Baby Shopping – hits and misses

While trawling through my old posts (yes I am my own biggest fan), I re-read my pre-baby thoughts on shopping for baby here and thought I’d update on what actually happened once a real, live baby was introduced.

 

Car Seat:  

I said: we’d get a Safe’n’Sound Platinum AHR Air Cushion Tilt’n’Adjust.

What happened: we did buy this seat and were most gratified when the installation guy said it was the best on the market. However … I felt the seat was a little loose. I took it to another installer, Baby On Board who operate out of Baby Bunting stores, and that installer confirmed that there was 10cm of slack in the seatbelt! After correct re-installation and then re-re-installation when we got a new car (and another check over when I accidentally undid the seat, Buzz re-installed it and I wanted it properly checked by a professional), I am very happy to recommend Baby On Board who on each of the three occasions I’ve dealt with them have been friendly and professional, as well as very helpful and happy to share advice. 

The seat itself has been easy to use, comfortable for Alice who routinely falls asleep in hers, and I like that at 8 months, about 10kg and well over 70cm, there is still a lot of room before I have to turn her from rear to forward facing. 

Verdict: Winner winner (faux) chicken dinner. 

 

Pram:

I said: I wanted a Bugaboo Cameleon and was stoked to have scored a brand new but second hand one on Gumtree. 

What happened: Well. Serve me right to trying to cut corners. After using the Gumtree pram for a couple of months I began to get suspicious about its authenticity. After some investigative work and contact with Bugaboo it was confirmed that we’d tripped over ourselves to buy a fake – and no cheap fake at that. I was furious not only to have been taken for a ride (excuse the pun) but also that I’d been pushing around my baby in an untested pram for months. It also galled me no end that I don’t really have any recourse short of fronting up to the house where we picked the pram up from and shouting obscenities. 

On the bright side, when we went to replace El Fake-O we were able to get a third generation Cameleon and it is love. It’s really a fantastic pram and worth every cent. It’s smooth, light, versatile and turns on a dime, as well as allowing a lot of customisation and accessorising which are absolutely critical factors (yes?). 

Verdict: six of one and half a dozen of the other. Embarrassed to be fooled but thrilled with the real deal. 

 

Baby carrier:

I said: we’d get the ErgoBaby Sports carrier. Well we did. Eventually. We actually bought the Stokke baby carrier first because I liked its set up. What a fail! It was virtually impossible to get on by yourself due to a confusing number of carabiners and clips, and we never even wore it out of the house. What did we get when we realised it didn’t suit any of us? The ErgoBaby Sports Carrier. And the Ergo was a dream. In her early days Alice rejected any form of transportation that didn’t involve her being held, and the Ergo was an absolute lifesaver in getting out and about. I’d use the pram as a shopping trolley while I enjoyed a regular three solid hours of sleep to her snuggled against my chest. We’ll definitely be using it next time, or perhaps even moving to a Manduca as you don’t have to wear an infant insert with them, and I found the Ergo’s ‘Heart to Heart’ infant insert really quite hot and sweaty over the summer months. Either way, these soft-structured carriers are a godsend and one of our best purchases. 

Verdict: We should have trusted our first instinct, which proved to be correct. Now stuck with almost unused and very expensive Stokke carrier, but are confident and enthusiastic baby wearers. 

 

Bassinet:

I said: we’d buy the Boori Madison as one of only two bassinets that passed Choice magazine’s testing, in lieu of any actual standards, and planned to have Alice in our room for at least six months. 

What happened: the bassinet was a great buy, it was just that Alice resisted being put in it with all her little being. It also didn’t last as long as we expected as Alice started getting too big for it by about 4 months, and although I was going to try to keep her in it for as long as possible at night while introducing the cot for day naps, she ended up sleeping better in her cot in her own room away from our snoring, turning over, animals moving and other nocturnal annoyances. We bought a baby monitor to help ease the difficulty of not having her by our sides over night. 

Verdict: Necessary but not useful for as long as we thought. Currently on loan to a friend. 

 

High Chair:
I said: we’d buy the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair as it facilitated children sitting up at the table and would last for years. 

What happened: The Tripp Trapp is lovely and will indeed be used for years. However even though we thought we wanted Alice pulled right up to the dining table, the Tripp Trapp positioned her too low and, without the option of a clip-on tray, meant she couldn’t see or manipulate the food on the table. We had to replace it with a Baby Bud for the time being (see below). 

Verdict: 60% fail, 40% pass. The chair is lovely but currently not suitable. I also resented having to buy the baby attachment and cushion in the end as it just felt like spending more and more money on things that should have been standard. 

 

Bumbo:

I said: Bumbos were the cutest thing I’d ever seen. 

What happened: Bumbos are great if your baby doesn’t have deliciously rotund thighs. Mine does, and by the time she could sit up in it her legs were too big for its piddling thigh holes and the Bumbo would lift up still attached to her bottom when I picked her up. We ended up getting a Mamas and Papas Baby Bud which has leg holes more suited to the sturdy-thighed lass, and which can be used both by older children and strapped to a dining chair as a high chair, which it is. 

Verdict: Fail. Great product but unsuitable for our bubba. However we are very happy with the Baby Bud which is much more versatile item anyway, and I was able to sell the Bumbo. 

 

So, all up a collection of passes with flying colours, dismal failures and shoulda-coulda-wouldas. In the end we have everything that works for us, and some of those things we wouldn’t have known until we’d met our baby. Some overly-enthusiastic early purchasing might be to blame for some misadventures, but overall we have things that work and will be re-used.

 

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Work. Wardrobe. Winter.

Today was a day in which our very unlovely front ‘garden’ lived up to its very apt nickname of The Somme. Buckets of mud slip-sliding across chewed up turf really set the scene for a sortie in to Chaddy, along with a baby really quite cross about being strapped down in her chariot.

Alice is 8 months old. She commando crawls, she high fives, she feeds herself, she understands her name and ‘up’ and ‘Dadda’ and ‘tickle’, and plays peekaboo in various forms. Delightful as she is, every achievement and milestone is a reminder that I have to go back to work. Some days I feel a bit misty-eyed about speaking with adults, having a coffee and using my brain all without the constant physical wrangling and half-diverted attention necessitated by motherhood, but other days I plot and scheme about how to stay home with my munchy-munchkin forever (but also how to earn exactly the same income as if I were working full-time. Too much to ask?).

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I think we look a little alike here!

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Not the most flattering angle, or the best styled hair (either of us) – but the giggles were superb!

Today, a grim and rainy Friday where I had absolutely nothing to do except trawl the bright shiny shops, epitomised this push-me, pull-you existence. Nowhere to be and nothing to do except window shop, drink coffee and chat to Alice – I will definitely be a SAHM forever! Distracting a screeching child in changerooms, leaving shops with items unpurchased to avoid a meltdown, walking and walking and walking once she was asleep just to keep her down despite having no more change for coffee and having missed lunch hours ago – I will definitely go back to work!

A half-formed idea of buying some new work clothes pushed me into shops I haven’t visited for quite some time. Post-honeymoon, our house purchase and renovation (and the daily takeaway and alcohol that accompanied it) and pregnancy meant that my work wardrobe undertook rapid and massive changes, and although I have shamefully reverted to regularly wearing some tops I wore whilst pregnant, I refuse to return to work in my horrible Target pregnancy pants. Despite the terror that a full-length changeroom mirror now elicits in me I thought some nice new things might take some of the sting out of the mental countdown I’ve now begun until I have to obey the alarm clock and cram myself on to a train before sitting static all day, away from my baby and without the cheeky option of a quick bit of ‘Location Location Location’ in the afternoon. But that requires trying things on.

Let’s just say that while I tra-la-la-ed my way through pregnancy convinced that my compact bump reflected minimal weight gain, my body was sneakily and steadily spiriting away every single surplus calorie and distributing it in places I wouldn’t notice while I was focussed on my belly. And let’s just also say that post-pregnancy the 500 or so extra calories a day that breastfeeding burns have not even brought to me break-even point. Hence, my horror of mirrors and terror of trousers.

Anyway, I found two tops, a cardigan and a pair of 7/8 pants which will work well with what still fits me from Ye Olde Days, along with some clothes that have been shared between my sister and I over several years. Along with some shiny shoes and practical flats, these will do for the two days a week I will return to work from October to January, and the three days thereafter.

I’m ready to work, almost. I’m not ready to leave her. However even being able to turn these thoughts over in my mind is a reflection of the privilege of being able to stay home for a whole year, thanks to a generous maternity leave policy, the Paid Parental Leave scheme, and a steady income. Work seems like just yesterday but a different country.

The countdown’s on. So much to get ready – most of it mental. But some of it materialistic.

Today:

We went to Chadstone to pick up a repaired necklace, and had a look through shops for clothes. You really didn’t like being stuck in changerooms! You had one breastfeed, a snack and a play before falling asleep. It was a good day to be inside and you enjoyed sitting up like a big girl in your pram and watching everything around you.

We are waiting for Ellie’s baby who was due five days ago and Heloise’s son who was due yesterday. We have recently welcomed Stacey and Jarrod’s Gabrielle Rose and Sarah and Dre’s Grace Ilaria (continuing the naming similarities!).

I’ve stopped recording your sleeps but after a rough patch due to teeth you are settling more easily, around 9:30pm, and waking around 8am with perhaps one or two quick resettles in the evening as you roll over (sometimes you’re not even awake), and usually one feed overnight.

At 8 months, Alice:

  • Weighs about 10kg and is about 72cm long.
  • Wears 0 clothes but is edging in to some 1s for width.
  • Has 7 teeth – 4 on top and 3 underneath. Teething has been marked only by disrupted sleep (what’s new?!). She teethed 7 teeth in 10 weeks!
  • Started solids at exactly 6 months and is a little dynamo. She has tried absolutely everything put in front of her and even though not much of it makes it to her tummy, she investigates and explores and enjoys it all. She likes to use a spoon herself and won’t let anyone feed her. Still can’t sip from any kind of cup though!
  • Has Mumma’s mouth, nose and chin; Dadda’s eyes, eyebrows, forehead and face shape.
  • Has started to grow more hair.
  • Has started swimming lessons with Dadda and mothers’ group and is getting braver in the water.
  • Can commando crawl and does lots of rocking on all fours. She has been sitting for quite a long time and is really quite speedy as she wriggles around.
  • Is a happy and giggling baby. She now knows what it means when something is taken away from her though and seems set to be a good whinger.
  • Is practicing spending more time with Grandma and Grandpa.
  • Loves singing and has a definite sing-song voice of her own.
  • Babbles a lot and is starting to say Da-da more to Dadda.
  • Understands her name, ‘up’, ‘tickle’, ‘boobie’ (no surprise), and we think ‘Dadda’.
  • Shakes her head to ‘nononono’. She high fives, is learning to wave, and has just started handing me her spoon when I say ‘more’.
  • Is not yet pulling to standing but hasn’t really had much opportunity.
  • Likes a late bed time, but also sleeping in.
  • Is still called Allie by Grandma, and Honeybun, Bunny, Munchkin, Munchy and mostly Bubba.

After eight months, Mummy and Daddy:

  • Just think Alice is delightful and are so proud of her.
  • Are getting more sleep. A solid night is a thing of distant memory.
  • Are looking forward to their wedding anniversary dinner but have booked a restaurant very close by in case of another emergency return call!