The baby industry is a booming one full of options. Books, sleep aids, clothes, bedding, toys, storage, nursery decor, travel products, organisers, creams, the list is endless.
I’ll admit to falling into the trap of buying into all the blurb that goes alongside these things and purchasing some pretty rubbish and frankly useless stuff. One that springs to mind is the top and tail bowl. Why did I spend money on this? We have a pile of bowls in the kitchen cupboard and that thing you can fill with water in seconds called the sink.
However now I’m on Bubba Two I’m harder to fool, though I confess to still succumbing to useless stuff when sleep deprived and desperate.
Here’s my fav products that have been brilliant for both my kids:
Aden and Anais muslin swaddles (£44.95)
These come in a range of beautiful patterns that suit boys and girls. It’s so hard to choose between the pretty designs, such as the Disney collection featuring gorgeous illustrations from some of the classic children’s stories. As well as looking lovely these muslins can be used for a whole host of things ; changing mat cover, swaddle, blanket, tummy time blanket, burpy cloth, sun shade and they are brilliant at catching vomit before it can cover your clothes. At £44 for a set of four they are quite pricey but I have definitely got my money’s worth out of them.
Ewan the dream sheep (£29.99)
I bought Ewan in a moment of desperation when Bubba One was stubbornly refusing to settle at night. She didn’t take to it as a sleep prop but did enjoy it as a toy. Bubba Two however did respond really well to Ewan and he’s now used for every nap and bedtime. I fear the day he runs out of batteries on a night when I’m desperate for some evening me time so I keep a huge stash of batteries just in case.
Grobag (from £14.99)
Trying to keep blankets on a baby is as futile as trying to put leggings on an octopus. No chance. Baby sleeping bags keep baby snug all night and they have no chance of wriggling out. Toddlers are a different matter however and my eldest now extracts herself from her bag with no difficulty. They come in a range of tog ratings so you can get the right bag for summer or winter. Grobag is my favourite make and they have some lovely designs, however most supermarkets and department stores do their own range as well. Grobag also include a thermometer with the bags to guide you on what baby should wear inside the bag so they don’t get too hot/cold.
Storksak Bobby changing bag in black (£99)
There are loads of changing bags on the market and I spent ages mulling over my choice (least of my worries, right?!). The black storksak bag is subtle enough that hubby doesn’t feel uncomfortable carrying it around and could be mistaken for a regular handbag. It came with a smaller insulated bottle bag which I now use for our packed lunch when out and about. It’s just big enough for sandwiches and a couple of pots of fruit. It also has Velcro travel straps to attach the bag to your buggy when on the go.
Oxo Tot food freezer tray (£5.11) and Beaba 150ml multi portion food pod (£15)
Weaning was made so much easier for me by batch cooking. It meant I could pull something out the freezer in a perfect portion size and have it ready in minutes. Healthy, home cooked food ready to go. The Oxo Tot tray has much smaller sections (15ml) than the Beaba. I find the Oxo good for portions of veg and fruit purees to be combined with rice/pasta/potato/yoghurt while the Beaba is good for full all-in-one meals.
Philips Avent Digital Dual Purpose Bath and Room thermometer (£19)
When we first started bathing Bubba One we didn’t have a clue what the ideal baby bath temperature should feel like. This sounds so so dumb I realise, but I always go for hot baths, too hot for a baby so I just didn’t have a concept of what not too warm not too cold feels like. This takes the guessing out of it and gives a quick and accurate reading of the water while running the bath. It also gives you the room temperature which can be handy when deciding how to dress baby for the night.
Serephine nursing shawl (£42)
I love love love Seraphine clothes. I succumbed to buying lots of their dresses and tops during pregnancy. They are so gorgeous and I got tons of compliments for them. Their goodies are as practical as they are stylish and my best example of this is my nursing scarf. I got it in brown but it comes in a range of gorgeous colours. During both pregnancies I wore it as a scarf or poncho. Then once my babies were born it doubled as a cover up during breastfeeding. It has poppers that mean you can convert it to the poncho mode so there’s no worries about it slipping and it’s so quick and easy to swap uses. It folds up pretty small too so it’s easy to chuck in your bag when out and about. It’s one of those great products that you can use when on a rare day off from the kids too as it just looks like a grown up scarf.
Tiny Love bouncy chair (£49.99)
This comes with a crab that plays music and has colourful light up shapes plus a few small toys to dangle from the loops on the two moveable side bars. It’s been a lifesaver with both my kids. An easily moveable seat that keeps them quiet for a while when I’m catching up on stuff. Bubba Two used to nod off in it too for some of her naps.
Motorola MBP18 baby monitor (£48)
There’s so many monitors to choose from and we really struggled with picking one for our first. There are sound only, video and sound, pressure monitors that sound an alert if baby stops breathing (argh!) and models that play lullabies and white noise while projecting stars on the ceiling. My mum suggested we get sound only as we would get too obsessed if we had a picture one. However on balance we decided to get a video monitor. The amount you can spend on this varies hugely as you can get cameras that pan all around the nursery and zoom in. In the end we went for a pretty simply model and I’m so glad we did. It’s been brilliant. We found we really didn’t need any of the fancy features. We now use it for our second baby.
Medela Swing breast pump (£89.99)
I got my money’s worth on this pump with Bubba One when I exclusively pumped for the first few months. This pump is so easy to use and really efficient. All the pump parts are easy to wash and sterilise. Medela also do a very wide range of additional products to store breast milk and for bottle feeding. It’s small enough to pop in your bag too if you have to pump on the go as I did at a wedding the other week!
Baby Nails hands free nail files (£7.49)
I used nail clippers with Bubba One but Bubba Two is such a fidget resulting in numerous heart-stopping near-misses that I decided to stop using them and buy some files. The Baby Nails Hands Free kit comes with a ‘ thumble’ that you stick a nail file then pop on your thumb. All you have to do after that is hold baby however you feel comfortable and file away. Quick and easy plus no risk of catching their tiny fingers.
My number one baby product by far. For me it has to be Pampers wipes with the plastic lids as I find the sticker lids come loose and then stop sticking back into place. I use these for everything! Cleaning the floor, windows, bathroom, kitchen, cat flap and high chair, dusting, wiping down the kids after meals, wiping my own sticky hands while out and getting marks off clothes. I have packs stashed in the car, every room, every bag, every buggy (we have ended up with three somehow!) and even at grandparents’ homes just in case.
Oh and one more thing. Chocolate. Lots and lots of chocolate. And wine. And Prosecco. And ice cream. All of these are essential too so add them to your baby wish list!
What are your baby essentials?