I always get asked by new mums what products do they really need, especially as I have been the new mum a fair few times now. I think that everyone is totally different, as are their babies, so there really isn’t a single answer that you can give. Friends would always say to me when I was pregnant for the first time, ‘You need this!’ or ‘You need that, it’s a must have!” and half of it wasn’t applicable to me… even the great big guides that you get from the midwife aren’t always what YOU will need. Irrespective of that, I’ve put together a list of the things that I have genuinely needed throughout the first few weeks of all my children’s lives. I literally would have torn my hair out without these baby products, so I can truly recommend them!
- Muslin Squares
This is something that a lot of mums told me I would need, but that I didn’t really think was quite as important as it is. IT IS. Muslin Squares are something that I think every new Mama should have, mainly because it doesn’t matter what your needs are, how different your baby is or how different you are to the next mama, these are so multifunctional. They can be a snot rag, a makeshift wipe when you forget your wipes, a blanket to keep the draft away from the car seat, a comforter, a make shift bib, a burn cloth, a sick wipe… the list goes on and on. Ask any mama, they will tell you they used these at some point for something. My favourites are by Musy by aden + anais and Le Lange by La Langerie. Both are unbelievably soft with the Le lange being huge enough to be a full summer blanket or breastfeeding cover should you choose.
- A baby carrier
All of my babies, but especially Edith, have insisted on being held for a good 80 % of the time. Toby was quite good, he would sit in his swing and chill out, but unless Edie is asleep, she is being held. As a busy mama with two very, very active boys to run around after, I can honestly say I need my hands. It isn’t, ‘Oh I want my hands, I want a cuppa or it’s hard one handed’, No, I need my hands. I can’t help my kids with things, I can’t stop them running into roads etc. It’s a need. So I invested in a carrier to carry my babies around, I bought it when Roo was only a few months old at a baby show and I’ve never looked back. It was a lifesaver when Toby was born because it meant that, unless we were having a really long day out, we could leave the pushchair in the car and Roo could walk while I carried Toby… now it means that I can type this while Edith is in my carrier! I bought a close caboo carrier, which I love. Though it might be worth checking out my series from Mariann Hornyák for more info on slings.
- A good bag with lots of pockets
A good bag with lots of pockets is essential. It’s no good saying maternity bag because they aren’t always up to scratch. It needs to be deep with lots of compartments, it needs to be slightly water proof, it needs a big strap and it needs to be strong. They are the requirements and if you buy a pretty but flimsy bag, I guarantee you will hate it after the one millionth time the strap snaps because of all the stuff you have to carry around, especially as your baby gets older. I love my bag, it’s deep with side pockets to keep nappies in has a changing mat (another make shift muslin square job by the way) and somewhere to put clean changes of clothes for those sick accidents, not to mention I have my own compartment filled full of paracetamol, my phone and emergency breast pads. My bag is from Pink Lining.
- Bodysuits and Sleepsuits
I don’t care how many you think you need, add a few more on for good measure and always keep at least two pairs of each downstairs for quick changes. If baby has a poonami you need to change them, if baby sicks up you need to change them, if baby pees during a nappy change… you get the picture. Any of these things can happen numerous times a day. As I type it is 10.45 and in the 2 hours Edith has pooped 6 times and sicked up once. Some days it just happens. I don’t have a particular favourite brand for sleep suits or bodysuits, I think they are such a personal choice thing, but I do love super soft organic cotton ones.
- A decent diary
This is one that you won’t see on many of the ‘baby products must haves’ lists, but oh good god is it true. YOU NEED A DIARY. Between health visitor appointments, midwives appointments and friend’s wanting to break down your door (and this is just the first to weeks!), now is the time to get organised. A diary is a must have for me, something I was never consistent with before, but I have to be now. I use my diary from Full Stop Stationary, which I am going to be featuring on the blog soon because it is honestly worth its own blog post.
- Entertainment for those ‘can’t put me down’ moments.
No don’t laugh, this is true. You need to stock up on apps on my phone, reading material, netflix, sky on demand… whatever it is that you do to entertain yourself in those moments when you have just a few minutes of down time, prepare to stock up. Since Edith was born I have watched an entire series on Sky On Demand, because between the hours of 8pm and 12pm she refused to sleep, be put down or do anything other than feed and back pat while walking the room. After 10pm when my hubby headed off to bed to get up for work the next day, I was still up, feeding, back patting and walking. Let me tell you, there is a limit to how much you can cope with when you have nothing to do, or in most cases 1000’s things to do and you are prevented by a mini dictator who wants you to rub their back. So prepare yourself to need some kind of entertainment, because late night tv is NOT good.
- Decent nursing bras
If you are planning on breast feeding then I can’t express enough how important decent nursing bras are. I urge you to get measured or use my measuring guide, literally just before your due date because any earlier is pointless. You need to be able to feel comfortable and certainly not like your already sore breasts are being squashed. I would whole heartedly recommend the wonderfully soft and wearable Bravado Silk Seamless nursing bra, it has been a godsend for me and is still the only thing I can fit my huge boobs into!
Yep, I’ve said it. The golden rule is broken – sue me. I can honestly say that I tried with Reuben to use just water and cotton wool to wipe his bottom for the first 6 weeks, but my god, who can actually do that?! I think we got to about 8 days, and with Toby and Edith I have taken wipes into the hospital – much to the amused smirks of the midwives who can peg an experienced mummy a mile off. Water wipes are perfectly acceptable if you want to stick to chemical free as they are pure water, if not, go for whatever you would normal use and ditch the guilt.
And really, that’s it for me. Everything else comes and goes, but for these few things I couldn’t have coped without them.
What did you genuinely need for your baby? Does anything I’ve mentioned resound with what you needed?