Preparing for my daughter’s birth involved a lot of spending. Sod the antenatal classes that helpfully skipped over instrumental deliveries and hopped over ‘when shit hits the fan’. Forget all the book reading that did not prepare me for just how horrific the pain is*. What I loved about preparing for her arrival was the shopping. My birth plan consisted of ‘get the baby out safely’ but my outfit choices for her on arrival were ready 6 weeks before the birth-packed into little labelled sandwich bags (LOL) with a nappy and a hat thanks to pinterest or mumsnet or some other site I was glued to for months.
Anyway, with all the things I accumulated, I thought i would share my top 7 things that I have got the most use out of during the first (almost) 5 months of her life!
Lots of people told me to buy muslins as they are so useful. Others told me they never used theirs. So I bought a few
from the supermarket to try out and see how I went. I am of the ‘muslins are invaluable’ camp. Once I realised how much I use them, I bought a few more including some massive ones and I cannot leave the house without a couple.
Not only do I use muslins as bibs, burping cloths, light blankets, emergency change mats, even a crib sheet but my daughter is obsessed with them as a comforter. She can always be settled with a muslin cloth- whether it is a super soft one or a slightly scratchier one, she cannot get enough of them! She also loves ones that have labels on them to hold- it’s like double the joy for her! We always have about 3 or 4 on the go at any one time- one in the change bag, one in the pram, one with her. My favourites at the minute are some plain bright coloured ones I found in TK Maxx.
- Chicco Next-2-Me
This has been an absolute godsend. When researching cribs and co-sleeping, I decided that the best choice for us would be a co-sleeping crib. This way, I have the advantages of having her next to me but none of the dangers I feared such as her accidentally getting squished or suffocated by either of us! It’s on the larger side compared to other cribs I looked at which is actually a positive for me- she can stay in it for longer and it’s really roomy. It very easily fastens to the side of the bed and it has a removable mattress, so I think I will keep this for the next child and just buy a new mattress.
- Babymoov Swoon Motion
We have a running joke that it’s our ‘baby display unit’ as it is at sofa seat height. This
actually makes it a great height from the get-go. After giving birth, the last thing I wanted to be doing was bending down to floor level. This all singing all dancing rocker with 8 different melodies and 5 swing speeds has given me many a peaceful minute. The seat actually rotates all the way round so wherever you are sat you can see your baby and they can see you. It can swing side to side or back and forth. Also the seat has a newborn insert that I actually wanted my own chair to be made of it looked that comfortable. Oh, also there are 3 dangly animals and my daughter chats away to them and laughs manically.
I recently discovered that the backrest has 3 positions (I’m a very good instruction reader!), so finally my daughter can sit up in her chair and take a look around the room properly! This means she can sit with us and feel part of the gang because she’s at our height. Finally, this rocker looks good. People comment on it frequently due to it’s unique design and I don’t feel like I have to tidy it away when I want the living room to look neat because it is quite nice looking!
- Tommee Tippee Microwave Steriliser
I planned to express from the start, so knew I needed bottles and a steriliser. I don’t have a huge amount of countertop space in the kitchen, and didn’t like the idea of having a steriliser dominating the space. This magic little thing has certainly been worth the £20 or so spent on it! Fitting 4 bottles (and also a handful of dummies!) after a quick 5 minutes in the microwave you have ready to use sterile bottles! This practical item is perfect if, like me, you have limited room as you can keep it in the microwave out of sight (we only use the microwave for this and for heating beans and rice weirdly). Also, due to the price, it’s perfect if you are on a budget as it is a fraction of the price of an electric steriliser!
- Little Einstein Baby Neptune Nautical Friends Playmat
I would definitely recommend getting a playmat. My baby is way into this thing. It comes with lots of differently textured and coloured pieces to hang from the bright links. There is a mirror which is safe for baby to chew. There is also a singing starfish with 2 volume settings. It has a setting for continuous music and one for playing music when struck. I have also hung some of her other toys off it, such as the Lamaze jellyfish mirror which fits in with the underwater theme. I’ll admit now that this is probably more for my benefit than hers as she has no concept of ‘underwater theme’. She will reach for hanging items and will happily spend time on the mat alone whilst I tidy or *cough* watch a bit of tv… it’s also easy to store away- i stash mine behind a chair when not in use.
The first night that I made the switch from blankets to grobag (which was quite soon as she was 9lbs 4oz at birth so WELL within the weight range!) I didn’t sleep well. I had a fear that she would slip inside the grobag even though it had perfectly designed press studs to make the arm holes smaller. I look back on this and find it hilarious as now, not only am I no longer fresh-out-of-the-maternity-ward neurotic, I cannot imagine her sleeping in anything else! We have rotated two 2.5 tog grobags over the last few months, one being worn, one in the wash. This has been a perfectly good arrangement for us.
- Ewan the Dream Sheep
I didn’t buy Ewan when I was pregnant, rather I got him after a month of playing whit
e noise through YouTube on my phone. I love Ewan. I love that he has a gentle pulsating light. I love his 4 different relaxing white noise heartbeat sounds. I love that he is woolly and squishy and has a Velcro tail to attach him to cot rails or prams or whatever else you may wish to attach him to. But most of all I love that he made her sleep soundly.
So there are my fave 7 things from the past 5 months. I’m not going to say “essentials” because let’s face it all you really need are nappies, some kind of nutrition, clothing and a bed but these are some added extras that I’m glad I have had with me!
*Dear first time pregnant women, it really is that bad. You think you know pain? Possibly think again- this is a brand new kind of pain. You will forget in time but when people tell you it “stings” they are absolute downplaying liars. LIARS. It stings like a pessary made of nettles wrapped in barbed wire set alight would sting.