The Baby Bag Diary of Blair Fiona Huynh
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.
Ben & Ellie customer and new mum, and with twins on the way, Blair is about to have 3 babies under 2 in her care. She shares her experience and what she’s learnt since becoming a mum, the importance of having her extended family around and how having a child has encouraged a deeper connection to her cultural heritage.
Tell us about yourself? When did you become a mama, how many babies do you have?
I’m Blair, I’ve lived in Perth, Western Australia, all my life. My husband and I met in high school and we have enjoyed 18 years together (10 dating, 8 married) before the pandemic kickstarted the expansion of our family. We had our daughter, Drew Mai, in April 2021 and I’m now currently 6 months pregnant with boy/girl twins!
Who were you before you became a mum?
Before I became a mum, I worked full time in a hospital. I lead a small team of admin staff that specialise in booking chemotherapy procedures. After having my daughter, I have returned to work 3 days a week and have been enjoying the variety it adds to my week. Before becoming a mum, my husband and I traveled often - our favourite countries being Singapore, France and Scotland.
Are you still that person? How has motherhood inspired or changed you? Any light bulb moments?
Since becoming a mum, I still love my job but I have prioritised having more balance in my life. I have been inspired to connect more with extended family and finding opportunities for Drew to socialise with her cousins excite me as I see the joy it brings her.
Now that we have children, my husband and I place more value in representing our cultural backgrounds. As my family is Scottish, Drew has celebrated Burn’s Supper (the birthday of famous poet Robert Burns) with a haggis supper and the sound of bagpipes. We also acknowledge my husband’s Vietnamese heritage with food, bilingual books and watching her favourite Disney songs in Vietnamese.
What’s in your baby bag right now?
Snacks and wet wipes!! My daughter is always hungry so I need access to quick easy foods like sultanas, banana bread, cheese and fruit.
Designated baby bag, nappy bag backpack or your handbag with baby things packed in it. What’s your style?With a single baby, I could alternate between the two depending on the occasion. Now that I’m about to have 3 babies under the age of 2, I’m definitely going to have a designated baby backpack. I’ve loved that my B&E nappy clutch reduces the amount of things I carry in my already heavy bag.
Let’s talk about 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?
My style has definitely shifted to more comfort-focused. Thank goodness for the athleisure trend! It’s great to have white sneakers that can be worn with casual dresses or jeans and I invest more in my accessories (belts, sunglasses) to dress up basic looks. I also enjoy spending more time on my makeup application to feel more put-together when my outfit is more casual.
Baby shower, gender reveal or baby blessing? Did you have either one of these? Tell us about it!
We had a baby shower/gender reveal at a bistro-pub. We invited lots of friends and family with a cute yellow “What Will Baby Bee?” theme. I had a lot of fun making sunflower and daisy table centrepieces, and our guests wore mini pink or blue pegs to represent their guesses. My sister-in-laws were the only ones to know in advance and shared the info with my friend (@singlesoibake) that made our beautiful reveal cake!
We’re always on the lookout for interesting baby shower gift ideas. What were some of the best baby gifts you received?
My favourite baby shower gift was definitely my B&E nappy clutch - it’s been so useful! Besides that, Bonds Wondersuits are great and so was the Mikro padded playmat. It was nice that we got a lot of clothes in larger sizes too (000+) as I had only bought newborn clothes to start.
What is your go-to baby gift that you give to others?
My go-to baby shower gift is definitely the B&E nappy clutch! It’s sleek in design and holds the essentials for a diaper change. I’ve loved keeping it in the bottom of my pram - reducing the amount of clutter in my actual handbag. Since using it, I’ve purchased another 4 as gifts! Otherwise I would suggest going for higher-end baby clothes in larger sizes - with the amount a couple needs to spend on a newborn, those things are just extra treats.
What baby products could you not live without?
Wet wipes, face cloths, sleeping bags and sleep/feed tracking apps. The sooner we noticed a pattern and followed it as a routine the more predictable her sleeping was.
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 B&E nappy clutch fits the trifecta criteria! Keeping nappies, diaper cream, a spare set of clothes, wipes and a change mat all in one spot is amazing! There have been a lot of visits to restaurants or friends' houses where all I need to do is grab the clutch and go off to the bathroom without dragging the full baby bag with me.
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?
Accept second-hand items from friends and family if you are offered! The amount of times I saw items listed on gumtree and marketplace as “used once - baby didn’t like it”. Sometimes it might be best to leave those extra items until after you have met your baby to have a better idea of what they like. We didn’t buy many toys for our daughter as for a long time she was more interested in everyday objects from our kitchen drawer.
If you are excited to buy nice clothes for your baby, opt for sizes 6 months plus so they will get more wear from them. It can be quite personal to know what items you’ll find most useful, so ask people that have recently had babies for their opinions (and product regrets!)
Hospital bag saviours – was there something that you wish you didn’t pack but wish you had?
The most important things for your hospital bag would be a phone charger, 3-4 days of comfy clothes and maternity pads. I had bagged each outfit including loose fitting maternity underwear/bra in big bags labelled “Outfit 1”, “Outfit 2” etc so it was easy to ask my husband to pass me some clothes while I was showering.
I wish I had prepared myself for the breastfeeding journey a little better. Things like nipple cream and nipple shields could have made the task a little easier to start. I was asked by midwives what size (in millimetres) my nipples were and it was like, “What?? Pumps and shields come in different sizes?”
If you could go back to a pregnant you and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Currently pregnant so trying to live by my own advice! It’s ok to take it easy and don’t get too hung up on the actual baby delivery - things probably won’t happen exactly to plan and it's such a small fraction of the big journey ahead, focus your efforts on recovery and adjusting to the fourth trimester instead.
What kind of mum are you now – can you describe your parenting style in three words?
My parenting style can be described as; easy-going, calm and explorative.
I let my daughter make a mess at dinner so she can experience her food and she has a love of trying new things from it. We are also learning to do ‘dangerous things carefully’ - climbing, going down slides and getting down from couches/beds. She needs to bump her head and have those falls so she can learn. I’m wondering how much my style will change once the tantrums start!
What is the best lesson motherhood has taught you?
One of the best things I’ve learnt from motherhood has been setting boundaries for myself. My time is limited and more precious than it was before. I want to spend my time doing things I see value in and less on pleasing others. I’m still learning of course, but having my daughter as my top priority makes it easier to put things in perspective.
Any final advice or words of wisdom for pregnant or new mums reading this?
My advice for new mums is to try and be open minded. Don’t get hung up on your birth plan or on baby milestones, they do not reflect on your ability as a parent. Instead focus that energy on learning about the fourth trimester. I didn’t know terms like “wake windows”, “cluster feeding” and “triple feeding” until I was madly googling them at midnight with a newborn!