Ok, so I have only had one child so I am by no means any kind of expert at Parenting. However, there are a few things that have quite literally saved my sanity over the past two years, so I thought I would share them. You may already know some or all of these or you may be an expectant parent and these could change your life.
1 – BABY VESTS
The baby vest flap trick. This should be information that is shared as soon as you get your maternity notes. The top of a baby vest has envelope sleeves, so in the event of a poonami you can wriggle it down over their body rather than smearing poo over their head. You’re welcome.
2 – JUICE CARTONS
Teach your kid to hold a carton of juice by the little flaps at the top (we call them the ears). No more over squeezing of the carton and having to change their entire outfit
3 – TOMMEE TIPPEE PERFECT PREP MACHINE
Obviously this one is only useful if you are bottle feeding, but it eliminates all the drama associated with making up bottles. The official safe guidelines are that you need to mix the powder with HOT water to kill the live bacteria in it before feeding it to your child. Every mother will have a million and one ways of making up her bottles for the day but the TTPPM adheres to all of these guidelines and makes a bottle for you in under 3 minutes. It delivers the hot shot to the powder and then tops it up with filtered water until it is the perfect temperature. An absolute god send for night feeds.
4 – PLAY PENS
Oh my god get a play pen. We referred to it in our house as the baby cage, but this one really is a sanity saver. We got one off Ebay for about £60 and it stayed up for about a year (although it totally would last a lot longer, we just needed room for our Christmas Tree!). Yes you will still have to baby proof eventually, but at least this way you can pop to the loo or for a shower and not come back to find that your baby/toddler has eaten a battery and drawn all over the walls with your lipstick.
5 – SLEEPSUITS WITH BUILT IN MITTENS
Do not buy anything for a baby with buttons on the back of the neck. Seriously, just don’t. They are always the smallest, fiddliest buttons that are slightly to big to fit in the button hole. If your baby cant sit unaided you will spend about 45 minutes of your life fiddling to get this sodding tiny button done up, only to have to change their outfit 5 minutes later due to sick or shit anyway. Stick to sleepsuits for at least 4 months. Get the long sleeved ones, where you can fold the ends over into little scratch mittens. Babies look cuter in sleepsuits anyway.
6 – THE SLEEPING BAG BUM CHANGE
It’s the middle of the night, you need to do an emergency bum change on your kid. Lie them down (have a muslin handy). Undo the sleeping bag round the bottom but keep their arms and torso in! Slip the muslin under their bum (just in case), complete said nappy change, remove muslin and do the bag back up. Voila. Sounds simple but I spent ages fully taking them out of the bag, undressing them, changing them and trying to put them back to sleep. However they are fully awake at this point and you have a fight on your hands. This way, you can sometimes keep them completely asleep throughout the whole thing. *High Five!*
7 – STAIN REMOVER, ALL THE TIME, EVERYWHERE
There will be many occasions when you will be covered in shit. Literally. I started carrying a tiny bottle of stain remover around in my handbag and I used it ALL THE TIME. Keep a bottle next to your washing basket, a bottle in your bag and a bottle next to the washing machine. Before you chuck any stained things in the basket, give it a spray with the stain remover. Spray it again before it goes in the machine. Poo stains be gone! I threw away far too many items of clothing (hers and mine) because if you don’t attack the stain straight away it is there forever.
8 – CLING FILM
Use this everywhere. Line the tray of their high chair with it for easy post dinner clean up. Ditto the floor under their high chair. Line a baking tray with it for messy play or paint. Forgot their sippy cup? No worries, bit of cling film over a normal cup with a straw poked through. Makes the clean up so easy.
9 – CRADLE CAP? NO PROBLEM.
Brush their hair the opposite way to the way that it grows. My health visitor taught me this one and it worked a treat. Soft baby brush, a tiny bit of olive oil it is severe and gentle brush strokes against the direction of the hair growth.
10 – WINE
Any need to even explain this one? Just for you though folks, don’t go topping up the sippy cup with a measure of merlot.
11 – BOX/BAG UP AS YOU GO
I keep a bag in my child’s room so that if I try something on her and it doesn’t fit, it goes straight in the bag. Once the bag is full, I donate it to charity or one of those clothing recycling bins. I’m not one for keeping clothes for the next kid, but if you were you could do this, label the bag with the size and chuck it straight in the loft.
Because when your kid gets up at 5am, and you still have an hour until CBeebies is on for another hour, you need something to keep them entertained while you make yourself that all important cuppa. Or for when you are pregnant and up all night, or have a newborn and are up all night, get all up on those boxsets my friend. I recommend Jane the Virgin – ACES.
There you have it, just a few little bits and bobs that I think are amazing.