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new parents

A Review of the Early Purchases for Baby: What we Loved & What didn’t Work for us

Our baby is 4 months old now, officially out of the newborn phase. We have had 4 months to try out all the items we purchased for this stage of our child’s life. Some items we would highly recommend, others we would not. There were also unexpected purchases we made after the baby’s arrival which we couldn’t live without.

In our previous blog, we described & listed the items we bought for babe. We chose minimal items which were nicely designed for apartment living (we live in a 1-bedroom apartment), all the items we chose were based on a blog I had read while pregnant when we were travelling in South America. Our source was from www.600squarefoot.com. We sourced almost everything second-hand on Facebook market place for a fraction of the cost. Go check out our previous blog here.

Item Verdict
Bugaboo Stroller We love this stroller, its compact & perfect for city walks. Especially love the fleece sleeping sack for the colder weather. Babe loves it too & sleeps so well when we go for a walk. We have not gone off-roading with this stroller yet. The real test will be when we go home to Ireland for 6 weeks in December. Lots of different terrains to test it out there. We are hoping to continue using this stroller if we have a second baby.
Luna Leaf Chair Our morning routine is after babe is fed, she will sit in her chair for about 30min chewing on her mini flamingo, Florence;-) She loves that chair and it’s her favourite place to poo. We use it as a safe place to strap her in for a few minutes when we need to prepare lunch etc.…. We love the chair, its heavy, durable & sways.
Monte Bassinette This bassinette is a beautiful design. Its light and can be moved around easily. It rocks which is so great when babe needs a little rock to get back asleep. The edges are soft which works well for our babe as she likes to wiggle her way up to the top of the bassinette all the time! We would definitely purchase another one of these if we have another baby.
Ergo baby carrier with newborn insert The baby carrier I was never a fan of, I preferred placing the baby in the stroller instead when we go walking. My body gets more of a rest when the baby is in the stroller than when I have to carry her. George is the main person who uses the carrier and we really don’t use it that much. Our preference is placing the babe in the stroller when we are out and about. She seems to prefer the stroller too.
Wrap sling We both hated the wrap sling, pain to put on and the baby just didn’t like it. This is something we would not purchase again. Just not our thing…. I’ve been told though to try different types so never say never. Maybe if there is a next time, I would try a sling that avoids wrapping.
Maxi Cosi Car seat This car seat has not been used much as a car seat as our babe HATED going anywhere in the car up until a month ago. So, we primarily used this as her stroller at the beginning. We bought maxi Cosi adaptors for the bugaboo stroller as babe did not like the stroller at the beginning. She preferred sitting in the car seat as it was more supportive. She is now getting too big for the car seat so we have swapped out the car seat for the proper stroller chair. The Maxi Cosi car seat was great, however, we will only get a few more weeks out of it before we need to upgrade. Next time maybe we will try out a car seat that is for all ages……I think there is such a thing?

 The unexpected items which we bought that we couldn’t live without were:

Air-con unit: Our baby was born June 30th and the weather here in Vancouver gets hot during the summer months. Unfortunately, very few residential buildings here have air-con! We are both Irish and do not do well in the heat! Lol! The apartment is south facing so it gets pretty warm. We bought the air-con unit and placed in the bedroom to have a constant temperature for the baby. It was great because then I did not have to worry if the baby was too hot.

Dyson air purifier and fan: The last 3 years in Vancouver we have had bad smoke from forest fires. The air quality was terrible. We invested in a Dyson fan & air purifier if the smoke came this year. Thankfully we had no smoke this year but we used the fan constantly in the living area all summer. It was great.

Deep freeze freezer: This was the most unexpected item we needed to purchase. Our fridge freezer does not have a deep freeze. For the first 3 months, while breastfeeding babe, I had so much milk that both boobs leaked at the same time while feeding. As babe was attached to one boob, I have a suction pump on the other boob collecting the extra milk. We stored all the extra milk in special breastmilk bags and placed in the deep freeze. Now we have lots of extra milk for when I need to go out and about without babe.

Breast suction pump: As mentioned above from day one after babe was born both boobs produced milk while feeding. Our midwife recommended the “Haakaa pump” which collects all the extra milk and no further pumping is required. It was the best $20 we spent. So happy to have a reserve of breastmilk in the freezer. It means I don’t have to pump and gives me more freedom.

Overall, we were extremely happy with the items we bought before the babe arrived. We intentionally bought as little as possible to see if it would be enough. We didn’t feel like we needed anything else. We are now at the stage where babe is getting too big for bassinette & car seat so these will be new upgrades we will have to make; this is why we didn’t buy new as she has grown out of things already. She is sitting up too so a high chair will be needed soon. We will be swapping out the bassinet for a crib, her Luna Chair for a high chair & maxi cosi for a larger car seat. Hoping to source the next phase of stuff second hand also, however, I’m finding it hard to find time to get out and about to shop/collect. The pull of online shopping & delivery is very appealing as it is so convenient. Let’s see what happens.

We hope this was helpful.

Chat soon,

Theresa xxx

Our First Mini Break as a Trio: What We Brought & How it Went

For our family, October is a great month of celebrations, Its George’s birthday month & our wedding anniversary too. We hit the 3-month milestone with our baby in October so we decided to celebrate all of these great events by going on a mini holiday. We wanted our first trip to be easy and as stress-free as possible. That meant no aeroplanes or long car journeys.

One of our favourite places to visit is Vancouver Island, we love it! We would usually go camping & hiking on the island but with the time of year and with a 3-month-old we decided to stay in a nice hotel instead. Victoria is such a great city. We visited during Easter this year for an extended long weekend. We also have friends in Victoria which is another reason why we love to visit there.

The journey from our home in Kitsilano to our hotel in Victoria took about 5 hours total travel time. This includes waiting for ferry. The drive to the ferry in Tsawwassen was about 40 min, the ferry ride is under 2 hours and the drive from the ferry to the hotel was about 35 minutes. This was enough driving for us as our baby was never keen on car journeys from day one.

The week before we left for our trip, we tried giving her a soother for the car…it worked, she didn’t cry for the whole journey. Previous to that she would last all of 5 minutes until she got bored and screamed the house down until I took her out of the car seat. This was the first time we used the soother and it has been a great tool since.

The journey overall was stress-free and the baby was so well behaved. It helped we could get out of the car and walk around on the ferry. There were great family changing rooms and quiet areas on the ferry too. Baby slept on me for part of the ferry ride both ways. We had a muslin blanket and some of her favourite toys for the ferry ride. She laid down on a seat and she played with her toys. This also helped to tire her out;-)

We tried to bring as little as possible with us and it worked. We believe we brought the essential items and we used everything we packed. We had a carry-on suitcase for baby’s essentials, diaper bag & a stroller. In the suitcase we packed:

  1. Diapers (we usually use reusable diapers but for the trip, we brought decomposable diapers instead)
  2. Wipes (We usually use reusable but for the trip we brought disposables)
  3. 6 tops
  4. 4 pants
  5. 2 sweaters
  6. 2 pairs of socks
  7. 1 pair of soft shoes
  8. 10 spit clots
  9. 2 soothers
  10. 2 warm blankets for walks & naps
  11. Her favourite toys (to have for the ferry ride and playtime in hotel)

We asked the hotel to have a crib in the room for us, we were a bit nervous she might want her own crib but she slept fine. It may have helped that we brought her blankets. Usually, in the morning, our baby likes to sit in her chair, instead of bringing her chair we propped her up on pillows at the same angle or sat her in her stroller upright. These were great alternatives than having to bring her chair.

Regarding food, our baby is breastfed, so we didn’t need additional items for that, just Mum;-)

Overall the trip was great, we ordered room service for food as it was easier to entertain baby in the room than trying to do it in the restaurant, we went for strolls around her nap times and went to the pool for the first time as a trio. Easy, stress-free & fun.

The one thing we would do differently next time is that we would get a hotel room with two rooms as when the baby napped we had to be super quiet…..she also likes white noise which really gets to me after 10 minutes;-) I think air b&b would be cool the next time in a 2 bedroom apartment and we would bring food & a travel crib.

We enjoyed our first holiday so much and were delighted that babe adjusted no problem to the different space & the car journeys went well.

Now that we have the first trip down and it was a success, we are excited about our big trip in December when we go back to Ireland for 6 weeks. So, looking forward to it & we feel much more confident about the journey now. I’m travelling solo with babe on the way back so fingers crossed it all goes well.

That’s it for another week.

Have a lovely week & we will chat soon.

 

Theresa xx

 

New Parents: The Unexpected Feeling

No words can describe the elated feeling we have experienced in the past 3 months. We knew having a child was going to change our lives forever but we didn’t realise how much emotionally it would affect us. We still cannot believe our little girl is here. During my pregnancy we would chat about what we would look forward to most; like seeing how small her baby toenails were going to be or feeling her wrap her tiny hands around our index finger. When we saw her for the first time, we both cried with relief but also at how perfect she was, even if she was covered in gooey stuff & crying her heart out! Lol. She had the cutest little ear which was folded over like a taco and little red birthmarks on her eyelids & back of her neck. These were all extra little bonuses of cuteness. She looked so healthy & perfect.

At night when she is sleeping, we both stand over her crib to look at her before going to bed, her crib is beside our bed. We love all her little sounds and gestures. It’s like our hearts are going to burst with love. This is the feeling that we didn’t think about prior to baby. No matter how hard a day we may have had, seeing her smile or hearing her gabble to herself washes all the other stuff away. Of course, we knew we were going to love our child however the massive feeling of love that swells inside is nothing like we felt before. I love George with all my heart, I thought the love for our baby would feel the same but for me, it is very different. I feel like I’m going to burst someday just looking at her.

During feeding, I love the little satisfied sounds she makes & how she snuggles in and gets really cosy. She plays with her hands during feeding in such a gentle way & likes to touch my neck. It’s so cool to see someone so happy & content. When George gets back from work, she gets super excited and gives a huge grin & snuggles her hands to her face with excitement. We are beaming when she does this, it’s one of our favourites.

My experience so far has been amazing. It helps our baby has the same priorities as her parents, she loves food & sleep. I don’t think I have smiled so much in my life; she is a little character & cracks me up every day. The love I feel for our baby feels like a warm feeling in my heart that radiates when I think of her or look at her. Seeing George in his role as a father fills me with joy. He is so patient & kind to our little girl. She adores her Daddy & loves spending time with him.

We are learning about each other every day. Sometimes we get everything so wrong. We think she is hungry when she is bored,we think she has wind when she is hungry…..slowly but surely, we are learning how our girl is communicating. I feel we are getting there and at month 3 everything has kind of settled.

Having a child was a huge decision for us, we knew, either way, we would be happy with or without. Now that she is here, we could not imagine life without her. We are enjoying every day with her & trying not to wish our lives away to when she can talk, walk, eat food etc. She is definitely teaching us to live in the moment & be present. Our little girl is our best friend & we hope to be the best parents for her as we can. For sure we will get so many things wrong along the way but we hope that for the most part, we will provide a safe & supportive space for our child to become who & whatever she wishes to become. So excited about parenting & the development of our child. Love truly does conquer all.

Thanks for reading,

Chat soon.

Theresa xxx

 

Our Less Waste Journey: What Will Change with New Baby?

The decision to consciously live a simpler life has resulted in an awareness to reduce our waste. When we noticed how much waste we were creating from mindless shopping we soon began looking for ways to prevent waste. Reading blogs, watching documentaries & following zero waste folks on Instagram really inspired us. We have made some awesome changes in our lifestyle which has reduced our waste dramatically. Check out a previous blog we wrote about this here.

 

With a new baby on the horizon we really wanted to keep our waste low and make environmentally sound decisions around all purchases for our baby. In an earlier blog we spoke about what we bought for our baby & why (see blog here). We wanted to source as much pre-used items as possible that had great design & function for our small space. With a little research and planning we got everything we needed pre-used. We avoided all the packaging that usually comes with new items and we are reusing products that are still in perfect working condition.

 

We are super happy with the above and really surprised how easy it was to source all the items we wanted (Facebook market place) and what amazing value we got on each item. Now that all the major items are bought it’s the day to day purchases for the baby that we wanted to focus on.

 

Since we have no mini-human yet this Teddy Bear kindly volunteered to model the diapers & cloth wipes. Please note we bought 4 waterproof covers to cover the outside of the diapers to prevent leaks.

 

Diapers are a major source of garbage that ends up in landfills. Babies pop & pee a lot! None of these diapers can be recycled or used for any other source of energy. They take forever to decompose and often end up in places where they don’t belong like our oceans.

 

We made the decision to use reusable cloth diapers for our baby. We are lucky as we have a cool service in our city which drops off clean cloth diapers to your home on a weekly basis & collects all dirty diapers. They will bring the diapers away and wash them for you. All dirty diapers are placed in a bin which is lined with a bag supplied by Baby Cheeks, this is what they will pick up each week.

 

We do not have in-house laundry so washing our babies’ diapers in a washing machine other people have to use doesn’t seem very neighbourly to us! We would rather spend the money on the diaper service and keep everyone happy, and we avoid having to do all that extra laundry.

 

Living more simply has allowed us the privilege to afford a service like the above. We saved so much money on baby products that we wanted to put our money to a service like this which truly makes a huge change.

 

In addition to re-usable diapers we are also using reusable wipes. Again, we are using the above service to supply and clean the wipes. We will create a cleaning solution for the wipes to soak in (baby castile soap & water) and use these at home & on the go.

 

Another great way we plan on reducing our waste is by using baby castile soap which we bought in The Soap Dispensary on Main Street, Vancouver. We used a previous bought castile soap bottle and refiled with baby soap. Castille soap will have many functions for our baby; bath time, baby wipe solution & toy cleaner. It’s such a multipurpose soap & we have been using a scented one for the last year and love it. We use it in our baths, cleaning sprays & laundry detergent.

 

As much as we try to reduce our waste there are times, we don’t have control over what comes into our space, this is especially true with a new baby. People are so kind & generous with gifts of diapers, wipes, detergent, clothes, baby equipment etc. Even though we say we don’t need anything our neighbours & friends still want to contribute. I understand it but it just means we end up with all the above even though we tried to avoid it! Lol! In fairness most of friends listened to us when we said please do not buy anything for baby, we actually suggested to get us gift cards to our favourite reflexology place, Footwork’s or for the diaper service we wanted to use. It worked out really well;-)

 

Currently we do have a supply of non-reusable baby wipes & diapers. I’m sure these items will come in handy when we travel and are out & about. I’m so grateful for people’s generosity & will use these products when needed. We just have to accept that we cannot always control everything & to keep on doing what we are doing to reduce our waste.

 

Making the commitment to living simply has so many benefits like having more space, more time, more money, more freedom, less stress, less anxiety, less stuff…………. however, it isn’t always easy. What we have to remember how far we have come and look forward to all the other possible areas we can improve…. that’s what makes this journey fun. If it was not enjoyable, we would not care about it as much. It really is small changes every day & an awareness of our habits that make the process of reducing our waste easier than you may think.

 

If you have any suggestions on how we can avoid waste with our new baby please let us know. Please let us know things that have worked or have not worked for you and your sweetie.

 

Thanks so much for reading,

 

Chat soon,

 

Theresa Burns xxx

What We Packed in The Hospital Bag for Birth & Why

We attended a prenatal 1-day workshop at Pacific Midwifery Practice, April of this year, 2019. At that time, I was about 30 weeks pregnant. It was such a beneficial workshop and provided lots of information around birth & after care.

One of the topics covered in the workshop was what to pack in your hospital bag. We were recommended to have the bag packed and stored in a handy place by week 37 as many folks can have baby early.

The recommendation was to pack your bag for 2 days stay at the hospital. Usually in Vancouver the birther stays one night in the hospital. However, if there are complications that would be extended, in this case if your stay was extended make sure you have someone who has access to your home to pack extra things if you need.

This blog will cover what we packed in our bag, assuming we will be in the hospital for the 2 days. We have a small cloth weekend bag which we filled with Parents clothing, baby clothing, toiletries & snacks. We were recommended to only bring essentials and not come to the hospital with a huge suitcase of things. (Apparently this happens! Lol!!)

The above is the small bag we packed which has everything we need for the hospital in it. Its light, easy to carry & eye catching so hoping we wont forget it!! We have it stored in the closet by our jackets.

What We Packed: Why?
Birther:
Large T-shirt that I wear as a night dress During late labour the birther will be really hot and will need something easy to take on and off. Many birthers are naked but it’s good to have the option;-)
Comfy change of clothes for going home (Lululemon loose bottoms, soft loose cotton t-shirt & soft loose light sweater) This is where comfort over fashion comes in. We don’t know how our birth is going to go natural or c-section so packing loose fitting comfy clothing for going home ensures you won’t be uncomfortable for the car ride home. Tight tops & pants could aggravate stitches from surgery or apply too much pressure to a sensitive area after birth
2 large knickers & breastfeeding bras Since the birther will be bleeding after birth large knickers for sanitary towels are recommended. Also, if you are planning on breastfeeding bring a breast-feeding bra
Loose socks My feet get cold so this is a comfort thing
Flip flops The instructor at the workshop advised against bringing your home slippers as the hospital floor can contain a lot of germs & you don’t want to bring that into your home. Bring flip flops you can wash after
Eye mask Great for blocking out extra light & ensuring you are catching as much zzzzz as possible
Partner
2 t-shirts The partner can sweat a lot too during birth, nerves, stress and the rush of it all can really create some heat. Bringing a clean shirt will keep the partner fresh. The birther is also more sensitive to smells so avoiding the issue of BO is recommended
2 pairs of underwear Again, the partner should be as comfortable as possible, having nice fresh clothes to change into after a long labour is essential
2 pairs of Socks The partners feet can get cold or sweaty so pack extra fresh socks
Eye mask Great for blocking out extra light & ensuring partner is catching as much zzzzz as possible
Baby
2 onesies The option of 2 onesies is for photos & if we get any stains on one, we can use the other
2 hats We couldn’t decide between hats as both were so cute…. nice for photos too
1 pair of socks Just in case the baby’s feet are chilly, for car ride home too
1 cardigan To ensure the baby is warm enough when she is transferred from hospital to car & for car journey home
2 headbands For photos only
Muslin blanket To keep baby cozy and snuggled in her own blanket
1 small stuffy For photos and a cute little gift
Toiletries
Travel tooth brush, floss, Travel size Cleanser, moisture, shampoo, conditioner, body moisturizer, Deodorant, Facecloth, Comb We packed all travel sized toiletries so we could save space in our bag. We brought a little bit of everything so we can feel as fresh as possible after our first shower after birth
Snacks
4 fig bars, Cheese & crackers, Pecan nuts, Dates, Chocolate, tea We packed some of our favourite snacks so we can both keep our energy up during & after the labour. I imagine I will crave my favourite Tea after labour so I have it packed.
Other
Travel pillow for George (inflatable one from MEC) Our friend recommended to bring a pillow for George as the partner may not get a pillow…. we want both of us to sleep as best as we can after
iPhone For taking pictures of baby, sending messages to family, playlist for birthing
Paperwork for midwives & hospital check in We have to hand in paperwork to the hospital when we arrive, it’s at the top of the bag, all filled out & signed

These snacks are easy to eat, no cutlery needed, full of energy & ones we love to eat on a normal day.

The above table highlights everything we packed. Hopefully we have everything we will need & if not we will figure it out. Still debating if I should pack a soother for baby…. might pick one up just in case. Apart from that we are ready to go, we just have to remember to take the cheese & chocolate from the fridge before leaving. I’ll let you know if that happens. I plan on writing a follow-up blog about what we packed, this will cover the items which were essential & if we missed anything that we really should have brought with us.

 

We hope this was helpful.

 

If you have any questions please let me know.

 

Thanks so much for reading and feel free to leave comments.

 

Have a great week,

 

Theresa Burns xx