Three become four

The latest baby must-haves on the market

Article by Lara Protheroe

We’ve welcomed a new addition to our family this year and this second bundle of joy (and he really is!) has completed our little unit. I’m relishing being a mummy to boys and so proud of how three-year-old Luther’s loving welcome of his little brother and how he has adapted so well to the shake-up of his world.

When Luther was born I had all sorts of gadgets, devices and comforts to ease the first months for him and for me, but this time round I really wanted it all: the white noise toys, a baby pod, a breast pump –anything and everything to aid me in the great juggling act.

We revived a few favourites, such as the Shnuggle bath, and decided to try out a fair few things we had shunned first time around to see if we’d missed a trick or two along the way… and we certainly had!

When it comes to having a new baby, sleep is the buzz(zzz) word and getting as much as possible is the goal for everyone. The new Eve mattress for mummy and daddy arrived conveniently in a surprisingly compact box; but unwrapped and unrolled it puffed up as if by magic to become a cosy but supportive new mattress which promotes much-needed kip or simply provides a comfy place to lie whilst bouncing a tired baby! The Papa Gorilla is the veteran of two doses of spinal surgery so mattress comfort is one of his highest priorities, and Eve Sleep got a big hairy thumbs up!

MyHummy has brought out a mini version of their white noise bear. Its compact size means it can be strapped to the pram or buggy with the Velcro loop or even worn on your wrist whilst you carry the baby. It’s been on almost 24/7 (literally non-stop 24/7) since we got it. It’s that good. It appears to block out surrounding noises that might otherwise disturbing your sleeping angel. I really wish I’d tried one first time around but am thrilled to have it as part of our family now. As I’m co-sleeping with baby I’m completely hooked on it myself; and The Papa Gorilla seems to drift into a trance whenever he’s near it – peace for everyone!

I used to dread taking our first baby in the car: he hated his car seat and would scream and be copiously sick on almost any journey, even short ones. I also felt nervous with him scrunched up in the car seat in a position that just seemed quite unnatural. All hail the new Maxi Cosi Jade car cot and travel frame system Lila. It has transformed my car journeys with a newborn!

The car cot is a unique, lie-flat bed with a harness that fixes into the car. It attaches to an isofix base that beeps and lights up green when you’ve attached it correctly. Which is all very reassuring. It’sextremely easy to use and slides in and out of the car effortlessly. On our first (admittedly ambitious) journey, baby slept for four hours and was blissfully unaware we’d made a cross-country trip. It has been absolutely invaluable and made all travel infinitely easier. The Jade car cot can be taken out of the car and attached to the Lila stroller meaning you don’t have to wake baby when you’re running errands or after short journeys. You just slide the cot from the car and clip it straight into wheels and go… On the few occasions that I’ve needed to take baby out in the evening I wouldn’t have even considered making the trips without the Jade carcot and Lila travel system.

The Lila stroller comes with its own buggy top which is similarly ingenious. It has a memory foam insert that’s both comfortable and cushioning for baby: it sort of hugs them and our newborn was supported and blissful when snuggled into it. Baby has a wonderful high vantage point from the Lila stroller: the buggy top can be tilted from its lie flat position (ideal for sleep) to a more upright angle which is fantastic for babies with reflux – or simply a nosier nature.

I confess I was excited to test out the Elvie wearable breast pump. I’d heard such great things about it and the idea that I could express milk whilst driving or walking to the park was quite wonderful, having previously experienced the tedious and often uncomfortable requirements to be tethered to the sofa and/or a source of mains electricity in order to successfully express. The set-up is easy to master; a snug-fitting bra keeps the pump in place and I was able to go about regular tasks with ease. The pump can be controlled from an app so you don’thave to fiddle around down your top if you’re out in public. It really is quite revolutionary and an incredible piece of kit.

We recently re-designed our sitting room on a fully monochrome basis, so I was thrilled to find that Koo-di have brought out a charcoal black highchair. It’s a seriously slick high chair and any self-respecting infant would be proud to throw food from its stylish heights. Our toddler helped me build it (a feat accomplished with considerable ease) and he delights in occupying it ‘until the baby is big enough’. It has black straps, meaning no bleaching of stained white straps after a few meals (if you know, you know) – yippee! It has a nicely cushioned seat and brilliantly transforms into a toddler chair for when baby has grown up. The removable tray is smooth to operate and I’m excited to move into the weaning phase with the Koo-di.

Ezy sloth from Whisbear is a clever white noise machine. He mainly resides in the Moses basket and offers a noise blocker for baby. That said, the toddler has also taken a decided shine to Mr Sloth and he is consequently frequently to be found snuggled up in said toddler’sbed. The sloth connects to an app where you can set up several profiles for multiple children. The app allows you to track the use of the sloth and the children’s sleep patterns by telling you the number of times the CRYsensor has been activated along with a host of other handy stats. There is a calendar built into the app, telling you various milestones to expect with baby and explaining the developmental leaps. There is also a tips section with articles on how to care for teeth, wear a sling, and a whole heap more.

The Baby Bjorn Mini carrier is a tiny sling made of super soft jersey material, designed for a newborn and baby up until they’re about one. It’s so cosy and holds even a tiny baby in a comfortable position. It’s super-light and is like wearing a favourite t-shirt for softness and comfort.

With boy number one I had invested in a luxury blanket that seemed an extravagance at the time but turned out to be wonderful and he still uses it. So, I wanted to make sure that boy number two has his own ‘special’ blanket and I’m thrilled to have a beautiful rainbow, organic cotton, muslin blanket from Pattie & Co. They also make delightful muslin swaddles and donate from each purchase to Tommy’s – the baby charity. Their blankets are large and soft and a lovely gift or treat for your own little darling.

I love baby-wearing and my ring sling from Girasol has meant I can wear and breastfeed at the same time! It takes a bit of practice, but has meant that I can remain fully present for my toddler even when baby is hungry. The sling itself is a gorgeous fabric and you can customise your own by choosing from a variety of metal ring colours. Girasol also does a soft MySol Tulum sling that I use with a buckle belt and to my toddlers delight they even do a child’s version, so I can carry the baby and he can carry his toy chameleon!

Talking of chameleons and keeping toddlers happy, I was thrilled to discover and try out the new Chameleon Reader. I can’t claim to understand (or even imagine) how it works, but it’s a small, rechargeable pen that you can use to record your own audio books. By sticking a chameleon sticker on each page of a book your child can then ‘read’ to themselves simply by running the pen over the sticker. We’ve recorded books in my voice in English, the husband’s in Italian and Luther’s even recorded a few himself. It’s been a huge success. I said to Luther the other day “I’m just going to go and feed the baby, is that ok love?” “Yes mummy” he replied and ran to his room and got some books and the chameleon reader. “I’ll read to myself”. I don’t think there could be a better endorsement than that.

I felt fairly sure after the first couple of years with Luther that I knew pretty much all there was to know about handy gadgets and helpful aids to ease the journey of early parenthood. How wrong I turned out to be! Being a mummy can be thrilling, delightful, exhausting, taxing, terrifying and profoundly gratifying; but whatever it is, equip yourself with some quality paraphernalia to make your everyday as straightforward and stress-free as possible.

For individual reviews on products do pop over to my blog (www.frankieandthelamb.com)

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For individual reviews on products do pop over to my blog (www.frankieandthelamb.com

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