The Essential Parent Company

It happens quite a lot, some products that get tested for the Mother & Baby awards get nail-bitingly close to winning and then lose out  on the recognition they deserve. My gripe with the process is that each category is currently restricted to one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze winner. If the category is highly competitive, products can miss out on an award by the merest ‘nought point’ of a score.

In the Most Innovative Award, because historically it was picked by the editor, there is only one winner . Inevitably there are many products, that ‘mum’ testers have really raved about and say that they would definitely recommend it to win a GOLD but who lose out to another product that has been raved about just that little bit more. The reality is that anything that it gets onto the final shortlist could easily be a winner. What wins one time might lose in another occasion, just because one or two mums are a little more generous or critical, than some other mums in another year.

Here’s one product that came close to winning in three categories and judging by the rave reviews that tester gave it this year it would be a crying shame if it disappeared under the radar by not getting the recognition  it deserves.

This Essential Parent Company entered their ‘Baby Care Guide’s, 4 DVDs  focusing on Feeding, Sleeping, Everyday Care & Development and First Aid & Accident Prevention.

Screen Shot 2012-12-02 at 20.47.49

This was what some of the Mother & Baby testers said:

Nathalie: “Every mum should have one. It answered all my questions. I wish I had it with my first baby 2 years ago .”  

Rhiannon: “I already have a basic knowledge of first aid but this dvd reminded me of things I had forgotten and things they have updated since I did my first aid training. I think it offers a good knowledge of what to do if, god forbid, something was to happen to your baby or child.”

Michele: “I have this DVD in my laptop and have referred to it over and over in the past few weeks. Clearly indexed I can quickly look at the clips that are relevant to my query. Baby books are great but being able to ‘see’ how to breast feed etc is a huge help, like having someone there to show you what on earth you are doing wrong. I would say this is a must for any new mum and should be available on the NHS.”

Rebecca Chicot is one of the founders of The Essential Parent Company.

She has a doctorate in child development and parenting from Cambridge University.  Rebecca worked for many years at BBC Television in London making science documentaries for BBC1.  She was part of the team that made Professor Robert Winston’s landmark series “Human Instinct” which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2002.  She is a mother of three lovely children and from her struggles with breastfeeding and baby care is passionate about giving new mums and dads the confidence to be relaxed and happy parents, and to enjoy the wonderful first few years with their baby.

This is her story:

As an expectant mum in 2002 I vividly remember browsing magazines and nursery shops looking for the Mother & Baby Gold Awards as a guide of what other mums in the UK recommended to the new mums on the block. Little did I know what went on behind the scenes to find out which products would receive the coveted Gold, Silver or Bronze Awards…..well not until 2012.

In 2006 my dear friend and colleague in the BBC Science Television department, Diana Hill had a baby boy, as did I.  She had struggled with being a new mum and had no family in the UK.  She saw first hand the need for visual baby care guides and realised that we had exactly the right background to make them!  We are fantastically honoured to have Professor Robert Winston work with us on the content and he kindly offered to narrate the DVDs for us as he believes that The Essential Baby Care Guide DVDs fulfil an important role to help support new parents and their babies.

It took a few years to get off the ground – juggling work and babies, and trying to find the time to work out how to make the DVDs.  We knew that to make something beautiful and watchable we would need a BBC sized budget.  A big break came when we won the South Cambridgeshire District Council’s “Step Up” Award for aspiring small businesses. Beating tough competition, including biotech companies and the like, the win gave us access to local accountants, offices, and lawyers. Soon after the win, the company finally found four fantastic investors, and production of the DVDs followed soon after.

We wanted to get the best experts and organisations involved.  We were used to this at the BBC but it was a very different ball game approaching the likes of UNICEF and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health as a mumpreneur.  Luckily for us they saw the value of what we were trying to do and slowly but surely we got on board.

We had the money to make the product and the people to make it with us but then we had to convince retailers to take the product.  Again, we were pleasantly surprised that John Lewis, Mamas & Papas and the NCT were impressed with our Essential Baby Care Guide DVDs and we were thrilled to be available in such fantastic stores.

However, at the back of my mind the Mother & Baby Awards were something that I was desperate to apply for.  We had no advertising budget, no PR budget but knew that a Mother & Baby Award would give new mums in the UK the confidence to try our unique product.

The process was intense, posting our DVDs all round the UK, full of trepidation as to what the tester mums would think.  When we found out we had been shortlisted we were thrilled, despite getting great reviews from mums, baby magazines and health care professionals we still knew that the vast majority of new and expectant parents still hadn’t heard about The Essential Parent Company or The Essential Baby Care Guide.  

The Mother & Baby Awards had the power to change all that.

We felt very excited to be at the Park Lane Hilton on the Awards night and we tried not to be too optimistic but had so much riding on the awards.  The rest is history, we didn’t win an award in the Best Breastfeeding Product or Best Innovation and I had to depart into the night and dash for the last train to Cambridge feeling honoured to have been shortlisted but gutted for the company and our future that we didn’t manage to win.

On the way home we discussed whether we could ever afford to try to enter again…the postage, the entrants fee, the awards ceremony…it really adds up, especially for a little company.  However, my mind was made up to try again once I received the glowing comments from the mums who tested our product. It’s a great endorsement to have managed to make a product that can have such a positive impact of many mums and their little ones.”

 

Mother & Baby Awards 2012/13

Mother & Baby is undoubtedly the most influential and trusted brand with a heritage that spans over 56 years. Mums frequently say that they look for the Mother & Baby Gold rosette when buying for baby. This is because they know that every product has been tested and voted by mums for mums as the best for their little ones.

This is the 19th year of the Mother & Baby Awards and this year around 500 mums put a total of 520 separate products, across 34 reader-tested categories, through their paces. Those women deserve to be heartily thanked and congratulated

A staggering 5000 pristine samples were carefully wrapped and posted off for our mummy testers to try out. Of course, this meant the all-important babies had their say too. Chewing them, dribbling on them and even bashing them against the food …all in the serious business of finding out which of these products deserved to be claimed the best.

All the 254 products shortlisted came through the most vigorous of tests and have impressed the harsher critics –  mums (and dads for that matter).

Unfortunately, there can only be one Gold, one Silver and one Bronze winner is each category but any of the shortlisted products could equally have been winners!

Here’s the shortlist with the winners.


BABY WIPE

Aldi: Mamia Baby Wipes (Fragranced) – GOLD

Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature: Natural Unscented Baby Wipes – SILVER

Tesco Baby Ultra Soft Wipes (Fragrance Free) – BRONZE

CLEARLY HERBAL Natural Wipes

Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature: Natural Herbal Baby Wipes

JOHNSON’S® Baby: Extra Sensitive Wipes

ASDA: Little Angels fragranced cotton soft baby wipes

Little Ones at Sainsbury’s: Hand and Face Wipes

Aldi: Mamia Baby Wipes Sensitive

Pampers®: Sensitive Wipes

Tesco: Baby Newborn Wipes

 

BEST DISPOSABLE NAPPY OR NAPPY BRAND

ASDA: Little Angels: New Arrival  – GOLD

Kiddicare: Just4Bums -SILVER

Pampers®: Active Fit with DryMax™ and 3-Way Fit -BRONZE

Aldi: Mamia New Born Range

Aldi: Mamia Ultra Dry Range

ASDA: Little Angels Action Fit

ASDA: Little Angels Comfort Dry

Pampers®: Baby-Dry

 

BEST BABY CARRIER / SLING OR BACK CARRIER

BabyBjörn: Baby Carrier Miracle – GOLD

Close: Caboo + organic – SILVER

Stokke: MyCarrier – BRONZE

ERGObaby: Original Carrier

LittleLife: Voyager S2 child carrier

MaByLand: Trek Snuggle Carrier

 

BEST BABY FOOD RANGE/PRODUCT

HiPP Organic Mini Pots Range – GOLD

Cow & Gate: 100% fruit pouches – SILVER

Plum Baby: Stage 1 Pouches – BRONZE

ASDA: Little Angels Organic Baby Food

Boots: Baby Organic

Disney Annabel Karmel: Savoury Rice Snacks

Ella’s Kitchen: Ella’s Kitchen dairy range

Heinz Baby: Heinz Fruit Smoothie

HiPP Organic: Organic pouches

Plum Baby: Stage 2 Pouches

Truly Scrummy Organic Range (Stage 1,2,3)


BEST BABY MONITOR

Motorola: MBP36 – GOLD

BT: Baby Monitor & Pacifier – SILVER

Summer Infant: BabyTouch Digital Video Monitor – BRONZE

BT: Baby Monitor 250

Philips AVENT: Super Sensitive Eco DECT Baby Monitor

Tommee Tippee® Closer to Nature®: Video Monitor with Sensor Pad

TOMY: Digital Video Plus TDV450 Monitor

 

BEST BABY TOY -UNDER 12 MONTHS

Chicco: Magic Stars Cot Mobile – GOLD

Taf Toys: Clip-On Pram Book – SILVER

MOTHERCARE Little Circus Walk around -BRONZE

Babies ‘R’ Us: Garden Friends Sydney the Spider

Bondie Bird Limited: The Bondie Bird Playwrap

Dandelion: Corn Teething Keys

Fisher-Price: Discover n’ Grow Kick & Play Piano Gym

Munchkin: Inflatable Safety Duck Bath

VTech Baby: Yellow Peek-a-Boo Book

 

BEST BABY TOY 12 -24 MONTHS

Kiddicare: Buzzing Brains Stack n Sort Cups – GOLD

VTech Baby: Toot-Toot Drivers Garage – SILVER

Mega Bloks: Mega Bloks® Big Block Wagon – BRONZE

Chicco: Quattro 4 in 1 Sit ‘n’ Ride

LeapFrog: Animal Adventure Learning Table

Little Tikes: 3-in-1 Trike with Discover Sounds® Dashboard

Mega Bloks: Mega Bloks® Lil Vehicles Dylan Dump Truck

 

BEST BATHTIME PRODUCT

Brother Max: Ray Digital Bath & Room Thermometer – GOLD

Babyway Karibu: Foldable Bath – SILVER

Babies R Us: Sea Turtle bath – BRONZE

Babyway: Podium Toilet Trainer

Brush-Baby Ltd: Chewable Toothbrush

Clevamama: ClevaBath Extra Long BathMat

Cuddledry: baby apron bath towel

Kiddicare: Essentials Bath Seat

Munchkin: Inflatable Safety Duck Bath

 

BEST BOUNCY CHAIR/ROCKER OR SEAT

Fisher-Price: Soothe & Go Bouncy Seat – GOLD

Fisher-Price: Woodsy Friends Bouncer – SILVER

Chicco: Polly Swing – BRONZE

Babies ‘R’ Us: Winnie the Pooh Cradling Bouncer

BabyBjörn: Babysitter Balance

Cushi Tush: Baby Seat

Kiddicare: Essentials Baby Bouncer

Nuna: The Nuna LEAF™

Stokke®: Bounce ‘n’ Sleep bouncer

 

BEST CAR SEAT – GROUP 2, 3 & GROUP 1, 2, 3

RECARO: Monza Nova Seatfix – GOLD

Graco: Nautilus – SILVER

Maxi-Cosi: RodiFix – BRONZE

Apramo: Hestia Car Seat- Group 1,2,3

Diono: Monterey2 Expandable Booster Seat

 Kiddicare: Baby Weavers Opus SP Car Seat

Kiddy: Guardian Pro 2

Renolux: Step 123

 

BEST CAR SEAT – GROUP 1

Britax: TRIFIX – GOLD

Maxi-Cosi: Pearl and FamilyFix Base – SILVER

Graco: Coast – BRONZE

MyChild: Astrofix

 

BEST CAR SEAT (NEWBORN) – GROUP 0 & 0+

Britax: BABY-SAFE plus SHR II – GOLD

Maxi-Cosi: Pebble with FamilyFix Base – SILVER

Graco: Logico S HP – BRONZE

Concord: AIR

BeSafe: iZi GO

JANE: Matrix Light 2 Car Seat & Matrix Platform

 

BEST FEEDING PRODUCT FOR WEANING

Munchkin: 3 Pk Suction Bowls – GOLD

Tommee Tippee® Explora®: First Weaning Spoons x2 – SILVER

Philips AVENT: Combined Steamer and Blender – BRONZE

Annabel Karmel by NUK: Food Cube Tray

BEABA: BABYCOOK Solo

MAM UK LTD: MAM Dipper Set

Mothercare: Essential weaning range

NUBY Natural Touch: First Cup

OXO Tot: Training Plate

Vital Baby®: Weaning Set

 

BEST BABY SKINCARE RANGE/PRODUCT

Boo Boo Baby – GOLD

Earth Friendly Baby (natural and organic range) – Earth Friendly Baby by Lansinoh – SILVER

JOHNSON’S® Baby: JOHNSON’S® Baby Nappy Cream – BRONZE

ASDA: Little Angels Range

by Maclaren: Beginning

Disney Corine de Farme: The Disney and Corine de Farme babycare range

Green Baby: Organic Skincare

Halos N Horns: baby skincare range

Organic Babies: Organic Babies Range

Weleda Baby: Calendula Range

 

BEST HIGHCHAIR

Graco: Contempo – GOLD

Stokke®: Tripp Trapp® – SILVER

Kiddicare: Baby Weavers Wean Me Highchair – BRONZE

BabyBjörn: High Chair

bloom: fresco chrome

Cosatto: Trof Highchair

Geuther: Swing Highchair

MOTHERCARE: HIGH T HIGHCHAIR

 

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT BUGGY/STROLLER

Maclaren: Quest – GOLD

Mothercare: Mino Stroller – SILVER

Obaby: Atlas V2 Stroller – BRONZE

Kiddicare: Jet Pushchair

Kiddu  Cruz 5-Position Lie Back Buggy

RED CASTLE: Connect® stroller

 

BEST MATERNITY SKINCARE PRODUCT

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula: Tummy Butter – GOLD

Mothercare: It’s Your Body – SILVER

Weleda: Stretch Mark Massage Oil – BRONZE

Bio-Oil

Shea Mooti: Mama’s Everything Body Balm

Tesco: Tesco Blossom Stretch Cream

 

BEST NEWBORN SLEEP AID – 0-3 MONTHS

Tiny Love: Soothe ‘n Groove Mobile – GOLD

Fisher-Price: Discover n’ Grow Nursery Rhymes Projection Soother – SILVER

SleepCurve® from TOMY: SleepCurve® moses basket mattress – BRONZE

Fisher-Price: Soothe & Glow Seahorse

Love To Dream: Love To Swaddle Up

Prince Lionheart: back to sleep slumber bear plus

Summer Infant: Summer Infant Slumber Buddy

The Gro Company : Gro-swaddle

 

BEST NURSERY PRODUCT (INC BASKETS, CRIBS & COTS)

KUB: Dreema – GOLD

Saplings: Kitty Cot Bed – SILVER

Baroo: My Little Stars Moses Basket – BRONZE

Baby Joule: Magical Moses Basket

Kiddicare: Kiddicouture Hampton Cotbed

KUB: Folia and ECO Stand

Mothercare: Puzzle Cot Bed

Mothercare: Treasured moses basket and stand

Stokke®: Sleepi package

 

BEST NURSERY PRODUCT

The Gro Company : Grobag Baby Sleeping Bag – GOLD

Merino Kids: GoGo Bag – SILVER

Sock Ons – BRONZE

AeroSleep: 3D Baby Protect

Babies ‘R’ Us: Olive, Henri & Friends Nursery Collection

Brother Max: Bear Carry & Hang Nightlight

Naturalmat: Latex Mat Mattress Standard Cot Bed Size

Stokke®: Bounce ‘n’ Sleep

The Dream Bag: Baby Sleeping Bag

The Nursery Paint Company: Nursery Paint

 

BEST PRODUCT FOR BOTTLE FEEDING

NUK: Winnie the Pooh First Choice Learner Bottle – GOLD

MAM UK LTD: MAM Anti Colic Starter Set – SILVER

Philips AVENT: Natural bottle – BRONZE

AQUAINT: Cleansing Water for Infant Hands, Skin & Much More

Hippychick: Chillipeeps Adaptable Teat

Munchkin: Deluxe Bottle Brush

NUBY Natural Touch: Feeding bottle with Easy Latch Teat

NUK: First Choice Learner Bottle 

Tommee Tippee® Closer to Nature®: 2 x 150ml bottles

 

BEST PRODUCT FOR BREASTFEEDING

Lansinoh Laboratories: Lansinoh HPA® Lanolin – GOLD

Lansinoh Laboratories: Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads – SILVER

MAM UK LTD: MAM Manual Breast Pump – BRONZE

Ameda: Lactaline Double Electric Breastpump

ARDO: Calypso

breastvest: breastvest

Emma – Jane: 361 Maternity / Nursing Bra

Philips AVENT: Comfort Breast Pump (Manual)

The Essential Parent Company: The Essential Baby Care Guide DVD 1 Feeding

Theraline: The Original Maternity & Nursing Pillow

Theraline: Wynnie

 

BEST PUSHCHAIR

Baby Jogger: City Mini GT – GOLD

Maclaren: Techno XT – SILVER

Mamas & Papas Urbo – BRONZE

Graco: Swift-Fold

Mothercare: Movix Pram and Pushchair

Mutsy: EVO

Obaby: ZeZu Pramette

Out’n’About: Nipper 360 single

Quinny: Moodd

Stokke®: Xplory®

 

BEST REUSABLE NAPPY

TotsBots: Bamboozle Stretch – GOLD

BumGenius: Freetime Nappy – SILVER

Baba+Boo: Reusable Pocket Nappy – BRONZE

Bambino Mio: miosolo

Charlie Banana: One size reusable cloth diaper

Close: Pop-in new generation + bamboo

Close: Pop-in new generation + minkee

Splash About: Baby Snug

 

 BEST SAFETY PRODUCT

Lindam: Sure Shut Axis Safety Gate – GOLD

LittleLife: Runabout Toddler Daysack – SILVER

Tommee Tippee® Closer to Nature®: Digital Ear Thermometer – BRONZE

AQUAINT: Cleansing Water for Infant Hands, Skin & Much More

Diono: Easy View

Gripfast: Door Stop Snail

Lindam: Easy Fit Plus Safety Gate

Splash About: Float Jacket

The Gro Company : Grobag

The Gro Company : New Gro-egg

 

BEST TODDLER TOY – 24 MONTHS +

LEGO DUPLO: Creative Cakes – GOLD

Tidy Books: The Tidy Books Box – SILVER

Little Tikes: First Slide – BRONZE

babyboomboom: junior bang-bag

Hippychick: HappyHopperz

LeapFrog: Touch Magic Learning Bus

Little Tikes: Pillow Racers

Micro Scooters Ltd.: Mini Micro 3in1 Scooter

Ozbozz: Junior Helmet

Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress

 

BEST TRAVEL PRODUCT

Mia Tui: Minnie Amelie – GOLD

JJ Cole: Blanket Grey/Red – SILVER

Momymoo Maia Change Bag – BRONZE

Cheeky Rascals: My Carry Potty

Cuski Baby Ltd: The Great Swandoodle

Fisher-Price: Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case for iPhone

Momymoo Maia ‘On-The-Go’ Changing Mat

Phil&Teds : Lobster

Quack Quack Moo: Dribble Bubbs Hooded Blanket

 

BEST TRAVEL PRODUCT (UNDER £20)

SIGG: SIGG Bottle – GOLD

Galt Toys: Drivetime Monkey – SILVER

Charlie Banana: 2-in-1 Swim Diaper & Training Pants – BRONZE

AQUAINT: Cleansing Water for Infant Hands, Skin & Much More

Brica: UV Alert Shade (£13)

Clippasafe: Secure Belt-Travel Pillow, 1-3yrs and 3-8 yrs

Coverdry: SnuggleBlanki

Milton: Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser

Outlook: auto-shade

Trunki: PaddlePak

 

BEST TRAVEL SLEEP PRODUCT OR TRAVEL COT

The Gro Company :  Grobag Travel Baby Sleeping Bag – GOLD

Lights Out Blinds: Portable Pop Up Black Out Blinds – SILVER

SleepCurve® from TOMY: SleepCurve® moses basket mattress – BRONZE

BabyBjörn: Travel Cot Light

Graco: Contour Electra

Kiddicare: Kip Travel Cot

Nuna: The Nuna SENA™

The Dream Bag: Travel Sleeping Bag

 

 

BEST TRAVEL SYSTEM

UPPAbaby: VISTA – GOLD

Mothercare: Movix Pram and Pushchair (with Maxi Cosi Cabriofix) – SILVER

Red Kite Baby: Push Me Switch – BRONZE

BabyStyle: Oyster

Graco: Evo

JANE: MUUM MATRIX TRAVEL SYSTEM

Obaby: Chase 3 Wheel 2 in 1 Pramette Travel System

 

BEST TWIN/TANDEM

Britax: B-DUAL – GOLD

Cosatto: You2 Twin Stroller – SILVER

JANE: TwOne – BRONZE

Bugaboo: Bugaboo Donkey

Mountain Buggy: Duet

Phil&Teds: Promenade

 

BEST INNOVATION

BEABA: BABYCOOK Duo

Britax: TRIFIX

Galt Toys: Playnest® Car

iBabyGuard Infant Snooze

Kiddicare: Funky Friends 123 Swaddler

Kit for Kids Baby: Ventiflow Dual Core Mattress

MAM UK LTD: MAM Perfect 6+M Soother – WINNER 

Mamas & Papas: Baby Snug

Quack Quack Moo: Dribble Bubbs Bed Protector

Safe Dreams: Safebreathe™ Hoppy and Patch

Sock Ons Limited: Sock Ons

Stokke: MyCarrier

Summer Infant: Summer Infant Superseat

The Essential Parent Company: The Essential Baby Care Guide

The Little Green Sheep: Twist Natural Mattress

VTech Baby: Alfie Lullaby Comforter

WaterBaby: Pregnancy Care Drink

 

READER VOTED AWARDS

BEST NURSERY RETAILER     – Mothercare

BEST ONLINE RETAILER         – Kiddicare

SUPERMARKET OF THE YEAR   –  Tesco

BEST HEALTH PRODUCT         – Calpol

Maternity Musings of a Mother & Baby Tester

 

Sarah describes the experience of testing some breast-feeding products for this years Mother & Baby Awards, the results to be announced on  28th November 2012.  

 

I love her bizarre experiences as a new mum, it reminded me of things I’d forgotten especially as my first baby is now sixteen!

 

Over to Sarah, her Adventures of the Double Pumper! is sure to make you snigger.

 

“There tend to be some universally accepted facts about having a baby and being on maternity leave:

 

    1. In the first week of having a baby – you will probably cry… a lot!
    2. The first sneeze post birth provides an ‘interesting’ sensation!
    3. You can never have too many muslin cloths.
    4. You will have a lot of fascinating conversations about poo.
    5. One smile from your baby is all it takes to melt your heart!
    6. You will probably drink a lot of coffee and/or eat a lot of cake.
    7. Clothing choices are more complicated for breastfeeding than you ever anticipated.
    8. Antibacterial wipes may well become your new best friend.
    9. However much you protest, (believe me, I protested A LOT!) you will at some point find yourself singing to your baby in public.
    10. 10. Buying for a new baby is a complicated business, there is so much choice out there– where do you start?

 

That brings me to how I found myself early this year, heavily pregnant,  surfing the internet, trying to find reviews on the best value and quality cots on the market. I suddenly realised that when I had been cruising round various baby shops in a pre-baby haze of anticipation, I had kept seeing award seals stamped on the products, surely this would be a good unbiased place to start.  Cue Google search…. ‘Mother and Baby Awards’… and then many lost hours and a newfound addiction of trawling through all of the good stuff on the ‘askamum’ webpage, which led to me completing an application to become a tester for the Mother and Baby Awards…

 

Fast forward an eventful couple of months (that included introducing my gorgeous baby girl to the world!) and I found out to my delight that I was going to be a tester for breastfeeding products. In no time at all, as if by magic, parcels galore started arriving at my door – It was like Christmas!

 

Then came the serious task of testing…easy enough for the breastfeeding tops and the lovely selection of pillows, however the breast pumps were a different matter…!

 

Breast pumps are a complicated beast, there are so many factors to consider in a review; ease to assemble and clean, speed, noise, practicality, quality, value for money, portability, to name just a few. There was also the matter of finding the time with a small, baby to actually complete my pumping testing, especially as if I ever dared test in front of her she started to get very possessive about her food source and wasn’t happy about these contraptions stealing her milk! (I once tried to be clever and express on one side whilst feeding my baby on the other – needless to say it didn’t end well and there was more than a little spilt milk and a very angry baby!)

 

The pumping highlight for me though has to be my introduction to the double pumper (dual breast pump to give it it’s official title)!! To start with, the highly comprehensive instruction booklet gave detailed information on  ‘fitting of the flange for pumping’ which made the immature teenager in me titter, and immediately share this with most other people I know, who luckily share my juvenile humour. Then without further ado, I was fitted up and ready to go and about to be indoctrinated into a new world of speed pumping!

 

If you have never used a double pumper (‘dp’) before, I can only describe the sensation as surreal; it’s as though your boobs are having a drag race and you will easily identify which is your ‘turbo boob’!!  The only down fall is that there’s no hiding what you are doing or pumping discretely and my husband’s face was an absolute picture when he first walked in on me using the dp!!  In all seriousness though, I have found that now that I have tried double pumping, I can’t go back to a single pump and the associated double time it takes to express – so be warned there is no going back!!

 

So I’m not being flippant when I say that the last 6 months have truly being eye-opening and being a Mother and Baby Award tester truly has changed my life. (Becoming a mum has had a small impact too!!)  I only hope that some of the reviews that I’ve contributed to help provide some guidance to new/expectant mums out there frantically trying to navigate through the minefield of baby products……Good luck and enjoy!”

 

Mother & Baby Awards 2012. The Shortlist is announced.

It has been my constant preoccupation all through the summer months and I’m relieved to see the results at last.

520 different products successfully tested across 31 categories by at least 312 mums right across the UK. Having personally collated all the results from nearly 5,000 responses the scores are finally in.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I give you a short picture sample of a few of the products that have been tested this year….

and the  MOTHER & BABY AWARDS 2012 SHORTLIST…

Dah Dah!

You’ll have to contain the suspense a bit longer though. The winners won’t be revealed until the awards night on November 28th.

In the meantime,  I’d love to know which ones have been your favourites and the ones you’d most like to see win.

Please post your thoughts below 🙂

 

BABY WIPE

CLEARLY HERBAL Natural Wipes

Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature: Natural Herbal Baby Wipes

Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature: Natural Unscented Baby Wipes

JOHNSON’S® Baby: Extra Sensitive Wipes

ASDA: Little Angels fragranced cotton soft baby wipes

Little Ones at Sainsbury’s: Hand and Face Wipes

Aldi: Mamia Baby Wipes Normal

Aldi: Mamia Baby Wipes Sensitive

Pampers®: Sensitive Wipes

Tesco: Baby Newborn Wipes

Tesco: Baby Ultra Soft Wipes (Fragrance Free)

 

BEST DISPOSABLE NAPPY OR NAPPY BRAND

ASDA: Little Angels Action Fit

ASDA: Little Angels Comfort Dry

ASDA: Little Angels: New Arrival

Kiddicare: Just4Bums

Aldi: Mamia New Born Range

Aldi: Mamia Ultra Dry Range

Pampers®: Active Fit with DryMax™ and 3-Way Fit

Pampers®: Baby-Dry

 

BEST BABY CARRIER / SLING OR BACK CARRIER

BabyBjörn: Baby Carrier Miracle

Caboo: Caboo + organic

ERGObaby: Original Carrier

LittleLife: Voyager S2 child carrier

MaByLand: Trek Snuggle Carrier

Stokke: MyCarrier

 

BEST BABY FOOD RANGE/PRODUCT

ASDA: Little Angels Organic Baby Food

Boots: Baby Organic

Cow & Gate: 100% fruit pouches

Disney Annabel Karmel: Savoury Rice Snacks

Ella’s Kitchen: Ella’s Kitchen dairy range

Heinz Baby: Heinz Fruit Smoothie

HiPP Organic: Mini Pots

HiPP Organic: Organic pouches

Plum Baby: Stage 1 Pouches

Plum Baby: Stage 2 Pouches

Truly Scrummy Organic Range (Stage 1,2,3)

 

BEST BABY MONITOR

BT: Baby Monitor & Pacifier

BT: Baby Monitor 250

Motorola: MBP36

Philips AVENT: Super Sensitive Eco DECT Baby Monitor

Summer Infant: BabyTouch Digital Video Monitor

Tommee Tippee® Closer to Nature®: Video Monitor with Sensor Pad

TOMY: Digital Video Plus TDV450 Monitor

 

BEST BABY TOY -UNDER 12 MONTHS

Babies ‘R’ Us: Garden Friends Sydney the Spider

Bondie Bird Limited: The Bondie Bird Playwrap

Chicco: Magic Stars Cot Mobile

Dandelion: Corn Teething Keys

Fisher-Price: Discover n’ Grow Kick & Play Piano Gym

MOTHERCARE: WALKAROUND

Munchkin: Inflatable Safety Duck Bath

Taf Toys: Clip-On Pram Book

VTech Baby: Yellow Peek-a-Boo Book

 

BEST BABY TOY 12 -24 MONTHS

Chicco: Quattro 4 in 1 Sit ‘n’ Ride

Kiddicare: Buzzing Brains Stack n Sort Cups

LeapFrog: Animal Adventure Learning Table

Little Tikes: 3-in-1 Trike with Discover Sounds® Dashboard

Mega Bloks: Mega Bloks® Big Block Wagon

Mega Bloks: Mega Bloks® Lil Vehicles Dylan Dump Truck

VTech Baby: Toot-Toot Drivers Garage

 

BEST BATHTIME PRODUCT

Babies R Us: Sea Turtle bath

Babyway Karibu: Foldable Bath

Babyway: Podium Toilet Trainer

Brother Max: Ray Digital Bath & Room Thermometer

Brush-Baby Ltd: Chewable Toothbrush

Clevamama: ClevaBath Extra Long BathMat

Cuddledry: baby apron bath towel

Kiddicare: Essentials Bath Seat

Munchkin: Inflatable Safety Duck Bath

 

BEST BOUNCY CHAIR/ROCKER OR SEAT

Babies ‘R’ Us: Winnie the Pooh Cradling Bouncer

BabyBjörn: Babysitter Balance

Chicco: Polly Swing

Cushi Tush: Baby Seat

Fisher-Price: Soothe & Go Bouncy Seat

Fisher-Price: Woodsy Friends Bouncer

Kiddicare: Essentials Baby Bouncer

Nuna: The Nuna LEAF™

Stokke®: Bounce ‘n’ Sleep bouncer

 

BEST CAR SEAT – GROUP 2, 3 & GROUP 1, 2, 3

Apramo: Hestia Car Seat- Group 1,2,3

Diono: Monterey2 Expandable Booster Seat

Graco: Nautilus

Kiddicare: Baby Weavers Opus SP Car Seat

Kiddy: Guardian Pro 2

Maxi-Cosi: RodiFix

RECARO: Monza Nova Seatfix

Renolux: Step 123

 

BEST CAR SEAT – GROUP 1

Britax: TRIFIX

Graco: Coast

Maxi-Cosi: Pearl and FamilyFix Base

MyChild: Astrofix

 

BEST CAR SEAT (NEWBORN) – GROUP 0 & 0+

BeSafe: iZi GO

Britax: BABY-SAFE plus SHR II

Concord: AIR

Graco: Logico S HP

JANE: Matrix Light 2 Car Seat & Matrix Platform

Maxi-Cosi: Pebble with FamilyFix Base

 

BEST FEEDING PRODUCT FOR WEANING

Annabel Karmel by NUK: Food Cube Tray

BEABA: BABYCOOK Solo

MAM UK LTD: MAM Dipper Set

Mothercare: Essential weaning range

Munchkin: 3 Pk Suction Bowls

NUBY Natural Touch: First Cup

OXO Tot: Training Plate

Philips AVENT: Combined Steamer and Blender

Tommee Tippee® Explora®: First Weaning Spoons x2

Vital Baby®: Weaning Set

 

BEST BABY SKINCARE RANGE/PRODUCT

ASDA: Little Angels Range

Boo Boo: Boo Boo Baby

by Maclaren: Beginning

Disney Corine de Farme: The Disney and Corine de Farme babycare range

Green Baby: Organic Skincare

Halos N Horns: baby skincare range

JOHNSON’S® Baby: JOHNSON’S® Baby Nappy Cream

Lansinoh Laboratories: Earth Friendly Baby Range

Organic Babies: Organic Babies Range

Weleda Baby: Calendula Range

 

BEST HIGHCHAIR

BabyBjörn: High Chair

bloom: fresco chrome

Cosatto: Trof Highchair

Geuther: Swing Highchair

Graco: Contempo

Kiddicare: Baby Weavers Wean Me Highchair

MOTHERCARE: HIGH T HIGHCHAIR

Stokke®: Tripp Trapp®

 

BEST LIGHTWEIGHT BUGGY/STROLLER

Kiddicare: Jet Pushchair

Kiddu  Cruz 5-Position Lie Back Buggy

Maclaren: Quest

Mothercare: Mino Stroller

Obaby: Atlas V2 Stroller

RED CASTLE: Connect® stroller

 

BEST MATERNITY SKINCARE PRODUCT

Bio-Oil: Bio-Oil

Mothercare: It’s Your Body

Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula: Tummy Butter

Shea Mooti: Mama’s Everything Body Balm

Tesco: Tesco Blossom Stretch Cream

Weleda: Stretch Mark Massage Oil

 

BEST NEWBORN SLEEP AID – 0-3 MONTHS

Fisher-Price: Discover n’ Grow Nursery Rhymes Projection Soother

Fisher-Price: Soothe & Glow Seahorse

Love To Dream: Love To Swaddle Up

Prince Lionheart: back to sleep slumber bear plus

SleepCurve® from TOMY: SleepCurve® moses basket mattress

Summer Infant: Summer Infant Slumber Buddy

The Gro Company : Gro-swaddle

Tiny Love: Soothe ‘n Groove Mobile

 

BEST NURSERY PRODUCT (INC BASKETS, CRIBS & COTS)

Baby Joule: Magical Moses Basket

Baroo: My Little Stars Moses Basket

Kiddicare: Kiddicouture Hampton Cotbed

KUB: Dreema

KUB: Folia and ECO Stand

Mothercare: Puzzle Cot Bed

Mothercare: Treasured moses basket and stand

Saplings: Kitty Cot Bed

Stokke®: Sleepi package

 

BEST NURSERY PRODUCT

AeroSleep: 3D Baby Protect

Babies ‘R’ Us: Olive, Henri & Friends Nursery Collection

Brother Max: Bear Carry & Hang Nightlight

Merino Kids: GoGo Bag

Naturalmat: Latex Mat Mattress Standard Cot Bed Size

Sock Ons: Sock Ons

Stokke®: Bounce ‘n’ Sleep

The Dream Bag: Baby Sleeping Bag

The Gro Company : Grobag

The Nursery Paint Company: Nursery Paint

 

BEST PRODUCT FOR BOTTLE FEEDING

AQUAINT: Cleansing Water for Infant Hands, Skin & Much More

Hippychick: Chillipeeps Adaptable Teat

MAM UK LTD: MAM Anti Colic Starter Set

Munchkin: Deluxe Bottle Brush

NUBY Natural Touch: Feeding bottle with Easy Latch Teat

NUK: First Choice Learner Bottle

NUK: Winnie the Pooh First Choice Learner Bottle

Philips AVENT: Natural bottle

Tommee Tippee® Closer to Nature®: 2 x 150ml bottles

 

BEST PRODUCT FOR BREASTFEEDING

Ameda: Lactaline Double Electric Breastpump

ARDO: Calypso

breastvest: breastvest

Emma – Jane: 361 Maternity / Nursing Bra

Lansinoh Laboratories: Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads

Lansinoh Laboratories: Lansinoh HPA® Lanolin

MAM UK LTD: MAM Manual Breast Pump

Philips AVENT: Comfort Breast Pump (Manual)

The Essential Parent Company: The Essential Baby Care Guide DVD 1 Feeding

Theraline: The Original Maternity & Nursing Pillow

Theraline: Wynnie

 

BEST PUSHCHAIR

Baby Jogger: City Mini GT

Graco: Swift-Fold

Maclaren: Techno XT

Mamas & Papas: Urbo

Mothercare: Movix Pram and Pushchair

Mutsy: EVO

Obaby: ZeZu Pramette

Out’n’About: Nipper 360 single

Quinny: Moodd

Stokke®: Xplory®

 

BEST REUSABLE NAPPY

Baba+Boo: Reusable Pocket Nappy

Bambino Mio: miosolo all-in-one nappy

BumGenius: Freetime Nappy

Charlie Banana: One size reusable cloth diaper

Close: Pop-in new generation + bamboo

Close: Pop-in new generation + minkee

Splash About: Baby Snug

TotsBots: Bamboozle Stretch

 

BEST SAFETY PRODUCT

AQUAINT: Cleansing Water for Infant Hands, Skin & Much More

Diono: Easy View

Gripfast: Door Stop Snail

Lindam: Easy Fit Plus Safety Gate

Lindam: Sure Shut Axis Safety Gate

LittleLife: Runabout Toddler Daysack

Splash About: Float Jacket

The Gro Company : Grobag

The Gro Company : New Gro-egg

Tommee Tippee® Closer to Nature®: Digital Ear Thermometer

 

BEST TODDLER TOY – 24 MONTHS +

babyboomboom: junior bang-bag

Hippychick: HappyHopperz

LeapFrog: Touch Magic Learning Bus

LEGO DUPLO: Creative Cakes

Little Tikes: First Slide

Little Tikes: Pillow Racers

Micro Scooters Ltd.: Mini Micro 3in1 Scooter

Ozbozz: Junior Helmet

Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress: Reading Eggs and Reading Eggspress

Tidy Books: The Tidy Books Box

 

BEST TRAVEL PRODUCT

Cheeky Rascals: My Carry Potty

Cuski Baby Ltd: The Great Swandoodle

Fisher-Price: Laugh & Learn Apptivity Case for iPhone

JJ Cole: Blanket Grey/Red

Mia Tui: Minnie Amelie

Momymoo: Maia ‘On-The-Go’ Changing Mat

Momymoo: Premium Maia Change Bag

Phil&Teds : Lobster

Quack Quack Moo: Dribble Bubbs Hooded Blanket

 

BEST TRAVEL PRODUCT (UNDER £20)

AQUAINT: Cleansing Water for Infant Hands, Skin & Much More

Brica: UV Alert Shade (£13)

Charlie Banana: 2-in-1 Swim Diaper & Training Pants

Clippasafe: Secure Belt-Travel Pillow, 1-3yrs and 3-8 yrs

Coverdry: SnuggleBlanki

Galt Toys: Drivetime Monkey

Milton: Milton Mini Portable Soother Steriliser

Outlook: auto-shade

SIGG: SIGG Bottle

Trunki: PaddlePak

 

BEST TRAVEL SLEEP PRODUCT OR TRAVEL COT

BabyBjörn: Travel Cot Light

Graco: Contour Electra

Kiddicare: Kip Travel Cot

Lights Out Blinds: Portable Pop Up Black Out Blinds

Nuna: The Nuna SENA™

SleepCurve® from TOMY: SleepCurve® moses basket mattress

The Dream Bag: Travel Sleeping Bag

The Gro Company : Travel Grobags

 

BEST TRAVEL SYSTEM

BabyStyle: Oyster

Graco: Evo

JANE: MUUM MATRIX TRAVEL SYSTEM

Mothercare: Movix Pram and Pushchair with Maxi Cosi Cabriofix

Obaby: Chase 3 Wheel 2 in 1 Pramette Travel System

Red Kite Baby: Push Me Switch

UPPAbaby: VISTA

 

BEST TWIN/TANDEM

Britax: B-DUAL

Bugaboo: Bugaboo Donkey

Cosatto: You2 Twin Stroller

JANE: TwOne

Mountain Buggy: Duet

Phil&Teds: Promenade

 

BEST NURSERY RETAILER

Boots

Ikea

John Lewis

Kiddicare

Mamas & Papas

Mothercare

Next

Silvercross

Tesco

Toys R Us

 

BEST ONLINE RETAILER

Amazon

Asda

JoJo Maman Bebe

Kiddicare

Mamas & Papas

Next

Tesco Direct

The Little Blue Owl

 

SUPERMARKET OF THE YEAR

Aldi

Asda

Morrisons

Sainsburys

Tesco

Waitrose

 

BEST HEALTH PRODUCT

Baby Gaviscon

Bepanthen nappy cream

Berocca

Calgel

Calpol

Drapolene Nappy Cream

Infacol

Lansinoh lanolin

Nelsons Teething Powder

Nurofen for Children

Olbas for Children

Palmers Baby Butter

Sudocrem

Vicks Vapour Rub

Waitrose Bottom Butter

 

BEST INNOVATION

BEABA: BABYCOOK Duo

Britax: TRIFIX

Galt Toys: Playnest® Car

iBabyGuard Infant Snooze

Kiddicare: Funky Friends 123 Swaddler

Kit for Kids Baby: Ventiflow Dual Core Mattress

MAM UK LTD: MAM Perfect 6+M Soother

Mamas & Papas: Baby Snug

Quack Quack Moo: Dribble Bubbs Bed Protector

Safe Dreams: Safebreathe™ Hoppy and Patch

Sock Ons Limited: Sock Ons

Stokke: MyCarrier

Summer Infant: Summer Infant Superseat

The Essential Parent Company: The Essential Baby Care Guide

The Little Green Sheep: Twist Natural Mattress

VTech Baby: Alfie Lullaby Comforter

WaterBaby: Pregnancy Care Drink

 

Related articles

Mother & Baby Awards 2012 – Do you want to be a tester?

THIS IS AN ANNOUNCEMENT  (only with my luck it’ll go about as viral as a slightly embarrassing rash)

I’m here again.  A fretful summer of organising all the product testing for the Mother & baby Awards looms ahead of me.

It’s just possible that some of you might have noticed that I didn’t do it last year.  Others won’t care…

BUT

IF you happen to live in the UK and have a baby or child under 5 (or are pregnant and about to pop in the next month or two)….

OR

IF you happen to know anyone else who fits the criteria above?

AND SHOULD you happen to be a mum (or a dad) fitting the above criteria…

AND you fancy  applying to be a tester for this year’s Mother & Baby Awards. You might just want to  CLICK HERE?

THEN AGAIN, it’s  possible that you don’t actually want to be a tester, but what you’d ACTUALLY LIKE TO DO is to enter your own  product into the Mother & Baby Awards…

(If that’s you maybe? Then click here).

YOU MIGHT ALSO want to tweet and share this post with other people to give them a chance to apply or enter a product too?

I SINCERELY HOPE THAT YOU DO.

BUT HURRY! I guess when the applications reach a ridiculously insane number then the application will close 😦

The Mother & Baby Award Winners 2010 announced.

The Mother & Baby Award Winners 2010

The winners were announced at a gala ceremony on Thursday 18th November at the Hilton Park Lane. Hosted by Jason Manford and Deputy Editor, Kathryn Blundell.

Again this year we asked over 1000 mums to put every entry in the reader-tested categories through their paces.

As Kathryn said,

“Over 3000 products were carefully parcelled and then sent nationwide to be sicked on, bashed, chucked and chewed. It really means that shortlisted products impressed the women that matter –mums. Mums, who gave the nation an extra 790,000 babies last year all of whom need to be cleaned, transported, fed, entertained, and put to bed…

Mother & Baby continues to set the standard for parenting press and is undoubtably the most influential and trusted brand, with a heritage that spans over 60 years. These fantastic awards are a vital part of Mother & Baby’s heritage – we’re so pleased to be able to reward excellence within the industry, supporting mums to support you through these accolades. Everyone shortlisted should feel so proud – these mums are a tough crowd. And don’t get me started on the toddlers…” Continue reading

This is personal. My mid-riff in crisis

As a freelancer, I take the work when I can.

I write about food producers for my local glossy magazine quite regularly but I’d like to do more.

It doesn’t involve any free dining (although that would be nice), but the Chef’s Special’s look tasty at least.

But when there’s so much to tasty stuff around to sample at food festivals and through interviewing food producers it is easy to get a little carried away…and quite naturally, as an outpouring of an almost obsessive new food enthusiasm,  I’ve taken to blogging about it as well.

However, there are two disadvantages to writing about food all day.

One is that writing requires thinking, and thinking requires sustenance, and writing about Cornish food makes eating obligatory.

The second disadvantage is that I’m sitting on my arse all day.

In less than two weeks time I have to squeeze this belly bulge into a glamorous frock for the Mother & Baby awards. I’m not looking forward to it among all those young, svelte, glamorous  media types.

You need to understand that I’m also going through a bit of a mid-life crisis too.

Read the rest of the entry on my new Beyond the Pasty food blog…

Britain’s Bravest Mum and Reader voted Awards!

Reader voted Awards!

Have your say at the Mother & Baby Awards 2010,

The annual Mother & Baby Awards have become the ‘Oscars’ of the baby industry as we celebrate the very best products, stores and innovations available to parents.

Mums have now finished testing everything from nappies and wipes to pushchairs and car seats this summer, giving their view of how each and every entry copes in the ‘real world’. The votes have been counted and the winners will be revealed at the awards ceremony will again take place at London’s Park Lane Hilton, on 18 November.  It’s their opinions entirely that decide who will win a coveted Mother & Baby Gold Rosette.

Meanwhile there are some special awards we want as many mum’s as possible to get involved with.

Please vote for the following:
Best health product
Nursery retailer of the year
Supermarket of the year
Online retailer of the year

To vote for your winner of one of the categories above, enter online here Continue reading

Mother & Baby Awards 2010: the Shortlist is announced.

With a total of 188 brands, 538 products and 3216 product samples sent out, collating the results for the Mother and Baby Awards 2010, has been time consuming-to say the least. Each and every award category has been decided entirely by our volunteer tester mums and they have certainly been busy all this summer, putting products through their paces. Now our all important reviewers and ambassadors for parents everywhere, have produced the much awaited for shortlist of their favourites.

In response to the overwhelming level and quality of entries this year, we decided to split some of the larger categories to make more award categories. We have gone from 24 tested categories 2 years ago, to 30 last year and now to 33. You’ll see these extra additional awards as marked as *NEW* if you think that they look unfamiliar.

Plus one, judged by a panel at Mother & Baby for ‘Best New Innovation’. A product which we think is new, brilliant, a refreshing change and will make a difference to the lives of parents today.

Congratulations to every single brand that has impressed our mummy testers and is in the running for an award.

The winners will be announced on the night at a Gala Awards ceremony on Thursday 18th November at the Hilton Park Lane. Continue reading

M&B Awards Blog: A few Testing Gems

Just ahead of the 2010 Mother & Baby Awards Shortlist announcement, there have been few products mentioned by testers as having been absolute gems. It will be interesting to find out if they also turn out to be winners…

What products you’ve tried or bought that have most surprised you?

“One of the products I’ve been testing is the 37° sleeping sack, Natalie O’Dwyer said. “This is a most amazing product! When it arrived it was packaged up beautifully, and had been sent with a matching vest. My son is a very poor sleeper, and we have struggled to find anything he can sleep in as he is either too hot too cold, or tangles himself up in covers. Not with this product however! It is incredibly soft, even after washing it, and I love the gender-neutral colour and patterns. It’s a perfect fit, and the poppers are nice and strong on the shoulders. It’s really thick without being too hot for the baby, I don’t worry about him being cold in the night now.


The first night he went to bed in it, we had our bath and massage, and dressed him in the vest and sleep sac. He had a feed from me for about 10mins and started to drift off. It’s usually at this point we have the trouble as the minute we put him down in the cot and try to put his covers over him he wakes up screaming! Because he was already under his covers being in the sleep sac, he didn’t even wake when I put him down. To my amazement I didn’t hear from him until 7am the next day! Usually he wakes up 3-4 times a night! He sleeps in it every night now, and I will be buying another so I can wash one and wear one.” Continue reading