I remember feeling so overwhelmed by the vast market for baby products when I was pregnant, with no idea where to start and what was really ‘essential’ or just ‘desirable’. I was making endless checklists and constantly scouring the web for the best deals as prices for the same products by different retailers can really vary.
Sleeping and feeding were the most confusing areas to buy for, for me – As I planned to breastfeed, I didn’t want to buy all the bottles etc. I have covered sleeping and feeding below as separate areas. This is just what we did and my personal opinions on what I think are baby essentials – but everyone is different and has their own preferences!
Now Harper is 12 weeks old, we’ve got into a good routine with established products so I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt along the way!
At the start I couldn’t decide between a moses basket, a Sleepyhead pod, a Next To Me crib, a SnuzPod crib or just go straight to a cot! I knew we needed two varieties of cribs for day and night sleeping; one to keep downstairs and one upstairs as I didn’t want to always be moving it around.
After a while I realised a moses basket probably had the shortest life span even though they are so cute, the baby can outgrow them in just 3 months. I knew I wanted something safe for co-sleeping without Harper in our bed so we decided on the Chicco Next To Me for sleeping at night and I love it. It makes feeding in the night so much easier and Harper loves it.
For daytime naps until now, Harper has napped in a Clevamama sleep pod downstairs which made life so much easier as she would be with us on the sofa so I could keep an eye on her. I couldn’t justify the cost of a Sleepyhead so found this alternative for half the price!
When babies are newborn they sleep through anything but as the weeks went by, Harper was struggling to sleep in the pod downstairs and kept waking up. We have now started putting her in the Next To Me for daytime naps. Although the pod was amazing, I’m not sure how much use it will now get as we don’t use it for nighttime sleeping. Harper has always been ok going straight in her crib (the pod also doesn’t fit 100% into the Next To Me)
I always planned to breastfeed and have been fortunate enough to exclusively BF Harper. However, before you know if this is a possibility, there are lots of things you can buy for formula feeding or pumping breast milk. I nearly bought a complete Tommee Tippee feeding kit but I’m glad I waited to see which feeding route I’d go down.
Turns out with breastfeeding, you don’t need much at all! Luckily I was given a new Avent breast pump (with bottle) to express so I bought an inexpensive Tommee Tippee microwave steriliser to sterilise the bottle and parts of the pump. I also bought a Tommee Tippee express and go kit for times I don’t want to BF when I’m out. To be honest, I’ve only used a few pouches and still have lots left. That is all I have needed. Of course, if you formula feed, there are more essentials needed.
Tommee Tippee nappy bin – Ok, this is so good! The nappies go straight in the top of this bin, you twist the top so the nappy is wrapped up and then they are stored until the bin is full. You won’t even be able to smell them! This saves endless trips to the bin..
A serious stash of water wipes – These are the only wipes we have used and love. Buy in bulk to save pennies..
White noise – YouTube – it’s free!
Gro Egg 2 – This acts a room temperature indicator and night light. Making sure your baby is dressed for the temperature of a room is super important so this gives piece of mind to dress baby accordingly. Someone suggested getting two; one for downstairs and one upstairs, however this is a little excessive and we find just having one upstairs is perfect!
Harper has been bathed in a Shnuggle bath since birth and it lasts up to 1 year – value for money! This makes bath times easier and more fun providing a support and freeing up your hands!
A lot of muslins – Funnily enough, my favourite muslins are from Primark and F&F (Tesco). They are bigger and softer than some of the pricier ones we have! You will be surprised how many of these you go through a day!
Changing mats x2 – Obviously an essential for the amount of nappies you will be changing! Having two of these is a good idea, if you have an upstairs and downstairs.
Bouncer – Our Ingenuity bouncer has been used everyday even since Harper was first born. Harper loves it as she can see what’s going on around her. It also makes interacting with her so much more fun and easier!
Products Not Used
Scratch mitts – These are the kind of things you get bought as a gift or they come in a set, however Harper hasn’t ever worn them. Most sleepsuits/all-in-ones, come with come folded scratch mitts already built in so I just fold these over Harper’s hands at night.
Booties/shoes – Harper is yet to wear any shoes again as most of her outfits fit over her feet or she just wears socks! Not sure if being a July baby, this is a seasonal coincidence. I think after 3 months is a good time to start baby shoe shopping!
Swaddle blankets. Harper didn’t liked being swaddled when I tried. She would be desperate to escape and use her arms so I didn’t persist, although I think it might have been more successful if I’d have tried sooner.
Breastfeeding pillows. I find these just get in the way and harder to get Harper in the right position. I’ve managed to feed Harper perfectly without. In the earlier days, I used to set up ordinary cushions to relieve pressure on my arms.
Things Bought Along The Way
Monitor – We have only just bought this at 11 weeks as Harper is still in our room at night and was sleeping in her Clevamama sleep pod downstairs with me in the day. However, as she’s getting older, she wakes up to noise so now goes in her Next To Me for daytime naps too = monitor needed. We got the Angelcare Monitor which comes with a sensor pad and will detect if there is no movement in 20 seconds = piece of mind whilst you sleep. This was half price when we purchased so £129.99, again why it’s better to wait sometimes and shop for the best deal!
Dummies/pacifiers. We didn’t introduce a dummy until Harper was 4 weeks as she didn’t need one until crying became more established. She was also BF’ing a lot and I didn’t always know what was for comfort or hunger.
Sleeping bags – I have only just purchased these as baby needs to be at least 8lbs or so (not newborn). Now Harper is bigger and it’s getting colder, I got affordable 1.5 and a 2.5 tog sleeping bags from Matalan!
Things Not Needed
Cot bumpers – These serve no purpose apart from maybe making the cot look a bit prettier. They are in fact quite dangerous as I learnt from our antenatel course. You want as much air flow into the crib as possible and these restrict that. The ties can also be very hazardous if they get in the hands of a baby.
Top n tail bowl – An alternative to bathing your baby which you don’t need to do every night when they are so little. It’s a way of keeping water separate however not a necessary item in my opinion!
What are your baby essentials?