Car Seats: Rather Complicated!

I have been reading about car seats over the past few days. This is my personal number one priority given we have passed V-day and were our baby to arrive we wouldn’t be allowed home without a car seat. It’s really rather complicated though, thanks to all the myriad options, ever-changing regulations and possibility of using it as part of a travel system.
Here’s a precis of what I have learnt to save you doing so, but with some links if you want to read more:
  • Group 0+ takes you from birth to 13Kg / 15 months.
  • After that we would need a second car seat – you can get one to cover group 0-1 (age 4), but this is heavier of course, not so good for travel systems and probably not great comfort for a tiny baby.
  • Lie-flat car seats exist, and are better for the child. You can keep the child in that for as long as you like, as effectively it’s the same as being in a cot (babies need to lie flat to promote development and ensure proper breathing).
  • All car seats are heavy! But there are lighter ones…
  • Isofix connectivity and/or seatbelts are how you fix a seat to a car.
  • Often an isofix base is an additional expense.
  • Currently all children up to 9 Kg must be rear-facing; rear-facing is recommended for as long as possible. i-size ensures rear-facing until 13 Kg / 15 months, but as mentioned a group 0+ seat takes you this far anyway.
  • Any car seat will have limitations as to which travel system it fits.



This looks immense but is it safe?

Here are some links to read more about the above:
I have looked at a few and listed below are ones which appeal to me, why they appeal and why they might not. I’ll provide the main review link I was using:
Very common brand and therefore well-known performance, and I believe more choices of travel system. Weighs 4.5 Kg though which is top-end. Not lie-flat.
Extra safety protection on the sides. 4.2 Kg. Multiple travel system options. Not lie-flat.
A Group 0 – 1 seat! It’s been rated a test winner by Stiwa in Germany so we know it’s well-regarded from safety POV. Swivels so you can more easily put baby in the seat in car. Stays in car though – not usable as a carry cot type thing, i.e. not part of a travel system.
Very light! 3.3 Kg. Combines with same company’s travel systems (I think), but again they do a light system (7.6 Kg). Not lie-flat.
i-size. Lie-flat. Heavy – 4.9 Kg, and big.

Choose your car seat first – perhaps with travel systems in mind – then finalise your travel system choice.

Some parting thoughts:
Safety is paramount but all of these, and others are very safe. You (and us right now) need then to think about what’s important – weight, lying flat, travel system flexibility.

V Day!

So, today is an important day in mine, my wife’s and our unborn baby’s lives. It’s V day. Now, this could stand for voting day given the UK has it’s in/out EU referendum or it could be vehicular entertainment day (come to think of it, that’s Saturday when I collect my new car!).


Viability day is after 24 weeks of pregnancy. That means we’re also well past half way. Must start learning how to be a Dad…

What it really is though is viability day. Our unborn baby, were it to decide it fancied joining us for the summer (if you can call this weather summer), would be looked after as much as humanly possible.

That’s kinda awesome.

When I think back to January and February when my wife and I had a multitude of ups and downs, it’s really pretty damned awesome. It feels good, too. I’m totally cool with the idea of being a Dad. For the moment, at least! More people at work know, I’m formally stating my desire to take paternity leave and all of this is being taken in my stride as I look forward to my new role as Dad. It’s said people can only really have five roles. Which one do I need to put aside for 18 years or so?


This looks like a good lesson to start with!

The Nursery

Oh my word. Things are getting ever-more real. I started clearing out the nursery last week. It’s been the office/games room since we moved in. The house computer and desk are now downstairs, all game and film media have been removed and furniture is slowly being taken apart.

Plenty more to remove, before we can decorate / fill with new furniture, but we’re constrained by the available space into which we can move things. I’ll do some more today no doubt.


A nursery. Ours may or may not look like this. Ever.

We have – as always – a long list of things to do. We need to do it in a sensible focused way rather than flitting all over the place. For me it’s sort the nursery and continue car seat / travel system research. Car seat mainly as I need to be ready in case anything happens early and without one of these I’d not be able to take the little one home. Dope.

In other news, as continued preparation, I bought a new car yesterday suitable for a three-person family. And it’s a little bit newer than the current one. Oh, and all doors open and shut appropriately. Older cars, huh? Now just the wife’s to get as well….


My new car (if I didn’t have a wife and baby on the way..!)


Let’s talk about maternity wear. Lots of people need it. People who need it like to wear nice clothes which make them feel good about themselves. I know my wife does – if she’s wearing something she likes, she’ll be a happier person that day. It’s also helpful if it fits well at that point in time. You know, pretty basic things really.

So why is it so hard? My wife’s now 20-something weeks’ pregnant and she’s struggled with pretty much all clothing, but the dresses I think are what cause the most consternation and befuddlement.

This dress is called Nautical. Quite.

It seems you can have any maternity dress as long as it’s blue with stripes and makes you look like a sailor. Ahoy there! It also seems that unless you go high end it’s rarely going to fit anyone at any stage of pregnancy. Not really conducive to joy, is it?
I’ve told my wife she should learn from this pregnancy what opportunities there are for an enterprising woman. Namely, to create a better-fitting selection of maternity wear with a wide-ranging variety of designs. The market’s clearly there for them. My wife must have ordered the equivalent of all stock in Amazon’s distribution centre – and returned all but a couple of things – via trips to and from the Post Office, Collect+ and more. I know, I’ve listened intently and helped shuffle things back and forth where possible.

I have no idea.

So, for now my wife has very little clothing she’s enjoying wearing, an idea for a future business and a vast understanding of Seraphine and other maternity wear selections.

Twenty (20) Weeks and Counting

So. Last week, after our Babymoon, we had our 20 week scan. Fortunately, all is looking as it should at this stage! That is all we wanted to hear.


I’m not allowed a BMW so the baby certainly isn’t.

We did not ask the sex of the baby – or flavour, as someone else had described it – as neither of us wants to know. The main reason each of us had (if I recall correctly on my wife’s part anyway) is that knowing in advance increases the risk of post-natal depression. I don’t remember where I read that, or when, or if the research is properly peer-reviewed. But you know what? Who cares, anything that helps this whole thing be the best it can works for me.

Now we’re here there’s the need to really step up the search for the first and most important things – like a car seat so when the day comes we can actually go home, a travel system so we don’t break our arms all the time and some other stuff which is in the wife’s head and not mine (clothes actually might be a good thing to get).


This is a good starting point!

We probably would have started on some of this this weekend but things didn’t go to plan to be honest…


So, we just came back from our Babymoon:


noun: babymoon; plural noun: babymoons; noun: baby-moon; plural noun: baby-moons
  1. a relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born.”

I had not heard the term until a couple of weeks ago when my ever-so-educated wife said something and upon hearing this particular word my ears pricked up concerned about what I was getting myself into!


I insisted on the pregnancy pillow coming – I’m a sensible person.

We decided a long time ago that money and biology meant we’d not be going on a ‘proper’ holiday this year but we knew something was required or we’d go mad. Also, it dawned on us that all being well, in a few months we’ll not have a holiday to ourselves for quite some time. Oh my.

So we decided a nice bank holiday weekend away in the UK somewhere was called for. I did some basic searching and decided the Cotswolds worked – we went there last year and it was ace. It was close. It was easy to get to. Yay me!


Lower Slaughter (means muddy, not the other thing)

I then had to help find where in the Cotswolds. That took some effort. Found some places, we took our time and half had gone. Tried again – and booked somewhere. Only to be told they would have events on 2/3 nights and this would be noisy. Hardly what a ~20-week pregnant lady needs! Nor her erstwhile husband…

Third time lucky we got somewhere. It was aces. Nice room, great food, very quiet. In Cheltenham which was simple to get to on Friday evening. We used it as our base from which we travelled to the Slaughters and Stow-on-the-Wold Saturday; Bourton-on-the-water Sunday and Burford on the way home Monday.


Dogs all love ice-cream, and the cone. Mine does too!!!


The Slaughters were lovely and peaceful. Rivers, short walks and dogs all over the place. Stow was more busy but it had fudge-making, a Ploughman’s lunch for me and some funky shops to gaze at. Dinner at the hotel was a awesome burger, some prawns, a belly of pork for the wife and some chocolate goodness for pudding. Some nice red wine and Belgian beer for me, too. Drinking for two, wasn’t I? Both the place we had lunch and the hotel were understanding in helping us work out what was in all the food so we knew we were ok from a baby point of view. It’s hard eating at the best of times, but when hamstrung by not actually being the one cooking it…

Bourton was great fun! We went to Birdland, which of course meant PENGUINS!!! And some other birds too. The rest of the day was walking, dog-watching, sitting and cream-tea eating. Some dogs we saw were lucky enough to get ice-cream from their owners too, which was aces.


Blooming awesome, no?

Today was mainly the journey home. We’re both exhausted, but refreshed after a lovely couple of days away. So ends our Babymoon. Phew. Is the real thing as tiring ;)?

It’s been a little while…

…and for that I’m sorry. But I haven’t had anything really to share and there’s no point writing a post about nothing. Is there?

No, the last couple of weeks have been remarkably normal/good/as expected. My wife’s getting cramps and back pain. This is not good, but explainable by becoming ever-more heavily pregnant, and doing Yoga. She loves her pregnancy pillow and dislikes vigorously that she can’t lie properly on her back. She’s eating – quite a bit – and putting on weight. The baby is moving a lot and today I felt it for the first time too! Now that’s cool.


The pillow is kinda peculiar, but the wife likes it so you know! P.S. This is not my wife. Duh.

But otherwise, remarkably normal. She went to a 80s gig on Saturday and I visited a festival of beer with a good chum. It was fun, for us both. But tiring the next day! We have chosen our new internal doors and they’ve been ordered. I’ve picked a fridge and need it to be okayed, or rejected. I’ve started a new role in work and we have our 20 week scan next week.

All good at the moment then – long may it continue. I’ll also not be as long with the next post or two. I have more to tell…


Beer Fest. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.

Our First Antenatal Class – ‘Earlybird’

So this past week my wife and I attended an NHS antenatal class, named Earlybird, for first-time parents to let them know what to expect. First thing’s first – I did not get surprised, blindsided or shocked by what we covered. This is a good thing. It shows I have some grasp on the reality and gravity of the matter, but also have done some decent reading and research despite the fact I haven’t a pile of Dad books on my desk. The internet wins clear to all 😉

It was a useful couple of hours to be honest. A bit of biology which did help me better understand the organ movement my wife is going through, in relation to the baby’s position and so on. How this can vary from Mum to Mum was quite intriguing as a scientist.


This is antenatal. It also fits with my wife’s expectation that her tummy button will flip. Cool, no?

There were a few Mums and not quite so many Dads there. But we were split up at one point to see what the Mums needed to be comfortable, and what the Dads could do to make the Mums comfortable. We came up with an amazing list. We win. Here’s what I can remember from it:

  1. Pregnancy pillows
  2. Reach for stuff / lift heavy stuff
  3. Listen, nod and say yes a lot
  4. Do housework
  5. Comprehensive catering
  6. Don’t try and fix things
  7. Emotional support
  8. Body image concern alleviation
  9. Massages
  10. Leave space as needed
  11. Man time (to refresh ourselves to ensure tip-top condition for our wives)
  12. Placeholder for when I recall the other 3…

Us Dads-to-be were. Honestly, every Mum is. Especially my Mum-to-be.

All good stuff, huh? We were awesome. The lady running the class was very impressed. It was a good morning. Makes me eager for the proper NCT course closer to birth. But let’s not rush things, huh? Lots to think about between now and then 🙂

Pregnancy is Hard

I am pretty sure I don’t need to tell anyone that. It’s obvious, right? What the wonderful, strong Mother has to go through is amazing. Yet they do it. Often, time and time again. My wife is working on our first right now and I know she’s finding it tough but you know what? She’s not complaining. Yes she lets me know what’s going on, but not once has she complained about it, rather than just let me know so I can hopefully tell her it’s ok, I understand or at the very least not try and find a solution (this is hard, too). She’s awesome.


That’s a nice way to look at it 🙂 – now, earn that promotion!

I’m going to say something perhaps a little provocative now. Pregnancy is hard for the Dad, too. Yes, that’s right. It is. It really is. Not Mother-hard of course, that would be a clear lie. But in its own way it is hard. The Dad can’t really help with any of the pregnancy. Yes we can buy stuff, cook food, research travel systems and bigger fridges but we can’t actually turn ourselves into a little human factory. Arnold Schwarzenegger once did but I think that was fiction.

What’s hard about it from a Dad’s perspective is that we see what brilliant things the Mother is doing, often with quite a penalty (painful legs, unfitting wardrobe, lack of sleep, extreme tiredness, morning sickness, emotional ups and downs and so on), but can only nod and listen attentively. It’s hard seeing all that.


Such a weird film now you look back on it.

What you both need to remind each other is that it’s worth it. There’s a reason why we walked knowingly into this and it’s getting closer. One last point too – enjoy the pregnancy. It’s not something either of you will experience that often in life so remember the good days, the fun bits – the quickening or the day it really is obvious bump has arrived. Make the hard pregnancy as easy as you can.

P.S. It might be hard, but it’s awesome 🙂

The Reality of Pregnancy

So my wife is now 17 weeks pregnant. And you can tell. She’s really started to show in the past couple of weeks. To me it’s pretty cool, and shows things are progressing the way they should. I think she is the same, but she’s also surprised at how big she is right now.

It’s possible she’s also started to feel some kicks from the little one. It’s a little early for someone normally to feel this in their first pregnancy. But it does happen. This is also very cool. What’s a little off-putting for me is when my wife called it the Quickening. And yes, that is it’s widely-used term. It just made me think of the Highlander film series.


The Quickening. The Highlander version.

We’re hoping to take a break somewhere in the UK for late May bank holiday weekend. This will be our holiday for the year, and also our last one before we become parents. It’s crazy to think about that. Later this year our lives will change massively, in a good way. After 17 years together and 6 of them married we’ll not be the only ones in this family and any holiday thereafter will have a very different focus.

I’m also seriously starting to think about the items we need to buy. Specifically travel systems and car seats. I have no idea what I’m doing. I do know if you ask for opinions everyone has a good one but I must remember that their choice was based on what they needed. They did the research and took the plunge. They then have a reference point from which to speak, but in the majority of cases no second reference point. In summary, take onboard the info but remember to use it to make a choice, not be the choice.


This is me. So very true.