I did a lot of research before Sam was born on what babies needed. In particular I researched what was not necessary. You always hear about how half the stuff recommended is just marketing and I figured a minimalist approach would be the way to go. But of course, some of these things that you don’t really need can be gold… and the key to saving your sanity. So read on for my top 10 products that I’ve used in the first 3 months.
Baby bouncer: For us this was an absolute must-have. Sam loves it. It’s somewhere I can set him down safely when he’s active, to keep him busy for some minutes while I grab breakfast, a cup of tea or just to give him a bit of solo play time. As an added bonus, it seems the angle and movement does his bowels good, so when you know he’s keen to go… pop him on the bouncer!
Make your own baby wipes: Ours are still disposable, but instead of using the pre-packaged types, which can contain stuff that’s not so good for baby, and are hell to get out of their dispenser, we make our own water-mix using coconut oil, and voila, an easy to use container of wipes. And they smell great!
Wireless ear pods: Breastfeeding is tedious. In the beginning I couldn’t fathom doing something else at the same time, even watching TV or chatting on the phone, but now that I’m experienced, that downtime can be used. Obviously it’s important to engage with baby, but when he’s feeding, after the first minute generally he’s half asleep. I side lie to feed, and simply prop the iPad up behind so he can’t see but I can. After doing this once with an earbud cord (because he doesn’t need to hear the crap I’m watching), I realised I had to have wireless ear pods. Game changer. Not only is there no annoying cord to contest with while feeding, it also means that if I’m on the phone with someone and he needs to be picked up or changed, I’m hands free!
Haaka breast pump: As I wrote in my pumping blog, the fancy electric model I bought didn’t work very well for me. What did was the Haaka. It’s a suction pump, and I could collect more, hands free, while feeding, than I ever did with the electric. The basic model only cost me €13 and after umming and ahhing about it I just figured it was worth a try… then I wished I’d bought it way sooner!
Steriliser: This was another thing I swore I didn’t need. If breastfeeding, I read, it’s not really necessary to have one. And that’s very true, unless you’re also pumping. And then it’s absolutely essential. I boiled a pot of water only once before realising it was going to be tedium I didn’t need. Enter the steriliser, another hand-me down from a friend.
Fox night light: I know that babies can (and should) sleep in a dark room, but let’s be clear, the night light is not for Sam, it’s for me – so that I can see him during the night and navigate my way around without blinding him into wakefulness. The fox is rechargeable, lasts all night without being plugged in, has multiple colours to choose from and a handy remote control. As an added bonus, it has a mode where it changes colour, and it turns out this provides great entertainment for a newborn, marvelling at the light and colour transitions.
High chair newborn attachment: We actually have the attachment on loan from friends, but we bought the Hauk high chair so we could use it. At first I was sceptical. It was not necessary. Baby doesn’t need to be at the table when he’s so young. What’s wrong with the floor? But I was proven wrong again – it was well worth it. He loves being involved in the meal, even though he’s not eating with us yet, and we love having him right there with us.
Leak-proof water bottle: The amount of water I consume breastfeeding is astounding. Especially in the night. I wake up to a crying baby, scrambling to remove him from his sleep sack as quickly as possible and realise I’m absolutely parched. A leak-proof drink bottle means I can just grab it and throw it into the bed as I’m grabbing him, and drink while feeding, without worrying about water leaking on the bed.
Basic bin: Nappy bins are highly contested products. Some people recommend a normal bin that is emptied often, others swear by a custom-designed bin. We went for the simple option in the end. It’s not too big, not too small, with a good seal and a handle to carry. Things might change when the nappies start smelling worse but for now we’re happy.
Small muslin squares: These are on every essential baby list, but they’re worth a mention. You could easily just buy fabric and cut it up, but we found some online we liked and ended up buying two lots (cause 18 was not enough). They are dotted around the house, on the bouncer, on the couch, in the high chair… and we use them for everything from washing him, wiping his face, drying his bum, protecting yourself form the rocket during changes, and cleaning up drool.