Monday, 18 March 2013

Let's prepare for Ramadan!

The Ramadan planning Guide

So as we all know Ramadan is the Holiest month of the Muslim calendar. Muslims are basically expected to be on their best behavior, fast from dusk til dawn, give to charity and spend time in religious thought and reciting the Quran. These duties of course come with the Muslim territory.

As I write this article there is a predicted 112 days left until Ramadan 2013; InshAllah.

In today’s modern world we also have the following to contend with: work, charity commitments, sister circles, children’s school work, their after school schedule etc. Life is busy, it’s getting busier as our families get older. But to be honest, all of the above is a blessing. Go ask anyone who is unable to have a child and they will tell you they will give everything to have a piece of your hectic and sometimes scary life.

Okay so let’s get cracking.

HOLD A FAMILY meeting. Explain to members that during the Holy Month you need to all pull together and take on tasks that are usually done by just Mama. This can include older siblings reading stories to younger siblings at bedtime or checking up on Grandma on the way home from School. It’s about family communication-make sure your family are aware of what is expected of them.

Look at your family calendar and ensure your children do not have sleepovers booked during Ramadan-save the tears by rearranging them now.

Get all your family to check their diaries and see what everyone has scheduled during the month and organise transport/childcare as needed.

I’m a firm believer in organizing. The key to a stress free life is somewhat in the organisation of what you have to do and the time you have to do said tasks in.

Make a list of Duas you wish to make-NOWIt’s easy to forget a Dua and kick yourself afterwards. If it’s not too much work look up supplements and Duas, print them and laminate them ready for the Holy Month.

Let’s get straight to it. You need to make a list of what you wish to achieve during Ramadan.

An example of this could be:
  • Recite the Quran completely twice during the Holy Month
  • Spend an afternoon every week at a soup kitchen helping the needy
  • Volunteering 2 hours a week at an elderly peoples home
  • Donating as much money as you can to your chosen charity

  • Organise a charity Iftari
  • Learn three new Duas by heart
  • Read the biography of the Prophet
  • Spend time with family you don’t get to see regularly

Now you need to calculate how much time you need to complete your tasks and see if this is possible.

For example to read the Quran twice during the month you may need to spend two hours reading a day-can you fit that in? What tasks can you cut down on to fit in more reading? Look at your schedule now and get organising. Taking a look at your daily tasks and errands may mean you have to rewrite your tasks; but fret not! This is good that you know in advance your tasks may not be furfiled during the time you have so you can look at achievable goals which will leave you happy and content with what you have managed to achieve.

Take a look at your daily to do list/schedule/errands.
Do you really need to wash your car every week and clean the inside too? If your car gets really dirty maybe you can have it washed at the carwash to save two hours that could be spent doing something more productive during Ramadan.

What about things like food shopping. Apart from the perishables such as bread, milk, fruit etc all other items such as tinned goods can be bought in bulk. For this to work you will need to look at your meal planning and list what you need and the quantities. Do this shopping in advance. The same goes for Butchers orders. I place an order once in a while and freeze in managable portions.

Limit the activities and errands you can get away with not doing during Ramadan. Seriously you will be thankful for the planning come Ramadan.

Get your health in order-NOW

  • Are you overdue a Medicine review? Are you a diabetic? Do you need to consult a Doctor about Fasting? Do this now.

  • Advice for those who have no medical complaints:

  • Vitamin C is a great supplement for protecting against cost viruses (google will provide you with more information)

  • B vitamins are crucial for keeping up energy levels so start taking them now if you suffer from fatigue.

  • If you live in Britain Holland and Barrett’s staff are generally friendly and open to giving suggestions if you give them a list of your problems.

  • If you suffer from sleep issues speak to a Medical professional now.

  • If you smoke or drink too much caffeine now is the time to CUT DOWN or STOP!

  • If you have got into the habit of sleeping late and rising late now is the time to fix the habit.

If you ‘owe’ fasts from last year now is the time to consider repaying them now. Fasting on a Monday and Thursday is a great way of preparing your body for the upcoming 30 fasts.

Declutter and Spring clean-NOW!
It goes without saying that a clean and decluttered home provides a good foundation for the Holy month as you only have to ‘spot cleans’ during the Ramadan.

Now is the time to:

Declutter the living room, wash the window dressings, clean the carpet/rugs, wash the skirting boards, clean the suites and clear away magazines and other clutter.

Declutter the kitchen cabinets-remove all the items that are coming up to their best before using dates and use them up asap. Make a list of items you are running short of and buy them. Clean all the surfaces, and clean all the appliances. Clean your fridge and freezer. Create space in your freezer if you plan to bulk cook and utilize this space.

Clean and keep up the repairs to the front of your homeVarnish the front door or repair the trellises now rather than allowing the ugly sight to greet Ramadan!

Clear out your Bathroom cabinet and medicine Cabinet/draw. Bathrooms are renowned hotspots for clutter building. Check all your medicines use by dates and throw out the ones that are out of date. Technically you should be in the habit of doing this on a regular basis.

Children’s rooms are in my opinion a minefield especially if your child is around the stage that they don’t wish to part with anything. Children outgrow clothes quicker than adults and toys and books can accumulate quicker than you can shout Iftars ready.

My advice for tackling this room in particular is:

  • Keep a basket/bin/box in your child’s room into which you can place outgrown clothes as you discover them. Then once you have enough go through them and decide which will be given to charity/stored for other siblings/thrown out

  • If you are purchasing wardrobes/closets or fitting them consider sliding doors-these need less space in regards to opening them whereas standard doors need to be given plenty of space to open them.

  • Ikea offer a range of furniture that can be adapted to suit a child’s room. Their light collection is fantastic as is there photo frame collection. We use a ‘safe’ as a art supply cabinet.

  • Have designated boxes/baskets/bins for your child’s hobbies/activities/toys. This can be a problem is small rooms. If your child has a small room utilize the height of the room and fit shelving that can host clear boxes with toys and clothes too.

  • Get your older children into the habit of going through their own toys and donating the ones they no longer play with or cherish to charity. This is a great way of encouraging charity in a child from a young age. Ask at your local Masjid to find out if they are hosting a table top sale where you can donate such items to.

  • If you have wall space the following are great in a child’s room: chalk board, cork notice board (to display artwork) and book shelves to home books and other items on.

  • A soft toy hammock can home a fairly large toy collection without taking up bed space.

  • Utilize under bed space efficiently-do not allow it to become an obilivion where you don’t even know what is living anymore.

  • The back of a door can host many items-from notice boards to back of door organisers to home art supplies.

  • If you have attic/loft space store out of season or larger sized clothes there rather than in your child’s room.

  • Check pinterest for inspiration.

  • Treat your child’s room as a space that is constantly changing and access the needs of your child on a regular basis to maximise the usage of it.

If your home is anything like ours you will have plenty of incomplete D.I.Y projects. List them all NOW and complete them before the Holy month. Don’t start projects that you won’t be able to complete during the Holy month and the reminants will simply clutter up your home.

ORGANISE family wardrobes

Is getting ready in the morning a chore for you and all the family? If that’s the case I suggest you organise the wardrobes of your loved ones in such a fashion you don’t spend half an hour in the morning looking for matching items.

  • An idea that works for young children is to put a complete outfit on a hanger. A weeks worth of outfits is a time saver for rushed parents.

  • For men if maybe worth putting shirts with ties/sweaters/tops and hanging them together. Then all they need to do is grab a pair of trousers.

  • If you have a busy wardrobe you could consider cutting back on the clothes and donating suits to the needy especially during Ramadan or just before.

  • Store out of season clothes away to make space in the wardrobe so you can see what you have in your wardrobe.

  • If you have a large family consider using an ironing service during Ramadan to cut down on the chore.

An extra note:
Ask the men and woman of the family to got through their wardrobes and donate the clothes they no longer wish to wear. One persons cast offs are a poor persons treasure.

Sort out Zikaat-NOW

How much do you owe? Which Charity will you donate to? Calculate it now, make notes and donate when you need to.


Does the local Masjid need a makeover? Does the front entrance need a good wash and polish? Perhaps the interior needs a lick of paint? All these tasks should be done beforehand and if you feel repairs of paintwork are overdue discuss it with other Masjid attendees and get a group together and split the costs and get the work done. Ramadan can often bring new faces to Allah’s house; make it presentable and a true representative of your beloved community.

Do you attend Ramadan talks/speeches/Iftars? Find out about them now and work out which ones you can attend. Discuss childcare arrangements with grandparents/your partner if necessary.


  • If you plan to bulk cook and freeze now is the time to plan things. Items I’ve successfully frozen include:
  • Chicken tikkas
  • Aloo tikkis
  • Tandoori chicken
  • Egg rolls
  • Samosas
  • If you are limited on freezer space I suggest you freeze those items are are time consuming to make e.g. samosas.

  • Ready made items are great substitutes too.

  • If you have elderly relatives don’t forget about them. Bulk cook for them and fill up their freezers.

  • Consider using disposable plates etc during Ramadan if you will be stuck with doing the washing. This is very important especially if you are considering holding Iftars and wish to cut your workload.

Plan your Iftar ‘party’ diary in advanceIf you plan to have guests over. Enquire a month before Ramadan commences (or two weeks beforehand) and ‘book’ the Iftar with your guests in advance. Avoid Iftar’s in the last 10 days. Ideally the first 10 days would be the perfect time to host an Iftar.

PLAN your menus in advance. Go to trusted recipes and keep menus as simple as possible. An example of a menu is:

Starters (before Salaat)

Fruit salad with vanilla cream or chaat masala-can be prepared on advance

Baked tandoori chicken -can be prepared in advance

Potato skins with sour cream dressing-can be baked in advance or if you are pushed for time you can replace with pre-made potato wedges.


Mutton meat curry (meat curry can be cooked in advance and reheats extremely well. It also keeps well in the fridge. Cooking it the day before allows the spices to develop further)

Plain pilau rice-you can make the onion masala in advance and keep sachets in the freezer. Or you can make the masala 48 hours beforehand as it’s an oil based recipe so will keep well in the fridge too. OR replace with store bought Naans-but this will mean you need to allocate the task to someone to purchase these at the last minute.

Raita-I go for a ‘pink’ jewelled one. The recipe is: red cabbage, red onion, pomegranate, squeeze of lemon, salt and pepper. Ideal for children too.


Pineapple upside down cake-made with premixed cake mix and canned pineapple rings. Served with ice-cream

Or serve ice-cream with jelly or fruits.



Ice-coffee (for adults)

Hot Tea/Coffee if requested

As you can see the above menu allows for advance prep and there’s no frying in the cooking which is a bonus. Utilising baked recipes is a great way of cutting down cooking time. Just don’t forget that you’ve placed something in the oven to cook (set alarms/reminders). You can even buy appliances for your phone these days so really there shouldn’t be a burnt meal in sight.

Plan as many menus you need plus a few extra ‘just in case’. Ramadan in my humblest opinion is not the time to show your Delia Smith skills. For this reason I say check out pre-made items in your local store and consider menus that are less time consuming. Here’s another one as an example of a Med-medley:



Hummous with pitta bread chips or tortilla chips

Marinated olives

Feta cheese and watermelon salad (this is awesome-trust me!)

Garlic bread-at your own discretion


Lasagne rolls baked in tomato sauce sprinkled with cheese (you make the meat sauce as usual, pre-cook the lasagne sheets. Place the sauce in the sheets, roll up and place in a greased oven proof dish. Cover the lasagne with a jar of pasta sauce

or remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle on cheese and bake for half and hour-done!

Bread rolls

French bread pizzas (use pre-made if you are pushed for time)

Green leafy salad


Store brought Baklava

Fruit juice based granita

Lemon flavoured ice-cream with store bought meringues (a love texture).

As you can see this is another menu you can prepare in advance is more suited to those who do not wish to submit their taste buds to spicy food due to complications such as heartburn which isn’t pleasant at anytime of the year.

Plan as much as you can-NOW.

The sad departure of Ramadan is followed by Eid-ul-Fitr which usually means (for many not all) new clothes, decorating the house with lights, a large Eid meal and presents. All of the above take time to put up/put together/buy. So let’s break down the list now:

Plan your families outfits-NOWLeaving it to the last 10 days is a disaster as those days should be used towards more productive activities. Plan outfits, order what you need to, look around the stores and get the best value for money too by not leaving it last minute. It’s a myth that the best clothes come into store during Ramadan.

Decorating the houseThis year we shall be thinking big but keeping it simple. We usually use fairy lights dotted around the house which add a touch of magic to the Holy month for our little girl. We shall do the same this year but we shall Inshallah be adding things such as confetti filled balloon garlands as well as tissue paper garlands, and balloons with Eid money in them for little one to ‘pop’ (which will release the confetti and glitter). I’ll also be purchasing wooden letters to spell Ramadan to put on the mantel place.

Eid MealPlan it beforehand. Order the meat beforehand. Prep as much as possible before Ramadan. This could include making the curry and rice base and freezing it. Or planning a meal that includes using a slow cooker to cook the meat in halving the time you need to spend at the stove (It do this). Or you may wish to try a completely different menu to previous years. Now is the time to plan and practice!

Perhaps you want to eat out on Eid-look into restaurants that offer Eid meals now and see if you need to pre-book. Places like Nawaab in Manchester are extremely busy on Eid so find out beforehand if you need to have a back up restaurant in mind.


This really is a minefield with little ones but it can be done with careful planning months in advance. Ask older children to make a list of items that would like to receive and explain the situation that they won’t get everything on the list (you may find you can purchase the whole list but in case it goes over your budget make children aware that you may not be buying everything on the list). Then once you have set your budget and know which presents need to be purchased buy them and wrap them up in advance. Label them and store them in a place you won’t forget. Or write down in a diary where you have stored the presents-I’ve placed presents in a ‘safe place’ before and forgot all about them.

Another idea that is worth looking into is homemade presents. I love the look of hot chocolate jars, homemade cookies and even things like home made quilts (if there is anyone who has the skills to do sewing work). You can find plenty of inspiration on Pinterest.

Kids/Playdates/the usual stuff with pre-Schoolers
Little ones don’t really understand the idea of Ramadan or how it means Mama has less energy. For this reason you need to carefully consider how you plan to keep toddlers and pre-schoolers busy during Ramadan. If you host Playdates in the morning maybe you can adjust the time so it’s later so you don’t have to rush and get things ready.

Children like to be outdoors and InshAllah Ramadan falls during the warmer time of year which means you can make use of the great outdoors. Repair outdoor toys now and prepare the garden as required. You may wish to invest in an outdoor toy e.g. a sandpit to keep little ones entertained whilst you recite the Quran outdoors.

You can organise activity bags’ in advance. The concept is you place all the items needed for a certain activity together in a bag and bring them out as and when needed.

Look into outdoor ‘recipes’ for older children. Pinterest is great for these (I shall try and remember to link my Pinterest profile links to this entry so you can find these with greater ease). These include giant bubbles, pavement (sidewalk) chalk and other items that make too much mess inside. These activities will keep children amused for hours (or at least they should).

How about making:
Eid cards

Ramadan decorations

Edible gifts

As crafts during Ramadan? It maybe worth making cards during the first week if you need to post them to foreign countries.

IF your children will be hosting an Eid party plan the venue, menu and guest list now. Considering when Eid will InshAllah be why now plan a ladies/children outdoor picnic to mark Eid?

Buy or loan ‘Ramadan Moon’-it’s a beautifully written Ramadan story.

Look through your Islamic literature books and CD’s and update as required. Lots of books are out of stock come Ramadan.

That’s about it for my Ramadan list for you all. The most important thing is to utilize your time and get the most of the precious month.

If there is something I have missed please let me know.

Until next time Mamas (and non-Mamas)

Take care.

PS: If you need further advice and suggestions look at my 2012 Ramadan preparation guide which is in the older blog enteries.






Sunday, 3 March 2013

One birth and three painkillers-what you can sometimes expect when you have a sweep

Pains of Motherhood-the short but realistic lowdown on painkillers during Labour

Now unless you have nerves of steel and are planning to a hypo-birth or ‘alternative’ pain killers you will be considering your options of painkillers during the arrival of your cherub.

I know you are all fully capable of using a search engine and looking up your options however my article is written mainly from my own experience after all during my Labour I actually experienced THREE of the painkillers available to you on the NHS. No ladies that wasn’t a ‘typo’ I did indeed have three different painkillers during my prolonged Labour that started on Monday and ended on Wednesday morning via an emergency cesarean section (c-section/section as you will find it be referred to online).

So my birth was to say the least; rocky. I will try my best to talk you through the various things that happened so you have a heads up.

I was told early on in my first pregnancy that I would be induced this was basically on medical grounds. It’s not very often you will find a Diabetic mother going to full term of 40 weeks. The medical complications outweigh the benefits. Besides a baby born at 37 weeks is classed as being full term; in other words there really isn’t much the medical staff would be looking at in terms of problems with little one.

My induction started with a ‘sweep’. My Midwife visited me at home to perform this. So what is a sweep and does it hurt? A sweep (full name Membrane Sweep) is when your Midwife will insert her finger into your vagina in an attempt to stimulate your body into Labour. Your cervix will be stimulated with sweeping movements which should in theory separate your amniotic sac from the cervix. If the sweep is successful you should go into Labour; not straight away mind but if it works it can take up to 48 hours to work. My Midwife was aware that I was booked in for a induction at the Hospital which would involve a pessary being inserted inside the cervix to ‘ripen it’.

By the time you get to the stage where you may require inducing you will have built a relationship with your Midwife. I saw my Midwife a total of three times during my pregnancy as I was seen by the Diabetic medical team on a regular basis (who also offer full telephone support). I would be lying if I said a sweep is the most comfortable experience; it’s not. However it can be made slightly more bearable preparing in advance by taking a warm bath or shower to relax, possibly having a nice cup of tea beforehand and having the sweep performed in a comfortable environment that doesn’t bring you out in hives. Your Midwife will ask you to remove your garments from the waist down. Treat the sweep as you would treat a Smear Test (you are up to date with them; right?). You lay on your back and the Midwife does her magic.

Unfortunately the sweep didn’t bring me much joy and I had to go into Hospital as scheduled for inducing via the pessary. Sweeps are a natural way of bringing on Labour although yes they don’t work for everyone.

The pessary is inserted and if it works your waters will break and within hours you should in theory be on your way to giving birth.

Well without giving away the ending the pessary didn’t do much for me to begin with. And to top off the frustration Midwives had to perform an internal examination on a regular basis which after 24 hours become super irritating and uncomfortable. Those who are shy should be reassured by the fact that Midwives don’t get a ‘kick’ out of these examinations and once you’ve seen one set of genitalia you’ve basically to some extent seen them all. Plus you are having these examinations to access your Labour. It’s not for the joy; so ladies please don’t worry about what the Midwife thinks of your bits.

So what happened next? Well I was examined repeatedly for progress. I’m not sure how but my waters actually breaking was MISSED by the staff. Now ladies please pick yourself off the floor and sit back down. I survived and I’ll explain what happened.

The induction happened on the Monday and no progress was monitored by Tuesday afternoon although I was feeling contractions (and these could be seen on the graph-yes I was rigged up to every machine you can imagine reducing any possibility of walking around). I was told constantly I wasn’t making progress, and I accepted that. I felt the contractions yet was told no progress was being made. On the Monday night I was given an injection called Pethidine to ease the pain (one Midwife actually believed me when I said I could feel contractions). The injection was given in my thigh, and within hours I was sound asleep. I did wake up at 4AM not sure to where I was; yes I was delusional not knowing where I was or why there was a bathroom next to my bedroom or why I was sleeping on a weird posh medical bed. I didn’t feel any sickness as some women report from it. The advantage of Pethidine is a Midwife can give it without having to wait for a Doctor to come along and supervise the insertion of the injection. Pethidine will only be given if your Midwife feels you are NOT close to Labour so it’s often given in the early stages of the birth. Pethidine can also be given to a Mother who wishes to have a water birth (of course with supervision as it can cause drowsiness). And Pethidine doesn’t slow down Labour.

By Tuesday night the head of the Medical team gave me by options. They were to either try inducing again or go for a c-section the next day. Either way I would need a detailed internal examination to note any progress or lack of it. I decided to opt for a

Section the following day as I was now exhausted and wanted to go home. In came some female members of the team to perform the examination. As I was so sore I was given gas and air to help with the examination. Now this made me slightly wheezy and I can just about remember hearing the medical examiner telling me I was dilated to 10 centimetres. She quickly requested a monitor to check baby heart and as everything was fine I was prepared for Labour. As I was feeling quite ill at this point I opted for an Epidural (anaesthetic). This is the painkiller that is fitted with a needle near the nerves that carry the pain signals from your uterus. The painkiller can be topped up at any point should you require it. It works by numbing the nerves. The insertion of it was pretty painless; the area is cleaned and a thin tube inserted. The Anaesthetist kept me up to date with what was happening. Once the Epidural was in place the staff checked to make sure if was working; this was done by tapping my legs and I couldn’t feel a thing. Epidurals are renowned for making your legs feel heavy and this doesn’t actually ware off for at least 10 hours in my personal experience. The main advantage of this type of pain killer is you are awake when your little one is born. However you may find the next few hours or days become slightly blurry as you drift in and out of a drowsy sleep.

Now at this stage I was preparing for a natural birth; my little ones heart rate dropped which sent the medical team into a frenzy and the emergency alarm was set off to inform other staff of what was happening. However before the alarm was set off a member of staff came up to me and informed me of the procedure and that I shouldn’t be scared. She explained what was happening.

The staff then took a blood sample from my little one which was checked over to make sure little one wasn’t in distress. Luckily little ones heart rate stabilised and at this point the Surgeon asked me if it was important for me to have a natural birth. Of course any Mother would give the same answer as me; it wasn’t above the health of my child. I was given a document to sign in case I needed a section. The document explains the risks of the section and what could happen, and if something did happen who would be liable (which is basically you). Then my little ones heart rate dropped again and I was rushed into theatre for an emergency section. My husband went in with me. The surgery began at 5AM and the staff explained I wouldn’t feel any pain; it would simply feel like someone was washing the pots and pains in my stomach and if for any reason I was unable to take the pain I was to say and the painkiller would be topped up. During the Surgery I was sick-this was due to me having a chocolate bar to bring my sugar levels up to a reasonable level so that the section could actually happen. At 5:25AM little one was born-with her cord around her neck; twice. But she was healthy.

The staff that carried out the Surgery were fantastic and cannot be faulted in anyway. The staff that missed by progress well I do wonder how on earth they are practising medicine in the United Kingdom but I’m sure that’s a different issue completely.

After the section you are expected to rest however you will be encouraged to start walking around within 12/18 hours of Surgery. Yes it’s major surgery but walking around as soon as humanly possible will aide your recovery. You’ll be encouraged to take a shower too. Both these steps in my humble opinion are vital for any Mother who has had a Section.

I actually lost a lot of blood during the operation and was told that I would be needing a blood transfusion. I ended up having two but it didn’t bring my iron count up to a safe level this combined with my little ones antibiotic course resulted in an extended stay in Hospital post birth.

When I was preparing my Birth Plan (which you will do around your third trimester) I didn’t out rule any painkillers as I wasn’t sure what to expect. With birth two I have a grasp of painkillers and the procedures and feel more comfortable with how and what they do and why. There’s not a painkiller I would avoid; and if I am offered a sweep again I would take it as I would like to actually have a natural birth.

My advice for any first time Mother would be:

  • Do your own research into pain killer/numbing options available. If you are healthy with no pre-existing medical conditions the world if your oyster. Look up hydrotherapy and birth as well as other natural options as well as the other options available to you on the NHS or privately if that’s what you are paying for.

  • Remember that works for one Mother won’t always work for another-everyone’s bodies are unique

  • No two births are the same-even in the same family

  • Ask your Midwife about what facilities are available at the Hospital/Centre you will be giving birth in

  • If you are opting for a birthing partner discuss your Birth Plan with them in detail-and give them a photocopy too.

  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Medical teams are aware of first time Mother/parent niggles and won’t laugh at your questions

  • Try to be flexible and allow ‘room’ for suggestions which the Medical team may make to assist with your Labour

  • Remain positive-if people tell you about a negative story concentrate on the positive-they’ve had a healthy baby at the end of the ordeal and if they’ve gone on to have more than one baby it cannot have been too traumatic.

I really hope that I’ve helped you understand a more complex birth which started with a sweep. My pre-existing Diabetes were the fuel behind my sweep and inducing. As I’ve said before if you are healthy you really can leave things to Mother Nature to start your Labour off when your body and baby are ready.

If you have any questions leave me a comment below and I shall get back to you.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Do Branded baby and toddler items equal quality and value for money?

Does brand mean quality?

If you’re a first time parent and have signed up to various email lists and company promotions or buy Baby Magazines you will notice that you are bombarded with images of cute babies who use branded goods such as Johnson’s baby wipes. Soon you are sucked into the illusion that to have a happy and clean baby branded goods are the way to go. It’s like when you buy a branded pizza versus store own brand; you feel the branded one will offer more cheese and toppings for your buck.

Supermarkets though have twigged; it may have taken them a while to sort it out but now Supermarkets are giving brands a run for their money.

When I was pregnant with baby one (Munchy) I stockpiled on wipes. I never predicted I would need hundreds of wipes due to sickness but there you go; it was a wise decision and we’re still reaping the reward (I have around 18 packs of wipes left as I type this entry). I was a novice parent; I looked at Magazines, and around me and noticed Baby events often meant offers on big brands so I thought that must mean they are quality; after all boxes were literally flying off the shelves at higher prices than the Supermarket versions. I assumed that a Brand name automatically meant the best on the market.

Now I want to be clear and frank with you; I regret buying certain brands because quite frankly they sucked big time. The brand I am about to name and shame is Johnson’s Baby Wipes-drier than a Sahara desert. What you want in a wipe is a moist soft disposable and of course not full of chemicals. What you don’t want is Johnson’s wipes. So there. Rant over.

Most Supermarkets offer two tiers of wipes and nappies. The lower tier is cheap and cheerful; however I wouldn’t recommend them. The wipes are often dry, and the nappies need changing more than the regular branded ones and don’t hold as much as you would expect a nappy to.

You then have what I would call the ‘premium’ Supermarket branded items. Those are the ones that are packaged nicely (often look similar to the branded items) and are worthy competitors of branded items.

I will review the items I have tried; feel free to try the other Supermarket own brands and let me know the outcomes.

What we previously used:

Pampers nappies (up to the age of six months) then we started using Huggies (up until 6 months ago). We initially swapped to Huggies as we were looking at an affordable alternative. Plus I’d read horror stories about Pampers and the ingredients used in it. So I’ve changed to a store own brand and below is a summary of my findings based on six months use.

What we have swapped to:

Nappies: we are using Tesco’s own brand (Tesco loves baby ultra dry economy pack £5.97 for 48). They work out cheaper than Huggies (which are soon to go off the market in England).

This is what the Branded Nappies in a similar size cost:

Pampers active fit size 4+ jumbo pack of 66 nappies £12.99-work out at 20 pence per nappy

What we like about them in comparison to previous used nappies:

  • Hold just as much as expensive branded items

  • We’ve had no complaints of soreness or nappy rash

  • No leaks (yes!)

  • The tags are strong and can be repositioned without coming off

  • There affordable-working out at 12 pence per nappy

  • We earn Tesco Clubcard points

  • They have cute owl motives on which little one likes

  • Tesco run offers on their own brand nappies-perfect for stocking up

  • And when our little one is potty trained (And that will hopefully be soon) Tesco also do their own version of the infamous 'pull up pants'

Wipes-a Mothers best friend

We used Johnson’s wipes-which we regret. Wouldn’t recommend them to anyone. Not even as wipes for a pet.

We also tried Pampers wipes which we found better. The wipes we eventually settled on (out of the branded ones) were Huggies. They were moist, durable and affordable when on special offer or at the end of the Asda Baby Event by when the multi packs of wipes are reduced down to around the £2.50 mark (in comparison to other branded goods).

The brand we have swapped to: Mamio at Aldi 79 pence for a pack of 80. Available in both scented and sensitive.

Mamio wipes are a buzz word in mummy circles; after all they won the Mother and Parenting gold award in 2012. And what’s more there super affordable-they work out at less than one pence a wipe compared to Huggies pack of 63 wipes at £2.39 which work out at above 3 pence a wipe.

What we like about these wipes:

  • They are soft and durable-they tackle poo, baby sick and ice cream equally well.

  • The packaging is easy to use-there’s no sticky label to constantly replace as the package comes with a durable plastic cap/dispenser similar to the ones on Simple wipe packs

  • The packaging is easy on the eye-you cannot tell they are a store own brand which is a blessing for the brand lovers amongst us (you know who you are)

  • There super affordable-less than 1 pence a wipe

  • There available in a scented version (the scent is mild and pleasant) and sensitive for the ones who prefer to be safe than sorry


I have tried Tesco and Aldi own brands, but to be clear there are many other alternatives on the market. Asda's 'Little Angels' range has also won awards. Sainsburys also have their own label items as have Morrisions.

So my conclusion is Branded goods no longer mean better quality than store own brands and Supermarkets are all after your money so will ‘up’ their quality to fit in with modern parent expectations.

I think it’s a case of personal trial and error; and at the prices Supermarkets offer you stand to gain more than you lose. Look out for own brand items on offer to make an experimental trying even lighter on your wallet.

I want to try own brand items where do I start?

If you want more help on choosing own brand items here are a few starting pointers:
  • Ask parents in online Forums for their recommendations

  • Look out for products that have received awards-magazines don’t give out awards for items that are inferior in quality.

  • Ask parent friends for their recommendations. If you already have children you could ask parents at your local playgroup and find out what works for them.

  • Remember what works for someone else’s child may not work for yours

Whatever you choose to do; choose and use the brands and items that work for your child. There really isn’t any shame in using Supermarket own brand items and with incentives such as Tesco Clubcard points and Boots Advantage points there’s a lot to be gained from shopping around. Plus if you over purchase own brand items you can usually exchange them for a size up (as long as the items are sealed and the packaging is clean you shouldn’t have an issue in exchanging them.

Happy shopping guys. Let me know if you find any great Supermarket own brands that are worth shouting about.