28 December 2014

Aria's Six Month Update

Happy half birthday to my little Poppins!
This has been such an exciting month and looking back at Aria's five month update, I definitely feel like the struggles we had have dramatically improved!

Milestones
  • We celebrated Aria's first Christmas! (separate magical blog post here!)
  • Aria has almost mastered sitting up.
  • She can now pull herself to stand up in her rocker/walker.
  • She is definitely trying to crawl, but a lot more coordination is required!
Sleeping
I am so happy to say that Aria is sleeping soooo much better now! It may be a mixture of being in her own room, or not being dependent on the dummy anymore, but whatever it is, it's working! She will go down around 6:45/7:00 and is asleep within around 15 minutes. We will feed her between 10:00 and 11:00 when she usually stirs, and then that is her until the morning! There have been the odd night where she is up at 3:00 grunting away (we think just teething) but giving her a dummy usually just soothes her back to sleep until the morning, which is anywhere between 6:30 and 7:30.
Feeding
We are well into weaning now and it is going great! Aria is definitely like her mummy and daddy, and is going to be a right foodie! So far, there hasn't been anything she doesn't like! ...this even includes a slice of lemon we gave her today, haha.

She has three meals a day and still has 4/5 bottles, although her interest in milk has definitely decreased. I'm not too worried about this, but it is something I will mention when see my Health Visitor in the New Year.
Routine
Aria has dropped down to three naps a day as she is staying awake much longer now. She will have a nap around 9:00, 1:00 and 4:00 and usually only for 30 minutes. Our bedtime routine hasn't changed other than it being a lot easier - something we are very grateful for!
Weight
We got Aria weighed a few weeks ago and was 14lb 14oz! She's dropped ever so slightly under the 50th percentile, but we were told it's nothing to be concerned about as it's just due to her having a new diet, and that the amount of weight babies gain slows down around 5/6 months.

Size
We are in the middle of sorting Aria's 6-9 month clothes and packing away what 3-6 doesn't fit anymore. She's got that much for Christmas, I doubt I'm going to need to go shopping for clothes anytime soon! Although I can bet there'll be a few sneaky purchases in the Christmas sales.... can you blame me?!
And that is it for our six month update! It's scary to think how quickly the next six months will go... our baby will be 1 before we know it!

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26 December 2014

Aria's First Christmas

Merry Christmas Everyone!

We could not have asked for a more magical day celebrating Aria's first Christmas. She was absolutely spoiled rotten not only by Santa, but our wonderful friends and family.
Santa was very good to me too! :)

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

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22 December 2014

Counting Down to Christmas with Mamas & Papas


Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without some kind of countdown. Whether it be an advent calendar, an advent candle (does anyone else still get these?!) or a decoration, we all love the excitement and build-up as Christmas becomes one sleep closer...
The Mamas & Papas countdown chalkboard is a great addition to any home over the festive period. They have such a great Christmas range in store at the moment that it's hard not to go a little crazy! But the chalkboard has to be my favourite.

It is made of such lovely quality, and its a great size to hang anywhere!

It's Aria's first Christmas so we want to make it a little tradition that when she is big enough, she can write on how many sleeps it is until the big man arrives. But until then, she can just sit pretty and pose with it!

Do you have any Christmas traditions you love to do with your kids?









*We were very kindly sent this Mamas & Papas Christmas decoration to review. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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18 December 2014

Review | Nonabox November

Another Nonabox, another happy mummy!

This is the second box I've received (read last months review here) and yet again I have absolutely loved what is inside. As well as some wonderful things for Aria, there have been a few treats for me too.
 If you haven't heard of Nonabox before, they offer a monthly subscription for mums to-be, and mothers and their babies up to the age of two years. Each box is tailored to you and your baby, using the best-loved brands out there.
What's inside?
Gumigem teething necklace
Ella's kitchen pouch
Lindt chocolates
Mumkind nutrition bar
Sleepytot baby comforter
Yoomi 5oz bottle

The Lindt chocolates are definitely one of my favorite things we received this month, for obvious reasons! But another thing I've really loved is the teething necklace. Aria is well into the 'grabbing everything possible' stage, especially at my hair and jewellery, so having something that I can wear around my neck that she can happily chew away on is great, and it actually looks really good on too! it doesn't just look like a teething ring stuck around your neck.

We are big fans of Ella's kitchen, so receiving one of their pouches just added to our growing cupboard fully. They are great if you are on the go or don't have time to whip up a meal, so I would highly recommend these if you haven't already tried them.


As with last month, we have really loved the content of this box. It has been lovely to receive a couple of bits for me as well as Aria, and I can't wait to see what we get next month!
 
To get your hands on one of these lovely subscription boxes, click here!

Thanks for reading

Nicola x

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17 December 2014

The Perfect Mince Pie

One of my favourite things about Christmas has to be mince pies, and there is one man that takes them to a complete new level, and that is Jamie Oliver!
The mix of filo and puff pastry add such a lovely, light twist to the traditional mince pie, and go perfect with a hearty dollop of brandy cream.

They go down an absolute treat in our house at Christmas time, and are so easy to make. I'm going to pop a link to his website here if you fancy making these beauties!



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13 December 2014

Weaning Made Easy with Spuni

Have you ever looked at your baby mid-feed and thought 'how much of that was actually eaten rather than smeared all over their face?'. It's a debate I have daily...

I found that when I started weaning Aria, although she loved trying new foods, that I was scraping it off the spoon into her mouth rather than her taking it off the spoon herself.

That was until we tried using the Spuni. In case you haven't heard of this little gem, the Spuni is an adaptation of the every day spoon we know and love, designed to improve the feeding experience for babies as they move onto the world of solids.
The idea is that with the patented tulip design, your baby learns to suck and swallow the food from the spoon, almost by latching on to it. By doing so, your baby learns to take the food from the spoon with ease, which means less mess!

From the moment we started using the Spuni, our weaning journey has become incredibly easy. Aria was never one for taking anything with texture, and would let the food literally fall out of her mouth if she didn't like the feel of it on her tongue. Now, she will happily try anything and everything with delight, and lights up with excitement when she sees the spoon heading her way!
The amount of food that used to end up not only all over her clothes, but on her nose, forehead and hair has dramatically changed. Because she can suck the food off the spoon, she's barely wasting a drop! She even likes to try feed herself now - such an independent little miss already...
The Spuni makes meal times so much more enjoyable for both of us, and I think should be a staple in every parents kitchen!

The Spuni is available to purchase from www.shnuggle.co.uk.

Thanks for reading

Nicola


*The Spuni was kindly sent to us to review, however all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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10 December 2014

My Top 5 First-Stage Weaning Recipes

As we are getting further into our weaning journey, I am becoming more adventurous with the purées I give Aria, and thought I would share with you my top 5 purées, tried and tested by little miss Aria herself! 


Peach and Banana. 
Super easy and super sweet, your little one is guaranteed to love the blend of smooth peach and textured banana. 

Place a peach into a pan of boiling water for around 10 minutes, until the skin naturally starts to peel away. Then, plunge into a bowl of cool water and remove any remaining skin. Remove from the water and the flesh should easily pull away from the stone, where you can then purée until smooth. Mix this with half a mashed banana and it is ready to go. Makes 2 portions. 
Red Pepper and Apple. 
Another sweet treat, full of strong flavours.

Remove the seeds fro one red pepper, quarter and place under the grill skin facing upward, to blacken. Once taken out of the grill place the peppers in a plastic bag to cool, and then remove the blackened skin. Remove the skin and chop one apple and place in boiling water for approximately 10 minutes. Purée the two together using some of the water from boiling the apple. Makes 4 portions.
Broccoli and Courgette. 
Not as exciting of a purée, but the broccoli gives your little one a feel for some different textures, and mixed with the slightest bit of cheese it makes for a great introduction to those dreaded greens!

Chop the head of one small broccoli, avoiding the stalk and place boil for 20 minutes. Chop the courgette and add to the pan 10 minutes later. The skin of a courgette is soft, so there is no need to peel. Once the veg is cooked, remove from the pan and purée using some of the cooking water. Makes 6 portions. 


Avocado and Banana. 
A simple, smooth blend that can be made and served in less than 5 minutes. 

Simply remove the flesh from half an avocado and mash with half a banana. This should be eaten soon after it is made as it will soon turn brown. Makes 1 portion. 
Sweet Potato, Broccoli and Cauliflower. 
The sweet potato adds a little sweetness to what can be a bit of a bland mixture for babies. 

Peel and chop a medium sized sweet potato and boil for five minutes. In a separate pan, boil the flourettes of one broccoli and cauliflower for 10 minutes, or until tender. Purée all three together with some cooking water. Makes 4 portions. 


And there you have it! I hope these gave you a little inspiration for some first tastes for your baby. Let me know if you try any of these out, or if you have a favourite recipe you want to share! 

Nicola x

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4 December 2014

Review | CYBEX Aton Q Car Seat

There is a very good reason why the CYBEX Aton Q is the choice for celebrities such as Simon Cowell and Gisele!
Taken from their website... 'CYBEX offers car seats, baby carriers and strollers that are not only safe but perfectly adapt to urban lifestyles.'

Their products are both stylish and safety conscious, and the Aton Q is a great example of both.

The Look
Aside from the unique design and safety features, it comes in a huge selection of different colours. From the adventurous Autumn Gold and Hot & Spicy to the sleek Black Beauty, there is a design and look to suit everyone's tastes.

The Design & Comfort
Using a new function, developed from a vast amount of research from medical specialists and midwives, the Aton Q has an adaptable headrest, which enables the flattest lying angle between head, neck and chest, which is ideal for both newborns and premature babies.

The headrest can be lifted gradually as the baby grows, offering more room and more comfort. With the 8-position headrest, the harness automatically adjusts, preventing the difficult and awkward threading of the straps as your baby grows.

The large sun canopy provides UVP sun protection of 50+ and is so large that it completely covers your baby, providing complete shade from those harmful rays.

Weighing 4.6kg, the car seat is a little on the heavy side. It isn't ideal for carrying around for long periods of time, but it does show how sturdy the car seat is, and the high quality of the materials used.

The Safety Features
As well as the adaptable headrest and sun protecting canopy, one of the most incredible safety features of the Aton Q is the Telescopic LSP (Linear Side Protection) System. The extended side protectors are easily adjusted, and are designed to absorb the force of an impact and channel it away from the baby.



My Opinions!
Having used this car seat for a couple of months now, I would absolutely recommend this to anyone!

I love how the car seat is adaptable to the pram frame (we have the Mamas & Papas Urbo2, which I did a rave review on here!). There is a list of compatible prams on their website.

Putting Aria in it for the first time, I could see just how comfortable she looked. The headrest was so snug around her, without being restricting, and the extra wide harness straps snuggled her in and looked so comfortably placed on her. It makes traveling an absolute dream!

Thanks for reading

Nicola x

CYBEX stocklist details: cybex-online.com and available in major nursery retailers.
Autumn Gold Aton Q (with Isofix Base) £229

*we were sent the CYBEX Aton Q to review, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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30 November 2014

New Vlog | Decorating Our Home For Christmas!

We were so excited to put up our Christmas tree, we just had to do it this weekend! I hope you enjoy this little vlog, please subscribe to my channel to see more!



Nicola x

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28 November 2014

Aria's Five Month Update

Who hit fast forward and turned by baby girl five months old?!
Aria just gets more lovable by the day, and I can't believe what a wonderful little lady I've created... if I do say so myself!

This month has brought a lot of challenges, whether it's been teething, sleep regression or sheer frustration at herself, Tom and I have certainly been kept on our toes! So to tell you a little more about our month...

Milestones
I'm starting with Aria's milestones first this month, as they will lead on to more detail later!
  • We've started weaning.
  • She is now sleeping in her own room.
  • We celebrated Aria's first Halloween! (pictures on my Instagram).
  • She is really trying to sit up on her own, constantly pulling herself to sit up (with help, of course!)
  • We've started swimming lessons.
  • She is well and truly teething!
Sleeping
Welcome to the world of the 'four month sleep regression'! This has been a difficult month for us, as Aria for the first few weeks decided to get up at least three times a night, and wanting up to play at 5am! Safe to say, we were absolutely exhausted.

Nap times through the day were completely fine, but night time became more of a nightmare! So we decided to try a few new sleeping techniques, which I can happily say so far *touch wood* have made a world of difference! These include moving Aria in to her own room (separate blog post which you can read here) and removing her dummy!

I won't go into too much detail about these in this post, so I have written a separate post here, for those of you who may be looking for some information on getting your baby to sleep better!

Feeding
As I mentioned, we have started weaning! So far, it is going really well. We have taken it quite slowly, but Aria has had quite a few first tastes, which you can read all about in our weaning series, here!

Routine
With Aria now having solids and in her own room, there has been quite a change to her routine. Our day goes a little something like this...

7am wake up.
7:30am 5oz bottle and at 8:15 porridge.
9am nap for 40 minutes.
11am 4oz bottle and 11:30am purée, either fruit or vegetable.
11:45 nap for 40 minutes
2pm 4oz bottle
2:30 nap for 40 minutes
4pm purée, either fruit or vegetable, depending what she had for lunch.
5pm another 40 minute nap. (something we hope to drop soon!)
6pm bed time routine begins!
6:30 5oz bottle.
7pm bed time.

This obviously alters depending what we have on through the day and if we are out and about, and also on what time she wakes up, but this is a typical everyday 'in the house' routine for us. I would like to extended the lunchtime nap and not have her nap at 5:00, but I'm not too worried about this at the moment!
Aria loves her disco ducks!

Weight
I haven't had Aria weighed this month (naughty mummy), but we are due to go to our local weigh-in session next week. I think she is around 14/15lbs, but that's just going off me standing on the scales holding her!

Size
Aria is slowly growing out of her 3-6month clothes, especially in leggings! So we will be looking to make a couple of purchases in the next few weeks for some 6-9month items! Although I'm trying not to go too mad, as I know there will be lots of bargains to be had in the Christmas sales :)

So that is it for our five month update!

I've added a few links above to other posts, where I go into certain things in more detail, so be sure to check out those!

Thanks for reading

Nicola x

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26 November 2014

Sleep Regression: How We Are Doing!

The 'four month sleep regression' is a bitch. There, I said it!

I'm certain I'm not the first parent to curse at 5am when their sweet little angel is up for the fourth time and refuses to go back to sleep! Not one to be beaten, I decided I needed to take some action. I love my sleep far too much to now be going back to (or dare I say it, worse than) the new born stage.
 I follow Lisa Clegg, author of The Blissful Baby Expert on Twitter who wonderfully offers free advice to parents and I thought, why not pop her a little message! Safe to say that was the best decision I could have made.

Basically, she said that Aria was in a bad little habit of being reliant on her dummy/feeding/rocking to sleep, and was unable to self soothe. So that whenever she entered a lighter sleep, she was unable to get herself back to sleep without any form of support.

With the advice Lisa gave, we decided to go cold turkey and remove the dummy completely. We made sure Aria was sleepy, but still awake, and put her into her own cot for the first time. We then gave her a cuddle and kiss goodnight, put on some soft music and headed out the room...

I am the more strong-willed out of Tom and I, so I said I would deal with her while he made tea (I felt I had the easy job!!). After about 40 minutes of crying (I will note, not a distressed cry, as I would obviously comfort her if she was really worked up) she finally went to sleep. Hurrah!

Again, as Lisa advised, at 10:30 we turned the lights on low, gently woke her to change her nappy and gave her a bottle. Lisa said it was important she was awake for this feed, so that she again could fall back asleep without the dummy. She started to nod off toward the end of the feed, so we burped her and put her back down, with not a peep from her!

She did wake at 3am, which we knew was not just a whimper or a squeal, but because she was hungry, so we fed her and put her back down, and that was her until 7am! This was by far the best nights sleep we all had in weeks, if I could I would've literally hug the hell out of Lisa for this!


So a week on and I can happily say that Aria now goes to sleep without her dummy with no problems at all. She wakes once a night to be fed still, but I know she will drop this when she is ready.
The advice Lisa gave us was invaluable, and I would definitely recommend contacting her if you are looking for any baby advice at all!

I really hope you found this post useful, and I hope that for any of you going through a rough sleeping patch can take some advice from this!

Thanks for reading

Nicola x



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23 November 2014

Weaning | The First Tastes

We have been weaning Aria for a few weeks now, opening her up to a whole world of new tastes and textures!

She is turning five months old next week, so weaning began a little earlier than what 'the guidelines' suggest, but she was showing all the signs she was ready so we thought, why not give it a go!



We started off pretty slow, just giving her little tasters of different foods before setting a routine of meal times. After she showed a lot of eagerness in her food, we decided to start with just a lunchtime meal. We thought this was the best time of day to introduce new foods, as if for any reason it didn't agree with her, she had time to get it out of her system before bed.

After her 11:30 bottle, we would wait half an hour before giving her some lunch. Some people give their baby food before their bottle, but we prefer after, as her milk gives her more nutrition at the moment and we didn't want her to start taking less.

Aria' first tastes included:
Baby Rice and Baby Porridge (we used Cow & Gate)
Carrot
Sweet Potato
Pear
Apple
Banana

So far, the only thing she wasn't too keen on was carrot, but I think that may be because it wasn't quite puréed enough for her. So I will try this again in a week or so to see if she will take it!

We're just in the process of trying out meal times, so more on that next week!

When did you start weaning your baby? What are their favourite foods?

Nicola x

 
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20 November 2014

First Night in Her Own Room

I didn't think this day would come so quickly. It seems like just moments ago Aria was just outgrowing her Moses basket and moving into her travel cot.

But Tom and I felt like it was the right time to try Aria in her own room... Eeek!
Her sleep the past few weeks hasn't been great. She has been waking more than usual, sometimes for an hour or more at a time! So we thought it may be an idea to move her into her own room, hoping that it may settle her a bit more. 

It's safe to say that the first night I was a nervous wreck! We put Aria down in her cot after our usual nighttime routine, and she surprisingly went down without much fuss! I decided to have an early night, just to catch up on some lack of sleep (but also just so I could be a little nearer to her!). 

So as for how she got on through the night, I was pretty impressed! We are trying a couple of new methods at night, after getting some tips from Lisa at The Blissful Baby Expert, so I know it's going to take a few nights before this pays off, but it honestly wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be! 

It has really made me realise how quickly she is growing up, and I know the day will soon be here when we are turning her cot into a bed...argh!
How old were your little ones when you moved them into their own room? How did you feel about it all? 

Thanks for reading

Nicola x
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17 November 2014

Weaning at Four Months

There's a lot of mixed information out there when it comes to weaning. Some say you should start when your baby is six months, others say from 17 weeks. 

We decided to take the approach that once Aria showed signs she was ready to start trying her first foods, we would go from there. Being the inquisitive little babe that she is, she was showing signs she was ready from about 15 weeks! However we did wait until 17 weeks, where they say a babies digestive system is fully developed, before giving her first spoonful of baby rice! 

 

We decided to take weaning slowly, and pretty much follow her lead depending on how she took to it. If she wasn't interested, we would wait a couple more weeks before trying again... 

...but there was no need for that! Aria is already showing signs of being a total 'foodie', just like her mum and dad! Her first spoonful was possibly the funniest thing I've ever seen, she couldn't get the spoon in her mouth quick enough! She makes the cutest little noises which I think translates to "hurry up with that spoon, mummy!"



We started her off on baby rice, mixed with a bit of her formula. We usually give her this around 10:00am, just before she is due her second bottle. We wanted to make sure she was hungry, but not enough that she wouldn't take to it, or not want her next bottle.

This routine has been going for about 2/3 weeks now, and seems to be working really well! We've had to up the amount of rice she gets as she really does enjoy it. We've also tried carrot and banana, both which she seems to love! (I'm going to do a separate post on 'first tastes' soon...)

I'm going to blog (and possibly vlog now I've entered the world of YouTube!) our weaning journey, and share any tips, tricks and recipes we come across along the way. 


If you have any weaning tips, I'd love to hear about them! When did you start weaning, what were the first foods your baby tried? 


Nicola x

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12 November 2014

Review | Nonabox October

I had never delved into the world of subscription boxes until very recently, but always loved the idea of them. Who doesn't want a box full of surprise goodies arriving at their doorstep every month?!

So when Nonabox kindly gifted us a 3 month subscription, it's safe to say I was slightly giddy!


Nonabox offer a monthly subscription for mums to-be, and mothers and their babies up to the age of two years. Each box is tailored to you and your baby, using the best-loved brands out there.

For our first box, we were so pleasantly surprised with what was inside! Each and every item included is something I know Aria and I will find useful, and introduced us to some new brands as well as some already much loved ones.


Items included:
aden + anais swaddle
Waterwipes travel pack
NUK soothers
NUK bottle
Bennett's Baby Bum Crème
Bennets Aqueous Bath Drops
Chillipeeps Spout

One of the items I particularly love are the Bennets Aqueous Bath Drops. I suffer from eczema, so I know the importance of using product that are kind to the skin and have as little chemicals as possible. It is something I am extra cautious of with Aria, in case she takes after me and my sensitive skin, so this is now a firm favourite in our bathroom! It is super gentle on her skin, and really locks in the moisture.

Another item I am yet to try, but has found itself a little place in my changing bag is the Chillipeeps Spout. This is an excellent item if you happen to be out longer than planned, and your baby needs a feed. Just pop this into a carton or bottle of formula, and you're ready to feed your little one! No need to rush home in a panic, just whip out this little beauty and voila, one happy baby!

Overall, I cannot fault this subscription box! I am really looking forward to sharing with you what we get next month.


To get your hands on one of these lovely subscription boxes, click here!

Thanks for reading

Nicola x
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10 November 2014

This Weeks Vlog | A Family Weekend

Happy Monday, Everyone!

So we are really getting into this YouTube stuff now, I have to say I'm really enjoying putting these vlogs together, and I hope you enjoy watching them!

Here is the link to this weeks vlog, it was a very family orientated weekend which was lovely!





I've got a couple more videos due to be uploaded this week, so if you would like to see those please subscribe to my channel :)

Hope you all had a lovely weekend

Nicola x

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5 November 2014

My Top 5 Baby Must-Haves



There's so much baby paraphernalia we buy as first-time mums that goes unused, and it's usually not until we've bought said paraphernalia that we know it was a complete and utter waste of money!
 
I wanted to share with you five items that Aria and I have absolutely loved, that I would recommend to any mummies out there looking for things that will actually get the use they deserve.
 
1. Bath Support

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I heard so many people complain that they never got the full use out of their baby bath, that I decided to steer clear of one all together. Instead, we bought a towelling bath support, which has been an absolute dream.
 
It allows us to wash Aria without any restrictions, and she is able to grow with it. We purchased ours from Mothercare for a bargain £9.99, and it worked wonders for bath time.
 
2. Mamas & Papas Musical Butterfly

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This is by far Aria's favourite toy. She has loved it from day one and it guaranteed to make her smile. it's got different textured wings, and the colours really capture her attention. Other toys have had their moments, but this is one she goes back to time and time again.
 
3. Mamas & Papas Urbo² Pram.

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If you read my review on the Urbo², you will know just how much I love it! Our first pram was a bit of a nightmare to say the least, but I am so pleased we finally got a pram that works for us, and I would recommend this to anyone who is shopping around.
 
4. Fisher Price Woodsy Friends Bouncer.

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This was actually a gift from my baby shower, and it's definitely one of my favourite items we have. I know this is popular with a lot of mums, and it's so easy to see why! I can totally trust that Aria is safe and comfortable in it, and she has tons of fun kicking and playing with the detachable mobile 
 
5. Love to Dream Swaddle Up.

Image Source
 
Last but certainly not least is this little beauty! Aria loves to be swaddled, but as she got bigger it became more difficult to swaddle her with a blanket, that is until we bought the Swaddle Up! It completely snuggles her in and allows her to still sleep with her arms raised how she likes, without allowing her to startle herself awake with her bad reflex.
 
There are several different options for these, including a 50/50 which allows the arms to be free, but still keep your baby swaddled and cosy.

 
What are your favourite baby products? Is there anything you and your little one just can't live without?
 
Thanks for reading
 
Nicola x
 
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