For keeping toys safe on days out
“My little one gets so excited when we’re out he ends up chucking his toys out of the buggy, but I don’t realize until we’re back home. To avoid the tears, I attach them using a Gelert Secure Strap from Babygear (£2.99 for 2, amazon.co.uk). No matter how hard he throws, they won’t come off.”
Sarah Clegg , 30, from Bagshot, mum to Carla, 11, Rachel, 10, Ethan 4, Alisha, 19 months and Aaron , 9 weeks.
For sharing memories
“Get yourself a good-quality camera and take as many pictures of your baby as you can. Time passes so quickly and they change so much, you’ll want something to look back on. I’m putting all my photos into albums, which I plan to give to them as keepsakes when they’re older.”
Symone Darvell, 29, from Hull, mum to Mia, 2 and Ava, 1.
For peaceful days out
“A great tip is to keep a bottle of blowing bubbles in your handbag. It’s seen us through many a crisis over the years at weddings, in queues, and broken down vehicles. It’s a quick and cheap diversion, and doesn’t take up too much space in your handbag. It also makes you look super organized when you whip out the bubbles and entertain yours and everyone else’s children in a queue at Alton Towers.”
Rachel Loveday, 32, from Bracknell, Berkshire, mum to Sam, 11 and Abi, 4
For fun on a budget
“A fun, free thing to do for toddlers and older siblings is to get lots of cardboard boxes from the supermarket and turn them into assault courses, tunnels, cars, boats, houses or anything you can think of. It’s all free and hours of fun. When you’ve finished playing with them you can paint on the cardboard, and then put it out with the recycling so it’s eco friendly too.”
Kate Wedlake, 37, from Cornwall, mum to Henry, 13, Oliver, 9, Bertie, 7, and Zenna, 2.
For keeping tots safe
“I can’t trust Freya alone for a second without finding her hands in the dog bowl, or emptying the kitchen bin. The Lindam Safe and Secure Soft Playpen (£79.99, argos.co.uk) is the perfect place to put her. It has material sides and no sharp bits to catch her little fingers on and stores pretty flat too. I have to say she loves it!”
Natalie Hayhurst, 24, Derby, mum to Freya, 13 months
For the perfect nursery room temperature
“When my little one was born the Gro Egg became an essential. It has different coloured lights and a digital display to alert you to the change in the room temperature. I was terrified of getting things wrong as a new mum, so this really helped me relax.”
Symone Darvell, 29, from Hull, mum to Mia, 2 and Ava 1
For coping on days out
“My little one has an allergy to dairy so I needed to find a way to prepare her special milk when on the go. I bought Tommee Tippee’s insulated holder and love it. I fill it with hot water before I go out, and by the time we’ve reached our destination it’s nice and warm. Now I make up the bottles on the go.”
Teresa Maxwell, 37, from Kent, mum to Amelie, 4 and Juliette, 7 months.
For rainy day fun
“I’m really good at finding fun things to do on wet days rather than sitting the kids in front of the TV. I tend to stick to simple stuff like getting out the Play-Doh and jigsaws, or drawing on an old roll of wallpaper with crayons to keep the little ones amused. When cabin fever really strikes, there’s nothing quite like putting your wellies on, embracing the great outdoors and going out to splash in the puddles. It’s all about working with what you’ve got to keep the kids happy.”
Judy Sturley, 43, from North Yorkshire, mum to Kay, 20, Thomas, 2 and Lucy 1.
For new mum socialising
“Join baby groups or classes as gathering a network of mums really helps get you through the early stages of motherhood. Plus, your next best friend just may be among them. I met a mum at a group and two years on we’re now the best of friends. We help each other during all sorts of toddler tantrums, and the group’s a real rock whenever life gets too much.”
Jenny Holland, 33, from Bromley, mum to Sophie and Chloe, 4.
For soothing post-birth bits
“When I gave birth, I was lucky to only have bruising rather than stitches, but still felt sore down below, especially when I went to the loo. To soothe it, I filled a plastic jug with warm water and poured it between my legs each time I had a wee.”
Gail Fielding, 28, from Exmouth, mum to Hazel, 8 weeks.
For making your own parenting manual
“Whenever I see an article in Practical Parenting and Pregnancy magazine that I think might be useful in future, like on weaning or potty training, I cut it out and add it to a scrapbook of top tips.”
Anna Bunney, 28, from Bedfordshire, mum to Alyssa, 2, and Claudia, 4 months