NHM Readers: Places to take toddlers paddling in a stream

As part of “North Hants Mum Question Time”, I was asked by Juliet “Is there anywhere close to Basingstoke where you can take toddlers paddling in a stream?”

My response, as well as those received from the community, are below.

NHM Readers: Places to take toddlers paddling in a stream

Louise NHM replied “There is a “secret” place in Hook that is safe for little ones to paddle. Plus there is the stream in Eastrop or the streams that are all over Chineham. In fact on Sunday, Mr NHM and Miss NHM walked through several streams in Chineham for two hours and had a blast! I still feel bad about the insects they probably destroyed though! lol”

Hannah said “piggy dams off Newnam Lane is lovely for paddling. At the village hall in basing you take a right down Newnam Lane and on the left there’s a dirt path….if you follow it there’s a stream and little bridgey thing. when we last went someone had put a tyre swing up too!”

Louise said “Hannah – I know exactly where you mean. It’s where the river curves off to the left. There is a footpath sign and a red post box? (I cycle that way a LOT in the summer! lol)”

Saretta said “There’s a lovely stream to paddle in in Overton. It’s down Station Road, once you go over the little bridge it’s just on the left”

Katie said “Saretta – the Overton one is is called Flashetts and is actually the River Test. We were there today”

Charlotte said “The Crabtree there is a little steam my little boy loves it”

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How NorthHantsMum supports local Businesses

I’m a HUGE fan of local businesses and supporting the local economy. Especially when many NHM Readers are local business owners themselves.

It’s one of the things that I am proud of NHM for, being able to directly impact the local economy by publicising local businesses. Even more importantly, by directly impacting local families, either as the providers of goods and services or the purchasers of goods and services.

There are several ways that we support local Businesses on NorthHantsMum…

Guest Post

Guest Posts are FREE and are a great way to publicise your local business to local parents.

Any local business can have a Guest Post on NHM. You can find out more at the following post: http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/2016/12/20/a-guest-post-vs-a-review-on-northhantsmum/

You can find a link to all previous Guest Posts here: http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/category/guest-post-2/

NHM Reviews

NorthHantsMum is quite famous for our reviews of local places to visit, things to do and places to eat. They are often very popular posts because people seem to prefer Reviews.

You can find all of the Reviews here: http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/2017/01/18/list-of-reviews-on-northhantsmum/ 

Sometimes we decide to write a Review about a place because we absolutely love it, (sometimes we DON’T write Reviews because friends have made us SWEAR not to tell the NHM Community about a secret/special location that they know of! lol), but more often than not we are asked to write a Review after sampling the local businesses offering.

If this is something that might be suitable for your business, please have a look at this post: http://www.northhantsmum.co.uk/2016/12/20/a-guest-post-vs-a-review-on-northhantsmum/

I have several NHM Readers who help me to write these Reviews and I’m very proud of them all for all of their hard work in doing such a fab job writing these posts.

Business Directory

The Business Directory is coming into it’s own at the moment!

You can have a free or paid advert on the NorthHantsMum Business Directory.

Free listings have just the name of your business and either a website or facebook page listed. If you would like your business to be listed with a free listing, please just email me the name of your business and the website or facebook page you would like us to link too.

Free adverts never expire, but once a paid advert “runs” out on it’s time, it is converted to a free advert.

If you would like a paid listing, please email me at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com for more details.


Small Business Support Groups

I have two Facebook groups that support local businesses:

NHM Publicity for Local Businesses – Support local Businesses!!!!!

This group is open to anyone to join and is a great way to support local businesses. As the pinned post states, please only post your offers once a month, so as not to cause lots of spam in the group.

NHM Mums running Small Businesses

This group is for local Mum’s who run their own businesses to share information and network. I often set up networking events and these are where those events are created and publicised.

Check In on Facebook

There are over 2361 people who are friends of my Louise nhm Smith” profile.

(Don’t worry, I never look at people’s profiles as I don’t have the time or energy. The NHM Community is very welcoming and there are loads of groups to join).

Whenever I click to say that I am “interested” in an event, these events pop up in my friends newsfeeds. If there is ever an event that you would like to pop up in my friends newsfeeds, please just add me to the event.

I also often visit local places and check in to say I’ve been there as it raises the profile of that business.

Other ways to support local Businesses

Are there any other ways that you think NorthHantsMum can support local businesses? Is there anything that is missing?

I’d love to hear your feedback at NorthHantsMum@gmail.com.

As always, thank you for your support and thank you for being part of the NorthHantsMum Community!

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NHM Readers recommend: Baby-Led Weaning Ideas

Thank you all for the replies we had regarding a question on baby-led weaning from a member of the NHM community: “I need some inspiration on baby led weaning foods for lunchtime and dinner time. I’ve done the cucumber sticks, carrot sticks, pasta but am wondering if anyone has any other suggestions?”

Thank you also to Juliet who put this post together!!

NHM readers recommend – Baby-Led Weaning Ideas

Kelly says “Eggs are good in different forms – scrambled, slices of omelette even egg muffins with different fillings. Pittas, Hummus, Avocado (messy!!!), Savoury rice, Soup!!!”

Natalie says “Banana egg pancakes – easy to do (2 ingredients) make up a batch and they’re good warm straight from the pan & my little one also likes them cold too so good for out & about”

Shona says “This Facebook page gave me so many awesome ideas outside of the normal ones… worth a look.” Weaning, starting solids/finger food- Friendly Support & Guidance

Catherine says “pasta is my fav with mascarpone cheese and some herbs as it’s salt free or sometimes I use an Ellas pouch for sauce. Avocado toast, grated courgette in pancake mix. Peas are great when they get their pincer grip. I also use a lot of preloaded spoons for rice or lentil dishes etc.”

Jennie says “We do a cooked chopped broccoli with breadcrumbs, cheese, chilli sauce and egg mixed together and baked in a Yorkshire pudding tray that goes down well”

Laura says “Mine loved peas and broccoli for weaning and still loves them now at 4. Steam til they’re soft enough to go a bit mushy. But a great intro to green veggies.”

Kimberley says “Maybe add hummus and other dips to bread sticks and carrot sticks.”

Lottie says “With blw I have just always given my daughter whatever meals I am having. She enjoys chilli, curry, gnocchi and bangers and mash at dinner time. For lunches we have crackers with cheese, wraps, quiche and sandwiches. Just have to be mindful of salt intake!!!”

Claire says “Mine used to love these spinach and cheese muffins, make a huge batch they freeze well and are great for taking out too… View topic – spinach and cheese muffins • Baby Led Weaning

Also like the others said egg stuff so eggy bread, sliced omelette, hard boiled eggs, cheese cubes, sweet potato chips, homemade fish fingers always go down well and tuna pitta pockets (can also make these with puff pastry and freeze!)”

Rachel says “Whatever you are eating….that’s the best bit”

Laura says “The baby led weaning cookbook app is so good! Only £4.99 I think and so many good and easy recipes”

Karen says “Anything you eat.. (except honey if under 1 year). Cut into pieces that are longer than their fist initially so they stick out of a clenched hand. Let them go for it. Don’t worry how much goes in/down. Food before one is just for fun. As they get used to it make the foods smaller, you’ll be surprised how they’ll concentrate until they can pick up that pea! The book baby led weaning by Gill Rapley is fab”

Wendy says “Agree with above just feed them whatever you are eating. The only real rule is no honey until around 12 months. I’ve heard so many people say how much more enjoyable weaning is second time round because there’s no rules.”

Kath says “As the others have said anything you are eating. Often if my little one was on my lap while I was eating she would launch her hand onto my plate to try whatever it was. They do say that if they can’t handle it they won’t be able to pick it up (eg smaller foods like peas etc with that worry of choking). I remember at around 8 months old she got hold of a spare rib while we were having chinese and started munching on that!”

Tara says “Baby led weaning cookbook app is really helpful. Includes advice as well as recipes”

Jade asked “With the carrot sticks are they supposed to be cooked? Will be asking the exact same question in 6 months time”

  • Kelly said “Entirely up to you and what you’re comfortable with an uncooked carrot probably will only be used for gnawing!!! But quite good for teething!”
  • Catherine said “I would avoid raw carrot sticks myself and raw apple slices.. whole raw carrot or apple or else cook carrot or blanch the apple”
  • Karen said “If they’re sat upright, supervised and only putting food into their own mouth then the risk of choking is very small. As baby hits 6 months(ish) their gag reflex moves backwards in their mouth, they may trigger their gag reflex as they learn to put food in their mouth, but that’s what’s supposed to happen, that way they learn how to do it. Have a look at the book baby led weaning by Gill Rapley”

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NHM Readers: Children’s first aid course

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if anyone could help this fellow NHM reader: “Any idea how I could get onto/find info on how to get one a children’s first aid course? Got a 3 year old and a 1 year old, and when my little one choked on a grape a few weeks ago I had no idea what to do!!! Luckily she was fine but would like to be more informed, just not sure where to start!?”

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order. Thank you to Shona for putting this post together. 

NHM Readers suggest children’s first aid courses

Louise NHM Smith suggested Vicky at First Aid Angels Limited and also to check the local NCT website to see if they are doing any first aid courses.

Samantha said: St John’s x

Sarah said: you could try contacting local community centres or nurseries or play groups? sometimes they book a course for staff and have spaces left?

Kelsey said: We went on a free one that the children’s centres were doing. Not sure if they still are.

Marie said: First aid angels

Marie said: I’d recommend Vicky at First aid angels too. We did a group class with her at my friends house when the kids were small.

Kay said: We use Tiger Lilly for our paediatric courses at Spotlight.

Bethan said: Speak to RCS. They run safe and healthy baby courses which incorporate a paediatric first aid training session x

Cerys said: NCT run baby & child first aid courses in association with Red Cross. By coincidence, September’s are this Saturday, 2 courses, am & pm

Louise said:Baby Resuscitation highly recommend this company

Kimberley said:NCT runs great baby and child first aid courses. They are at Everest College every month.

Lucy said:I did mine at the library in basingstoke festival place… It was at a huge discount too so worth asking incase they are doing more (as this was a year and a half ago now) x

Lizzy said: We did ours at Basingstoke discovery centre & was very cheap. So definitely worth checking if they still do it.

First Aid Angels Limited thank you for your support Ladies. We offer a 2 hour parents first aid course in your own home or venue Usually on a weekday evening. We are a Qualsafe approved centre and offer accredited Paediatric and adult first aid courses too.

Lizzie said: I did the NCT Red Cross one which was really good. There’s also a “Safe & Healthy baby/toddler” course run through the children’s centres which covers loads if things including First Aid. That was free & was brilliant.

Kelly said: I have done the Tigerlillys 12hr paediatric course which is really good or they do a shorter 6hr course and a reasonable price.

Luan said: Viables have some emergency aid courses coming up and they deal with various things including choking for infants and adults. Free too! Next is Sep 20th at 2pm. Our new Birth to Beyond course starts on Monday and a first aider will be attending to cover choking, febrile convulsions etc. The course is £20 for five weeks and we will be covering all sorts of other things too. First aid for infants is in the first week. 01256 473634 Viables Community Centre or office@viables.org.uk

Peta said: First aid for life. Owner is london based but she has health care gurus all over. NCT use her (very adaptable/personalised) courses regularly.

Karen said: Nursery Rhymes Inc – St John’s

Susan said:We did ours through the Red Cross but I don’t remember any booking details.

Madeleine said: Tadley Triangle Heartstart did free courses a few years ago

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NHM Readers recommend: Cooking classes for six year olds

An NHM reader asked “Hello! I’ve been hunting for cookery workshops/classes to attend with my nearly 6 year old son. I’ve found options for preschool age but can’t seem to find anything in the area for his age range. He wants to make real food, not just decorate biscuits or cakes now. Do you know of anything out there? Thanks!!”

Thank you to all of the NHM readers who responded, these are listed below, in no particular order! Thank you also to Juliet who put this post together!! 

Tot Cross Buns

Tot Cross Buns

Michelle said “Tot Cross Buns run by Allison Woolford. And now they’ve got Kerry on board too.”

Louise said “Tot Cross Buns is awesome!”

Kerry said “Please send us a message and we would be happy to talk to you about our Saturday kitchens which you and your son can come along too, we have lots of fun and are passionate about cooking and want to pass on this passion to children – giving them confidence with food and encouraging them to try new tastes and have fun in the kitchen with mum and dad. We look forward to hearing from you”

Cookery Doodle Doo North Hants

Cookery Doodle Doo North Hants

Alison said “My daughter loves Cookery Doodle Doo.. Highly recommended”

Katie said “Hi, I run Cookery Doodle Doo. For primary school aged children we offer the monthly Sunday Pudding Club. Drop your child off with us for 2 hours in Laverstoke and collect them proudly bearing a large pud to share at your family Sunday dinner. I also offer affordable private cookery lessons for any age child (and a group of their friends if liked) – why not get a group together for ad hoc or regular Saturday morning sessions?! They could make their own tea!”



Becky said “Check out this page, it’s a charity that does fab cooking and gardening clubs”

Sarah said “Check out inspero. Kids gardening and cooking”



Lyndsey said “I’m not sure if they do many kids classes but Newlyns Farm Shop in Odiham have a cookery school & run some kids events that might be worth looking into”

Marie said “We struggled with this for my youngest. As a cake baker and decorator, and old school home cook, she needed more than the basic stuff at that age. Didn’t find anything, but stuck it out til this year, her 8th birthday, and she has a cookery class at Newlyns cookery school in Warnborough. My eldest has done classes there, and they’re amazing. 2/3 course meals!”

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NHM Readers: Parks for under 2s

As part of “North Hants Mum Question Time”, I was asked by Donna “Are there any parks around that an under 2 year old can go to climb about easily, all the ones I have found so far all have either the phone looking steps or thin ladders. Means I have to keep lifting her to get to the slides which she gets frustrated about”

My response, as well as those received from the community, are below in no particular order.

NHM Readers: Parks for under 2s

Louise replied “ What about the park that is behind the Apollo Hotel? I think that’s pretty good for little ones and always very quiet”

Donna said “I have been to that one and for running around it is amazing but to get on the slide it is a phone style climbing bit which she gets angry at lol”

Saretta said “Victory Park is lovely for little ones and also there’s a lovely park in Overton, it’s on the right (coming from Basingstoke) before ‘Mill Cottages’ It’s at the end of Lower Brook Street (Brookvale, near Bcot)”

Juliet said “ There’s one on Brighton Way between Stanford and Gershwin that has a nice toddler friendly slide”

Sarah said “ Near the park by the Apollo, there is another by Everest School. Safest one for little ones I have found so far”

Louise NHM said “There’s LOADS in Chineham too. About 5 that are suitable for little people.”

Nikki said “ Love the one in Old Basing…my scamps can do lots on their own and there’s more challenging stuff for my eldest. Turn right at the lights by Oliver’s Chip Shop, then first left and follow the road past the care home.”

Cesca said “The playpark in Russell Howard Park has a toddler climbing frame”

Charlotte said “Black Dam one is quite good for little ones, there is the bigger slide with think steps but there is a smaller one too”

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NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddlers on an Aeroplane Journey

Louise recently posted on “Louise nhm Smith”: “Good Evening Everyone! I can’t help myself but I saw on a friends fb that she’s looking for ideas for keeping a toddler quiet on a long aeroplane journey. My initial suggestions were the Playmobil 123 motorbike and “pip squeak” crayolas with any of the Usborne activity books. I’ve also wrapped toys up as that was a nice distraction for at least half a minute! What would your suggestions be?”

Members of the NHM community responded with the below, many thanks for your contributions!

Thank you very much also to Juliet for putting this post together!

NHM Reader Recommendations: Toddlers on an Aeroplane Journey

Fiona says “CBeebies app with games and stories on.”

Sarah says “Aqua draw”

Beckie says “I have taken colouring, plasticine, stories, iPad, snacks, duplo etc. I have just bought some travel activity books on amazon for our holiday. That might be worth a look.”

Lisa says “We had Julia Donaldson activity sticker books”

Abigail says “A new book that has lots to look at such as Richard Scarry books, Where’s Wally or Just Imagine and You Choose by Nick Sharrat and Pippa Goodhart.”

Becky says “My friend wrapped little presents up for her son to unwrap every hour”

Skye says “iPad and don’t worry about a child making noise. It’s a flight not a day spa.”

Lucy says “Def sticker books, keeps mine entertained for hours… and snacks that take forever to eat.”

Wendy says “Wallpaper border is very good to use as drawing paper on planes. My friend also has tips on his travel blog. https://www.lifeofreilly.tv/how-to-survive-a-long-haul…/

Caroline says “Cbeebies app works really well for our daughter”

Marie says “Does she have a tablet? Mr Maker has a good app and there is a peppa pig paint and draw one that my little boy used to love. If she’s into watching movies maybe there will be a kids movie on the flight?”

Colleen says “Tablet, headphones, battery pack.”

Bridget says “We travelled over 10 hours to the US with our 19 month old on Feb and I brought her some toddler headphones because the airlines often have the buds and I thought they would be bad for her ears. Also if you are travelling from Heathrow Terminal 3 they have an excellent family lounge which is free. It has a quiet room, soft play areas and loads of toys. Was so good for tiring our toddler out before the flight. Also make a pack lunch because if your baby is under 2 and travelling on your lap they won’t get any food on board so think ahead. Snack attack things are great, raisins, cheesy ritz etc”

Karen says “When we went on a long car journey I bought various new toys to buy us time… Aqua doodles, toy car, cheap baby doll (which had odd bits with it), new book, fuzzy felt books, craft pack from Baker Ross, basically a variety of different things to buy a bit of time”

Jeni says “Shape sorter eggs. I have two sets of them for each car and they entertain mine for a good while”

Rachel says “We’ve flown abroad twice recently (2 & 4 first trip, 3 & 4 the second)….they have their own tablets which were great as could download films/cartoons in advance. Colouring books and crayons (small) were appreciated by my daughter on both trips, along with some crafty bits. My son (younger) played with a selection of vehicles the first time (free with a magazine we bought for the plane), the second time he just wanted to watch the on board entertainment. Pack some snacks too, things you know they love. I packed too many bits the first time….I followed all the advice I could get and packed EVERYTHING. Completely forgetting to take into account the fact that my children are individuals, and my daughter enjoys sitting and colouring/drawing/making but my son gets bored of those easily.”

Rachel says “I’ve heard tablets can’t be used on all flights but phones can so make sure you have some apps on your phone too!”

Lauren says “Crayola colour wonder packs are great as the pens don’t have ink in them! Keep snacks handy!!”

Kelly says “I’ve been known to take small pots of playdough for the lap tray and a couple of cutters. Small puzzles. Mini Etch a sketch type thing. New books that they haven’t seen before. Daughter had a baby and little blanket. Def snacks. Lollys! Don’t normally like them but for take off and landing they’re great if ears are an issue. Made sure we had a pillow and blanket as soon as we got on too.”

Bridget says “If you have a lap baby (under 2) call up the airline and ask for a bassinet set, these are on the bulk heads so you get extra leg room which is helpful. They can’t 100% guarantee and they will tell you to ask again at check in to confirm but it’s always worked for me. The bassinets are great for letting babies lay down and sleep comfortably. They can take up to 25lbs which is about 19 months ish”

Sarah says “Usborne sticker activity books helped us on flights when the girls were little. Good distraction for take off and landing.”

Marie says “I’ve recently done a 13hour flight with a 6 week old and a 3 year old. My biggest tip is to travel over night. Our flight left at around 9pm. The baby was easy. Slept most of the way and only woke to be fed.  The 3 year old was my biggest fear. But with his own tv and kindle. It kept him occupied for the first couple of hours. Then he slept for 7 1/2 hours. The remainder of the journey he was mesmerised with the games and cartoons on the entertainment system provided. We had cars/books/toys etc in a bag but he barely touched these. Sticker books were a life saver when he started to get fed up. (Don’t forget pull ups or nappies, saves any accidents). Of course snacks are a given. We are planning the same flight (returning to England) for Christmas and again plan to come overnight. My son I’m not worried about but my daughter will be 15 months old this time and I’m dreading it. Easier when she was a baby!”

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NHM Readers: Suggested iPad Apps for 2 to 4 year olds

In response to a question from a NHM Reader, I asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook What suggested iPad Apps (Free or Paid) for 2-3 year olds and 3-4 year olds do people recommend? Specifically educational ones, not games.” . (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

Please note, these are in no particular order!

1. Minion Rush

Despicable Me: Minion Rush on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Lisa says “If you put in children’s number games there is one kids can trace in the number, there’s the same one for letters…. My son likes Minion Rush it helps with hand eye co-ordination”.

2. Todo Math

Todo Math on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Claire says “Todo Math is brill”.

3. Jolly Phonics

Jolly Phonics Letter Sounds App – Jolly Learning Jolly Learning

As recommended by Jason.

4. Bugs and …

Bugs and Buttons on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Numbers on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

Bugs and Bubbles on the App Store – iTunes – Apple

As recommended by Susan.

5. Pirate phonics

Buried Treasure phonics game – Phonics Play

As recommended by Susan.

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NHM Readers: What I would buy if i was doing it all again!

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook what they would buy or not buy if they were to have another baby based on their experiences (Thank you very much to everyone who responded!)

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order

NHM Readers: What would I buy or not buy if I was to do it all again?

Mindy said: I probably wouldn’t bother with a breastfeeding pillow as we encourage mums to lean back now and you don’t need a pillow for that. Also you may not need a breast pump, wait and see and buy if needed. Ditto with steriliser.

Jessica said: I wouldn’t bother with a breast pump, electric bottle warmer, cot duvet and bumpers, a pram that doesn’t have a car seat adapter, baby carrier/harness or millions of outfits in newborn or 0-3 months. I would buy again an electric steriliser, bottle warming flask, sleep pods/sleeping bags, pram system with car seat adapters.

Mary said: I would buy a proper sidecar cot and would buy a proper sling or find out about the sling library to see what was best.

Kathryn said: I had my 3rd baby 8 months ago, after my second we got rid of everything except the cot and car seat. Before my youngest was born we bought a new sling and got given some clothes. Nothing else was needed.

Donna said: If bottle feeding, the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep is one that I wish I had now and definitely pushchair with car seat attachments.

Shona said: I wouldn’t buy a fancy swing or rocker as he barely used it. I would stick with my Perfect Prep machine every time. I wouldn’t buy a bath seat again but I love my bath sponge that you just lay them on and they stay in one place.

Colleen said: Wouldn’t bother with car seat adaptors as barely used them, and you’re not supposed to leave baby in car seat for longer than necessary anyhow. Nappy bin is a waste of time, just use nappy bags. Change table would have been pointless as all mine moved so much it wasn’t safe to change them past floor height from about 4 months.

Jenni said: Ikea high chair is the best, easy to clean and can get an insert for little babies.

Wendy said: Best buys: Good quality stroller (worth spending money here), Morrck blanket, Ikea high chair, side crib, sling. Worst buys: New travel system (buy them second hand) and anything that takes up space in your living room (rocker chairs, rocking horses etc).

Mary said: Don’t bother with: shoes until they walk (couldn’t get the damn things on his curled up feet), faffy outfits in the first 3 months as you have to change them so often per day, stick to lots of baby gros! Gimmicky toys, they don’t take notice and you’ll be given loads as gifts anyway. Too many clothes in newborn size, in case you have a big baby and never end up using them, again you will be sent loads of clothes. Sit in walker.

Do get: Ikea or Baby Bjorn high chair that is completely wipe clean. All those ones with straps and padding get filthy and you shouldn’t need straps anyway as babies should be able to sit unaided before you wean. A good sling if you are having a second baby, they sleep for ages in them leaving you hands free. Set up a little changing station on both floors with mat/nappies/wipes so everything is to hand. We personally found nappy bins useful, don’t want to traipse out to the bin every 5 mins. If breast/mixed feeding, Medela bottles are great as baby needs to use same motion to drink helping you switch with ease. Grobags – no worrying about blankets etc. Monitor with a camera. Sock ons for no more lost socks.

Donna said: Yes to the sock ons – best buy ever!

Catherine said: Do get sling, zip up swaddle, side crib, ear thermometer, playmat/gym and video monitor.

Don’t get alarm for under mattress (unnecessary hateful thing), any body thermometer other than an earone, stupid light up egg room thermometer, highchair (there are some nice small ones that cost a bit, we got a high padded one which we never used after the first month as I replaced it with £20 one you attach to a chair) and any outfits in newborn that don’t button under nappy, they just ride up.

Jennie said: I’d buy a bath sponge seat, proper sling, cloth nappies and a baby swing. I wouldn’t bother with a side cot for the bed (it got used for storage whilst she slept in our bed), baby outfits, baby shoes, playmat or a change table. I have a bad back so getting upstairs to get to the changing table was as much of an issue as changing on my lap/floor.

Vicky said: Our best buys were the Baby Bjorn bouncer, a mothercare fabric bath support, a decent baby monitor/camera, lovely soft blanket for in and out of the pram, vests and sleepsuits. This may sound a bit strange but I bought puppy pads (cheap from TK Maxx) to put under his bum during nappy off time – they catch the urine and absorb it rather than laying on a wet towel. If you’re breast feeding I found the Lansinoh disposable nursing pads to be fantastic. I’d also buy a decent sling. Personally I wouldn’t bother with baby shoes, dribble bibs, baby outfits, fabric breast pads (just leaked straight through to clothes) and loads of cuddly toys.

Vicky said: Perfect prep is a genius if bottle feeding. Lots of muslins – I found M&S ones the softest and they wash well. Shnuggle baby bath is amazing – 2 free hands almost from birth. Aldi nappies are cheap and brilliant. Lots of babygrows, sleepsuits and vests for the first couple of months. Swaddles and then grobags – I find the Sainsbury’s ones the best.

Lisa said: Think most things I would suggest have been covered. My only addition is to not bother with special tummy time gadgets. Spent a lot of money on a Lamaze toy which was a complete waste of money! I think a good buggy is essential. I bought mine 2nd hand which was fine but chose cost over personal choice.

Gemma said: I’d get a baby sling from day one. I wish I’d got mine for baby number two earlier. I missed out the first few weeks of sling time!  
Wouldn’t bother with a Baby Bjorn as it hurt my back (let alone being bad for baby’s hips) Could manage without moses basket and pram part of a travel system. Only need one or the other, not both, especially if you get a buggy that lays flat for newborns which many do now.

Cerys said: All I needed for no 3 were nappies, a wrap sling, sleepsuits and boobs.

Melanie said: Best buys: Baby Bjorn bouncer (suitable from newborn and last years. Indestructible!) Oxo perfect pull wipes dispenser means you only need one hand to pull them out and keeps them moist. Cheeky wipes are great if your child suffers from nappy rash or you want something environmentally friendly. Monitor and webcam. Nappy bin. Ability to play music wirelessly in their bedroom (so you can put it on without going in). Jumparoo. Vtech Walker.
Don’t buys (based on things neither of my children liked): Crawl ball, door bouncer, sit in walker (but think it would be better on wooden or tiled floors)

Mata said: I would buy: Cot bed that can be used as a 3 sided bedside cot as well as a toddler bed. Nursing bras, breast pads, changing mat, wipes, nappy bin, sling, pushchair, car seat that attaches to pushchair, vest, sleepsuits, large hooded towels (still in use at age 5), sleeping bag and blanket.

Maybe: Moses basket (for daytime naps downstairs)

Wouldn’t bother: Baby bath, sponges/wash mitts, cute outfits, scratch mitts, playmat, bouncy chair/swing, standard cot, toys, lay-flat separate pram, feeding equipment, purpose-made changing bag and Bumbo seat.

Natashia said: Personally I would recommend a “try before you buy” approach where possible for example renting a sling or electric breast pump and attending sales for second hand bits where you can stock up on essentials for your baby’s next phase. For nappies sure Aldi, Lidl or own brands are cheaper but if you like the leading brands then keep a close eye on supermarket offers and shop around as it then works out to almost the same as own brands.

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NHM Readers: Sticking out ears

I recently asked the Friends of  my “Louise nhm Smith” profile on Facebook if they could help with the following question: “My daughter is 3 years old and since a few months old has had ears that stick out quite extremely. Although this doesn’t bother her yet, I do worry that it will be a target for bullying once she starts school.

When I discussed with the doctor the option of having them pinned back, she was very dismissive and said that they would not do this until she was sixteen or if she started to get bullied and requested it herself. However bullying can have such long lasting effects on one’s personality that I’d rather not wait until it happens.

Has anyone else’s child had ears that stick out and what did they do about it?”

These were the responses I received. They are in no particular order

NHM Readers advice about sticking out ears

Caitlin said: I personally had my ears pinned when I was about six years old, though that was 18 years ago! I did get severely bullied and unfortunately surgery was not completely successful however I would say try and see a different doctor and get a second opinion as it is fairly straightforward so I can’t see why they would need to wait!

Stacey said: yeah why should she have to wait until she gets bullied!!

Lucy said: I was bullied at school for big sticky out ears, bugs bunny teeth with a large gap from thumb sucking, glasses and being overweight. It sucked. But I dealt with it, eventually stood up to my bullies and got on with it. It might not have been nice but it’s all part of what has made me who I am now and whilst I may still be fat, still have my grandads ears and a gap in my teeth (I took the decision at 13 not to fix that as it would affect my flute playing) I’m a strong enough person to not worry about it. Isn’t it better to teach our kids that bullying isn’t acceptable and to be strong and confident enough to stand up to it than to surgically fix a problem that might not happen?

Sue said: Think it would be viewed as cosmetic and so you would have to prove it affects confidence/ is a cause for bullying etc

Gail said: wait until nursery age and then go to doctors, lie if necessary about bullying. You must do what you think is best for your baby!!

Honor said: My ex niece had sticky out ears ,my ex brother and sister in law had the same worries they also went to the doctors and had same reply ,it landed up with them having to pay for them to be pinned back. Even when they said it was affecting her mentally they wouldn’t budge. So I suggest having to pay for it to be done whilst she’s young before it’s an issue.

Mata said: I wonder what the ‘pinning back’ involves? I would not expose my child to a procedure that is not medically necessary, unless the child fully understood what it involves and requested it him/herself. I think the doctor is right – even if what he/she’s said is not what the parents wanted to hear – exposing a child to surgery that is purely cosmetic does not sound ethical to me. I guess the parents can always go private if they wish.

Natashia said: This is a tough one but will share my personal experience. I had the same issue and had the surgery when I was 15. Getting it done through the NHS may be none unless they can assess that the issue is causing the child psychological distress. Even getting it done privately not sure what the process is in terms of consent to carry out cosmetic surgery on a minor. The thing I found wasn’t necessarily with bullying so much as the non-stop teasing which can really knock your self confidence and this was how it affected me.

As a teenager at the time it didn’t matter how pretty I tried to look there was always the dreaded ears which I always tried to cover with doing my hair in creative ways and I was convinced it will cause me issues into adulthood and affect things like relationships,career opportunities etc. Of course each of us have our own insecurities but if not managed or dealt with can cause long term issues like depression, some people can make peace with their insecurities but not everyone can but that does not make you weak. The operation was done by a fantastic plastic surgeon (it pays to do your homework here!) who did a great job, my parents could get it done for me through their private medical following a review on me by a psychologist. The operation involves a cut at the back of each ear and removal of cartilage then stitched back again. The recovery took a while, I walked with bandage around my head for about a week (or two) until they were happy for the stitches to come out. Then my ears were still quite blue,swollen and sensitive for another couple of weeks and it probably took another month or so to appear ‘normal’

Needless to say it was very painful as well through the recovery but overall it was a success. I also tried to keep the operation very quiet as I was scared of further teasing on that so planned it to happen over school holidays. But best thing my parents ever did for me I have no regrets. There were times I wished they just got it done for me when I was little but then again with anything cosmetic I strongly believe it should only be done when it is your own decision. My parents accepted and loved me for who I was and only acted upon my request, though it took Dutch courage for me to bring up the topic with them and they still tried to get me to accept myself as I were, but I couldn’t get past it and then they supported me through that. You want to do the best for your child of course but sometimes it can be hard not to reflect our insecurities as parents and assume our children will feel the same way. Good luck with your research and whichever decision you make.

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