The internet is full of lists of absolute essentials when it comes to new babies and baby products. From some of those lists, it seems that unless you’re in possession of every one of them, you’re next on a list for child services to be checking out your home. When I was pregnant and newly Mammied up, I read all of these lists. I allowed them to colour my purchasing choices. Jaysus, some of them were diabolical choices.
I did have common sense to avoid some of the “essentials” – take that, tummy tub (it’s a bucket, for crying out loud) – but a lot of them were definitely trial and error and trying to ignore the receipts for the things which just weren’t worth the money or the effort. However, there were some baby products which I absolutely couldn’t have done without, and would recommend to any new parent to make life a million times easier (or, you know, a little bit better) during the early days and up to the toddler years. Here are my top 5 baby products that I couldn’t have done without.
My Moby Carrier
I had a very clingy, very tiny baby, who spent many weeks refusing to be out of my arms and driving me close to distraction in the process. While I’d seen a lot about more structured carriers (and was the owner of one thanks to an absolutely incredible hamper I received just before having E from my lovely friend Siobhán containing one), every piece of evidence I’d seen showed he was way too small for such things, so when I saw that the Moby was suitable from birth for even small babies, I was sold. What an absolute game changer.
While it only lasted while he was tiny (him getting bigger meant my back wasn’t able for it, and he didn’t really like being so restricted once he was able to move about more), it definitely made that time much more sane, he was much easier to get to sleep in the sling, I could cook and make a cup of tea, and generally get on with life while he still felt close to me. Everyone was happy. I’m a tiny bit heartbroken that we couldn’t continue our baby wearing as he got bigger, especially when I see mothers everywhere I go carrying their babies and toddlers around and not having to wield a huge buggy about too. Mine had an owl on it too, which I absolutely loved, yay for cute baby products that are super practical.
Initially I was against the idea. Might have used the phrase “Over My Dead Body”. Might have called them a death trap. I take it all back. It is a sanity saver, a baby energy user-upper and a cute moment maker. Obviously needs to be used heavily supervised, but this allowed me to get beds changed, rooms tidied, blog posts written… the only downside we had was that it didn’t fit the doorway close to the kitchen, so I couldn’t use it for prepping dinner… at least, that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. He was absolutely thrilled every time he was put into it. Definitely an investment and one of those baby products I would definitely use if there was ever another one coming our way!
Wipe Down Bibs
Weaning is great in theory, but hell on your washing machine. Things like sweet potato and pumpkin don’t come out of clothing or fabric, so regular bibs were ruined far too easily. Don’t even start me on blueberries. So these were an absolute revelation – not only did they have the pocket at the bottom to catch all of the food which didn’t quite make it to his mouth, it also was literally wipe down at the end of mealtime. Lots of saved clothes, and additionally a chew toy for the teething baby. These are absolutely an essential for anyone weaning, you’ll never ever go back to the fabric kind for mealtimes! We got ours in the Aldi Baby event but they’re available places like Boots, Mothercare and Amazon all year round obviously.
Swaddle Blanket (the velcro kind)
There are two types of swaddle blanket. The type I mean is the one that actually has the velcro bits which are foolproof. I was useless at actually learning to swaddle with a normal blanket. Yes, this I discovered after purchasing the proper brand name swaddle. It got used as a normal blanket after two failed attempts at swaddling with it. We got ours in TK Maxx for about a tenner. They made an incredible difference to bedtime as our clingy baby (seeing a theme?) felt all safe and cosy in it. This lasted until he could break his arms out, hulk style. Now I’d kill for something which would get him to nod off as quickly. Great for when they’re too small for grobags to ensure that they’re kept cosy all night long.
Ella’s Kitchen Pouches
My toddler eats like a sparrow, around me anyway. Apparently he devours everything around him in creche and at Granny’s, but he’s much more fussy at home. I find it an endless journey of trying to find things which are actually nutritious that he won’t spit at me, or that won’t end up on the walls after a few spoons. The need for easy stuff on the move when you’ve got a child who loves nothing more than to throw food was also something pressing, as I have spent quite a considerable amount of the last two years walking laps of Cork City with my buggy.
Mixing the two made these pouches an absolutely brilliant necessity for those weeks where he was particularly trying with food. His “smoothies”, as we call them, manage to throw a load of veggies in without any of the fussing. While I’m well aware that they’re not the most ideal – becoming ever more conscious of sugar content in everything thanks to certain documentaries I’ve watched lately – they’re getting a lot of the good stuff in so I can feel like he’s getting enough nutrients in and they tide him over until a bigger meal when we get home/to wherever we’re eating.
These five essentials have managed to get us to almost the two year mark in one piece. Well, that, and a whole lot of coffee.
What have been your essential baby products? What products did you find were an absolute waste of time? Let me know in the comments below!
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