When I was pregnant, I couldn’t wait to start shopping for Little Bear. The longer the pregnancy went on, the harder it was not to casually saunter into Mothercare and buy one of everything. Part of me though, was anxious that I would somehow jinx the baby if I bought anything too soon, so I restrained myself until I was about 25 weeks pregnant. At which point, I bounced excitedly into the nearest baby shop…and got completely overwhelmed. There was so much stuff. I didn’t know what half of it was, never mind whether we needed it. Some things, like prams, I knew we definitely needed but I had no idea where to begin. Others, like nasal aspirators, looked frankly dangerous, and still others, like breast pads and maternity towels only served to remind me that I was going to have to squeeze a whole person out my fanjo. The whole thing suddenly became a bit less fun and a lot more scary. I looked up list after list online of what to buy for new babies, but because they were mostly produced by the shops that sold the items on the lists, they were extremely long (and expensive). In the end, we muddled through, but we did get a whole mess of crap we’ve never used or which was just a bit rubbish. So I thought that I’d help you out, my lovely online chums, and give you a wee list of things to not bother buying for your impending bundle of joy.
1. A moses basket. Ok, they’re very darling, and they do conjure up a picture of the perfect snoozing newborn like nothing else, but you don’t need one. They’re tiny (which is why they’re so cutely irresistible) and babies grow out of them in no time. Also, they’re narrow which makes some babies feel all cocooned and safe, but others feel trapped and hemmed in (looking at you my baby star fish!). As it’s neither safe nor practical to leave your baby to sleep on the ground, we went with a co-sleeper crib for LB (this one, to be precise.) It’s big enough to last her for the 6 months that NHS guidelines suggest she should be in our room, it’s wide enough for her to stretch, and it attaches to our bed so I don’t even have to sit up to feed her, I can just pull her towards me. Or, you know, flop an oh-my-god-it’ll-never-be-the-same-again boob over the side of it in the vague direction of LB’s face. The one upside of a moses basket is that they’re small enough to carry around the house to allow baby to sleep in the living room during the day. We used the carry cot from the pram. Same thing.
2. A baby bath. Again, they’re cute, but they’re small, which makes them a waste of money. We bought one after LB was born because I had had a C-Section and couldn’t bend over the big bath very easily, but by the time I was well enough to do so, I hadn’t given LB a single bath in the baby bath anyway, Papa Bear had done them all. If you use a baby bath you also have to fill it and then transport it, while full, to wherever you’re going to bath the baby. Water is heavy. And sloshy. You get me?
Just put baby in the big bath on a bath support. We have this one by Angelcare , which we really like. It supports LB comfortably in the bath and rules out the possibility of me accidentally letting go of her slippery little body in my sleep deprived stupor. Only issue for me is that it only comes in pink or blue and it really pisses me off when companies do that. Worth it though.
3. Clothes. Bear with me, I’m not suggesting you establish some kind of baby nudist colony in your living room, but believe me when I say you will get so much stuff for the baby from friends and relatives, and the majority of it will be clothes. So many clothes. So. Many. Some close relatives will probably buy you stuff before the baby even arrives, so wait until you’re around 30 weeks before you assess what you actually need to get. I would suggest getting quite a few vests, because they’re boring to buy and you probably won’t get many as gifts. Maybe buy around ten in case you get an explosive pooper like LB. Also maybe four sleep suits (2 in newborn size, 2 in 1 month). That’s it. Trust me. You’ll get given clothes. On the up side, because you’re only buying a few things, you can buy fancy schmancy ones. Next and John Lewis both do gorgeous baby clothes that are good quality and wash really well. If you’re using cloth nappies, John Lewis stock Frugi which are specifically cut for cloth and are bigger around the bum. You should note that JL, Frugi and Next sizing all comes up quite big.
LB has so many clothes that she probably won't get the chance to wear them all before they get too small.
4. Cotton Wool balls. Again, bear with me. Official advice suggests that you only use cotton wool and water to clean your baby’s glorious little bum for the first six weeks. Which is all very well, but trying to wipe away meconium (the sticky, tar-like stuff the first few poos are made of) with cotton wool will result in wisps of cotton wool sticking to your child and making her look like she’s been tarred and feathered. Not cool. Also, warming water and finding cotton wool every time your infant takes a shit for six weeks is a total pain. Use Water Wipes or Cheeky Wipes which you keep damp with water (and essential oils when baby is a bit older).
5. Baby toiletries. Most of them, the big name brand one (you know the one) especially, are full of unpronounceable chemical crap. I do realise that this makes me sound a bit hippyish (I promise, I’m really not. I eat McDonald’s all the time and I hardly ever recycle), but I feel that if you don’t know what it is, don’t rub it on your newborn. Babies don’t need to be washed in anything except water until they’re at least a month old. We were given so many products by aforementioned big baby company and they’re mostly in the attic. We still only really use water on LB, although she’s had the odd wee pamper with Burt’s Bees Baby Bee body wash. It smells lush, but honestly, nowhere near as nice as her own baby smell.
So there’s a wee list to be going on with – what about you? What did you buy that you wish you hadn’t? What did you buy that you couldn’t live without?