Its nearly a year since Effy embarked on her 27hr commute into the world and by this time last year we were in full baby prep/panic mode. We didn’t find out the sex of the baby so we were shopping in the neural aisles and trying to make sense of the ‘baby essentials’ people say you need. To help out fellow first timers, I thought I’d come up with a list. The world seems to love lists, Google baby essentials and you get 72,400,000 results. I’m going to do 5 things that you actually need for the first year and the 5 things that we found to be a complete waste of time. I’m ignoring the obvious things like a house, a pram and nappies because if you are forgetting those things then you should be seeking out professional help not reading my blog:
Stuff you need
1, A bottle brush – obviously if you are breastfeeding then you can maybe skip this one, unless you want to brush your boobs. For bottle feeders, a bottle brush is an absolute essential. Cleaning bottles is an annoying and seemingly never ending job, I hated doing it, and the milk makes the bottles absolutely stink so they need a good scrub. We got this one from boots for £3…….just get one.
2, A chair in the baby’s room – 3am is a lonely time, time seems to stop still and your wide awake baby will not give a toss how tired you are. I know space may be an issue and I’m not suggesting getting rid of the cot, but if you’ve got the space, get a chair and make sure it’s a comfy one. Your likely to spend quite a bit of time on it. If you haven’t got space in the room, you could maybe put in another room or just outside. If you can squeeze one in somewhere then I would, you’ll thank me at 4:30am when you’ve been awake for the past 3hrs.
3, A baby carrier – We didn’t get one until recently but we should’ve had one from the start. I absolutely love it, means I’ve got 2 hands free and we can go places that would be difficult with a pram. We live in the Lake District, so as you can imagine, its not all pram friendly. There are loads of different options and brands. BabyBjorn was recommended by Al Ferguson on the Dad Network and I liked the look of them. I wanted a forward facing option and one that would last, so we ended up getting the BabyBjorn One carrier. A little bit more expensive than some other options but we are more than happy with it.
4, A nappy disposal bin – We bought a lot of crap in preparation for Effy. The one thing we didn’t buy but wished we had, was a nappy disposal bin. In the early days when the volume of poops was frightening and we had more visitors than a knocking shop, piling nappies by the front door wasn’t an ideal system. We obviously used nappy bags and didn’t just fling nappies into the hallway, but taking individual nappies to the outside bin was a pain in the arse. A proper nappy bin will be top of our shopping list for the next baby.
5, Muslin cloths – Not to be confused with a cloth owned by an Islamic follower.It’s basically a cloth that you will use for absolutely everything. Especially in the early ‘sickie’ days, having several hundred cloths, strategically placed around the house will be a life saver. I think in times of desperation, I even used one as a miniature blanket to nap with. Stock pile, you literally can’t have enough.
Crap you don’t:
1, Baby towels – completely pointless, just use a normal towel. I can possibly see the point when they get a bit older and the hood will keep the towel on them when they are walking about. However for last 11 months; we’ve got Effy out of the bath, wrapped a towel around her like baby Jesus and then dried her. Absolutely no use for a hood, it would typically just cover her face and piss her off. A normal towel is also bigger and a lot easier to wrap around.
2, Toiletries – We stocked up on approximately 8 gallons of baby shampoo, 45ltrs of bubble bath and 89pints of moisturising cream. We were then gifted the same again including 9 buckets of Talcum powder. You can read my thoughts on Talc here…..I hate the stuff. Our house was full, we were prepared and we were going to have the cleanest baby ever. In reality we didn’t really need anything for the first few months, Effy was just washed in water. Her skin didn’t drop off and she certainly didn’t stink. She also had about 4 hairs for most of the last year, so to use shampoo would’ve been complete overkill.
One exception to this is Sudocrem, I have absolutely no idea what this stuff is made of but its absolutely brilliant. Back when I had a slightly younger, greasier complexion, I’d use Sudocrem on my spots. I think I read about it in some celebrity magazine (not mine obviously). I’d put it on before I went to bed and wake up with much less angry spots….its genius. I realise I’ve suddenly turned into a beauty blogger…..let’s get back to the baby stuff. For anything nappy rash/skin irritation related it’s the absolute best. They also do a Sudocrem Care & Protect cream now, according to the bottle it’s a nappy rash ointment – designed specifically for babies – that offers triple protection against nappy rash at every nappy change. We love this stuff too, a slightly more changing bag friendly tube and helps to get rid of nappy rash pretty quickly. Little tip, its best to keep the Sudocrem tub out of reach of children, you’ll all have seen the pictures on the internet of toddlers smearing it on TV’s or carpets…..a nightmare to clean off.
3, A monitor with a sensor pad – I debated whether to include this one, as I’m sure a lot of people have found them useful and I’m guessing they have actually helped to save lives. Nevertheless it made me sprint up the stairs like Usain Bolt too many times to not include it. Basically as soon as your baby starts to move around the cot, there will be times that the sensor pad can’t pick up the movement, so the stupidly loud alarm goes off. You think the worst, sprint upstairs only to find a perfectly happy sleeping baby. To stop the alarm repeatedly going off you’ve got 3 options; move the baby, somehow lift the mattress and move the pad or just keep the monitor switched off. Whilst at 9pm, this is annoying and a bit of an inconvenience, at 3am it’s enough to drive you insane or at least to drink.
4, Expensive toys – I’m not saying don’t buy any toys but just be mindful that for the first year most babies are entertained by almost any light, TV remotes and their own sneezes. Spending £80 on an all singing, all dancing, sensory extravaganza is a complete waste of time, they will spend more time trying to eat the box it came in.
5, Baby shoes – I’ve already expressed my hated towards baby shoes in my post 5 baby things I still don’t understand. I hate them so much I’m adding them into this list as well.
Disclosure: There’s a few links in this post to products, these aren’t sponsored or paid for links, I’ve added them in to save you Googling searching yourself….I’m nice like that.
Let me know your baby essentials but also the stuff you’ve thought was pointless.