I thought we were SO organised before Daphne was born, and I thought we had everything we needed. But no, within the first week alone, I had managed to spend an obscene amount of money on more 'essential' baby buys - things that people had recommended to me, or things that I suddenly realised we really needed. But then some of these essentials turned out not to be so essential after all... So in this blog, I thought it'd be helpful to other expectant mums out there to list some of the best and worst things we've bought in the first month. Having a new baby is seriously expensive and it's tempting to buy EVERYTHING in fear of depriving your little one in some way, so here goes...
I was quite shocked by the price of the Sleepyhead (£100) when it was recommended to me by the lactation consultant we saw. But she convinced me by explaining how useful it was as a way of having the baby in the room with us during the day - it meant she could nap and we could keep an eye on her. It also helps babies who don't like the vast openness of their cots - because it helps them feel more snug and secure. Other bonuses: if you have a big enough bed (I think a Super King is needed really) then you can have it in the bed with you if you want to co-sleep without fear of rolling onto your baby in the night. But for us, the biggest benefit is that we can take it to my mum and dad's house - or wherever - and she naps quite happily, thinking she's still at home. I can see it'll be great when we take her away at Christmas as it's so lightweight and portable, and can be used to create a 'cot' out of any bed.
Before Daphne was born, we bought a Maxi-Cosi Easia Baby Carrier as it looked really sturdy and safe. However, as with many things we bought, it turned out poor Daphne was too small for it. And so I bought the Boba wrap as well, and it's been an absolute godsend. No matter what state she's in, if I pop her in it, within a few minutes she falls asleep. It's a bit of a pain to put on to begin with (the day it arrived Oli and I had a massive sleep-deprived barney while trying to work out how to wrap it), but you soon get the hang of it. I have even managed to go to the toilet while wearing it (and her). Should I have shared that? Possibly not, but trust me, sometimes these little things make all the difference to your day...
Even if you're exclusively breastfeeding, at some point you're going to have to give your baby a bottle. Since Daphne's been mostly bottle fed (both expressed milk and formula), she's unfortunately always been quite a windy baby. And windy baby = miserable baby. These bottles have really helped - they have a fancy pants inner tube that stops air getting into the teat and into your baby's mouth. They haven't quite cut down on her colicky sessions but they've definitely helped. A pain in the arse to wash up, but it's a small price to pay.
Given the ridiculously small size of my flat, we debated whether or not to bother with a baby monitor. And for the first week we managed without one, but then I started to get antsy if the TV was on and I was at the other end of the flat, because I wouldn't hear her start to cry. We debated again whether or not to bother getting a video monitor, or just an audio one, but I'm so glad we went for it in the end because it's so lovely to be able to SEE her as well as hear her. And if/when we finally move to a bigger place, I am sure it'll be invaluable.
I'm still massively confused by dummies (not a sentence I ever thought I'd write). Are they terrible? Are they brilliant? Are they acceptable only in certain circumstances? I STILL have no idea. However I was rather surprised when the Health Visitor told me that they are now recommending dummy use as it can prevent cot death in very young babies. Anyway, we bought some Mam ones - special ones for tiny babies, with a special sterilising box. And Daphne spits them out in disgust every time we try to give her one. Not something you can really recycle or donate to a friend, or a big deal, but officially a total waste of money.
This has really become a bit of a joke, and (I like to think), a game between me and my baby. It goes like this: mummy washes changing mat cover, puts it on changing mat, baby immediately pees/poos/throws up on changing mat cover. Mummy washes changing mat cover, puts it on changing mat, baby immediately pees/poos/throws up on changing mat cover. Repeat ad infinitum. It might look nice, it might be slightly softer on baby's bot, but the reality is that the wipe-clean plastic underneath is a far more practical option.
Babygrows without scratch mitts
Like most babies, Daphne's favourite activity is scratching her face to shreds/poking herself in the eye or nose. Why sleepsuits without scratch mitts integrated even exist is beyond me. So sadly, all the lovely tops and sleepsuits we bought with open sleeves have hardly been used. And those oven glove-style scratch mitts (see above!) are useless if your baby's as tiny and wriggly as mine - two seconds and they're off.
Any other new mums got any recommendations of products that you just can't live without? Or that I shouldn't bother with? Would love to hear from you...