I always find it so interesting to read people’s lists of what they did and didn’t find useful when their baby arrived, but as I may not have time to blog about what’s great and what’s not once he is here, I thought I would start by sharing what we HAVE bought. Feel free to leave suggestions of things we have missed off the list in the comments.
Also just to say this has turned into an absolute mammoth of a post! I basically have included everything under the sun, so maybe get a cuppa and a biscuit…
The big stuff
Travel system. We went for a second hand iCandy Strawberry 2, for a few reasons. We wanted a carrycot that baby can sleep in overnight, even though chances are our baby will hate it now we have made the effort to get one, but still it’s worth a try and means overnight stays can be a possibility elsewhere if necessary. Yep, naive first time mum over here who thinks she will be able to leave the house in the first three months and manage an overnight stay. Mamas are probably laughing at this!
We got the travel system base which has an easy one hand fold, then we got the car seat adaptors for a maxi cosi car seat, plus the carrycot which is safe for overnight sleeping (we have bought a new mattress for £30), and then the seat and foot muff for when he is a bit bigger. The bundle we got also came with a rain cover and parasol which should be handy.
I should also say we got our system second hand, we were never going to shell out around £500 for this little lot, anf with all the extras we have it would have been tons more. Instead, by buying from Ebay and then getting a new carrycot mattress and liner directly from iCandy we spent around £150. This means there’s not so much pressure if it turns out we prefer to use a carrier, or want a little nippy pushchair instead a few months in.
Car seat and base. We have gone for the Maxi Cosi Cabriofix and the Easy Fix base. We decided to buy new on this rather than second hand as we were worried about the safety of second hand seats. I know the chances are everything would be fine but for the sake of a hundred pounds I would rather have confidence in what’s protecting my baby whilst he is hurtling at 70mph down the motorway! (In the car with us, you understand, he won’t be doing that by himself for a few years yet!).
The things we were looking for in a car seat included not being crazily heavy (others had recommended some that were great but I would just NEVER be able to lift with a baby in) but still robust enough and safe; having a good guarantee; being compatible with the Strawberry 2 (we got the maxi cosi adaptors with the second hand pram so stuck to this brand which narrowed things down); working with both an Isofix base and seat belt as sometimes baby will have to go in cars without the base.
Originally we were going to go for the Pebble with the Familyfix base, because although the family fix was a bit more of an initial outlay but would mean we could then swap up to the bigger carseat without needing a new base down the line. The price difference between that combo and the one we went for in the end was around £80 if you bought carefully. But the main thing that put me off was that the Familyfix base only works with the Pearl car seat as the next size up, and I kind of think we might want more choice, rather than tying ourselves into having to buy that because we already have the matching base.
We also really liked that the Cabriofix can be used in cars without the base, and also that the base can be used in cars without Isofix. So it kind of covers all eventualities really.
Also we had some John Lewis vouchers from my work, and managed to buy when both the car seat and base were in the sale, so ended up paying around £190 for the set. With our vouchers we saved quite a bit so we were definitely right to save them for something big!
Cot and crib. Now this might seem like overkill to buy both a cot and a bedside crib, and I’m aware that paying out £200 for something your baby will only be in for 6 months seems crazy. But bear with me. Basically I know I will want baby as close to me as possible, but currently wouldn’t feel confident co sleeping in our bed with such a little baby.
I know the debates around co-sleeping continue to swirl, but I think the Snuzpod, which sits next to your bed and attaches to it or can also be a standalone crib, seems to offer a good starting point. My dad very kindly bought this for the baby, we chose the plain white colour.
Then for the baby’s nursery for when he is bigger, we have gone for a Mokee mini cot with a drawer underneath. Annoyingly they have gone up a bit in price since we first started looking, but they are a great size and seem to be pretty flexible in terms of being able to take the side panel off when the little one is older. I was oh so tempted by the mint green but we stuck with simplicity and went for the plain white. I love the product, but their delivery is a bit strange and you can be waiting up to six weeks for it to arrive, so be sure to order in plenty of time!
The small but still pricey stuff
The sleepyhead. We have gone for a sleepyhead pillow after hearing so many mums raving about them. We bought ours second hand (this is a-ok with sleepyheads, apparently, who knew) and I also bought an extra cover for it (in this amazing chevron print) just so we have one to change over to when the baby inevitably makes a mess of the first one. It might be that we end up not needing it, but I thought it was worth a try.
I didn’t realise when I bought the extra cover, but if you buy the ‘+’ version then the new play arch also fits over the sleepyhead. I haven’t bought one of these as a friend said it might confuse the baby between where it is playtime and where it is sleep time, but I might look into one down the line depending on how we get on.
You can also apparently just use crib sheets or muslins to cover the sleepyhead with, I might do this at the baby’s head end if he is a sicky little one, we will see how we get on.
Baby monitor. We haven’t actually chosen one yet because it is an absolute minefield. Should we go for a basic audio only one, or one with a movement sensor, or a video? Or all three? Reviews are so confusing, there always seem to be special offers on and it just blows my mind. So we haven’t got anything yet! Baby will mainly be by our side for the first period of time anyway so I guess there is no rush, but still it’s nice to feel like it’s sorted.
Bedding/blankets. Oh my goodness, who knew babies needed so many sheets?! We have kind of made a rod for our own backs here by going for a carrycot plus a Snuzpod plus a cot. Every one of those needs to have a mattress protector plus I have got a set of three sheets for the carrycot and four for each of the cot and snuzpod. Yep, that makes eleven sheets! Thankfully they are small but still, it seems like overkill but at the same time I do not want to be panicking about having to wash and dry a sheet in a day.
We went for this set from Dunelm Mill for the cot, plus my sister-in-law really kindly gave us lots of pram sheets and flat sheets so fingers crossed we won’t have to buy any more sheets. I did find some super cute ones in Asda though, so for anyone who is looking these star and dot ones could be a good option. For the Snuzpod we just got crib size sheets in the sale from John Lewis.
I found a lovely bluey grey White Company cellular blanket on Ebay which I snapped up for 99p, it is so soft and I can’t wait to wrap our little one up in it. I have also fallen in love with the Mama Designs blankets so bought one with a mint green edge which is so so pretty, I can’t recommend them highly enough.
Apart from that we have steered clear of cot bumpers for the risks they might pose, I also got this lovely pram blanket from Mamas and Papas in the sale, which my sister and I spotted on Instagram ages before and completely fell for.
Cot mobile. I loved this pom pom mobile from Mamas and Papas, but at almost £40 it seemed like an extravagance we didn’t need. Then I got an email from Brand Alley about a Mamas and Papas event, so the stars aligned and I snapped it up for less than half the RRP. It took a little while to arrive, but I wasn’t in a rush and it’s now safely stored in the little one’s nursery.
I am hoping that I will be able to breastfeed, but mindful that it is really tough, doesn’t always work for every mum or baby (combinations of issues like milk supply, latch issues, intolerances etc) and sometimes formula is attractive either to combination feed or to switch over to completely. As they always say, fed is best, and although breastfeeding is my preference I’m trying to prepare for all eventualities. So far a friend has lent me a breastfeeding cushion.
I went for this set of bottles from Mam, on offer at £10. They are self sterilising which I thought would save us from having to buy a microwave or electric steriliser if we end up only using them for occasional expressed feeds. If we end up moving to formula full time then we will need to buy more bottles and probably a steriliser, but we will see. Plus there’s no guarantee baby will take a bottle or like the Mam brand, so I didn’t want to buy tons of one brand as babies can be fussy so sometimes trying different brands is necessary.
We also got some of the Tommy Tippee bottles as my sister in law sweetly gave us her microwave steriliser, so if it does turn out we go down the formula route we will be able to sterilise more bottles at once, as well as dummies too.
Initially I wasn’t going to buy a breast pump for a few reasons. Firstly I might end up formula feeding and then the breast pump would be completely redundant. Secondly, if I end up breastfeeding then usually it’s recommended to establish your supply and routine before expressing, so I wouldn’t need the pump straight away. Thirdly, if I do for some reason have problems with latch etc and need to express from the get go, then the hospital can lend a pump and I could either order one from Amazon on next day delivery or send the husband to Argos to pick one up.
Then I chatted with my breastfeeding friends and my mum, and they said that rather glamorously when your milk first comes in it can really help to be able to feed from one side and express from the other. So I popped onto Amazon and ordered this Medela hand pump.
Other little things I have bought for breastfeeding/general boob taming include some Lansinoh lanolin cream, some heat/cold packs to help with ultra glamorous things like engorgement and mastitis, and some breast pads, both disposable and reusable ones as recommended by Ruth from the Uphill. Yep, this is my life now, wall to wall glamour.
Bathing and changing
We have a baby bath which a friend kindly gave us, my mother-in-law scored us a really good deal on a changing mat from Morrisons, and we have started stocking up on nappies and some wipes. After reading about cheeky wipes in a few different places, and recently on rock my family, I am thinking about buying a starter pack but will see how we get on first. I did like the idea of reusable nappies but Richard isn’t really up for it so we have decided to go the disposable route for now.
We also got this handy rack from Cox and Cox to go above the changing table to have everything close to hand. Now when I say changing table, I mean chest of drawers from IKEA with our changing mat safely stuck on top. We just didn’t see the point in buying a whole new piece of furniture which we might not use that much if it turns out we change baby elsewhere, and also that would be redundant afterwards. We had these drawers already so have re-used them in the nursery and might replace them down the line with something sturdier once the boy is bigger.
Changing bag and portable changing station
Now this is a weird one, because there are so many opinions out there about it. I really wasn’t sure what to go for, in fact for a while I was thinking of this Skip Hop changing bag. Then I thought about how it would work if baby was in a carrier, and realised a back pack might be a better option. I still wanted a backpack I could attach to the pram handle, though. I looked on a few forums and the Fjallraven Kanken in either standard size or mini was recommended, but the price point put me off.
Finally, I was planning to buy a pushchair organiser as well, to keep all the little bits and pieces I need easily to hand. In the end I completely lucked out, my friends bought me one as a maternity leave present. They know me so well that it was the exact same one I had ordered from Cath Kidston, so I promptly sent mine back and kept the one they had gifted me!
Just a couple of things in this area of the list, really. I didn’t want to go too overboard as I know the little one will get lots of presents. We are borrowing a bouncer chair which was my niece’s.
I haven’t found a playmat I love yet. Most of the baby gym ones are so ugly, and I know that baby needs those kind of overly bright and annoying sounding contraptions to stimulate them and help with development but still, it’s hard to stomach paying over the odds for them. I know you can use the Sleepyhead for tummy time, so I am hoping we will do that.
I am also conscious that once he is on the move we will need to use our picnic blanket etc so he can have a good crawl around (I am envisaging lunches and picnics in the park…sounds idyllic but chasing after a crawling baby may mean it is slightly less calm than our current picnics!) so I don’t know whether to just forego the pricey playmat/baby gym options and instead just go for a roll out, portable mat with a standalone baby gym (aka something with stuff hanging off it) so that I get more use out of it. Gosh this buying stuff for baby is a minefield!
We are borrowing a baby bouncer from my sister-in-law, and I have also got baby a little concertina book (as recommended by the Rock My Family post on presents for little ones) on the recommendation of a friend that high contrast books are good to distract them during changing times.
This is one area we haven’t had to buy much, because our friends and family have been super generous with both new gifts, handmade items and hand-me-downs from other babies. We have tried to steer clear of too much ‘newborn’ size stuff, I just got a multipack of bodysuits and sleepsuits to make sure that we had those bases covered, but apart from that we have got 0-3 months and 3-6 months, and people have even given us 6-9 month items as well which are stored away for now.
Everything is washed and ready for him, packed away neatly in his drawers, ready for the chaos of when he arrives and nothing is ever tidy or organised again.
What have I missed?
Tell me! I know the list above is long (over 2000 words, in fact!) but have I missed things out?