10 things I couldn't live without since having a baby

We've established that having a baby is hard, but there are things that make life ever so slightly easier. 

Here are the 10 things I couldn't live without in the seven weeks since Peyton's arrival...

1. Vanish Oxi Action
We've had some huge explosive poos that have gone through nappies, vests, outfits and all the trimmings. They've leaked down her leg, shot up her back - it's gone in all sorts of directions. But, as yet, we've not had to throw anything away. A scoop of Vanish in a tiny bit of hot water, until it dissolves, and topped up with cold water, then leave the soiled items to soak over night, rub them together slightly the next morning to get the remainder of the stain out, and then wash as normal and, voila, good as new. We've managed to salvage every vest and every outfit so far *touch wood*. 

2. Infacol
This was one of the things we got before we had Peyton "just incase" and I'm so glad we did. When the colic hit her, and us, like a train, we wouldn't have been without it. It took a few days to have an effect, but when it did it was like a little miracle. We just give her a drop before every other feed when she's suffering particularly bad and it brings her wind up like a dream.

3. Lanolin nipple cream
Yep, we're straight in there with the over-sharing! But, honestly, this stuff is fabulous and makes those sore, cracked nipples feel so much better. I have two different types - one from My Expert Midwife called No Harm Nipple Balm and the other is a NSPA soothing balm. They're both, essentially, the same thing. I find them to be more effective, and more soothing, if one has been kept somewhere cold (a hard task in this weather, so the fridge it often is!) 

4. A fan
When I found out I'd be having a baby during summer I was thrilled - "think of all the nice weather we can enjoy and all the walks in the sun we can do". HA. In reality, it's been hard. Keeping the house cool enough for her, not going out in the hottest part of the day, keeping her shaded, being robbed blind by Mamas and Papas and paying £39 for a bloody parasol for her pram... I'm so glad we bought the fan for our bedroom when the first lot of hot weather hit while I was still pregnant. It's been a godsend since Peyton arrived, particularly since a lot of places have now sold out. I find it to be even more effective when I put a bowl of ice cubes in front of the fan - it helps cool our bedroom down even more.

5. Squash
I've always drank a lot of water/squash but, since having Peyton, I've been guzzling it like it's going out of fashion! Breastfeeding makes me so thirsty it's unbelievable. I can drink at least a pint of water/squash while feeding her. As soon as she starts I am gasping! We used to go through two bottles of squash in two weeks, now we go through two in less than a week! 

6. Ewan the Dream Sheep
I was sceptical about this at first, but it's turning out to be vital. At first, she didn't respond to it at all. But every time she went to sleep, be it a daytime nap or putting her to bed at night, we would put Ewan on. Each time she stirred in the night, we'd put him back on again. Now, she sleeps for around seven hours straight through. She'll occasionally stir halfway through but, as soon as I put Ewan on, she goes straight back to sleep. That's the only annoying thing about it, he doesn't come back on automatically like some other white noise devices do, but he definitely helps her sleep better and keep her from getting too worked up and waking herself up properly.

7. Muslin cloths
As annoying as it is that my phone always autocorrects muslin to 'muslim', I could not be without these. Baby been sick? Grab a muslin. Dribble on your shoulder? Grab a muslin. Need to latch her on to feed in public but don't wanna flash your nipple at everyone? Grab a muslin. Her feet a bit chilly? Grab a muslin. She poos through all her clothes and all over the pram sheet? Grab a muslin. They are literally so, so useful. We have so many but, honestly, I wouldn't be without them.

8. Baby wipes
This is an obvious one, but baby wipes can literally clean up anything. There's the obvious nappy changes, but also sick on clothes, sick on you, sick on the carpet, all kinds of sick. We have baby wipes in the changing bag, in my hand bag, we have downstairs baby wipes, we have nursery baby wipes, baby wipes in our bedroom... We're never more than six feet away from a pack of baby wipes!

9. My breast pump
'They' say you shouldn't express milk until you're at least six weeks into feeding to allow time for your supply to settle down, but I have been expressing since Peyton was a few days old. At first it was because I didn't have the confidence to feed her when we were out. When she was five days old we went to get my nails done and to see my work colleagues, and I wasn't confident enough to feed her in either of those places, so we took some expressed milk. I carried on, once a day, to allow Tom to give her a bottle at bedtime. I read in Giovanna Fletcher's book that she did this - expressed milk on an evening so that Tom could give it to the boys and strike up that bond. I was really keen to do this, and to let Tom have the same bond with her as I do. I also wanted to make sure she was still able to take a bottle so that, when the time comes to wean her off the boob, she took a bottle with ease. She just has one feed of expressed milk a day, and that's her bedtime feed. My pump has also been a god send for those days when she hasn't fed as much and my boobs are feeling very full and uncomfortable. It's such a beaut feeling draining it all off! It also means I get to build up a supply in the freezer for when I go back to work a few days in October and Peyton isn't with me all day.

10. Tom
This is going to turn very soppy, very quickly, so I do apologise. But, honestly, I could not have coped for the last seven weeks without Tom. He can see when I am at breaking point and just need five minutes to sit in silence and have a cry myself. He can see when I am hungry and will bring me some toast, or a sandwich. He can see when I am thirsty, and brings me a big bottle of squash. He is such an amazing daddy to Peyton, as well as being an amazing husband to me. It's true what they say, you don't realise how much you love your husband until you see how much they love your child. He plays with her, he reads to her, he baths her, he winds her, he talks to her in funny voices - I just love watching and listening to them together. As soon as he is home from work, or we are back from a day out, he is straight there to see us (mainly Peyton!) I just love their little bond that they have already - the smiles she gives him and how happy she is when they're together. 

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