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.

Pin for later: 

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

 

Pin for later: 

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:

Violet’s Three Month Update

Time is flying by so quickly, so of course I’m way behind on Violet’s updates (she’s actually 14 weeks now!) but I don’t want to miss her updates as these are the ones I’ll look back on, no doubt. So, here is Violet’s 3 month update – weeks 8-12. Thank goodness for taking so many photos, as time is passing by so quickly it’s hard to remember what happened when – however looking back at my phone, it literally tells our story day-by-day!

So, after Violet’s 8 week injections I remember we had a bit of a rough two weeks. She was super grotty afterwards with a temperature for a couple of days, plus it really messed up her sleep pattern. During this time, I stayed in with her a lot, I sat on the sofa, blogged, fed and cuddled her when she needed it and we just rode out the storm together – those pesky first injections, they really affected her!

Once she was on the mend, she started to really come on with her developmental skills, she learned to hold a toy for a short period of time and we keep trying over and over with tummy time, although she hasn’t quite got it yet. She has started to babble and loves to have ‘conversations’ where we talk back and forth.

During this time, we decided to change the way we were feeding. You may have read my breastfeeding story so far, by weeks 5 onwards I was exclusively pumping breastmilk and giving the odd formula top-up. Honestly, I felt like a human cow – it was so hard and my life revolved around my trusty Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump (which was fantastic by the way) it would be a cycle of pump, feed, wash bottles, sterilise bottles, repeat. I couldn’t have a life as I always had to be somewhere within 2-3 hours or I’d start to soak through my clothes (even with the best breast pads!) As Violet became more interactive and demanded my attention – she would get frustrated that I wouldn’t pick her up and play with her as much as she’d like in between feeds, mainly as I was pumping or getting the bottles ready for the next feed, so after battling through this way of life for around 4 weeks (hats off to anyone that exclusively pumps!), I decided something had to give and we made the switch gradually over to formula. I was so upset, honestly I was gutted at this point it hadn’t worked out for us, I loved breastfeeding but I always felt like it was an uphill struggle for us, we were always swimming against the tide, so when I was at my weakest I just let the tide take me and we stopped. I cried as my milk dried up, but when I realised how easy life would be just making bottles (especially with my shiny perfect prep machine) and I felt better. I gave Violet 10 weeks of breastmilk, I would have liked to do more but I’m happy we did what we did against the odds.

Since switching Violet over to formula and finding one that suits her (Aptamil Comfort) she has been absolutely thriving -she loves it, her colic issues are gone plus she has grown and put on weight perfectly. Maybe I am too hard on myself, she is just fine.

Anyway, on a happier note – at 12 weeks Violet had her first Waterbabies lesson and she LOVED IT! She loved the songs and splashing about in the water, she has even done a couple of underwater swims too! I am so glad we booked her into classes as it’s the highlight of our week at the moment then we spend the rest of the week singing the songs and practising our splashing in the bath ready for next week!

We also took Violet on her first ever big day out. We went to London to the Tower of London and for some Mexican food. She won’t remember it but at the Tower of London, we held her up to see the Crown Jewels, she was definitely interested in all the colours and sparkles! I made this vlog of our day out if you fancy a peek:

MONTH THREE: 

Feeding: Combination fed until 10 weeks – then moved to exclusively formula

Weight: Weighed at 10 weeks, she was 10lbs!

Sleeping:  She is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT. Yes, I said it, probably jinxed myself but from weeks 8,9 and 10 she was waking around once a night for a feed, then around week 11 she just started sleeping through and still does every night.

Skills: Grabbing and holding toys for short periods, feeling textures, lots of smiles, holding her head a little better, pulling my hair and sleeves, more eye contact, babbling sounds, blowing bubbles and raspberries

Favourite things: Grabbing at everything, hair, glasses, jumpers, toys, nappy cream, nappies – if she can reach it, it’s gone! She also loves looking at herself in the mirror and having a good conversation, her new swing chair (it can settle even the worst mood!)

Hated things: injections, having a sore tummy, not getting enough attention