Every Mum has one. A select number of baby related items that would be in your ‘Super Mum toolbox’ (if they existed). Shopping for your new arrival is pretty daunting. I remember my first trip to the baby floor of John Lewis. I mean I had been before, like every other crazy broody woman, creeping up there in secret to drool over all the cute baby clothes and imagine what I would buy for my baby. Just me? Oh. So as you can imagine, the first time that I went to that familiar floor with my little bump was incredibly exciting for me. This time I was shopping for real. For a REAL baby, my baby. Actual real baby shopping time, now what do I ‘need’ to get?
Baby Hairbrush? Changing matt cover? Changing matt pillow? Baby Bath? Baby bucket bath? Nipple Balm? Nipple Sheild? Soothers? Blackout Blinds? GroBag (I know that my Granddad uses one for growing tomatoes but why do I need one for my baby)? Bath Thermometer? Swaddle Blanket? Room Thermometer? Bumper? Bottles? I am going to breastfeed but should I have them incase? Baby manicure set? Sleepyhead? Moses basket? Vibrating bouncer? Baby carrier? Baby Wrap? Changing bag? Will a normal bag do? A bag is a bag, right? WRONG!? … *hyperventilate* … *hormonal breakdown in public*. If I don’t know which baby manicure set is right for my 28 week bump then I am surely going to be a terrible parent. *Leave large department store stressed out to eat chocolate in stretchy comfortable clothing at home*
Let me make it really simple for you…
Out of all the baby crap that I now own, there are a few magic purchases that are worth their weight in gold. As I was blessed to have been given so many gifts, hand downs and presents, there wasn’t too much stuff that we actually had to go out and buy. However I still wish that I had found a Mum and grilled her as to what you actually need for those first few weeks.
So, here is my newborn survival kit list.
1. Baby Wearing Tool
Baby wearing is one of the best discoveries that I made as a new Mum. I will write a whole post on baby wearing one day but for now I will just say that it is worth a try with your new arrival. There is a whole world of wraps and carriers out there and you will find one that suits you. My borough even has Sling libraries where you can get advice on baby wearing and exchange slings with other parents. Do your research before you buy one, borrow one if you can and look at second hand options. I used the Kari-me wrap in the early weeks and then moved onto the ErgoBaby as B got heavier. I LOVE my ErgoBaby carrier and I think it is the number one best purchase that we made. I use it everyday without fail.
2. Muslins (how ever many you think you need and then double it)
You will get through sooo many of these each day. It is incredible how much sick can come out of such a little person. You will need a few on the go at all times in different rooms so that there is always one in reach and they will get really gross really quickly. There is nothing worse than discovering a used muslin behind the sofa and not knowing how long it has been there. I remember playing ‘muslin roulette’ with Jono one night as we took it in turns to smell our way through a pile of them to sort out which were clean and which smelt like old warm yoghurt. I would reckon that you can get through a minimum of four a day in those first few weeks, and unless you have a live in maid that is going to be doing all your laundry then I would stock up. Don’t worry about having anything fancy, you are literally using these clothes to mop up vomit, milk and any other fluid that comes out of you or your small person. Buy cheap and buy loads!
I was adamant that I would not be putting an ugly plastic plug in my child’s face but thank God that I had some in the house when that 2am scream fest hit 6 weeks in. There are lots of things that you will say that you will ‘absolutely never do’ but things change and your sanity is really important. If your baby has a need to suck and your nipples cannot take it anymore then grab that dummy and feel no shame! Try not to make absolute rules and give yourself lots of options.
I had some great advice from a seasoned mother. Some babies have a really strong need to suck that is just not satisfied through feeding. If your baby has a need to suck then they will suck something. If it is not a dummy then it will be their thumb. You can take the dummy away when they are older but it is much more difficult to stop your child sucking their thumb. It helped me justify the dummy in my own head anyway and settle the Mum guilt.
4. Back up Bottles
Thankfully breastfeeding worked out for me and Belle and we have not had to use the bottles but knowing that I had them in the house took some of the pressure off breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is incredible but only when it works for both Mum and baby and having a bottle in the house incase you need it is just sensible. Formula is easy to get if you need it but not everywhere sells bottles. The last things you want is a hungry baby and a stressed out mummy. Be prepared.
5. Footed Leggings
Babygros are great most of the time but fastening all of those poppers at 3am when you are awfully sleep deprived is no fun, especially if you miss one and have to start all over again. I have only found these footed leggings in H&M but I am sure that you can get them elsewhere. They are great. Slip on, slip off. No poppers and no battling with keeping little socks on tiny feet. We dashed out to find the next size up as soon as B grew out of these. Absolute essential.
6. Baby Bouncer
The vibrating baby bouncer was the only place that Belle would sleep in the first few weeks. To the point that I let her sleep in it at night until the midwife told me off on day 5 (bad Mum!). She loved the gentle vibration and we loved that we could keep a really close eye on her as she slept. She is still using it now and I think she has got a good few months left in it. We often put her in it while we eat dinner and take it in turns to bounce her with our foot. Absolute God send!
7. Nursing Tanks
If you are breastfeeding then these will be your new best friend (that and your baby). Breastfeeding bras/boulder holders are pretty horrendous and even if you do find a lovely comfortable one then you have to work out what you can wear it with and still be able to get your nipples out in approximately 3 seconds flat, whilst holding your screaming child and attempting to keep an ounce of dignity. The whole dressing to breastfeed thing is something that you can work out later. To start out, get yourself a few of these vest tops with the built-in bra and you are good to go. They are really comfortable and SO easy to feed in.
8. ‘Good’ Freezer Food
Stock up. We were fortunate enough to have wonderful friends from church dropping off home cooked food for the first couple of weeks which was incredible but when that stops you will start relying on your freezer. Whilst you are waiting for your baby, cook double of everything and start freezing meals – you will thank yourself later!
9. Bodysuits with mitten cuffs
Baby nails are seriously sharp and the grow insanely fast. Cutting their nails for the first time is daunting, especially when you are too tired to actually focus on anything – if you shouldn’t operate heavy machinery tired then cutting your child’s nails should also be on the ‘no’ list. Scratch mittens will fall off and it will get really annoying. Newsflash – you can buy babygros that have the mittens built into the cuff. Do yourself a favour and buy these ones. Whilst you are at it do not buy anything with buttons or fastenings on the back – however cute it may be, it is not worth it.
10. Stain Remover
Newborn baby puke is neon orange and it will stain. As will their poo when it explodes out of their nappies, which it will. Everything will be various shades of yellow, orange, green and brown so get some stain remover in each wash. When you are in the early stages of survival mode really think about whether it is worth your time trying to scrub out those toxic poo stains? If it is that bad then just throw them away. Life is too short and your little one is only this little once so just enjoy them and throw out that vest.
Obviously there are other things that you do need to get but these are just my top tips. I hope that they are helpful for someone out there.
Just remember that those first few weeks are really hard. Any Mum will tell you that. If you struggle then you are totally normal. It will get easier, you will get to know your baby and you will find your feet.