Congratulations!! You are having a baby! …Overwhelmed yet? Received countless snippets of ‘advice’ (helpful, scary or otherwise)? Realised yet that everyone who has older kids thinks they are an expert and are only too willing to pass on that expert advice? Haha take it all as it’s meant; with love I think, but also a rather large pinch of salt. I learnt the ‘nod’ – where you tilt your head, thus showing interest, nod gently, thus showing a little acquiesce and then smile, because a smile speaks a thousand words, which you then don’t have to say!
If you allow me, I’d like to share one thing with you, something that my Nana said to me when I was pregnant with Paige; “Don’t listen to anyone my darling. YOU are her mother, so whatever you decide will always be right for YOUR baby, period.” Best advice ever. One thing I have learnt is that all your baby really needs is you: your arms, your love, your attention. You are already winning, and you can do no wrong in their eyes so we must remember to be kind to ourselves. Plenty of people can tell us “oh you’re doing great” but at some point, we have to believe it.
Now personally I’m a big fan of KISS – Keep It Simple Silly! So I’ve put together a list of 10 things which I found to be particularly useful when baby shopping. Obviously, I fell into the trap of thinking I needed more than I did, but at the same time, I WANTED to buy fun things because that was my right as a first time mum. Its your right too! Treat yourself. Think something is cute? Get it! 😊 So here we go, my top 10 list whittled down from about 110: (let me know what you think)
- Travel system – there are so many out there, do you have a car seat yet? (obviously you cannot leave the hospital without one, they check!) We got an isofix (fits in most cars, it’s the base bit that means you can pop the seat on and off without faffing with seatbelts). Its universal and fits with most brands. Pick one with good reviews and fits neatly in your car.
- Buggy – to be honest, go with what you like the look of – practical things like adjustable handle height if you are over 5-foot, nice storage basket underneath (its not about carrying things!). Your car seat should clip into the top of the buggy frame easily (never wake a sleeping baby!) – then when they are older you simply change to the next buggy top which will be the right size for a year old – this is why it’s part of a ‘travel system’ and not a standalone buggy. Words to look out “multifunctional, adjustable, system”.
- Steriliser / pumps – whether you are planning to nurse or bottle feed this is a must! If you bottle feed then of course you want one that you plug in, press a button and leave it to do it’s thing – it’s not about washing up and dishwasher chemicals are way too harsh for new-borns. If you are breast feeding then you will likely use a pump to express (stores own brands have manual pumps, so much more gently on you, we are not cattle after all!)
- Nipple cream – (if you are planning to breast feed that is) – when my milk came in, let’s just say it wasn’t pretty and it can be tough and painful when you first start. You and baby will learn the best pain free and wonderful way, but until then “lansinoh” saved my life. It’s organic so baby can swallow it and it’s perfectly safe. No one told me about that one by the way!
- Crib / Next To Me / Cot-bed – You only need one of these so don’t worry! We bought a small crib, very simply, wooden frame that could rock so that I had somewhere to pop baby when I was downstairs, I really needed to be able to groom the dogs and give them lots of attention and I just wasn’t happy having her upstairs when I was downstairs, I missed her! We got a ‘next to me’ for the bedroom – the idea is that they go next your bed, the side unzips and attaches under your mattress so it’s like a mini self-contained bed but means you don’t have to get up for night feeds. Then we got a cot-bed for her room, nice and big with the safety of the tall sides and, as the name suggests, turns into a toddler bed which will last till they are about 10-12. But depending on the layout of your place, just the one might be ideal for you.
- Baby monitor – these are not cheap. I would recommend go for a ‘closed circuit’ as its more secure. This, in my humble opinion, is not essential but does give you piece of mind. But if you want to hold your baby in your arms while they sleep, that’s fine too, you grew them, you bought them in to the world, you can hold your baby any time you like, even if the ‘books’ say, “put them down and sleep when they sleep”.
- Baby Bath – Super cheap , saves so much time as you are not filling the whole bath, get some gentle new-born wash and you are all set, it also means you can kneel by the side and support the head/neck in one hand so you have a hand free to get the bubbles off.
- Changing table – we have one that is also a chest of drawers, it’s that “multifunctional” thing again! Changing table makes life easier especially when you are sleep deprived, but equally I had pretty pink box which I kept by the tv in the lounge with a roll up changing mat, nappies, cotton wool, wipes and cream. Then when they start to roll away its better to have something with sides, less messy!
- Breast pads –you will leak lol, even if you bottle feed, for the first week you’ll need these 😊
- Baby carrier/harness – also called slings, when you need them super close and they are too tiny for anything else, you strap them to you and off you go. Eventually you migrate to a harness at about 6 months old. Same concept but easier on your back and more comfy for a growing baby.
Just remember, there are a million and one things out there for new-borns, but the new-born stage is so fleeting, blink and you’ll miss it. Like I’ve said before, all your baby really needs is you – these things make life easier, but you really don’t need everything. Your baby doesn’t care what they wear, how they look, if you have read the latest baby books – they love you unconditionally. As you do them. Remember to tell yourself that you are making the best possible decision based on the phenomenal depth of love that you have for your baby. Go shopping, sure, but have fun!