Getting out and about with a new baby: My Ergobaby 360 review

As a new Mum I found getting out and about with a newborn baby incredibly difficult. I never thought that would happen as where I live in Brighton, I see new parents parading along the seafront every day with the tiniest of babies – sleeping peacefully in their prams whilst their parents stroll along enjoying an ice cream in the sun. For us, Violet wouldn’t settle in her  pram for weeks – I felt totally stuck and stayed in the house a lot. At about 5 weeks and about to lose my marbles, I decided I’d try babywearing as I needed to leave the house and start getting some normality back to our lives.

As Violet was a tiny baby at 6lbs 2oz, my first jaunt into babywearing land was a stretchy fabric wrap. This had been recommended by a friend for smaller babies, so I gave that a go. That day, I managed to get out of the house to our local Tesco and honestly, it sounds like a small thing now but I was so proud of myself going out on my own with the baby I even took a selfie of me holding up my Tesco shopping bags, a tiny baby tied to my front! It’s funny how little things can seem so hard for new parents. I still remember that day so well.

I was pleased for the extra freedom of the wrap, but something inside wouldn’t let me relax when I was using it, it felt pretty stretchy and with a complex method of tying it up I always questioned myself – had I tied it too loose, too tight? Could Violet fall out? I didn’t go far from the house with it for fear it would come loose, in the end I decided it just wasn’t working for us and gave up on the wrap.

I then scoured the Internet for an alternative and discovered the Ergobaby 360, which I could use from 7lbs with their newborn insert snug. Perfect! This seemed far sturdier, safer and something we’d both be able to relax in.

So, zooming forward – that was nearly 5 months ago now. Wow, time flies when you are having fun and this is a long overdue review of one of the most useful baby products we have used to date. Violet is just about to turn 5 months and I use our Ergobaby 360 every day without fail, sometimes if it’s a bit of a clingy day (like today) multiple times (today was 6 different times, including one hour long nap). As I’ve been using our Ergobaby 360 so much today I thought today would be the perfect time to write up my review and share with you why this carrier has been the one for us. I also found these adorable photos we took of Violet in her carrier on our first walk, so I couldn’t resist sharing these too.

Lets start off with some facts about the Ergobaby 360…

  • 4 carrying positions – Forward facing (0-4 months), Outward Facing (6 months+), Side Carry (6 months+) and Back Carry (6 months+)
  • Suitable for babies 7lbs – 33lbs
  • Ergonomic in all positions
  • Adjustable padded straps and waist band for comfort
  • Loads of funky designs and colours
  • Machine Washable

Wearing the carrier – as you can see from this picture of the back, the large waistband is super comfy and is really supportive to the lower back area (which after pregnancy was really sore for me) – there is also comfy shoulder straps and a clip at the top to keep everything super secure and safe. This seems to spread the weight evenly across my back meaning I can wear the carrier for longer without feeling too strained. I have tried out quite a few carriers now (around 4 or 5) and this by far has been the best on my back, even on longer walks and as Violet gets heavier over time.

The straps are also really easy to put on and click into place safely – something I just didn’t feel with a stretchy wrap type carrier.

As we used our Ergobaby 360 from when Violet was very small (7lbs onwards) we used it with the newborn insert – which is like a little booster seat that brings them high enough to be close to you and to sit comfortably within the straps. We also used it with the neck support buttoned up, although now she is bigger we usually have this folded down so she can have a good look about for for the forward facing setting too.

We have the Dewy Grey design which has a gorgeous light grey lining with white raindrops too, which is a really pretty touch to what looks like a very sensible baby carrier.

The padded ‘seat’ part is ergonomically designed for babies to be comfortable in all positions, whether facing forward or inwards.

There is also a privacy hood that is also UPF 50+ which is really handy on sunny days when I’ve forgotten the sunhat or even if we are caught in the rain. If Violet falls asleep when she’s in the carrier I usually pop the neck support up and the cover over so she can have a good nap, this seems to keep her asleep for longer which is always good – I do this around the house on days she’s unsettled and have been known to write blog posts standing in the house with our Ergobaby on!

So, that was a whistle stop tour of the Ergobaby 360. I’d highly, highly recommend this carrier – we absolutely LOVE ours and like I said earlier in the post, wear it daily, multiple times a day. I use it at home, out on walks, on day trips and it even came on holiday with us. If you watch me on Instastories, you’ll see I use it a lot! It’s just such a well thought out design, they’ve catered for every eventuality, rain or shine, babies big or small – they’ve got you covered.

Ergobaby 360 retails for £134.90 and you can order here. Don’t forget that if your baby is under 12lbs, you’ll need the order here too.

Violet’s First Holiday

Bonjour! We have just arrived home from our first ever family holiday and we all had such a wonderful time! Seeing as we drove 900 miles with a 4 month old baby, we had a pretty relaxing time – all things considered! For our first holiday we headed down to France to stay with family who live near Bordeaux as we thought that a driving holiday might be easier. We’d have our own car and plenty of space for luggage, plus we could travel at our own pace, which seemed to work really well for us. So today on the blog I thought I’d share some little snippets of our holiday and what we’ve been up to. Being a family holiday, I realised I didn’t really have time to get my blog camera out to snap the perfect ‘blog photography’, so  hope you enjoy these raw snaps mainly caught on my phone camera too!

We left Newhaven on the ferry early on the Saturday morning – Violet was up so early we kept her in her pjs so she’d feel comfy on the journey, we thought she’d sleep more but it was clearly too exciting and different to nap.

The ferry from Newhaven to Dieppe is around 4.5 hours and it was pretty choppy as we set sail. I started to feel pretty seasick and thought we were going to be in for a really long, rough journey but after about 30 minutes things settled down and I started to feel a bit better. I didn’t really enjoy the ferry though, it’s pretty slow and boring! I would have spent the time reading or writing blog posts, but Violet was quite unsettled so we mainly walked round and round in circles with her in the Ergobaby 360 Carrier – I couldn’t wait to get to the other side!

When we arrived in France, our first stop was Le Mans – around 3.5 hours drive away. Violet was so good on the journey down, mainly sleeping the whole way. If she grizzled a bit I put loads of nursery rhymes and the Moana soundtrack on my phone, that calmed her instantly – she loves music! We made a few stops to stretch our legs and get her out her car seat but we got to our hotel about 6pm, just in time for dinner and for our first night in a hotel with Violet. We thought she’d be really unsettled after such a long day of travelling, but we put up her travel cot with the Sleepyhead pod so it felt snuggly and familiar and she slept all night through. She is honestly such a good baby and a natural traveller! (Wonder where she gets that from… 😉 )

The hotel we stayed at was fantastic – in the middle of nowhere, but that didn’t matter as we were hitting the road again the following morning. Breakfast was amazing – I love a hotel breakfast, scrambled eggs, pancakes with Nutella, fresh fruit and stacks of coffee – perfect!

After breakfast, we got back on the road and headed down to my relatives house which is in Gemozac, a tiny village around an hour away from Bordeaux. Again, Violet coped brilliantly with the journey – sleeping most of the way. The French motorways are just so long and straight, I was able to write blog posts on my laptop all the way down which was fab to get some bits done on the go!  This is the third time I’ve visited this part of France and it’s just beautiful – this year, we timed our visit with the sunflower season. I couldn’t wait to see huge fields filled with cheery, bright sunflowers and as we arrived into the area, the fields were just filled with yellow blooms as far as the eye could see (and we were a little early for the season this year, apparently half of the fields had not flowered yet) but it still looked amazing to me. My relatives have such a beautiful house and we stay in their gite, a renovated barn dating back to the 18th century which they rent out as a self-catering holiday apartment (if you are thinking of a holiday in France or want to see more about the place we stayed have a look at their website!). The area they live is perfect for exploring, with towns like Cognac, Bordeaux and La Rochelle a drive away, so I always get excited about going as there is always something new to see and do, plus it’s lovely for us to spend time with family too.

During our 4 night stay with relatives we spent most of the time relaxing and unwinding. On our last visit we were out and about most days but this time we decided to keep things simple for Violet and just enjoyed the sunshine in the garden, played in the paddling pool and enjoyed each others company. We did pop into Royan for some lunch and a trip to the famous wool shop though – that is a must! During our stay the temperatures soared to over 34 degrees, so we became consumed by keeping Violet cool – at one point we had 3 fans on, wet towels hanging in the room and all the windows open and it was still 28 degrees in her bedroom. I think we might have been worrying too much though as she still slept really well – in fact she spent so much time asleep on holiday and by the end of the week had quite obviously grown a lot as her clothes were tight, she’s our little sunflower growing in the sunshine!

I was excited to have some time to read for the first time since Violet’s birth – I got into my newest book ‘The Cows’ by Dawn O’Porter – I haven’t finished it yet but I was hooked and haven’t enjoyed a book so much for a long time.

One of the ‘must-have’ things that we couldn’t have been without on this trip was Violet’s Travel Essentials UV tent, its light, easy to carry about and pops up within seconds. We used it both inside and outside as a safe play space which was invaluable as she is rolling now so we needed a place she couldn’t escape from easily! It has a soft mat inside which made it the perfect area for her to play outside and be protected from the sun (the fabric provides SPF35 protection). It can also be used as a travel cot, so we used it for her to nap during the day and in the early evenings too so we could still enjoy dinner on the balcony and keep and eye on her as she slept.

Finally we got to visit the Sunflower fields which was a dream come true, I have been wanting to see them in bloom for years now! As you can see from the photos, they certainly didn’t disappoint – a sea of yellow as far as the eye can see. Of course, we had to have a little photo shoot – I don’t think Violet quite knew what to make of it all!

After 4 nights staying with my relatives we started making our way towards home, with two night stops along the way to break the journey. Our first stop on the way back was the beautiful town of Saumur. We had the most beautiful view from our hotel room looking out over the river. We had a late lunch, followed by a salted caramel crepe and glass of wine in town before heading back to the hotel for about 6pm to bath Violet and put her to bed, we then just chilled out in our hotel room for the evening, watching the sun set over the river. Going on holiday with a baby certainly is a different pace of life, I’d never be in bed by 7pm on holiday but it was actually really nice to have an excuse to just relax and be, rather than rushing about seeing and doing everything.

Our last stop and final night in France was in Rouen, another 3 hour drive away. This drive was a tricky one – if you’ve ever been to Rouen, the one-way system is horrific! We got lost and ended up driving around 3 times before we found our hotel with Violet crying in the back, we had ‘Humpty Dumpty’ on a loop and honestly, trying to navigate and sing Humpty Dumpty with a hysterically screaming baby will be etched in my mind forever! ‘Humpty Dumpty had a great….. TURN LEFT!’ 

We got to our hotel and settled in before popping Violet in her pushchair to explore the local area. Rouen was a fantastic town to explore – the medieval streets and cathedral were just stunning. We ate lunch in a restaurant in the square and watched the world go by – I didn’t want to leave and wished we had longer here.

Back in the hotel for our last night we gave Violet a present from our holiday – Sophie La Girafe, an authentic French Sophie! She loved it and played with her for hours, laying on our double bed rolling all over the place. That night she slept on her own bed for the first time ever (without the travel cot) and looked so grown up, she barely fits in her sleepyhead these days either – eek!

So on our last day we bid farewell to France and boarded the ferry home. The weather was better so the crossing was smooth and I didn’t feel as seasick on the return, phew!

And here we are, approaching home – doesn’t the sea look beautiful! So all in all, we had a lovely trip and managed to relax and unwind, even travelling with a 4 month old. I think we learned a few things along the way…

  • Babies don’t actually need that much stuff, we didn’t use half her clothes, half the formula or things we packed, next time I’d pack lighter, you can get most things abroad so we didn’t need to worry too much.
  • If you are having just one night in a hotel, pack an overnight pack – the first hotel we unloaded our whole car into the room and it was full to the brim! On the way home we packed specific bags just for the hotel room with essentials and just enough clothes for us all, that worked so much better.
  • Evian water spray is your friend for cooling a hot baby
  • Nursery rhymes are also great for calming if you are in the car with a stressed out baby
  • Be ready to do a lot less when you are travelling with a baby as it’s all so new and overwhelming to them, enjoy lots of time chilling out instead of being out and about all the time
  • Bottled water has a baby bottle symbol if it’s low in minerals and suitable to be used to make babies bottles (who knew?)
  • Cold water sterilising bags are great for cleaning bottles on the go
  • Try and make their bedding as close as it is at home, take the same sleepyhead, blankets and gro bag so bedtime feels familiar, even in a totally different environment.
  • You can create a baby monitor, using a phone and ipad and connecting them both (either using an app or just via face time)
  • Babies love new experiences so don’t be put off by travelling with a baby – it’s so worth it to see their little face wide-eyed and to explore together as a family!

Are you going away this summer? If so where are you off to? If you are thinking of travelling with a baby, I have another post of top tips here and also if you are thinking of a holiday in France, please do check out the gite where we stayed, it’s BEAUTIFUL and they still have a few spaces for bookings this year too 🙂

I was kindly sent the UV tent to review – all thoughts an opinions are my own

Ooh, you little scrubber! (& a giveaway!)

Okay okay, a blog post about washing up isn’t the most interesting is it? But if you have a new baby listen up as I have all the tips you need to know – as you will be washing a LOT of bottles and honestly, those tricky little blighters are harder to wash up than you think, especially the colic bottles with all those extra bits and bobs inside, they are a nightmare! Whichever bottle you use, I’m sure you’ll want to get it to be squeaky clean as any milk residue can be seriously harmful to your baby if it’s not cleaned properly due to the bacteria that will form.

So, as we all hate washing up I’ll try make this as quick as possible (like I do the washing up) and share some of my top tips as I’d now consider myself a pro-bottle washer (what a title!). I also want to mention that all of these products work for either formula or expressed breast milk, so unless you are exclusively breastfeeding there should be some tips to help, however you feed…

  • Always wash your bottles in a fresh bowl of warm water (i.e not in with all your regular cups, plates and cutlery) this means there is no cross-contamination from traces of food, grease or bacteria.
  • Use a bottle brush, every time! Give all bottles a good scrub in warm water using a decent bottle brush to get in all the little areas that would be hard to reach. Also remember to keep your bottle brush clean and dried in between washes.
  • Try Nimble Babies Milk Buster each time you clean your bottles – it works like magic to remove any milk residue and build up that not only is a breeding ground for bacteria but makes bottles cloudy over time too. Made from a formula milder than washing up liquid as it’s made from ingredients derived from sugar, coconuts and amino acids it’s totally safe to use from birth and passes the ‘tulip test’ for being pH neutral too.
  • Invest in a decent drying rack – I use the OXO tot drying rack which has lots of prongs you can dry bottles individually, if you just place them on the side of the sink you’ll find they don’t dry properly or very quickly either.
  • Always sterilise your bottles after washing them. We got the Tommee Tippee Complete Feeding Set when Violet was born which was a fab starter kit as we literally had no idea where to start – so this has everything you need to get going with feeding. This includes an electric steriliser that works within just a few minutes, so if you have a screaming baby on your hands and you’ve left the bottles to the last minute (it happens) they won’t take too long!

I know, these tips sound really simple and common sense, but honestly having a newborn is so overwhelming sometimes you need to take it back to basics so I hope this has helped!

Just to relieve some of the extra stress too, I’m giving away a couple of bottles of the Nimble Babies Milk Buster as honestly, it’s a lifesaver. We use it every day, as well as taking the travel sized bottles on holiday with us too. So if you’d like to win 2 full sized bottles to try yourself, enter below:

GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway open to UK residents only

 

 

Post contains PR samples, however all words and opinions are my own. Competition prize supplied by Nimble Babies 

The importance of Skin to Skin #PureLove

That first skin to skin moment with your new baby is one of the most magical and intimate moments you’ll ever experience, a memory I’ll certainly treasure forever. Skin to Skin has been proven to promote bonding, encourage the first feed and to help regulate your baby’s heart rate, breathing and temperature, so it’s amazingly important too. After birth, most mothers have their baby placed on their chest as soon as possible to start skin to skin. After being inclosed in the womb for all this time, the baby is comforted by your warm skin and the sound of your heart beat and the big wide world doesn’t seem such a scary place for them anymore. This triggers a powerful hormonal release in the mother too, a rush of overwhelming love and urge to protect – honestly, I’ve never felt anything like it.

The power of skin to skin contact should really not be underestimated, however after that initial moment many of us forget that it’s something that can be practiced long term too. So, I’ve teamed up with Waterwipes discuss my experience of skin to skin and the benefit of prolonged use at home as well as some tips for fitting skin-to-skin into your daily routine too!

Firstly, watch this video – I challenge you all not to cry….. (I failed!)

 

OUR EXPERIENCE

Violet had quite a traumatic birth, she was delivered by ventouse and immediately whisked into a resuscitator, so I didn’t have the magical moment we dream about at first. However, once the panic was over and Violet had been fully checked over, the midwife helped me snuggle my brand new baby to my skin and it was just magical. After a stressful start to life, she instantly calmed and we looked into each others eyes for the first time, a meeting we’d both been waiting for so long – she was finally here. Looking at her little face, she was so small, so vulnerable, I just wanted to wrap her up and hold her as close to me as possible. Our skin to skin contact encouraged her to take her first feed. Amazingly newborn babies know where to go for their first feed and within minutes she nuzzled around for my milk.

During our first few weeks together, skin-to-skin contact really got us through some difficult times. After her birth she was a fractious little thing – she’d had a rough start, with a ventouse delivery and a giant bump to the head, jaundice and a long stay in hospital – there is no wonder she was feeling anxious about being in the world! Skin-to-skin contact with her really helped us through those first few weeks – I’m not sure where we’d be without it. It worked as the perfect calming technique through bouts of colic or after her bath time (which she hated!) I also think it really helped with our bonding experience – I certainly felt confused by this little bundle that had suddenly come into my life. I’d never really cared for a baby before, so at the beginning she’d scream and I had no idea what she wanted or needed from me, it was all guess work. Spending time holding her, regulating our bodies together seemed to connect us both mentally as well as physically. Suddenly I felt more attuned to what she needed from me, I understood her needs and what she needed with every cry.

In Violet’s first few months of life we have tried to incorporate skin-to-skin into our routine where possible. Those special moments, cuddled on the sofa under a blanket are once in a lifetime. Before we know it, she’ll be a little girl, crawling and running about and won’t want to sit still for a cuddle! The moments holding her close now are priceless to me and so important to her too  – she knows she’s safe and with her Mummy who will protect her at all times which makes her a much calmer baby all round.

GIVE IT A GO!

So, you can try skin-to-skin with your baby at any time. Just undress your baby down to their nappy and place them on your chest. It’s really as simple as that! If it’s chilly in the room, wrap up under a blanket to keep you both warm. It’s important to mention this applies to both parents too!

Here are some of the amazing benefits you’ll achieve:

  • Encourage babies natural urge to feed
  • Regulate babies heartbeat and breathing to calm and soothe
  • Regulate temperature and keep baby warm
  • Encourage bonding between parent and baby
  • Encourage the release of hormones related to breastmilk supply and breastfeeding

Has skin to skin helped bonding with your new baby? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments below! 

Post in collaboration with WaterWipes

Violets Four Month Update

FOUR MONTHS! Can you believe it? I say this every time, but Violet is growing up so fast and I can’t believe it’s time to write another update on her progress. This month she has definitely changed from a baby into a little person. She wants to be grown up now, she wants to be independent and her personality is showing through more and more every day. She’s been smashing the milestones this month, she started to hold her head up with ease, she can now roll from her front to her back and she occasionally treats us to the sweetest little giggle.

June is a very special time for us as it marks exactly a year since our successful IVF cycle. Can you belive that was Violet in the top left picture? She was a ‘top grade’ 5 day embryo, smaller than the eye can see – now look at her. Science is pretty amazing – right?

So, generally speaking Violet is a really sweet, contented little baby. She sleeps well and isn’t too much trouble to look after during the day. We’ve had a few up’s and downs this month as she entered the dreaded fourth leap, but honestly it doesn’t seem to have phased her too much and she’s developing new skills all the time so it’s lovely to see. The thing that really knocks her for six are her injections. The 12 week jabs were fine, but the 16 weeks were really horrific. Not only did she scream the surgery down but we’ve had a rough few days afterwards too with no sign of her happy self returning, yet.

I went to get her weighed at 16 weeks and she’d had a massive growth spurt, moving from the 9th percentile to the 25th! She’s now 12lbs 10oz, so she’s doubled her birth weight and is so long! She has quite big feet and long legs so we think she’ll be tall. She’s mainly out of all her 0-3 month clothes and wearing 3-6 months now.

Skills wise, she is holding toys really well, shows an interest in absolutely everything – even day to day items, a crumpled receipt or a clean nappy keeps her entertained for hours. She loves faces and mirrors and has found her voice – cooing, singing and squawking constantly.  She’s found her feet and they are her new best friends. She holds them, eats them and could play with them all day.

Over the last couple of weeks she has started to teeth. She has really sore looking gums, rosy cheeks and dribbles all the time so all the signs are there that we are in for a tooth very soon. I’ve been trying to help her soothe the discomfort by using both Ashton and Parsons Infant Powders For Teething and Ambesol Liquid, both seem to really help. She’s also got some Nuby Icy Bite keys that she loves to chew on, if not it’s her fist which is in her mouth frequently.

She’s been getting on really well at Waterbabies! We are halfway into the course and it looked like she wasn’t going to take to the underwater swimming, but I’ve taken her to a couple of extra sessions, this seems to have been really good practice for her as she’s doing them with ease now. We even filmed this cute video of one of her early lessons.

She really hates laying flat, so wants to be held in an upright seated position all the time, especially for feeds, she’s almost holding the bottle herself and would do if it wasn’t so heavy. I tried her in her Bumbo Floor Seat and she loved it, so we do a little bit of playtime in her seat every day, building it up as her head was still a little wobbly at first, although you can see by her face she was so pleased with herself!Following on from this, we tried her in the ‘big girl’ pushchair part of her Cosatto travel system, which means she can sit up and look around, we only did a few short journeys but she really enjoyed it. This part is recommended from 6 months onwards, although we use a support pillow to keep her head and neck supported so she seems ok on the lowest recline setting. My lovely blogger friend Maisie also bought her this cute Lion Nuby Buggy Buddy, which she takes EVERYWHERE with her and holds the handle at all times, even whilst she’s asleep, it’s so cute! We’ve nicknamed him ‘Handle the Lion‘ as he is just that!

Lastly, for her four month birthday she got a special treat. How could we resist this GIANT unicorn! She’s so soft and has awesome glittery purple hooves! She is so big she needed her own seat to get her home in the car too! 🙂

MONTH FOUR: 

Feeding: Formula Fed using comfort milk which really helps her tummy

Weight: 12lbs 10oz – 25th percentile

Sleeping:  Sleeping so well, she’s slept through the night for the last 6 weeks now, although since her injections they’ve made her quite restless and I’ve done a couple of night feeds at 5am.

Skills: Holding toys really well, holding her head up during tummy time, rolling front to back (and nearly the other way), giggling at silly things, following you around the room with her eyes, taking in the world at every moment.

Favourite things: Rolling onto her side, pressing buttons on her Vtech baby, Moana soundtrack, sitting up

Hated things: injections again, not getting enough attention, teething, being cradled like a baby, laying flat in the water at swimming

And to finish, here is her first ever giggle captured on video: