I decided fairly early that I wanted a base to go with my car seat as it would be easier and practical in my small 3 door Nissan Micra. I have had my car for nearly 5 years and it is economical, safe and easy to park, having a child was not going to persuade me to upgrade to a bigger car unless I really needed to. Having searched for a car seat and base the best one was of course by Maxi Cosi, also a favourite for celebrities they can cost quite a bit. Before making up my mind I visited Babies r us to have it fitted firstly to see if it was compatible and secondly to see if it was worth it.
There are a few bases available for maxi Cosi car seats and depending on which car seat you want then the appropriate base needs to be purchased. I wanted the base to fit using isofix so opted for the maxi Cosi Easyfix base, the other cheaper one fits using the seat belt only but does the same job of keeping the base secure in the car. It is very easy to put in but the only downside is it is very heavy! I know it will always be in the car but having a small car doesn’t help, we have yet to use it while it is fitted and with a child in but I fear we may need to get a more powerful car in the near future.
I would still recommend the base as once its fitted there’s no need to worry about taking it in and out, the car seat clicks in and out effortlessly which will be very handy on a rainy day or when you come home late and don’t want to disturb a sleeping child.
The Easyfix base can cost up to £150 in some places and is used for only a year so you really need to think if it’s a worthwhile purchase for you. For me personally it is and as I plan to have more children I will most definitely use the base again, also you can change the fabric of the car seat for any future children that may use it so it doesn’t look like you’ve had the same one for years.
To save money you may want to buy one second hand as you can get them as cheap as £20 in most places otherwise you can opt for another brand where they are sold cheaper but are far more bulky such as Graco.
The QE2 hospital in Welwyn Garden City offers guided tours of the delivery suite and postnatal wards every Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. You need to call after 1pm to see if they are holding one that day as it can get busy, if you are unsuccessful they will ask you to try again the following day or the weekend after. I recommend visiting at least 1 month before you are due as you would have already attended antenatal classes so would know all about labour and delivery, many couples who attended the tour seemed very unprepared and asked the silliest questions.
It is recommended to visit beforehand so you know where to go and become familiar with the surroundings, I am currently 38 weeks and 6 days pregnant and for the past month I have been calling up the delivery suite to see if I can come on a tour of the delivery and postnatal ward, finally to my surprise it was held today.
The delivery suite is on the 7th floor accessed by the lifts that can be found by using the main entrance to enter the hospital, following the signs to wards and departments after a few minutes there will be signs that point you to the direction of the lifts. Being heavily pregnant that walk to the lifts seemed like forever, so it’s well worth a practice run before the big day to avoid panic and confusion.
When we got to the 7th floor there were at least 7 other couples also waiting, 10 minutes later at 3.10pm a midwife came to start to tour. We went straight to the delivery suite where you hopefully go to first to deliver the baby. There are many rooms, around 14 in total; two of the rooms have a birthing pool whereas the rest just have beds in them. The rooms are of average size with most of them having toilets in them or a bathroom.
Afterwards the postnatal ward for recovery is just next door, they are small rooms that consist of 4 beds all with curtains for privacy. There is a room if you want to breastfeed in private as visitors will come and go on the ward. There is also a day room where you can help yourself to tea and coffee, most of the midwives were friendly but there were some that were not very accommodating.
As someone who needs to be as organised as possible it was definitely worth the trip although the whole thing took less than half an hour. The only thing I would advise against is to park in the hospital car park, it would cost £2.90 for up to two hours which is a little extortionate if you are not going to be there that long.
Going for the QE2 maternity ward tour was worth it for me because it assured my partner and me where to go on the big day! The last thing you want is to turn up and not know where you are going and having a frazzled birth partner trying to help you and look for directions at the same time. I now await the arrival of my baby to follow up this review of what the maternity ward is really like.
Part of your antenatal care will include antenatal classes in preparation for the labour, delivery and life at home with the baby. When I first fell pregnant I asked my midwife about availability of these classes on the NHS as there are many stories of NHS trusts cutting back and turning women away or not even offering them in the first place. My midwife said that in Welwyn they never turn away pregnant women but their classes may be very full so they aren’t as small and intimate as NCT run classes. I did look into NCT antenatal classes but if I could get the same information for free I was willing to wait.
I have just started my antenatal classes at 36 weeks which I think is a little too late, when I went to the class held at Applecroft school I was the only one that was expecting within a month, all the other ladies were due later than me. It is run by a Midwife and Health Visitor who were both friendly, the only downside is the room is a little small and packed with the worst chairs to sit on for the next few hours.
I was a little disappointed when the midwife told everyone to refrain from buying anything just yet as she would tell you what was non-essential in the weeks to come. Being the furthest ahead I had already purchased everything so I dread what she will say is a waste of money.
I always thought that antenatal classes meant that you sit on the floor surrounded by comfortable pillows and your partner supports you while you learn breathing methods and different positions for labour. They are nothing like this, instead they tell you about the three stages of labour and what to expect. They tell about the signs that you may be going into labour and a lot of scenarios where you discuss as a group.
There were a few things I learnt such as when to call up the hospital and how long you should wait until you come in but in general you can find out all this in the book that was given to you at your booking in appointment when you first have contact with a midwife. I would advise all people who are going to do a little reading as you may feel left out and not know anything when you attend but then again the classes are there to teach you.
I thoroughly recommend your partner being there as I do think it’s important that he be a part of it, knowing all the signs for labour and what to do will come in handy when you are not able to talk because the contractions are so painful. It’s also good that the men are educated in the stages of labour and what happens after.
For the second breastfeeding workshop it was women only as they try to get a new breastfeeding mother to come in and share her experience as well as a demonstration. As the group was now smaller as women came without their partners it was more personal and it was easier to ask questions and get the answers from a new mum as opposed to the midwife and health visitor.
The new mum who came with her new baby was only 7 weeks old but he was having problems feeding so we spent most of the session talking about problems rather than breastfeeding itself. It was found that the little baby had a cold so wasn’t able to feed properly because his nasal passage was a little congested. The new mum talked about how she went into labour but due to all the drugs she tried to ease labour pain her son was born sluggish and it took a day for him to wake up properly. As a result of this he did not latch on properly and the first week was a struggle to breastfeed. She recalls each day has been different and his feeding pattern changes, but she did nearly give up as she found it very stressful and demanding.
In a way it was a good idea to bring in a new breastfeeding mum to talk about her experience but in this case her son was ill so he cried throughout the whole session. As she was a new mum she found some questions hard to answer so the midwife had to do it for her, it has still put me off breastfeeding as I found that it is very strict and the midwife refuses to believe that women should offer a bottle instead.
I was very pro-breastfeeding as I thought I could combine it with expressed milk in a bottle but the midwife discourages this and says that it should only be attempted after 3 months. I think this is far too long, my mum combined the breast with expressed bottle feeding when I was a few weeks old and I turned out fine. I understand that formula is bad and should be avoided if possible but it is unrealistic and it puts too much pressure on women to expect them to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months.
The advice given has been conflicting with many pregnancy books and websites saying that you can introduce a bottle as early as 4 weeks and not 3 months like the workshop suggests. Also I would like to mention that the midwife strongly advises against anyone other than the mother feeding the baby and again I think this is wrong as grandparents and the father should also be involved.
In all I didn’t really learn much other than the midwife and health visitors’ biased views on breastfeeding because to them if you do not breastfeed than you are doing it wrong, end of story!
As part of my antenatal care in Welwyn Garden City I was able to attend a breastfeeding workshop along with my standard antenatal classes. These are free and provided by the NHS and run by midwives and health visitors. I decided early on that I would give breastfeeding a go but was undecided on whether or not is was worth attending the breastfeeding workshop.
Breastfeeding workshop Parkway Health Centre, Welwyn Garden City
Parkway H C is not far from the town centre and has a small car park area to the rear of the building, it was handy to know as the first workshop was on a Saturday morning and many parents-to-be who attended parked on the side road and all ended up getting parking tickets. When we arrived we signed in and was greeted by the midwife and health visitor. There were around 5 couples including myself and husband and 4 women who attended alone. There was enough room to accommodate everyone though the chairs were not the most comfortable.
Breastfeeding workshop part 1
The first part is where you can attend as a couple so the fathers-to-be can understand the importance and how they can support and encourage their partners to breastfeed. We were given a quiz with 10 true or false questions to see what our knowledge was on breastfeeding, it also gave the midwife the chance to see what we did or didn’t know. I was glad that we got every single one right and hubby was quite well informed about all aspects of breastfeeding. The midwives are very pro-breastfeeding and I found that a little daunting and felt a huge amount of pressure on me to keep at it when my baby is born.
I didn’t realise how naive I was about it all and that it is going to be hard work, the workshop also advises against bottle feeding combined with breast feeding and expressing should only be attempted after 3 months! I was a little discouraged after I heard that as I was hoping to express milk and get hubby involved in feeding time, it would also be a huge relief for the night time feeds as well.
I am still a little taken aback by how difficult it will be but I am also hopeful, I am glad that the midwife and the health visitor was friendly as they also run breastfeeding support groups so you can have help and guidance should you need it after baby is born.
After attending part one of the workshop I did gain some education on how bad formula was for feeding a baby and now that hubby also went with me hopefully he can encourage me to breastfeed if I start tired or want to give up. I advise all couples to attend together as it was a good experience to share and now hubby knows too how important it is to at least try and breastfeed, there was one lady who attended on her own as her partner was too embarrassed to come in.
Maxi Cosi car seats have become extremely popular in the last few years as celebrities often favour this brand to others, on top of that it is also the best rated for safety. Since the car seats have become so popular many prams, strollers and pushchair manufacturers have teamed up with Maxi Cosi so that you can use the car seat with other brands. This is very good for parents as we all have different budgets, expectations and car boot space when it comes to having a pram so now you have a wider range of buggies to choose from not just the Maxi Cosi range.
What is the difference between Maxi Cosi Pebble and Cabriofix?
The ‘new’ Pebble car seat by Maxi Cosi has been around to purchase for a while now and I too wasn’t sure which one to go for the Cabriofix or Pebble. When it comes down to cost the Pebble is roughly £25 more but even £125 for the Cabriofix car seat seems a little expensive as you can get a good Graco one for a mere £40. After a lot of research I found Maxi Cosi car seats to be the best and decided that if I had to pay £125 for one then I would make sure it was gender neutral so I could use it for any future children. When I was in Babies r us the other day I asked a staff member what the difference was between the two Maxi Cosi car seats and the reason surprised me.
Basically the Pebble car seat uses a Family fix base, so after baby grows out of the Pebble car seat by 12-15 months you can then buy the next Maxi Cosi car seat for the next stage and it will fit into the family fix base. So the same base can be used until the child is much older. The Cabriofix on the other hand only uses that Easyfix base that has Isofix or the Easybase that is non-isofix. So when baby grows out of Cabriofix you will need to buy a new base if you choose to use one.
The Pebble does look better than Cabriofix and is supposed to be the upgraded version but there isn’t much difference, Pebble is heavier, a little more padded but more expensive. Cabriofix on the other hand is lighter, just as safe and is compatible with more buggies to form a travel system than Pebble is.
Pebble vs Cabriofix car seat
To be honest you will not need a base for any car seat when a child is over 12 months as it will be too heavy to lift. The forward facing car seats are perfectly safe to be fitted using a seat belt and cheaper too as it will stay in the car, so why would you need a base for a child over 12 months? The Pebble car seat boasts a pillow support for newborn babies but you can buy a cheap one and out it in the Cabriofix, they only need it when they are little but then again the Cabriofix is just as supportive.
So basically the Pebble is heavier, bulkier, more expensive and uses a different base than Cabriofix. In terms of safety it is not safer as they both perform just as well but the Cabriofix is compatible with many buggies to form a travel system as it has been around longer. Unless you want to continue carrying a child around in a car seat up to the age of 4 then go for the Cabriofix.
There are many myths and traditions surrounding what to do when a baby is born and one of them is ‘should I shave baby’s head when they are born’? After doing a search I couldn’t believe how many people were against this, I find that it is because they are misinformed and not very well educated about these matters.
Shaving a baby’s head they are young is not a crime or form of child abuse, it is not dangerous and won’t cause any harm to the baby’s head regardless of what some people say. In most countries around the world shaving the head of a baby is a tradition and nothing more. In the Islamic culture Muslims shave their baby’s head and donate the weight in gold to a charity. Places in Asia and Africa still continue this tradition today.
Will shaving a baby’s hair make the hair grow thicker?
There is a big debate over this and many will say no but unless you have done it yourself then you cannot answer this question. I and my siblings (1 brother and 1 sister) all had our heads shaved after birth, usually within the first week. We were lucky enough to be born with a full head of hair but by shaving it off completely it made sure it grew evenly and surprise, surprise it grew back even thicker. If you do decide to do it then do so when the child is young as the older they get the harder it is and more difficult it is to explain to people who don’t understand.
There is nothing wrong with shaving a child’s head when they are born; there are many paediatricians who actually recommend it as it promotes greater hair growth and strength. Many people will find it cruel but at the end of the day no-one can tell you what you can and cannot do when you have a child. The reaction can be as bad as piercing ears of a young child.
Cars come in all shapes and sizes, just because yours might be on the smaller side it doesn’t mean you can’t have the car seat that you want. You should always have your child’s best interest at heart and not fall for cheap or second hand car seats.
Cheap car seats
When I say cheap I mean brands that you don’t know or seem too good to be true, there are many online retailers and auction sites that are advertising unique car seats that are not available in most high street shops. They may be safe but unless you have proof and have read good reviews stay clear. Many who have bought cheap car seats have noticed that the car seat did not perform well in the result of an accident. Fortunately no babies were in the car seat at the time.
Second hand car seats
It is not advisable to buy a car seat that has already been used; this is usually because you don’t know the history. If it has been used in a car crash and this information was not passed on to the second owner it could prove fatal as it is no longer safe to use. If you are being given one by a trusted family member or friend and can guarantee that it was not involved in an accident then it is fine to accept. Many people sell their car seats after their child has grown out of it because they were very expensive to buy, the most common and sought after car seat on the market today is the Maxi Cosi car seats.
Isofix or non-isofix
Since 2007 all new cars that are manufactured need to have an isofix point in the rear of the vehicle. Isofix car seats are deemed much safer than the standard seat belt harness as it leaves little room for error. With isofix car seats you simply click in the car seat to the isofix points that are built in the rear passenger seats. No need to mess around with seat belts.
Car seat base
If you have a little extra money to spare it may be worth purchasing a car seat base, it comes in handy when you have a smaller car. Car seat bases stay in the car and the car seat clicks into the base effortlessly. Car seat bases can be attached using the seat belt or isofix car points so you can have them in virtually any car.
You should always have a car seat demonstration as not all car seats are compatible with certain makes and models. Also the front passenger seat may need to be brought further forward for the car seat to sit snugly in the back. It’s also a good time to try out a few and see how easy it is to install yourself. Most places offer fitting for free and also ensure you are able to do it yourself. Some places also won’t sell you car seat unless you know how to fit it and the car it is being used in is compatible.
Towards the second and third trimester being pregnant can cause some discomfort, as the muscles and bones start to loosen you may find it hard to walk, sit and sleep properly. Most women find that they are most uncomfortable during the last three months as the bump gets bigger and heavier and sleeping becomes awkward.
There are many different pregnancy pillows on the market to suit all budgets and discomfort but it may not really be that necessary to spend money on one as they can sometimes cause more problems.
Wedge pillows are pillows that look a little like a 3D triangle and you put it between the legs while you sleep to take off some pressure from the knees and lower back region. You can also use it to support under the bump whilst you sleep you can get a better position without feeling so heavy. They range in price from £10-£50; an alternative is to just use a normal pillow in between the legs or under the growing bump, saving money on a wedge pillow.
Body pillows are meant to be the best because you can cuddle up to it whilst you tuck it in between your legs and you body rests on it to provide relief from aches and pains. I have personally used this pillow and found it to be the worst thing to purchase during pregnancy. Although it only cost me £15 it was too bulky and I couldn’t get comfortable, every time I wanted to turn I had to get up and move the pillow so it could support the other side of me, it was very inconvenient and didn’t relieve any of my aches and pains.
Full body pillows are really long and go all around you so you sleep in the middle a little like a doughnut. So whichever way you turn you have a side to rest your bump and legs on, these too are very bulky and the downside is you cannot cuddle up to your partner as the pillow takes up all the room. They can also cost as much as £50, most women have also found that they didn’t like full body pillows as they take up too much room and are too expensive to sue for just a few months of pregnancy.
Using a normal pillow will work for almost any position, in between the legs, under the bump and in the small of your back, so save the money and spend it on your little one, pregnancy pillows are so not worth it!
Talking about gender selection is still a huge taboo in the UK and other parts of the world as many people think its taking science too far. It is illegal in the UK and much of the world to abort a foetus because of the sex and also select the gender of your next child. It is not illegal however in parts of America, Spain and Cyprus.
Recently a leading Gynaecologist in Britain was exposed as referring at least one woman a week to a fertility clinic in Cyprus for gender selection. The cost for selecting your own designer baby is £14,000. Although there are many who oppose this and feel like it is ‘playing god’ there are many reasons as to why it is still legal in many countries;
- To prevent genetic diseases
- To balance the family
- For an heir
Although there is nothing that can be said to change the minds of those that will refuse to accept gender selection there are many people out there who are grateful and delighted that this procedure is allowed in certain countries. All couples would love to have a child of each gender in most cases it means that the family is complete, but when you find that you are only able to have a child of a certain sex it can get a little depressing and seem unfair. There have been many families who have split up because of the pressures of having a gender balanced family.
Not too long ago there was a documentary of couples who were only able to have boys but also longed for a girl. One couple had been trying for years and as a result ended up with 5 boys and no girls, it left them emotionally drained. They used old wives tales and books from professional Gynaecologists to help sway and conceive a child naturally of their chosen sex.
Another couple were not so willing to let nature take its course and they flew to Spain to choose a girl foetus to be implanted in to the women’s womb, the couple already had 3 sons and without a little girl in the family the women refused to marry her partner until he could fulfil his ‘duties’. Luckily it worked first time round and they ended up having twin girls, their family is now complete and they finally married.
I find that gender selection is more down to the couple rather than society, it is perfectly acceptable to have two boys or two girls but people nowadays can see how they can achieve the perfect family and are willing to pay £14,000 to have just that.
The success rate for selecting a girl is higher than a boy but both are doable for the right price.