The Baby Bag Diary of Vivian Pi
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.
Working mum and business owner of Little Love Bean, Vivian, opens up about how becoming a mum has changed her life. She talks about how you never stop learning as a parent and why patience is such an important practice. She also shares her must-have baby products and the one baby item she never leaves home without.
Tell us about yourself? When did you become a mama, how many babies do you have?
I became a first time mama in 2019 after a few years of fertility struggles. At the time I was in a contract role at the company I worked for, so I had to resign when I had my daughter. It was terrifying because I had never been without a secure job before, but it was all absolutely worth it for the baby we waited so long to have! I started a small business, Little Love Bean, inspired by our baby girl during that time off, before I started to look for corporate work outside again. My daughter is now a cheeky little toddler and I’m back in a corporate role full-time, with my small business running on the side.
Who were you before you became a mum?
I worked at an international airline before becoming a mum, so travelling every year is something I’d always done. Bub was born just as Covid started so we still haven’t travelled anywhere with her yet, but either way, the itinerary now travelling with a toddler would be very different to what it used to be! Spending all day at the shops and browsing at my own timely leisure, enjoying late Friday nights after clocking off from work, and regular weekends catching up with friends are now all things of the past. I still get to do these things every now and again but for the most part, my time is spent with my mini me!
Tell us what you thought motherhood would be like before you became a mother?
Everything that I saw on baby ads and social media – smiles and snuggles, all the fuzzy feels! Of course since becoming a mother there have been many of these blissful moments, but it’s definitely not always rainbows and butterflies. Firstly, as if just giving birth for the first time wasn’t already a shock to the system, I didn’t fully understand the advice “make sure you get some good sleep before bub arrives” – until she had arrived! The exhaustion of learning how to breastfeed, deal with a crying newborn and sleep deprivation the minute she arrived earthside was something I probably wasn’t quite mentally ready for – it was quite overwhelming! There was so much to learn, and even now I’m still learning every day on how to be the best mother to my now toddler. Despite the challenges, I wouldn’t change any of it for the world because this tiny human helped me realize my dream of becoming a mother and helped me become a stronger version of myself. Also, the cuddles are the best!
What’s in your baby bag right now?
Hand sanitiser, water bottle, travel bib, lots and lots of toddler snacks and of course our Ben & Ellie Nappy Change Clutch filled with nappies, wipes, cream and a spare pair of pants.
Designated baby bag, nappy backpack or your handbag with baby things packed in it. What’s your style?
Depends if it’s just a quick trip to the shops or a full day out – but generally I prefer to have a designated baby bag with all her things, and my own small handbag with my personal necessities.
Baby shower or baby blessing? Did you have either one of these? Tell us about it!
We did a small baby shower BBQ by the beachside with friends and family. Originally it was so stressful trying to make it ‘perfect’ like what you see on Instagram, but at the end of the day good food and great company is all you really need – the love we felt that day for the new little life that would be joining us soon was just amazing.
What is your go-to baby gift that you give to others?
I actually love my Ben & Ellie Nappy Clutch so much that I’ve bought a few for friends as baby gifts – I wish someone had gifted me one at the time because it took me so long to find one that I loved – when I discovered it, I bought one as a baby gift to myself!
I also love gifting muslin swaddles and pram blankets. There are so many cute swaddle fabric designs out there and they are so versatile in terms of how you can use them – in my mind, you can never have too many! Same goes for pram blankets – though they’re small, we still use them to cover her legs in the pram on cold days, as well as one for the couch and one for the cot (toddler).
What baby products could you not live without?
Baby wipes! Such an obvious one I guess, but they’re honestly such a lifesaver when out and about, not just for nappy changes but they’re just handy to always have on hand for any spills or messes. Being a parent now, I feel like I have the best excuse to clip a wipes case to the side of my bag wherever I go!
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?
The Ben & Ellie Nappy Clutch!! I honestly can’t stop raving on about just how much I love this nappy clutch change mat. It’s so simple and cute, but also it’s just so convenient. The magnets mean you don’t need two hands to open it up (an absolute win if you are out with bub on your own), the material is so easy to clean, there’s soft padding for bubs body and head, there are so many functional pockets on the inside and the placement of those pockets make so much sense!! The wipes case that comes with it also means you can refill it to what you need, instead of carry a huge pack of wipes around, and if the clutch doesn’t fit in your baby bag, you can simply hang it on the pram with the wrist strap. Our daughter is a toddler now and she is quite tall, but even still, we don’t go anywhere without the nappy clutch – the park, the beach, changes in the boot of the car in a carpark… it’s just so convenient!
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?
For me personally, I asked friends who had babies before me on what they felt the necessities would be, and what products or brands they used or would recommend (ie. nappies/wipes/nappy rash creams/car seats/prams, etc), and then I’d take all of that and do my own research to figure out what we liked, and what would potentially work for us. We also went to a few of the Baby Expos in the lead-up to bub being born and that’s actually where I came across the Ben & Ellie stand. It immediately caught my eye because I had been searching EVERYWHERE for a convenient and functional, but still fashionable change mat – I was so happy and excited to have finally found ‘the one’, I bought it on the spot. Other little things like the nail cutters, snot suckers, teethers, etc – they are all things that I think can wait until you sort of get into the groove to motherhood, or if you’re having a baby shower, I know of some new mums who set up a gift registry to list items they’d like to receive.
What is the best lesson motherhood has taught you?
Patience. This has definitely been a biggie, and it took a long time to get to a point where I felt like I could manage my patience when it came to a crying newborn and not knowing what was wrong, through to toddler tantrums and again – not knowing what’s wrong! I also learnt to have patience for myself, to allow myself to grow through the learning process of becoming a new mum, telling myself that it’s ok to not always have all the answers and that I’m doing the best I can. And to be completely open and honest - patience for my marriage, because the stress can sometimes become so overwhelming that it can overflow into relationships. So, definitely patience!
Any final advice or words of wisdom for pregnant or new mums reading this?
I can wholeheartedly say that becoming a mother has been the best thing that’s ever happened in my life. It can get tough at times and I’m going to be real here – there will be tears - but just know that you are the whole world to your little one, and their love for you is unconditional. They aren’t able to tell you this, but you will see it every time you look down at their tiny little faces smiling back at you. And remember to always be kind to yourself, especially in those temporary moments of despair when you feel like it’s all going wrong – it’s not, you know exactly what you’re doing, you just need to trust in yourself! You’ll be amazing – you got this Mama!