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Preparing your home for motherhood

When I was about 7 months pregnant, it really hit home that we were about to have a baby and it also really hit home that the only things we had for her were adorable outfits.  Gorgeous, but clothes wouldn’t be enough!

In an attempt to get organised, Ian and I went to the mall to buy some essentials for our bump.  I naively thought that it would be easy; that we would just wander into the baby stores and step out a few hours later with everything we could possibly need to get us started on our journey into parenthood.  Oh how wrong I was! I couldn’t believe how much choice there was and how many different brands there were (all claiming that they are the best of course).  I remember standing in the middle of Babyshop in the Mall of Emirates and feeling really lost.  Should we get a microwave steriliser or a steam steriliser?  Should we get Dr Brown bottles or Tommee Tippee bottles? Do we want a baby monitor that connects to our phones or do we think that its more important that we monitor her breathing? NOT.A.CLUE! We definitely needed to go back home and do a bit of research.

Now, anyone that knows me will tell you that if someone recommends something to me, it’s as good as bought so I relied heavily on my mummy friends for their advice on what to buy.  I bombarded them with messages about their favourite products and I also spent hours online trawling through recommended lists, award lists and reviews. There are so many amazing products out there and some that really are just a complete waste of money. My insecurities meant that I wanted to buy my unborn child every single product that they might possibly ever need.  Stupid I know, but I was a first time mum and I really wanted to do my best.

I’ve decided to tell you about some of my favourite purchases in the hope that it might just help you on your journey into motherhood. These products are not necessarily award winners or the best rated in reviews but these are the products that worked for me and in turn might just work for you!




The Sleepyhead Deluxe is definitely one of my firm favourites.  It is a portable baby bed that ticks all the right boxes.  It is 100% breathable, hypoallergenic, non-heat harbouring and has a firm mattress which reduces the risk of SIDS.  When your baby outgrows the Sleepyhead Deluxe, there is a Sleepyhead Grand, recommended for 9-36month olds.  (I bought this one too!)


When P was a newborn, she wanted to be held the whole time and the Sleepyhead replicated this feeling for her; the sides ‘hugged’ her and this really helped to soothe her.  Cot bumpers are controversial so it was great to know that the bed I was putting P to sleep in was completely breathable.  I particularly loved the fact that it was so easy to transport.  When Poppy was a newborn, we put the Sleepyhead on the sofa next to us so that she could always be right beside us.  I loved it so much that I even took it back to the UK and it meant that she could co-sleep with us – no need for a travel cot!


It is an absolute mission to put the cover back on after you have washed it.  I remember the frustration of trying to squeeze the stuffing back inside the cover and zipping it up!  Additional covers are quite costly too (£50/350dhs +).  Another downside it that Poppy outgrew the Sleepyhead when she was around 5 months old, even though it is recommended for babies until they are 8 months old.

I loved it so much that I even took it back to the UK and it meant that she could co-sleep with us – no need for a travel cot!


The Cocoonababy is a baby bed that should be placed inside a cot.  It allows newborn babies to be cradled in a semi-foetal ‘womb-like’ position. It aims to make the transition from the womb to the outside world as smooth as possible. It also claims to reduce plagiocephaly (flat head), reflux and colic.


P went through a stage of having TERRIBLE wind in the middle of the night.  She would moan and groan and nothing we did could soothe her.  The Cocoonababy really gave her relief as the ergonomic design raised her legs towards her stomach.  Poppy looked unbelievably comfortable in it and she slept so soundly.  There is also less pressure on the back of the head than there is from using a flat mattress so I was annoyed I didn’t buy this product sooner.


The Cocoonababy is expensive (£130/849dhs) and unfortunately can only be used for a limited period of time.  As soon as your baby starts to roll over or change position it is dangerous for them to use it so I only used it with P until she was around 4 months old.  Due to the design of the Cocoonababy, you can’t swaddle your little one so you might end up purchasing a ‘cocobag’ for them to sleep in…more money! 


LOVE LOVE LOVE the SnüzPod! It is a 3 in 1 bedside crib designed for babies aged 0-6months old.  It can be used as a bedside crib, a bassinet or as a stand alone crib.


I loved the idea of co-sleeping but was far too frightened to have Poppy in the same bed as me; the SnüzPod offered the perfect compromise.  It attached to the side of our bed with adjustable straps and the mesh side of the pod easily zipped down so that I could be face to face with Poppy as she slept.  Co-sleeping also meant that I didn’t have to get out of bed to breastfeed her.  The crib also rocked; I remember many a tired night rocking the crib back and forth using my foot as my eyes stayed firmly shut.  Another bonus is that the SnüzPod is the perfect host for the Sleepyhead Deluxe or Cocoonababy.


I can’t fault the product, I really loved it! I just wish that P was able to sleep beside me a little longer instead of moving into her big bed.


The clue is in the title with this one… this breast pump is used for expressing and collecting milk one boob at a time.


I think ‘love’ is a strong word for this product… I mean, can you really ever love a product that makes you feel like a human cow?!  What I liked about this product is that you have the choice of plugging it straight into the mains or using batteries when you are out and about.  For me it was really efficient at pumping my milk; there is a massage phase for stimulation which is followed by an expression (suction) phase which you can manually alter to suit your needs.


Sitting pumping milk is reeeeeally boring and you can’t really do anything while it is happening; you just have to sit and hold the breast shield in place until you have finished. Another downside is that this pump is pretty noisy so whenever I pumped I had to do it away from Poppy, not always ideal when co-sleeping and you have to pump in the middle of the night.  I think if I was to breastfeed again, I would opt for the dual electric breast pump as you could pump from both breasts at the same time and the whole process would be over and done with a lot quicker!


The Motorola Video Monitor comes with a handheld parent unit which features an LCD display.  It allows you to watch your baby in real-time video and sound through WIFI connection.  It also displays your baby’s room temperature.


One of the main reasons that we purchased this monitor was because of the Hubble App associated with it.  You can download the App on your phone, sign in and stay connected to your baby wherever you are.  On my first day back at work, I was extremely emotional about leaving P behind but it really comforted me to sit at my desk in work, login to the app and watch her wake up in her room.  I still enjoy watching her nap while I am at work, definitely a huge plus to this monitor! It also has infrared night vision which means that I don’t have to keep a night light on.  There are many other features which I haven’t taken advantage of yet e.g. there are 5 soothing lullabies and a two-way communication function.


Quite frequently, the App loses connection and this can become quite frustrating.  Likewise, when I’m downstairs in the kitchen, the ‘parent unit’ also loses connection.  Being a paranoid mum, I also wish I had something else to monitor her breathing as I often go upstairs just to check that everything is ok.  I have a few friends that use the Angelcare mat to monitor breathing so that might be an option to consider for some of you.


The Tommee Tippee Steam Steriliser is a light weight chemical free sterilising unit that you can place inside your microwave.  It kills 99.9% of germs in 4-8 minutes.


When I decided to buy my Dr Brown bottles, I also purchased (on impulse) the Dr Brown electric steriliser.  I was more than happy to use it at first but then I noticed that there was quite a big build up of limescale.  Then the ‘mummy paranoia’ kicked in and I just wasn’t happy to use a product where this could happen so easily.  I got chatting to my other mummy friends and they all recommended a microwave steriliser to me.  You can easily wipe it clean after every cycle and it’s so handy for travelling.  Another advantage is that the contents stay sterile for 24 hours (if the lid remains on) so you can pop a bottle in the microwave before you go to bed and it’s ready for your night feed.


The capacity of the steriliser is a lot smaller than that of an electric steriliser, so in the early days you feel like you are constantly sterilising rounds and rounds of bottles. It doesn’t help matters when you choose Dr Brown bottles to fill it with!  Each Dr Brown bottle has 6 parts so it only holds 2 bottles comfortably. Something else to consider is the size of your microwave…some are not large enough to fit the steriliser.


The Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus is a rear facing car seat which can be used until your child reaches the age of 1.  The seat includes a ‘baby-hugg inlay’ for newborns and a sun canopy (very handy!)


When it came to choosing a car seat for P, I really did my research! I choose the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus because of its excellent safety results; it has been awarded with a 5-star “very good” by independent testers and appeared in every online search I did.  I remember taking Poppy home from the hospital in it and she looked so snug and cosy, as well as being supported and safe.  The seat is very easy to slot into the ‘click and go’ ISOFIX and it is also easy to strap a seatbelt around if travelling in a taxi.  Another plus for us is that it’s compatible with our Bugaboo Stroller.

I choose the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus because of its excellent safety results; it has been awarded with a 5-star “very good” by independent testers.


Personally, I find the grey release buttons on the side of it quite awkward; it’s hard to press them both and then grab the handle and remove the seat.  I also find the seat really heavy but then I have nothing to compare it to!  Maybe all car seats are heavy? At the end of the day safety comes first with a baby car seat so I got over these ‘cons’ pretty quickly.


The Storksak Noa Changing Bag is a coated canvas bag.  Inside the large zipped compartment is a mini organiser caddy with 5 outer pockets.


When I found out we were having a bay girl, I was ALL about the colour pink.  However, Ian put his foot down and suggested we get a ‘male friendly’ changing bag.  If this meant that I would change less dirty nappies, then this was a price I was more than willing to pay.  We chose this bag as it really is inoffensive, especially in grey.  I love the removable caddy inside it, it’s perfect for storing wipes, nappies, creams, bottles etc and you can still squeeze in spare clothes.  My favourite feature has to be the shoulder strap with patented integrated stroller straps.  This allows you to easily attach the bag to the handles of the pram and have your hands free, really brilliant!


Now that Poppy is starting to eat food, we need even more space and the bag just doesn’t seem to have any room left.  We now have to carry a small cool bag as well as a nappy bag in order to have everything we need on our trips out and about. I’m finding that the bag is so jam-packed that I leave the main zip undone, much to my husband’s annoyance.  Another minor thing is that the changing mat is really basic so I would recommend buying another one.


The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine makes a fresh bottle of milk at just the right temperature in less than 2 minutes. There is an initial ‘hot shot’ of water which kills any bacteria that may be present in the formula. It also has a filter which purifies the water.


What is not to love about this machine? I honestly can’t believe a machine like this wasn’t invented decades ago! You simply place your bottle on the ledge of the machine, select how many ounces of milk you would like, press the button and watch the magic happen! No more waiting around for boiling water to cool down or placing your milk bottles in bowls of icy water.  This machine is great during the day but it really comes into its own in the middle of the night. Within 2 minutes you have a ready made bottle which you can insert into the mouth of your crying little babe! Perfect for when you want to get back to sleep as quickly as you can.


This really is a tiny flaw and I am being really picky but the beeping sounds that come from the machine are incredibly loud, especially when you are trying to keep quiet in the middle of the night. It would be great it there was a volume control dial!  Another thing to consider is that in order for the machine to remain safe and hygienic, you must clean it thoroughly and regularly.  Luckily there are step by step video tutorials on the Tommee Tippee website. It is also important to replace the filter regularly so it’s always good to keep a back up in the kitchen cupboard. The thought of going back to an old fashioned kettle can be quite traumatic after you get used to using this!


The bugaboo cameleon³ blend is a limited edition polyester tweed pushchair. It can be used from when your baby is a newborn right through until they are 36 months old or 17kg.


I really do think buying a pram is down to personal taste.  Let’s be honest, they all pretty much do the exact same thing as each other but I’ll tell you why this one was for me. When I saw the Bugaboo, I loved it straight away; the tweed was an absolute winner and the fact that I got a ‘free’ chunky knit blush coloured blanket made it even more irresistible! The newborn bassinet was brilliant when Poppy was a newborn,  she could sleep very soundly in it and she had lots of room to manoeuvre.  The bassinet is unusually large and comfortably fitted P until she was 6 months old. When she outgrew it, we converted it into a reclinable seat. It also has a 2 wheel function which means that you can push the pram through difficult terrain such as sand or snow. I could go on…I seriously love it!

I really do think buying a pram is down to personal taste.  Let’s be honest, they all pretty much do the exact same thing as each other.


The bassinet seems to sit very low down (or maybe I’m just tall!). I used to get very jealous of people pushing around the Stokke as the could see their baby clearly at all times whereas I had to constantly bend down and peer inside to check P was ok. The handbrake is not the easiest to use, it requires 2 hands to lock and unlock unless you want a nasty whack as it fires at you. It’s also a pretty pricey piece of equipment, coming in at around £1000 but you do get a lot of bang for your buck as the saying goes! This pushchair will see you right through.

Hope you found my recommendations useful. Let me know your thoughts on my reviews or tell me all about your indispensable baby purchases.

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