I have a few friends who are blooming right now, flourishing in pregnancy during such confusing times. Not really knowing what’s ahead for their scans, birth plan and maternity leave. Antenatal classes, baby groups and introducing baby to the wider family, all in jeopardy.
But yet there is still so much to excitedly plan for. Albeit from your sofa, surfing the web for nursery essentials and joining online mum-to-be groups.
Which got me thinking of all those newborn ‘essentials’ we picked up during those Parent-to-be events or the Sunday’s spent strolling the busy baby aisles of John Lewis. Are they all as essential as we’d been led to believe? If we’d been solely left to shop online, would the loft currently resemble the Mamas and Papas stock room?
So, at the request of said friends, I’ve popped together my actual newborn essentials list… and a non essentials list too. Obviously this is just what worked for us, but hopefully it’ll prove helpful to one or two of you too.
Feeding Essentials – worth purchasing in advance of little ones arrival
1. Nipple shields. Yep, I’ve gone straight in with nip chat. If you would like to give breast feeding a go, or are still on the fence, I think these are a must. I only had a set because my best mate threw a box into my hospital bag. I had no clue what they were or how they worked but within an hour of Aces arrival they were a pretty integral part of getting him fed. Health visitors, midwives and breast feeding groups all differ in opinions, but delve a little deeper (on social media communities especially) and you’ll find these beauties can make all the difference in your feeding journey.
2. Bottles and steriliser. Again, even if you don’t know how you’d like to feed yet, get a few in. I’ve spoken about my short lived breastfeeding journey before, but if I hadn’t of had a few bottles at home on day 3, I’m pretty certain Ace would of ended up with dehydration. You don’t need to get a special steriliser straight away if you want to breastfeed, but pick up some Milton and clean and sterilise these bottles regularly before little one arrives. I didn’t- and doing those jobs for the first time with a screaming, hungry baby is not one bit of fun.
3. Formula. Treat yourself- start on premades. Yes they cost a lot more than powder but they make the first few days a doddle and some even come with a teat attached meaning point 2. can be scrapped. Remember to pop a few in your hospital bag, even if you want to breastfeed in case of emergencies. We were lucky enough to be given donor breastmilk in hospital, but you just never know what the situation may be.
4. Nursing bra. Nursing or not, these bad boys are comfy!! Who cares that I didn’t breastfeed, I wore these the whole way through my mat leave!! And treat yourself to a few nice button down pjs whilst your adding to your M&S basket 👍🏼
Feeding Non Essentials
1. Electric Breast pump. An expensive bit of kit- especially if you aren’t able or decide not to use it. Don’t get me wrong, I used mine, but I also hired a hospital grade pump direct from Medela which is actually more cost effective for short term use and was ideal for my situation. You can order these on online for next day delivery if you decided it’s a necessity for you.
2. Hakka Pump. Same goes here. Fantastic bit of kit, but a bit pointless if you can’t/ decide not to use it. Amazon Prime is a magical thing and one of these can be with you in a flash
1. A pack of dummies. I don’t care if you swear you’ll never ever use them- get a set just in case at 4am you need some silence. So you can sleep and so can baby. You might never need them, but for £7 I’d rather have them there in case I decide I do.
2. Baby grows/sleepsuits. They say babies sleep, eat, poop repeat. Well add in ‘get changed’ into that equation. I had lots of lovely outfits for Ace plus a couple of sleepsuits, and I only packed one in my hospital bag 🙈 Well that lasted less than an hour before he was in lost property clothes!! Babies go through clothes like we do before a big night out. And to hell with fiddling with adventurous stylish outfits 29 times a day- it’s easy sleepsuits all the way!!
3. Cellular blankets. I didn’t know what the heck one of these was until I was 38 weeks pregnant, but it’s the blanket with the square holes in. Safest for babies and can be doubled up on colder days/nights. Get a few of these too, I think you can imagine why.
Sleeping- Non Essentials
1. Sleepyhead. This £100 + nest was high up on my shopping list. I was so excited when it arrived and spent weeks admiring the different patterned covers. For Ace to hate it. Don’t get me wrong, in the first few weeks it was great as somewhere safe to put him downstairs but rather pricey for something so infrequently used. I know people who absolutely swear by them to get their baby to sleep, so perhaps wait and see what your baby likes before forking out.
2. Ewan the Sheep. Someone will definitely gift / pass one on. And in the meantime? Spotify white noise playlists are the bomb.
1. Muslin cloths. Get lots of soft, white ones for at home and treat yourself to something stylish from Etta Loves or Liewood. You’ll thank me when you don’t have to ruin your nice outfit by teaming with a white milky cloth on your shoulder on that first coffee out.
2. Hats/ bibs/ mittons. Buy them all. Didn’t have a clue that babies needed these but they always need a hat outside, they dribble milk (and drool) A LOT and scratch themselves crazy without mitts.
3. Outer clothing. Definitely didn’t win mum of the year taking my son out on a frosty October day without a cozy snowsuit. Autumn/Winter baby? Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
4. Play Mat and sensory ‘toys’. Yes you won’t need these for the first few weeks, but I could believe how quickly Ace was ready to do tummy time, engage with black and white books and try to reach for hanging toys. If I had our time again, I would of bought our Totter and Tumble Mat straight away. Yes it’s pricey, but it’s an investment piece.
And for Mum essentials?
1. Maternity pads. Oh the glamour. But in my opinion (and that of many others) get yourself some tena pants. Absolute lifesavers.
2. Fybogel. You’ll definitely thank me for this one. However you delivered, nothing is scarier than those first few trips to the loo I promise you.
3. Spritz for bits. Last of the down there talk I swear. This stuff should be the talk of the town. Section scars, tears, stitches- heck this stuff calms it all. My best ever buy- from My Expert Midwife.
4. Coffee, cake and batch cooked food. Scrap the nesting, get cooking in those final few weeks or sweetly ask those around you to help. Having a well balanced, nourishing meal will help you no end. And a slab of chocolate cake after won’t go a miss either. But to start your day the right wayA it’s all about that coffee kick from here on in.
And that’s it! I hope that’s helped some of you, to have a peek into what worked for us. But just follow your instincts and you can’t go wrong. Try and enjoy your pregnancy as best you can, and look forward to all those snuggles.