When I was pregnant, I wrote a post about all the essential items I thought I would need. Turns out, I listened to the advice of other mums pretty well when they told me to just buy the bare minimum and then figure out the rest later. I did exactly that, and discovered that the bare minimum was all I really needed! I am very happy with what I originally reported to be my essentials list, and only have a few things I’d like to add:
A sling or baby carrier
By this, I mean a decent one, not a crotch dangler. I don’t mean this in a patronising way, just that I have done a LOT of research into different baby carriers, and have discovered that non-ergonomic carriers are not comfortable for baby or parent, which is why a lot of people don’t get on with them and give up on using carriers. If you find the right one for you and your baby, then you can baby wear to your hearts content!
I would recommend going to a sling library to try a few out as different carriers suit different people and babies. I went to my local library in Chelmsford and have also visited one in Havering (both very helpful!). I have also been given lots of advice from ladies on my baby Facebook group, who were the ones who initially got me involved in baby wearing.
I started off with a Close Caboo. This is a great sling for a newbie like me because it’s pre-tied, so all you have to do is pop it on, put baby inside and tighten it up (sounds easy, but it really is!). I used this until Alfie was about 4 months because he was a large baby, he got quite heavy in it, but I know people who have used it until 6 months and beyond. I then upgraded to my Connecta. This is a structured buckles carrier, and is great for front and back carries – I’m just learning to master the back carry, but it’s getting easier and I even managed to hang my washing out yesterday with Alfie on my back! I currently use a standard baby carrier, but am just awaiting the arrival of a petit Toddler sized carrier. I probably won’t need it for a few month yet, but it’s in a pattern I’ve been searching for a while, so I had to snap it up when I saw it! I have also just bought a ring sling. I’m still getting to grips with it, and I’m not sure if I’m in love, but I’m giving it a go.
Not everyone will see this as an essential, but when you are up 2, 3, 4 times a night, for me it really was! Craig tried to tell me that we didn’t have enough room in the nursery for a chair, but I was adamant that I wanted one. I was the one after all who would be doing the night feeds, and what was I meant to do, sit on the floor?! I didn’t want to disturb Alfie any more than I needed to by taking him into the lounge, so we forgo a wardrobe to get the chair. It was a bargain second hand one from a local selling site, and it has definitely been my best purchase to date. It’s so comfy, I have fallen asleep on it many a time when Alfie’s having a bad night and wants the comfort of knowing I’m in his bedroom. I’d definitely recommend one!
Grobag sleeping bags
I had heard good things about Grobags so I bought a couple for when Alfie went into his own cot at night. They are fab! Alfie is such a wriggler, I always worry about him getting his legs stuck through the cot bars (they’re so chubby, he can get them in but can’t get them out himself!) So putting him in a sleeping bag is ideal as it keeps him cosy, but more importantly safe. They have some lovely designs, and I love their travel feature. If we know we are going to be out late with Alfie, we can put him in his pjs and sleeping bag and still strap him safely in his pram or car seat and not have to worry about waking him too much when we get him out.
Alfie doesn’t have a dummy. It’s not something I ever wanted to give him, and thankfully we have managed to get by without one. He does however, have a teddy comforter when he goes to sleep (bedtime and naptime). Luckily, he has a few, and isn’t particularly attached to one or the other – as long as he has something to cuddle to sleep, he’s fine, so even a blanket or muslin (or mum or dad’s tshirt!) will do! He did have a gorgeous one from the White Company, but Daddy lost it when he took it out with him 🙁 so I need to replace it.
This was another of my favourite bargain second hand buys! I hadn’t really thought of getting Alfie one, but after mentioning to my mum that Alfie got bored sitting in his chair when I needed to be in the kitchen, she suggested getting a door bouncer. I was so surprised to see how much he loved it! He went it in almost every day, and as soon as his legs touched the floor, he was bouncing away. We didn’t have a jumperoo due to lack of space, so I guess this is the next best thing. Sadly, he’s too heavy for it now, so we can’t use it, but I’d still recommend getting one!
Sophie La Giraffe
I believe Sophie is a world renowned Giraffe – I’ve had many strangers say to me in shops or out and about that their grandchild has one, and it’s funny how every baby seems to love them! I was a bit hesitant to get one at first, as they are quite expensive, but I got a Mamas and Papas voucher at the Baby Show, so I used that to pay towards it. Again, one of our best purchases! We don’t go anywhere without it. It’s a great teether, easy for Alfie to hold but big enough that it’s hard to lose!
Another of my life saver second hand purchases! My sister in law had bought a rocking chair each for her twins, and I thought they were fantastic! We had a bouncy chair that my sister gave me, but Alfie was quite big and didn’t really like it. So I looked up the chair my sister in law had – it was a Fisher Price Newborn to Toddler Rocker and as fantastic as it is, it was too expensive for us to buy brand new. So I searched and searched and searched for one, and eventually found one locally. We use it every day, and it goes everywhere with us – when we visit friends, when he has sleepovers with the family, when we went on holiday! For a while it was the only place he’d fall asleep, and it means that I can put him somewhere safe when I needed to leave the room, to have a shower for example. We do still use it now, but he refuses to be strapped in and can crawl out of it now, so it’s only used when one of us is in the room, and usually just to rock him to sleep for him naps, or when he’s tired and wants some chill out time.
So these have become my “essentials” for having a baby. I’m quite frugal, and have managed to get most of these items second hand, but in great condition. This means I can keep them for our next baby (or babies?!) once Alfie has grown out of them.
What are your baby essentials? Have they changed from what you expected them to be before you had bubs? Or have you had any things that you thought you would use, but actually never did?!