(If you’re not expecting and reading this, here are some great gifts for family members or friends who are)
Expecting a baby whether it’s your first or third is a wonderful experience but it can also be a stressful one. Planning ahead can make things a little easier but from my experience I found that by ‘winging it’ and improvising along the way yields near enough the same results so why add on the extra stress? It’s a bit harder to not stress when it’s your first baby – I remember when I was pregnant with LO I made plans and notes constantly. 1) because of baby brain, I could hardly remember anything and needed constant reminders and 2) I became a little OCD with planning because at the time it felt like it was making a difference and made me feel more in control of my pregnancy.
If you’re a mum to be, you can use this post as a starting point for your wishlist… gifts are what baby showers or baby sprinkles (mini showers for 2nd, 3rd babies) are for! Don’t be shy ladies, everyone who has children knows how hard and expensive raising a child/children can be and we all need a little help from time to time and showers are the time they should be accepted without arguments. Just don’t go crazy and extravagant with your wishlist or your guests may not turn up! 🙂
I decided to split this list into 5 products for baby and 5 for the expecting parent because gifts aren’t always for bubba, they’re also for the new mum. (sorry Dads-to-be!)
Without further ado, here are my top 10 products to buy when expecting a baby.
1. A car seat
This one is really a no-brainer. The hospital won’t let you leave without one whether you drive home or not. When I went into labour with Baby Girl, it was sudden and I didn’t have anything with me – no hospital bag, no baby car seat, nothing. Daddy P had to pop back home after I gave birth to bring all my stuff and I wasn’t allowed to be discharged until the car seat came. Buying a car seat can be a little bit confusing with all the different groups; when it comes to newborns, you’ll just need a group 0 or 0+ car seat which is suitable for newborns and babies up to 13kg. Group 0 and 0+ car seats should always be placed rear-facing and never on seats that have airbags fitted.
My favourite is the Maxi Cosi Pebble 0 Plus which has a lovely newborn headrest and cradles the baby snugly. Lots of travel-system friendly prams and pushchairs are compatible with them. Make sure you check which car seat brand is compatible with your pram as some brands can only be fitted with their own brand.
2. A Moses basket
I know a Moses basket may not be on top of everyone’s list as some people may prefer a cot or a crib instead but I think a cheap little basket makes a great little home for baby’s first few months. I bought one for LO very similar to this Clair de Lune Starburst Palm one. For around £50, it was cheap and cheerful. The advantage of a Moses basket vs a cot or crib is that it’s portable and you can bring it with you from room to room with ease. It’s very light but very sturdy. If you don’t want the basket to be placed on the floor, you can purchase a stand for it, there are rocking ones and non-rocking ones.
3. Cellular blankets
I love cellular blankets. They’re great for layering, keep baby warm but are still breathable. Newborn babies can’t regulate their own body temperature which is why these blankets are recommended for newborns. Try to avoid using fleeced blankets and quilts in your baby’s cot/crib/moses basket if they’re under 12 months. These Clair de Lune cellular blankets come in a range of colours so you’re not limited to just pink and blue. Also they’re suitable for covering baby when out and about in the pram.
Sleeping bags are another great option. They’re very convenient but be aware of the sizing and tog ratings. 1.0 is a cooler bag than 1.5 which is heavier. Most sleeping bags are suitable for newborns however the baby must weigh at least 8lbs (3.6kg) before using and their arms and head shouldn’t be able to slide inside the bag when zipped for safety reasons.
Just start off with cellular blankies… less hassle. 🙂
4. Muslin Blankets
I only discovered muslin blankets with Baby Girl. I don’t know why they never occurred to me with LO as I used to buy muslin cloths for him all the time. Maybe I just never looked properly for them as I probably thought they were the same thing. They are but the muslin blankets are way bigger and softer. Iinstantly fell in love with the first set of muslin blankets I bought. As they get washed, they get softer – it’s amazing! Similar to cellular blankets, muslin blankets are made from 100% cotton very lightweight, breathable and are great to layer with. I use Baby Girl’s muslin blanket for everything from sleeping with it to wiping up her sick with… obvs not the same one! The blankets are big enough to swaddle a newborn with so if you’re keen on swaddling your little one, make sure you got these blankets on your wishlist. These Summer Infant SwaddleMe muslin blankets come in packs of three and there’s a few colours/patterns to choose from.
5. Baby Bottles
If you’re planning on combi-feeding (offering baby both breast and bottle for formula or expressed milk), formula feeding or expressing only you will need some bottles. There’s hundreds of different bottles out there that do different things and I think the trick is to find a bottle that works for you and your baby. Baby Girl had colic and loads of people recommended Dr. Brown bottles to me but she was fine on Avent bottles so I stuck with those. I’ve also used MAM, Nuby, Medela and Tommee Tippee and have to say that the Tommee Tippee ones are my personal favourite as they’re closest to my nipple shape/size. Baby Girl was breastfed exclusively before I started to combi-feed so she liked bottles that were similar to my nipps.
The Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature Newborn starter set is a great buy of you’re planning on bottle feeding as you save more money buying bottles in bulk.
For the new mum:
6. Nipple cream
If you are planning to breastfeed, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND buying this nipple cream.. actually any nipple cream to be honest, just make sure for the love of God you have some. A baby’s suction is incredibly strong and those scare stories you hear of cracked, sore nipples are true. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you – breastfeeding hurts like hell the first few days so you end up having two options; carry on, apply sh**loads of nipple cream and persevere… by day 5 it’ll become much more bearable. Or give your nipples a break and either supplement with formula or express to give your boobies a break but still apply nipple cream. When they start to feel better, breastfeed again as normal.
I’ve only ever used Lansinoh nipple cream but swear by it. Always apply generous amounts, there’s loads of it (I’ve never finished the whole tube) and because it’s 100% lanolin and natural you don’t need to wipe it away or remove it before feeding. It’s okay if baby ends up sucking some of it off your boob.
7. A nursing pillow
If there is one product that I could ask for when pregnant… it would be this. It’s something that is suitable for the mother-to-be and for the baby. I bought my first one when I was pregnant with LO. I used it between my legs to relieve pressure when I was in my third trimester, I used it as a neck pillow to sleep on when I was pregnant with Baby Girl, I used it to prop my bubbas up when feeding them with breast or bottle and LO used it as a sitting aid when he first learnt how to sit. I also used it for the kids when encouraging tummy time. See how versatile it is?! Trust me, any mother-to-be will thank you for giving her this lovely thing. It’s super comfy, the cover zips off easily to be washed and the pillow retains it shape very well.
This PHP nursing pillow is the best one I’ve had. I had a different brand for Baby Girl and it’s a little deflated. I also bought one for a friend’s baby shower and she was loving it during her pregnancy and now her little girl is enjoying it too.
8. A changing bag
A changing bag is a must-have accessory for all new mums. It’s slightly larger than your standard bag and has hand compartments to store your baby bottles, wipes, nappies and spare clothes. I really love this cream My Babiie changing bag by Billie Faiers. It’s really cute, has lots of handy pockets and comes complete with a bottle warmer and a changing mat. If you don’t fancy getting a changing bag, a large zipped bag will be the best option such as a Longchamp shopper bag as it’s waterproof, made from an easy-cleaning material and is spacious enough to store all baby’s things.
9. A baby carrier
When I first had LO, I tried to use a bassinet with my pram but he didn’t like laying flat so I resorted to just using the pram as a travel system and had him in the car seat until he was around 4-5 months when he started to fit the pram seat a bit better. As it’s not ideal to have babies sleeping in a car seat for long periods of time I decided to purchase a baby carrier which made everything easier. I eventually gave that carrier away to my neighbour who just had her baby so when I was pregnant with Baby Girl I knew I wanted another one. I always liked the idea of a baby sling or a wrap but as I’m quite short (just 5ft”) one disadvantage of a wrap is the long amount of material left over after wrapping baby. That’s when I discovered the Baby K’Tan carrier which is like a hybrid between a sling and wrap. The numerous positions it allows baby to be in was also another attractive feature.
Conventional baby carriers require newborns to be at least 8lbs before use whereas a sling or a wrap does not. Baby Girl weighed 6lbs at birth so the Baby K’Tan was a superb investment for us. It allowed me to be more hands-free, baby was always close to my body, and the carrier was easy to put on and take off without having the worry of wrapping it wrong.
Here’s a tip when it comes to choosing the size that’s right for you. Whatever your clothes size is, choose the carrier that is one size down. This is because the carrier fabric will eventually stretch and it will loosen up. Don’t worry, throwing it into the wash helps yo shrink it again, it’s so easy to maintain. The carrier also comes in various colours, has a handy secondary wrap that converts into a neat little bag and a instructions booklet so you can use your carrier safely.
10. Buggy Organiser
Mamas & Papas Urbo is the tiny basket area. I try not to load up my pram too much when I’m shopping because bags attached to a parked pram on a moving bus can topple over when the bus turns corners (it’s happened to me before) so I only ever pack light and instead of buggy clips I use a simple buggy organiser. I use my Diono Buggy Buddy to store Baby Girl’s bottle, my water bottle, my keys in the concealed zip area, my purse and other random bits in. It’s really handy because I don’t have to keep bending down to take things out of under the basket area. My Urbo has a bar handle and the Diono Buggy Buddy stays in place quite well but it does slide down one side of the bar every now and then. If your pram has two handles, there’s no chance of the organiser shifting about anywhere. It has some seriously strong velcro straps, no amount of tugging can cause it to fall off trust me! (It’s double wrapped around the handle.) Happy days!
And there you have it!
My top ten recommended products for any new mum or mum-to-be. January sales are here now so check out Kiddicare because they’re sure to have massive sales on. They’re also my fave online place to buy baby things and is competitively priced. It’s also the cheapest place I found my Baby K’Tan carrier and they have next day delivery!
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