10 things I couldn’t live without when I had my babies
1. Smart phone
Seriously. There are many instances when the company of your smart phone will keep you sane. Feeding time being the number one! The countless hours spent feeding, stuck on the sofa just out of reach of the remote, or alone in the middle of the night – your phone will stop your brain from putrefying to mush from boredom! Keep it to hand; never let it out of your sight.
2. A sling
Babies seem to like being cuddled - a lot! I trialed a number of different makes and styles before finally settling on a sturdy sling for outdoor walks and a lighter, simpler version for wearing around the house. I found them at second hand markets which are an excellent place to pick up almost-new baby items, but you can also borrow slings from the NCT’s sling library before committing to buy.
3. Muslins and wipes
You can NEVER have enough muslins and wipes. Literally. Babies produce ‘stuff’ all the time. Vom, dribble, wee, poo; you name it, it comes out of them. Have a pile of muzzys next to you at all times and ensure every room in your house has a stash of wipes to cater for every eventuality. Have at least two packs in the change bag you take out with you – just in case.
NB: Beware the ones that say flushable – most of them aren’t actually biodegradable and end up in the sea, so please, always dispose of them in the bin.
4. A dummy
Some people do, some don’t. I definitely started out in the ‘don’t’ camp, until about two weeks into parenthood when I had spent approximately 1 week, 6 days and 23 hours with a baby plugged onto my boobs. It became clear he was using me…. Despite the disapproval of my parents and grandparents, and my own feeling of failure, I employed a dummy and life changed dramatically for the better. It turns out, dummies aren’t the devils work after all.
5. Bouncer seat, door bouncer and a-frame bouncer (I needed all three!)
I had a baby that liked to be upright. Before he could sit up, lying on his back was torture for him. So I discovered that if he could see what was going on he was much happier. There are loads of very expensive, electronic, all singing (literally) and dancing bouncer seats out there, but I found that the most basic ones were fine for my little one. One that adjusted the angle of recline was useful later on, as it doubled up as a feeding chair during the delights of the weaning stage. The one I found best for many reasons, not least because it folded up completely flat when not in use, was the Baby Bjorn bouncer with removable covers for very easy washing.
Lindam do a very reliable door bouncer, but you do have to have door frames to hang it from. Note: who knew not all doors have frames.
For a portable a-frame bouncer, I was lucky enough to be gifted the Jolly Jumper with stand which meant that wherever we happened to be, I could set this up for a more peaceful life!
6. Knowing the reason all baby grows have that funny neckline….
Sadly, I didn’t know the reason for this until many a poonami had occurred and I had removed the baby grow in the direction from whence it went on. Poor baby. So, if you are in the dark and would like to know, here it is. The reason for the weird neck line is……drum roll please…..so that you can take the poo soaked baby grow off DOWN the baby’s body, thus avoiding dragging excrement encrusted baby grow over your poor baby’s head. Ta da….you’re welcome.
7. Feeding pillow
If you have even the sniff of a bad back, or aching shoulders or if you’re just normal in any way, you will find that months and months of feeding you baby (via boob or bottle), holding them in your arms, takes a huge toll on your back, neck, in fact your whole body. I found a feeding pillow was just the simplest solution to make life much more comfortable during the many, many (many) hours of breast feeding I endured/enjoyed. As your baby gets a bit older and starts to sit up, the pillow can also double up as a useful safety apparatus to put around your baby in case of any ‘tip-overs’.
8. Napisan and a bucket (or two)
There are many, many stain removal products on the market. You may (or may not) become intimately involved with one or two once you start a family! There is only one for me. Napisan. Get it from your local supermarket. Job done.
9. Bath chair/support
Don’t bulk up your house with a baby bath. Just get a nice cheap bath support that you can put in the bottom of your existing bath. A tenner from Mothercare: sorted. These toweling covered ones are great and easily washable. Whilst you’re at it, also get a foam kneeler. You can thank me later.
10. Antenatal/Mums group (NCT etc)
The absolute BEST thing I ever did was sign up to an antenatal course. This was not because of the useful information about birth or because they tell you how to tell the difference between a braxton hicks and a real contraction. But because, and VERY importantly, of the amazing friends I made. Hands down, becoming a parent is one of the most unexpectedly difficult and life altering experiences I have ever had - and being able to share it with a group of amazing ladies all going through it at the same time has been a life saver. I cannot recommend it enough.