Finding out that you’re pregnant is usually an amazing experience – you’re overjoyed, completely filled with an emotion you’ve never felt before and you find yourself floating on cloud nine. Everything is new and exciting and a whole new world has just opened up to you. Shopping is something that immediately takes over your mind. You need to buy a cot, toys, clothes…
Actually, you need to buy a lot of things. This is where it sometimes gets slightly less exciting and a bit more daunting. There are thousands of different products on the market aimed at pregnant and new mums, it can be a real minefield. You may find yourself spending hours comparing pushchairs and various ‘beds’ – do you want a swinging crib, a bedside bed, a moses basket or something else for those early days?
I’m pregnant with my second baby and, even though I have been there before, I still find myself in the same shoes. Luke is 4 and in terms of products available, a lot has changed since I was pregnant with him or I found myself desperately trying to work out what I needed to buy for him as a newborn when running on precisely 2.5 hours of sleep.
Together, with the help of some other mums and some fabulous brands, I have put together a list of must have essentials that are perfect for pregnant mums who are preparing the nest, and also mothers of newborns who may find themselves slightly overwhelmed. I’ve also included some products that just aren’t worth the hype – for me, that’s the nappy bin! But we’ll touch on those products later. I also have a fabulous giveaway for you at the end of the post, courtesy of Lansinoh.
*This post contains affiliate links*
Essential Items For Pregnant Mums and Mothers Of Newborns
The Absolute Must Haves
The two most popular items among the parents I asked were muslin squares and baby slings/carriers. Muslin squares are you best friends, they can be used for just about anything from protecting your shoulders from throw up to wiping up the cup of tea you just spilt all over the floor. I never got the chance to use a baby sling or carrier when Luke was small, I think I was scared I’d do it wrong, but with my second baby, I am definitely going to be taking the sling route – I’m currently looking at the award winning Ama Wrap.
Next comes a collection of all the baby medicines known to man. My advice: buy these before you have your baby. If you don’t end up having a colicky baby or you don’t experience reflux, you may be able to gift your unused items on to someone else in need. However, I recommend stocking up on the must haves such as Calpol, Nurofen, Tixylix, teething granules, Infacol, Gripe Water etc before, as you just don’t want to be panicked and without something when the need arises. Don’t forget the “snot sucker” too! It’s also a good idea to buy yourself a non-contact forehead thermometer.
Keeping Baby Clean
It seems that the multi award winning WaterWipes are the way forward. Faffing about with cotton wool balls and water when you’ve got a huge poonami on your hands just doesn’t cut it. Save yourself some time and grab some of these instead. They’re just as gentle and suitable from birth.
Speaking of poonami’s, the Angelcare bath seat is also a big hit with mamas. It makes bath time a lot easier, keeping your baby supported in the bath so that you have your hands free to wash them and take cute pictures.
When it comes to feeding, I honestly couldn’t give a rat’s bum whether you breastfeed or bottle feed. In my opinion, so long as your baby is being fed, that’s all the matters. That being said, if you intend to breastfeed, grab yourself some lifesaving (I am speaking from experience here!) Lansinoh lanolin cream for your nipples. You can buy this in loads of shops and, at the end of this post, there’s also a giveaway you can enter for your chance a Lansinoh breastfeeding bundle.
If bottle feeding is what works with you, a microwave steriliser gets your bottles clean and sterile in minutes (don’t worry too much about matching bottle and steriliser brands, microwave sterilisers will fit most bottles). Lots of the mums I talked to also heavily recommended the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine, saying that they wouldn’t have been able to cope without it! It’s a pricey item though, so if you think you can handle things the old fashioned way, don’t be afraid to give it a go.
Getting Out and About
When it comes to getting home from hospital or venturing out with your newborn, having an Isofix attachment in your car and getting a car seat that is compatible makes life a million times easier. Another item I wish I had bought when pregnant with Luke was a pushchair where the car seat clips in. Yes, too much time in the car seat can be bad for baby, but so is an unrested, over tired and grumpy, dishevelled mum. As long as you know the facts, you’ll be fine and save yourself a bit of stress.
Another thing I wish I had bought when I was pregnant with Luke is something that plays white noise. White noise is heaven to babies and helps calm and relax them – perfect for helping them get off to sleep. There are lots of adorable animal characters available to buy that snuggle into baby’s bed with them – Ewan The Dream Sheep and Ollie The Owl seem to be the most popular. If you don’t fancy splashing the cash on a ‘character’ toy, you can also download white noise apps on your phone/tablet.
When it comes to sleep, babies do that a lot. Although many prefer to sleep on you, there are some products that make everyone’s life a little easier. Luke always used to fall asleep in his bouncy chair – if he started to stir, a few gentle bounces with my foot sent him right back into slumber-land for a few more minutes. Having a moses basket downstairs seems to be another life saving idea – that way, when the baby falls asleep, you can pop him/her down next to you without having to climb up and down the stairs.
Don’t Forget To Look After Yourself Too
Not everything is about the baby – you need to look after yourself as well! ‘Cool It Mama‘ cooling body spritz* from The Natural Birthing Company is an absolute must-have for your handbag. It works wonders for hot flushes, mood swings, anxiety/tension/stress, nausea, tiredness, restless legs, swollen ankles, headaches and even labour. All you do is close your eyes and spritz your face (or any part of the body) for an instant cooling effect. As I mentioned, I’m currently pregnant and I’m starting to experience some hot flushes and swollen feet – so far, the Cool It Mama spritz is really helping to keep me calm and composed.
Finally, the three things that every parent seems to agree are absolutely essential to newborn motherhood: Netflix, strong coffee and lots of chocolate.
Things That Perhaps Aren’t Worth The Hype/Were Totally Useless
I mentioned earlier how I hated the nappy bin – I know I’m not alone on this. Nappy bins seem like a great idea, but realistically, they’re just a box full of poop and wee sitting in your living room or kitchen until it’s absolutely full. In my opinion, it’s much easier to chuck them in your regular bin (which gets changed much more often), or throw them by the front door so you can just take them out when you leave the house.
On the subject of nappy changes, lots of parents agree that changing tables are a (big) waste of money. There’s nothing wrong with a £5 changing mat on the bed/sofa/table/floor! Waterwipes were mentioned earlier as a great alternative to cotton wool balls…if you really want to know why cotton wool balls are just completely useless, buy some wipes, buy some cotton balls and see which ones your prefer when cleaning up sticky newborn poop! Also, whatever you do, don’t buy a wet wipe warmer; you’ll never have time to use it.
The Angelcare bath seat I mentioned previously happens to be an essential because it means you don’t have to waste your money on buying a baby bath. They’re fiddly to fill up and move and you either have to be a super confident new mum to bathe a baby one handed, or you need two people around to get the job done. Also, don’t waste your money on top and tail bowls – any bowl will do, or even just the sink.
Too Many Clothes and Blankets
A common problem new mums seem to have is the excessive amount of new born baby clothes, blankets and baby shoes. Yes, newborns need newborn clothing, but don’t go mad – they grow out of that size very quickly. Baby shoes? Useless. They don’t stay on and your little one will most likely be in baby grows where the feet are already covered anyway. I found myself drowning in hundreds of blankets – a handful is all you need. If they get dirty, just wash them!
Lansinoh Give away: Manual breast pump, Lanolin and Milk storage bags
Lansinoh Lanolin was an absolute lifesaver when I was breastfeeding Luke. Even though I couldn’t continue to breastfeed him for as long as I had liked, I continued to pump breast milk and store it in Lansinoh breast milk storage bags. If you’re planning to breast feed or you’re a mama who’s already well into it, this Lansinoh breast feeding bundle is an incredibly helpful prize!
Terms and Conditions
- This giveaway is open to UK residents only
- Entrants must be 18+
- Giveaway opens on 19/03/2018 at 12am and closes 08/04/2018 at 12am.
- I am not responsible for the shipping and handling of your prize. If you encounter any problems, I will help the best I can to get things sorted for you, but I cannot take responsibility.
- The winner will be contacted by email and via Twitter (if you enter your handle in the Rafflecopter widget). For this reason, please ensure the information you enter with is valid.
- If you are prompted to enter a website URL when commenting, please leave this blank if you do not have a blog/your own website (ie. please don’t enter your Facebook account or similar).
- Once the winner has been randomly selected, you will have 1 week to get back in touch with me. Once you’ve replied to me, I will forward your details to the appropriate person who can ship your prize to you.
- If you do not reply after 1 week, I will re-draw and a new winner will be selected.
A big thank you to all the lovely parents who helped me put this post together:
*The Cool It Mama cooling spritz spray has been gifted to me. I’ve included it within this article as I genuinely think it’s a great help to both pregnant mums and mum’s of newborns. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*