17 weeks into having an actual human being of our own to look after and there are a few baby essentials I feel I need to mention before moving onto the next steps in Alf’s life. Here is a little run down of the things we have found useful and in some cases unexpectedly daily essentials! This is in no particular order or preference, just as the pop into my head.
I love our car mirror! Especially when Alf was a tiny newborn and I felt the need to check he was still alive every 5 seconds – trust me the amount of times I had my head to his face waiting to feel breaths, or my hand on his chest waiting for a movement was borderline obsessive. We bought one in Trago of all places and thought it would be brilliant. Discreet (5inches wide) and easy to move as it stuck to the window, we were chuffed with ourselves and our bargain purchase … until we hit the first roundabout, and it fell off. And the bloody thing never stayed on the window. So good old eBay to the rescue! A day later and £8.00 well spent we now have a wide mirror the whole width of the headrest. It’s amazing I can see so much more of Alf and when he cries as we drive along I can see what is wrong without being a frantic mother trying to turn in her seat at a junction or traffic light. Highly recommend one of these!
Tommee Tippee Bottle Maker
This machine has been a life saver. I can’t understand for the life of me why anyone bottle feeding a baby wouldn’t have one of these. For weeks we were traipsing downstairs in the dead of night, every few hours to make bottles for Alf. I would literally slump against the wall as I stumbled downstairs, eyes shut trying to keep myself going. Grandma Nicola came to our rescue and bought us this magical piece of kit that changed our lives. No more trying to cool down or warm up bottles, no more pouring boiling water on your hand where you’ve missed the bottle or it has slopped back out at you. Just get yourself downstairs, count the scoops, press the button,wait for a beep, swill press the button, beep, lid on and shake! All done and perfect temperature for baby. Now Chris and I can be a bit lazy and thought how can we make night time feeds easier? The answer was simple. Bring the bottle maker to bed!! Yep. You heard me. Every night we would bring the bottle maker up with premeasured bottles ready for the night feeds and take it back down in the morning. After two weeks of lugging it around it now lives on the bedside table.
Tommee Tippee Steriliser
Another amazing product we cannot live without! Originally sterilising bottles with Milton over night (what a faff!) we now rely on our electric steriliser. Take bottles apart, wash and place into steriliser, add 80ml of water. 6 minutes later a viola! Clean bottles. Although we stopped using the Tommee Tippee bottles weeks ago we still use it for our MAM bottles (even though they can self sterilise in the microwave) as we can do 6 at a time. Also great for sterilising things like the syringe for calpol and certain teething rings.
WE LOVE MUSLINS!!!! Alfie must use atleast 4 a day. He finds them a comfort and they are so quick and easy to use to mop up dribble and baby sick (sorry!). Easy to wash, fairly cheap to buy and soooo many patterns you can’t go wrong. Alfie loves playing with his muslins and likes to have one to sleep with. As we change them so often he isn’t attached to a particular one which is a bonus meaning we can keep him clean and fresh! We also use them as a very thin blanket when out and about in warm weather.
I am a big fan of baby carriers. They let you be close to baby and make family walks that little bit easier- especially in Cornwall where our walking paths are by no means smooth! And beaches oh my word, after forgetting his carrier once and trying to push our Silver Cross Wayfarer across the beach (FAIL) I have never been more in love with carriers. Our first baby carrier/sling was a Kari-Me and it was perfect for small Alfie but now he is bigger we have switched to a ‘Chicco close to you‘ which is much better for his size and outward facing position.
After being 100% adamant I didn’t want a Moses basket (can’t for life of me remember why!!) we purchased a gorgeous dark wicker Moses basket from Izziwotnot. Beautiful to look at and easy to move it was a big hit with Alfie. He’s four months old now and outgrown it but we will be wrapping it up and putting it in the loft ready for possible baby number two. In the early weeks Alfie enjoyed sleeping in his Moses out in the conservatory soaking up lots of vitamin D and keeping toasty, it also meant I could take him out into the garden too! Also ideally situated in the lounge meant he could be quickly popped down for a nap or when making tea etc.
Chicco next to me co-sleeper
My best friend and sanity keeper! I can’t advocate these enough. If I had the money I would buy all my friends one when they have babies! For a first time Mom I can’t express how reassuring it has been being able to see and touch baby when it was attached to the bed and even now he has moved away to free standing, I can still see him through the mesh side. See post ‘Where is baby going to sleep?’ for more reasons why I love my Chicco!
Travel system with iso-fix
I won’t bang on too much about these because every system offers different perks. All I will say is, a car seat that you can click into and iso-fix base is amazing. Clunk, click you are safe and in. When it is pouring with rain the last thing you want to faffing with is a car seat in the rain! With iso-fix you literally place the carseat on top, check the lights have gone green and you are done. Ultra safe and quick to use they are certainly the way forward. We went for a Silver Cross Wayfarer system which consisted of a carseat, carrycot and pushchair seat. Again the carseat just clicks onto the chassis and off you go! When on quick trips into town or shopping it’s a perfect way to get all your jobs done without the need to wake a sleeping baby and transfer them into a carrycot. Although we didn’t use the carrycot much, it was worth the purchase for the few times we did use it.
MAM anti-colic bottles
When we were first given these as a present I wasn’t overly interested in them as we were using the standard Tommee Tippee bottles. However, as the weeks went on Alfie was dribbling so much of his milk and getting an awful lot of wind we decided to give them a try. I am so glad we did! His wind instantly reduced and he dribbled a lot less. With a wider shaped teat and antil-colic system, I would certainly recommend these to any parents and use these from day one if we have a baby number two. They also have the added bonus of self sterilising in the microwave which is great if you are out at someone’s house as you only have to take one bottle with you for multiple feeds – and no bulky steriliser when going away!
MAM soothers (dummies)
Again I was adamant I didn’t want Alfie to have one of these as I HATE seeing toddlers wandering around with dummies in their mouths. However. After several nights of Alfie being unsettled and putting his hand to his mouth a lot!! We decided to try a dummy as I REALLY don’t want him to be a thumb sucker. He immediatley found the dummy soothing and to be honest I would prefer him to have a dummy over sucking his thumb/fingers although I am more aware now that these things are out of my hands. We decided that if he was going to have a dummy it would be an orthodontic one as they are better for future tooth development – something to do with a narrower test towards the end. Lucky for Alfie Auntie DD bought him a glow in the dark one by MAM approved by orthodontists. We now have a selection of them. Despite my hate of dummies, Alfie has pleasantly surprised me by his dislike of them unless he is tired so in some way I feel this in itself is a small victory!
Alf loves this. He happily spends his time playing with the toys dangling down, talking to the animals on the sides and trying to roll over. This has not only entertained Alfie but helped him to develop his coordination skills and muscle strength.
So there we have it. I’m sure there are loads more but these are the ones that have stuck out in my mind. The list will enevatably grow as he gets older but these have been the core items we have used with Alfie – obviously alongside items such as changing mat and bag, smaller toys, clothes etc. So far we have made it without a baby monitor, mobile and full size cot as we haven’t needed them. But as Alf grows closer to moving out of our room they will be ontop of our never ending list of nexts.