Sunday, 30 June 2013

Silent Sunday

A monumental week that he won't remember

Last week saw some monumental happenings - tennis gods fell by the wayside in the first rounds of Wimbledon, the government proposed to regulate a procedure which would see Britain creating the first 'three parent baby' ( and two little razor sharp teeth appeared in Little Man's mouth.

Ok, so that third event may not have quite the same implications as the first two but in HIS world nothing will be the same again. And he's clearly not enjoying it much either if his wailing, drooling, lack of appetite and marked reduction in sleep is anything to go by *sigh*.

Of course two little teeth on the same gum aren't much use for chewing, although he's having a good go at anything that appears within a couple of inches of his gnashers including, in not particular order; my hair, scarves, necklaces, toys, blankets, muslins, various bottle parts, spoons and sometimes even food.

It was a little concerning that when he woke up from one of his naps on Thursday there was a little circle of what looked like diluted blood on his sheet but I assume this was from his teeth as he seemed totally fine. Of course, this being our second, rather than our first, baby I know that the trials and tribulations of teething are nothing to panic about and just one of many stages that Little Man will pass through in his road to toddlerhood. But while watching him madly gumming a Bickipeg today I got to thinking about how it's actually rather fortunate that we don't remember much about these early months of our lives. Just imagine how awful if would be if we could remember...

Our first poo - Eeeek!!! What the hell is this coming out of me?! Where did it come from?! And why does is smell like THAT!!! Muuuuuum!

Exactly what our parents said to us - hellooooo my gorgeous ickle pumpmky-wumpkin! What shall we have for your dinnery-winnery today then?

First teeth - Ooooowwww! Something hurts in my mouth! Let me stick my fingers in there and see what it is... OOWWWW! That hurts even more!! And who turned on the tap with all this drool?? Muuuuummmm!

Sibling rivalry - oh hello big sister, hang on I'm sitting here, I'M SITTING HERE, MMMRRRPPHHH...Muuuummmm!

Our first foods - mashed banana, avocado and spinach, yuuumm.

What events from your babyhood are you glad you can't remember? 

Photo credit:

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Baby carrier review - Kiddy Heart Beat vs Ergo Baby Carrier

I love baby wearing. A baby carrier is one of my  and Sarah from Dear Baby G included hers in her guest post for my  series. I wore Curly Girl on my front and back until she was two and a half years old and I physically couldn't manage the weight any more. If she'd been lighter I'd probably still be carrying her this way now! Interestingly she was happy to be in our last baby carrier - the Ergo - long after she'd rejected the pram as something that only babies use.

Curly Girl plays 'peekaboo' on my back in the Ergo Baby Carrier
When Little Man arrived I almost immediately started carrying him in a fabric sling so that I could get on with jobs around the house, make Curly Girl's tea or just go for a walk around the garden. The warmth of my body, the closeness of my heartbeat and the swaying of my movements would calm him and send him off to sleep in no time.
Little Man in the Kiddy Heart Beat Carrier

Now that he's a bit older at seven and a half months we've progressed from a sling to the Ergo again - in fact I used it at the Brit Mums Live conference just last weekend. It's looking a bit tired and well worn so I was pleased to have the chance to review a brand new carrier design from Kiddy, the car seat makers, who have just launched their 2-in-1 Heartbeat carrier in the UK.

The Heartbeat carrier comes in three colours and unlike any other carrier I've seen it also comes in two sizes. Kiddy believe that ergonomic design and safety are the two fundamental criteria in the design of their carrier and it is in fact certified and recommended by the ‘Aktion Gesunder Rücken eV’ (Campaign for Healthier Backs) in Germany.

Kiddy Heart Beat Infant Carrier in Denim

I've been using both the Heartbeat and Ergo carriers side-by-side for a few weeks and it's been really interesting to compare and contrast their fit, comfort, practicality, looks and cost.

The Heartbeat straps are made of very strong webbing and hold the carrier in place very well when you front carry. However, I found that they are quite hard to adjust to fit as you can't change the baby straps easily without removing the carrier.  My 7 month old wouldn't put up with being taken in and out to get it to fit perfectly. The straps around your waist are an exception as these can be tightened or loosened on the go. The Ergo on the other hand can be adjusted quite easily once baby is situated meaning that fine tuning is a breeze.

COMFORT - front carry
When I first put the carrier on it felt a bit strange as it's quite light and puffy and felt a bit like a life vest. This feeling was exacerbated by the inner layer that baby sits in, separating him from me. The Kiddy Heartbeat carrier has been designed ergonomically to be kind your back and I did find the back support firm and comfortable, promoting good posture which is essential as baby gets heavier. I folded down the zip-up head support as he is tall enough not to need it and he was very happy sitting in it while we were out and about. A real bonus is that the carrier comes with an newborn insert included so that you can carry a small baby with the correct support for their flexible hips (newborns should not be carried with their legs splayed). A similar insert is available for the Ergo but it needs to be purchased separately.

The Kiddy Heart Beat carrier connected - the inner layer where baby sits - the back support
COMFORT - back carry
Back carrying is sooo useful. It keeps your hands free and you can see what you're doing without reaching around baby. I loved back carrying Curly Girl in our Ergo so I was intrigued to see how the Heartbeat would fair in this regard. It was quick tricky to sit Little Man in the Heartbeat to start off with as you can't slide it round from front to back as you can with the Ergo. My Mother helped me to sit him correctly and we adjusted the straps together as unfortunately I couldn't do it myself once baby was sitting in it. Unlike the front carry position Little Man didn't feel quite as stable and I felt like he was falling backwards in it which was a bit disconcerting. Also I found that Little Man's weight (c. 16lb) pulled the carrier down so that the waist band started to ride up my stomach - not matter how much I tightened it. All in all it just wasn't as comfortable to wear on my back.

In the Rain
The Kiddy Heartbeat Carrier comes with rain cover which fits completely over baby to keep him dry if you get stuck in a downpour. It sits in it's own little bag integrated into the waist belt so it's always to hand. This is a great feature and I'm impressed that it comes as standard whereas this is an optional extra for the Ergo.

If I'm running out for one or two things from the shops or picking Curly Girl up from nursery I don't always want to take the pram - or a bag. So it's handy to have somewhere on a baby carrier to put my phone and a small purse. The Kiddy Heartbeat Carrier's rain hood pocket works quite well for this although it only does up with velcro (so it isn't that secure) and you'd need to remove the rain hood to use it. The Ergo has a small zip-up pocket (big enough for a phone and some change or a small purse) integrated into the carrier and there is an optional pouch which fits around the waist band if you need a bit more space.

Quick removal
When taking baby out of the Heartbeat carrier the straps need to be released at the shoulder. There is a safety button which needs to be depressed before you can undo the clips that release the straps. I understand why this feature was added (I'm ALL about the safety angle with baby carriers) but it does mean that the clips can't be released with one hand and reaching the other arm up means bashing baby on the head or putting your arm around his head - neither of which Little Man was particularly impressed with!

Little Man asleep in the Ergo
at Britmumslive
When we're out and about there's a good chance that I'll want Little Man to sleep in his carrier. Unfortunately he's gotten used to sleeping in his cot in the dark so it's harder for him to fall asleep on the move now. The Ergo comes with an integral hood that you can pull up and over baby's head and snap to the shoulder strap of the carrier. This is a big plus for me as Little Man will often sleep quite happily once some of the light has been cut out and the hood also stops his head from rolling backwards. We used this feature lots while we were at the Britmums Live conference last weekend. Unfortunately there is no sleep hood on the Kiddy carrier, which would make me question using it if I knew we'd be out at nap time.

Closeness to baby
The design of the Kiddy Heartbeat means that baby doesn't sit directly next to your skin but within a second inner layer. As well as meaning baby isn't as close to you with all the warmth and comfort that provides, it also means that if you take baby out of the carrier but want to keep the carrier on, for example at weigh-in time at the clinic or to change his nappy, it's a bit uncomfortable, like wearing a life vest. With the Ergo, baby sits next to your skin and when you take him out you can let the carrier flap down with just the waist belt still around you, so it doesn't get in the way.

Putting it on
On a similar note the Kiddy Heartbeat has to be put on over your head, not a problem in itself, but  it means that it's more difficult to wear it over a coat, particularly as that would mean adjusting the straps which as I've mentioned above is quite difficult to do.

I like the look of the Kiddy Heartbeat. I chose the denim blue and it's a great colour. It is easy to sponge clean unlike the Ergo carrier which, partly because it's a very light beige I expect, shows every mark and is looking pretty grubby these days (it can be washed in the washing machine apparently but I haven't tried it).

Both the Kiddy Heartbeat and The Ergo Baby Carrier retail for around £100 so they are at the higher end of the baby carrier market, but I firmly believe that you get what you pay for with carriers and wouldn't hesitate to recommend paying that little bit more for a product that will look after your back and last as long as you want to be baby-carrying for.

Overall the Kiddy Heartbeat Carrier is comfortable (for front carrying), safe and stylish. The included accessories - infant inset and rain cover - are great additions. But for me it isn't as practical as the Ergo as it lacks a sleep hood, is difficult to adjust without help and I couldn't undo the straps with one hand. I also personally found it unsuitable for back carrying which would limit its use for me. So did I like the Heartbeat? Yes, but I'll be sticking with my rather battered Ergo for now.

Disclosure: We were sent a small Kiddy Heartbeat Infant Carrier in Denim blue to review. I received no other compensation. We already owned an Ergo Baby Carrier which we purchased ourselves. All the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Britmums Live 2013 - it was all a dream, wasn't it?

Ever had one of those days that is SO anticipated but then flies by in such a blur that you wonder if it really happened at all? Britmums Live 2013 took place last weekend (Saturday for me and Friday and Saturday for those folks with better skills at organising childcare) and I swear it was all a dream.

Witness the evidence m'lud:

I floated through the doors of the Brewery pushing Little Man in his Silver Cross and promptly had my photo taken holding a board that said 'ear wiggler'...

I hugged and kissed people I have never actually met face-to-face before and treated them like long-lost relatives...

I fed Little Man his lunch on a plush leather sofa surrounded by Warners Bros cartoons on huge screens...

I cried as Katie Piper told the most inspirational story of bravery and resilience I have ever heard while Little Man squealed on my lap...

I found myself holding a Coca Cola bottle with the name of this blog printed on one side...

I got stuck in the TK Maxx lounge bouncing up and down while the Little Man slept in his Ergo Carrier and ended up Tweeting my need for a drink of water to anyone who would read it...

I held a 'business meeting' on an oversized white plastic thimble while a barista explained the merits of the different types of coffee he could make me...

I handed my baby to almost total strangers for them to cuddle while I took photos and shared them with thousands of people around the world...

...while two huge penguins and an enormous lion walked around waving at everyone.

But you know what? If this was a dream, it was a bloody good one.

I had the chance to meet up with some fabulous bloggers including Vicki from Honest Mum, Ben from Mutterings of a Fool, Heather from , Alex from Daddacool, Michelle from Mummy from the Heart, Allison from , Lewis from and my lovely neighbour Michelle from The American Resident. And it was, of course, a complete honour to finally meet the amazing Jennie from Edspire.

All in all I had a wonderful day out with my beautiful baby boy and while I gave up on attending any of the seminars after about 10 o'clock (a squealing, bouncing baby makes learning anything a tad tricky) I had the chance to hang out with him and socialise with everyone that passed us.

So roll on Britmums 2014. I'll be there again. With bells on.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

And the Sun Sense goodies winner is...

There were over 500 entries to my recent Sun Sense giveaway. 
Sun protection is SO important, I'm glad that the message about staying safe in the sun has reached that many readers. 

But of course there can only be one winner so without further ado the winner is... *drumroll in the background*

Tammy T


Don't worry if you didn't win this time - it's easy to get your hands on Sun Sense's great sun protection range by visiting their website at And while you're there check out their fab Sun Sensible campaign to help school children understand the importance of sun protection.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Guess where I am today...

I'm guest posting here *points* at Mummys Got Style - the new blog from the lovely Vicki at Honest Mum (aka ). I'm sharing my chosen capsule collection of summer clothes for the post-baby mummy tummy. 

Come say hi and let me know what your go-to holiday outfits are to flatter a new mum tum!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Review & Giveaway - have you got Sun Sense?

The sun. That fleeting friend that visits us only occasionally in the UK is much more sociable in Spain. The light seems to have a different hue there, a goldenness that makes everything glow. While we were on holiday last week I'd have eaten it with a spoon if I could, swallowing the brightness down and feeling the warmth spread through my bones, relieving the discomfort from my infection. Sunshine does that for me, cheers me up, gives me cause to stop and smell the roses in a way that cloudy days cannot. And holiday sunshine, well  of course that's the best vintage.

But she can be a cruel mistress, our glowing orb, relish her too much or without protection and she bites. Curly Girl had her first sunburn this Spring on that one really warm day (remember it?). The children had been playing out in the playground and as the preceding days had been cloudy and dull I hadn't broken out the sun cream yet, fully expecting not to need it for a few more weeks. 

I was wrong.

Doctor Chris Steele - skin cancer survivor
As I undressed her at bath time a red line across the back of her neck flashed at me. Guilt wrapped around my heart. It's my job to protect my little girl and I failed. Nevermind the fact that we have to give express permission to her pre-school for them to apply extra sun cream during the day (health and safety has gone too far in my opinion), I hadn't even applied it that morning before she left home. I slathered on aftersun and thankfully it didn't hurt or itch her. A day or so later she had a lovely brown colour. But I knew the damage had been done. As celebrity Doctor Chris Steele points out:
"What many people still don't realise is that the majority of sun damage occurs before the age of 21 and suffering sun burn as a child or teenager greatly increases the risk of skin cancer in later years.

"Another common misconception is that sunscreen doesn't need to be applied on cloudy days. The reality is that cloudy days can often bring more risk as children will stay out longer when the sun isn’t as hot, meaning the damage caused can be more intense."
Now Curly Girl doesn't like sun cream at the best of times of course, as I'm  sure most children don't. With the sticky, lardy feeling of most high factor creams I can't really blame her. We've tried all sorts trying to find one that works well for her at school, at home, on holiday. But when Sun Sense contacted me about their and to see if we wanted to trial their range of sun protection creams I admit I'd never heard of them.

Did you know Sun Sense is the number one sunscreen in Australia?  Nope, me either. But it's a country well used to having fun in the sun, so I reckon there's a good chance that they know a thing or two about keeping safe while they're at it.

Sun Sense Toddler Milk
 roll-on - genius!
We were sent some Toddler Milk, in a bottle and an ingenious roll-on (a bit like deoderant), Ultra Milk and Daily Face cream to try out in Spain on our glamping holiday by the sea. (Tents and me parted company when I was a teenager I'm afraid.) The whole lot are at least SPF 50 and protect the skin from both UVA rays (responsible for aging) and UVB rays (that cause most sunburn and can lead to skin cancers) so I was expecting them to be thick and difficult to rub in.

The Toddler Milk is SPF 50 and gives 40 minutes water resistant protection in a light milk form that is suitable for delicate and sensitive skin. Curly Girl wrinkled up her nose when she first saw me advancing towards her with the bottle but when I started smoothing it on her pale arms and legs she didn't complain to much. I kept the roll-on version close to hand when we were by the pool or out and about and it was SO simple to just roll it onto her arms and legs and rub in. Why has no-one thought of this before??! Thankfully it rubs in really easily so she could run off and play again almost immediately. No stickiness either. Result. 

Sun Sense Ultra is SPF 50+ and water resistant for 4 hours. I'm not sure why it has a higher protection factor than the toddler version but it is still suitable for all the family so I think it's a good all round option. Like the Toddler Milk it rubs in easily and doesn't leave a sticky residue. It doesn't really have a scent either - I admit I like the coconutty scent of some creams because they put me in a holiday mood but for day to day use at home as well as abroad a scent-free cream has it's advantages. OH found that it blocked the pores on his face a little, giving him a few spots, but he has that problem with all sun creams to be fair.

With the first two creams performing so well I was expecting great things from the Sun Sense Daily Face cream, essentially a combined sun cream and tinted moisturiser. Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed as the tint doesn't provide enough coverage for me to wear on it's own, even on holiday. But what IS good is that it dries to a matt finish so you can wear it under another tinted moisturiser or foundation without a problem. And you still get SPF50+ protection from sun damage and premature ageing.

OH and I have tended to use boating oils that last all day but in summary I like the Sun Sense range and would definitely recommend it for families as it gives excellent sun protection without feeling like you're applying a layer of lard on your skin. If the Daily Face cream had a bit more coverage I'd be ordering another tube on the spot. Curly Girl definitely gives the Toddler Milk the thumbs up and the roll-on version is just genius and will a permanent resident in my post-holiday handbag.

For more information about staying Sun Sensible, including the positive and negative effects of the sun and a range of resources for schools to help educate children about sun protection, visit the Sun Sense UK site. Over 200 schools have already signed up to the Sun Sensible campaign - is your child's school taking sun protection seriously?

With Summer holidays just around the corner I'm delighted that Sun Sense are giving my lovely readers a chance to win a fab selection of Sun Sense goodies - feast your eyes on this lot! The giveaway prize includes Sun Sense Ultra for all the family, Lip Balm and Daily Face cream plus wrist bands and a cool frisbee. Yay! To enter just answer the question in the Rafflecopter widgety thing below. You can also tweet about the giveaway for another entry. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer, terms and conditions and the all-important small print:
We were sent the Sun Sense range to review and offered some items to give away. We received no other compensation and all opinions are our own. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 or over, one entry per household. There is no cash alternative. The winner will be chosen at random via Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to claim the prize or another winner will be chosen, again at random using Rafflecopter. You DO NOT have to subscribe to Bod for tea or like my or follow me on  or as part of your entry.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Sunshine image courtesy of Samuiblue /

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


It had rained the whole of that morning, big heavy raindrops clattering off our chalet's tiled roof, a metal air vent clanging like a bell. Then suddenly, at five o'clock, the sun came out in a blaze of glory, the sky turned a deep cobalt blue and a gentle breeze rustled the trees around me, stealing some of the heat from my lightly tanned arms.

Inside OH was dozing on the sofa; Little Man was napping in his travel cot, the strains of a radio 4 podcast lulling him and masking our noises; and Curly Girl was watching Dora the Explorer on her travel DVD player. I'd set up a bowl with water and her bucket and spade and other toys in the sunshine but they lay unused, like her cherry red Crocs sitting abandoned on the deck next to me.

The heat from the sun made me lethargic, dopey even and I hoped the baby would sleep a while longer so I could enjoy the quiet time. It'd been a chaotic and stressful few days and I relished the peace and tranquillity. Just me and my Kindle.

Curly Girl shouted at Dora; "Backpack! Backpack!" I didn't have the heart to shhh her. Baby had learned to sleep pretty well through noise that last week. I made a mental note to maintain that skill when we returned home to the UK.

Birds twittered prettily as I looked down at my round belly, instinctively pulling it in. I'd abandoned all hope of looking anything other than pregnant for now - my post baby belly was going nowhere before we left England's fair shores and delicious lunches of freshly baked baguette, brie and watermelon had done nothing to shift it since. I knew it would go of course, eventually, and there were more important things to focus on like enjoying the holiday. And getting well again.

OH stirred and we planned a pre-dinner trip to the beach, losing the schedule in a way only holidays allow. As if on cue Little Man started gurgling. I put my head back and enjoyed one last breath of warm air as a butterfly fluttered silently around my chair.

Two days later, my infection raging inside me, we drove through the night to get home.

And so here we are. I sit on the bed pumping and dumping as the builders, not expecting us back until the weekend, spread dust all around us.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Bottle feeding a breast fed baby

Tuesday was our first full day at our holiday resort here in Spain and after two days of travelling and four days trying, Little Man has finally started drinking formula.

Up until Friday he was exclusively breastfed, I hadn't even pumped out a bottle for a girls night out (that's not to say I haven't had one but I haven't gone crazy on the booze front; frankly more because I'm a lightweight these days than for any other reason). But that all changed when a supposed yeast infection (sorry tmi) last week became a misdiognosed womb infection called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID).

Now I'm on some lovely extra strength drugs that, since I'm almost over the side effects of insomnia, headaches and dizziness, have made me feel a SHED load better. But unfortunately they aren't considered safe for breastfed babies like Little Man so our six and a half month old boob monster has had a bit of a shock.

Day one he just turned away, perhaps thinking I was joking; day two consisted of disbelief and confusion; day three anger, distress and pitiful wailing but he reluctantly took some gulps and today he drank almost a full 7 ounces before teatime. Thankfully he's on three meals a day and that's clearly helped to tide him over but its amazing what hunger can do.

While I'm relieved that he's finally taking sustenance it also fills me with remorse and dread. Remorse that I've pushed him to desperation. Dread that he won't come back.

For when this two week holiday is over, the drugs are finished, the Sun Sense cream is empty and the Lenovo tablet says adios to Spanish wifi, I want to go back to breastfeeding my baby for as long as he wants to.

What if he doesn't want to?

I'm pumping three times a day to try and keep my milk supply up but that's so hard to do when you're travelling half way across Europe and after one uncomfortable engorgement I've already noticed my supply dropping dramatically.

What if he wants to and I can't?

For now there is nothing I can do but keep pumping and hope for the best. I have enough formula to tandom feed if I have to, mixing bottle feeds with as much breastfeeding as I'm able to until my supply catches up. At worst he'll have had just over six months breastmilk and a great start.

Lo siento mi hermoso bebe.
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