I don’t know about anyone else, but when I first saw those two pink lines last year, one of my first worries was “how the hell are we going to afford a baby?!?!!”. I mean think of all the ‘stuff’ they need! I think I did more mental arithmetic in the first week of finding out that we were expecting than I have done in my lifetime!
I am a natural born worrier, I worry before there is anything to worry about! No jokes, I had myself in a heap totting up the expense of everything we had to buy. To shine a bit of light for anyone who expecting at the moment who has the same concerns, I have decided to do a quick post on the things you can definitely skip buying for the first few weeks, and include some things that are worth the investment!
The Things You Can Skip!
- A baby monitor!! Now before I get private mails with people jumping down my throat on this one, I can conclude, unless you live in a mansion I can’t see how they are an initial necessity! Think about it, how long do you actually think your baby wont be glued to you for? Because I can guarantee….. 7 months into Ellie’s life and I can testify she is never out of my sight. The new born phase, they are beside you practically 24/7. If you progress in the following months into moving them into their own room, that is brilliant, but you will still be (hopefully) asleep while they are, albeit, in a room across the landing. A monitor beside you while you’re asleep isn’t much more reassuring than not having one; you’re hardly keeping yourself awake to be glued to it all night while baby sleeps are you? Unless you are a very heavy sleeper and need a monitor on full blast before you’d wake to hear a baby, I can’t see what the benefits are. Ellie only needs to sneeze from her cot and I wake up. Perhaps I am too relaxed, but I trust my own instincts more. I think if you have any concerns for your baby; any parent would physically go in to check on the child. It is only now that Ellie is starting to crawl that we are looking into buying a monitor to keep an eye on her during the day from room to room as she moves. So long story short, we defo didn’t see the need to buy one up until now. Again, each to their own and please don’t bash me for admitting we have never used one!
- A Moses basket. Ok this one is a bit iffy, as we actually did get one. They are lovely to have, and we got ours as part of a ‘baby bundle’; but given the option again, I’d forgo the Moses Basket and put the money towards a co-sleeper instead. The Moses Basket didn’t last very long before Ellie got too big for it, and I really kicked myself that we didn’t get a co-sleeper from the beginning, particularly as I breastfed. By the time Ellie grew out of the basket she was still small enough to fit into a side cot, but to be cost effective, it would have been a much better idea to have made the initial investment of approx. €180 and get the co-sleeper from word go! Your back and your sanity will be thankful to have baby safely beside you in bed without having to lift them in and out for feeds.
- A room thermometer. I think these are just total gimmicks! Use your own instincts! We get so caught up on technology telling us X, Y, and Z and forget that we can make judgements ourselves. Rule of thumb for us in our house is; if it feels a bit cool, the baby must feel it too, therefore check temp at the trunk of her body and add a layer. Same goes for when we feel it is warm, check temp by our hands and remove a layer!
- Electronic Nappy Bins……do I even need to explain this one?! Totally non essential and a waste of money! If you regularly change your bins there is no need for this.
- Wipe warmers….how the hell do people buy into these ?! If you are that worried about a cold wipe on your babies’ bum simply use your palms to take the chill out beforehand, simples!
- Nappy ointments. It always baffles me when I see parents come into the hospital guns blazing dying to start using lotions and potions on their baby! Majority of new-born’s have perfectly intact skin; there is no need for them to be smothered with Sudocream and such ointments from word go. As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” leave the skin alone! Water and cotton wool or Water Wipes are all you need until you run into problems. In time you may need to consider a mild barrier cream to prevent nappy redness. A baby that is only a few days old certainly shouldn’t need anything on their bottoms that early!
- Fancy pillows and elevated mattresses. A baby simply needs to sleep in a cot, on a mattress, with no pillows or cushioning around them , with a cellular blanket at the nipple line and feet touching the base of the cot; exactly as they are in the maternity hospital. SIDS guidelines stress ‘Back to Sleep’; and that simply means placing baby flat on their backs with nothing else. As lovely as some sleeping aids and mattresses are, keeping it simple is just as effective. I got caught up in the hype that I absolutely 100% haaaaaad to buy a lovely (but albeit overpriced) mattress that was €170.00 that would only last 4 months until I needed to change for the next sleeping aid mattress everyone raves about for the next stage up…..which was another €170.00 (approx). As lovely as these aids are, and despite the amount of research that goes into them, I do feel they are a little gimmicky. Give the simple approach a go first off; and go from there. Spending nearly €350.00 on the above is just lunacy to me!
Things not to skimp on and defo worth the investment!
- A durable breast pump! (only relevant for those to opt to BF obvs!) I spoke about my mistake of going ‘cheap and cheerful’ after Christmas when I purchased the Medela Mini breast pump. I thought I was super clever buying the cheapest one from their electric range for €99.00. I quickly learned that ‘if you buy cheap, you buy twice’, I got about 7 uses out of it before it packed in. I ended up bringing it back as milk got into the motor. I ended up exchanging it and made up the difference to upgrade to the Medela Swing (€200.00) which was defo worth the investment. Seven months on, I can say I am very happy with it and I use it every single week. Along with this, I would suggest buying the ‘Haaka’ hands free silicone pump. This cost approx €25 and makes the job of pumping 100 times easier, as while you pump (or if baby is latched) you can pop this contraption on the alternate boob to collect the milk that is usually wasted with your ‘let down’. Both work a treat together and basically halve the time that it takes to pump with a single pump!
- A good travel system. Again, be smart with this one. Some of the bigger brands are BEAUTIFUL and are the equivalent to a baby Ferrari, BUT they are hella expensive!! Take time and read up on some of the more reasonably priced prams and car seats which are just as safe and appealing to the eye. At the end of the day, they all do the same job of wheeling your little minion around and transporting them safely in the car. I couldn’t fault my ‘Beep Twist’ from Baby Elegance (my review is in my April blog posts). This travel system was part of a baby bundle for €1000.00 and I haven’t had any issues with it, I got it in the grey and it always gets complimented when out and about.
- A big steam sterilizer. As handy as the little microwave bag sterilizers can be; they don’t hold much. I love my Tommee Tippee electric steam sterilizer which holds heaps of bottles, teets, attachments and soothers. Especially in the early days when you need to use it daily; it is so handy to just pop it on in the morning and have everything you need for the day ahead ready at the same time.
- Water Wipes……I feel this point links back to the nappy ointment one! I cannot get my head around parents bulk buying wipes that are PACKED with chemicals which inevitably may cause the irritation they expect to tackle (hence being prepared buying all the lotions and potions!). Water Wipes (although a bit pricier than other wipes on the market) are so worth stocking up on. As they are the purest wipe you can get that are safe to use from new born; they cause zero irritation. The little extra you pay for the reassurance that there are no nasties in them that may upset babies’ skin saves on the added expense of buying nappy ointments and powders. I have only ever used them on Ellie and she has never had a red or sore bum. Defo worth it from my experience!
- A good feeding pillow. Regardless of breast or bottle feeding, your arms and your back will be thankful for a pillow that ‘hugs’ baby and supports your arms and posture while feeding. I bought a DreamGenii pillow mid pregnancy to help with my pelvic discomfort. It cost approx. €40 and doubled up as a great breastfeeding pillow once I had Ellie. Seven months on and I still use it everyday with her, and overall I have it a year and was well worth the purchase!
In essence, once your baby has food in their belly, clothes on their back, a clean bum, somewhere safe to sleep and heaps of love, you’re winning. Try not to panic with buying EVERYTHING before baby arrives. The basics do for the first few weeks and then gradually you will get a feel for what you may like to add. I will do a similar post soon on what I feel are necessities at this stage of Ellie’s life at 7 months old (i.e things for weaning and sensory stimulating toys etc).
The prospect of having a new baby and the expense that comes with it can be very overwhelming, so just remember to be a little voice of reason to your inner impulse buyer! It is also worth bouncing your ideas of what you think you need with someone who had a baby many moons ago! I often found my own Mother highlighting how ridiculous some of the things were that I was nearly sucked into buying! “You didn’t need that and you were never worse off for it!” was often reiterated!
Happy shopping and enjoy the baby prep! Shop smarter not harder 🙂