This weekend Hubby and I went to our first baby show at Sandown Racecourse. I was up nice and early bouncing around ready to go. Pretty much the first time in this pregnancy I’ve allowed myself to get excited and plan ahead. It did feel good!
We arrived a little early and queued up outside with lots of other bumps. One was quite startling… a multiple bump for sure. Very glad I’m just carrying one as it looked so painful.
As we went in we picked up our first baby bottle for free which really did make me squeak! Thanks to the MAM crew who explained lots about options. We went to their midwife led workshop and picked up so many tips and tricks in half an hour. Well worth a listen and the added bonus of a little sit down.
Wandering through the stalls we must have had that startled clueless look on our faces. Many took pity on us and explained and demonstrated how everything worked.
I was shocked to see how tiny a newborn’s stomach is! Marble to ping pong ball in about 10 days. The little balls helped to visualise how much milk they would need.
Our first stop was a breast pump stand where we looked at the Ardo electric pump. The funny little boob ball made me giggle but it did show how it all worked. Apparently these are the same as used in hospitals and come sealed in their boxes… so if you don’t use it you can return them. Good to know but after listening to the rest of the advice at the show it’s not going to be a pre-arrival purchase. Let’s see how we get on first and I’m sure that a well know online retailer could have one at my door in no time at all. Not sure whether a single or a double would be the ideal – any thoughts appreciated…
A key stand for us visit was to AppleCheeks – a cloth nappy company. I’m very interested in cloth as I’m so worried about the ecological impact of having a baby. The challenge behind cloth is getting hold of them… none of the big brand stores stock them so being able to see, feel and try them was a great opportunity. I was impressed by how smooth the poppers are and how easy they looked to prepare and use. I think it’s also useful to be able to have a peek and see if it’s wet without damaging the fastening tabs like you get on disposables. The colour range was funky and fun with something for everyone. Need to weigh up the costs and various different brands but this is definitely something I want to try. A friend suggested using a local cloth nappy library to give them a go without the initial outlay.
Mussies as my sister used to call them – Muslin’s to the rest of us… an essential solution to many damp and dirty problems. I was enchanted by some of the lovely prints from MuslinZ and did take advantage of the show offer. Well I had to come home with something right??! I loved the leaf print giant muslin‘s and grabbed a twin pack along with bibs and normal sized ones. We got two giant, six normal and three bibs for £20. I’ve only pictured four here because the other two are a particular colour and we don’t want anyone jumping to conclusions! No, we don’t know – Yes, we are going for the surprise option!
We were also really impressed by a clever lifting blanket wrap from Snugglebundl. A real back saver and potential a sleep saver too. Helps you to transfer out of the car seat for safety, especially if they are sleeping.
Buggies, car seats and complete travel systems… wow what a choice!! Pretty much every brand was at the show and it was a great chance to literally pull them to pieces and see how they worked. I’d looked at a Bugaboo Buffalo and iCandy Peach before we went so we checked those out first. Hubby had a go at all the combinations, and tested the fold down mechanisms and weight. Both seemed likely options given our all-terrain requirement. But… as I watched and pondered… I noticed one thing I really didn’t like… most buggies seem to dump the handle on the floor as it’s folded. Not great for health and hygiene especially after a muddy walk. Hmmm…
So we started paying more attention to the folding systems and less to the myriad of top options… Didn’t see any that didn’t dump the handle on the floor… so retreated for a sarnie (we brought our own – there was catering but not a great variety for allergies).
Then Hubby spotted another stand apart from the rest… Jane. I think that his eye was caught by the suspension system underneath the Crosswalk and Trider systems. From here on in we ended up referring to it as “the landrover system!” The friendly team from Belfast showed us all of the features and… yes… it folded without dumping the handle on the floor! But that was not all… the lie flat carrycot is the car seat! What?!!! It’s a clamshell system that converts from lie flat to sit up… and it is legal, safe and tested for lie flat in the car!!! Wow!
So after getting highly baffled and bamboozled by the variety and choices for buggies and car seats we sat down for a bit an took stock… He’s what we’ve summarised as tips for shopping for travel systems:-
- At many shows a company called Baby Planet are the selling company. All the brands are there but the sales reps are from Baby Planet and are highly knowledgeable across the whole range of brands.
- Baby Planet are coordinating the deals so there are big savings to be made… quite often car seats are being thrown into packages and hundreds can be saved.
- Iso-fix bases are unique to each car seat brand… usually about £200 each. Once you are sucked into one particular brand then it’s likely you’ll stick with them so make sure you consider their junior car seats as well as the infant carriers.
- i-Size (R129) is a new standard running alongside R44 (ECE 44/03 or ECE 44/04). Several brands are jumping on the bandwagon with i-Size which does away with the ability to use a seatbelt fixing – you have to buy the base. BUT… cars are not going to be able to comply with this ruling for a few more years yet… they can’t insist on a regulation that means you have to buy a car with iso-fix until it is a standard in all new cars. Which have some great advice.
- You can’t leave baby in a sitting-up position car seat even if it does fit in the pram. I think this is especially important in the first 4 months as it can restrict their airways. Lie-flat car seats are the exception so if you are travelling lots it might be worth looking at these.
- Hands on trials are essential… get in there… don’t just let them demo… they make it all look easy… give it a go (or several) and figure out how it would work for you.
- Don’t forget that even though you’ve folded the base of the pushchair… you’ve still got the top section too… worth checking if you’ve got a small car boot.
- If you buy a system where the carrycot converts to the pushchair (like Bugaboo) you won’t be able to sell on the carrycot part until you are done with the rest.
- Some carrycots can be used as day-time mosses baskets and occasional overnight sleepers which could save you some money and space at home. Something we are definitely considering.
I think the best thing about the show was being able to chat to Midwifes. Both the workshops and the midwives on the stands were really great at offering advice. I had a great chat with Angela from North Surrey Midwives about all the aches and pains I’d been suffering. She had loads of time and listened to my worries – something my new NHS midwife hasn’t been able to do. She didn’t dismiss my pains as “normal pregnancy pains” and was great at explaining what was happening inside. She recommended a bump support to help reduce my pelvic pain and tailbone pain. Plus she also told me about the phases I would be going through next. Why do we spend so much time learning about the Baby Phases and nothing about the Mum Phases?? I’m now prepared for the accelerated baby growth over the next 8 weeks and am much better equipped to manage it. I loved her talk on taking care of yourself and your newborn and will be taking a look at some of the books she recommended.
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