Category Archives: Buyers Guide

The Pros and Cons of Changing Tables

If you think a changing table is a necessity, think again. However, it does have its advantages, mostly being comfort for you. This post looks at the pros and cons of changing tables.

There are a few different types of changing tables available, all of which have their own advantages and disadvantages. The three main types are freestanding, over the cot and fold away. The freestanding changing tables are a furniture unit on their own, they often have 2 or 3 shelves for storage and come in a variety of styles, these are generally the most expensive. The over the cot changers simply secure to the sides of your baby’s cot or cot bed, it makes them much easier to store and doesn’t take up additional room in your littlest ones nursery. There are 2 different types of fold away tables, one which is fixed to the wall and folds up out of sight (much like the ones you get in public changing rooms) and the other can be fully folded up and stored away. Now you have a brief outline of your choices, let’s take a look at the generic pros and cons:

Pros

  • You have a designated area at home that is strictly for changing nappies, your baby will come to recognise this.
  • You can carefully store all nappy changing equipment in one place.
  • It will, without a doubt save your back – it is much easier than bending over or being on your knees.
  • On some models you can also place a baby bath on it, making those early baths much easier on your back too.
  • Cons

  • They are not cheap – you shouldn’t really use a changing table once your child is able to roll over so you don’t really have that much time to get your money’s worth.
  • They can take up a lot of room – depending on the model, you may find you can make better use of the space in your child’s nursery.
  • The products can be a bit too easily accessible – once your little one starts grabbing at things you will have to move your nappy changing products to a higher shelf or off the changing unit altogether.
  • I hope this has helped you decide on whether you need a changing table/changing unit and also on which type of model best suits you if you do want one. Let me know what you decide!

    What do new babies need?

    What new babies need is much less than you may think, check out my complete guide to what you need for those first few weeks both in your home and when out and about.

    In your home

    Sleeping
    Your baby obviously needs somewhere to sleep both during the day and at night time. For now we will just call it a baby bed as I want you to choose the bed that best suits you (ie Moses basket, crib, cotbed etc). Here is my list of everything you will need, you must make sure your mattress fits your choice of bed:

  • Baby bed
  • Tightly fitted mattress
  • Monitor
  • At least 4 well fitted sheets
  • Age appropriate sleeping bag – check which tog rating here
  • 3 blankets
  • Room thermometer
  • Feeding
    This list obviously depends on how you are going to feed your baby. I liked to have a few bottles at home anyway just in case I had Breastfeeding problems, here is what I recommend you have at home, reduce or ignore the bottle feeding items if you plan on Breastfeeding:

  • Breast pads
  • Nipple cream
  • Maternity/feeding pillow
  • You may also want a breast pump.
  • If you are solely bottle feeding I recommend you have the following, if you are mix feeding you will probably need half of these quantities.

  • 6x bottles
  • 6x new born teats
  • Bottle brush
  • Steriliser
  • Thermal flask
  • 3-5 cartons of ready made formula milk
  • Storage container for transporting small amounts of formula
  • Plenty of bibs
  • Bathing
    You baby only needs to be ‘top and tailed‘ until the umbelical cord has fallen off. In preparation for bathing your little one, I recommend you have the following at home:

  • baby bath tub
  • Bath thermometer
  • 2-3 soft hooded towels
  • You may also want some baby soap or shampoo but this really isn’t necessary, particularly for newborns as they don’t tend to get very dirty.

    Changing
    There is going to be a lot of nappy changing in those first few months, you are probably going to change anything between 8-15 nappies every day. Whether you are using disposable or re-usable you will need a constant supply. Here is what I recommend you have at home to get you started:

  • 100 nappies (if using disposable)
  • Lots of cotton wall balls
  • a changing mat
  • A big tub of Vaseline(to prevent nappy rash)
  • Nappy rash cream (such as metonium) to treat nappy rash
  • Wet wipes (although you should try to avoid using these for the first few weeks)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Nappy bags
  • Clothing
    Babies look the cutest when they are in sleepsuits and you don’t really need much more than that for the newborn stage, here is what I suggest you start off with and you can buy more if need be. (Which I am sure you will – this obviously also depends on how quickly your newborn grows)

  • 8 sleepsuits
  • 8 babygrows (what’s the difference?)
  • 2 wool or cotton cardigans
  • A sun hat (if likely to be out in the sunshine) see more on sun safety
  • A wool or cotton hat, booties and mittens (if it’s cold or likely to get cold).
  • Safety
    There is no need to baby proof your house until your little one is showing signs of becoming mobile. The only essential I would say you need for the first few weeks is a reliable thermometer.

    Out and about

    Safety and comfort are the two main things your baby needs when out and about,

    In the car

  • Car seat
  • Baby on board sign
  • Sun shade
  • Walking

  • Pram or travel system
  • Baby sling or carrier
  • Sun shade/parasol for your pram/travel system
  • You may also want some additional blankets for use in the car/pram
  • Over time you will discover things you wish you had and buy things you don’t really need but this list should serve you well when preparing for your little ones birth, as far as I’m concerned this is everything you need to ensure your baby is clean, comfortable, fed and safe, which is pretty much what you are responsible for ensuring from the second she is born. As always I welcome your feedback so please let me know what you’re thinking in the comments section below.

    Car Seat Buying Guide

    Buying a car seat is a huge responsibility and an expensive purchase. My buyers guide talks you through all the information you need and will ultimately help you to make a decision that best suits your needs and most importantly, ensures your little ones safety from birth through to 12 years old.

    What safety standards should my U.K car seat have?

    All new car seats sold in the UK should conform to either the United Nations ECE regulation R44.03 (or later version of this standard) or ISO 13216 (ISOFIX). This stands for “International Standards Organisation FIX”. ISOFIX is a relatively new standard and is being adopted by car manufacturers to make the fitting of child seats much simpler and safer.

    Which car seat is suitable for my child’s age/weight?

    The safest way of checking which car seat is suitable for your baby is by having your baby weighed and then looking at car seats that correspond to this. There are mainly 3 different type of car seats for 3 different weight ranges, these are often referred to as ‘groups’ or ‘stages’. You need to ensure your child is in the correct seat for her weight and you are aware of the maximum weight your child can be before progressing to the next ‘group’ or ‘stage’. You should not buy a car seat for your baby to “grow into” and you should never rely solely on the age range most companies offer as a guide. These should be used a guide only.
    Below is a guide to your baby’s weight and the type of car seat needed.

    Group 0+ car seats – Rearward facing baby seats

  • Minimum weight: new born – maximum weight: 13kg(29lbs)
  • Rearward facing baby seats are the safest way for a child to travel in a car.
  • Baby’s head is far better protected than in any of the forward facing car seats.
  • You should keep your baby in a rearward facing car seat for as long as possible and only progress to a forward facing car seat when your baby is close to the maximum weight permitted for this seat or the crown of your baby’s head is higher than the top of the seat when they are properly fastened in.
  • Something to consider: Also available are combination car seats. These are designed to be rearward facing from birth, forward facing from 9kg and have a maximum permitted weight of 18kg(40lbs) . The disadvantages of this type of car seat is:

  • They are not very portable (rearward facing car seats are usually lightweight, have a carry handle and can be used as part of a travel system so as not to disturb your baby when moving her)
  • They usually need to be forward facing car seats earlier than we would like. (when your child reaches 9kg rather than 13kg).
  • It is much safer to keep your baby in a rearward facing car seat for as long as possible without exceeding the maximum permitted weight. We therefore recommend rearward facing car seats rather than combination car seats.
  • Group 1 car seats – Forward facing car seat

  • Minimum weight: 9kgs(20lbs) – Maximum weight 18kgs(40lbs)
  • A forward facing car seat is the next step in child car safety once your baby has outgrown the rearward facing car seat.
  • There is a slight overlap between the minimum weight allowed on this seat and the maximum weight permitted on the rearward facing car seats to allow for taller babies.
  • The integral harness keep your baby in the safest position in the seat helping to reduce the risk of injury should you be involved in a road traffic accident, they also offer side impact protection.
  • They are less portable than rearward facing car seats and cannot be used as carriers.
  • Once your child is in a group 1 car seat you should keep her in it for as long as possible.
  • Only progress to the next ‘stage’ car seat once your child has reached the maximum permitted weight or the top of her head is higher than the top of the seat when properly secured.
  • Something to consider: Also available is a high back booster with harness car seat that is designed to last your child up until he is approx 12 years old.

  • The minimum weight for these is 9kg(20lb) and maximum weight is 36kg(79lb).
  • This will save you having to buy a high back booster seat once your child reaches 18kg (the maximum weight permitted for standard forward facing seats).
  • If you decide to go for this option car seat, check the side impact protection is not reduced when compared to a traditional group 1 forward facing car seat.
  • Group 2 and 3 – Booster seats

  • Min weight 15kg (33lb) – Max weight 36kg (79lbs) dependant on particular model
  • Once your child has grown out of the forward facing car seat, the nest step is a booster seat.
  • These are traditionally high backed and offer side impact protection
  • The main difference is your child is held in place by the cars fitted seat belt rather than an integral harness.
  • When buying one of these car seats, you should find out how each specific model grows with your child.
  • Some models have adjustable side wings and some can be converted to booster cushions once your child reaches 22kgs.
  • I recommend keeping your child in the high backed car seat for as long as practicable as they offer far greater protection than simple booster cushions.
  • When tightening the seat belt around your child you will need to ensure that the belt goes over her pelvic region (not the stomach) and the diagonal strap goes across her shoulder(not her neck). Always tighten the seat belt as much as possible.
  • When will my baby be ready for a bigger car seat?

    The only time your baby should progress from one stage car seat to the next is if:

  • Your baby exceeds the maximum weight allowed for that particular car seat, or
  • Your baby’s head is higher than the top of the car seat when properly seated and strapped in.
  • You should never put your baby in the next stage car seat just because he has reached a landmark birthday. (ie 12 months, 4 years)
  • Is it ok to buy/use a second hand car seat?

    If you are going to buy one thing new for your baby, make it a car seat. Without knowing the full history of the car seat, it is impossible to be 100% sure if it has ever been involved in an accident, ever been wrongly adjusted, been poorly handled or maintained or even been stored in conditions that could lead to its overall effectiveness being compromised.

    When will my child no longer need a car seat?

    Your child will need a car seat or car booster seat until he is either 12 years of age or 135cm (approx 4ft 5”). After this he will need to wear an adult seat belt.

    Where can I find out if a car seat is suitable for my car?

    Amazon have a returns policy that allow you to return the car seat if after receiving it you discover that it does not fit your car. Most high street retailers will test the car seat in your own car before you buy and also show you how to properly secure it in your car. If a good returns policy or a testing service is not offered or available then I recommend you take your business elsewhere. Mothercare and Halfords both offer this service. It is your responsibility to ensure that the car seat is properly fitted in your car, even if a member of staff has assisted you in fixing it.

    motorola video monitor compares well

    Compare Video Baby Monitors

    motorola video monitor compares wellCompare video baby monitors and all of the best features to enable you to buy the product that suits you!

    If you haven’t already read my buyers guide then I suggest you do, it will help you to identify which features are important to you and which you could do without (particularly if it will save you money), you can then use this comparison table to see which monitor best suits your personal needs. Simply click on the title (e.g. screen size) and the list will be ordered from minimum to maximum, click on it again and it will show in reverse order (maximum to minimum).

    Compare the best features of the best selling and most popular Digital Video Baby Monitors
    ProductMax Signal Range (metres)Screen SizeRoom temperature displayZoomPanTiltAdditional CamerasCharging DockPrice (at time of posting)
    BT 1000300 (50 indoors)2.8"YesYesNoYes4 max.No£99.99
    Motorola MBP332002.8"YesYesNoNo4 max.No£109.99
    Motorola MBP362003.5"YesYesYesYes4 max.No£139.99
    Summer Infant1203.5"YesYesYesYes4 maxYes£119.46
    Angelcare AC11202002.8"YesYesYesNoNoYes£129.51

    (If you turn your tablet/smartphone sideways, the table will become easier to view).

    Best video baby monitor buyers guide image - angelcare monitor with buyers guide written across it

    Best Video Baby Monitor: A Buyers Guide

    I am here to guide you through your options and help you to make a buying decision that suits you. This information will help you to choose the best video baby monitor

    picture of the best video baby monitor, the angelcare ac1120When looking to buy a video baby monitor you obviously want a model that is reliable, it also needs to be suitable for your requirements and within your price range. It is important that you prioritise the features that you feel are best suited to your needs and choose your monitor based on these. Once you have whittled down your choices, your final decision on which model to buy can then be based on either your budgetary requirements or by comparing any additional features that may be of benefit. A good video baby monitor does exactly what you want it to do, the best video monitors do just that plus a little more. I would recommend reading through this list of features and choosing 2-3 (max) must have features. You can then use the comparison table to help you to identify the model that is best suited to your requirements.

    What are the main features that I need to consider?

    The main features that you need to consider when researching products are:

    RangeSignal Range Icon

    Every video baby monitor has a recommended maximum signal range (the furthest distance the monitor can be from the camera), these vary from model to model and can also differ depending upon the thickness of your walls any other physical obstructions that may between the two units. If you have experienced signal problems in the past with previous baby monitors or with other wireless digital devices (wireless digital tv transmitters) then you may want to consider looking for a video monitor with a much greater signal range than what you actually require, the same should be said if the parent unit (monitor screen) and nursery unit (camera) are separated by more than a couple of walls (such as if you are in a town house or in a particularly large house). During the summer months you may want to relax in the garden in the evenings, if this is the case then signal range should be high on your list of priorities. The signal range of popular digital video baby monitors is between 150-300 metres.

    Screen sizeIphone 5 image to demonstrate 3.5

    Bigger doesn’t always necessarily mean better but it does usually mean more expensive. There are generally 2 sizes of LCD monitor screen available at present, these are 2.8″ or 3.5″. As a rough guide, the iPhone has a 3.5″ inch screen. My personal opinion is that as long as the screen is clear enough for me to see my baby on it then I am not too worried what the physical size of the screen is (2.8″ is plenty big enough).

    Room temperature display

    In the past there have been accuracy problems with these readings as the heat generated from the camera resulted in a false reading. If you are going to rely on your monitor for temperature readings then you should look specifically at user reviews both positive and negative to determine if any accuracy problems have already been identified, if however, you are going to use or are using a separate room thermometer then you can put this feature to one side and prioritise other factors that will help you get the most out of your video monitor.

    ZoomZoom in image icon

    This feature is useful if you have the whole bed in view but aren’t able to see close up features such as if your baby’s eyes are closed. The zoom function is digital rather than optical so may result in some pixelation if used to the maximum level. A monitor with zoom doesn’t always have the pan option but a camera with pan always has zoom.

    Pan and tilt

    I love the pan option and feel that this will be a standard feature on new models (not just the best ones). Panning means being able to move the direction the camera is facing, you will need this feature if your baby tends to move around in her bed quite a bit, if you would also like to be able to view your baby/toddler during the day (such as when he/she is playing) then you should be looking for a camera that has a 360 degree pan to guarantee the largest coverage. There is also a tilt option on some cameras, this is handy if you have you have your camera positioned against the same wall as your baby’s bed and at such an angle that the whole the bed isn’t in full view (pan wouldn’t help as you need to move the camera up and down rather than left to right). Consider where your baby’s bed is positioned and where you would like the camera to be positioned, wall mounting is always the best option for fully utilising both the pan and tilt features.

    Additional camerasAdditional camera for MBP36

    If you have twins then this would be essential, if you are thinking of having another baby (or are considering this possibility) in the near future then it is definitely worth having this feature near the top of your essentials list. When looking to buy video monitors that have the option to add additional cameras (usually up to 3 additional but sometimes 2), check the viewing options of these, some are able to be viewed in split screen mode, some scan the cameras for a set period of time and some spring into life when a noise is picked up. It is always worth doing your research and thinking about what would best suit you if you are planning on using additional monitors.

    Viewing options

    As well as being able to view the video on the monitor screen, there are options available that allow you to also watch on your tv, on your laptop etc and also on additional monitors.

    Power options

    All necessary power cables and rechargeable batteries are supplied. LCD monitor screens can also be battery operated (for portability) and some camera have the option to be battery powered. The most common function when in portable mode is to have a 5 minute viewing period each time the view option is manually selected. This is to save battery power. Battery life can vary and will dramatically decrease if permanently used in video mode.

    Operation

    All monitors are designed with ease of use in mind, the buttons are easy to press and menus should be easy to navigate. There are also touch screen monitors available if you would prefer. The position of the volume button is something that you may want to consider – for some you have to navigate the menu whilst others have physical volume buttons.

    Charging Dock

    This really comes down to ease of use, consider where you are going to place it and if it will be difficult to reach for the appropriate power cable each time you need to charge it/plug it in for the night. A charging dock makes life that little bit easier for busy, tired parents.

    If you are still unsure as to which monitor to buy, check out my comparison table and best baby video monitor reviews