Friday, 8 August 2014

Diono car mirror - such a brilliant idea!

I haven't been able to blog much recently so it's taken me ages to get around to telling you about this fantastic product. Sorry!!

The product I think is an amazing idea is a baby car mirror by Diono so you can still see your baby even though they are in their rear facing car seat! I love it, it makes me feel more comfortable knowing my little one is ok, it's most useful on long journeys so you can check baby without having to stop the car.

I'm reviewing this item with Bella Kidz, a fantastic new parenting website who aim to help all parents no matter what stage they're at. They also have a review section and luckily I am able to join in with that and review this mirror for Diono. 

The mirror itself is fairly big at 18cm meaning you can see alot of your little one not just a little. It's also great that you can turn it around 360 degrees meaning you are able to select the best position for it to be in for you to view baby properly. To fit into the car it attaches to the headrest and therefore can go on either side without affecting parents view of cars around as it's not blocking the rear mirror at all. The fact the mirror can be rotated means the driver can look in their mirror to see baby and not have to change their mirror at all. I also love that the mirror isn't directly over the infant and you can be sure it's not going to fall on top of them. The instructions included are very easy to follow. 
Isabelle also loves to look at herself in the mirror and I think sometimes it even stops her crying looking at herself.

I'm not sure what we'd do without this mirror now, it's become one of our favourite items and I would reccomend it to any parent or grandparent, whoever has a small child in a rear facing car seat to look after so that you can keep an eye on them without taking your attention away from the road. As a passenger, you can also use the mirror to see the baby as it's a large mirror - the biggest you can get for in car to view a baby I think (although having said that I haven't actually seen any others!) 
You can purchase this mirror from Amazon which currently it's on offer for £8.99 with free delivery if you have amazon prime! Usually the RRP of it is £12.99 and I genuinely feel it's well worth that price tag! 

Mary-Kate, x

Monday, 28 July 2014

Dairy free update of a chocoholic

Isabelle is dairy intolerant and I am determined to continue to breastfeed her, so to do so I have cut dairy out of my diet - all of it, that includes as Oliver would say 'mummy's favorite ice-cream' yeah... magnums are a no no for me until I've finished breastfeeding Isabelle. So because the dairy is gone out of my diet, people have said to me 'oh the weight will drop off you now with no dairy in your diet' so here in this blog post, not only am I going to confess to you why actually the weight isn't going to go as they think and share with you my favorite dairy free products so far. It's only been a few months so I'm still finding my feet but I do want to find all the nice stuff so that I can help other parents and as well as knowing what Isabelle can have if she happens to remain dairy intolerant, at least then I'm a little bit prepared for what she can and cant eat as she grows up. 

You can read my original post about going dairy free - here! Just remember to come back to this new one hehe. 

So far I've tried lots of tasty treats and then I've been shocked about the amount of calories in them! Tesco free from muffins - absolutely delicious and so so chocolatey, actually they're my top chocolatey product so far but at over 300 calories each muffin I'm thinking a little less sicky chocolate will do. I never watch calories but I do like eating alot and I don't want to get massive! (my butcher knows not to give me a small steak, I want a big one even though I'm a girl).

Nakd bars however are 1 of your 5 a day, ok I'll be honest most of them I don't like and as Oliver would say are yucky! They took some time to grow on me but now I love them. My favourite flavour is cocoa delight, actually I like to always have one in my bag, just in case! To me I now treat it as a chocolate bar however in it is just cocoa, cashew nuts, dates and raisins - thats all!!

I am also such a bourbon biscuit fan that I have a cup with one on so imagine my delight when I realised that Tesco bourbons are infact dairy free?! Yes. So I've had alot of them. That's kept me going a bit. The tesco shopping come today and Michael if you read this then you'll notice I didn't buy any, fear not though I will next week - I'm having a bourbon free week due to the fact I have gone through 4 packets in two weeks... I know!!! I know... but hey personal growth not buying more today, yes??

My latest discovery is Mr Prempys! oh my goodness delicious, dairy free and all good for you cakes. Ok ok rewind, so on Sunday we went to meet some friends at Alexandra Palace or 'Ally Pally!' and they had a lovely farmers market there which we thought was fantastic, we discovered lots of new things and even some that I could have. Mr Prempy's make and sell raw organic cakes, that are gluten, dairy free, refined sugar free, wheat free and soya free. Nothing is baked, everything is premped and I was really impressed when I tucked into 'Mothercake' last night. It actually tasted like a chocolate cake but at the same time knowing it was good for me and completely dairy free meaning I'm not going to upset Isabelle's tummy by eating it. The texture is like a cheesecake and the bottom bit reminds me of a nakd bar which I knew already that I liked.

If you're dairy free and know of any tasty treats that are dairy free I'd love to know about them... Sweet tooth !

Mary-Kate, x

Friday, 25 July 2014

Swing and bouncer in one? It's Swing2Seat Ingenuity #Review

Ingenuity convert me swing 2 seat: whimsical wonders

Recently Isabelle was sent a lovely new swing to review, it's not just a swing though it's also a bouncer too! Making it possible to have both items in one, therefore saving you money and if you're limited on space - it's space saving too. Ah but if it's doing two jobs in one, is it actually any good? We've been putting it to the test and now we can let you know what we think.

We couldn't wait to get it set up and have a see if Isabelle would like it. She had a bouncer and a separate swing but she hated being put down, we found out she was dairy intolerant when she was 11 weeks old so that explained why she didn't want to be put down because she had such an awful tummy ache. So when she actually liked this swing we were obviously delighted! At first she wouldn't stay in it very long but thats because of her tummy but after all dairy was taken out of her diet (my diet - breastfeeding) she loves it.

So what's it all about? It's by a brand called Ingenuity and actually converts from swing to a vibrating seat if you use the unique easylock. The swing doesn't go too fast, the last one we had went far too fast and it made it so you didn't want to actually have your baby in the swing while you were cooking dinner or something but with this one I genuinely feel like my baby is safe an secure especially with the 5 point harness.

Isabelle loves the swing, it has 5 speeds so she can have options and once she's fallen asleep in it I can turn the swing down a few speeds but keep it going so she remains asleep. Ideal if mummy wants to do something with Oliver or load the dishwasher - yes I've given in to the dishwasher, oh it's so much easier than washing up. I hate washing up! (Oh mum by the way, I'm no longer allergic to fairy washing up liquid, just so you know... honestly I was though).

You can choose from 8 different tunes and 3 lovely nature sounds and what's great is there is even a timer setting allowing you to choose 30, 45 and 60 minutes.

It folds flat for easy storage, even more space saving if that's what you're looking for! It's also ideal for travel too, enabling you to offer your baby two options if they're a little bit fed up while visiting family for example. The batteries are lasting ages by the way - gosh I hope I haven't jinxed it by writing that! I love that you can move the toy bar, making it easy to get baby in and out with the toy bar out of the way. There's a little lion toy included and Isabelle loves it! I often find her trying to reach out to him now. There is extra slots to put more toys in but we haven't got any that fit in there at the moment.
unlocked is green - swing mode
locked is red - seat mode
Easy to use buttons
When you've locked it so it can no longer swing, you can turn a switch on to make the seat vibrate although having said that you can use vibrating seat when in swing mode too.The seat pad and newborn head support which can be taken off is machine washable.
We love the swing 2 seat and we're not looking forward to the day Isabelle's too big for it! If you're looking for a bouncer and a swing then as parents who have tried separate ones, we suggest you get one of these instead. It's better and it's all in one meaning for £79.99 you get a swing and a vibrating seat in one. The colours are unisex, meaning you could even keep it for second or third baby too. We love how safe this swing is, with its little non slip feet :) 

Please note although this item was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review, all of the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Isabelle won't sleep without... The Gro Company #Review

Isabelle won't sleep at night now unless she's in her Gro bag, so obviously now that makes the gro bag part of our bedtime routine and she loves it. I used gro bags with Oliver too but not from such a young age. Isabelle weighs only 12lb and when we started using the gro bag she was under 10lb which originally made me think she wasn't allowed to use it, thats before I realised it has poppers underneath the arms to make it fit smaller babies snugly! Fantastic idea.

We were sent the gorgeous girly print 'Bunny & Brolly' design in 0-6 months which is 1.0 tog making it ideal for the hotter nights, like I mentioned before the 0-6 month size includes under arm poppers making it suitable for newborn (8lb 8oz) up to 6 months. It's also available in 6-18 months and 18-36 months and comes in two togs - 2.5tog and 1.0tog. Fully machine and tumble dryer suitable making it parent friendly - I like things that can be washed and dried quickly because sometimes yes I forget to do things first thing in the morning. It washes up lovely and Isabelle adores her bag. It's the next step up from being swaddled. And the different togs available make it a suitable option all year round.

This design retails for £29.99. I love that you get a free room thermometer and safe sleep info, telling you what little one should wear to bed in what weather! something that usually confuses me.

Remember The Gro company sell other products too, the gro clock is one of our favourites which we got from John Lewis and they have swaddles, comforters and bedding to name a few.
Please note that this item was sent to us for the purpose of the review but all of the opinions are my own.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Keep Britain Breastfeeding: Expressing

I love expressing milk now, why? Because it's the only way I can actually see 'how much' I'm getting out! Recently we found out that Isabelle is dairy intolerant, which explains why she hasn't gained much weight since birth, why she had dark green poos, lots of wind and blood in her nappies. The hospital have given me special formula milk to 'top up' her feeds if I want to, to top up her feeds but if I can I'd much prefer to make more milk. The doctor offered me a anti-sickness pill which one of it's side effects is to cause breastfeeding mothers to produce more breast milk - sounds great but I didn't really want to take another pill... Her sensitive tummy doesn't need anything else right now so instead I started expressing and over the last 2 weeks I can tell the difference of when I express and when I don't. 

Firstly let me tell you about the breastpump I'm using now, I absolutely love it! Even the nursery nurse who comes to weigh Isabelle was impressed at how silent it is. It's the Ardo calypso double electric - at first I was a bit wary of electric breast pumps due to using a 'well known' branded one before which hurt me and sounded like 'clunk clunk' but I am so thankful I've had the chance to try this Ardo one, it's not hurt me at all - I think thats due to it fitting me correctly and having different settings for cycle and vaccum, making it ideal to match whatever stage my baby is currently at. Now due to Isabelle being dairy intolerant I have cut out all dairy from my diet so I can continue to breastfeed her because thats what I really want and due to her not gaining much weight I spent a week where I was eating more as they suggested and pumping to see how much I had... in that week Isabelle gained 7oz!! Our biggest ever, usually it was 1 or 2oz but this was amazing. Then we got ill with colds and the steriliser that I had been using to sterilise the pump broke - no more pumping for a while and eating less due to feeling so poorly and she only gained 4 and half oz so the expressing really helped us and now we've got a temp microwave steriliser I'm going to be expressing again, eating and drinking more to make sure we have a good weight gain next week. 

Why I love the Ardo Calypso double breastpump?
Well firstly and most importantly because it doesnt hurt me. This is the only breastpump I've had that you can choose which breast shell fits your breast correctly, included in the box is a few different sizes and breast shell inserts too meaning you get the right fit just for you unlike another brand I've used which had one size and it clearly was not correct for me because it left me in a lot of pain.  It's a fantastic idea to include different sizes because no two women are the same so why provide just one size? Also this Ardo one is fantastic because unlike the other pumps I've had this one lets you pick what speed of pumping you want with 'vaccum' and 'cycle' buttons. I start off with lots of cycle - more sucking with gentle vaccum then I slowly even it out until the vaccum lasts longer without hurting me, you can see whatever works for your body. Theres 64 different combination of settings possible for you to decide from!

I love the fact this pump is so quiet, meaning I can actually express while Isabelle is asleep in the same room as me without waking her up, the other pump I've used would not allow this because it was just too noisy. You can either use it with the mains adapter provided or you can use batteries which is great because it enables you to pump wherever you are comfortable.
Closed system - I had no idea what they meant by this to begin with so I thought I'd copy what Wikipedia says:
'A closed collection system has a barrier or diaphragm that separates the pump tubing from the horn. In this design, the suction of the pump motor lifts the diaphragm to create a vacuum within the collection system to extract milk. An open system allows for the free passage of air/suction.'

'When an open collection system is used, the pump’s suction can cause milk to overflow it into the collection system tubing, which may lead to milk particles being drawn into the pump motor.'
And thinking back, the other one wasn't a closed system so this breastpump is actually much more hygienic which is very important, especially when its something used to feed your baby. It's also BPA free.

I also love that expressing means others can feed Isabelle too, Daddy & Oliver both loved it.

I've found that when I've used this breastpump I've made alot more milk and after a few times using it I noticed that my milk was coming out faster. I love that having double breastpump means I can do both at the same time, meaning I'm sat here for half the time. Ocassionally I have expressed one boob while she feeds on the other and she didn't mind at all, it was so quiet she didn't get bothered by it at all. I feel more confident using this breastpump selecting the settings that are right for me and knowing the vacuum seal is protecting my milk from possibly being contaiminated. The ON/OFF button is easy to use - it's actually important to be able to get it on/off easily.

Inside the box what you will find:
Calypso Breastpump
Breast shells - 26mm & 31mm 
Shell insert - 28mm
Optiflow 26mm
Cleaning brush
Bottle stand
Mains adapter
So if like me, you've tried a manual pump and hated it or tried a 'well known' branded electric pump and didn't get on with that then I can assure you, you will be very impressed with this Ardo one. It's really helped me and I'm amazed at it helping Isabelle gain 7oz in one week, it's our biggest ever gain and I know it's to do with the extra pumping so thank you Ardo Medical for gifting us this lovely pump!

Mary-Kate, x

please note that even though this Ardo breastpump was given to me to review, all of the opinions are my own, I genuinely cannot fault this item! I love it.
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Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Baby box company #review

If you're looking for a new baby present then I've found something perfect, how about a box of little presents which are all useful from The Baby Box Company

Recently I was sent a box to review and I really thought it was lovely. Some boxes like these are often a waste of money but The Baby Box Company actually offer good value for money and boxes look really great too, packaged like a present so you don't need to wrap it as well. 
Ok I know what you're thinking... rewind, who are the baby box company? Its a baby gift company set up when Christine & Chloe - a moher and daughter team from Leicestershire noticed after the birth of Harry (son/grandson) there was a gap in the market for modern yet reasonable priced gifts to send to new mums and every box they pack lovingly by hand just as they would like to recieve it! 
I was excited about getting this box as I had seen some great items on their website but obviously, I didn't know which of those items I would be sent and actually I was delighted with the things I found inside my box for Isabelle. Actually, one of which I have used almost every day since! (the swaddle)

Inside I found:

A lovely Toby Tiger organic cotton romper suit in really bright colours.

Aden + anais swaddle with bird print, large and so many different uses.  

Lamaze fish toy, bright little toy ideal for small hands. Different colours and textures all over.

Blue bandana bib ideal for the dribbles!

The box is unisex. 
So if you're looking for a gift for a new mum you know, then have a look at The Baby Box Company... trust me I'm a new mum myself and I know what good for 'new mums', what we will actually use!

They offer a range of different boxes and different costs which you can find - here

They start at £15 and go up to £100, you can even create your own.

please note that this box was gifted to us by the Baby Box company but all of the views are our own.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Keep Britain Breastfeeding: Support is essential

The right support really can change everything about breastfeeding, I know that without Michael I wouldn't have survived the first few days or when the health visitor first visited me at day 14 and accused me of 'Not feeding my baby enough' (Michael returned home to me in floods of tears) or when we found out Isabelle was dairy intolerant and others told me to put her onto formula as her weight gain wasn't enough she was born at 8lb 6oz and at 13 weeks old she is 10lb 7oz so yes she is slow at gaining weight and she has dropped 4 on her chart BUT like Michael reminds me, she's otherwise healthy and developing lovely, smiling and happy and to remember I had an emergency c-section under general, I had retained products, I've not had it easy and then she was dairy intolerant, to remember that for the week dairy was completely cut out of my diet she put on 7oz so it wasn't that I wasn't feeding her enough and it isn't that my milk isn't 'good enough', it is simply that she was reacting to the cows milk protein thats why she hadn't gained.
So Michael who was stood by me pushing me back up, passing the tissues and providing the cuddles I am very greatful and so is Isabelle because she's tried special formula from the doctors once and she HATED it. If she could speak like Oliver she would call it 'yucky'. Michael even made Isabelle's first feed possible after I had my c-section as I was in so much pain he helped me get her into the right position.

Our top tips for your partner to support you in early days of breastfeeding:

  1. Reassure them newborns don't need much milk, they've tiny tummies and your boobs know what to do! When you need more, they'll make more... very clever things they are.
  2. Remind them that it takes time to master the latching, some babies get it sooner than others and some need a little bit of help for a while. Isabelle now goes straight to my boob no adjusting required. 
  3. Be there with cuddles and tissues when 'baby blues' attack!
  4. Recommend massaging/ hand expressing sore engorged breasts to release a little milk when they are sore.
  5. Try to get her to rest when baby sleeps in those early days but don't nag her, maybe sometimes she just wants five minutes to herself 
  6. Don't be afraid to say no to visitors - we didnt have any for ages other than grandparents.
  7. Provide drinks and tasty treats 
  8. Stick up for her if others say anything about changing to formula
  9. Let her have privacy from guests - I always used my snoob.
  10. Remember it's natural but isn't always easy to begin with even if its your second, third or fourth baby!
I've not yet experienced anything negative while out breastfeeding and I am thankful that everyone seems to have been supportive so far, even the man in morrisons who put our trolley in a locker when Isabelle just needed feeding straight away in the middle of the food shop. She actually done her first smile that day that I caught the end of on camera...
We did have one really hard evening with Isabelle, I think it was her second night at home when she was just over tired and wouldn't latch on to my boob to suck - she wanted to milk and she wanted it straight away so Michael went off to his parents house with the breastpump we had at the time because it needed to be sterilised along with a bottle but one problem - we didn't own a microwave! (We do now) When he returned I expressed a little and fed it to Isabelle, she was so hungry and it was finished in seconds. So while her eyes were closed I quickly moved her onto my breast and she didn't even notice a different and happily had the rest of her feed from me. That evening while Michael was at his parents I did talk to someone from the NCT breastfeeding helpline which was very helpful, they did actually stay on the phone to me for a while and suggest things I could try to get her to take milk from me. I've also heard of the La Leche League helpline too but haven't used it personally. It's fantastic these things are out there though.

I have attended breastfeeding support at the childrens centre and I was the only one who went so I had about an hour just to chat with a trained breastfeeding advisor who was very helpful and reasurred me I was doing all the right things. She gave me lots of leaflets to take away and read and whenever I have any questions I either pop in or I give her a call.

There is a breastfeeding cafe group for breastfeeding mothers to meet up and I keep meaning to attend, I think it would be great to go off out for a coffee (or dairy free tea, hehe) with another breastfeeding mother and share tips/advice, maybe that group would be ideal for people worried about feeding while out.. I just use my snoob, my baby needs to be fed then shes being fed and if someone doesn't like that then they can move away from me, as far as I see it I'm not doing anything wrong and no boobs are ever on show by me because I don't want them to be.

I did get one stupid comment while combined feeding Oliver... "Why breastfeed? It's disgusting, what do you think they made SMA for?" I was fairly shy then and I didn't reply but nearly 5 years later (omg is Oliver nearly 5??) I would give her such a reply she wouldn't know what to do.

If you are struggling and need support you can contact La Leche or Nct and I'm no expert but if you want I'm always a blog comment away or you can tweet me @mummymemories

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