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Military adages become mummy mantras

With that rarest of phenomenon nearly upon us; a warm, sunny British Bank Holiday weekend, many of us will be heading out and about with our little ones.  Whilst I’ve probably jinxed the good weather now, going out for the day with a baby can be a military operation requiring planning, preparation and patience.

The 7Ps: Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents P*** Poor Performance

While I’m not renowned for the latter, I’m quite well known for my planning and preparation skills.  I don’t think I’m the only person to ever have an excel spreadsheet with their hospital bag list, but I know of only one other.  And, whilst it all went to pot, my birth plan was typed, printed….and probably should have been laminated.

So now that the days are getting nicer and we’re able to get out and about a lot more, the pram suit is archived, the foot muff is zipped off and the legs are out!  (hers, not mine…not just yet!)

Fail to plan, plan to fail

So, apart from the myriad pots of various food items, what will I be taking out with me this bank holiday weekend?

My Buggy Buddy Sunshade - practically perfect in every way!

My Buggy Buddy Sunshade – practically perfect in every way!

One item I have recently discovered is the My Buggy Buddy Sunshade.  With the average pram-specific umbrella shade costing in the region of £20, this universal pram shade is a steal at little under £9.  It easily clips on to any part of your pram or pushchair and blocks out the sun, providing UPF50 protection.  Like any sun shade, a sudden gust of wind, and you’re fighting it a little, but I found that the My Buggy Buddy Sunshade can be easily tucked under the canopy of the pushchair to stop the wind getting hold of it.  Because it’s so easy to clip and un-clip, the My Buggy Buddy Sunshade can also be easily moved around the pram or pushchair as the sun inevitably will do.  It also packs away into a very compact size and shae, meaning it can be easily stored in even the smallest pram basket.  I also found that the act of unfurling it kept our little one entertained for quite a while! All in all, this is the best sunshade I know of on the market, and I’m glad I got mine at the start of the summer months!

Stealth attack or full-frontal – you’ve got to have it covered

For naps on the go - the SnoozeShade Plus

For naps on the go – the SnoozeShade Plus

The other must-have pram accessory in this weather is the SnoozeShade.  There’s either the SnoozeShade Original or the SnoozeShade Plus. Both are designed with maintaining nap times in mind.  In addition, both provide UPF50 protection for your baby on the go.  As it’s effectively a black-out blind for the pram, it’s great for blocking out bright sunshine and shop lights when you’re on the got but need to get your baby or toddler to sleep.  Like many great baby products, the SnoozeShade was designed by a mum for her daughter and then developed to sell to other new parents.  For me, it’s a definite hit!

Preparing for guerrilla warfare

The Totseat - for babies who lunch

The Totseat – for babies who lunch

Another great parent-designed product is the Totseat.  Whilst it looks a bit like a harness to strap your child to a seat (which I suppose it essentially is) it’s perfect for feeding on the go.  The Totseat is incredibly lightweight and easy to fit to any size or shape of chair.  It’s perfect for grandparents and other occasional carers who may not be so confident in feeding babies when out and about.  It’s also great if you have a little one who’s fussy about various highchairs, as if you know they’ll sit well in it, you’ll be at ease when you know feeding time is fast approaching! Of course, as it’s made of (fully washable) fabric, there’s no highchair-esque tray with it, which can make finger food a trial, but there are ways to improvise to get round that!

Winging it

And yet, even the best laid plans for going out and about with a baby don’t always take into consideration the one unknown quantity: your baby.  You can pretty much guarantee that they won’t play ball when you want them to.  They won’t eat what you’ve packed, won’t sleep when you want them to, and probably won’t like the sun anyway.  And that’s when you follow the most recently over-used military adage: keep calm and carry on.

What do you enjoy most about days out with your little one?  What tips do you have to share for a stress-free trip?

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Baby Driver

And once upon a pair of wheels…

I’m sure Paul and Art didn’t have pram-pushing in mind when they wrote their song, but it keeps popping into my head recently, as I’ve observed a weird phenomenon.  Those who walk quickly without a pram go very slowly when pushing one, and those who normally walk quite slowly anyway go EVEN SLOWER!  On the other hand, for me personally, pushing a pram is about the only thing that seems to quicken my pace!

Speedy or slow - pram pushing in Knaresborough

Speedy or slow – pram pushing in Knaresborough

Hit the road and I’m gone!

I’m not normally known for my speedy walking pace (or any sort of haste really), but give me a pram to push, and I’m off!  Speeding down the pavement, running over dogs, bashing up and down curbs and through shop doorways.  I’m considering getting my little one a Formula One style neck support just in case her neck starts to suffer from the G force!

OK, so I exaggerate slightly. But the other side of the coin, is those who go on a complete go-slow once they’ve got a pram to push.  When out shopping the other day with my better half, I felt I had to say something after my heels and ankles were aching from the exceedingly slow pace we were walking at, as he was pushing the pram.  It’s normally a case of me practically trotting alongside him trying to keep up, but no, give him a pram to push, and we’re overtaken by octogenarians.

(N.B. he claimed he was just sticking to my ‘browsing’ pace, but it was definitely a case of six of one and half a dozen of the other.)

The Little Old Lady from Pasadena (Go Granny, Go Granny, Go Granny Go)

Then there’s grandparents.  (And apologies here.) Both our little one’s grandmas seem to walk at a snail’s pace once in charge of the pram.  To the point where, again, the ankles and heels are aching and you never quite get anywhere!  It took an hour recently to do a circuit round our town that takes me 20 minutes.

I think it stems from the nurturing instinct (so what does that say about my pace?) and the fact that they don’t wish to wake a sleeping baby.  But then there’ll be the inevitable curb that isn’t dropped or the pram will get lodged in a pot hole somewhere and the baby will wake up with quite a start!

Staying asleep despite the speed!

Staying asleep despite the speed!

Scoot down the road – what’s my number?

And then there’s Grandpa.  He likes to go very fast.  In the early weeks after the birth when I was more than a little slow on my pins, Grandpa had control of the buggy and I thought we would never see our new addition again!  And he definitely ‘drives’ the pushchair rather than pushes it.  I’ve never seen it corner quite like when Grandpa is in charge!

I wonder how your engines feel

And when I am out and about on my own, I of course have become ‘one of those mums’ who thinks she has a God-given right to the pavement.  Why should I go round those without a pram / wheelchair / mobility scooter, when they’re far better able to meander if required?!

But then there’s the camaraderie of the pram-pushing sorority, which I truly love.  That knowing smile shared when one of you is waiting for the other to pass on a tight bend.  Or the mutual admiration with a fleeting glance at each other’s baby. Or the guilty internal grin you give yourself when her under-eye-bags are larger and deeper than your own.  It’s a whole new world.  And I’m speeding through it.

What have you noticed when out and about with a pram? Any strange speeding phenomena? (or lack of?)

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