Does baby REALLY need that? Here’s what not to get for a new human…
There are so many baby products and gadgets in the shops now to tempt a vulnerable new parent to spend their hard-earned cash.
But what is a real must-have? What’s an ‘in an ideal world’ product? And what’s a ‘don’t be ridiculous, what a waste of money’ purchase? This is completely my opinion of course – and I err on the thrifty side of things.
I’ve divided up some well-marketed products into three sections.
YES YES ABSOLUTELY
Buggy travel system – baby’s wheels of course. We’ve had the Mamas and Papas Sola buggy for 4 years now and love it. You need a buggy that can fold easily (so grandparents can work it too), has a decent basket underneath for shopping and that can ideally face forwards and backwards. Being able to click the car seat onto the frame too if baby is asleep is useful in the early days. See below re the Carrycot part – not completely necessary…
Change table. Unless you’re not a fan of your back, you really need one. They start from as little as £25 for this simple but sturdy one from Ikea up to hundreds for ones with integrated drawers.We’ve got this Mothercare one and it’s been fab. Once you’ve finished changing bottoms for good you can use the top for pictures, Lego, toys etc.
Change bag. You don’t need a bag that’s specific for baby stuff actually, but we’re a marketing person’s dream when it comes to motherhood AND bags aren’t we? You just want something big, easy to carry and fit under the buggy, with plenty of pockets inside. A rucksack change bag is useful actually – especially if you’re running after a toddler as well. This Cath Kidston bag is really pretty.
Nappy bin. Vital if you don’t want more poo smells than absolutely necessary in the nursery/house. We’ve had the Angelcare nappy bin (on offer at the moment in Kiddicare) for over 3 years now and yes the cartridges are quite expensive, but they do last ages and it’s so worth it for your nostrils’ sake. And you can all laugh and gag in unison at the stuffed sausage of leaky nappies it spits out when you need to empty it.
Playmat/baby gym. Little P has lived on this since she was born. She’s had all kinds of different toys hang from it, and has gone from just lying there staring, to full on bashing and nearly rolling now to look at something else. A brilliant sick-catcher as they are almost all wipe clean and place to put baby down to crack on with life.
Bouncy chair. Something simple to sit baby in so she can see more, and be weaned in to start with is pretty important I think. We had a cheap and cheerful one like this from Mothercare one for both of ours and it was great.
ONLY IF YOU’RE FEELING FLUSH
Isofix car seat base. There really is no need for this. Yes it’s convenient and means you can snap the car seat into place with one click, but if you learn how to strap the seat in properly from the get go, it becomes second nature. You’ll save yourself over a hundred quid if you can do without. Some pros and cons for isofix vs seatbelt here from Maxi-Cosi.
‘Sleepyhead’. New version of a Moses basket. We borrowed a friend’s for Little P and despite being sceptical at first (we nicknamed it the dog bed), we loved it a week later. It’s brilliantly portable, well – not so much when the baby is actually asleep in it, but you can put it on the sofa, table, floor, bed, in the cot even to get baby used to it. It’s nice and snug for baby too. You need at least one extra set of covers for when one gets sicked on, or little baby hair is rubbed off onto it (ahhh) and it’s a mission to actually change them – it’s like sausage stuffing, and after a 3am nappy explosion it makes you want to cry. Fab for whacking in the car and taking to friends’ houses. Not cheap though. Here it is at John Lewis.
Jumparoo (a.k.a the Circle of Neglect) – I’m very excited to be inheriting one shortly for Little P. She’s tried one out and absolutely loves it. Next stage up from lying on the mat I guess, she’s vertical and has so much to play with, also able to see so much more. Not cheap, so I wouldn’t say an essential, but lovely if you can afford or pick one up second hand. Her current door bouncer is a nice and far cheaper equivalent.
Carrycot part of the buggy – we did without this for both babies and felt a bit smug as we saved a lot of money. Our babies were both born in Spring though, so I didn’t feel they needed to be quite as cosy as perhaps a winter baby. But our buggy lay flat so was suitable from birth and we bought a footmuff. Voilà!
Tommy Tippee Perfect Prep machine. Now I know lots of parents say they couldn’t live without theirs. But we borrowed one for a couple of months, and whilst it was useful I suppose, it really is just a glorified kettle! And so expensive. Don’t pay more than £70 if you do want one though, they’re generally always on offer somewhere… We pour out boiled kettle water into our bottles the night before, then when Little P needs a feed the next day, I boil again and just top up to the right amount and test. Formula in, ready to go. Just as quick as the Perfect Prep, as long as you get organised the night before. I’ve heard about some new health visitor guidelines though – something to do with sterilising the powder in a shot of boiling water first, which you can do with the Perfect Prep, but surely this is OTT?!
Toys/clothes sub 6 months. I don’t mean deprive your baby of all stimulation or warmth of course! But seriously, you hardly need to buy anything before they’re 6 months. People are generous and normally gift you dinky clothes, which they barely have time to wear before they’re too small, and toys, pffff. A couple of bright things you can take on and off the buggy and for a playmat is about all you need!
Posh Steriliser. We’ve been converted to using Milton tablets – old school! We soak our bottles in a big container with a tablet in which lasts 24 hours. SO cheap and doubles up as bottle storage – you just wash up and dunk. Then no rinsing required before next use. Simples.
I hope this has given you some ideas if you are expecting… There is so much to get your head around, n’est-ce pas? Feel free to share with any lucky peeps who have announced their big news recently.