When you’re riding the high of impending motherhood, it’s easy to get a bit carried away.
Visiting the shops to look at baby gear becomes a weekly outing as you decide what buggy, car seat, crib and clothes you’re going to pick out.
The baby business is a big one. There are some totally amazing products out there that I wouldn’t be without, in fact I’ve written a list of my favourite baby gear so do check that out.
However I’ve made some mistakes. I’ve been sold to and it’s frustrating.
So I’m going to pass on some friendly advice from what I’ve learned with my two kids. Avoiding these could save you hundreds of pounds.
1. Follow-on milk
Invented by formula companies so that they could get around the advertising rules regarding breast milk, there is absolutely no reason or need to give it to your baby at all.
Formula companies are not allowed to advertise their first infant milk, as there’s all sorts of hoo ha about this discouraging breastfeeding. This rule in itself is extremely irritating.
Anyway, the follow-on milk is marketed for six months plus, but your baby can still continue to drink breast milk or the first infant formula until one year when they switch to cow’s milk.
Don’t fall for the Don Draper Mad Men bulls**t.
2. Baby Bath
I bought a baby bath for myself and we used it for about 10 weeks. Get an Angelcare bath seat, they’re way more practical and so handy when you’re bathing two small children.
3. Top and tail bowl
These are used to dip cotton wool or a flannel into to give baby a brief wash rather than a full-on dunking. This is good for the early weeks when your baby doesn’t need loads of baths and it can actually dry out their skin.
It’s a bowl – don’t be conned into forking out £5 for it. Just use one of your bowls from the kitchen.
4. Teething rings
These plastic chewy rings were used by us for about two days with our first baby and then ditched.
These go in the fridge to cool them down so that they soothe the gums that extra bit more. They’re filled with a liquid that’s meant to retain the cold.
Trouble is they are so bit that once they have been in your baby’s sweaty hands being dribbled over with warm spit they don’t stay cold for long at all.
I’ve seen recipes for breast milk ice lollies and similar things to soothe gums. That’s on my list to try, sounds like a more realistic option. Sophie la Giraffe is also excellent.
If you’ve made the decision to and are able to breastfeed for the first six months the advice from the NHS now is to get your baby onto a cup from six months.
So if you’re introducing formula or expressed milk at that time, as well as water with meals, go for a sippy cup. Apparently no valve is best, although they can make a hell of a mess without it!
6. Endless piles of newborn clothes
I know they look so cute you might go pop. But, they grow out of the newborn clothes so quickly it’s ridiculous!
Go for 0-3 months if you absolutely cannot resist splurging on cute stuff.
Don’t forget you are likely to be inundated with baby clothes as gifts once the little one has arrived.
7. Breastfeeding support cushion
I’ve been using mine as a pillow to sleep on on the sofa bed in my youngest daughter’s bedroom for the last eight months.
They’re just not comfortable to use. I tried and tried to get the positioning right but it just got in the way. They cost a lot, so just save your money and try an actual pillow from your bed instead.
8. Crib bedding set
You won’t need the quilt, ever, and it will sit on the back of a chair until it annoys you by falling off one too many times and you box it up or donate it.
Cot bumpers aren’t particularly safe and actually banned in some countries. Yes my kids bang their heads in bed sometimes, but they have surprisingly hard heads and it almost never wakes them up.
Baby pillows are pointless too as they’re not recommended for newborns and your kid will soon be rolling all over the bed so much that they won’t be anywhere near the pillow by morning.
Buy some nice fitted sheets and baby sleeping bags, these are brilliant!
9. Socks and shoes
Socks will not stay on. You’ll try Sock-Ons, which are meant to hold the sock in place, and they still just won’t stay on.
Solution? Don’t bother, put your baby in onesies until their feet fill out a bit!
As for shoes, these are obviously for decoration only. You won’t care about the baby Nikes when you’re on your fifth night in a row of no sleep. Save your pennies.
10. A shelf full of baby books
Treat yourself to one as they can be a useful frame of reference, don’t buy dozens of them.
I liked What To Expect in the First Year as it had milestones as well as practical care and first aid advice.
There’s so much information exchanged on the internet as well that you’re better off saving your money.
The truth is if anyone really knew the secret to getting a baby to sleep through the night, all babies would be sleeping through the night.
Do you have any disappointing baby products that you wish you hadn’t bothered to buy? I would love to hear your suggestions to add to the list!