In the months before Oscar arrived, we made list after list of all the things we needed. We wanted to be as prepared as possible and asked everyone we knew for advice on what the ‘must have’ items were so that we didn’t miss anything. The problem was, we took on almost every suggestion and simply bought too much. Many items were either not used at all or maybe used once or twice. Now that Oscar is 4 months old, we are starting to pack up and store all the things that he has outgrown in order to gain some house space back. This has inspired me to share what baby items we think made our life as new parents easier and if we could go back in time, the few that we wish we hadn’t bothered with. The useful
- Moses basket – Oscar slept in this basket for the first 12 weeks of his life before he outgrew it. That might not seem like that long but it sure feels like it. I found it really useful as it was mobile so we could just pick it up and move him from room to room while he was sleeping. In those first few months I didn’t want him out of my sight so it was definitely a must have and I will use it again when we have another baby. We had borrowed a traditional bassinet from a friend to use at night but he didn’t like sleeping in it and we actually had to sit the moses basket inside for him to sleep.
- Fisher Price cradle swing – We didn’t buy our one until Oscar was 8 weeks old but I wish we had of bought it earlier. The first day we used it, we were able to watch an entire movie without having to pause or stop to attend to Oscar. He loves the rocking motion and it gave our arms a well deserved break! He is happy to sit in it and smile at himself in the reflection of the mirror while we cook dinner in the kitchen. We are feeling a little sad that he is growing so fast and soon won’t fit in it. We probably only have another 7-8 weeks before we will have to pack the swing away but in my opinion it was worth every cent for the time we have been able to use it.
- Decent pram/stroller – I think this is an important one. The way we saw it, a pram is basically a mode of transport and if your budget will allow it, it’s well worth the investment of buying a decent one. After all, it’s something you will be needing to use for the next few years. My advice would be to have an idea of what you want from a pram e.g. smooth steering, plenty of shade/rain cover, plenty of space for nappy bag etc, easy/quick fold away. I would then recommend visiting a specialised baby shop rather than just the baby section of a superstore. The variety is wider and plus you then have the knowledge of the shop assistants should you need help. If you find the prices in those stores too expensive you can always take down the name/model of the pram you like and then you look online to see if you can find it cheaper elsewhere.
- Baby monitor – We didn’t use it much when Oscar was newborn as he was almost always in the same room as us. Now when he naps and we want to do something at the other end of the house or outside we can just turn it on. It saves us from having to constantly check that he isn’t awake. We chose a baby monitor that came with movement pads to reassure us that he was always breathing but if we could go back in time we would have chosen one that also had video monitoring.
- Digital thermometer – We have used this a number of times already although thankfully he hasn’t had a fever yet. We just like to check his temperature in the days following his vaccinations. It’s a relief to be able to eliminate fever. I imagine there would be nothing worse than having a screaming baby in the middle of the night and not knowing if he has a high temperature. You need to know.
- Breastfeeding pillow – This just made feeding so much easier on my shoulders and arms. He did outgrow it quite quickly (at about 12 weeks) but i still think it was well worth having.
- Bodysuits – Oscar lives in these; specifically Bonds Wondersuits/ZipUps. I honestly thought that the only difference between Bonds and other bodysuits was the price but I was wrong. We bought a mix of Bonds and other brands but the Bonds are the ones that not only fit the best but hold their shape better after washing. They also have the hand and feet covers for sleeping. Some of the cheaper brands also have these hand covers so I went and bought a bunch to try out only to find that he is able to get his hands out in a matter of minutes. Oscar has a couple of the really thin summer ones, a few of the terry cloth ones and a few of the cotton ZipUps. Bonds might cost more but if you ask me, they’re worth it.
The not so useful
- Stuffed toys – Honestly, don’t buy these. I guarantee someone will buy them for you. Other than being something to decorate a room, they are useless. We have so many of these, some we bought ourselves but most were given as gifts. Newborns don’t use toys or even acknowledge them. Oscar is now a bit older and interested but only in toys that rustle or are bright and dangly. Ones that have clips on them are even better as then you can attach them to your pram. Stuffed toys just take up space if you ask me.
- Shoes – Baby shoes have got to be one of the cutest things in existence. For this reason, Oscar is the proud owner of 12 pairs. But here’s the thing. HE CAN’T EVEN WALK. Baby shoes are not in the slightest bit useful! I know this, yet I can’t stop buying them. I’m really just putting this on the ‘not useful’ list in case you have more willpower than we do. Seriously, just this week I bought another pair for him. It’s a sickness, people. Don’t get sucked into it!
- Bottles – I had always planned to breastfeed Oscar but there was a big part of me that was sure I wouldn’t succeed. For that reason we went out and bought everything that we would need in the case of formula feeding. We absolutely jumped the gun and now we have 8 bottles and a bottle sterilizer taking up space and gathering dust. We should have just waited to see how breastfeeding went first.
- Fancy cute clothes – Have you ever noticed how uncomfortable a tiny baby looks in fancy cute clothes? As adorable as those overalls are or as dapper as suspenders look, they don’t work and are such a waste of money. Wait until they are older so their shirts don’t ride up under their armpits and they don’t have to suffer tight bands around their waists. Onesies, singlets and loose banded leggings are a baby’s best friend.
A few other notable mentions;
- A baby bath will be outgrown very quickly so maybe just borrow one instead of buying or even just use the family bath right from the get go.
- Don’t stock up on newborn nappies, they grow up into the next size so quickly. Oscar had already gone from newborn, to infant, to crawler size by the time he was 15 weeks old. He is a bit of heavyweight though.
- We bought an Ergo carrier and while it’s great, we wish we had of gone for the Ergo 360 rather than the Ergo Performance. Simply because it would be nice to be able to carry Oscar front facing sometimes especially now that he is interested in seeing everything. It looks like a scene from the Exorcist the way he twists his head around to see the world. I’m considering buying the 360 but still in the process on convincing myself it’s not a waste of money to have 2 Ergos.
- If you are going to be using disposable nappies, Huggies are the most absorbent. Simple as that. Our local IGA doesn’t sell Huggies and on the few occasions that we have shopped there and had to buy a different brand, those nappies have sucked. One night we had 3 separate outfit changes due to leaky nappies. In the middle of the night, that’s the last thing you and your baby want.
Every baby is different so the things that worked best for us may not work for you but there you have it.