When I was pregnant I remember receiving some emails saying “What you need to buy for your baby” or “Baby essentials” or “Must have baby products”. As a first-time mum, I had absolutely no clue what I really needed and I always read with curiosity what came through my inbox. Luckily I’m not an impulsive buyer at all and therefore that saved me from a lot of silly purchases I guess!
Okay, I know, that was a long time ago . . . but fast forward 7 years later I see the same problem within my clients as well.
What are the must-have products for my baby?
The million dollar question right? I will briefly start with my own experience . . .
I think I panicked when it was time to pack the hospital bag. Again lists and lists of things you need to prepare on your bag and you feel you need to have them all. I would say pack the essentials. In the UK you don’t stay in a hospital for many days anyway as in Italy for example.
Snacks? Magazine? Sorry, but who has the time or need to eat or read when you are in pain during labour?
Body creams? I had a very quick shower just to “recover” but I didn’t feel that it was the right place to moisturise my skin . . . I would rather recommend having in your toiletry bag a nipple cream or a haemorrhoid cream! Yes, your bum will probably need more attention than your skin 😉
On my website, you can download a checklist with the basics for your hospital bag if you ever need it.
Anyway, that was just the start! Then, of course, you feel overwhelmed by all the things that society and brands make you feel you need.
Please believe me when I say you really need so little for your baby.
1- The most mentioned was a sling/baby carrier. I’m not recommending any particular type or brand here but a baby carrier/sling will keep your baby safely closed to you, will keep her/him calm and your hands will be free! There are places in London where you can try different types, you can rent them as well to see which one is the best fit for you and your baby. I really recommend Wear my Baby in Tooting, the lovely Hannah will be happy to help you find the perfect one for you!
2- Buggy/Pram. Again you need to try and see what’s comfortable for you. I don’t think there is the best pram and especially don’t get what’s fashionable. I would say in London you need something small, light and easy to fold. In my experience, a pram was a really essential item! I never use a baby carrier, I went out to get my daughter to sleep and it was perfect as she could stay there once back home. Or went out for chores and shopping so having the pram stuffed of things instead of carrying bags myself was so great and I really missed it when Amy didn’t want the pram anymore!! Or went out to be social (definitely far less than the shopping trips!!) and again having the baby sleeping on the pram was super useful. Well . . . least when she slept! But Amy liked to be social as well 🙂 What I personally used was the Baby Oyster and loved it, of course for the first few months I used the carrycot. I found it was smaller than others and easy to use.
3- Muslins, lots and lots of them 🙂 They will be your everyday best friend that can have multiple uses. Will save your top during burp time, will clean up fluids of different types, can be used as an extra layer, like a receiving blanket, as an underneath layer. The nice big muslins can be used to swaddle baby. Definitely, an item to always have handy. The aden +anais are a bit expensive but soft and have nice patterns you can choose from. I would suggest a few nice ones when you are out and about and then you need lots for home, check out these ones!
4- Co-sleeping cot/crib. I personally had a Moses basket that a friend kindly passed to me. I wouldn’t buy one as the baby will grow out there very quickly. Apparently, these cribs that are attached to your bed are quite popular and pretty useful. There are different brands and model on the market so search the best option for you. This is a best seller on Amazon.
5- Sleeping-bags are very useful to keep baby warm at night. I used to buy them from Merino Kids when Amy was little. They were super warm, soft and so lightweight. The best thing about this is that the baby can move and kick but the blanket will stay on!
6. Baby Bouncer or similar apparently are quite useful to get some quiet time. They were mentioned quite a lot on my little survey.
Some mums said it’s a life saver 😉
Some others said it was just a waste of money . . . let you decide 🙂
I personally didn’t have one. To have a little break, I used to put Amy on the little forest gym mat, with the lights and music. Normally that would keep her calm for a bit, the time you can go to the toilet or do some quick little chores.
7. Sudocream for those red bums. I remember I used it a lot together with vaseline as well. I would highly recommend using NomNom baby butter for the same purpose and more. It wasn’t around when my daughter was little but I used it on several occasions afterwards to soothe her skin, the face especially. She calls it the magic cream 😉 True story!
8. White noise. I always use white noise during my sessions as they keep babies calm, especially in the early days!! This one is what I used in the studio and all parents love it too! When my daughter was little my husband went out on the street to recond car noise during a rainy day as that’s what she was liked we found out 😉 No, we didn’t have any apps back then, but you can download lots of different white noise apps now and there are so many different noises as well. Or you can buy a little white noise machine and I can assure a lot of my clients after seeing the use during a newborn session buy the shusher machine 😉
My list stops here. As I mentioned at the beginning babies do not need many things and these are probably the ones you most need ( of course I didn’t take into consideration bottles or steriliser or dummies if you are not breastfeeding – but that’s kind of essentials like nappies right? And it would open up another whole discussion on what type of bottles are best…) I bet there are some mums that think these are already too many or not all necessary. And again some others that will feel a lot is missing from here 🙂
I’d love to hear your opinion and read your feedback and experience in the comments below.
Of course, as a London newborn photographer and as a mum I would also add that newborn photos are something unique, definitely not essential, but in the long run the most worthy expense! You might use a pram or a cot for a few years but you will have photos for a lifetime and for generations.
If you are interested in newborn photography you can have a look at my portfolio.
What do other mums suggest?
In general, one of the most common observation was not spending too much money on everything. There are so many Facebook mums group in every area and you can find some great second-hand stuff there.
A few more tips:
- Don’t buy too many nappies in bulk at the beginning as baby grows out quickly
- Don’t spend a lot on clothes especially if you have lots of friends and family! It’s the most gifted item so you will get loads and baby will outgrow quickly anyway. You will end up with new clothes with a label on that won’t fit anymore.
- Don’t spend money on nappy bins, they stink anyway. Just place the nappy in the nappy bags and take out the rubbish daily. Problem solved!
- Get soon a baby nail scissor for those sharp nails, yes they are long already at birth!
- Nipple shields can be a saver for mum early days!
- If you are breastfeeding you can rent an electric pump from the hospital
- Comfy cotton pants and pads for mums
- Get plenty of pre-homemade (or not) meals in the freezer for the emergency days!
And an important thing before all these products . . . TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Looking forward to hearing your voice on this!