When you’re expecting your first baby, you get given a LOT of ‘stuff’ by generous friends and family. You also buy a lot of ‘stuff’. The result is, you guessed it, a lot of stuff. I tried thinking of a better word to describe it – but ‘stuff’ is definitely the right word.
I bought some things that I thought were the best invention ever. How would I get by without this sleeping cocoon type thing that looks like a caterpillar and has velcro bits here, here and here? Many items I bought with good intentions, but they really weren’t practical in the real world.
The baby products market is HUGE and completely oversaturated, it’s overwhelming. Anything you want (and many things you would never have even thought of) is out there and for sale. It can be very confusing when you walk into a baby store for the first time. Even before having Aiden I had frequented the baby shops for friends & family, but buying gifts is so different. I consider myself pretty baby savvy, but I got very confused about what I needed vs luxury. The end result is you buy some of each.
At the end of the day, you don’t need to buy a lot of fancy things. Some of the best items don’t cost much, and on the flip side some cost more, but are worth their weight in gold. Every household is different too, what may be a life saver for me might not work for someone else.
Over the past 6 months there have been a few stand out items for us, either borrowed or purchased, that we have used constantly and loved. You may notice a bit of a theme with this – SLEEP. I have four sleep related items on my list. I’m all about the sleep.
Here are my Top 10 Must Haves for Baby
1. Merino GoGo Bag
Keeps baby warm all night & helps regulate body temperature. For use from 3 months to 2 yrs. One of the staple items & well worth it.
2. ‘Wrap me Up’ Swaddle
If you have a Houdini baby that hates having their arms wrapped down by their body, they’ll love this wrap. It’s designed to allow the baby to sleep in their natural position (arms up), but keep their startle reflex at bay. It also has a reverse zip (so you can change nappies in the middle of the night easily), plus a carseat slot at the back. Aiden went from a wriggle bum trying to escape his swaddle, to a sound sleeper.
3. White Noise
My single most valuable tool in the first few months! The Sleepstore in Auckland has some great recommendations for helping babies sleep, one of them is White Noise. I thought it was a have until I decided to try it. It transformed his day sleeps, i.e. he went from sleeping 45mins each sleep to sometimes double that. We have never used it to get him to sleep, but put it on once he’s asleep. It plays all night to help him sleep through, which he’s now been doing consistently since he was 4 months old (barring some teething and ear infection wake ups) and also helps to drown out other noises which might wake him.
4. Bumbo Seat
We love the bumbo! I know not everyone agrees with using these kind of things, but we've found it really useful and Aiden loves it. Everything in moderation I say. We put a basket of toys beside him and he has a great time picking out things and banging them on the tray. He has just graduated to a normal high chair for feeding, but when he first started solids he would sit up on the table in his bumbo. So handy! He also loves to help Mum bake :o)
5. Mocka Wooden Playgym
We bought this for Aiden when I was 7 months pregnant at the Parent and Child Show. One of the best purchases we ever made. He started using at 3 weeks old, and still loves it now at 6 months (he’s a little rougher with it now than he was then…). Fantastic NZ made item.
6. Net Bouncer - Old School!
Thanks Brooke! My sister had one of these for her now 17 yr old, they’re so great and babies seem to love them. We got lent 3 bouncers - some that shook, vibrated, played music etc. They did all sorts of fancy stuff, but this is the only one he liked. No frills and proof that you don’t need to have the most expensive gadget.
7. Medella Electric BreastpumpThanks Adelle! Lifesaver. End of story.
Surprisingly, no pictures of this.
8. Breastfeeding Chair
My first four weeks breastfeeding were uncomfortable and messy. I couldn’t get into the right position and I thought my back and neck were going to be damaged forever. I completely understood why some people abandoned it altogether. Then I discovered you could rent ‘Posture Perfect’ breastfeeding chairs, designed especially for breastfeeding Mums. They are stylish and look just like a normal lounge chair. It made such a different for me. I have loved it so much so that as of today, I now own it!
In Auckland you can rent or buy from Crest Furniture (who also supply these chairs to Auckland hospitals)http://www.crestfurniture.co.nz/posture.html
9. Safe T Sleep
At first I questioned using this. For those not in the know, you are basically strapping your baby to the cot or basinet mattress so little he / she will not wriggle around (sit up, crawl, migrate) and keep themselves awake – or worse, cry out for help in the middle of the night. Aiden had started to roll onto his tummy and then couldn’t get back onto his back, so I decided to try the Safe T Sleep (on lend from Brooke). Jackpot! I thought he’d hate and resist it, but he didn’t. He sleeps and doesn’t disturb himself moving around – mission accomplished.
10. Car seat Mirror
A gift from a friend at my baby shower, I had no idea how useful this thing would be. As we know, all babies are rear facing in the back seat, which means we can’t see them in the rear view mirror. Someone clever decided to design a fun looking mirror that hangs over the seat in front of the baby, therefore allowing you to use your rear view mirror to look into it – and see the baby. So useful - especially when he was tiny. I loved being able to look back and see he was ok. Ours is a bright green dragon, which Aiden also happens to find highly entertaining – bonus.
So that is 10 things. The Jolly Jumper came close to making the list, as did a few other things we use a lot – but I said 10, so 10 it is!
Aiden's Pick: Wooden Mobile
I bought this lovely wooden mobile at Sydney’s Paddington Markets the day before I found out I was pregnant. I just had a feeling the treatment had worked that month, in fact I was certain. I told my sister on more than one occasion that day that I was pregnant. Then, later that day I had some cramping whilst packing for the return flight home and thought I was getting my period.
I cried when I looked at the mobile in the box. I was devastated. The next morning back in Auckland, I went for my routine blood test. I got the call at lunchtime from Fertility Associates that I was pregnant.
It now hangs in the middle of his room from his light fixture and he is OBSESSED with it. He stares at it every time you walk into the room and reaches out for it and watches it from the change table. Spinning it for him seems to send him over the top. I don’t know what it is about it, but he just loves it.
Even if he wakes from a sleep really upset you can see him looking over your shoulder to the little flowers, butterflies & bugs, and all is right with the world again.
Product & Purchase Information
All of the items listed were purchased from New Zealand. The Sleepstore also sells to Australia.
Merino GoGo Bag
Babies First White Noise CD