When I first thought about adding our Mother and Baby Gift section to our website I knew I wanted to include some fantastic mum run brands and Cheeky Chompers is exactly that! Run by two mums, Amy and Julie who started the business while on maternity leave. They were fed up of picking up and sterilising dropped teethers and thought ‘Why doesn’t someone invent a teether that stays attached to the baby’? The idea for their bibs-come-teethers was born and their first product was officially launched in 2013. Since then they've become a nappy bag must have with a print for every occasion and taste and most importantly they're stringently tested to worldwide standard. Amy and Julie are still working hard to extend their brand and offer new loads of new products with their signature multifunctional uses and stylish designs. We've handpicked a few for you here!
I remember being pregnant with my first and thinking 'yes, we've got everything we need for when the baby gets here'. I actually thought we were sorted. Little did I know it would only be a week or so before the shopping list started to grow again - and it's never stopped. There always seems to be something else we needed from dribble bibs to birthday cards and almost six years later it still hasn't changed. So we've carefully curated a selection of mum and baby gifts and necessities to add to our collection, including lots of other mum run brands! Over the coming months we will be adding to our selection but below we've handpicked a few of our current favourites:
New Mum Cards We know how many of you love our breastfeeding clothes and often send them as presents to friends. Now you can add a card to your order to complete your gift! We love this A5 'no sleep club' card which comes with a recycled kraft envelope.
Botanical Bloom Dribble Bib I just LOVE this bib from Cheeky Chompers especially as it's reversible and has a coordinating classic stripe print on the reverse. This Cheeky Chompers bandana bib makes a perfect gift for a new baby, I mean nobody ever says they have too many bibs right?! This one is packed with multipurpose features including the soft and pliable silicone teether offering a safe and satisfying chew and massage sore gums. We've got lots of other designs availble too.
Party animal card sets As soon as you have a baby you're in for YEARS of birthday parties from picnics to soft play and everything in between. Making sure you have plenty of children's cards on hand means no last minute dash to the shops and we've loads of designs to choose from. Our current favourites are these fun designs from Print Shop on the Green. Each pack of ten cards comes in plastic free packaging and features five designs, you'll recieve two of each card along with envelopes. Who doesn't smile at a cute elephant in a bowtie?
Thanks so much to everyone who registered their interest in becoming Brand Ambassadors for us. These are all mums who already love our little brand and are happy to share some gorgeous photos of themselves wearing hotmama clothes. We've chosen some fab mums to team up with, keep an eye on our social media for some photos of them popping up there.
As a family we've been busy with half term and celebrating Halloween but as a business we've started thinking ahead to Christmas and beyond. Firstly Christmas: I've added a link to last posting dates for pre Christmas delivery on our menu but if you're eyeing up any gifts there's no time like the present to order especially with Covid impacting post in lots of areas - our gift vouchers and fab collection of Hexnex necklaces make great stocking fillers! I'm working on some new items for Spring too at the moment, it's tricky to think of spring clothes and weather when I feel like we're just getting into autumn weather but I do love planning a bit of planning and creating!
Last but not least after a little while in the works some of you may have spotted that we're trialling some new postal packaging. In place of our usual polymailer bags we've been trialling these brown paper mailers. They're incredibly robust and they have a water resistant composition, obviously something that was incredibly important to ensure our products reach you in tip top condition! Not only that but they are: - Fully recyclable - Sustainably sourced - Manufactured in the UK All being well we will be gradually moving over to these for all orders once our existing mailer stocks have run out!
The first year of a baby's life sees a lot of developmental changes, from that first toothless chuckle to learning to roll over then sit up and another big one – weaning! At around six months of age, it's time to introduce solid foods to an otherwise milk-only diet in your baby's life. But this is no mean feat, nor a small step in your baby's life – it is, after all, their introduction to food, and that is an important relationship for life!
So here are five tried-and-tested and mum and expert-certified tips for making the whole process of weaning less stressful and more enjoyable for both baby and mum.
It's also important to see if your baby is able to sit up on his/her own or with some support, and is able to hold his/her head in a steady position – (and that usually happens at around six months) – so there is no risk of choking. Also, babies have better co-ordination at this age, which helps making the process of eating and feeding themselves easier. And lastly, they are also more capable of keeping the food in their mouth and swallowing it rather than spitting it out.
Weaning takes time and patience, so make sure you don't start when you are travelling for instance, or starting a new job. Choosing the right time – and equipment, such as a good children's highchair – makes all the difference.
2. Make the 'idea' of eating familiar and enjoyable
As mentioned earlier, weaning takes a lot of time and patience. It is an entirely new concept for your baby, so it mustn't be rushed. There will be many trial-and-error moments, times when your baby will not co-operate or even downright refuse, and boy will there be a lot of mess! However, at this point the idea is to make your baby familiar with the concept of solid food and the process of eating i.e. putting food in their mouth, chewing it and exploring new tastes and textures. At the beginning, the amount of food your baby eats is not as important as how he/she responds to food and the idea of eating.
Make it an enjoyable process and go according to your baby's cues and you will be rewarded later on – after all, a child's lifelong relationship with food begins here.
3. Start with vegetables, not fruits (or anything sweet)
It's very tempting (and a common notion) to start weaning with fruit purees, but it might make more sense to start with vegetables first. The reason being fruits are far sweeter, and if your child has tasted sweeter foods, he/she might not want or accept other less-sweet flavours. Once your baby has accepted other flavours, then mix a little fruit or introduce fruit purees. It's also important to remember not to add salt or sugar to your baby's food as both are harmful at this age.
4. Spoon-fed or baby-led weaning?
This is a big question for mums: should you feed your baby or opt for baby-led weaning? Again, as with all things baby-related, there is no right or wrong answer. Do what you feel works best for you and your baby. Experiment with both, perhaps, and see which method your baby prefers?
Else, start with spoon-feeding so it is easier for both you and your baby, and once he/she is comfortable with the idea of eating, leave him/her to experiment with foods and flavours. Offer various soft finger foods so it's easier to touch and feel the food, and put it in their mouth. If you're using a spoon, offer another one to your baby who might imitate you and attempt to feed him/herself.
5. Experiment… but with caution
While the first few months of weaning are all about experimenting with textures (puree, mashed, lumpy, soft solids) and flavours (try mixing different foods together), it is also important to be mindful of certain things.
Never introduce two or more different foods at the same time – so incase your baby has an allergic reaction, you know exactly which food caused it. Certain foods like eggs and berries sometimes cause rashes or mild allergies in babies, so be alert when introducing these for the first time.
Be cautious the first time you give your baby anything with nuts in it – incase he/she is allergic to nuts. And never give babies (or even toddlers) whole nuts for risk of choking.
When offering finger food/ non-pureed foods to your baby, make sure the pieces are small and soft. Babies don't have all their teeth as yet and will not be able to bite/ chew properly. Always supervise your baby when he/she is eating.
Before becoming Mum, Nicole was a Lifestyle journalist with a national newspaper. She now juggles motherhood, blogging and life and documents it all on her Parenting and Lifestyle blog Tales from Mamaville. You can follow her on:
She’s finally here – our perfect daughter, Eden Florence Davies was born at 5:51am on Saturday, 25th July, and weighing a very respectable 7lbs 5oz. Here’s her birth story – it’s a long one!
It’s fair to say that during the week leading up to Eden’s birth, I wasn’t exactly the Emma I’m so used to being. I was so grumpy, eating literally anything I could get my hands on (mainly unhealthy crap) and just didn’t fancy doing anything at all. Everything felt like a great effort and to be frank, I just wanted to not be pregnant any more. Pregnancy and I don’t really get along very well and looking back on the past nine months, I’m surprised at how well I did manage, considering how rough I felt the whole time. Severe morning sickness is greatly underestimated in my opinion and not something I want to encounter again.
On the Tuesday before she was born, I’d had a midwife appointment, just to see how I was getting on. Rather smugly, I had strongly assumed I wouldn’t need the appointment, because I genuinely believed that I would’ve already given birth. Raife was born at 38 weeks and I naiively thought this baby girl would be born even earlier. At 39+1, I had not given birth. At all. The midwife and I were both surprised that I was still pregnant and as she examined me, she confirmed that the baby was nowhere near ready to come. I was crushed. I left the appointment feeling entirely fed up and exhausted. I’d been having pains for a few weeks, fairly similar to very mild labour pains so I couldn’t understand what was going on. Quite clearly, she wasn’t ready to come and so I resigned myself to the fact that I would be going overdue. In the summer. Whilst in lockdown. And I was not happy.
The rest of the week passed in a blur – we went on a lot of walks, I bounced on my birthing ball and just tried to keep my mind occupied on anything other than going overdue. On Friday, at 39+4, we went on another mammoth walk in the forest. It was a beautiful day, and as we walked along, I started to feel some strong pains in my bump and my back started to ache. I ignored them and carried on, determined not to let myself think that this could be it! We found a beautiful river and Raife spent the best part of an hour throwing stones into it. I sat and watched, wondering if this was the last place we’d visit as a family of three. As had happened over the past few weeks, the pain waned and went and so I thought it was another false alarm. We got home, ordered a Chinese, watched a film and went to bed at around midnight.
At 2:10am, I was awoken by what felt like a fairly strong contraction. It passed without much concentration on my part and so I went back to sleep. 10 minutes later, the pain returned. I woke, thought it was odd, but again, went back to sleep. 10 minutes later, the pain wave felt more intense, so I got up and started to wonder – could it be happening?! I decided not to wake Jon, just in case it was a false alarm, and went to run a bath. If it was more braxton hicks, a bath would ease the pain and I’d be able to go back to sleep. The pain did not ease. In fact, I decided to download a reliable contraction timer, just to see if a patter was emerging. By the time the bath had been run, the contractions were coming every 5-7 minutes and Jon had been woken by the bath being run.
The bath was a great help for the pain I was now feeling and I started watching some YouTube videos to take my mind off what was happening. At around 3:30am, the contractions were coming every 3-4 minutes and we decided to call Jon’s brother who would be looking after Raife whilst we were in hospital. Kissing him goodbye was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, knowing that the next time I’d be seeing him, he wouldn’t be our only child anymore.
After Raife had been picked up, the pain ramped up again and I knew that things were progressing really quickly. Jon called the hospital and they advised that we try to stay at home for a while. Considering how quickly I had progressed the first time, we didn’t feel that this was the best advice and after around 15 minutes, we decided to make our way to the hospital. The TENS machine came out and certainly took the edge off the peak of the contractions which was a welcome distraction during the car journey.
We knew that I’d have to go in to the hospital to be assessed alone, due to Covid. The walk from the car, down the corridor, into the lift and in to be assessed was the longest journey of my life. I was quickly assessed, probably due to my urgent pleas for pain relief, and was shocked to find that I was already 8cm dilated! I couldn’t believe it – second time I’ve gone in to the hospital at the very latest! I did not think I was that close to meeting our daughter but we really were!
I was quickly wheeled around to to the delivery unit and messaged Jon to come straight in. As soon as we got to our room, I felt completely overwhelmed with pain and was quickly handed the gas and air. Whilst it definitely took the edge off, the gas and air didn’t feel as though it was doing a great deal. In hindsight, I believe it was down to how quickly everything was progressing but at the time, I literally begged for anything stronger to help. Unfortunately, there was nothing the poor midwife could give me. I was going to have to do it the natural way. And I was petrified!
The pushing stage felt like it went on forever. However, after what felt like an eternity, a whole lot of me complaining that I really was pushing as hard as I could, as well as the overwhelming feeling that everything was going to tear down there, the head finally made an appearance. The burn truly is real and is not something I’m likely to ever forget. It also turns out I was only pushing for 20 minutes in total! The body followed swiftly and Eden was thrust onto my chest.
My first thought was how much she looked like her big brother. The same big eyes, long arms and legs and round head. She lay there and we just looked at each other – a moment that will stay with me forever. After only three hours in labour, I felt numb with relief that the intense experience was over (after the placenta was delivered) and grateful that finally, our baby girl had finally arrived into the world. I had some of the most delicious tea and toast I’ve ever eaten and a hot shower to get cleaned up. I honestly felt like a new woman!
We had no idea how the procedures post-birth would go (due to coronavirus) but Jon was allowed to stay with us for around an hour and a half before I was taken to the postnatal ward. The birth had been pretty textbook so I was offered an early discharge – something I immediately accepted. I wanted to get home, to see Raife, and to just bask at home in our new normal. We stayed on the ward for a little while – just to check that everything was okay with my waterworks and the doctor had had a look at Eden. It was also an opportunity for Eden and I to bond and to establish breastfeeding. Fortunately, everything went smoothly so we were able to leave and were home at 3PM.
And that’s it – baby Eden’s birth story. Considering how nervous I was about giving birth again, it really was an incredibly positive experience – completely different to the first time around. My recovery has been pretty amazing, I feel great and three weeks in, I can honestly say that Eden has slotted into our family perfectly. She’s gaining weight rapidly, Raife is completely obsessed with her (for now!) and she’s passed all her medical checks. We can’t really believe that she’s only been here for three short weeks – we can’t really remember life without her and we’reall madly in love with her! Family life has certainly become interesting with two children, but we’re just embracing the chaos, basking in the newborn days and thoroughly enjoying seeing our babies interact with each other.
I also wanted to mention how thankful we are. The staff we encountered before, during and after the birth, were all truly incredible. Nothing was ever too much trouble, we’ve been fully supported, guided and briefed and everything has been overwhelmingly positive. Everyone works so hard and especially during the pandemic, we’ve felt like there’s been even more of an effort to make the experience as special as possible. They literally are angels and we owe them everything!
Emma is a mum of two - Raife and Eden and lives in South Wales with her husband and dog, Sherlock. She writes about motherhood, breastfeeding and shares product reviews. Read more from her at Emma's World
We're a small family business but looking to add to our team! We would love a brand rep or two who can work with us from now until the end of the year
What you'll get -A substantial personal discount code -A discount code for friends and family
What we need from you -A genuine love for our products -A willingness to support us on social media -To take clear photographs of yourself wearing our products and share these on your social media regularly -To allow us to use your photos for our website, social media and marketing
How to enter Head over to our Facebook or Instagram page ***Like and comment on our Brand Rep post***