Sunday, 22 February 2015

My Must Have Baby Products

We, like most new parents, went a bit over the top when it came to baby shopping, Eva had a wardrobe bigger than ours before she was even thirty weeks cooked. We couldn't leave Babies 'R' us without buying at least something, it's all part of the fun though, isn't it? Tell first time parents they need a particular product, and you can bet they'll buy it.
It was only months after she was born we discovered outfits that had never been worn, now too small. (babies grow at an alarming rate- it often seemed like the baby gro she wore the night before, in the morning was clinging to her) All these accessories we were led to believe that we needed, were left untouched. To this day our gro egg, a room thermometer  has been used twice, (the first time was to check whether or not it worked). We have never used a bath thermometer, or a rear seat mirror, the only thing used out of our £12 Tommee Tippee grooming kit were the nail scissors.

That is not to say if you've bought them to be rushing back for a refund, if i've learnt anything from being a mum, it's what works for one baby, might not for another, it's all trial and error. It only takes one click on to a Netmums forum to see the conflicting opinions on what you do or don't need.
I've compiled a list of items that we personally found to be extremely useful particularly in the first few months, just to give any new mum-to-be some ideas, or even inspiration if you have a baby present to buy. Please note these are just our personal opinions, not gospel!

Plain white vests/baby gros: I was a self confessed snob when it came to shopping for baby clothes. If it didn't have a cute pattern/design, I wasn't for buying it. Plain white or a Cath Kidston print? oh please, there is no competition..
My mum was the voice of reason telling me to stock up on plain white baby gros, and i'm so glad I reluctantly listened to her and did -they're the ones I find myself reaching for the most especially in the first few weeks when I could use up to three in a day.They come in multipacks, won't break the bank and as they're white they sit well underneath any outfit. I've found my M&S and George at Asda ones are fantastic, they're extremely soft and wash really well, our favourites are the sleep suits with feet and built in scratch mittens, they are fuss free and save so much time while changing.

On the topic of clothes, it is often so tempting to choose an item of clothing based on it's design or pattern. A piece of advice I was given, and find hilariously true is, ask yourself this,
"Would I be able to dress a cat in it?"
and if the answer is no, put it back where you found it!. I often wonder have these clothing designers ever had to change babies of their own? awkward buttons at the back, a million poppers to undo during a change? 
ain't nobody got time for thatI want to be able to change my baby so effortlessly and quick that she doesn't even know it's happened, not have her in positions reminiscent of a trapeze artist.

Pram/buggy: Obviously goes without saying as an essential, a must have. Once again it is so tempting to go for the nicest looking one, particularly if it's your first baby, (understandably you want the best, we're all guilty of it), but practicality is really the route to go down.
If you don't drive, it's best to look into one that is lightweight and easy to manoevure, especially if you'll be getting on and off public transport. If you do drive you need to make sure that it will fit into your boot! We had a bit of a scare a few weeks before our due-date when, out of curiosity we built up the pram to discover that it wouldn't fit in our boot. Fortunately it was a simple case of having to turn to the wheels inward, which we only discovered after we'd been browsing around Charles Hurst for a new car, but it was something that had never even entered our heads to check before we bought. Remember, if you're doing a supermarket shop, the groceries will need to fit somewhere in there too!

Bouncer/swing seat/chair: Invest in one of these if you intend on showering or eating dinner ever again. It doesn't have to break the bank. I've seen modern ones online for almost £300 which bounce up and down, sway from side to side with  plug in mp3. I'll admit, it does sound amazing and if I won the Euromillions i'd maybe consider purchasing one. But, I don't buy a ticket, and to be honest, I don't think I'd get the use out of it. We bought a light weight bouncer chair (similar to the one above.) which I could carry up and down the stairs with me depending on where i'd be in the house. It was a life saver the first few months. Ours had a vibration option which we used to ease her to sleep, but i'm not even sure it made much of a difference, we didn't get around to changing the batteries (what with the one hundred and one other things to do) and it never seemed to bother her! it's a nice option to have but if it's not in your budget then I wouldn't worry! Another little tip is that if you're perhaps planning on having more babies in the future, opt for a neutral colour so you can use it again in the future whether you're having a boy or girl.

Perfect prep machine: This is in no way an essential, but a piece of equipment that is extremely useful if it's in your budget. We  were lucky enough to be  bought our prep machine from a relative as a baby present and it was (and still is) a lifesaver. Basically the machine prepares your bottles for you in the space of two minutes to the accurate temperature. A hot shot of water kills any bacteria in the milk and the machine measures out accurately the amount of water needed. All thats required of you is to scoop the formula in and you can get back to tending to your little one. Fool proof!
 Older relatives have laughed when we've talked about it
"What a waste of money, sure we didn't have them and we did fine without!"
Fair point, but it makes the job a whole lot easier, no bleary eyed bottle making in the dead of night, trying to perfect the temperature while your baby is screaming the house down. If it makes our lives a little easier, i'm all for it. The only drawback is it has completely spoiled us, now we're up to 7oz bottles, two minutes seems like a lifetime now we've got used to it, cue the
"Kids these days, eh? don't know how lucky they've got it, back in my day......."

Learn how to use your gadgets: If I could turn back time I would have spent less time watching Real Housewives Of New Jersey on my maternity leave, and more time learning how to use our baby equipment. I was so naive to think I could learn on the job,

practise really does make perfect .
There was the perfect prep machine, the steriliser, dismantling/putting up the pram, putting in the car seat. I cried several times about not being able to do what were really simple tasks.
(I wept in Tescos car park when I couldn't put down the pram by myself) The first few weeks you're on a hormonal rollercoaster, you're sleep deprived, and trying to get everything so right, and feeling like a failure when you don't. The last thing you need is to be juggling a baby in one arm and a half dismantled pram in the other. Again, something I hadn't thought too much about pre-baby.

Blankets: You can never have too many, especially since you always need backups as they're constantly being thrown in the wash! Eva was given a beautiful fleecy blanket as a present which came from Laura Ashley Kids and has used it every day since she got it. It's ridiculously soft and is used so much, her Nana bought her one to keep at her house. It's been used in her pram, on the floor as a mat, in her cot.. it's so versatile. Tkmaxx is also a fantastic place to find beautiful baby blankets.

Storage boxes: Have made our lives so much easier. A tip a friend told me while I was pregnant, was to keep nappy changing supplies in several rooms in the house so it saves you carrying everything from one room to another. Again, anything to make life a little easier! I have nappy supplies in our living room, in our bedroom and in Eva's. We bought these very affordable storage boxes in Ikea and have done the job at keeping all her bits and pieces tidy and organised, we also have a few in the bathroom for toys and bath products.

Other baby items/products we've found helpful are:

Infant Calpol- I know you can't use calpol until baby is 2+ months old, but worth having on standby for teething/after injections/temperatures. It'll save you a late night Tescos run and you'll be glad you bought it while you had a bit of extra cash, once baby is here, any expense saved is welcome.
Dummies/soothers- I was one of those smug pregnant women who claimed their baby would never use a dummy. The first night in hospital Eva squealed and squealed. Stuart made a dash to the local Asda and came back with a dummy and it really soothed her. Your baby may be perfectly fine without one, but good to have in case!
Baby Monitor- We have a standard Tommee Tippee one and it does exactly what we need it to do. I can see the attraction of the video/sensor ones for peace of mind, but we check up on Eva  very regularly while she's sleeping and when she cries, it doesn't matter where she is in the house, we can hear her!
Moses Basket/Bassinet: If you can borrow one/get it second hand even better. Babies grow out of them so quickly it seems a shame to spend the extortionate prices they can charge for them. Just make sure you buy a brand new mattress for it.

Changing bag
Muslin squares/bibs
Nappy Bags
Cotton wool pads/balls (cleaning babies eyes/face, and body in the early days)
Changing mat
A baby bath (optional)
Bath seat/foam support - if you decide against a baby bath.
Activity mat-
Nursing/feeding pillow- Not essential but handy to have and prevents you from straining your neck.
Nappies/wipes- Just a few packets to begin with, just in case your baby's skin is sensitive to a particular brand.
Bottle warmer- Not needed if you have a Perfect Prep machine.
Scratch mittens

...... and that's just for the first few months,( surprise new parents, get saving!) I intend to do another buying guide for 3+ months soon, but I reckon this one is enough for the moment, it was even overwhelming compiling the list!

Isn't it just as well they are worth every bit of the expense?!


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