Having a baby is a wonderful thing. It’s also bloody expensive. With so many ‘helpful’ books and magazines telling you what to buy and what will look ‘adorable’ in your newly decorated nursery (because ALL parents are presumed to be doing up a nursery not just shoving the cot in the corner), is there really a need to purchase everything on the baby list?
Of course not.
I bought a lot of my baby products in the Christmas sales and lots of places (particularly online shops) do great deals, so there is absolutely no need to go crazy and fritter away your hard earned cash. (*Looks in purse, finds it empty*).
So if you are expecting and would like to know what may be of use to you and what is completely useless then why not check out my list below. You might save yourself a bob or two.
USEFUL BABY ITEMS
Baby dresser: I bought my baby dress as a combo deal along with a cot bed from Mamas and Papas. I had intended to buy another set of drawers for the baby’s clothes and toiletries but decided to buy a dresser with the bit on top for changing the baby. BEST DECISION I EVER MADE. Lots of people simply buy a changing mat and change their baby on the bed / table / floor. Of course this is fine, but it can cause a lot of back ache! Baby dressers are designed so that you can change your bundle of joy without having to bend down – I keep all the necessities in the top drawer (nappies, cream, wipes etc) so that I simply have to reach in with my free hand, whilst holding baby down with the other. Simples! WARNING: DO NOT LEAVE BABY UNATTENDED ON THE DRESSER. At some point they WILL wriggle free and fall off.
Waterproof roll paper: on top of the dresser I have a changing mat, on top of that is a towel and on top of that I use sheets of waterproof paper. When I open bub’s nappy he often pees all over the place, so the waterproof paper catches the pee and means that the changing mat doesn’t get wet. OK you could of course just wipe down the mat everytime but the paper absorbs EVERYTHING up and when I’m done I just wrap all the shi…I mean ‘waste’ up in the paper to reveal another layer of clean paper underneath.
Electric breastpump: don’t let the midwife tell you that if anyone other than you feeds your baby you won’t bond properly – this is complete and utter codswallop. I found breastfeeding exceptionally uncomfortable BUT I was fortunate to have a lot of milk, so decided to pump instead. This helped in three ways: one – my husband and other family members could help feed the baby; two – I didn’t have the trouble later on of trying to get the baby to feed from a bottle as he got used to it early on; three – I knew exactly how much milk my baby was getting. Yes you will probably feel like a milk cow at some point and the noise from the machine can be very irritating but it is a godsend.
Red Castle Cocoonababy: the cocoonababy is a new type of mattress which allows your baby to adopt a semi-foetal, cradled posture which apparently mimics the womb and helps to reduce colic, flat-head syndrome and skin problems. We placed our cocoonababy inside the travel cot (see below). This is a particularly good purchase for tiny babies.
Travel cot / Chicco Next 2 Me: as you can see from the image above, we purchased the Graco Petite Bassinet Travel Cot, which to start with we also put the Cocoonababy in. Most babies are far too tiny to fit into a proper cot and the travel cot fitted snugly right next to my bed so I could simply lift my head to check on bub. An alternative is the Chicco ‘Next 2 me’ cradle. Had I not bought the travel cot I would most probably have purchased this as the side goes down, which means you can put your arm around your baby and draw them closer to you. Both systems state that they are from birth to 12 months, but I doubt my little Pip will fit in the travel cot much longer (he is no longer in the cocoonababy). Bear in mind that you will also have to purchase a separate mattress and blankets.
Baby Bjorn Carrier: the Baby Bjorn collection of carriers are excellent – simply strap bub in and away you go. I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of wearing one of those slings that you artistically wrap around yourself so purchased the Babybjorn Miracle Carrier as it had extra back support. You can adjust the position to suit the height/age of your baby and they can also face forward when their neck gets stronger.
Nursing pillow / doughnut cushion: I didn’t actually use my nursing cushion for nursing – Pip had a strong neck from early on and kept trying to push himself up, so I would sit him resting on the cushion – he loved it! This is a nice way to let bub watch you as you sort out other stuff.
Dummy / Dummy Clips: I know that some mothers are completely against using dummies and I personally don’t like seeing older children with a great big plastic dummy shoved in their mouth BUT I do believe that whatever soothes a baby can only be a good thing. I have been very lucky in that Pip is a very chilled, laid back baby (so far) but I also put this down to the dummy. As a newborn he wouldn’t cry but he would chomp his mouth and I decided to try the dummy to see whether he liked it – boom a few seconds later he was fast sleep. I also purchased a couple of handy dummy clips from Amazon which you can clip onto your baby so they don’t keep dropping the dummy onto the floor.
Baby bath: there are so many baby baths on the market it can be really difficult to choose one. A friend of mine has one with an inbuilt scale (!) I went with a basic one from Mamas and Papas – I wasn’t keen on the ones that had a baby seat built in as I wanted bub to be able to move his legs and arms around if he wanted. I also bought a load of organic baby bath products from Green People.
Digital Ear Thermometer: it is always handy to have a First Aid kit which should include a thermometer – the digital ear ones are great for babies. Just don’t get carried away with it. After Pip’s second round of injections, my Greek man was checking his temperature every 5 minutes…and that was just his own!
Electric Steam Steriliser: pop the bottles in, turn on the button and away you go! Only downside is you have to descale the machine every so often but I just bought some descaling sachets from Amazon and pop them in now and again.
Baby rocking chair / bouncer: a friend of mine bought a very funky looking egg rocker thing which her baby loves. I bought just a basic chair that bub wasn’t particularly interested in and only sits in for a little bit before attempting to rock himself out. I would suggest buying one that reclines so your baby can sleep properly in it if they doze off. BE WARNED – some of these rockers are VERY expensive with added lights, music, vibrations and wifi access – YOU DON’T NEED IT.
Baby mat / gym: let’s face it, most of the time newborns are either sleeping, feeding, or just lying still so a baby mat with lots of shiny bits dangling down is a fun and easy way to introduce them to colours and toys gently. I did lots of Tummy Time with Pip early on using the mat and he really enjoyed it. I think.
Gro Egg Thermometer: this is an easy-to-use room thermometer that changes colour to indicate temperature, which is really handy when you are not sure if you room is too hot or too cold for you little one. It also acts as a nifty little night light. The egg comes with different character shells e.g. an owl or a penguin – great fun!
COMPLETELY USELESS ITEMS (so useless that we don’t even need pictures)
Swaddling blanket: what’s wrong with a normal blanket? I’ve got lots of swaddling blankets with little hoods in my baby dresser that I haven’t even used.
Manual breast pump: let the machine do the hard work.
Visual monitor: this isn’t ‘Paranormal Activity’
Baby heart monitor: unless your baby has been unwell or needs monitoring, you are only going to worry yourself further by listening to their heart beat. Don’t give yourself a heart attack.
Nappy stacker: what the hell?!
Of course there are many more useful items for your baby and just as many, if not more useless items that you can happily purchase if you so wish. The above list is not exhaustive, although I have exhausted myself writing it. If anyone else would like to add their thoughts please do so and if you just happened to find one of my useless items useful then great.
But it better not be the nappy stacker.