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Top 10 Must Buys for New Parents
I am not a Blogger or wanna-be blogger. I’m just a busy Mummy to Florence (my spirited 16-month-old girl) and Business Owner. My Husband and I are still on a steep learning curve and finding our way as we go.
Although I’m super busy with Mum and Work life, I wanted to write this piece as we have lots of friends and colleagues expecting the arrival of their first baby and we’ve been asked what we would recommend they buy while preparing for their little ones’ arrival.
We’ve made some great choices which were money well spent, and some that still infuriate me with the money we wasted. I read so many blog posts while I was pregnant, yet we still made a few mistakes. So, as well as my friends learning from our experiences, I thought I’d share them with anyone who’s interested in reading.
This list is by no means exhaustive and although it includes links to purchase, I am not being paid by any of the suppliers or affiliates. I just wanted to share this in the hope that it's of use to you!
1. Cocoonababy Nest - £125/£130 new. £50+ second hand
Possibly the best thing we bought – and wish they’d make adult ones!
We attribute this and swaddling to Flo sleeping through by 6 weeks! The only downfall with the Cocoonababy is that Florence grew out of hers by about 4/5 months. She was a big baby so some of you may find your little one fits comfortably until about 6/7 months.
As well as fitting in the moses basket and cot, you can use it on it's own, it's easy to transport around the house and when visiting friends and family.
They are pretty expensive brand new, but second hand ones can be cleaned and you can buy new sheets, we bought ours second hand from a trusted friend for £50.
2. Swaddles - £21.99
This concept had been recommended to me by a friend who’s first baby was a non-sleeper, tried swaddling for her second and it transformed their sleep! I initially dismissed it as the thought of my baby being unable to move disturbed me, but after researching, it’s clear that they actually like it as it makes them feel safe, snug and reminds them of being in our tummies!
So, we went ahead and bought two Velcro swaddles so we didn’t have to worry about the faff of folding a home-made swaddle (I have zero patience). I don’t know if we’rere just lucky or if it was a combination of the swaddling and Cocoonababy but we had to wake Flo up for feeds during the first week! From the first week to six weeks, she woke once a night and then slept right through.
As with the Cocoonababy, she grew out of the swaddles at about 4/5 months. I was anxious that going from these to a cot in a Grobag would be such a big change for her that she would regress but she transferred beautifully.
3. Nursing Pillow - £12.99
Buy this a good few months before your due date; it has so many uses! I slept with it between my legs in the final trimester to ease the pressure of the big baby bump, I took it to hospital with me and was so grateful for a nice pillow rather than the hospital one and we had it there for feeding as soon as Flo arrived (the cover is washable you’ll be pleased to hear!). I used it for most feeds; you will sit for hours feeding sometimes and this makes you both comfortable (and in a perfect position for Netflix binging while feeding). I still use it now as back/head support when reading.
4. Medela Swing Breast Pump - £100
I could write a whole separate post on breast feeding but I’ll try and keep it short and sweet here. With a not so easy start to breast feeding, I couldn’t have maintained feeding without a breast pump. Luckily, we bought this in advance and had it at the hospital with us so I could express the liquid gold that is colostrum even though Flo was having difficulties latching.
Again, these are expensive, and you can buy brand new or second hand. I bought mine from one of my best friends – and it’s absolutely fine to buy second hand pumps as you can sterilise them and my husband took it apart and gave all the parts a good clean, so it was working like new.
When/if we have another baby, I will go for a double breast pump as I expressed at work for at least 9 months and it took about 30/40 mins out of my working day which is a lot when you’re part time.
The only downfalls are that it is noisy – something that never bothered us at home as I think Flo actually found the sound therapeutic/like white noise, but at work and in various lavatories (yep, I found myself pumping away in numerous establishments across the country – not a highlight of motherhood I will admit!) it was pretty embarrassing.
A worthwhile investment; I tried manual and electric and Medela Swing extracts much more milk than any others I tried but I hear this can vary from woman to woman.
5. Lansinoh nipple cream - £10.49
Honestly don’t bother with cheaper versions. Yes at £10.49 per tube it’s expensive but you will only need one as your nipples get used to it quickly but the first few weeks, you are going to be sore, but this magic cream will soothe and heal rapidly (literally within minutes of applying), you can apply even before feeds too as no negative impact on babies.
I hadn’t read about any of the various lotions and potions for babies and after years of digesting marketing campaigns for Johnson’s and Pampers, I thought they were your go-to’s. I bought loads of Johnsons products and poor Flo’s skin was so dry and sore. I tried a few nappy creams including sudocrem but Bepanthen wins the battle of the bottom creams’ hands down. Any signs of redness are gone within an hour of application and I even put it on her cheeks (face not bottom), when she is teething and has dry skin and it works a treat.
For Bath time, I tried Aveeno and still use it occasionally, but Burt’s Bee’s bath wash and moisturiser is by far the best. Not a patch of dry skin anywhere using this, it smells divine, it’s natural and although pricey, it lasts for months!
7. Kinder by Nature Wipes - £2 for 64 wipes/Amazon Subscribe deals the cheapest option
Yes, there are a number of chemical free wipes but there are only a few biodegradable ones. I’m not going to preach about the environment, but these are a win/win made with only natural ingredients and kind to our little one’s sensitive skin, made in the UK and fully biodegradable. They are more expensive but there are savings to be had with subscribe and save and Boots have been heavily discounting recently too.
8. Fisher Price Rainforest - £40
Our favourite product! At 16 months, Flo has grown out of it now and I miss hearing the catchy tunes and Flo’s delight at grabbing the monkey and catching her reflection in the mirror. We bought this for Flo at about 6 weeks and she only grew too big for it at about 10 months.
You can move the toys/animals around to different heights to suit your growing babies’ size and interest. Initially Flo would love kicking her arms and legs around to the music and activating the various sounds and then as she grew bigger, enjoyed trying to demolish the rainforest - which was only proof of the quality of the product as she is very strong but it’s definitely Flo-proof!
9. Slumber Lamb - £19.99
There are a number of these on the market and I’m sure they are all as good as each other. This was bought as a gift and was one of our favourites as previously we’d been putting on white noise (on our phones) and we were starting to go a bit potty!
A genius invention; you can put the lamb on lullabies, white noise, heartbeat, waterfall settings. It stays on for 20 minutes when you put it on manually or you can set it to come on when your baby cries (it really works – any peep and the lamb starts playing and put Flo back to sleep).
The only negative is you can select the volume and what you would like it to play manually but not automatically and the auto setting plays a mixture of the lullabies and quite loudly too!
10. Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier - £65
You don’t just have to be outdoorsy to benefit from a baby carrier. There are many on the market. We opted for the Baby Bjorn as it’s easy to use, safe, comfortable and washable. I’ve heard Ergo Baby are also very good, and they seem to last a little longer as you can wear on your back too when baby is bigger.
The Baby Bjorn however, was great for us; you can safely take baby out in it from 10 lbs and Flo was a chunky 81/b 10oz when she was born, so we were out and about in it after just a few weeks. Flo was delivered by emergency c section and I was comfortably taking her out in it by 6 weeks as you can alter the straps/height. You can have baby facing the front or back and it’s perfect for breast feeding on the go too; hiked up a mountain feeding Flo in ours! It’s also convenient for house jobs; Flo slept in ours many a time while I did the cooking and cleaning.
We got more use out of this than the buggy and less of a faff. Flo absolutely loved it too and we enjoyed watching her facial expressions as she soaked up her new surroundings. Just be sure to invest in a snow suit and/or bear suit so baby stays nice and snug on chilly days.
A few for you Mum’s and Dad’s to save you some time and sanity:
1. A battery re-charger and re-chargeable batteries. Believe me, you will never go through so many and baby won’t be happy when the Rainforest and Lamb batteries start to go!
2. Amazon Prime – for all the inevitable last-minute panic purchases; they will happen and there will be many days you don’t fancy a trip to the Supermarket so do yourselves a big favour with the next day delivery service!