Newborn essentials

Hello again!

It feels like a long time since I’ve actually sat down to write something for my blog and I’m excited to get it up and running again.

I mentioned on my Instagram stories that I’d written a list of everything we were planning to get for baby number two & I know that a lot of you wanted me to share so here it is! I’ll also include the bits that I would consider to be important newborn essentials that we already have from when Sassy was born – hopefully to give even first time parents a comprehensive list to follow that should cover all bases.

I remember being so overwhelmed when pregnant with Saskia, feeling completely overwhelmed by the sheer amount that was needed and, more than anything, the cost of it all! So I’m going to try and split it up into things you definitely need and things I just want to buy this time around. I’m going to leave out anything to do with the nursery and decorating – as what you need is pretty self explanatory and also completely down to the space and vision you have but I shall try my best to include everything else along with a few anecdotes from my own experiences. Now to throw myself back into those newborn early days…

*probably worth mentioning that any products I’ve mentioned are purely because I love them and that I haven’t worked with any brands on this post*

THE LIST

Clothing

Let’s start with arguably the most exciting part of expecting a baby and the thing that I was/am most keen to shop for!

It’s a fair observation to say that when I was pregnant with Saskia, between my mum and myself we went completely overboard on clothes. I didn’t know it was possible but we had toooo many – when thinking about the amount of clothes you need, don’t just think about how quickly the baby grows but think about having to sort and store the mountains of clothes for future babies (of your own or other people’s!) It’s a mission! Having been so “prepared” also meant that once Saskia arrived, I didn’t have any room or need to go shopping for her which I would have quite liked to do!

It’s also worth noting that you really have no idea how big your baby is going to be and therefore what size clothes you should be buying. I was told the whole way through my pregnancy that Saskia was going to be a large baby (9lb +), only to be told at 39 weeks that my bump was too small & they were worried about her growth – estimating her to be under 5lbs and leading me to be induced. She was actually a very healthy 6lbs8oz but it did mean that none of the up to 1mnth sleepsuits I’d been buying were anywhere close to fitting her & she lived in her Uncle and Aunty’s tiny baby sleepsuits for the first week or so.

With all that in mind, here’s what we’ll be buying for baby boy:

– 1x pack of white sleepsuits in first size (usually up to 7.5lbs but varies depending on shop)

– 1x pack of white sleepsuits in up to 1mnth (again usually up to 10lbs but varies)

– 1x pack of white vests/bodysuits in first size

– 1x pack of white vests/bodysuits in up to 1mnth

Who doesn’t love a baby in a white? I certainly do & plan to make the most of the days when things don’t get stained by strawberries and colouring pens 10 minutes into being dressed for the day. Depending on which shops you go to, you can usually find packs of between 3 and 6 sleepsuits for very reasonable prices meaning that you haven’t wasted too much money on sleepsuits/vest that will never be born if you birth a deliciously chunky bubba! These will tide you through until you can go on a lovely little shopping trip, baby in toe, much more informed on the size clothes you’ll be needing and your little one’s personality.

Given the time of year he’ll be born (late November), I have a few other essentials on my list:

– 2/3 knitted cardigans probably in up to 1mnth as it doesn’t matter if these are a little roomy to begin with but I remember with Saskia that, especially if they’re chunky, if they’re too big they can be really hard to get on and off

– 1x bobble hat

– 2x bonnet or other kind of hats

– 1x pair mittens, preferably on a string because they have a habit of popping off. Although having a piece of string that close to a newborn does worry me slightly! *Please never leave your baby unattended with mittens on a string or hair bows etc*

warm socks I bought lots of booties for Sask and never used them. Booties don’t stay on and quite frankly look a bit silly when they’re so tiny (in my opinion!) so I’m just going to get a few pairs of thick socks to keep his little toes warm

So there we have it, my little clothes shopping list for the first few weeks/month with baby boy.

Saying this – I have picked up a few little outfits that I just couldn’t resist. Either in first size or up to 1mnth depending on what they are! Don’t deprive yourself ladies (& men!)

Bedtime

Let me start by saying you will 100% NOT regret getting a Sleepyhead or something similar. It’s by far my favourite thing we got when we had Saskia. We didn’t have one for the first few days which was fine. We survived. But we only have a very small house and didn’t have a Moses basket so really struggled with where to “put her” when we didn’t want to leave her and something needed to be done. Of course, there’s always baby wearing which is equally as great but having the Sleepyhead meant that we could put her next to us on the sofa whilst we cuddled up and watched a film (Lord of the Rings – all of them, if you’re interested) and know that she was safe. It was also great to take around with us as she was so settled in it wherever we went. We took it to grandparents, restaurants and even South Africa* meaning she always had somewhere safe to rest. Then as they get bigger, you can attach toys to them for entertainment and even use them in the cot etc when they start going down in their own room as a little extra comfort and safety precaution. I think we used ours right up until she was six or seven months old. It was also great because we went for the Chicco Next-to-me crib, which is MASSIVE and it meant she was a bit more enclosed and felt a bit safer.

*side note: we took Saskia to South Africa when she was just under 8 weeks old so if anyone wants to hear about or needs any tips for travelling long haul with a newborn then send me a message! Always happy to help!

Would I recommend the Chicco Next-to-me? If I’m honest, probably not. It’s huge and, yes, it folds down for “travel” but honestly it’s such a faff I’m not sure it’s really worth it. I don’t know if it’s because I didn’t breastfeed, so every time Squish woke up I’d need to get up anyway, but I just found it quite annoying. It’s also not very pretty! We’ll probably be using it again this time but I’m honestly dreading getting it out of the loft.

Other than a Sleepyhead, my other bedtime essentials and things we’ll be buying/repurchasing this time around are:

– 2x sleeping bags. I still have no idea about togs and things so I need to do my research but Saskia hated being swaddled so she went into a sleeping bag pretty much straight away. You’ll need at least two, especially if you don’t have a tumble drier!

– 1x cellular blanket (probably more because they’re just so cute.) Cellular blankets are my preferred type of blanket just because the holes in them make them a lot safer and less likely to smother baby

– Sleepyhead (or your chosen baby pod) spare cover – for the same reason as needing at least two sleeping bags. One word… vomit. Bleguh. Although you’ll be pleased to know that even as someone completely phobic of the stuff in general, baby vomit isn’t that hard to deal with

muslins. Hundreds of muslins. (Not strictly bedtime related but more all-the-time related) I’ve bought a couple of nice ones but most of the ones we’ll be using are from when we had Saskia and just Mothercare multipacks. At the end of the day, they’ll all be covered in sick because that’s what they’re used for. Oh and of course, as that all important new-mum fashion accessory!

There are a lot of white noise machines out there, all with amazing reviews, but we never found the need for one with Sassy and so I don’t think we’ll be getting one this time round either. Maybe I’ll be eating my words when it turns out Saskia was just an incredibly angelic baby and amazing sleeper but I wouldn’t class them as an essential at all & must say, I think they’re all pretty ugly…

Bath time

Did you know that babies don’t actually need bathing for the first week of their lives? It’s good for all the oils etc to be absorbed back into their body before you bath them for the first time. I have the funniest photo of Saskia’s first bath, I’ll see if I can find it. You also don’t need to bath them in anything more than water (& a very mild soap if you so choose) for a good while. I love to use Child’s Farm newborn shampoo on my big baby so will probably use the same for this little one but everyone has their own preferences.

Anywhooooo, on with the bath time shopping list:

– baby bath – and I’m talking one of these proper, free-standing baby baths with a built in seat. (I love the look of the Shnuggle one!) With Saskia we just had one of those seats that sits in the bath but I love the idea of being able to get Saskia involved with bathing this one, either in the bath or elsewhere in the house so I think a proper baby bath will be perfect. I found the bath seat so slippery and as she wasn’t heavy enough she used to float up out of it! Not ideal and definitely not very safe!

– 1x soft sponge (to be replaced regularly)

– 1x bath towel. It depends how often you’re going to be bathing your baby but I think one is enough

– 1x changing mat for the bathroom. Honestly, put a changing mat in every room you spend a lot of time in, it will make your life so much easier!

Weleda Calendula cream is the best BY FAR for nappy rash (from our experience but I’m sure each baby is different!)

Fun fact but instead of using baby nail scissors (which I found way too scary) I used to bite Saskia’s nails whilst she was sleeping and it worked just as well! Also, depending how much hair your baby has, it can be nice to have a super soft hair brush but be careful not to brush it too much as it can encourage it to fall out!

Feeding

This section will probably only be helpful for bottle feeding mamas as I have only the teeniest amount of breastfeeding experience and won’t be doing it at all this time around.

*disclaimer: I think people who breastfeed are absolutely great and am by no means encouraging anyone to exclusively bottle feed but you’ve got to do what’s right for you and not let anyone’s judgement affect your mental health and wellbeing!*

*P.S. a lot of people view bottle feeding as the easy option and let me tell you this much, it’s bloody hard! Maybe not physically or emotionally but logistically. Plus the constant worry that you’ve poisoned your baby by not adding your formula to the correct temperature of water and the fact that it’s SO EXPENSIVE… I’m not going to turn this into a breast v bottle debate though because, quite frankly – you feed your baby your way, I’ll feed my baby my way and I couldn’t care less which way you choose. Not meaning to sound rude, I just think it’s none of anyone’s business.*

– Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine. I cannot state this enough – this will be your best friend. Back in early 2017 we were told that these machines were the devil, I genuinely used to hide mine from the health visitor, but oh my god, the difference they make. Just buy one. Totally worth the money. No longer having to pre-empt a feed an hour before your baby needs one so that the water can cool down enough is a GOD SEND. I think I love this machine more than I love my husband. Also worth noting that they’re viewed as perfectly fine to use again, as long as you clean them properly (which is just common sense, right?!)

– 8x bottles. We’ll be going for MAM bottles this time as they’re able to be sterilised in the microwave with no extra equipment which is amazing, especially when you’ve only got a teeny galley kitchen like us as it means you don’t have to find somewhere to store a massive great steriliser! We used the Tommee Tippee bottles with Saski and they were fine but we did find they gave her a little bit of colic. Again though, it’s up to yours and baby’s own preference. I say eight just because that’s how many bottles we had with Saskia and it seemed to work well.

I’m going to have to do some more research about which formula we’ll be using as I know some recipes have changed recently but I will let you know when we’ve decided. If anyone has any tips/opinions on the formulas around at the moment, please let me know! It’s a bit like nappies, everyone has their own faves! (Lidl nappies are the best by the way… don’t waste your money on Pampers. Seb and I could have afforded an extra holiday on the money we would have saved not buying Pampers! I am quite curious about trying cloth nappies with this bubba though…)

Out and about

– In the early days it’s great to have a stash of those ready made formula bottles. They’re teeny tiny so bubba will soon grow out of them but they’re superb as they’re pre-sterilised and super easy to take about.

– 2x bottle insulators

– 4x formula pots (at least 4! Depending how often you’re out and about and how long for)

– 1x changing bag. You can get really gorgeous, practical ones from Amazon for a fraction of the price of shop ones. The one we’re currently using has lasted at least 6 months now with no sign of breaking and only cost us approximately £20

– sling/baby carrier. Once baby is bigger & for long walks I would 100% recommend the Ergo 360 baby carrier but this time round I’m really keen to try a baby wrap for when we’re doing jobs around the house or making a quick journey.

For the home

– I’ve already mentioned it but a changing mat in every room will save you so much time and energy. Also, either a portable nappy/wipes caddy or somewhere to store wipes/nappies in every room you have a changing mat in

– you won’t need these right away but it’s always worth keeping an eye out for a second-hand tummy time/activity mat or one that you can get in the sale. These are so expensive to buy new for short amount of time you need them for

In all honesty, there’s not a lot you need in the house in the first few weeks, maybe even months, that I haven’t already covered. You’ll soon get to know your baby and your space more and think about what they need as they get bigger. Don’t put pressure on yourself to keep up with the latest gadgets and purchase something just because it seems like everyone else has bought it for their little one. I remember when Saskia was about six months old I was on the verge of a breakdown because it seemed like everyone and their cousins had a Jumparoo. I felt like a terrible mother because I couldn’t afford to get Saskia one and it wouldn’t fit in our house, even if I could! I don’t think Saskia remembers that I didn’t buy her one. She probably doesn’t even remember they exist but I honestly made myself ill worrying about it. Pointless! A happy mummy is much more important than any baby gadget. It’s so important to be kind to yourself, especially in the early days (& yup, I’d definitely say six months is still the early days. I reckon things have only just started to settle down since she’s been two.. and now we’re going to have another!!)

For me

This is the hard part as I’m notoriously bad at thinking about myself and I’m reluctant to think about myself this time as well. But if I have to write about my essentials for the first couple of weeks, here they are:

– BIG (and I mean MASSIVE), HIGH WAISTED, COMFY knickers. M&S do a great pack. Stock up. I still wear mine now if I’m having a bad day because they’re like a big hug & trust me, you will not be wanting to wear anything tight down there for a good few weeks

– maternity pads. DUH. Although I moved onto ordinary sanitary towels pretty quickly. They just feel more hygienic

– breast pads. This is going to sound absolutely daft but, first time round, I didn’t realise that your boobs leak even if you’re not breastfeeding

– ice packs for your boobs. Like those bump packs you put in the fridge because man, are your boobs going to make you want to die when your milk comes in. Sore is not the word!

I recently stumbled across a post on Facebook all about aiding post-partum recovery and there were quite a few ideas listed that I’ll list again here but please be aware that I haven’t tried these and am not sure how medically recommended they are:

– Lavender oil in your bath (once you’re allowed to bath)

– arnica tablets

– witch hazel on your pads helps with tenderness apparently

– spritz for bits. I’ve seen this advertised a fair bit on the gram and am definitely curious about it!

Non-essentials that I can’t resist this time round

– Moses basket. They grow out of them so quickly but we didn’t have one for Saskia and I’m desperate for one this time round

– sheepskin pram liner. Apparently they not only keep them warm in the winter but cool in the summer and don’t they look fabulous?!

– 4x dummies to settle after feeds

– 1x dummy string – I never had one with Sask and the amount of bloody dummies we lost! Also that panic when you only bring one with you and they spit it on the floor. Not doing that again. Of course, not everyone is pro dummy but I think, at least when they’re tiny, it’s natural for them to suck and a great comfort

– pram organiser. Perhaps not an essential but it’s honestly hard work trying to find your phone/purse, push a pram and carry a baby that doesn’t want to be put down

– JellyCats. Hundreds of JellyCats. I’m addicted to how soft these teddies are. Plus they’re gorgeous – there’s the cutest little purple squid that I’ve got my eye on

And there we have it.

I asked Seb for his essentials and he said Sleepyhead and alcohol.. not sure what he remembers from the first few weeks with Saskia but I’m pretty sure they weren’t boozy! Unless he was secretly feeding it to bubba…

I really hope you’ve found this useful!

Love, Anna x


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