Welcome to the Baby Bag Diaries. A series where we share real stories from real mums exploring the transformational journey into motherhood, shining a spotlight on their favourite products and the pieces of advice they wish they had before having a baby.
We sat down with Ben & Ellie Baby customer and new mum Amber to talk about appreciating the little things, having a baby during the lockdowns and why it’s important to pack your hospital bag!
Amber, tell us about yourself? When did you become a mama, how many babies do you have?
Mama to one little lady as of September last year! Currently on maternity leave but helping out with some casual shifts here and there to get back into the swing of things (it’s hard leaving your baby, but a refreshing change of scenery!).
Who were you before you became a mum?
I have always been and always will be a HUGE foodie! Moving back from Sydney to the Hunter Valley has really taken a toll on how much time I spend on Instagram looking at food haha. Most of my working life has been in Dental but more recently, before baby, it’s been Optical. Both are interesting fields to be in, but I think having the freedom to do something from home is what I want for my future. I really enjoy getting to watch our little lady grow!
Are you still that person? How has motherhood inspired or changed you? Any light bulb moments?
Very much still the same person I was, but I honestly think I’ve become more caring and ‘motherly’(?) to other mums or mums to be. This new lifestyle makes me want to give as much advice or help as I can. I think what has been hard, has been trying to become more social again after having a baby during Covid, and now this huge flu season! Although there have been no expectations to go out, these little people grow so fast, it’s sad to know that some of our family and friends are missing some of these amazing moments.
Tell us what you thought motherhood would be like before you became a mother?
I thought getting up earlier would get easier - it doesn’t. I thought breastfeeding would be easier - it definitely isn’t. I thought going away as a family would be fun and breezy (for the most part it’s quite stressful). Honestly, I did a lot of reading and research for how I wanted or expected this journey to be. But from the moment we met our little lady at 34 weeks, I’ve learnt to just take each day as it comes. To just soak up the good and the bad, as it doesn’t last forever. Also, take 10000000 photos.
What’s in your baby bag right now?
Nappies, an abundance of wipes, clothes, my wallet, a stray rusk stick, our Ben & Ellie Nappy Change Clutch, disposable nappy bags, a couple of dummies, a muesli bar, Snotty Boss and Sophie the Giraffe.
Designated baby bag or your handbag with baby things packed in it. What’s your style?
Does a baby weekend bag converted into a joint Nappy Bag and Handbag count? If so, I raise my hand!
Let’s talk looking effortlessly chic even after having a baby. We know this is an area that many women including ourselves find challenging, dressing our new postpartum bodies and reconciling our personal style with motherhood. Do you have any advice for new mums?
I invested in a few pairs of the ‘Emamaco’ Recovery leggings! When they arrived, I had just had our little lady 3 days prior so my jaw hit the floor when I saw how small they were. It was a two-person job to get them on, but they made me feel incredible! I felt ‘sucked in’ and comfortable even days after having a Caesarean. Apero Label also has an entire ‘Feeding and Bump Friendly’ range which is just so nice! It was nice to have good quality modern items available, especially when feeding friendly clothes are really looked over in the fashion industry.
Baby shower or baby blessing? Did you have either one of these? Tell us about it!
No baby shower, not only was it due to the immense amount of lockdowns and restrictions,it was also a personal choice. We did ponder the idea of a BabyQ, but really didn’t want to go to the fuss of organising something that may never have to come to fruition.
We’re always on the lookout for interesting baby shower gift ideas. What were some of the best baby gifts you received?
We purchased most of the items we wanted..I actually curated a categorised spreadsheet of items we wanted to buy and that friends or family were free to purchase if they wanted. We were given the Nuna Leaf grow and the Cubo AI Baby Monitor – both are everyday essentials in our house.
What is your go-to baby gift that you give to others?
- Bunjie Skincare pack
- Snotty Boss
- Feeding Pillow
- Electric Nail File
- Bottle Brush
- Hydrogel Breast Discs
- Haakaa Breast Pump
- Colostrum Kit
What baby products could you not live without?
- Safe-T-Sleep Wrap - A game changer in helping ease our anxiety around bedtime!
- Bunnie Caddie.
- Haaka Breast Pump.
- Snotty Boss – easiest way to clear the nostrils at home and on the go.
- Snuggle Hunny Sleep Sack – it kept our swaddles intact and helped avoid any unravelling.
- Ben & Ellie Nappy Change Clutch – it’s compact, easy to pack and allows us to change ANYWHERE.
- Kiwy Cube UV Steriliser – easiest steriliser ever and the Omababy team are divine.
- Cubo AI Baby Monitor – it speaks for itself - incredible!
- Bunjie Skincare.
Sometimes as mums we come across the trifecta of baby products – items that are gorgeous, functional and make your life easier! What are some of your “best kept secret” baby products you’ve discovered?
Any of the above products. They have made our lives so much easier!!! I seriously regret not getting a side sleeper bassinet, that is a product that is just so helpful to both mum and baby!
What advice would you give to a first-time mum shopping for all the baby stuff? How do you wade through all the noise and know what you truly need?
Make a list! We compiled a list of ‘checklists’ from the internet and made a spreadsheet of items, categorised by bedroom, bathroom, change area etc. Then listed the price and products we wanted, looked for the best price and/or alternatives to help us make sure we were making the best choice. It’s also worth noting that the reviews won't always help, as every item will not work for every person and each baby is so unique and different.
My advice would be to learn as you go, and if you think it’s the product you want or need – GET IT!
Hospital bag saviours – was there something that you didn’t pack but wish you had?
I didn’t have a bag packed. My biggest regret around our birth was not having a bag packed by like 30 weeks. I intended to have some new comfy pyjamas, padsicles (maternity market will tell you all you need!) a phone charger and some snacks. Instead I just rocked my hospital gown until my partner brought me something to the hospital. In the heat of the moment he packed his own clothes! So I did a click-and-collect for some comfy, loose clothing and made my way to the hospital pharmacy to purchase a travel pack with a hair brush, shampoo, face and body wash. Heaven.
If you could go back to a pregnant you and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Pack a bag. Seriously! Pack your damn bag.
What kind of mum are you now – can you describe your parenting style in three words?
Constantly watching out of the corner of my eye, experimental and fun!
What is the best lesson motherhood has taught you?
Slow down and be in the moment. Be on your phone or computer less and understand that this journey is new to your baby too.
Any final advice or words of wisdom for pregnant or new mums reading this?
You are capable of getting through this journey, it’s not always easy but it’s okay to ask for help along the way. You already know your baby better than anyone else. Trust your gut, get educated, ask a tonne of questions (couldn’t recommend Tiny Hearts Education enough!!!) and pack your hospital bag!