When we found out we were pregnant we were so excited, but it quickly became apparent that neither Sam or I had a clue how to be parents. We thought babies didn’t open their eyes for the first few days, turns out that’s actually puppies, not babies. #oops
I remember when we went to MotherCare for the first time. Not sure what we went for exactly but you find out you’re going to be a mum, you go to Mothercare right? Anyway we were so overwhelmed by all the stuff, I didn’t know what half of it was or if it was really necessary. Having a baby is an expensive time so you really don’t want to be throwing money away on gizmos.
So here is a list of the 10 things I think are a must have..
1. A Microwave steriliser.
We have a Tommee Tippee microwave steriliser, it’s big enough for about 4 bottles, it needs 200ml of tap water and in the micro for 6 minutes. Easy! No need for sterliser fluid or big electric steaming buckets. Who has the space for that? Some sterilisers cost £60+ with all the bottles and extra bits and pieces. These, I think are unnecessary. Our one came with some Tommee Tippee bottles, but George didn’t get on well with them, so they just sit in the back of a cupboard. You can buy the Tommee Tippee microwave steriliser for under £20 without the add ons and then buy separate bottles. (George likes the MAM bottles for colic).
2. Bouncy chair and play mats
My mum came to stay with us for a week once we got home from the hospital. She called me and asked what stuff did I have for George. What stuff? I replied, all he needs is me. My mum turned up with a vibrating, music playing chair. I love this chair. What was I thinking I was going to hold George 24/7?! He sits in his chair while Sam and I have dinner, he naps in it and the soft vibrations (I can turn this on and off) help with his wind! We also have a jungle play mat, this too plays really annoying songs but it’s great for tummy time and just general playing. I also change George on this mat, it gives him something to look at, distracting him from having his nappy changed! Our bouncy chair is from Mothercare for £60, the playmat was given to us from one of my lovely clients, you can get one from Argos for arond £40.
3. Tempur Pillow
This one is for me, I bought Sam a Tempur pillow last christmas, it’s so comfy, I’ve ‘borrowed’ it for the last few months. In the first few weeks George ate every 2 hours, each feed took 45 minutes. So that gave me 1 hour 15 minutes to get back to sleep before he woke up again. Tiring stuff. So the last thing you need is an uncomfatable pillow. With the Tempur pillow I fall asleep instantly, it’s just a must have, even if you don’t have a baby! In fact we love it so much we now have the mattress too.
This one will be controversial, we have given George a dummy. George suffers with Colic, (a build up of wind), it’s very painful for him and sucking eases some of that pain. Babies have a sucking reflex, it eases pain and comforts them in a way a cuddle can’t. Sometimes he sucks his thumb but his hands are so tiny he often ends up with a finger up his nose instead! Mothercare do glow in the dark dummies, these are ideal for finding them when he spits it out and for finding his mouth when he wants it back in the dark of the night. His little ear can easily be mistaken for his mouth at 3am!
5. Breast pump
There are all different types and makes, unfortunately there’s no way of knowing what one you’ll get on with until you try it and they don’t come cheap. I started off with a manual pump and it made me want to kill myself, it kept falling apart and just gave me the hump. So I invested in two electric pumps, one Tommee Tippee, the other Medula Swing pump. I personally prefered the Medula one. I fed George for 4 weeks, I loved it but found it quite stressful as he was premature, there was a lot of pressure for him to put on weight. So I expressed so we knew how much he was having. Also, so Sam could feed him too, Sam is very hands on and its a great way for baby and daddy to bond. The Tommee Tippe pump came from Mothercare for around £70, the Medula £99 from Boots.
Another great gift from my mum. We have a Motorola monitor, it has a screen and speakers so I can see and hear George from another room. I thought I wouldn’t need this until he started sleeping in his nursery, but it’s great for when he is napping in his chair or his Sleepyhead in the living room, I can quickly do the washing up in the kitchen and get some housework done and keep an eye on him. I would definitely recommend getting one with a screen so you can see them too.
7. Bath thermometer
People laughed at me when I said I bought a bath thermometer “Just stick your elbow in.” And I would have, except my hormones were all over the place for a good 5 weeks after having him. One minute I was freezing then it felt like 500 degrees, I couldn’t judge the water temperature so I bought a thermometer. It put my mind at ease that I wasn’t freezing or boiling my tiny little man. I got ours in mothercare for about £18.
8. Baby nail scissors
Have you seen a baby’s fingernails? Oh my life they are so small. George’s fingernails grow so quickly, I have to cut them every other day. No way could I do it with normal scissors or nail clippers. The baby ones have a special feature where they don’t close completely, so you can’t chop your babys fingers off. Theyre not expensive, you can get them from almost anywhere, Boots, Mothercare Etc. A must have!
9. Somewhere to go
I think it is important to leave the house, for your health and sanity. You need to breathe in some fresh air. In the first couple of weeks I was lucky enough to get nice weather. So I got dressed and brushed my hair, popped George in the pram and wandered up to Sainsburys. Just being out of the house for half an hour made me feel human again. Now George is a little bit older I take him to baby groups. Most of them he sleeps through and has no interest in but it gives me a reason to get dressed. The brief adult conversation with other mums is wonderful. Ask your health care visitor for your local groups. #STAYSANE
10. Someone you trust
I am very fortunate to have Sam, he is such a good daddy. He comes home from a 12 hour day and is straight in for cuddles with George. He now smiles when Sam gets home, it’s super cute. He also does a night shift at the weekend so I can get a good chunk of sleep! Hooray for Sam! I often leave the boys to it in the evening, whether it’s to go food shopping, just to have a bath or to get an early night. The point is, I completely trust Sam with George, I know he will be safe. Sam and I discuss and agree on everything for George so I know when I am not there he wont do anything I wouldn’t be happy with. It’s really important to have someone who can relieve you of your mum duties for a little while without you worrying. It’s no good if you go for a relaxing bath but can’t relax! I got mine on Tinder, he is priceless.
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