Peggy is now 7 months old, and I must admit – this is probably the most exciting stage for us. Laughing, smiling with recognition and generally being more curious, it has been so lovely getting to know her and see her personality come out. That said, it hasn’t been without a little help from a few things/toys/gadgets. Here is what we found useful between 3-6 months:
Shop around for this, as they’re expensive – ours wasn’t brand new (loaned by my brother in law) and my sister found a secondhand one via a Facebook group – but they really are the best ones. A super simple design – they just work. And so useful when you want to get a few jobs done – especially ones where she can watch!
This is obviously a more specific item, if you’re exclusively breastfeeding this won’t be needed. We started using a bottle within 4 weeks, still for expressed milk, but so Chris could help with feeding as we were doing co-parental leave. A few people said we didn’t need a steriliser as warm soapy water was fine for breastmilk but we knew we’d switch to combi feeding with a few formula bottles at some point, so this was for peace and mind. We used this one from Nuby and loved it as it would sterilise but also dry in the machine in 30 mins so the bottles were ready to use. For on the go, we loved Milton steriliser tablets which we could put in a large bowl of water and leave for 15 minutes (we found these easier than the microwave bags, which could only hold one set of bottles at a time, and if staying in a hotel etc, it’s generally easier to find a bowl of water than a microwave).
Again, this is formula specific. We switched to combi feeding at around 4 months, I’d still do the night feeds and morning and maybe one in the day but slowly as I went back to work, we used formula for the inbetween feeds. Very kindly, we were sent this from Tommee Tippee when Peggy was born – I’m going to be honest, I had no idea what it was and even with the instructions I was unsure (I was breastfeeding at the time and didn’t really know much about heating milk and sterilising formula itself, I only thought you had to sterilise bottles – even my friend was round trying to figure it out!). But, come 4 months, this is AMAZING. Not essential, I might add, but when your baby is crying for milk and needs a bottle immediately, it sterilises the formula and adds the perfect temperature water according to the amount of feed. No boiling a kettle then waiting for it to cool down for half an hour. It really took so much stress out of those early months. When we travelled we’d buy ready made bottles and they were fine, but we’d always notice she drank more when we used this. We used the Perfect Prep Day and Night machine, but they do a cheaper (original) version here.
We really didn’t understand what was necessary until we actually got to this stage. The amount of dribble is just insane and unless you want to change outfits 4 times a day, dribble bibs will save your sanity – we loved the Nuby flamingo print ones and Matalan do good versions, too. Teething-wise, a few items I found through Instagram have been amazing – Uki.Be (we LOVE the toothbrush spoon for weaning), Matchstick Money and West Stanton for the hilarious vegetable toys.
PORTABLE BLACK-OUT BLINDS
I remember Clemmie from Mother of Daughters mentioning these and I honestly thought, ‘how ridiculous’ but here I am, a few months on, swearing by them. We have dark curtains but a glimpse of sun comes through the sides and when we travel, these Gro-Blinds have been great – I even take to my parents house! If, like us, youre baby doesn’t go to sleep easily in a pram, we bought the Snoozeshade which is also worth the money.
Not everyone pumps, and I must admit now I have stopped I really don’t miss it at all but pumping was invaluable to us up until 6 months – it gave us the freedom to leave Peggy with others (admittedly, we did this once), or just pass to someone else to feed on holiday. And just the freedom in knowing we had a backup if I was tired or had an important deadline. We bought a Phillips electric one which was good but often, I preferred to use the Hakaa manual breast pump – I was recommended by an reader and it’s a bit mad, you just suck it to your boob and then leave it but I loved it after the first feed to catch anything left, and once it’s suctioned, you can do a few things like check your phone, brush your teeth etc – which is what I hated about the electric pump – you’re stuck near a plug socket with no hands-free. I never quite got the hang of attaching it to my other breast whilst feeding and granted, I never got as much milk as the electric pump but I did usually find myself reaching for it more willingly!
I’m also really interested to hear about the Elvie breast pump – you wear it in your bra and it’s silent! Has anyone tried? I think I’d perhaps like to try that if I ever did this again.
Yes, we have a plastic-y Fisher Price Jungle Gym but it was this play mat which I don’t think we could live without. Our house doesn’t have carpets and in her room we were contemplating a big rug but these playmats from Totter & Tumble have been a real gamechanger. We were given one to try and honestly, it has made life so much easier – we all lay on the floor in her room together, she can learnt to roll and sit up safely AND it looks chic! It’s made from memory foam and is reversible so you can switch up the pattern and it’s easy to wipe down. I was not asked to post anything in exchange for the mat, but it is honestly so great, and we will definitely buy one for our kitchen (if it ever gets done!).
I have to say that gadget-wise, this was probably the most expensive time for us. Luckily, we didn’t buy much in the beginning so we could afford to stretch to a few of these, and then a few gifted and borrowed items from family helped. This is by no means a ‘must-have’ list, they’re simply items I found helped when we were trying to work and parent at the same time, and hope you find it useful and are able to pick and choose the bits you would find the most useful for you.