Now we’re expecting another baby, I’ve been thinking about the things that helped so much in the early days; products we discovered by accident, or that were recommended by friends, that aren’t necessarily the most obvious. There’s also a wealth of innovative new products that I’m excited to try for the first time with our new baby.
I would’ve loved, loved, loved one of these when we first had Henry. Instead, we had the equally gorgeous Apples and Pears Moses Basket from Mothercare, and couldn’t possibly justify buying another. Henry was born by emergency caesarean, and even in my exhausted, drug-addled state I was immensely grateful when a kind midwife clipped a similar crib to the side of my hospital bed. I was still numb from the waist down and had a catheter, so when Henry cried or needed feeding, I could easily scoop him into bed with me and take care of him. Back home, Henry was snug in his little crib, but it would’ve been so much easier not getting out of bed, sore with stitches, every time he needed me. In fact, shortly afterwards we began co-sleeping, and still do today. We’re planning to co-sleep with our new baby, and the SnuzPod means he or she will sleep safely, right next to me, in the first months. The Bednest is lovely too, and is available to rent as well as buy.
We bought the Gro Egg Room Thermometer before Henry was born, and I’ve bought others for friends since then. The Gro Company is committed to safer sleep practices. The Gro Egg acts as a night light, and also lets you know at a glance if the room is the right temperature. We also have the Percy the Penguin shell.
Whilst I can’t argue that this is an essential item (how hard is it, after all, to bag up a dirty nappy and drop it in a bin?) it is good to know you can dispose of nappies with one hand (!) safely and hygienically, without any lingering smells. AND, it is currently only £5.00 at Amazon.
Every new mama knows that muslins are an essential buy. They are perfect as a soft blanket, covering up whilst breastfeeding, throwing over your shoulder after feeding as a burp cloth, or lining a cold changing mat (genius tip from my sister). aden + anais were made famous when Prince George was debuted to the world wrapped in one of the company’s Jungle Jam swaddles, and the brand is also loved by Jools Oliver, Jessica Alba and Sienna Miller. They’re natural, soft, and hardwearing. I’m lusting after these Twinkle Muslin Squares.
Henry was a terrible sleeper. He didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months, and woke up every hour and a half for over a year. I didn’t mind really, as I figured that he woke because he needed me for something – milk, comfort, cuddles – but I literally felt as though I was going insane from lack of sleep. We didn’t want to try sleep training (it just wasn’t for us) and felt pretty limited in terms of other options. One day, my partner came home with this genius invention. It is basically a white noise machine with two settings, that’s it, but the sound is really comforting, and also helps to block out other noises (traffic, neighbours, noise from other rooms in the house etc.). It definitely helped Henry to settle quicker, and wake less. It has been well documented that young babies respond to ‘white noise’, as it is said to replicate the sounds babies heard in the womb. We still use it to this day, and I don’t think any of us would get to sleep as easily if we didn’t have it in our room.
Not all baby baths are created equal. The bath has a built-in support seat and soft foam headrest, so Henry was completely supported and happy. And was so grateful of the stand after my caesarean, as it was so much easier to lift Henry out of the bath without having to crouch and bend.
I had to start work shortly after having Henry. I was lucky that he could stay with me, and my friend Marie recommended I buy a sling, so that I could move around easily and have my hands free. I bought the Moby Wrap, reasoning that the soft fabric would be best after a c-section. The wrap arrived, and is basically an enormous length of fabric. I had no idea what to do with it until another friend showed me how to fold, drape and tie the wrap. It is so easy once you get the hang of it, there isn’t any awkward or uncomfortable clips or buttons, and Henry and I loved using it. I personally hated pulling out his buggy and all the assorted paraphernalia, so tended to pop Henry in my Moby Wrap, grab the changing bag and go. I loved having him so close to me, and in fact we hardly used his buggy. We used this until Henry was around 18 months. I’m looking forward to using it again, and plan to try breastfeeding whilst using the sling. The Moby Wrap really suited me, and my partner liked the BABYBJORN and Ergo Baby carriers.
At home we use the Stokke Tripp Trapp (it is pricey but brilliant) but this clip-on highchair was great when we were travelling. It clips directly on to the table really securely, and takes up hardly any room.
Henry started teething when he was only four months, and it was horrible to see him in so much pain. I’ve never been comfortable giving him traditional medicine, and was pleased when my health visitor recommended this homeopathic alternative. They’re completely cheap and easily available from chemists. I would just pick up the powder with a slightly damp finger and rub it on his gums, and it really eased his suffering.
We took a family holiday to France when Henry was very small. I had a chest infection and Henry was teething terribly, so it really wasn’t the most fun trip. I’d heard about these amber teething necklaces before, and we spotted lots of babies wearing them during our holiday. They’re hugely popular in France and are readily available in pharmacies. Back in England I ordered one of these from Amazon and, although I have absolutely no idea how, it did seem to make a difference, and Henry still wears it today. Which leads me on to…
…this silicone teething necklace! I just know Henry would’ve loved this when he was very small. I tended not to wear jewellery when he was a baby (I stopped after he broke my Alex Monroe Baby Bee necklace TWICE!), but he would’ve loved touching this BPA free necklace whilst breastfeeding, and chewing on the beads to ease sore gums. I also think it would be a lovely statement necklace to wear with a white t-shirt during pregnancy.
Disgusting, but necessary. Henry caught a cold when he was just two weeks old, and too young for any conventional medicine, and this was followed by bronchiolitis when he was four months. There’s lots you can do, from squirting breast milk up your baby’s nose (I have a friend who recommends breast milk as a cure for everything) to turning the shower on and holding your baby in the steamy bathroom. Baby sniffles are so distressing, especially when he or she is trying to feed, so I’ll definitely be buying one of these before our new baby arrives. I also really like Snufflebabe’s Vapour Rub, which is safe to use from 3 months.
Another great product from The Gro Company, Grobags can be used from newborn to 10 years, and are a safe and comfortable alternative to sheets and blankets. Plus, babies look so cute and cuddly in them! We found Henry tends to sleep better in a sleeping bag as he doesn’t kick his covers off and wake up because he’s cold. The Little White Company and JoJo Maman Baby also have a gorgeous range of sleeping bags.
This was recommended to me by so many mums, and is a great way to keep your baby occupied safely for short spells. One thing – it is really worth videoing your baby the first time he or she uses it!
What baby products would you recommend, or consider essential? Now that we’re expecting again I’d love to know!