Just in case anyone was having a baby sometime soon and was like WHAT’S ACTUALLY USEFUL?
Here ya go.
Obviously every baby is different (as is every parent) and all that jazz, so take this with a pinch of salt if you would.
We never bothered with a changing table, mostly owing to the fact they all seemed astronomically priced and hey hey hey parenting gods, can we just get away with a cheapo IKEA chest of drawers and a £5 plastic mat for the floor instead? Turns out yes. Yes you can.
We bought two – one for upstairs and one for downstairs.
We kept the upstairs one under our bed with a little straw basket full of nappies, wipes, creams and nappy sacks, which made for very practical middle of the night changes.
But if you’re on a mission to save on the plastic, I honestly think a towel on the carpet or bed will honestly do. Unless y’know, the wee leaks through and then lol soz.
I couldn’t get Atti to take a dummy for the first few weeks of his life which basically meant trying to nap during the day was a fucking disaster because he cried for my nipple approximately every 7 minutes.
Anyway, I believe the MAM ones are specially designed for breastfed babies and BOOM HUZZAH whaddya know, he took to them right away and this gal got the eeniest weeniest little bit of a break.
When I was pregnant I had this idea that my baby might like to sleep in one of those Finnish cardboard baby boxes that are apparently great at reducing SIDS and promoting safe sleep.
Lol fuck off.
My baby wouldn’t sleep anywhere that wasn’t attached to me for the first two weeks of his life and so we had no choice but to attempt to co-sleep. We made lots of very witty (read: v boring) jokes about how much use we were getting out of the Sleepyhead (basically a pillow-thing that looks a bit like a dinghy that can go inside a cot to give a baby comfort).
Anyway, just before Atti hit the one-month milestone he decided that although ha no he wouldn’t sleep in his crib, he would absolutely be OK to sleep in a Sleepyhead – probably because it feels a bit like he’s having a hug when he’s snuggled into it.
WE HAVE USED IT EVERY NIGHT TIME AND EVERY NAP TIME SINCE. In his Snuzpod, in his cot, on top of our duvet – heck I even took it on holiday with us and packed all my clothes on top of it in my suitcase. It’s been a sleep gamechanger – although yes, a bit on the pricey side.
This is one of those things we had on our maybe dunno what does it even do list before the baby came.
Seemed a lot like something we didn’t need, and sure, obviously you don’t need a bouncer. Your baby will survive and probably thrive without one.
However, they do allow you to sometimes actually – and this is the exciting part – put your baby down.
DUN DUN DUN.
I bought a £25 one from Tesco (they did free next day delivery to the Tesco Express down the road from us), and it suddenly meant that things like doing the washing up or having a shower became actually part of my daily routine again. Wild. You can obvs buy fancier or borrow from a mate or buy second hand, but I’d say they’re so worth it from about six weeks onwards.
Again, this was another DO WE REALLY NEED IT BUY, which I snapped up for about £25 from Mothercare. This one’s quite good because it’s pretty easy to change up the toys every day to make it a bit more exciting.
Again, it’s another game changer for giving a bit more hands-free time for things like make-up or eating lunch and was well worth the small expenditure. Has a short shelf-life though – we used it from three months to six months, but was magical for that period.
Like any new mum, I quickly realised I had more muslins than I did lipsticks, and boy were they handy for mopping up sick, wee, poo, and y’know – my tears.
However, it’s the giant swaddling-size muslins that I’ve used the most. We have some v cute ones from Aden + Anais (although John Lewis have some slightly cheaper ones) and whilst we’ve never actually used them for swaddling, they have come in so incredibly handy, especially when out and about.
Great as a light blanket, great as a make shift changing mat, great as a fuck fuck fuck rain cover, and y’know, great for all the mopping stuff too.
Hey just me the muslin queen again.
So my mother-in-law gave me a handful of teeny tiny (not actually that small muslin squares) which I believe are just a normal size muslin cut down and then re-hemmed.
Anyway THEY ARE ONE OF THE MOST USEFUL THINGS EVER.
She gave them to me because apparently babies like to hold them for comfort (sure) but actually they have 573265327 more uses. My personal fave being to douse them in cold water and give to you baby to hold/wear as a hat to instantly cool him down during freak UK heatwaves. Also great whilst damp to use as environmentally friendly face cloths when weaning.
The whole vest/sleepsuit/onesie/wtf are they even called thing was one minefield I wasn’t expecting whilst pregnant.
WHAT DOES MY BABY NEED TO WEAR?
Well lemme tell you. Most newborns need two things – vests and sleepsuits. Vests go underneath sleepsuits in the cooler weather and while they come in a plethora of jazzy styles included printed and coloured and no sleeves and short sleeves and long sleeves (can you see why I got confused, eh?), the only ones we really ever used were the short-sleeved white ones.
For two-reasons. One: the long sleeve ones were an absolute ass to pull a sleepsuit and then maybe a cardigan over. THERE JUST ISN’T ENOUGH ROOM. And two: the fun, printed ones show through a white or pale sleepsuit and just look a bit silly.
So yes, Primark’s v v v cheap and cheerful packs of white vests are the one thank you very much.
Lots of people raved to me about the power of white noise – it’s great for two reasons. One, it mimics the loud sounds in the womb so kinda comforts your baby and two, when played loud enough it blocks out all other noises that risk waking up your boo.
Whilst there’s a lot of white noise toys on the market, we found the best and easiest thing for us was just to have the Sound Sleeper app which is free for up to 30 minutes at a time, or £1.99 for unlimited playing.
There’s around 12 different white noises tracks and I’ve noticed most babies (or parents) seem to have a favourite. I first started using it when Atti was two days old and have stuck with ‘Mountain River’ as it’s the least annoying.
We’ve just about weaned him off it (mostly because it was aggressively loud coming through the monitor) but was an absolute hero in the early days in helping to settle him to sleep.
And that, my sweet queens, is about it.
I mean, it’s probably not, but alas the last six or seven months have been a bit of a haze and I can’t remember what I ate for lunch yesterday so please do excuse the fact I’ve probably missed out a shit tonnes of things.