My Daughter’s Love Affair

It all started when she was about three months old. I didn’t notice the change. It just crept up on me almost over night. I should have known it was coming. My daughter suddenly wanted someone other than me to help soothe her to sleep. And that somebunny was Bunny.

It started with a kiss

Desperately looking for the much promised ‘signs of tiredness’ at around three months, I noticed that she started putting soft things to her nose when she was looking a bit sleepy. To begin with, it was mostly inappropriate things, like our (very non-docile) cat’s tail, or a sock or slipper. In looking for something a little more suitable for a three month old to sniff on, I gave her a lovely little Jellycat rabbit a friend had bought us as a present when she was born. And so the love affair began.

Jellycat Bunny Rabbit

Snuggling with Bunny – where it all began!

With ears and arms that are just right for little hands to hold and snuggle ‘Bunny’ as he was creatively named has now become a part of everyday life. Oh, he’s been through the mill a bit – he’s been dropped and thrown, covered in food, and subsequently been through the wash a few times, even though his little label says ‘surface wash only’. As if!

He’s also got a friend who our daughter also shares her bedtime snuggles with. He’s called ‘Mr Bunny’ (see what we did there?) and also comes with a little comfort blanket, although she only has eyes and hands for his ears and arms!

Since the introduction of ‘Mr Bunny’ the two have been interchangeable, with each finding favour at various times. A bit like an emperor’s concubine.

Bunny’s been everywhere with us. He’s been to see her grandparents, to the seaside, to the supermarket (on more than one occasion – on some days). He’s been very kindly offered to her cousin – perhaps without realising the consequences if said cousin had taken a particular shine to him! He’s even been to the doctor’s. The lovely doctor chatted to my daughter about Bunny and pretended to listen to his chest when he was listening to hers. What an absolute star! Obviously, she looked a bit puzzled, but I had the sneaking suspicion it was more for my benefit. And I have to admit I loved it – I’m a sucker for that kind of thing!

The horror!

Jellycat Bunny

Morning Cuddles with Bunny

But obviously, Bunny’s adventures bring with them a certain amount of risk. I’m forever checking that he’s still in her pram, as I don’t want to face the bedtime when Bunny’s nowhere to be found. One of my favourite stories when I was little was Dogger by Shirley Hughes. Its beautiful illustrations belied the harsh truth that your favourite toy can go astray and life may never be the same again. That is, unless you have a nice older sister (who appears mean at the start of the book, but shows she has a heart towards the end) who retrieves Dogger from the nasty people who thought they bought him fair and square at a village fete. The horror!

With the intention of avoiding the Dogger situation at all costs, I wanted to secure Bunny to the pushchair. As useful as they are for extending hanging pram toys, it just didn’t seem right to use plastic linking rings to effectively tie Bunny to the pram. I pictured those horrid adverts about dancing bears with rings through their noses. Whilst a little far fetched, perhaps, for a soft toy bunny, I just couldn’t bring myself to attach Bunny to the pram with plastic rings round his neck.

Fifty Shades of Grey

Bunny Snuggles

Bunny Snuggles – still snuggling after all this time

So, on the quest for something a little more ‘humane’ I recently started using a Ruby and Ginger Toy Tie. The nice soft material velcroes gently around Bunny’s neck yet allows my daughter to cuddle and snuggle Bunny when we’re out and about. Even when she tried to (affectionately, I’m sure) launch Mr Bunny out of the pushchair today, she was most baffled and, I think quietly relieved, that he was still hanging on by his paws to her chariot, via the lifeline of a Toy Tie. (Albeit his comfort blanket was slightly greyed from getting trapped under the wheels whilst crossing the road! Thank God Mr Bunny’s ‘surface washable’ too – in the washing machine he goes tomorrow!).

The Toy Tie’s water and dirt resistant material makes it a practical pushchair accessory, whilst its beautiful and modern pattern means it’s something that people will no doubt notice and admire. It’s a practical pushchair accessory that looks pretty lovely too. The concept of the Toy Tie may well have slightly baffled my daughter to begin with, but it’s certainly going to be as permanent a feature on our pushchair as Bunny or his gentrified counterpart is.

Ruby and Ginger Toy Tie

Studying Mr Bunny and why he doesn’t fall off the pushchair!

How far do you go to keep your child’s favourite toy safe? Do you use anything in particular, or just wing it? We’d love to hear your views!

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The Changing Needs of Changing Bags

It takes all sorts. Big ones, little ones. Fat ones, thin ones. Immaculate ones, tatty ones. Spotty ones, stripey ones. Plain ones, patterned ones. Cloth ones, leather ones. I’m talking changing bags.

Some, girls, are bigger than others

Skip Hop Johnathan Adler Dash Nixon

My beautiful changing bag (not me in the photo!)

My changing bag was pretty much the first item I allowed myself to buy during pregnancy. I wasn’t specifically looking for one when we were on holiday for a friend’s wedding in New York, but it was love at first sight when I saw it in a lovely baby boutique in SoHo. In the months leading up to birth, I looked at it on various occasions and wondered what one might need such a large bag for, when a smallish handbag had stood me in good stead for a number of years! I knew I’d need nappies, bottles, wipes and nappy bags, but surely they would only fill half of my lovely new bag?!

I’ve spent a summer wasted

I read a lot of articles on line and in magazines offering lists of essential changing bag must-haves. I wondered if you might actually need half the stuff they listed and was determined I was going to only take the essentials – so as not to overload my new, pretty and pristine changing bag.

How wrong I was. I think I crammed my whole world into that bag for at least the first six months of my daughter’s life, with my own handbag chock full of other ‘essentials’ too.

So here’s my checklist of changing bag essentials for the first six months of a baby’s life:

  • Nappies – I find five to be the magic number
  • Nappy bags
  • Nappy rash cream / ointment
  • Wipes (standard wipes nappy changes and Milton wipes or Tommee Tippee wipes for sterilising on the go)
  • Changing Mat
  • Bottles (if bottle-feeding)
  • Breast pads (if breast feeding)
  • Formula Milk (if bottle-feeding – cartons or measured out powder)
  • Muslins / burp cloths
  • Hand sanitiser for you
  • Hand wipes for baby
  • Bib(s)
  • Spare clothes for baby (a vest and a sleepsuit of shame are easiest rather than a whole outfit)
  • Spare dummies (if using)
  • Tissues
  • In the summer, supplement this with summer hats, sun cream and sunglasses
  • In the winter, add winter hat and gloves
  • You can include a zip-lock bag for soiled clothes, but I’ve found a nappy bag can do the job just as well
  • I also found it useful to duplicate a few handbag essentials (lipsalve etc) in my changing bag for all those times you just take your changing bag with you to the toilet / changing room and don’t have your handbag to, well,  hand

Granted, most of this reads like a list of spare parts for you and your baby rather than day to day essentials, but mark my words, the spare clothes will be welcomed when little one decides he/she is going to crap a bustle at the local Children’s Centre and it reaches their neck creases!

Six months on, the winter’s gone

And then of course, once food becomes involved at around six months, the changing bag takes on a dual purpose of changing bag and picnic hamper all in one, leading me to update my changing bag essentials for the next six months to:

  • Nappies – still around five
  • Nappy bags
  • Nappy rash ointment
  • Wipes (standard wipes nappy changes and Milton wipes or Tommee Tippee wipes for sterilising on the go)
  • Changing Mat
  • Bottles (if bottle-feeding)
  • Breast pads (if breast feeding)
  • Formula Milk (if bottle-feeding – cartons or measured out powder)
  • Muslins / burp cloths
  • Hand sanitiser for you
  • Hand wipes for baby – I like Sticky Fingers WetOnes wipes
  • Bib(s) – all over body ones and smaller ones depending on meals, messy meals and snacks
  • Spare dummies (if using)
  • Tissues
  • Spoons
  • Jars or pouches of food
  • Assorted tupperware for snacks
  • In the summer, supplement this with summer hats, sun cream and sunglasses
  • In the winter, add winter hat and gloves
  • Zip-lock bag for soiled clothes (or just use a nappy bag)
  • Again a few handbag essentials come in handy

I found that six months on, the need for a change of outfit due to a nappy incident was reduced.  However, the onset of weaning and finger food brought with it the need for either a head to toe feeding poncho for her and me, or several costume changes throughout the day. Or just having the grubby child I’d always promised myself I’d never have.

It’s such a rush just being with you

I also found a very useful alternative to overloading my lovely changing bag. Once it came to feeding our daughter when out and about I found I was lugging around not only the changing bag, but also an extra bag for food and snacks and water – sometimes two.

Skip Hop Pronto

The Skip Hop Pronto – available in a range of colours and patterns

Juggling all these various bags led me to have a bit of a rethink. I plugged for a Skip Hop Pronto Changing Mat which is not only a changing mat but also stores the wipes, nappy bags and nappies in its various pockets. There’s also space for other nappy changing essentials, like surface sterilising wipes and nappy creams. The Skip Hop Pronto clips onto your pram or pushchair (and you, when you’re carrying your increasingly wriggly baby to the changing room) and the mat zips off should you require it to. To be honest, I’m not wholly sure why you’d want this. Sales literature for the Pronto suggests that the mat zips off to form a stylish clutch bag, but I’m just not sure I’d be able to find a complementing dress for this season’s society ball!

However, the Pronto has been a lifesaver on many occasions.  Many’s the time I’ve popped it into the pram basket while I’ve just nipped to the shops – 99% sure that I wouldn’t need to make an unscheduled stop, but always cautious of that potential for the 1% curve-ball. I’ve also found it to be really useful on lazy days, to have downstairs in the house rather than having to make the journey upstairs to change nappies. As I say – a particularly lazy day!

Skip Hop Pronto

The Skip Hop Pronto folded out during changing

The Skip Hop Pronto Red

The Skip Hop Pronto Red

The changing mat itself may look a bit of a funny shape, and when you’ve got a six month old who lies nice and still during the nappy change, the side flaps do seem a bit superfluous. However, fast forward three to four months when you’ve got a wriggler, roller or crawler on your hands, and you’ll be grateful of any additional surface area that might catch any spills before they land on the changing table, floor, or you!

What did you find to be the must-have items in your changing bag? Did the contents of your bag change over time? What have I missed out that you think is fundamental?

Visit us at www.practicalbabygifts.com where our great range of Changing Bags and Changing Mats


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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