This week we look at essential baby equipment. There is so much out there and so many 'must have' items for new parents to choose from! With so much choice it's easy to fill the house with things that hardly ever get used, so I asked my clients to tell me about their top 10 essential baby items which are worth their weight in gold!
Baby Carrier/ Wrap
Baby wearing is THE way to get out and about with your little one, from birth right the way through toddler-hood. It's easy to see why with the soothing benefits of keeping your baby close as well as the convenience of not having to worry about negotiating steps and narrow doorways with a push chair.
Slings are also convenient for discreet breastfeeding and give your child the warmth and security of being held close to you. There are a huge range of baby slings and carriers on the market, so it's best to get some advice before buying. In Salisbury we are lucky enough to have the brilliant Slingtastic at Wilton Shopping Village, where Sarah is on hand to offer advice on choosing the perfect sling or carrier. Another wonderful resource is the Salisbury Sling Library which enables parents to try out and borrow different carriers and slings, a great idea before investing in one of your own.
When you little one starts on solids mealtimes are guaranteed to get messy! Some decent bibs are essential to avoid having to wash their entire outfit (and possibly yours too) after every meal. While cloth bibs are fine for younger babies, many mums choose more substantial and waterproof plastic bibs once solids are introduced.
Muslin Cloths and Wipes
Once again on the theme of cleaning up/ preventing mess, nearly everyone I asked listed muslin cloths and/ or wipes as near the top of their baby essentials list. In fact, you will probably end up keeping them in the house long after your children have passed the baby stage, as their just so darn handy! Muslin cloths have 1001 uses from burp cloth, to emergency sunshade, to summer swaddle. And of course they are essential for games of peek-a-boo!
Plain white muslins do the job, but I love these cheerful patterns from Jo Jo Maman Bebe.
Baby Bouncers and Rockers
I must admit I didn't use a bouncy chair much with my firstborn; he loved to be carried around and cried as soon as I put him in it! However, as he got older it was brilliant to be able to sit him in it in the bathroom while I took a shower. I used it far more with my second child, as he was content to sit and watch what was going on around him. Several people included a bouncy chair on their essentials list, but several felt that a more basic model, as long as it has an adjustable back so it can be more upright as your baby grows, was more useful than one with lots of complicated attachments and toys. They also vary hugely in price from around £40 for a basic model to
nearer £200 for all the bells and whistles.
Sophie la Giraffe
Amazingly, I think around 80% of my sitting session babies arrive clutching a Sophie La Giraffe! But did you know that she is over 50 years old and hasn't changed a bit? This teething toy is hugely popular and it's easy to see why, with its safe food grade paint and plastic and lots of easily chewable legs, making it safe for your little teether to gnaw on to their hearts content. The neutral, retro styling is also appearing to parents, in contrast to many of the brightly coloured plastic toys (and she looks great in photos too!). Of course, as with any teething toy, it's important to clean Sophie regularly to avoid mould or germs that could be harmful to your baby. Check out the official Sophie la Giraffe website for cleaning tips and all things Sophie!
Sleeping Bags and Swaddles
Swaddles can work wonders to help babies feel secure and settled early on (that's why I wrap babies in the studio). Once they are a little older, sleeping bags have revolutionised how parents put their babies to bed for the last decade. No more fiddling about with layers of sheets and blankets, only for them to be kicked off by little legs during the night. Sleeping bags are available in different tog values too, so it's much easier to ensure your baby stays at the right temperature all year round. An added bonus is that your baby can be fed and settled while wearing their sleeping bag, making it much easier to transfer them to their cot.
I loved the original GroBags I used when mine were little, but there are many sleeping bag brands available for every budget. Definitely an essential buy!
Most parents make use of wipes of some kind. They're just so great for cleaning up mucky hands and faces as well as a host of other uses. However, they can cause rashes and soreness for some, especially newborns with sensitive skin. When I asked clients for ideas for this blog, someone introduced me to an amazing product I never knew existed - Cheeky Wipes. These are reusable, washable cotton wipes which are kind to babies skin and better for the environment too! The kit comes complete with wipes, clean and mucky wipe containers, mesh bags for machine washing and essential oils for a lovely fresh smell. Pop over to the Cheeky Wipes website for more information.
While in the womb babies are used to hearing all sorts of noises both from the outside world and from inside their mother. Babies seem to find continuous 'white' noise soothing and it helps prevent them being startled by sudden loud noises. When my two were little the sound of our hairdryer used to send them straight to sleep! I use white noise or womb like sounds in the studio to help babies fall asleep and there are many free apps that can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet. There are also lots of baby products which use white noise to help settle your baby. One product I hear mentioned a lot by parents is Ewan the Sheep, pictured below. He is rather cute!
A Boppy Pillow or similar has lots of uses from pregnancy, through the newborn stage and beyond. I used mine as a sleeping support when pregnant and then as a breast feeding pillow. Once baby arrives it can be used to prop them up for tummy time or as they learn to sit. Even toddlers love to sit in them!
Newborn Bath Support
Baby baths can be bulky and a nuisance to full up jugs of water. A practical alternative is a newborn bath support, or bath seat which can be used in your adult bath. in an adult bath is more practical. The are lots on the market from soft fabric seats for newborns to more upright chairs for sitters. The one below is available from Mothercare and is suitable from birth. Using a bath seat for younger siblings means that they can be bathed along side their older brother or sister too.
Well that's it! I hope you've enjoyed this round up of of 10 essential baby items as suggested by my clients. If you have any more suggestions or information, please comment below!