As a new first-time parent, you tend to think you need to buy everything and anything to survive your daily routine with a newborn. We realised pretty quickly that there were things we may not have needed, and other things we couldn’t have lived without.
Having been selling some of Lily’s items she’s outgrown, I’ve come to speak to various first time parents who are in the exact shell-shocked, what-the-hell position we were in this time last year. Some have been desperate to ask as many questions that they could possibly think of, and it led me to share many times some of the items we would really have struggled without!
In no particular order, (asides from the obvious nappies, wipes, etc) here are our top 6 purchases which got us through the first 6 months, and beyond…
(Please note: None of the below were sent via PR companies or trial products. They were all legitimately paid for, usually via Amazon, Gumtree, or Facebook buy/sell groups!)
1. Tommee Tipee Perfect Prep machine
Before we found out this little miracle existed, we were making bottles half an hour before Lily was likely to need them, no matter what time of day or night it was. At the start she was only having around 15/20ml, around 8 times a day. So it seemed a continuous cycle of making bottles 24hrs a day.
After the discovery of the TTPPM our lives were actually changed. A minute after we wanted a bottle, it was there, like a gleaming golden nugget of perfectly mixed milk at the perfect drinkable temperature. It actually gave us an extra half hour much-needed kip every time we needed a bottle through a night (x4!), and we miss it whenever we stay with relatives or away from home because making up bottles is messy and frustrating enough as it is! If you bottle feed, then you need one of these in your life! Just keep an eye on Amazon as they’re often half price!
2. Chicco next2me crib
This was something I’d wanted from the start. Thanks to Gumtree Alerts I managed to pick one up pretty easily at over half the price (then sell it on for the same at the end!). The side comes down and it attaches to your own bed, almost like a little extension on the side.
Lily was in it for 8 months and to just roll over in bed at night to put my hand on her and settle her back to sleep, it made a massive difference. Not to mention the ability to tilt the crib to help her sleep. Nor roll over to just watch her sleep, or look at us with her big eyes. Being so prem, she was pretty tiny for it at first, so we had to make little ‘bumpers’ to stop her rolling into a little bundle at the bottom. I’m not sure how she grew so fast, and it was a sad day to have to move her into her big girl crib.
3. Mam anti-colic bottles
We tried every bottle under the sun and she really struggled with her feeding, taking in alot of air, and not being able to swallow properly. The MAM anti-colic bottles were the only ones she took to, which we put down to the narrow teat. Along with ranitidine, anti-reflux milk and size 2 Mam teats, her feeding problems seemed to quickly subside. It was thanks to the Boots Parenting Club giving out free MAM mini bottles and dummies that we came across them.
Lily also took to the MAM dummies but no other brand – most other teats seemed too big in her mouth. At 10 months, we are still using the MAM anti-colic bottles, along with every other MAM product she seems to only get on with… especially now with the training cups too!! To top it off we also love the MAM bottle steriliser because it holds up to 6 bottles while still fitting in the microwave!
We came across this on an Amazon search for a light waterproof/windprood covering for her pram. The fleece footmuff she has is lovely and cosy, just the sudden wintery wind suddenly comes through. The Bundlebean came up on the Amazon search and I now wouldn’t know what we’d do without our little penguin blanket! It gives a waterproof protection from the rain, without needing to put on the whole rain cover when it’s just a quick, light drizzle. It fits super snugly over the end of the pram so doesn’t blow off in the wind, and can be used over a baby carrier too, giving the same wind and rain protection while baby-wearing… then opens into a flat waterproof picnic blanket when you’re out and about!
We’ve now taken off her thick fleece footmuff for the spring but keep the Bundlebean on to keep her a little cosier with its light fleece lining, while still not overheating her in this slightly milder weather. We’ve also taken it through airports, on the beach to keep her bottom dry from the damp sand, in the Alps on a lake walk over the baby carrier, and even just in the local park when we needed something to sit on. Definitely worth every penny… and I’m going to buy one of their solar versions for the summer to give important protection from the sun while in her pram. It comes in some fantastic designs, and there are versions to be used over wheelchairs too. We also love the little pocket on the front for storing muslin cloths and toys on her pram!
5. The bouncer chair
We picked ours up from Aldi, but we are pretty sure every household needs one. It doesn’t need to self-rock, play jingles, or project stars on the ceiling. It doesn’t even need to do much else apart from rock. Ours was just a bog standard metal frame with seat, strap, and three small dangly soft toys. From the newborn days despite her tiny size, she quite happily sat or slept in the seat. We also found it was a place to clip some of her other favourite toys over the bar, which she found incredibly hilarious at times. When a little older, it was the only place we could safely put her while we got on with things that really needed doing – she quite happily watched us hang out the laundry, get dressed, or mash up some sweet potatoes in the kitchen, while she sat quietly in her bouncer chair (in close proximity and view of course!). She would even play with other toys while we had some dinner or (on the very rare occasion) watched a TV show together (though we were concerned about the nightmare possibilities from the Walking Dead!) Unfortunately she started getting over excited when she could finally reach the dangly toys and learnt to tip herself forwards out of the chair. But for the first 6/7 months it was pretty perfect!
6. The jumperoo
And finally…I’m pretty sure 99% of parents will agree that the jumperoo is possibly the best toy ever! We used it with Lily from 4 months, though we needed a little cushion under her feet as she couldn’t touch the floor, and at 10 months she still loves just bouncing up and down – even if we do think she’ll take off if she jumps any harder! We bought it off Gumtree and they’re going on the Facebook buy/sell pages pretty cheap too compared to what you’d pay for it new. These things provide hours of entertainment, plus it’s the only time I really know she’s going to stay in the same place for any amount of time! It’s going to be a sad day when she outgrows number 3! Get one. That is all!