The stuff. Oh the stuff you acquire when you have a baby. There is oodles of it and when you already have quite a lot of ‘stuff’ as parents to be…this equates in a whole lot of stuff.
I was cautious about buying anything too early into the pregnancy- you’ll never catch me showing a nursery picture on Facebook with a perfect rail of teeny tiny baby grows. (I am always confused by this by the way as any new parent will tell you, who has the time or the dexterity to put a baby gro on a coat hanger!).
However after our 20 week scan, I found that time really marched on and quickly, the thought of standing gormlessly in a department store contemplating about buggy adaptors or chewing the fat over a bedside crib that may or may not unzip on one side was less appealing.
So we came up with a genius plan (and in retrospect, it was a higher level of genius that we had anticipated!)
The plan went like this:
1. Make a list of the things we needed/wanted
2. Make a date that had a window of a maximum of two hours (tea and cake time on top) and visit department store with list in hand.
3. Spend the allotted time finding items from list, seeing them in the flesh and then making decisions i.e In or out. Grey or black. Necessary or ridiculous (and only purchased by twerps). Warning...heavily pregnant, unsupervised women is more likely to make twerp decisions so manage with care.
4. Do not purchase. Go and sit down with cake and tea (perhaps a double shot of something nice for the partner).
5. Go home for reflection time to make sure Mr Lewis of department store fame wasn’t playing on our gooey, hormonal giddiness.
6. Make a several lists - for the different shops (mainly Amazon and John Lewis for us) with a date for each. For example, my partner was going away for work around 6 weeks before for 3 weeks, so I wanted to get the Snuz pod set up before then, just in case the little mini pal arrived early. The purchasing time list (I promise we didn’t call it this) helps us budget, plus not feel completely overwhelmed; at either end of the spectrum- a load of stuff way too early or much madness because we weren’t prepared.
So what did we buy? What did we like? What would I recommend?
I have to say we have both been thrilled with nearly every item we purchased and for the most part got our money’s worth. The only item which has been lurking round the house like an out of control purple snake was the sling we purchased.
I didn’t anticipate having such a large baby (9 pounds 10) and an emergency C section where my core strength made a quick exit. So putting the baby into a buggy that I could push when out and out about was much kinder on my knackered body. I did look longingly at other babas that were so snuggly in their slings but it didn’t feel the safest option in my recovery. Plus once we were in the house, baby wanted to be attached to me for most of the day and night- sling or no sling.
Please note all these were purchased with our life style in mind- two freelancers, living in London and lots of stairs.
A midwife said to me that all the baby needs is a baby gro (one?) and something to sleep in. A lovely thought but not very practical.
Some of these won't work for your lifestyle or needs as may conflict with your choices. I certainly do not profess to have all the answers or the magic formula to a 'perfect baby'. I am simply sharing some goodies that were great for us.
So here are a few of our essentials:
Sleep suits and body suits and lots of them. I wasn’t keen on dressing my 3 day old in a chino, shirt and bow tie combo at that stage- I really enjoyed that cosy, snuggly wrapped up little bundle situation. As the bodily functions were still fairly unpredictable in those few weeks, plenty of changes were necessary. Having a drawer full of clean stuff was great as once you arrive home from hospital, you may not feel up to putting a wash on! It certainly won’t be your first priority. Any that have integrated mitts are totally brill like these and bodysuits like these will be useful on their own or underneath
You are not allowed to take your baby home from hospital unless you have a car seat. I mean, I guess you could wrap the baby up in a sling and stagger home and choose the ‘walking option’ on google maps but a drive, I imagine is preferable. I remember getting out the Uber cab and waving like a crazy women at my friend through her shop window ‘Heeeeey, I had my baaaaaby’- that slippers and surgical sock combination was a strong one!
Do not just buy online- go into the shop and push some of those guys around. Consider your lifestyle- where you will be going with it. We live in London so needed something that we could get on a bus/tube/ an overcrowded overpriced coffee shop. Consider what you will need for the majority of the time. For example we do an online shop so lots of space underneath wasn’t a priority.
We have been really happy with our Bugaboo Bee and went for the grey option. We bought the carry cot for the first few months and then switched to the seat once our baby chops wanted to beak over the top. We are also purchased the parasol and the cup holder for essential and urgent caffeine fixes.
Before we talk sleeping arrangements- let's just say we have been pleased with our selections, HOWEVER if given the option, our baby would prefer to sleep on someone- preferably across their lap, on a sofa or ideally in their bed!
We went for the snuz pod- it attaches to the bed so your baby is only a short distance away. Lots of room underneath for blankets etc. Our baby was in his until just shy of 6 months, and then it became apparent he was way too big for it. Often I was woken up by a rhymthical little ‘tap tap’ on the window and a cheeky face peaking through. As it is wooden, it doesn’t creak like wicker but you can gently rock it to aid sleep. It is more expensive than a moses basket but we got lots of use out of it and I’m sure we will be able to sell it on when the time is right. We also went for the little green sheep sheets which were lovely quality and washed like a dream (for a laundry geek like myself!) plus the mattress protector
A sleeping bag
We did a little swaddling for a while using these gro bag swaddles however within moments, our baby escaped with the confidence (slight smugness) and finesse of Debbie McGee unleashing herself from being chained in an underwater box. As he was a big baby we were able to buy him a 0-6 sleeping bag (check weight restrictions) which he seemed to enjoy. Plus as he got older, he enjoyed getting into it as part of his night time routine. I would suggested several sleeping bags in a variety of togs to work for various temperatures and spares for any 'surprises' in the night.
We didn't purchase one of these until we transferred him to a cot but if we had another baby (no announcements!) I would definitely invest in the smaller version for those early months. On sleep deprived, loopy days I would have loved to have snuggled in something similar. We also lined it with this sheepskin These are most definitely not essentials for all parents (I am slightly horrified as I am totting up these prices) but we didn't/haven't really had a sleeper so have been experimenting with lots of options.
Puke. Milk. Emergency pooper scooper. Lots of these bad boys come in useful. Get multipacks.
Again multi packs directly from Amazon were the most cost effective, plus having lots of supplies stocked in the cupboard made me feel secure and 'sorted'. A fun trickster game when you are exhausted and a little cray cray.
Again... buy in bulk so you don't run the risk of being 'up shit creek without a baby wipe'. We added to the amazon order here
Lovely coconutty stuff for massage and relaxation. Plus fab last minute moisturiser/lip balm...eye make up remover for you.
The stuff that was in our 80's bathroom cabinet. It is still proper mega and does the trick. Here it is
In the middle of night when half asleep, ease and convenience become your two best pals. Our unit has drawers underneath but this one would do the trick too. Make sure all who use it know where everything is. There is nothing worse that being woken by 'Errr where are the nappy bags?' when it is your turn to sleep.
We have two of these- one of the top of the change table and another spare one in the bathroom. Mega useful plus wipe clean!
When I was looking at these, I thought the prices were totally bonkers and thought I would just shove a spare nappy in my hand bag. However, there seemed to be more stuff that was needed when venturing out and to have a designated bag that must be taken out was so much easier- plus my partner and I could both pack it and both be for responsible for it. Plus buggy, bag, baby is a nice little reminder (don't forget the baby!) before you leave the house. This skiphop one has been cracking (we have it in plain grey...it was a bit of grey winter, and so was the buggy, the bag, my coat and trainers, sometimes I joked I was 50 shade of... that joke didn't seem to be appreciated from a post natal woman! :) Mutters and head shakes followed.
I was really keen to breastfeed and did eventually manage it. We bought this starter kit and it was of great comfort to have as a back up. Nothing lovelier than a midwife saying 'If the baby doesn't fed in the next hour, I am going to be concerned'. Plus as we had such a massive baby, we topped him up with one bottle of formula so the kit helped us combination feed. Likewise I expressed using this pump.
These beauts were a present and so useful that we bought two more. Brilliant as a blanket, cover up and little playmat... big ticks on the washing front too.
Yes, the crab songs still haunt me but this chair was amazing. I could carry around the house and get stuff done. Plus shower. Daily! Oh yes!
I'm sure there are items I have missed so I will add if anything comes to mind. I hope you find this little insight useful. Lots of luck with your new arrival.
NB: All opinions are my own and all products have been used and paid for by us.
This is not a sponsored post. Some of the link may be affiliate links.
Do you know a mum who could benefit from the below?
Or maybe you, yourself need a little more time/love/kip/gin.
Enter 'new mum' as the promo code for 50% off.
Find out more here