‘I have to say that even though we’ve only had the phil&teds lobster and the traveller since January, they’ve already proven themselves to be invaluable to us. Firstly, we were both a bit tentative as to how to get into the swing of introducing Rocket to solids in a relatively controlled way on the boat. Plus, this important new baby phase was unfortunately coinciding with us having a particularly busy work period on board, getting everything in good working order and ready for our Pacific crossing. That meant two very busy and stressed-out parents and a rapidly developing baby girl.
We had to adapt our main saloon table to fit the lobster clip on chair safely. The lobster is easily movable to any point of the table and has been so helpful for our watery lifestyle. I started to explore with her eating her first solids, things like fruits and baby rice. All very mushy, all very easy to dry on and stick hard like cement onto anything! But I was really impressed by how easy the lobster chair is quick to wipe down and how fast it dries off too.
The next real bonus was how well it worked as a safe place for us to put her either when the boat was under way or when we just needed to get on with a job, like cooking or laundry. She was very happy to sit, secure at the table and play with toys or books. This works really well as it’s so important as a new parent to just be able to have those spots that you can feel confident leaving your child in for a few minutes without worrying or feeling like you’re abandoning them.
Similarly, the traveller became a great place for us to feel happy to keep her for longer stretches or for her to play in safely with other baby friends who would come to visit on board. There were several other boats with infants on board that we made friends with and it was so great to be able to invite the whole family around for a meal, a coffee or a just a nice chat and know that our children had somewhere safe and contained to play. We also started using the ‘bat cave’ as we christened it for her mid morning and mid afternoon naps. It meant that there was enough room on the mattress bottom for her to roll over in her sleep but that we wouldn’t have to be concerned about her falling off a bed or anything.
As I said, that was January. When we were finally ready for our Pacific crossing, in late March, Rocket was 8 and a half months old. The crossing was considerably less calm and placid than expected and, in retrospect, we probably left a little too early as the trade winds weren’t as well established as we’d hoped. That meant a lot of bumpy and uncomfortable seas, which is a bad thing for a baby rapidly gaining mobility. Thankfully the lobster chair really helped as a sturdy place for her to spend time in, even when we had to dramatically reduce the amount of solid food she was able to have as spoon-feeding and bouncy seas are not a great combination.
Now, in French Polynesia, having safely completed the 2,850 mile passage in 26 days, it’s as if we have a completely different baby as Rocket is seriously on the move! This means that the lobster and the traveller take on a new life as two of the few places we can put her down on the boat and find her in the same place we put her. At 10 months she is now much more independent and would really prefer to feed herself. This is great in terms of her finger dexterity and her learning about food, but it tends to make a lot more mess. As we have a very restricted fresh water supply on board I’m really glad at how easy the robust design of the lobster is to clean, even with our limitations. She’s definitely put it to the test with all sorts of food having been mushed into it. Our only issue with the seat is that she’s now so strong that she sometimes resists putting her legs through the holes and wants to stand up proud in it instead. However, she also finds it comfy enough that she’ll actually fall asleep in it after a big meal.
We don’t always have the traveller out as we tend to move it around from place to place on the boat or if we have anyone staying in one of the cabins. Having said that, it too has really changed with her new growth and development. She sits so well and confidently now that she can happily amuse herself in it, playing with various toys, for quite some time. A few months ago, we’d sometimes hear her squeak and found that she would have got herself into an uncomfortable position that she couldn’t quite get out of and wanted help. Now she has so many options and we’ll quite often find her lying on her belly, playing cheerfully away and chatting to her stuffed animals. Now that she’s started to stretch her legs and pull up to standing on things the sides of the traveller are some of her favourites. I was really pleased to see how solid and tough they seem to be with her weight pulling up on them. She also seems to really like the mesh fabric and loves to smush and squish her face against it or we play a game with me tickling her hands and feet through it.
So far both products have been so useful and well-suited to our lives on the boat that we can’t quite imagine how we would’ve managed without them. We’re really pleased with them and are looking forward to seeing how they continue to work with our growing and changing daughter. We’re already talking about trying for baby number two in New Zealand so there may well be even more changes to come in the near future – adapt&survive!’
The Mothership – ‘the nuts and bolts of what works for us and our little baby girl Rocket’