From the moment we both announced our pregnancies people asked, “Are you going to start doing a baby blog?” The answer wasn’t a definite, “no”, but we weren’t sure how well family focussed posts would be received or how we could fit them into our wedding focused blog. After a bit of time thinking about the blog (see this post here) and knowing that a lot of our followers aren’t here for the wedding stuff, we thought, “why not, let’s give it a go!”.
One thing we’ve noticed since having our babies is all the crap that you need to buy. It seems that there are gadgets and gizmos for everything, but are they really necessary?
We thought it would be useful for us both to give our Baby Must Have’s, things that we really couldn’t have been without in the first year. While these things will probably be different for everyone, it’s always good to get some thoughts, so here goes:
Before having a baby we knew that if we were going to invest in any area it would be sleep! I’d seen rave reviews of the Sleepyhead on other blogs and thought it sounded fab. Basically, it’s a multifunctional, portable baby bed you can take anywhere. The shape of it means the baby is slightly cocooned, like in the womb, so they feel safe and secure and more relaxed, and therefore find it easier to get off to sleep. Some people say it’s an incredibly expensive pillow, I say it’s so much more than that and has been invaluable. We used it with Grace’s SnuzPod (also on the list) to help her feel secure at night. We would also use it as a Moses basket to bring her downstairs with us to sleep in during the day. It was fab if we stayed anywhere over night as we didn’t need to take a huge travel cot with us and would instead put this on the bed between us. It meant she was comfy and secure with no risk of her, or us, rolling on each other. Whether she slept better because of it I don’t know. Some babies are just easier to get off to sleep than others and I appreciate we’ve been lucky. I do know though that we were so impressed that we have bought the biggest size to line her cot now she’s in her own room!
I use to think that a baby bottle was a baby bottle. I was wrong. There are hundreds of the things on the market and I have had so many conversations with other friends and my NCT group about the merit of each. We bought the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles initially as they had good reviews. They were fine until we discovered the joys of colic! Then it was a case of what seemed like, “throwing as much money at the problem as possible!” I don’t think it’s uncommon for parents with babies who suffer from colic to change the bottles and buy about a billion different types to they find the Holy Grail that stops the colic. I’m slightly dubious of the claims and do think that Grace just outgrew the colic and we happened to be trying out the MAM bottles at the time, but stay with me…
…Whether they helped with that or not is not the point. They are fantastic bottles. They look really pretty (always a plus) but they are so well designed. It’s easy to take each section apart, put through a dishwasher and then microwave to sterilise. In just 3 minutes you have a sterilised bottle without the need for sterilising machines; tablets; Milton liquid… (whatever your weapon of choice). Again this makes it so much easier if you stay anywhere overnight or leave the house for a whole day. Especially when at relatives, they’ll be a microwave so you don’t need to pack loads of bottles and clunky steriliser machine!
Complete -Game- Changer. We have a big travel system which is all bells and whistles but if I’m honest, once Grace got to around 5 months and wasn’t sleeping as much when we were out and about it just pissed me off. It takes up too much room in the boot of my car (and I don’t have a small boot!), and it’s too big to fit conveniently between shop displays in John Lewis (a BIG consideration). I wanted a small, compact pushchair that was lightweight, easy to use and was as small as possible while still being comfortable.
Well, it doesn’t get smaller and more compact than this. It’s so small that when in its compact fold (which is so easy to do, absolutely no faffing) you can use it as aeroplane hand luggage and put it under the seat in front of you! We used it in Ibiza and we heard loads of other parents muttering under their breath while in the passport queue about how we managed to get our buggy already while they had to wait to clear customs before being reunited. If you have a heavy lump of a child as I do (and I say that with love) to be able to push them all the way through an airport right up to the plane door is a Godsend.
I also love the looks I get from other parents as I quickly fold down and open the buggy while out shopping and they’re still arsing around with the biggest contraceptions known to man. It makes me feel smug. I have had this for around 5/6 months and use it pretty much every day and every time I get someone asking me where it’s from. I’ve seen cheaper versions and I think Mothercare do their own that’s meant to be okay, but this one feels better quality and not at all flimsy. We’ve bumped it up and down cobbled streets, across gravel, over grass and had no issues with it. It’s sturdy and I love it!
The SnuzPod is a baby cot that can either stand alone or you can attach it to the side of your bed for safe co-sleeping. I know all babies are precious to their parents but we’d been on such a journey to get our little miracle that we didn’t want to take any risks. It was important to us to have her as close to us as possible during those first few months so we could keep checking on her and making sure she was okay. It was also great to be able to scoot her over to me for those dreaded night feeds! As she got older we moved the SnuzPod away from the bed, then further across the room to help her transition to her own room.
Waste of money?
There’s nothing wrong with the steriliser as such. It’s just that our MAM bottles meant we didn’t need it.
Looking back, I was always surprised by how long it took to work, and it did always need a clean, so the microwave method is definitely better anyway in my book. For a while, I used it to sterilise makeup brushes and sponges so it wasn’t money completely wasted!
Okay, so I kid you not that one of the best things we bought when having George was…wait for it…a tumble dryer!! However, that is the most boring thing to list here so I’m not going to (but seriously get a tumble dryer when having a baby, I don’t know how we lived without it)!
Now I noticed that Melissa has chosen her ‘Pockit Stroller’ as one of her top picks and I can completely see why, however, my buggy pick is basically the complete opposite of small, because it’s the Mountain Buggy Terrain!
We wanted a buggy that could withstand our random adventure trips to Wales, Scotland and the Peak District but also one I could run with and not scare the life out of George whilst doing so! We did sooooo much research and we must have stood in front of at least 50 different types of buggy whilst the sales assistants talked to us about all the things we didn’t want! In the end we decided that people who live in New Zealand and Australia must need a pretty hard core buggy and so in the end that’s where we found our Mountain Buggy (well not actually in Australia and New Zealand but it lead us to the brand!) And I can safely say we haven’t been disappointed – it’s easy to manoeuvre, great on all sorts of ground (including the beach) and one of my must haves…easy to put down and pull up.
I’ll be honest though that there are a couple of downsides, that being the wheels have rubber tyres (to give better suspension), so punctures are possible. We’ve had a few when taking it in the woods so have a puncture repair kit at the ready!
This was actually a gift from my Aunt and it was by far George’s favourite toy, it’s also the one that’s kept his attention the longest – from 2 months to 11 months – he still finds it funny and I can guarantee it stops him crying!
It’s also got a really handy clip which can go on the buggy so you’re less likely to lose it, however saying this, George has learnt to unclip it so not so safe but all the same, the idea is a good one!
I cannot recommend this rocker enough, it’s suitable from newborn as a nice gentle rocking chair, and as they get older it’s useful as a seat to strap them in when you need the toilet!
The dangling monkey’s also kept George occupied when he was younger and I haven’t even mentioned it’s best feature…the vibrate button! It instantly stops any moaning or crying and George loved it! However, one word of advice…use it sparingly! It was basically an alarm button for me – okay I’ve tried everything else…so have some vibration!
George also suffered really badly from colic and this chair was invaluable during sleepless nights to help ease it when he couldn’t lie flat on his back because his tummy was too painful. Highly recommend!
Waste of money?
I just made the assumption that all babies love a mobile but I was wrong…George is so not bothered with it and although it looks lovely in the room (it matches the wallpaper and design) he couldn’t care less. I even thought he may grow into it but he’s as disinterested in it now as he ever was!
Melissa and Kate x