The Confusing world of Baby Milk Formula

Can somebody please tell me what’s going on in the world of baby formula? It is so incredibly confusing. Much like the unnecessary situation of having a hundred different options for clothing detergent the same exists in the world of baby formula. Difference is that a decision on the former results in different smelling jeans and a decision on the later seems to affect the physiological development of a tiny human. 

We were told in our NCT antenatal class that all formulas are basically identical as they must meet common nutritional regulations, established by law. So am I trusting some ancient government regulation on our baby’s upbringing? I understand there’s also all sorts of special rules around them not being something that can be discounted in a shop. But what does that mean?

This document on shows the volume of different products on the market and the pages here list the composition difference between all of them. Am I supposed to understand this? Does everyone not just want their baby to develop properly? Should I be picking the most expensive or the cheapest? Do we need to try them and see what baby prefers? Is the posh one going to give us a better child once she's all grown up?

We’ve so far opted for Aptamil 1st Powder, because it was the nicest looking tin, but it seems (once we looked into it) that the difference in composition is minuscule between that and the Cow & Gate 1st Powder, both manufactured by Danone. The cost is not, the Aptamil is £11.50 and the Cow & Gate is £8.75, that’s a 30% difference! We’re going through baby milk like you wouldn’t believe and so £2.75 a tin is going to add up pretty fast. Is baby going to be better off if we buy the cheaper one and then bung the £2.75/tin info a Junior ISA? Or is that completely irresponsible?

Then there’s the Aldi option, called Mamia which is £6.79 a tin (for a 100g more). That’s a LOT cheaper. It scores essentially exactly the same on it's nutrition chart as the Danone options but is essentially half the price. Only difference is that the Aldi option doesn’t have 'Linoleic acid’ or 'Alpha-linolenic acid’ and a higher whey to casein ratio - is that what matters?

The whey:casein ratio of the protein element does seem to align with pricing, as below, but protein element is only 1.5g of 100ml of milk, so that difference is surely incredibly marginal. The internet informs me that breast milk is around 60:40.

- Aptamil is 50:50
- Cow & Gate is 60:40
- Aldi Mamia is 70:30

Perhaps the other consideration is environmental, both Aptamil and Aldi list Palm Oil on the ingredients list, but Cow & Gate doesn’t. Maybe let’s not go there..  

The answer is, I don’t know! I think we’re going to use up what we have in the cupboards which is the rest of a tin of Aptamil, then two tins or Cow & Gate (which are on order for delivery tomorrow) and then switch to the Aldi option provided that’s fine after Christmas. The saving is pretty significant and it seems silly to spend money on a more expensive option that is essentially the same.

Hopefully we’re not being irresponsible parents. 

Dadblog - Week 40

Well, we had hoped that by now baby would be with us! Seems it’s not time just yet…. Baby is still doing very well though, getting itself ready for the big day which is getting closer every minute that passes. Victoria is doing fine too and is coping very well, despite baby being really quite big!

Weekend before last we went and did another ultrasound at the hospital, just to check that everything was progressing fine and also did some sessions on the monitor to check heart rate and movement. All very good, baby was very active and kept kicking the monitor! Doing these on a weekend is a much more pleasant experience. We had thought that the monitor and scan were showing signs that things were starting, but seems not.

All being well, baby should arrive with us anytime now, we’re both very ready and excited. As are all of our family and friends! Victoria of course continues to be on maternity leave and I am waiting for the day that I can join her on paternity leave. Work have been very accommodating with everything but not knowing when I’ll be off and when I’ll be back is making things a little tricky. Lots going on and working on building some momentum for some exciting identity access management and enterprise application integration projects in 2022.

In home news, there’s been quite a lot going on… The house is move is progressing well, our solicitor has been busy managing the sale and purchase and so far everyone is playing ball. We have reviewed the documentation from the seller of the High Halstow house and are waiting on the land registry searches - hopefully a simple process since the house is only 20 years old. Our mortgage application has been approved following three lengthy appointments with the provider, we’re now just waiting for the desk-based valuation to come through before we receive our offer. We have been to view the house again with Victoria’s Dad and spent a bit more time checking things out and looking at the garden and garage which we weren’t able to last time. All very good, can’t wait to get moved in!

Back in Upnor we’ve been getting things packed up ready for the move. We had a literal pallet of packing materials delivered a few weeks ago and since then we’ve been working on getting all the boxes built and filled. So far, so good. The rower which has been sitting in the garage for the last few months is now carefully packed back into it’s box ready to move too! Next job is to try and arrange for a removal company to come quote for the move, because we have far too much stuff to move ourselves in a van.

Other big news is the arrival of my MacBook Pro. Very big day! I have started a blog post to share more about it, but essentially it’s the most amazing computer I’ve ever used. It cost a lot of money, but it is everything I had hoped it would be. Very pleased indeed. This is the first blog on the new machine!

Over the weekend we went out and enjoyed the fireworks at Medway Yacht Club with family. It was cold but really good fun. Especially fitting as this was one of the first things we did after we moved back to Upnor. Ready for our next milestone now.

Hurry up, bean!

Dadblog - Week 37

What a difference a few weeks can make…! The HUGE news this month is that we’re moving house!! 😁 It’s all happened very quickly but we’re both very excited and confident we’re making the right decision. We absolutely love living here in Upnor, it’s a very special place for both of us, but we are gradually growing out of our home and need some more room. We’d love to stay but it doesn’t make too much sense to invest much further in our house and for the past few years have longed for somewhere a little bigger. We’ve spent a lot of time and money doing the house up since we moved in, we’ve done all the decorating, fitted new carpet (literally a couple of months ago 🤦‍♂️) made some changes to the garden, etc and with those changes have really made it somewhere that we’re happy to be. Unfortunately doing more work, either extending or rearranging things internally is going to be quite expensive and unlikely to give us the space that we’re going to need in the future. So with that, we committed and listed it! We are very lucky that there was lots of interest and our house sold within a week with several offers, in the end we sold to a lovely couple who are really excited to move to Upnor.

Looking at where to move to, there’s not too many that come on the market in Upnor and there’s even fewer that are the size and type that we’re looking for. We did try and view one in Upnor that was listed recently, but it didn’t work out. Before the pandemic we were planning to move to a new build but have since gone off the idea in favour of somewhere that’s more established, the whole new build thing was REALLY complicated and exhausting. It would however have been great to move somewhere with gigabit fibre.

So we broadened our horizons beyond Upnor and found an amazing place that is exactly what we’re looking for. It’s in High Halstow, a similarly sized village further into the Hoo peninsular. One of the things we’re really spoilt with in Upnor is the quiet; the geography of Upnor’s riverside location means that even though it’s close to Chatham, Strood and their arterial roads, it’s incredibly quiet and peaceful. High Halstow has that same peace and quiet, possibly even more since it’s much more remote. The village has it’s own pre-school and primary school both within a short walk which will fantastic for when baby is a little older. There’s also a small shop (which Upnor lacks!) pub, playing fields, children’s park, church and a nature reserve that’s great for dog walking. Compared to Upnor, the village has a very active community and even it’s own relief charity for those in need.

There’s been a lot of news recently surrounding Medway Council’s Local Plan and the impact that will have for development on the Peninsular and the wider towns. The most recent proposal was withdrawn, although it indicated that most housing development will be focused in Hoo, where it’s designation will be changed to make it a town. There will be development in High Halstow, there already has been some, in fact the Village is expected to almost double in size, but it should for remain a village. The very big news is that the nearby Grain branch line railway, presently only used for commercial transport will re-open for passenger traffic with a new train station constructed for London commuter traffic (which of course, isn’t without controversy). This would in the future help avoid the need to have to drive all the way into Strood to get the train to London.

The house we found in High Halstow is just around the corner from Dad and was built around 2000, it’s detached and a fair size bigger with an additional bedroom upstairs, a small downstairs study, bigger kitchen and separate dining room. The garden is a little bigger, but not too large and isn’t overlooked at all. I’m particularly excited that it has side access, plenty of drive way, a garage and a nice-sized front garden too, all things we don’t have today. The back garden is south facing and the roof is suitable for solar-panels if we were to install them in the future (next door already have). The house isn’t in perfect condition, in fact, it’s probably in worse condition than this house when we bought it..! But what it does have is all the right components and potential to be the house Victoria and I want for our family in the years to come.

Many neighbours with the same style of house have extended both upstairs and downstairs so it should be possible to make the house bigger in the future if we needed. I’m really excited about fully renovating the house, putting in an energy efficient heating system (maybe with a government grant?) opening the back up downstairs and creating a big master bedroom. All possible in time and with the right money.

We’re really pleased that our offer on the house has been accepted, so now we just need to wait, and hope that everything works out as expected. The chain is relatively short, with the same agent acting on all properties. Provided all goes well we’ll be looking at a move date sometime in January, so baby will officially have lived in Upnor (as did yours truly) for a short time. Today we have our mortgage application meeting with Natwest, we’re not stretching our needs too much so it should (fingers crossed) be absolutely fine, although always a bit of a worry! Yesterday we ordered many, many boxes, bubble wrap and cardboard packing material (seriously, how are boxes so expensive?) which are going to arrive today on a pallet. We used a company called Schott Packaging who seemed to be quite reasonable, there are MANY snakes online selling removal boxes for £3/4 per box. We debated going ‘eco’ and using a crate hire service like this, but we’d need to pack and unpack quickly because the crates are rented by the week. We’re going to try and get as much stuff packed away as we can before the move date, even if it ends up sitting in the garage.

In actual baby news, there’s not too much to report, we finished Dad Classes the other week and following that both feel much more comfortable about what’s going to happen. We went to the final scan which was a little different now baby is a bit bigger, they are very healthy and were at the time of the scan were 6lbs and 3oz (2.8Kgs). Victoria and her mum washed all of the baby clothes and get them all ready for when he/she arrives. We spent some more time talking about names and have whittled it down to a respectable short list that I think we’re both happy with. We’re going to wait until baby is here with us before we agree on the perfect name, although both have our favourites.

We have packed the baby bags and they’re in the car ready to go. Victoria has done a good job of inventorying them so we know exactly what we have and where it is. We’ve packed light, but with enough stuff to get us through a day or so quite comfortably. The car seat is safety installed and we’re quite familiar with how it all works. To help manage the baby and the dog being in the car at the same time, we bought Dexter a car crate, basically it’s a boot-liner that goes on one of the back seats. Turns out he absolutely loves it and chooses to sit in it when be bring it into the house. We’ve not yet taken him on a longer journey, but I think it’s probably more comfortable for him and certainly safer too. The sides are high enough that he shouldn’t be able to get to baby when they’re in their car seat which is what we were after (Dexter gets very excited around babies).

Victoria is doing really well, although she reports that the final weeks are gradually becoming more difficult. Baby has been kicking and creating a fuss a lot more recently which we think is probably because he/she is running out of space. Learnt this at Dad School, apparently babies are delivered with their head sideways, so their ears are towards mum’s front and back. In Victoria’s tummy baby is mostly sitting upside down with their spine towards Victoria’s right side. This means that the right side of her tummy is very hard and the left is much more squidgy. We’re both very excited for the big day now, with just two and a bit weeks to go.

I’m still going in to the office a few days a week but from the end of this week am going to try and cut back and work just from home. There’s a lot going on while I try and leave work in a place where I can disconnect for two or three weeks. No more scuba, sailing or being too far apart from now onwards either. There’s no situation where I’m going to miss baby arriving!

Hopefully there will be time for one more DadBlog before the big day. If not, wish us luck!!

Dad classes are over. Here’s how they went… 🤰👨‍🍼

This weekend was the last class of Dad Classes (aka Antenatal Classes) which is both very exciting and very nerve wracking at the same time! We had four lessons, three Saturdays of 4 hours and a 2 hour midweek session. The classes were really, really helpful and in hindsight I don’t quite know how we were contemplating not doing them.

Victoria learnt a few tips and tricks but had spent a lot of time understanding things in advance. For me, I learnt a ton of stuff at every single lesson. I found it very helpful to be in an environment with an experienced tutor but also around other dads and partners who were going through the same thing as us. Everything in pregnancy is very mum-first with the scans having been the only exposure for me of what to expect. The scans are good, but when they’re happening The dad is told to sit quietly in the corner with the nurse only really talking to mum. Midwife appointments are mum-only and at very awkward times.

The classes have allowed me as a future dad, to get to grips on what to expect, what to do and how to help from a professional and others in the same situation. They’re also helped prompt conversations between Victoria and I about topics that may not have come up while we’re focusing on our day to day lives. Such as how we feel about certain things and what’s important to us and what isn’t. It’s definitely brought us closer on our journey and I feel I have a much better understanding of what Victoria is going through beyond just the size of her bump!

The things that have been most helpful are - Everything about c-sections (if I didn’t know about how this works and it was needed, I’d be freaking out)

  • How I can help Victoria during labour
  • What to look for during different Labour stages
  • Things to look out for after baby is born
  • How to manage decisions during labour and what we are entitled to have a decision over
  • Everything to do with the placenta/cord 😳
  • Different places when we can have the baby (home vs ward vs ‘birth centre’)

Our tutor, Vicky has been really, really good. She’s been able to present the materials in an easy to consume way whilst keeping us all engaged and collaborating together. I particularly liked the part where the dads had to show the mums how to correctly bath baby!

The sessions have also allowed all of the couples to meet and (hopefully) stay in touch with each other. While we’re all different in our own ways, we’re all in exactly the same place right now. I am really looking forward to our reunion in January once all the babies are born!

If you’re reading this thinking about doing a NCT course, just book it. You won’t regret it.

Next step, baby.

Dadblog - Week 33

Yes, yes, I know it’s been a really long time since the last Dadblog post - sorry about that, it’s been pretty busy. The good news is that I think, we think, we’re almost there with the baby preps - which is a pretty big deal. We’re for sure on the final furlong, the list of jobs is all but ticked, the nursery looks amazing, I have an empty bank account and Victoria has a very large bump (it’s pineapple week)! It’s getting very exciting now and we both can’t wait for baby to be here with us in our home.

The nursery room has seen lots of change, the most significant thing is that the carpet has been replaced, this made a HUGE difference. We had a weird stripy brown coloured carpet in the room before which was just a bit old fashioned and made the room feel very busy. The new carpet is a simple pale cream colour looks great and is really fluffy, neutral and fresh - it smells amazing. I feel like we probably should have swapped the carpet a long time ago as it didn’t really cost all that much and aside from the wait, it didn’t really take very long to install either. We also had the hallway, stairs and landing (HSL if you’re a carpet pro), my office and the lounge done. We’re really happy with all of it, particularly the HSL, which has made it feel like a new home when you walk in the front door. Walking around in the lounge barefoot is really very lovely.

Also in the nursery we have installed the new baby monitor and some shelves. The monitor is a Eufy SpaceView, which seemed to be the highest-rated camera of any and so far, it seems really good. We debated getting the Nanit, but it was very expensive (£300) and you have to pay for a subscription (between £5 and £30), which is a bit crazy. This camera is a closed loop, so it doesn’t have an app, just a simple monitor and camera; apparently an app is also quite inconvenient for a monitor because you want to always keep an eye on it, which is inconvenient when it on your phone. The camera is PTZ with a wide angle lens and a small shelf for wall mounting. The monitor is a simple large LCD display with a few buttons and a kick stand. For some reason, most systems tend to have awful cameras and then a tiny little display screen. This one works really well and we’re properly pleased with it. The only tricky part was that it has been out of stock in the UK since the beginning of the year (well, probably before then) so we haven’t been able to buy it. Fortunately, it was in stock at Amazon in Germany, so we ordered from there and it turned up just fine. We paid about £150 which is quite a lot, but a lot less than a Nanit.

Few other changes in the nursery to finish it off, we installed some shelves above the changing station for books and bits and bobs. The shelves were an absolute ‘mare to install but look good now they’re up. We also put a floor lamp in next to the nursing chair which looks very smart and Dad has made a small oak shelf for next to the chair so that Victoria has somewhere to put her phone, a drink or the bottle. All that’s left is to get the wireless lights to work properly, I need to find a way to define some preset options and to have switches next to the chair and door. We may also get another camera that covers the whole room in addition to just the cot.

The other major investment was the push-chair/buggy/stroller/travel-system/car-seat. Honestly, I didn’t realise this would be as complicated as it was, there are SO MANY options is a little bit crazy. Victoria did all of the heavy lifting in figuring out what is the best one for us and we eventually landed on the Mamas & Papas Ocarro in Onyx which comes with a Cybex Cloud Z lie-flat car seat. I think I’ve talked about this in a previous post, but it all turned up the other week in five (!) enormous boxes. It’s one thing seeing it in the shop and it’s another having it in your house, it seems bigger than I remember, but just about fits in our under-stairs cupboard without being completely collapsed which is good. While we made sure the buggy fitted in the boot of the car, we didn’t check that the car seat would fit properly on the back seat. It does, but even in our relatively roomy Audi A4 the passenger seat needs to be quite far forward. The base for the car seat is pretty snazzy though, it spins around so that it’s easy to clip and seat in and out of the car. I’m sure our mileage with this will vary over time, but all seems good so far.

This weekend is the first lesson of Parent School with NCT. We’re now both members of a special WhatsApp group with all the other future mums and dads which is quite nice. Our tutor is a lady called Vicki Sigston who runs private sessions at Little apprehensive about it, but sure it’ll be absolutely fine, I’m certain it’ll be helpful to listen and learn. It still seems a bit odd that you’re just expected to know what to do when baby arrives. I feel like there should be some kind of test or certification before you are allowed to be trusted with an actual human child! We’re going full-on and are turning up with cupcakes for everyone.

In other news, Covid restrictions are being relaxed and we’re now both fully vaccinated. Most people are continuing to wear masks indoors or in crowded spaces which seems sensible. The case numbers for Covid are still quite high, but apparently that’s fine so long as people aren’t dying with quite such high frequency. We are both still doing lateral flow tests from time to time and touch-wood neither of us believe we’ve had Covid. It’s now possible to sit at the bar in a pub which was my personal metric for when things are back to normal, this is very pleasing although as I type it’s been four weeks since my last beer. A commitment I made with myself to make sure that I make the most of this special part of our lives - plus I have already drunk enough for both of us this year!

In general news, aside from Covid. The war in Afghanistan is now over, well, the ISAF ground forces have officially left which is quite a monumental piece of history. That exit marked the 20th anniversary since 9/11 which is now a frighteningly long time ago. International travel is beginning to resume, which has been all but halted since the start of the pandemic. Travel to most of the EU has been possible for a couple of months provided people are double jabbed, report their location and complete mandatory travel testing. Travel to the US is expected to resume from November, despite the UK permitting travel for US citizens for many months already. Oh and I suppose this is news, England lost to Italy in the Euro 2020 final at Wembley. Tragic. In the past few days there has been a massive surge in liquid gas prices, which is causing all sorts of chaos, that sits alongside people panic-buying forecourt fuel and an increasing acceptance that we’ll be living with food shortages in supermarkets because of a shortage of lorry drivers (because, surprise! it turns out most of them were from the EU). Perhaps this is the perfect storm for Winter 2021. We’re truly living the Brexit dream.

This may well be the last big post before baby arrives, but I’ll do my best to continue with the Micro Blog in the mean time, perhaps with some running update on Baby Classes.

Dadblog - Week 22

It’s been all systems go here in Andrews HQ for the last week or so, a break in weekend commitments meant it was time to get the nursery decorating done.

We started by getting the carpet sorted, we’d had a man round for a measure the other week and got a quote back for £2,600 for all of the carpet in the house apart from our bedroom. That was a bit more than we had hoped to spend and certainly more than we wanted to spend after having bought new sofas the other week! The colour and style took a little while for us to figure out, but we got there in the end. We left that quote for a while so that we could think about what to do.

This weekend we thought we’d go to Tapi Carpets by Rochester Airport to get a competitive quote and it all seemed to fit into place, we decided on getting a less expensive carpet in the lounge and found some end pieces for the two upstairs rooms which worked out much cheaper and in all. Tapi were more expensive for Underlay, but all in we spent £2,100 so we saved a fair amount and were quite happy. Upstairs will be installed in a couple of weeks and hallway and lounge should hopefully be the last week of July. Very exciting!

With that done, it was decorating time! We ordered a bunch of stuff from tool station and got to work moving all the furniture and junk out of the room. Having now committed to changing the carpet we cut around the skirting board so that we could paint properly. The colour we picked from B&Q was ‘wild mushroom’, a cream colour and ‘new growth’, a pale, fresh green. We decided to paint the ceiling too since we were going for it!

After a lot of sanding, painting, taping, waiting and staying up late we eventually got everything done. It took a little longer than I thought, but we’re really happy with the result. The green is really nice and suits the new furniture really well. We (I) managed to get quite a lot of paint on the old carpet, so the room doesn’t quite finished but it will do once the new one it is. Victoria did a very good job on the glossing for the skirting and door frames, which makes a big difference too. Decorating, done!

In other baby news, Victoria and I both submitted our respective Maternity and Paternity forms to work. Both accepted, which is very good news. With Colliers I am entitled to two weeks full pay which I’m going to take from the 8th November (the Monday after the due date), and take the rest of my annual leave either before, if baby comes early, or after if baby comes late. That’s the plan, anyway… Victoria’s entitlement is far too complicated for the blog, but basically she gets normal pay for a while, then less pay, then even less pay until she goes back to work. We don’t quite know what is the best approach for going back to work (we’ve not had a baby before!) so we will see how we go… All beginning to get very real now!

In non-baby news, England are doing really rather very well in the Euro 2020 championship. Last week we beat Germany 2-0 and over the weekend we beat Ukraine 4-0. This Wednesday is the semi-final against Denmark and if we succeed there then it’s the final on Sunday. Both games are at home with a very strong England crowd, so if it were to happen, there’s never been a better chance.

In F1 it’s been an interesting mixed bag for British fans, Lewis hasn’t been on his usual form with a dominant Max now on a 4-week winning streak, taking his first grand-slam this weekend at Austria. Lando Norris is doing very well indeed though and got himself a podium and his best result this season at Austria.

With travel restrictions beginning to be relaxed, this weekend we committed to a boys trip to Spa-Francorchamps to watch the race in late August. By then we should all be double vaccinated which will hopefully mean we’re all good to go. I am beyond excited and absolutely can’t wait to get there, so pleased to be able to see a race again, and the last of this generation too! The plan is to take the motorhome, catch the ferry and stay on one of the campsites at the circuit. We’ve got great tickets on the start-finish straight so should have a fantastic view….!!

Next week we’re off to Dorset for a few days and then to Cornwall to spend some time with Family. This will most likely be the last Cornwall trip without baby, so it’ll be quite special. Really looking forward to just relaxing and having a nice time. It’ll likely be the last trip to Cornwall for a while too it’ll be difficult to drive that far with the baby in the first year.

Dadblog - Week 20

Not quite sure how, but an entire month has passed since the last blog post. Well, I do know how, because we’ve been really busy doing things and having a lovely time, but it still seems to have gone very quickly! I may have to recap and fill in some of the details on this at a later date, because there is really rather a lot to cover - but I’ll do my best and try to focus on Dad Blog topics.

We’re now on week 20 and well, the bean is showing! Pregnancy clothes are requirement rather a nicety but both Victoria and the bean are doing really well. The weather has been amazing for most of the past month and gradually getting warmer and warmer, last week was great, hottest of the year so far and the paddling pool was out!

The todo list has been going really well and we’ve ticked most of the major boxes… We’ve booked baby classes with NCT on the advice of a few people with in-person(!) sessions scheduled for September. Not sure we would have booked these if it weren’t for the advice of others but as the weeks have gone by I’ve found myself looking forward to them more and more. Aside from my dad book and conversations with others, there really isn’t any way to know what to do when the baby comes, so I’m looking forward to being told what to do! It’s a step outside of our comfort zone too, which is probably a good thing. Hopefully it’ll also be a good way of getting to know other people who are going through the same experience as us, I think there is a catch up with the group after the baby is born too, which will be interesting.

We have found the pram! Sorry, the ‘travel system’. We decided on the Mamas & Papas Occaro which comes with all sorts of accessories including a lie-flat swivelling car seat which seems quite snazzy. We visited the shop at Lakeside and made sure that everything fits in the boot, which it does, although there isn’t too much room for very much else. It’s in a dark navy material with a gold/bronze (Onyx?) colour metal which seems nice. Appears to be a very sturdy push chair which is big enough without being too big. After a bit of hassle we got a £150 gift voucher too, which was good. It gets delivered in early September, so just in time for baby classes!

The furniture for the nursery is all sorted too, Victoria spotted a bargain online for the Mamas & Papas Keswick furniture 2nd hand from somebody not too far away. After checking it, it was basically brand new and perfect for us. So we got a right steal for that and saved the environment too! We had to stick it on Dad’s trailer to get it home after negotiating the stairs in the house we had to remove it from - bit of a ‘mare, but all fine. Setting it up at home it looks great, the cot/crib converts to a small toddler-sized bed when necessary, so we should last us a little while. Oh, and extra bonus, the bed that was in this room, which we bought brand new before lock down we managed to sell for a few hundred quid, so that helped.

Elsewhere in the house we’ve been getting things ready. I replaced our shower door with one that folds so that it’s easy to reach into the bath without the door being in the way. We should have done this a long time ago, it is so much better compared to the old door. Wasn’t cheap, £200 is a lot for a lump of glass, but it’s working great.

We also decided to treat ourselves to some new sofas (on the same day as buying the pram!), complete impulse purchase but long story short, Harvey’s at Lakeside were having a liquidation. There was a fabric suite with electric recline, basically exactly what we had been thinking of buying. We paid for them (after taking a load of cash out, because they insisted on a part-cash payment) and some random bloke who seemed to be working for Harvey’s turned up with them the next day (who we also paid in cash). Very odd, but a total steal.

Last house upgrade was installing a Nest thermostat. We’d been toying about getting one for probably about four years and every winter we manage without and by the time we’re sick of not being able to control the heating remotely, it’s spring again. This year we said sod it and had the heating bloke come round with it and set it up. Don’t know how we lived without this before now, absolute game changer. I setup Homebridge on the RaspberryPi and nest is all hooked up with Apple Home too, very good bit of software.

The biggest news for this blog is that we have just today been and done our 20-week scan. This was the first time I’ve been to the hospital with Victoria for anything to do with the baby, so quite a big deal. We visited Medway Hospital in the afternoon, there we put on our masks and had our temperature taken as we went in, at reception I showed my negative covid test and we then sat in the waiting room which had perspex dividers between every chair. A very odd experience! We were called up by the Sonographer/Doctor who took us to one of the ultasound rooms and got strait to the job of jelly’ing up Victoria’s bump!

It was all a bit less fancy than the setup in Maidstone, but perfectly fine. The baby has grown a LOT since I last saw, we could see their spine, feet, fingers, eyes and even the chambers of the heart pumping away. They took measurements of lots of things, to make sure that the baby is growing properly. We saw that baby had it’s thumb in it’s mouth which was very cute indeed! This is the scan where we could have chosen to know the sex and we needed to look away at times so we wouldn’t try and work it out. We were in the room for about 20 minutes of so and at the end Victoria was able to take a short video with the baby’s heartbeat. Very excited, we’re officially half way…!!

Dadblog - Week 15

It’s been a busy few weeks since the announcement post and I’m pleased to say that Operation Bean is moving forward at full throttle. The biggest news since is that the bean is now ‘showing’ which I understand to be the politically correct terminology, which is very exciting indeed. We have drawn up a baby checklist with the help of our book and ordered them based on urgency.

First on the list was to tidy the loft space and make sure everything is sorted out. We don’t really have that much stuff, but since we’re not moving in the next 6 months but do expect to move in the next few years it’ll mean we will be moving as a family. Sorting out the loft wasn’t the most fun job ever as I was a bit hungover from celebrating my boss’s birthday in London the night before. I soldiered on and we chucked out a lot of junk, took a bunch of stuff to the charity shop and Victoria did an excellent job getting everything organised properly. We just need to take the junk that’s rubbish to the tip, which at present needs to be booked online many days in advance. This is really rather annoying as just turning up at the tip with stuff was in the pre-COVID world, much, much easier, I doubt we’ll ever see a return to that way of operating.

We’ve also been clothes shopping now that the shops are back open again, an odd experience because there are fewer shops open in Bluewater than there were before lockdown. Not that I would really know, but apparently there really aren’t many clothes shops that sell maternity clothes anymore. I’m sure that I remember the bigger shops all having a section, certainly Marks & Spencer who despite having an absolutely enormous shop don’t have any. There was a few in Next and some in Primark. Victoria got a few bits but found more success online as seems to be the way now. I got myself some new trousers as to not feel left out, not from the maternity section.

We spent some more time thinking about the buggy (aka Travel System) and have begun to narrow down our choice a little. We’ve decided to spend some of our savings on the buggy as it feels like quite a special thing. The number of options available and considerations for which is best is really quite outstanding, but I think we’re getting close, once we’ve found the one we will probably keep an eye on deals and prices since we have a little while yet. As I type this there is a not completely unrealistic concern of a third lockdown, some parts of the UK have been forced into localised lockdowns again, despite national cases being low and vaccinations continuing (I’m still waiting).

On the house front we made a few changes, today I moved my office back to the previous configuration, with my desk now on the wall nearest the hallway. I was finding that I was getting a sore right shoulder which I think is caused by me twisting because I have the wall and window on my right side. We’ll see if this makes any difference, it’s less of an ideal layout but if it helps then great. Having my whiteboard above my desk so far seems to be a winner, I can no longer escape my to-do list. Victoria has been working on sorting out the guest bedroom which will become the nursery, we will need to put most of her craft things into the office so will need some more storage.

The other house change is the need for us to replace the shower screen in the bathroom. We currently have a single pane screen which works great but is kind of restrictive when you need to access the taps while not actually in the bath. It’s not too much of a problem when we use the bath to wash the dog because we can reach around and then position the screen over the bath, blocking the taps, but this is really not ideal for when there’s a baby in the bath! I managed to find a screen online that’s the same length but folds in the middle, which should hopefully mean the outer flap can swing over the bath and give us access to the taps. It was a bit of purchase at £200 odd quid, but not really one we could avoid.

Next week we’re off to Cornwall to see family, it properly feels like we haven’t been in absolute ages so can’t wait to get down. The first stop is Charlestown, with dinner planned in one of my favourite restaurants, The Longstore before heading back to the Tamar Valley with another dinner planned in the gorgeous Ship Inn, Noss Mayo. Later in the week Victoria and I are off for a postponed birthday dinner in Thackeray’s in Tunbridge Wells, a very special restaurant. Then it’s three days of sailing in the Medway Keelboat Regatta, which I absolutely can’t wait for! If that wasn’t enough, the first weekend it’s the return of the Monaco Grand Prix which was cancelled last year. Certainly set to be a fun-packed week. Let’s hope Boris holds firm with relaxing the rules or we’re going to be in big trouble!

Dadblog out.

Baby Andrews

Really pleased to share that Victoria and I are expecting our first baby! We are unbelievably excited and cannot wait to become a mum and dad (to more than just our fur baby 🐶). We found out in March of this year, just as the COVID lockdown restrictions began to be eased in the UK. We shared the news with family and friends on our birthday, an already very special day that is now even more special. The timing has been perfect and with restrictions changing we can’t wait to spend time seeing people in real life, hugging, going shopping for baby things and enjoying the summer with our bump!

Baby Andrews is due in early November and we’ve just entered our second trimester, where baby is about the size of a peach. We have had a couple of scans so far, the first we visited Window to the Womb in Maidstone just ahead of our birthday, they were fantastic and it really was amazing to see baby on the screen. The second scan, known as the dating Scan Victoria visited Medway Hospital, unfortunately Medway Hospital don’t yet allow parters to visit but Victoria took a great video on our new camera, baby was already much bigger in just a few weeks. So far everything seems to be going really well, although Victoria has gone off tea which means I have to make my own!

Looking forward to sharing more about on our journey this year, Victoria bought be a great book which recommends I consider writing a Dad Blog so be prepared for more posts and photos soon!