If you’re a new parent, or a parent-to-be, congratulations! You’ve graduated to the most trying period in your life, where you’ll spend more time picking boogers out of your child’s nose than you will having an adult conversation.
So, with that in mind, here are 7 baby things you didn’t know you needed, because hindsight’s a wonderful thing.
- Sleeping bags – When your little one is fresh out, they really don’t do much. Bundling them up in blankets and swaddling is pretty easy, so you figure you’ve got this covered (you’ll get used to my pun addiction soon enough). Then one day they realise they can move those podgy little arms and legs, and before you know it, they’re an escape artist. No blanket is too tight, no swaddle too snuggly. And you spend half the night just trying to cover them back up, especially in those winter months. Then one day you stumble across sleeping bags for babies, and you have a mental breakdown in the middle of Mothercare because you realise you’ve been doing it all wrong.
- Vaseline – Forget Sudocrem, when that baby first comes out of you, those poos are the worst. Coating your baby’s bottom in Vaseline at nappy changes helps prevent it from firmly sticking to their bottom, and make your job just a little easier.
- Pre-Sterilised and ready to go bottles – If you give birth in a hospital, and are bottle feeding, you’ll no doubt be given these. The disposable bottles are already sterilised, as well as the milk, so all you have to do is open up the teat and attach to the bottle. Seeing as your little one could be wanting to feed every 30 minutes to 3 hours, these things are a lifesaver if you’ve got some waiting at home because they literally take seconds to make. For the first 2 weeks, Baby Mystery would wake up every 40 minutes for a feed, and, being sleep deprived, bumbling idiots, these things helped us keep the last of our sanity. They’re pricey, but worth it – think of them as a necessity!
- Dooky – Prams are pretty useful, but a lot of them seem to be a bit useless when it comes to the hood shielding your mini me from the sun. Many parents resort to draping a muslin cloth over the pram to get the worst of it off, but with them being so thin they often get blown away. You can buy clips to keep the muslin in place, but they aren’t very effective. I chose to invest in a Dooky, which not only proved invaluable for my pram, but the car seat too. It has multiple clips that you attach to the hood of either your seat or pram, which keeps it firmly in place and gives good coverage. Also, it has additional ties at the bottom, to stop it from blowing up with the wind. These can also be tied up on your handle bar, to not only keep the sun off, but keep air circulating. It’s not a necessity, but it does make your life easier.
- Pram Storage – It happened to me one sunny afternoon – my fiancé had driven to work with the main pushchair in his car boot, and I was left with the backup pram – a Maclaren. Maclarens are awesome, don’t get me wrong, but when your little one is tiny and needs it lying down, or they’ve fallen asleep, you have no hope in hell of getting into that basket. Say hello to awkwardly clutching your purchases to your chest once you realise this at your local Tesco Express checkout, with everyone behind you tutting and rolling their eyes. Get pram storage – it can’t hurt. Worst case you finally have somewhere to store your coffee as you stumble about in a daze.
- Maternity pillow – If you haven’t needed a maternity pillow until now – damn you. No, but seriously, it’s pretty useful – not just for helping you sleep at night when pregnant, but also for when baby arrives as it makes the best nursing pillow (and it’s cheaper than buying a pillow specifically for that). Whether you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding, it’s perfect for tucking under your elbow for added support, and to prevent muscle ache as you hold your little bundle of adorable dead weight.
- Delta Baby Travel Bag and Carrycot – Don’t bother with a changing bag – get this instead. Now I never actually got one of these, but by god I wish I had. It’s a bit too late for me now to sink that kind of money into something Baby Mystery is in the process of growing out of, but at least I can help some of you out by letting you know about this amazing product. So, one of the most awkward things I found out about being a parent intent on continuing their social life was that, after Baby Mystery had outgrown sleeping in his car seat and wanted to lie down flat, there was nowhere to lie him down. Just short of bringing in a muddy pushchair into the houses of my friends and family (rolling it all over their lovely beige carpets) I had to make do with clutching my “non-cuddly” baby to my chest as he cried himself to sleep. Having one of these would have been a lifesaver!
Is there anything I missed? Do you have any weird but useful items that made life with a baby that bit easier? Let me know in the comments!