When I was pregnant with my first child, I felt overwhelmed by the amount of “must have items” for our new baby. One step into Mothercare and the aisles were crammed with everything a baby could possibly need. From pregnancy, to labour, to the brand new baby….where do you start?
Back then I was an advertiser’s dream. I bought anything and everything that my little one would could possibly need. By my third child, I knew exactly what I would and wouldn’t be using.
Obviously there are the absolute basics, clothes, nappies, a pram etc. What I’m listing below are items we personally found to be lifesavers that won’t necessarily be on the baby basics lists you’ll find elsewhere.
1. Bambeano Baby Beanbag
The Bambeano baby beanbag was recommended to us by a friend who raved about how great it was. We bought one and were not disappointed!
They come in a variety of colours and we chose the red one. The covers are removable and washable – thankfully!
For the first few weeks the Bambeano was the only place we could get Ben to sleep during the day. Plus he could be fastened in so we knew he was safe!
You can easily rearrange the inner beans to make it comfortable for your little one. We would flatten it when we wanted him to sleep or make it slightly more raised when he wanted to have a look about.
When you order one you get a free beanbag cover, so when your baby outgrows the baby version, you can transfer the beans into the new one so it can last them until they are around 5 years old.
2. Sleepytot Comforter
The Sleepytot has become THE baby item that I will recommend to anyone who will listen. We first came across them when my son was a baby and since then we have had 3 versions of the little rabbit. Two for my son and one for his younger sister. Ben is 6 now and still goes to sleep with the original!
So what makes this bunny so special? It has velcro on its paws. Doesn’t sound earth shattering I know, but the beauty lies in the simplicity of it. The velcro on each paw means it can hold onto a dummy, the side of the cot, pram straps etc. It’s genius.
We bought it to attach a dummy onto, to make it easier to find when my son would lose it in the night. He would fall asleep cuddling it so if he needed his dummy at 2am it was easy for use to find because he would have the bunny right there next to him. Eventually when he was a bit older, he could find it himself and pop it back in his mouth without needing a bleary eyed Mummy or Daddy to come to the rescue.
When the time came to ditch the dummy, it was a relatively pain free experience thanks to the Sleepytot. My son had grown so attached to the bunny, he wasn’t too bothered that his dummy was gone. I remember him lying in his cot looking at each paw in puzzlement, wondering where his dummy had gone but he didn’t ask for it once. A miracle!
I’d recommend the Sleepytot to anyone, whether their baby uses a pacifier or not. It’s gorgeous just as a comforter and the velcro stops it being thrown out of the pram and getting lost. It can even be attached to the front of the trolley when they’re sat in the toddler seat knowing it’s not going to go missing. The stomach on the bunny is padded and so can be used to pop under baby’s head when they’re being changed on an uncomfortable changing table.
3. Extra large muslin squares
Every list recommends stocking up on the regular small sized muslin squares. Listen to them! You can use them for spit ups, burping clothes etc and you’ll go through loads of them.
My tip is to buy the extra large ones too. They’re wonderful! Don’t bother buying swaddle blankets, or swaddle pods, use these instead! My daughter in particular loved being swaddled when she was a newborn. It was the only way she would sleep.
They can be used as a modesty protector when breastfeeding, you can lie your baby on one when you’re out and about and don’t have a changing mat to hand. Use them in place of a blanket when it’s warm. Theres’s so many uses for them.
4. Baby sleeping bags
Save yourself the hassle of messing around with sheets, cellar blankets, fleece blankets etc, and get some baby sleeping bags. They do them suitable for newborns right up to toddler age. They do them in a variety of togs so you don’t have to worry about your baby overheating.
Mine went straight from swaddling into a sleeping bag and I think they felt so much more secure that it was the only way they would sleep. They can’t kick it off like they can with covers, so they shouldn’t be waking up cold in the night.
It doesn’t matter so much about the brand or colour, just get one that vibrates! My eldest hated lying down and so this was a godsend when I just needed to get something done. He would love kicking his legs and making the dangly toys move. I could strap him in and he’d happily bounce away while he watched me make tea.
When he started to get tired of doing all the hard work himself, I could put the vibrate mode on (and the lullabies) and with any luck he would fall asleep. I had much more luck getting him to sleep in there than I did with his cot!
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