M&B Awards blog: Testing times ahead this summer…

Who’s the ‘mummy’ when it comes to putting baby products through their paces?

Is ‘baby brain’ a real phenomenon? All I can say is that my memories of being a first-time expectant mother was a total mental overload.  One the one hand I was dealing with big, alien, life-changing decisions in the abstract – like picking a name from lists as long as my arm;  to puzzling over the minuscule: ‘does the Velcro fasten at the back or front of a nappy?’  As a baby-novice it is all too easy to get swept along into panic buying. You only have to hold up a tiny, newborn babygro and wonder how anyone can be that small and apparently need the entire contents of your local branch of Mothercare. The truth is that the world won’t implode if you forget to pack scratch mittens in your hospital bag or you bought a first stage car seat that doesn’t fit with your pushchair to make it into a Travel System.

And while our pregnancy hormones are yo-yoing like a bungee-jumper, the best laid plans to buy only the essential items are bound to go awry. Who can resist an unbelievably adorable outfit tempting us to spend a lot more than we can really afford? Or glossy, gorgeous model mums sporting the latest model in buggy chic?

If I could roll back the clock, start all over again, I’d make some smarter choices for sure. In my day – I sound so old – but just over a decade ago the pram / pushchair choice was little broader than either grandma’s pastel frilly knickers or plain and serviceable navy blue. I don’t remember anything that was stylish, gadget-clever or really innovative and there was ‘zero’ on the market to make ‘mummies’ feel even a tiny bit ‘yummy’. I’m not ashamed to admit that during my own ‘blooming’ months I was an anxious wreck prone to a serious case of can-I-really-be-having-a-baby? denial. Enthusiastic passersby might pat my pregnant bump and ask in excited tones what was hoping for. My shrug suggested I was happy either way, “Oh, I don’t really mind. A kitten or a puppy would be nice!” (To only have to by a bed, a bowl, a few tins of food and the flea and worming treatments!) Nice!

Thankfully, the nursery outlook for new mums is much brighter today. Baby kit is more fun and funky, intelligent and intuitive in equal measure. It’s easy to talk on-line to other mums; ask advice, share stories, seek support and find the latest product reviews and, apart from working out what kind of mothers we want to be, the only downside is the sheer scale of choice of what to buy.

I’m just on the brink of a seventh year coordinating the entire product testing for the Mother & Baby annual awards, and although there’s times when I’m right in the think of it – and I swear the pain is unbearable and I’m not going to put myself through it …here I am again. I’ve seen isofix car seats become main stream, witnessed the growing demand for organic products and an explosion in the reusable nappy market; but my days of being any kind of expert on products for babies dwindled when my own kids started school. To be a ‘real’ judge of the best products in the baby market then you have to be able to do at least three things at once and all the while hold a wriggling baby on your hip.

Recognise yourself?

Now in their 18th Year, it’s not an exaggeration to say that the M&B Gold Award has become – for the majority of parents – the most trusted symbol on any product which displays this emblem. Not surprising when you know that the panel of judges, who chose who wins, are multi-tasking mums and lots of sticky fingers!

Find out what won last year

15 thoughts on “M&B Awards blog: Testing times ahead this summer…

  1. juggle at least three things, hold a baby on one hip ……. and a toddler or 2 with a spare hand you mean 🙂 xx good luck with this years co-ordinating!

  2. Loving the Blog Jessica – So true definetly can relate to that… glad to see you didnt listen to the inner voice and are carrying on with co-ordination again this year! I’ve applied again so hopefully we will be lucky enough to be able to help put some products to test this year too! Looking forward to your next installment! (PS loving the hair raising pic!)

  3. The blog is fantastic Jessica……….. very funny and true to life………. I have book marked to follow during the testing……… should make good reading.

    Lisa x

  4. Love the blog Jessica, it makes good reading. It made me smile, as i was one of thoses that thought I had to buy the entire contents of Mothcare for my first born, whilst my 2nd made do with all the hand me downs! very amusing and so true – keep them coming ~ Laura

  5. This is such a good idea – I loved being involved in the testing last year and have applied again this year … fingers crossed! I was the ‘new mum’ last year … starting to feel a bit more human again now but it’s been such a journey! Still get attracted by the ‘next best thing’ but on a tight budget now seek advice before wasting money when I look at all the items that have hardly been used. Looking forward to future installments … Angela

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  7. Great blog and yes I’ve too noticed huge changes in just 5 years. Hoping to be a tester again this year and looking forward to the trials of the testing by others. My baby was 2 weeks late last year so I was testing stuff in a rush as it had already started before he was born!!! Hoping for a more leisurely pace this time.

  8. Hi Jessica, loving your blog – really made me smile!
    Hearing reviews, recommendations and funny/uplifting storeis from other mums really did help me with my baby first time round and as number 2 is now on the way, and products have changed so much in just that short space of time, i’ll be relying on them again!!! It was great to be involved in that pocess last year, and know that i too was helping other mums by putting all the products through their paces. Have applied again this year so hopefully will be successful. Look forward to reading your blog throughout the testing xx

  9. I must say that when I had my first nearly 14yrs ago I wanted all the best but didn’t have the budget sadly(made worse by seeing my sister buying all the Best of everything cause she could 😦 ) all these years later when having my 4th I thought stuff it I’ll get what I want cause he’s my last but I realised I really didn’t need half the stuff the shops are selling and that is really what 1st time mom’s need to know that even on a small budget you can manage! The baby awards really help moms choose what is worth getting and what isn’t.

  10. your blog makes me giggle, really enjoyed organising a test group last year. I also have to say with my first brought everything new and expecting my 2nd and going to use all the handme downs i can get.
    Will be reading the blog as brings a smile to me

  11. hahaha, loving the blog Jessica!!!!

    I was a tester last year & am hoping to do it again this year?!?!?! I had just had number 5 last year, so the 1st baby panic buying went well & truly out of the window, poor boy has had hardly anything new….
    I have recommended a couple of the things that I tested to pregant friends & also told them not to bother with a couple of things (won’t mention what they are though, lets just say that I don’t think I was the only one that was dissappointed with them??).
    Keeping my fingers crossed that I am successful this year but either way will definately be following your blogs 🙂 xxxx

  12. Love the blog i love reading it. I was a tester last year and loved it i really enjoyed having my say. And now this years hoping to do it again amd also enjoying reading your blog WELL DONE 🙂

  13. Great Blog and great reading!! You’re such a credit to Mother & Baby, It has been fun testing we all love it. Maybe lucky to test again this year for the last time, as Tristan will be to old for next year:(
    But we will always follow the testing just to see new products.
    Keep up the excellent work – WELL DONE

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