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My baby is almost one! At what point does she stop being a baby and become a toddler? I am so not ready for that! It seems like she has been here for all of 5 minutes and forever at the same time, does that make sense? Probably not. I am absolutely adamant that baby brain is a legitimate ailment and I’m still in brain mush mode. But anyway, enough of nonsensical rambling.
I wrote a post a few months ago about the Newborn essentials you can live without and promised a post with my top 10 new baby essentials that you actually do need, for balance. So whilst, I’m all teary and reflective that my baby’s no longer a baby – I thought I’d get that post done before another year has passed and I can’t even remember what it’s like to have a newborn!
Muslins – they must have been in every hamper I received at my baby shower and at the time I was a bit like, ‘uh, what do I do with them?’ but they were an absolute godsend. Elise suffered with terrible reflex right up until she was 9 months old, so every milk feed was a nightmare. Without my mound of muslin cloths, we would’ve both been soaked (and quite often were even with the cloths). I had them stashed everywhere to mop up the constant sicky episodes. In the changing bag, every room in the house – we always needed one to hand!
You are probably bored of me singing the praises of the Mamia range but honestly they’re the best out there and they are a snip of the price of the top brands. The only nappies on a par are pampers and they are quite often 3 or 4 times the price. Drop the brand snobbery and stock up on these nappies!
These are the most durable wipes I have found. Huggies are like tissue paper and rip apart, Pampers are expensive and other supermarket own brands are quite dry. I tend to buy these in bulk – a box of 12 for £5.70 making them 47.5p a pack – so probably the cheapest you’ll find too.
These are quite expensive but worth their weight in gold if you have a colicy/reflux baby. The tube in the bottle helps to reduce wind and we noticed a massive improvement in Elise when we switched to these (don’t get me wrong, they are definitely not a cure but they do help).
Again, not the cheapest item on the list but I absolutely love this bag. I have used it every day since she was born. There’s a thermal bag or ‘pod’ to keep feeding supplies in and another pod to keeps changing supplies in, these then sit inside the main bag and help to keep it organised. It saves so much time rummaging around for things and I would honestly recommend one. If it is a bit too pricy you could make your own version but I think it was worth every penny.
Elise has used this since we started weaning at 17 weeks. Even now at almost one, she still sits in it and has all her meals. It is so convenient, takes up much less space than a highchair and if we went on a picnic or had food in the garden she could eat in there (long before she was able to sit unaided). The rubber insert is removable too so as baby grows you can continue to use it and it is easy to clean. The tray clips on and there is a removable activity tray too so you can keep baby entertained even when it’s not mealtime.
When we had those beautiful few weeks in the summer, me and baby girl were in the garden most days. This tent was invaluable. It pops up easily and folds down flat into a compact carry case (though putting it down took me a while to get the hang of – youtube how to do it, the video makes so much more sense than the paper instructions). It’s completely UV safe so you don’t have to worry about baby being in the sun.
When Elise first started on solids, these trays were fab for food prep! I would make a batch of veggie purees, fill the trays and freeze them. Once frozen, I would pop the portions out of the tray and into a freezer bag. I could then take out a cube of food as and when needed and was never in short supply.
I was very cautious of having loose sheets and blankets in the cot and Elise tends to thrash around in her sleep so she would never keep a blanket on her anyway. These sleeping bags are amazing, they come in different togs for different times of year and tell you exactly what baby should be wearing to bed underneath the bag dependent on the temperature. I would feed Elise in her sleeping bag so once she fell asleep I didn’t have to disturb her getting her in it or tucking in a blanket. It leaves their arms free but keeps them warm and you don’t have to worry about suffocation or anything either.
It was only for the first few weeks we needed to use both hands to bath Elise. As I’m sure you can probably imagine, it’s quite awkward (not to mention back breaking) bending over and holding the baby with one arm whilst washing them with the other. These angled seat baths are great, she could be bathed hands free from a young age as the little seat and angled bath kept her upright and supported. When she was about 6 months, we got one of these suction swivel seats for the big bath.
All of these items made the first year with a baby so much easier and yet not one item on this list was recommended to me as a must have (except the muslins which somehow people knew I would need by the dozen!).
Do you have any must haves you would add to the list? What made your life easier as a new mum? Let me know!
I started Katie Saves while on Maternity Leave to document our adjustment to living on less. Now back in work - I blog about making extra money, saving money, getting my life organised and being a new mum. Join me!