My friend thinks that like the wedding industry with all its charm, the baby product industry is such a danger zone – particularly for first-time mums. I have to agree. Everything is so bright and shiny and perfect. And the gorgeous photos of the products. Lets not even talk about the little baby clothes too: everything is cuter in baby size. But then you fall for it, buy everything and realIse two things (i) you know longer have space in your home and (ii) you actually didn’t use or need half.
But I was aware of this trap and tried to avoid falling in. So first, I didn’t start shopping too early. Because once you start, it’s hard to stop. Second I was armed with an excel spreadsheet and detailed list. Finally, I read reviews and relied on first-hand information – a lot of which was so helpful.
I’ve often shared my thoughts on products via Instagram. People have agreed with me saying “we’re product twins!”, some have gone off to purchase the items and some have asked for more info!
As much as I tried, not all items were perfect or worked for us. I’ll share that in a later post, but for now, these are the essential items Tee and I both agree we generally loved these and they made baby sleeping, bathing and nappy changing and moving around with baby – a little easier.
One of the first items I decided I wanted was a crib that allowed baby sleep in his own cot but attached to our bed. It seemed so appealing: the idea that he could be so close almost like we were co-sleeping but not. Not having the leave my bed for midnight feeds that are inevitable in those early stages clearly sold me. However, I wasn’t perfectly happy with the initial brand I considered. Until someone mentioned the SnuzPod to me. And I was sold for a number of reasons.
Ok, aesthetics aside, one of the major selling points for the Snuz as well was that it’s marketed as a 3 in 1: a next-to-me crib, separate crib on its own when zipped up and more importantly it had a lift-off bassinet that you could use separately – perhaps at daytime in other parts of the house. This last bit was important to avoid buying a Moses basket. However, we found that it was rather heavy to lift off the separate bassinet and take down the stairs often. So we actually never did this. Ours was the Snuz Pod 2, but there’s now a new model – the Snuz Pod 3 with a much lighter lift-off bassinet. So that should help a lot! You can use the SnuzPod up to six months, but we’ve stretched ours well into the 7th month. So yeah, good value.
In this post about my mother-in-law living with me, I talked about her initial view of the bath support as opposed to her method of bathing a newborn. This Angelcare bath support was fab. When we returned home from the hospital a week later, my mum was sceptical to use it on a newborn. But it went very smoothly and I cannot recommend it enough. Essentially all you have to do is place the baby on the bath support which is made of soft material and so baby friendly. How you choose to bath depends on your preference. Some fill in the bathtub to the required level, but I simply used a basin and little bowl to scoop the water and pour over his body. The only thing to note is that might get little tricky to turn the baby over to get clean the back and bum, so you should be careful. Bath time was a breeze with this and he loved this; slept off almost every time while having a bath.
The bath support takes very little space and comes in lovely colours like pink, blue, grey and most recently red. It’s advised to use up to 6 months (with a max weight of 14kg) and to discontinue once baby can sit unaided. But my friend with an older baby mentioned that she had continued to use it past six months as her son still chose to lay back during bath time. I find that to be my experience too, almost 8 months of using this. Probably not a big deal, but I also loved that it seemed to made in Barbados – I loved Barbados!
I know some mamas say changing tables are unnecessary but honestly, I’m not sure how I’d have coped without one – we loved it. While it’s easy to change a diaper on the floor or a bed, the height of a changing table helps for a smoother change and doesn’t quite hurt your back as well. Also, it’s very tidy and helpful to have all changing items close to the changing table: the nappy cream, diaper disposal bag, wipes and new diapers. And I find changing tables the most helpful when I have to deal with explosive poos – wouldn’t want to take a risk with getting that on the bed or floor. While it’s a necessity, it’s really not one you need to splurge on. The IKEA Gulliver worked well for us.
That said, I still had an extra set nappy change essentials and a baby changing mat, by my bedside table for middle-of-the-night changes that occurred occasionally. We also put up some colourful wall murals by our changing table, so during nappy change, there was something attractive for the kid to look at.
After sharing this on Instagram stories recently, I was trying to explain this to someone and she seemed perplexed. I totally understood because I recall how Tee and I stood in the middle of the baby shop at our first appointment trying to figure out what the heck an Isofix was! But it’s really a game changer.
Essentially with the typical car seat, you’d have to use the actual seat belt in a car to strap the baby in. And that could get clumsy (although I hear when you become an expert it’s easy breezy). An Isofix takes out all of that stress. It’s a base on which the car seat is placed on and clicks into it. It’s very easy to fix and a green light comes on when it’s placed well. It reduces the risk of the seat belt not being placed correctly. Different car seats would ideally have their own Isofix. We have a Cybex car seat and so a Cybex Isofix as well. It’s a relatively new technology so although many European cars from 2001 may have it, it seems more US cars got on from 2007 – and their typical fashion of common British English words Americans say differently, they call it ‘Latch’. My car isn’t Isofix compatible so on the rare occasion I drive the family, we use the typical seatbelt method.
What new-baby essentials do you absolutely recommend?