WITH LUCY FELTON
Thrilled to say hi, let me introduce myself… I’m Lucy Felton, Alex and Alexa’s Life + Style Contributor, a fashion journalist turned lifestyle blogger at The Lucy Edit, wife, mum of two (one on the way) and lover of chocolate, décor and buying hordes of magazines I inevitably never get to read! Three years ago I switched life on the publishing floor editing the pages of a weekly fashion magazine for motherhood – and it’s been one heck of a life overhaul. As a freelance journalist who’s never really taken any maternity leave, life can be hectic and running my business from my home in Surrey means the work/life balance often goes out of the window.
Just like you guys, I’m a mother trying to juggle it all, stay sane and pretend I’ve got all bases covered when I’m generally having a meltdown on the inside and dropping plates left, right and centre. I never get to go to the bathroom alone anymore and can’t remember the last cup of tea I drank hot but would I change it? Of course not! Hopefully, you’ll get to know me a bit over the coming months as I share my motherhood journey with you all. Expect plenty of baby hacks, parenting tips and pregnancy advice.
I made it to the third-trimester guys, high fives to that! Hello again, hope the summer holidays have served you well and you’ve not totally lost your marbles? Not long now until the first day of term mamas. Deep breaths! If you’ve been knee-deep in homespun activities and have managed to navigate a timetable of days out, then I can safely say you’re not alone. Ditto giving up tidying the house for the entire summer and well and truly slackening off the security of the snack cupboard. For those of you reading this from your sun lounger in Italy, sipping a frozen margarita a few meters from the surf, I salute you.
It’s not the first time I’ve been pregnant during the summer months, so you’d think I’d be prepared for the sun and sweltering temps. Hector was born in February and my daughter is due this November and the second time around I’m way more irritable and clammy. Plus, I seemed to develop a full-on waddle at five months! Wriggly bump and I are very much looking forward to a cooler third trimester.
So if you’re newly pregnant, trying, about to pop or hibernating at home with a teeny tiny (probably very loud) mini human, then listen up because this is for you.
Last time we chatted all things newborn and what life is like when a shiny new bundle of joy comes crash-landing into your every day. The highs, lows and everything in between. Now I’m back to throw at you an essential shopping list for under ones. So if you’re newly pregnant, trying, about to pop or hibernating at home with a teeny tiny (probably very loud) mini human, then listen up because this is for you. There might just be a few things here you can take away, add to your hit list and indulge in because that first year, well what can I say, it’s the best! Here at Alex and Alexa, we’re all about helping you to ease the transition from child-free to mum-warrior. But before we get into the practical stuff, I thought I’d share some of the nearing-six-months-pregnant landmarks (and giggles) that might have you screaming “Me too!” at your laptop/tablet/phone! I’m all for swapping notes and I know there’s quite a few pregnant ladies reading my new column over here on the Alex and Alexa Life + Style Blog because you’ve all been so fabulous at sending me lots of lovely messages over on Instagram. So mums and bumps – get ready for a chuckle.
- The bit when bump goes from swollen, bloated and jelly to a full-blown alien pod. Or as my husband so kindly pointed out to me recently – ‘You’re really starting to round out like an egg now.” Cheers, hubs.
2. Realising your wardrobe really doesn’t fit anymore no matter how much squeezing into and jumping around the bedroom you try. Yup, afraid you do need to splash some cash on a capsule maternity wardrobe ladies. Failing that, prepare to live in the same pair of over-the-bump maternity leggings for the next few months. Snooze.
3. You reach that point in pregnancy when the kicks become completely normal after spending weeks and weeks waiting, hoping, wishfully willing on some (any!) movement in there. Then the flutters start and each day it builds up until you’re calming and soothing bump with each and every karate kick, elbow, chop, somersault and turn. All that suspense waiting for the first vibrations, to all that anxiety when you haven’t felt baby move for more than a couple of hours. Talk about emotional whiplash!
4. The Heatwave. I’ll just leave that one right there. (Goes and hangs out by the fridge to cool down.)
5. Tiredness. You’ve never felt so tired. It’s extreme. No one understands quite how tired you are. Surely you can’t get any more tired, right? Wrong. Get ready to be constantly tired for the next five years. Sorry to break it to you, gang.
Anyone, ANYONE? You hear me, right? Please say I’m not alone! I’d love to hear from you if you’re feeling any of the above too. Go on, hit me with your funniest pregnancy moments and anecdotes below in the comments.
Now, let’s get to it, shall we? Under One Essentials. Bring. It. On. Presenting my absolute musts for getting through the first year. You’ll be able to take on any night shift, poop explosion and feeding stint with this lot by your side. Promise.
THE ESSENTIAL LIST
Ace Your Hospital Stay
Whether it’s the midwife-led unit or delivery suite, a few cute and luxe items can really help take the clinical out and put the homey into any hospital stretch. While skin-to-skin in the first hours is the best way to encourage that magical mum and baby bond, a newborn hat and swaddle will make the womb to world journey super snuggly once you’re transferred to the ward.
Keep them cosy from the get-go with Molo’s matching hat and body. These wondrous rainbow blooms decorate a coordinating blanket, bib and more. The happiest print around. Talking of blankets, pack something super soft for their hospital cot and car seat and have you seen Ferm Living’s changing blankets? The perfect transportable roll-up mat for those very first nappy changes. It hooks nicely onto a pram handle for days out later on. The mint dot finish gets my vote but you’ll want to check out the grey and yellow too. Stunning! Top tip: don’t forget that large muslin cloths can double up as swaddles to save space in your hospital bag.
PRINTED CHANGING BLANKET
Set Up A Feeding Station
Take charge of the early days and ensure post-birth bliss by setting up a dedicated feeding station. I tucked up on our corner sofa when I had Hector and plan to do the same again this time. Keep a well-supplied mama-stash on a shelf or in a basket nearby. Make sure you’ve got a water bottle, snacks, a good book, pile of magazines, tablet and the TV controllers. For bubba add in muslins, wipes, bibs and comforters, then hunker down and burp, feed, mop up mess and cuddle to your hearts content. Not forgetting the item that holds the whole feeding station together – your nursing pillow. I can personally recommend bbhugme – oh so comfy. For bottle feeding cut the fuss and invest in an instant prep machine. I got mine when Hector turned six months and my breastfeeding journey came to an end and I’ve got to say, it’s the best invention for any new mum! Keep a bottle warmer to hand for those moments bubs is being fussy – it’ll keep their formula nice and warm while you both take a break before having another go. For sterilising I found cold water tablets in a bucket the easiest option. Head over to the Feeding section on site for a selection of the best feeding-friendly products around.
Breezy Bath Time
Bath time soon becomes such an important daily ritual and it’s so nice when dad gets involved too. Make the end-of-day wind down a breeze with a handful of bathroom staples that cut the time and promote calm. A bath support will help free up your hands and keep bubs safe and secure, while mini bathtubs open up the option to bathe baby in the kitchen sink or when travelling. A bath thermometer takes the worry out of temperature testing, while getting them their own mini robe and hooded towel will really up the ‘ahh’ factor. Also, add to your shopping list lotion and oil for post-bath massages and a baby hairbrush. Now if that doesn’t get them set for slumber time, then I don’t know what will!
Sleep Like A Pro
For the first six months they’ll be in your room and a next-to-me crib is a total game changer. These mini cots sit right up alongside your own bed making all the night soothing way less painful. Kit it out with pretty fitted sheets and a snug sleeping bag (makes optimising their sleep-temperature so much easier and most come with a handy guide advising what to dress them in – nappy, vest or sleepsuit – before going into the bag.) A room thermometer and low, soft night light for feeding in the dark comes in handy too. Simplify day snoozing with a Moses basket or specialist baby pillow that you can place in your living space. For safety, it’s best to keep what’s inside their cot to a minimum. In the early days stick to just a small comforter and maybe a lullaby mobile that beams soothing lights onto the ceiling. When they move into their permanent cot in their own room, invest in a musical mobile and baby monitor.
Meal Times Made Easy
Weaning starts at around six months. If your baby has acid reflux or is showing signs of being interested in food then it’s usually ok to try them on some purees and soft foods a little earlier. They must be able to sit up unaided first though. A high chair, placemat, cutlery, plate, bowl, bib and sippy cup are all good starting points and while they may throw them down at first, they’ll soon get used to them. Whether you’re whizzing up purees and batch cooking or trying out baby led weaning, it’s important to just give things a go and if it doesn’t work out the first time, then try again the following week. Bubs will mostly play with their food at first and that’s ok as it’s all part of the learning process.
Encourage Creative Play
Babies can only see in black and white in the beginning, but that shouldn’t stop you from engaging their senses with simple toys because everything is a new sensory experience for them. Look for a rocker, tummy time roller, baby gym, rattle and crackle book. Plus, teethers will be their toy of choice for a while, so stock up! It’s also nice to collect a timeless selection of building blocks like Duplo (baby Lego) and wooden sets which can be used for counting, colour, shape recognition and much more. And when you’ve had enough of stepping on bricks every five minutes (ouch!) then these cool storage blocks by Lego Inredning will mean you’re halfway to a tidy home once they’re in bed.
LIME LEGO 8-STUD STORAGE BOX
Mastering Tot Travel
Have your infant carrier car seat at the ready because you’ll need to take it to hospital with you. Think about how light it is, whether it installs into your car easily and fits onto your pram (most brands make adaptors but check compatibility). A pram with a bassinet is a must at first and it’ll double as a little haven for bubba when you’re travelling – Hector slept in his overnight when we holidayed in Portugal in those early days. Once baby is able to sit up, switch to a seat that’ll see them through to toddler. Look for complete travel systems with seats that alternate from parent-facing to outward facing with ease. If you want to go streamlined from the start then check out the new wave of city prams, some are suitable from birth. Don’t forget to add on a foot warmer, parasol, rain cover and to pick one with a big shopping basket underneath – you’ll regret it if you don’t! A cup holder isn’t necessary but it’s a really nice addition, I use mine every day. Pick out a baby carrier or wrap and give baby wearing a whirl. It’s so nice to be hands-free and still have them close – I have a feeling I’ll be using my sling and carrier a lot more when the new baby comes along if I’ve any chance of keeping up with a two-year-old!
Changing Bag Goals
A good changing bag will boost your mum powers no end because when you’ve got your mat, nappies, wipes, toys, snacks, milk, you name it, all in one place you can take on the world! Liewood, Jem + Bea and Tiba + Marl all have functional, practical and more importantly, beautiful, changing bags. Once they’re on the move, add in a mini first aid kit for accidents. I don’t leave the house without anti-bac spray and plasters now Hector’s toddling around everywhere.
Cherish Activity Firsts
Summer baby or not, chances are that taking your newbie swimming will be one of the first activities on your agenda. (Check with your health visitor about what jabs they need before hitting the pool.) Neoprene ‘Happy Nappies’ sit over the top of swim nappies and will keep any accidents held in tight. While all in one suits will add a much needed layer of warmth, or protection from sun if outside. It’s well worth all the effort once you get them in the pool and see their face! Look into what baby massage, yoga and sensory classes are in your area, most offer free taster sessions. Dropping into a Stay and Play at a local Children’s Centre is also fun, plus there’s always a trip to your nearest park for the swings, roundabout and slide which requires no booking at all.
Build A Versatile Wardrobe
A trophy jumper here, statement shoe there, heaps of easy-to-layer grows and that cosy jacket you always grab on the way out of the door. You’ll soon get to know what you like to dress your mini me in. I’ll admit I’m in a bit of a sweats and trainers rut with Hector, he’s so happy tearing around in stretchy pieces that withstand wear and tear. It doesn’t mean I don’t zone in on the directional details and kooky finishes though, like Kenzo’s signature tiger jumpers and Adidas Originals retro trainers – there’s no missing him in these! I kept Hector bare foot for as long as possible while he was learning the ropes but now he’s desperate to get out of the pram whenever we’re out of the house, I’m loving building his shoe-drobe. Tiny shoes are the cutest and I’m already eyeing up some boho leather crib booties for my little girl. Only another three and a bit months until she’s here!
NAVY VELCRO INFANTS GAZELLE TRAINERS
Don’t forget to leave me your comments below, I always love hearing from you. Let me know what you’d like to read about in my Alex and Alexa column and please do fire away with any questions you have. For more fashion, home and motherhood, come say hi over at my blog The Lucy Edit and Instagram.
Enjoy the holidays, I’ll see you here soon.