Archive for the ‘Cambridge Baby Blog’ Category

Baby blog – 12 things to do before 12 months

Posted Tuesday, November 19th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

Baby’s grow incredibly quickly. They change so much in just their first year, I can’t even begin to imagine what Molly will be like this time next year. It goes by so quick I think it’s important to make the most of every moment before it’s gone. That’s why I’ve made a list of things I want to do with Molly before she turns 1. Some things I’ve already done and some I’ve still yet to do. I haven’t got long left though so I better get cracking!

12 things to do with baby before they’re 12 months old.

  1. Make handprint and footprint keepsakes - These are very special keepsakes to have and there are so many ways to capture them these days. We just have simple prints in a frame on the wall but you can them made into jewellery now and so much more. We’ve also started to make some christmas ornaments out of air drying clay for gifts but they’re still a work in progress so I’m not sure how they’re going to turn out. I have everything crossed that they work.
  2. Take baby swimming - I have to say I haven’t done this one yet. I have planned to on many occasions but something just keeps getting in the way. I’d love to take Molly swimming, I think she’d absolutely love it. It’s so important to introduce these things at a young age.
  3. Start baby sign language - I came across a baby sign language group a couple of months ago by chance and I’m so glad I did. It’s been great and Molly loves it. She’s picked up a couple of things but I know of some babies now (older than Molly) that can communicate to their parents with signing. Starting them earlier lets them learn what the signs mean long before they’re able to copy them and communicate their needs with them.
  4. Go to a baby class - I’ve been going to baby sensory classes since Molly was about 4 months old and it’s the best thing I’ve done with her. It’s a really relaxed place to spend some time with baby and have some fun at the same time. It’s also a great place to meet other parents and see other babies. I find it’s good to see other babies and how they all develop at different rates. It can be very reassuring. 
  5. Get a photo of the whole family - I have so many pictures of Molly. I have quite a few pictures of Molly and Sam. I have barely any pictures of me and Molly and I think I have only 2 pictures of all 3 of us - and they’re not very good. Make sure you get a picture of your little family while they’re still young. It doesn’t have to be a professional shoot, just a picture of all of you that you can look back on. 
  6. Start a baby memory book or photo album - You can put the pictures mentioned above in a memory book. I have to be honest and say that I’m not that good at noting down when Molly hit certain milestones. I have no idea when she started waving or crawling or pointing. It would probably be nice to have these things in a little memory book but I do have a photo album which I’ve been putting photographs in chronological order. So at least I have that. 
  7. Go to the park and play on the swings - Molly loves the swings! It’s a great thing to do to get out of the house, enjoy some fresh air and have some fun.
  8. Dress them up in something ridiculous for a special occasion or just for fun - Everyone should have an embarrassing picture of them dressed up when they’re a baby right?

Baby blog – 10 ways my life has changed since having a baby

Posted Wednesday, November 13th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

My teeny tiny newborn will be 10 months old in a couple of days. 10 months!  That's double digits. I can’t quite believe it. This year has flown by in a haze of sleepless nights, endless feeds and countless nappy changes. It’s been the most challenging 10 months that I’ve encountered in my years on Earth but I wouldn’t change them. It may have been hard but it’s been amazing to give birth to my own little baby and nurture her into the slightly bigger bundle of joy she is today (most of the time). Life is completely different now to what it was this time last year.


10 ways my life has changed since having a baby


  1. Lie in’s are a thing of the past. Well, that’s not entirely true - it’s just that the definition of a lie in has changed. Sleeping past 7am is considered a lie in now. Sleeping past 8 has happened but this is an incredibly rare treat. I can probably count on one hand how many times this has happened since January. Oh, what I’d give to sleep until I wake up naturally.
  2. A late night is now classed as 9pm. I’m not kidding. I’m probably ready for bed around 7 these days.  
  3. I’m rarely seen in clean clothes.That doesn’t mean I don’t wash my clothes properly. It’s just that  nine times out of ten I have some sort of stain on my clothes when leaving the house. Sometimes I know they’re there and sometimes I don’t but I can be sure they were caused by Molly in some way. I’ve given up caring now. Changing clothes everytime I get something spilled on them just results in masses more laundry that I don’t have time to do. 
  4. Everything I do revolves around a nap schedule and sadly it’s not my own!
  5. I’ve become a master planner. Everything has to be planned right down to the tiniest detail. But I’ve also had to learn to let things go. When a baby is involved plans can go out the window faster than my clothes something spilled on them. 
  6. I can never just ‘nip’ anywhere. Leaving the house is a big job and can take at least half an hour. I also cannot go anywhere without at least one big backpack full of stuff that I will probably not need but may need so should always have with my ‘just in case’.
  7. I’ve learned to do everything one handed with a baby balanced on my hip. It’s a great skill to have, though I’m not sure how transferable it is. 
  8. I have a lot more patience. 
  9. I am generally more confident. I have never been a very confident person and I’m still not but now I have a baby I’m suddenly forced into a lot of situations that I usually would shy away from which is definitely making a more confident person. 
  10. Life is amazing. It’s so much better than it was before I had a baby. I feel joy in the little things every day. I get to spend my life with my tiny little mini me and for me it’s the best way to spend my life.  

Baby Blog – Clock Change and Halloween

Posted Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I woke up at 5:30am this morning. Or, maybe I should rephrase - I got woken up at 5:30am this morning. And yesterday morning. In fact I’ve been woken up before 6am since the clock change on Sunday. I used to love the autumn/winter clock change with the dark nights but now I’ve lost my extra hour in bed I can’t help wondering why on Earth do we need to change the clocks?!

Pre 6am is just a little too early for me to be able to function properly throughout the day. (I’m aware some people get way less sleep than this but I’ve gotten used to sleeping through til at least 6am now so it’s a big change.) So obviously I turned to my old friend Google to see if I could find a solution and it looks like there are no quick fixes for this problem. That seems to always be the case with babies. 

First of all, I came across a lot of forum posts about people in the same boat. Babies like to stick to a routine and they do not care that the clocks have changed.  All of these forum posts had one thing in common: these babies were not adjusting their wake time very quickly. Luckily I’ve managed to alter the rest of Molly’s routine with no problem. We just kept her awake for an extra hour on Sunday, with minimal problems, and her meals, naps and bedtimes have adjusted perfectly. So the only problem I have is just her wake time in the morning.

There were plenty of results on Google claiming that they could help make my baby sleep longer in the morning when the clocks changed. Unfortunately they were all supposed to be done BEFORE the clock change. How was I supposed to know that? I knew that she would be affected by the clock change on the day of the clock change but I had no idea that it would continue. I guess we’ll just have to ride it out like everything else. I’m a problem solver, but babies just aren’t problems to be solved are they? I know she’ll adjust at some point before the next clock change. And if she doesn’t? Well I guess I’ll just enjoy the extra hour lie in I get this time next spring.


In other news, we took Molly to a Halloween themed baby sensory session at the weekend. Here’s a picture of Molly dressed as a witch in a pumpkin themed ball pit. Unfortunately she wouldn’t keep the hat so she’s a witch without a pointy hat. 

Baby blog – Stronger than yesterday

Posted Thursday, October 24th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I’m channelling my inner Britney in the title there. I just thought I’d give a little life update. Following on from my mini breakdown last week I feel like I have come out on the other side feeling a little stronger and a lot more determined. I’ve recently come across the advice, on more than one occasion, that you should get your own house in order before you can find order in the other parts of your life. That has to be a sign, right? I’m certainly looking to bring some order into certain (most) aspects of my life - family, finances, parenting, work, home - so that’s what I’m going to do. And for once in my life I’m going to listen to advice and I’m going to start with my home. 

So I created a cleaning schedule for myself. We live in a small house (a blessing and a curse) so there aren’t a lot of rooms. I’ve created a schedule for myself where I clean one room (thoroughly) a day. This works for me because we don’t have too many rooms. Each day I have designated tasks for a particular room. This has helped me so much (so far) because it means I’m not overwhelmed by all that needs doing (and so end up doing nothing). I have tasks set out for me each day so I know what I need to be doing and I can just crack on and do it. If there’s one thing I love more than making a list, it’s completing a list! 


My sample schedule:

Monday - Molly’s Bedroom

Tuesday - Stairs, landing and hallway

Wednesday - Our bedroom

Thursday - Kitchen

Friday - Bathroom

Saturday - Living Room

Sunday - Outdoors

I’m sure that this is probably not an original idea, there are so many different ideas out there, but it’s the one I came up with that will work for me.


Of course there’s still the daily tasks such as washing the pots and cleaning up after Molly etc so I still do these. But I was doing these before anyway. The problem was that I was only doing these things so other things were just starting to get neglected, they were piling up and then becoming a bigger job. A job that I didn’t want to tackle. 

I’ve only been doing this for a few days but it’s already making a big difference to my life. The house is cleaner and I feel a lot less stressed about it. I also feel like I have more time to enjoy with Molly and not worrying about what needs doing. Only time will tell if it’s sustainable or not but I’m feeling optimistic about it. And once my house is in order I will start to tackle the rest. I’ll get a cape and you can start calling me wonder woman. I’m just kidding. If I could just get to the end of each day having not cried and feeling like I’ve accomplished something then I’ll be quite happy.


Baby blog – Mum life crisis?

Posted Wednesday, October 16th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

Molly will be 9 months old on Thursday. That means I’ve now been a mum for the same amount of time as I was pregnant. This time 9 months ago I was getting very impatient to meet our little girl. This time though, there’s no magical moment, no new beginning, no moment that’s going to change our lives forever. This is my life now, and that’s taking some time to get my head around. Part of me wants to cling to life as it was before when I could do what I want whenever I wanted instead of revolving my life around a little person, but a bigger part of me loves being a mum. I just need to find my ‘groove’. 

I think I’m going through a little bit of a ‘mum life crisis’. I seem to have lost who I am a little bit. I thought I was going to boss the stay at home mum thing but it’s a lot harder than I anticipated. I envisioned a spotless house, a happy baby and a job where I can work from home so I could stay at home with Molly. Is there an eyes bigger than my stomach analogy that would fit here? Because that’s exactly how I feel. I haven’t been able to achieve this at all. In reality, I only have a moderately tidy house, Molly probably watches way too much TV and I can hardly find the time to do any work, let alone the motivation. The housework and laundry is a nightmare to stay on top of (how is it possible for a tiny person to make so much mess and laundry??) and I hate that I probably spend at least an hour of each day trying to get my baby to sleep. I love her, of course I do, but sometimes I do wish I wasn’t wasting my hours away on her bedroom floor. 

I was always due to go back to work after a year of maternity leave, but it hasn’t worked out that way. I’m no longer going back to the job I had before I went on maternity leave so the plan now is to find a different job when Molly is 1. I think going back to work part time will be really good for me. I can earn some more money and feel like I’m contributing again, whilst also getting out of the house. I don’t even know - I just know I haven’t got to grips with my new life yet. I’m hoping with some planning and better time management I will eventually ‘have it all’ if there is such a thing. I’ll figure it all out and find the right balance for us eventually. As they say - Rome wasn’t built in a day. 

Anybody else find themselves feeling this way as a new mum?

Baby Blog – Our first trip away…alone!

Posted Wednesday, October 9th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

Last week I went to stay at my mums for a few days while Sam stayed at home for work. This was  the first time we’d been apart since Molly was born and the first time I’d looked after her by myself since being in the hospital. Originally I was supposed to be away from Thursday to Sunday, but, because of rail engineering works, I had to travel home on the Monday. I was away for 4 whole nights, just me and Molly. By the end of it I was more than ready to come home.

Because Molly can be a bit of a pain in the car, I travelled there on the train. I was dropped off near Cambridge station with my handbag, Molly's changing bag and a lightweight travel pushchair and off we went. I had Molly strapped to my front, backpack on my bag, pushchair in one hand and handbag in the other. It wasn't easy but it was manageable. The journey there was pretty much uneventful. We got two seats to ourselves and I gave Molly her lunch to pass half the time. Molly then slept on me for well over an hour and I had to wake her so we could depart the train at our stop. We met my mum at the station and after a quick drive home we had made it in one piece. It was such a sense of relief. I was incredibly nervous about travelling by myself with Molly but I needn’t have worried. She’s such a chilled baby and takes most things in her stride. We just had to get through the next 4 days of solo parenting now.

When we got to my mums house Molly was like a different child. For some reason she’s going through a very clingy phase and will barely let me out of her sight. She stepped this up a notch while at my mums house and decided that she didn't want to let anybody else near her and was going to cry unless I was right next to her. It was exhausting. She wouldn’t let anybody hold her but me so I had to do everything. She accompanied me everywhere and I learnt to do a lot of things one handed whilst balancing a baby on my hip.

It was a tough few days but I managed it. I had no other option. There was a tiny human being that needed looking after and I was the only one to do it. She was really good for me most of the time, having good naps during the day and sleeping really well at night, thank goodness. I think without a decent nights sleep each night I would have really struggled. I definitely take my hat off to all the single mums out there. I couldn't imagine having to do it all by myself every single day.

On the day we were travelling home Molly woke up with a cold which was the last thing I needed with a 2 and a half hour train ride ahead. We got a lift to the train station and my mum helped me onto the train and then we were by ourselves again. This time the train journey was a nightmare. Molly woke up from a 20 minute kip screaming and I tried everything to calm her down. I knew she didn’t feel well, but the train passengers didn’t so I felt pressure to stop her crying. I did eventually get her to stop with the help of YouTube and 20 minutes later we were off the train at our stop and I felt that sense of relief once again. Home sweet home...almost. Just a short walk and car ride away but the worst was over. 

I feel incredibly proud of myself for doing those journeys and looking after Molly alone. I was so scared to do it beforehand but actually it was fine. I'll admit it was stressful, but there wasn’t a moment when I couldn’t manage. I realise now that of course I was going to manage. She’s my child, I look after her everyday so what’s the difference between doing it at home and doing it somewhere else. Yeah, I missed my husbands help, but I don’t NEED it. I do like it though and I have returned home with a newfound gratefulness and I’ll never take him for granted again.

My top tips for travelling on a train with a little one:

  1. Pack light - the less stuff you have the easier it will be to manoeuvre

  2. Take lots of food/milk - Giving Molly her lunch on the train took a good half an hour so it was a great way to keep her occupied for a chunk of the journey

  3. Take toys - Quiet toys are best so as not to annoy your fellow passengers 

  4. Take baby/sanitising wipes - Molly was obsessed with the little pull down tray on the back of the seat on the train so I gave it a good clean with a wipe so she could play to her hearts content without me worrying about germs

  5. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need it. It's not easy getting a pushchair onto a train from the platform and there is usually someone around who's happy to help. I'ts better than struggling.  

Baby Blog – Weaning Update

Posted Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I think the last time I wrote about weaning, Molly was 6 months old, eating mainly pureed foods and only eating 2 meals a day. Now she’s eating 3 meals a day and having proper little meals. She even had a baby roast dinner at the weekend. It’s much better now she can have proper meals, although, it is much more time consuming!

Molly loves her food. She always has. She eats loads! It’s not very often she refuses something - in fact, I think I’ve yet to find something she doesn’t like! She always clears her plate and usually will start screaming because it’s all gone and she wasn’t finished eating, thank you very much. I’m amazed at how much she eats actually. Sometimes I wonder where she puts it all. I thought it was normal for a baby to eat like this until we spoke to another mum at a baby group we went to. She said her baby hardly ate anything and that opened my eyes to how different each baby really is. I count myself really lucky that Molly is such a good eater. It’s one less thing to worry about and I hope it continues as she gets older. 

I love watching Molly eat. She looks so grown up when she’s picking up each bit of food and putting it to her mouth. It doesn’t seem like she should be able to do it so well at her age but it’s incredible. She can even pick up her cup and have a drink all by herself. I obviously supervise her to make sure she doesn’t choke or anything but I just let her get on with it and eat my own lunch. It’s like having my own little lunch date every day. We don’t eat the same things because I’m a very fussy eater and I don’t want that for Molly so I try and give her a good variety of different meals.

She eats so many different things and, because she eats so much, I sometimes find myself struggling to keep up with the demand. I really want Molly to have good home cooked food and experience a range of different flavours so I often find myself cooking things in the evening to pop in the freezer for later dates. Molly goes to bed so early so we don’t eat together as a family yet which is a shame. I hope we can start to push her bedtime back soon so this is something we can start to do. Then Molly can just have a portion of what we’re having (if it’s healthy enough!) For now though, I’ll continue to cook batch cook baby friendly finger foods in my spare time. I secretly quite enjoy it anyway. I have a lot of new recipes to try over the next couple of weeks so I’ll share a few of my favourites if they go down well.

Baby Blog – 8 month sleep regression?

Posted Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

I’ve always had this preconceived idea in my head that Molly would have 3 solid naps a day, right on schedule and all I’d have to do is put her down in her cot, say it’s sleep time and she’d easily fall right off to sleep and stay asleep for at least an hour. I don’t know where I got this ridiculous idea from. Movies maybe? Or social media? It’s not true! I’m sure it might be for some people but for my baby daytime naps were always a constant battle. I think there was a period of about 5 days where she just didn’t sleep during the day at all. I couldn’t cope. Sam came home one day and I was in tears. I googled and came up with nothing. It’s better now. It can still take half an hour to get her to sleep sometimes but she’ll usually stay asleep for an hour, sometimes more. Most days she’s getting two good naps now.

I guess I’ve always considered myself quite lucky with sleep though because she’s always been a good night time sleeper. We could put her down at bedtime and usually not hear anything from her until probably 4am at the earliest which was great. Usually it was closer to 6! We were getting a decent amount of uninterrupted sleep at night which i knew was great compared to what some people were going through. The problem with this though, is that when it changed it hit us like a ton of bricks.

When we went through the 4 month sleep regression it was tough but luckily it didn’t last very long. Looking back, I can say that it was a very short period of time that really wasn’t as bad as it felt. Now we’re in the midst of another sleep regression, I’m having a hard time believing that it’s going to get better anytime soon. It’s very easy to see things clearly when you look back but during it’s an absolute nightmare isn’t it? I’m not yet feeling the effects of sleep deprivation but I’m sure it’s coming. We’ve been woken up 3 or 4 times for a few nights in a row now and I hate it. I love my sleep and I don’t cope very well without it. 

She’s also started waking up about half an hour after we put her down to sleep and screaming. I have no idea where this new thing has come from! I’ve been on the old Google and it seems as though this age is where they start to experience separation anxiety. They know you’re still near so they cry for you to come to them so maybe she’s doing that? It just means that alongside being woken up multiple times in the night again, we’re also being robbed of our evenings which has been tough.

I’m not complaining (much). I love my daughter and I know she’s still a baby and developing, but I wish there was some consistency. I feel like if she’d been a bad sleeper all along then it would be much easier to cope with when she regresses. I don’t think you could call it a regression then though could you? At least her naps have gotten better - for now. 

(Update - Last night she slept through until 6:45am after her silly wake up 30 minutes after being put down. But trying to get her to nap today took me over half an hour. I just can’t win.)

Baby blog – 8 month update

Posted Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

This past month has been packed full of changes and new skills. I'm astounded by the amount of things she has learned in such a short amount of time. We now think we're raising a genius - obviously. It's not all been good though. I think we've hit another sleep regression. Afternoon naps and her 6pm  bedtime are now becoming a thing of the past. She's just having so much fun practising her new skills that she doesn't want to sleep. Please send help...and coffee.


Here's what Molly has learned in the last month:

  1. She's learnt to wave - Molly can wave back when we wave to her and when we say hello. I did tell you I'm raising a genius.

  2. She's learnt to clap - This is fast becoming one of her favourite things to do. Just another thing to add to the genius list.

  3. She's learnt to dance - She has a little bop now whenever she hears a good piece of music. She just sits there and bounces happily. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

  4. She's learnt to climb - She still can't crawl yet but if she's sat next to something she will do her best to clamber and pull herself up. It's incredibly exciting to see her trying to stand but also...slow down please!

  5. She's learnt to say 'dada' - kind of. Sam is convinced she knows that he is 'dada' but I'm not so sure. She definitely does say the word 'dada' a lot more now but it's often mixed with lots of 'dadadadada's' and 'nanananana's'. Either way, she's definitely starting to get more vocal now so I'm sure it won't be long until she's talking back to us.

  6. She's learnt to throw - Her dummy has been launched from her pushchair now and I've had food thrown at me on more than one occasion. This is a skill that I'm less thrilled about her learning.

She's learned so much in the past month. She's gaining so much more personality and it's amazing to see her slowly transform into this little person. I can't help but wonder what she will be like when she's older now. The possibilities are endless. For now though, I'd just like to get through the next month. Just maybe a quieter one this time please.

Low waste life with baby

Posted Wednesday, September 11th, 2019 by Tanya Maskell in Cambridge Baby Blog

Since it was zero waste week last week I thought I'd write a post on how you can live a low waste lifestyle with a baby. Lots of people equate  baby with lots of waste. But that doesn't have to be the case. You can have a baby and still live a low waste, eco friendly lifestyle. Sometimes it may require a little more effort, or a costly initial outlay, but in the long run it's totally worth it and you'll probably even end up spending less!

Here are my tips to living a more low waste life with a baby:

  1. Use cloth nappies - This is where you'll probably make the biggest difference. On average a baby will use 5000 nappies until they're potty trained. That's a lot of nappies ending up in landfill and they take 200 - 500 years to decompose. Cloth nappies are brilliant. Once you get used to them they're so easy to use. I put my dirty nappies in a mesh bag inside a bucket and when it's full I put the mesh bag with the nappies inside in the washing machine. This is usually around every 2 1/2 days. It's really not much extra effort and saves so many nappies from going to landfill. Even using cloth nappies part time is better for the environment. I use the Disana Brushed Cotton Nappy Liners as inserts to absorb the wee. These are brilliant because they're not bulky, they have a good absorbency  but they're also quick to dry after washing. I also use the Disana Paper Fleece Nappy Liners. I love these because if there's no poop, I can put them in the wash to use again! They usually survive 2-3 washes.

  2. Washable wipes for bums and faces - By using these you're saving money and waste, and they're so much better than disposable wipes. They clean more effectively and we very rarely have a nappy rash incident. I have a box on the changing table which I fill with water and a couple of drops of lavender oil and I keep my bum wipes in there. When they're used I pop them in the nappy bucket and they get washed with the nappies. The face wipes I keep downstairs and just wet as needed. I wash these with a normal wash load of Molly's clothes. It couldn't be any simpler. You can even use them on the go. You'll just need a couple of wet bags - one for clean wipes and one for dirty wipes. 

  3. Buy second hand - There are some things for babies that you should always buy new (mattress for example) but for everything else you should try and buy preloved. Many baby items are only used for a short period of time so are in great condition. I buy most of Molly's clothes second hand and we have quite a few second hand toys. We bought her cot and her stroller secondhand too!

  4. Buy sustainable - If you can't find what you want preloved then look for sustainable items made from natural materials. I bought Molly a wool mattress. Not only is it made from natural materials, it's super comfy and studies suggest that wool can actually help you sleep better. Make sure to buy good quality items and look after them well. Then you can sell them or pass them on so somebody else can enjoy them too.

  5. Repair before you replace. - Always try and repair what you already own before buying something new. Or you could even up-cycle it into something new to enjoy. I've seen wool mittens made from old jumpers or socks turned into coffee cup cosies. I put Molly's old dummies into a box frame - I've made a great keepsake to put on the wall and I've stopped them ending up in landfill. 

  6. Make something new from what you've already got - It turns out, there's lots of things already in the house that can make great baby toys. Have you tried making a shaker from an old bottle and some pasta? Just make sure the lid is glued on so baby can't unfasten it. A wooden spoon and an upside down plastic tub/tin can make a great drum. And there's endless fun to be had with something as simple as a some fabric scraps stuffed inside an empty tissue box. 


There are so many ways in which you can live a low waste lifestyle with a baby. Remember, you don't have to do things perfectly straight away. Every little helps, so start small. Who knows where you'll end up.