy.    I realised I wasn’t scared anymore.

And so now, my baby phases are near enough complete.  I know there may be trouble ahead – another round of terrible twos (threes and a couple of fours), school, teen rebellion etc. but bring it on.  I’m not scared, just up for it and ready.  So go on my little munchkins, you run.. and I’ll catch you.  Always.

Contributed by our guest blogger Jackie Wilson. Jackie has worked extensively in marketing for brands including Twinings, Del Monte, Kingsmill and Cathedral City.  She is now living the ex-pat dream in Malaysia. She’s mum to two lovely children and is combining looking after them with some freelance writing, most recently for Bonda, the magazine for Malaysia’s equivalent of the NCT and ABWM Mag (Association of British Women in Malaysia).  Her Malaysian journey is chronicled in her blog at http://www.malaysiamummy@wordpress.com or if you’d like to get in touch she can be found at Jackie.wilson71@gmail.com.

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Baby Jumble revisited: top tips from a seller and why Baby Jumble is good enough to do twice!

sarah_q&a
Sarah is from North London and booked a table at the East Finchley nearly new sale last year. Read her top tips for sellers and why she decided to come along and do it all again…



Which Baby Jumble nearly new sale did you sell at?
The East Finchley sale last September

And what prompted you to come along?
When you first become a parent you don’t realise how quickly your child grows out of clothing and toys and I soon realised that I had lots of beautiful, almost new clothing, shoes and toys that no longer fitted or were played with. As the pile kept growing and the storage space became less I knew that I had to do something – and fast! Like most families these days, times are hard and I realised that perhaps I could sell things on to other families and make some of my money back. I really liked the sound of Baby Jumble and how all the money you made was yours.

Who did you come with?
I came with my best friend who has a slightly older child than mine. It worked out really well as we split the table cost.

What did you enjoy about the event?
It was a great atmosphere. Everyone was really friendly and the selling part was lots of fun.

What did you find sold well?
I found that boys clothing sold really well.

Did anything surprise you about the event?
Just how much fun it was. I came thinking it might be quite stressful but left with a big smile and some cash in my back pocket!

You have booked a table at the next East Finchley sale – why have you decided to come back and sell again?
It proved a good way of making some extra money – useful for buying the next stage of clothing and toys.

Have you got any advice for sellers?
Make sure your table looks tidy and presentable and clearly label your clothing. I packaged things in clear bags and put outfits together, which went down well.

What about advice for buyers?
Keep coming and keep buying!

The second baby…..twice as nice or double the trouble?

Whilst I was pregnant with my second baby, the first a toddler of 2, I was frequently told having 2 children would be either “so much easier coz you know what you’re doing” or “it’s just literally double the work and worry”.  Now, with my little number 2 about to graduate from newborn, my conclusion is that it’s exactly and entirely BOTH those things.  Here’s how it went for me:

The “easier” bits:

  1.  The Birth:  I don’t think I’ve met a single mother who’s second birth story was worse than her first.  For me, whilst the second took longer it was undoubtedly easier.  The first time round the mounting contractions scared the wits out of me.  It’s when they start to get towards the ouchy stage and you have absolutely NO IDEA of how much more painful they are gonna get, that it messes with your head.   With my first (Holly), 2 hours in I was in a blind panic thinking Owwwwwww!  This is my limit!.. Help me!…… DRUUUUGS!!   In actual fact, half an hour later, little Miss Holly was lying on my chest and it was all forgotten.  Therein lies the rub…. when number 2 is knocking at the exit door you know EXACTLY how bad it’s going to get…and most importantly, you know you can cope, you know that you forget and you know its utterly, utterly worth every second.
  2. Letting go of your pre-baby lifestyle:  Second time round this is painless, because it’s quite simply already gone.   With number 1, I think it takes a good couple of weeks to realise that life as you knew it has pretty much packed its bags and gone to live in Australia (at least for a gap year).   By the time number 2 comes, life as you knew it has been torn down and rebuilt – and yep it’s better. You only ever really look back nostalgically – you don’t really want to go back there.
  3. Shopping:  First time round, for me, it was like – WOW there’s an entirely new sector of shopping malls that are now relevant for me.  PARTY ON!  I bought bottle warmers, singing sheep, bath liners, hundreds of baby gros (sleeveless, short sleeved, with pattern, without pattern, with sleeves but no legs…blah, blah), shoes etc etc.  By the time your first baby is 1, you discover just how much stuff you never used.  Up to 12 months, baby clothes expire in size every 3 months (or less).  You could make a marquee out of the unused babywear from baby 1.  Second time round, you just know.  And by the way, until they walk, babies really don’t need shoes (and that includes Hunter wellies and baby Havaianas, but then you should still buy them coz they’re cute).

Other things that are easier include:  dealing with nappies, curing nappy rashes (Sudocrem!), coping with little sleep and bathing baby (you’ve learned how robust they are and that having spent 9 months in water they are kind of at home there).

The harder bits:

  1.  Pregnancy:  Whilst any pregnancy comes with its own unique cocktail of aches, pains, nausea and ad hoc afflictions, the second is harder because, both to yourself and to others, you’re simply not as special.  You friends have seen what you look like as a weeble, you don’t have enough time to hang around looking serene and magical and your parents are distracted by the gift you have already given them.  Second time round, its less a celestial experience, moreover a 9 month wait with cumulative discomfort (AND with a little being tugging at your leg asking for chocolate and Peppa Pig on the Ipad).
  2. Getting anywhere by car:  I once plotted a process flow chart for getting 2 children somewhere by car.  It blows your mind.  Travel systems, buggy clips, safety harnesses, car seats, wrapping seat belts round car seats, all with an overlay of high pitched wailing and protestations.  Sometimes you will just stay at home.
  3. Weight loss:  I seem to remember that at about 6 months after Holly was born I was near enough back at my pre-baby weight (albeit with a softer belly).   I’d not done much really to get there.  I was back running (slowly and not far), whilst eating a lot more cake.  This time round at the same stage I’m still about the same weight I was when Holly was still in there.  I guess I must just be eating bigger cakes.

Things that are just the same

  1.  Illnesses:  Whilst you may not panic as much, having a sick baby is always horrible.  Even though you know about “the glass test”, any rash will stop your heart, cries in the night will jump start your heart and the sad face of a sick baby will break your heart.  No experience changes that.  Dig in.
  2. Baby weight gain tracking:  There is something about percentile charts that are designed to unnerve.   Whilst Holly was not that interested in food and it was all about getting some pounds on, with Ben I’m obsessed with his length (10th percentile.. but head is 50th… will he balance??).  Percentiles simply make you think too much.
  3. Multiple, random, daily guilt trips:  If you’re a mother and you don’t feel guilty about something, well… you should …errrr probably just feel a little bit guilty about that!

And finally, and of course the most important thing……………..

How much you love them.   There will always be something special about your first baby.  The same way there is something special about your first kiss, your first car, your first…well, you know – everything.  The thing with second babies however, is that whilst the experiences are happening for the second time, it’s still the first time you’ve met this particular little human.  That’s where its heart stopping, earth moving, life affirming magic all over again.

 

Contributed by our guest blogger Jackie Wilson. Jackie has worked extensively in marketing for brands including Twinings, Del Monte, Kingsmill and Cathedral City.  She is now living the ex-pIMG_4505 (1)at dream in Malaysia. She’s mum to two lovely children and is combining looking after them with some freelance writing, most recently for Bonda, the magazine for Malaysia’s equivalent of the NCT and ABWM Mag (Association of British Women in Malaysia).  Her Malaysian journey is chronicled in her blog at www.malaysiamummy@wordpress.com and if you’d like to get in touch she can be found at Jackie.wilson71@gmail.com.

Camping holiday with a baby (is it a holiday?) – list of essentials

Relaxing amidst lush green fields, beautiful beaches with freezing cold water, eating stinky cheese and baguettes for ten days solid and drinking only the reddest of red wine. Our camper van trip to France was full of potential for our first family of three holiday – and it was fabulous – really lovely. Daisy loved the seaside – shouting with excitement each time she saw dogs jumping the waves, ponies trotting down the beach, and seagulls swooping down to scavenge picnics. To watch her little inquisitive face trying to work out all of the new things that she was seeing was fabulous.

But seriously… nobody tells you that camping with a baby is HARD WORK! I can’t decide if we came back more tired than when we left (actually, we definitely did!), but on reflection it is definitely worth it. So go ahead and book that ferry crossing, dust down the camper and get packing.  My advice is: know your subject.

So, here is my holiday essentials checklist for camping with a baby:

          awning or  gazebo come rain or shine to avoid sunstroke and to keep the pram dry during downpours
          at least two beach or yoga mats that can be your base when back at camp and can be taken to the beach etc for picnics (beach picnic with baby on the move = very tricky)
          tiny blow up paddling pool (AKA baby bath) to keep baby clean and to cool down on a hot day (we got ours from the pound shop – best £1 I’ve ever spent)
          highchair – this may seen excessive but is probably no. 1 on my list of essentials as Daisy was SO distracted when eating picnic style as she just wanted to crawl around.  The highchair enabled me to keep my sanity during mealtimes and prevented Daisy from starving (luckily, we’d splashed out on the Baby Bjorn highchair which folds flat and is super neat, so didn’t take up too much precious room in the camper).
          sterilising tablets to keep baby alive (and another top tip: be vigilant about rabbit poo on the floor = BAD when put in baby’s mouth)
          plenty of hats / bibs / vests / weaning spoons and bowls
          easy to put on / take off cardigans and warm layers
          WET WIPES
          head torch
          warm, runny baby porridge for the morning – drunk from a bowl (I consider this to be the baby equivalent of the early morning caffeine fix….an essential kick start to the day)
          bananas (the simplest,  healthiest, easiest of all foods for littluns, non?) and other easy to access snacks (esp. for driving days)
          small selection of toys

Finally, don’t forget to take a healthy amount of humour for the ride – it was much needed at times, especially when the tiredness crept up on us!

Enjoy the trip brave travellers – your baby definitely will – but be prepared to book grandma in for a day on your return so that you can rest up and recover!