This time of year seems to be full of mothers-to-be! Whether you have just discovered that you are pregnant, or are a few weeks away from one of your most momentous and joyful experiences, baby gear will be your new buzz word! It is amazing how much gear a little baby needs. "Hand me downs" from friends and family are great, but a few nice new things for baby is a real treat too. Make sure you host a baby shower so that all your friends and family can share in your excitement, give you some much needed tips, and you will enjoy receiving some essential baby gifts - it all helps.
I remember receiving some old fashioned nappies at my son's baby shower. At the time I thought, "what will I do with these?". Well, a mum gave them to me and they became one of the most useful items! I used the nappies, just as we use swaddles nowadays - as a sunshade, over the pram; as a burp bib, over the shoulder; as a playmat, on the floor; as a swaddle in the cot; as a mop, to wipe up all manner of spills..their uses were endless and they washed and dried so easily. So I recommend a baby shower for receiving really helpful bits and pieces that you may never have bought yourself. I also recommend the gorgeous Aden + Anais Swaddle Wraps for the same purpose as the old fashioned nappies (and they are much more stylish!).
While I was feeling overwelmed at what I needed to buy - what was essential and what would I never use/waste my money on, a close friend came up with a list of items she said were essentials. I stuck to her list and it was so helpful (and saved me lots of money). I suggest you get a mum who has recently had a baby to give you her "Essentials List" and use it as a base for your own baby shopping list.
"Must Have" Baby Items Checklist
Here are a few baby "must have" items from our experience (each person will have their own opinion/list so we suggest you take from this list what suits you, and use it as a starting point):
- Cot & New Mattress - a "hand me down" cot is fine but, for health purposes, a new mattress is recommended;
- Pram/Push Chair - our pram turned into a push chair for later. We used the pram instead of a mosses basket and moved baby into a cot around week 8-10;
- Heart Rate Monitor - we did not buy one of these but after a friend's experience when this saved their baby's life, we would always recommend it;
- High Chair - get one that is easy to clean and easy to move about;
- Baby Bath - it makes bathing a tiny baby so much easier and you can even do it on the kitchen bench;
- Baby Bath Seat - you lie baby on it and it helps to keep baby in place while you bath, although you cannot rely on it to prevent drowning;
- Baby Towel - make sure you have a lovely soft towel for baby. We suggest the Aden + Anais Hooded Towel Set which includes a soft and fluffy terry cotton towel and a muslin wash cloth for bathing. A lovely boxed gift that will help keep baby warm from the bath to the change table;
- Changing Table - you could use a spare bed or the floor but a change table it ideal as it is a good height to prevent a sore lower back; it means that all the cleaning essentials & nappies are in one place; and it is more hygenic. (Our midwife recommended that the change table be placed next to a wall and with something soft on the other side of the table as, very soon, baby will learn to turn and can easily roll off the table - this was great advice because our baby attempted to do just that but was saved by the wall);
- Baby Sleeping Bag - we absolutely love the concept of baby zipped up, arms free and all snuggly in its sleeping bag. It means they can move around, turn etc but they do not end up underneath blankets so they can breathe easy. Make sure you buy one that is all natural, so baby's body temperature is regulated. We recommend the Aden + Anais Sleeping Bag which is all natural cotton muslin. Use swaddling until baby reaches an age when it does not like to be swaddled and then move on to a sleeping bag. Baby gets used to the sleeping bag and knows that, when it is zipped up, it means sleeptime. It also helps, later, when baby/toddler is trying to climb out of the cot - the sleeping bag means they cannot do this until they are unzipped. Our son was in a sleeping bag until he was 3 years old;
- Swaddle Wraps - as discussed earlier. We recommend the Aden + Anais Swaddle Wraps - for swaddling baby, burping blankets; sunshade; baby play mat; a blanket; the list goes on. One of the most useful items you will buy. The Jungle Jam Swaddle that we sell was used by Baby Prince George - see our blog.
- Bibs - baby needs lots of bibs from an early stage. We love the unique patented design of The Aden + Anais Burpy Bib - with full coverage over baby, where it is likely to need it for feeding; and a burp cloth over the parent's shoulder, as well. Stylish and 100% soft bamboo fibre in boy and girl colours. We also sell gorgeous little Aden + Anais Cotton Muslin Snap Bibs with cute little birds, bees and caterpillars on them. These are great priced gifts that really help with the "must haves" list;
- Baby Clothes - you will need plenty of baby stretch & grows; little socks; hand mittens to prevent baby scratching its face (these are hard to keep on a baby); t-shirts; singlets; dresses; trousers/jeans..the list will go on. What we do recommend it that you ask friends to give you clothing for the 3-6 and 6-12 month stage. Baby grows past the first stages so fast and if you get too much of the smaller sizes, they don't get used. Then, you get to the 6 month stage and have no clothes for them and it starts getting expensive. Also get people to buy according to the season you will be in at the various stages of growth. Also, if you think your baby will be a long one, then avoid stretch & grows that have a foot part - the baby will be too long for it. We had to cut the foot part out of our stretch & grows so that our long son could wear them!!
- Nappies - and lots of them! Start stocking up now, although baby will grow into the next stage quite fast so buy at various stages. Cloth nappies are actually a really good choice if you are at home a lot, have the time, and want to benefit the environment. But, we suggest you wait until baby is about 6 months to 1 year before you start (at the early baby stage, there are just too many nappies needed and it really makes it a bit hard with so many other things going on); use a throw away nappy at night (to ensure a better sleep and not so many changes during the night); use the inserts in the cloth nappy to make cleaning up easier. If you even just use the cloth ones for when you are at home - it saves money and we found it easier to toilet train as they get to learn what a wet nappy feels like. Just our experience and everyone has an opinion on nappies so go with what feels right for you. Whilst we found cloth nappies combined with disposables, after 1 year old, good for us (and the environment), disposables are a wonderful invention and we would also have been lost without them (and, if you are using daycare, then disposables are the practical choice).
- Baby Entertainment - make the nursery a quiet and tranquil place so avoid too much overstimulating toys, noises and objects. As baby grows, introduce these. Soft toys, wooden toys on wheels, a nice cushion on the feeding chair, are all lovely gifts to make the nursery personal and a nice place to bring baby home. We have lots of gorgeous soft toys, wooden animals on wheels, wooden caterpillars, rattles for baby to suck on and play with, in our Newborn Baby Gift Collection. High quality toys from well known brands.
- Baby Cleaning Products like a gentle baby wash, soap, nappy balm, moisturiser and more. We love the Ecostore products and used them on our baby. They smell divine (they contain relaxing lavender), they are so gentle and contain no harsh chemicals. Their nappy balm is amazing at clearing up nappy rash. See our Baby Hampers, such as Pamper Baby Gift Hamper which contain these products. Tried and tested, that is why we chose to sell them over other brands' products.
- Baby Comforter - a lovely gift to give someone but also very practical. Place the comforter near the mother so it picks up her scent, then give it to baby to cuddle. Baby senses its mother and it helps him or her to relax. Great when mum is leaving baby with a carer. We have a new Aden + Anais Musy Mate Lovey Cotton & Aden + Anais Musy Mate Lovey Bamboo range of comforters with little elephants and puppys. We also sell several Lily & George Comforters that are always popular for baby shower gifts.
- Mother Items - a few other items that are helpful for the Mum - a candle with a natural scent is helpful for relaxation and to avoid smells near the change table (just keep it well away from baby and little hands). Our The Soy Candle Company Metro Candle with Essential Oils of Harmony is perfect to provide peace and calmness for mother and baby. Lots of delicious foods to keep energy levels up during feeding time and to help with meals. We have a range of delicious food and dessert hampers that are designed to help during the busy time ahead. We also have relaxing hampers and chocolate hampers to give a gift for the New Mum to show her how special she is. All of these items are in our New Mum Collection.
We hope that we have come up with a starting Check List that is helpful and avoids too many unnecessary & expensive baby items. We have friends who swear by the baby sling to help prevent colic and reflux in their babies. But we have other friends who found it unhelpful and difficult to use. So, everyone will have different experiences but it is handy to have a starting point.
The Gift Loft will wrap your gifts and essentials baby items, in a beautiful and modern manner, and deliver them to your recipient, or to you.