There I was, heavily pregnant, feet up, green tea in hand, laptop teetering on my bump as I stare, transfixed into the abyss of the computer screen…buying everything. And I mean, everything. Things I ‘needed’, and things that were just really pretty. Yes I asked advice from other mums and Googled what was needed, but I was pregnant and as we all know, first time pregnant mums Know It All. I spent a huge amount of money on ‘deals’ because they were deals (like an enormous amount of Tommee Tippee bottles only for Izzy to have colic and silent reflux and yet another was therefore bottle was needed). All I’d say is do your research before committing to a purchase, and you’ll be FBI level soon I promise.
FYI these are my opinions and experience. I’ve not been paid or given freebies to mention who I’ve used – just my tuppence worth…
The 17 things we NEEDED when we had a baby…
A nursing bra/tops – A given if you are planning to breast feed – research good ones as getting your boob out in public is hard enough with arms full of baby and people looking. You also don’t want to cover the baby up too much as you can’t see what your doing and dont want the baby to boil – so covers are not the best!
Pump – NEVER buy a hand pump. Or only do it you want your hand to fall off every day. I say electric all the way. I loved Avent but Medela also gets great reviews and I know friends who swore by them.
Steriliser – If you’re going to solely breast feed that’s amazing (seriously), but if not or if you want to express – you’re going to need one of these bad boys. You can get microwave ones and electric ones, both are fab. The electric ones are brilliant in the house and the microwave ones are fab for travel.
Bottles – Again, don’t buy hundreds before the baby arrives, I learnt this the hard way. Try a bottle out, see if the baby takes to it, you may need to try a few before you find ‘the one’ – I really believe this is trial and error – Izzy went through about 10 different teats and bottles before we found The One, whilst Harriet took to the first and simplest bottle we had. You can buy bottles everywhere – and online with super-fast delivery, so hang on and save your pennies!
Loads of soft, cotton muslins – 100% cotton, bamboo even better (SO soft!). They are used for EVERYTHING so invest in patterns and colours that you love. They’ll also last.
A white noise machine – Wow oh wow. Game changer for us. No sneaking around the house terrified we’d wake her, easy to wean them off (just turn it down each night until it’s gone), brilliant for focussing babies minds to sleep – we still use ours every nap and night sleep and she’s 2! I think I’lll use it until she’s 22. If it’s a second baby – brilliant to drown out noisy siblings too! We use this one, it’s awesome.
Blackout blinds – Whether you invest in permanent ones or get portables ones, these rule. I recommend pop up ones as I found them easier to get up and down as only have 1 big sucker and you can layer – than the material ones with lots of suckers. Light is the enemy.
A travel system – A literal mine field. So. Many. Options. So. Much. Money. Make sure you don’t just buy because it looks pretty or the brand name carries a cache. This thing will be your life partner and best friend for quite some time. Can you fold it up easily, will it go in your boot/front door, how heavy is it, will it last a long time, are the wheels right for your area/what you like to do, is there a big basket underneath (VITAL – CAN’T STRESS ENOUGH, YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO CARRY YOUR ASDA SHOP AND PUSH THE BABY HOME). Plus the buggy will tip over if you attach 300 bags to the buggy clips) Can you convert it easily? Remember after only a few months the flat bed will be history and it’ll be your buggy for a long time! Ask other mums – this is really important as sometimes you need a recommendation of someone who has spent hours using the thing!
A second (light, small) buggy – I do not say this lightly but we bought a Mothercase XXS buggy (for when she was over 6 months old), and we still use it with our 2 and 4 year old. It folds up to tiny, light and has its own bag so you can literally carry it around (if you feel the need). It’s amazing for when they are older too and you’re not sure if they’ll get tired when you go out (and don’t want to lug a bag of shopping and a heavy toddler around), or you can’t take much luggage somewhere, or you have a tiny car, or anything! Highly recommend (and they are usually in the sale after Xmas – and currently on sale now for £90!)
Baby sling – Again – I truly believe it’s a need but I went through a few before I found the right one. I loved Baba Sling for Izzy but she was about 3 months old when she took to it. Again ask advice, I hated the ones that were faffy and you had to learn how to knot, but other mums (more dexterous than me) swore by them so I do think it’s personal choice. Do your research – and also there are often Sling Cafes/Meets locally when you can meet other mums and try different ones!) Baby wearing from birth is a marvellous way to bond with baby.
Playmat/Gym – Pretty cheap, lots of entertainment value for baby and stimulation and great for Tummy Time!
An Ikea high chair – I mean come ON is there even another kind of high chair? Cheap and very effective. Mumsnet approved.
Nappy bag – Or just a big bag that is sturdy, good strap and has lots of pockets!
Bibs – For food, milk and dribble. So. Much. Dribble. We used Tuck and Tidy bibs as they have a little flap you tuck into babies top to stop it getting soaked. Also amazing prints and you can get matching baby pillows and blankets.
Food storage – The word ‘snack’ may become the most used word in your house. You may need to bribe your child with an apple ricecake to get out of the car. Snack bags and boxes are vital. We loved bento boxes and Sass and Belle lunch boxes as they were sturdy and washed easily (and BPA free), and also found Nikianis snack bags with BPA free, waterproof lining a fab and cute way to curb the monsters appetitie.
Teethers – Ah after a few months of blissful tooth free time, here it comes. Around weaning time (6 months) the dreaded teeth begin to emerge…earlier than this the babies will be very dribbley and needing to chew…teethers are the bomb. We found these natural rubber dinos with Harriet, and they ruled! So chunky and chewy – with no holes so brilliant for bath time too.
Sippy cups – On Izzys 9 month check, the health worker was appalled when I showed her the sappy cups we’d started to use – ‘spill free’ sip cups, but was told there and then to get rid. Sippy cups with free flow and no ‘contraptions’ that can harbour bacteria are king. We loved these Sass and Belle free flow, simple cups. No petrie dishes of bacteria here, thank you.
3 Things that are NICE to have
A jumeperoo – I coveted one when I had Izzy and it was nearly the first thing I bought when I found out I was pregnant again. You can get them second hand fairly reasonably priced and when they are able to hold themselves up, being able to put them in this contraption (that takes up your whole living room) whilst you run for a pee (not that I advocate leaving your child alone by any means), but’s nice to know you can. Or you know, sit down for 2 minutes with a hot tea.
A bouncy chair – It doesn’t need to be Bjorn but I wouldn’t get the very cheapest (basic ones can be as little as £5) – but bouncy chairs are again amazing for putting your little one in when you need a moment hands free. My littles ones, when tiny babies loved it and this one vibrates!
Tummy Time Books – You don’t NEED these, but a friend bought them for us with our second and it was great for tummy time!
5 Things you DON’T NEED (in my humble opinion)…
A nappy bin – We had one with a thousand refills, it sat proudly in the babies room and yes we did use it for a while. A pack of nappy bags (keep welllll away from baby – LOTS of horror stories about babies getting ahold of them and suffocating to please be mindful!) And a bin – any bin, will suffice. They are scented anyway and cheap as chips.
A bouncer you attach to the door frame – Bloody hard to use. Need 6 arms to get child it. If its this hard it’s a no from me, Simon.
Loads of faddy cups, spoons and bowls – When weaning (and believe me those 6 months go FAST) – simple bowls and spoons will work just fine. They don’t need special angles or grips, although the Green Mum in me does love a bamboo bowl and spoon. I’ve tried the ones that are meant to stick on the table and mine didn’t work – at the end of the day these items are meant to end up on the floor, it’s their destiny.
A vibrating paddle to go under your baby’s mattress (and the like…) – I beep you not, I was so desperate for my 3 month old to sleep I pretty much would have bought a painted stick to waggle over her and dip her in oil if someone told me that was the way to get her to sleep – I bought anything and everything from the internet at 3am madly scrolling whilst breastfeeding with one hand and clicking BUY NOW at the speed of light. Don’t do it.
Too many ‘how to fix your baby’ books – Get recommendations, as many/most/all have a different way of doing things. Or if you do, read them and take bits from each. I had 3 books and I stitched together their advice from the bits I liked and it worked for me.
Everyone has an opinion on how to Do It Right (not me of course…) – but remember be confident in being your own child’s parent and the Only One Whose Opinion Really Matters.
Do the right thing for you and your baby and try different things. I heard once, ‘if the shoe don’t fit, then it that ain’t your shoe’…so keep trying. Remember you can always look on Facebook Market, Ebay, Gumtree Ect for second hand goods as you can get some bargains!
Good luck! Xxx