I posted a photo of me trying to look hip and happening and ‘I’m not a regular mum, I’m a cool mum’ with the pushchair on Insta this week and had lots of you asking questions about which style we’d gone with and whether I’d recommend it or not.
Which made me realise that I’ve never actually written a blog post about all the big baby buys we’ve made over the past year or so, so hello and welcome to that blog post.
This is a round-up of some of the bigger and pricier products we’ve invested in for Atti – everything from his pushchair and car seat to his monitor and cot. Hopefully it’ll help out those of you who are expecting and haven’t a clue where to start.
There’s also this post on my top baby essentials for the first six months, and this one on all the things I’d do differently if I was a new mum again.
We went to John Lewis at least seven times and Mothercare at least four in a bid to try out every pushchair we’d ever heard mentioned on social media or by friends. Having taken them all for a spin around store (with the scary fake baby doll the sales assistants carefully strap in for you), we decided we really liked the iCandy Peach and went for it in the Royal Blue colour (which I think is now discontinued).
It has served us very well. The steering is incredible. It drives better than our car. It cleans easily. It has a very sizeable basket underneath to stash snacks. And it looks pretty handsome too.
The only downside would be that the carrycot (which you have to pay extra for) didn’t actually fit in the boot of the car alongside the pushchair frame, which meant we couldn’t use the back seats for the first six months of Atti’s life until he graduated to the standard chair attachment (because that did fit in the boot).
It also took me a good three weeks (or eight or nine or maybe ten) to get the hang of putting the pushchair down.
We’re looking at downsizing to something a bit more ‘pop up and go’ now that Atti’s 14 months – likely the Babyzen YoYo.
Lord almighty choosing a car seat is hard to get your head around. We ended up having an hour-long one-on-one appointment with the car seat specialist in our local Mamas and Papas (now long gone, RIP).
Essentially that are two kinds of car seats you can get: those that conform to the old car seat regulations and those which conform to the new car seat regulations. Both are valid, but I assume there is a chance that the old car seat regulations will eventually become well, invalid and therefore illegal.
We opted for a newer one (hello more £££) with the hope that it would last us and we’d be able to safely use with another child in the future.
We also opted to go for an ISOfix base (which is basically a stand which connects to the car and means you can just click the car seat in and out with ease, rather than faff around with a seat belt).
We chose the Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus Car Seat and then the Maxi-Cosi i-Size 2wayFix Car Seat Base, as that base could also be used with the follow-on car seat (from around 12 months-ish) which is the 2wayPearl i-Size Car Seat (which Atti is now in). The ISOfix base we have also allows for rear-facing travel up to around four years which is *apparently (*I do not work in car safety) the safest way for kids to travel.
I liked the look of some of the more stylish cots like the Stokke one, but decided a cot was the obvious place to cut costs.
We went for the SUNDVIK in white from IKEA, and then also got one of their mattresses. I want to say we went for the SKÖNAST based on the fact it was the second cheapest and that’s what we’d do when making a decision about wine, but couldn’t swear to it.
Fairly straightforward to put up, and hasn’t got any signs of wear and tear after a year.
I had seen lots of people recommending the Snuzpod on social media (which is a bedside crib you can either have stand alone, or attached to your own bed), and especially liked the fact that if I could get on with breastfeeding then it would be easier to roll the baby in and out for night feeds then getting them in and out of a moses basket.
I was kindly gifted a Snuzpod in white, and it truly was very good.
I think next time I would use it with less expectations. The breastfeed-and-roll never happened as I never got the horizontal feeding situation nailed, and actually co-sleeping was a better option for us in the first few weeks. Eventually I transitioned him into his Sleepyhead (which really worked for us), and then transitioned his Sleepyhead inside of his Snuzpod.
I’m not sure we’d have even bothered with a baby carrier before Atti was born because in my head it seemed like an unnecessary extra. We ended up getting gifted the Ergobaby 360 which is an incredibly sturdy carrier that’s supposed to last until he’s two.
We’ve used it a bit – done some lengthy two hour walks in the countryside (which, even with a ten-month baby strapped to my front were absolutely fine) and it was dead handy when I needed to fill in my tax return when he was 10 days old and didn’t want to be put down.
But I think next time I’d be keen to invest in a sling instead – something simpler and lighter to mostly use around the house.
I bought the Lamaze play gym for about £25 when it was on offer in Mothercare, completely on a whim. I had no idea if I needed a play gym or a play mat or whether it was a waste of £25 but I tell you what – it bought me time to shower every single day, and for that I am eternally grateful.
This was one of the cheapest play mats on the market and will happily use this again next time – I like that you’re also easily able to hang any of your own toys from the hoops to switch it up a bit.
Another panic buy was our Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer which we got for £30 with next day delivery to our local Tesco Express (so long, Tesco Direct). Atti refused to go in it until he was a couple of months old owing to his love of being held, but once he got a bit bigger and a bit more independent, he loved it! It meant I could do things like cook dinner or do the washing up with him sat comfortably next to me.
There is the possibility I’d go for a fancy swinging one next time, but would love to hear other people’s experiences with baby bouncers.
We were lucky that whilst we were in the midst of trying to work out if we needed a video monitor or one with a sensor, my older brother stepped in and asked if he could buy us one as a new-baby present. He bought us the same Motorola one he’d used with his son and it’s been great.
Whilst it basically has no battery and always has to be plugged in, I like that it’s got a big screen and that you can move the camera if your baby has decided to hide in one corner of his cot. I think video but no sensor was absolutely right for us.
I was gifted the manual Lansinoh pump before Atti was born and started expressing milk when he was a few weeks old. It was easy enough to work and get milk out, but quite laborious at the same time. At around the six week mark I decided to throw the dregs of my saved maternity pay in the air and invest in the heavily-recommended Medela electric pump.
And honestly? I didn’t like it anymore than the manual one. It wasn’t any quicker, but was far, far, far noisier (although it did require only hand hand as opposed to two, so some wins).
Next time I think I’d do all my research and get the best that money can buy. I’m intrigued by both the Elvie (which you can wear in your bra) and the Haakaa (which basically catches the letdown from the opposite boob to whichever one the baby is feeding from).