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Essential items for new mothers by Suzie

Monday, 14 July 2014  | 

My top 5 baby items

When you're buying things when you're pregnant, it seems like such a minefield. There's so much you need, but also so much variety with each item, with everybody giving you different advice about what to get. I was lucky and got many things from friends and family, but I thought I'd share the five things that I absolutely could not have lived without over the last ten weeks.

1) Aden & Anais muslin swaddles.

There is nothing you can't do with these and they are one of my most used items. I did initially use them to swaddle him and they are fabulous for that, but I also use them on top of his changing mat so he can lie and have a good kick about when we're out - lying on the floor is pretty much his favourite place to be and I have been known to put him on the floor in a restaurant while I'm having lunch (it might have scared the waiters a little bit!). I also use them as sun shades on the pram, blankets when it's warm and if there is nothing else available then to clean up baby sick...then they serve that purpose too - but they're really too pretty for that!

2) Tommy Tippee Perfect Prep machine.

When we moved from breastfeeding to bottle feeding full time, I quickly realised that making formula (particularly in the middle of the night) is a flipping nightmare! When you have a screaming baby who is used to having a nipple thrust in his mouth the moment he cries in the night, suddenly making him wait anything up to 15 minutes for us to make a bottle and cool it to the right temperature was not a popular move. This machine changed our lives. It makes a bottle fresh in 2 minutes. In combination with the little storage pots for formula powder, night feeds are now stress free. Worth every penny in my opinion!

3) A baby carrier that suits you perfectly

I was given a Baby Bjorn by a friend and for the first weeks of Millar being here, it was amazing. He fell straight to sleep in it and it meant I could get out of the house and walk the dog. I think he was 6 days old when I first took him in it! I'm getting quite into baby wearing now, and my only advice is be careful choosing a carrier - the one I had hangs the baby solely from your shoulders and even now Millar is starting to make my shoulders and back sore when he's in it. I've since borrowed a Manduca carrier from a sling library and am going to get one of these as it's so comfortable. It has a waist belt to place most of his weight on my hips which is much more comfortable and it also puts his back and hips in a more comfortable position for him so I feel happy to keep him in it for long periods of time. We went to watch the Tour de France last weekend and he was in it for nearly 4 hours perfectly happily. In the early days I also had a Moby wrap which was brilliant - I could do things around the house with him in it asleep. When your baby will only sleep in your arms, you do what you can!! I’d recommend going along to a sling library if there is one near you as you can try on lots of different types and see what suits you. But when they’re really tiny, you can’t go far wrong with a stretchy wrap – it gives you two hands again which is so useful!

4) A brightly coloured play mat

Millar doesn't like being put down very much - he doesn't like his bouncer and god forbid you should try to put him in his Moses basket! But he absolutely loves lying on his playmat and looking up at the dangly animals that hang down. While it might look a bit garish in your living room, I really recommend getting a really bright one. Our bouncer is neutral with pastel colours and he couldn't be less interested. But put a bright yellow giraffe, a bright blue monkey and a bright orange parrot in front of him and he's mesmerised. He also loves the mirror on it and stares fascinated for ages. He will lie content on this mat now for about twenty minutes, giving me a precious few minutes to quickly wash some bottles or gobble some lunch. It’s amazing what you can squeeze into twenty minutes when you have a newborn baby!

5) A really good changing bag that you love

I had no idea before having Millar that I would pretty much never need a handbag again. You just can't take a handbag as well as all the baby paraphernalia, so I just stick my purse and phone in my changing bag. This bag will go everywhere with you and needs to have lots of compartments and useful additions. I got mine from a friend and it's great - really practical and definitely one that my partner is happy to take with him if he goes out with Millar (which is something to consider). It has a couple of holders to keep bottles warm, as well as seemingly hundreds of little pockets and zips. For me though, something a little prettier would be lovely as it has to come everywhere with me for the foreseeable future, so I’d bear that in mind!