What Really ARE The Best Buys For A New Baby?!
Raffie turned one this week (I know right, HOW?!) and it got me thinking that in the past 12 months there’s been quite a few things that we’ve used for him ever since the day he was born thus making them my absolute best of the best new baby buys! If something exceeds past when it says it should (Polarn O. Pyret clothing I bow down to you) or just proves itself to be totally invaluable then it definitely needs to be shouted about! We all know that baby gubbins doesn’t come cheap and as new parents (even third time around new parents) we can end up buying a whole heap of stuff we never, ever use (hello strange sleep sheep thingy with your hypnotic enchantment – if you tell me something will make a baby sleep I generally want to buy it – you sit and wink at me every night as if to say HA, HA, HA!) so here, on the week my newborn has turned one, I want to celebrate my hero products by calling their genius and recommending them to other parents so that money can be spent wisely and not wasted on sheep sleep thieves, when it could be on, say, a glass of wine – you won’t sleep well with either product in my experience but at least you’ll have fun supping on the latter! Believe me when I say there is NO fun to be had trying to turn that darn sheep off in the middle of the night because if anything it’s keeping the baby AWAKE!
So… Onto these hero products then… The often unsung heroes of my baby booty it has to be said but everything I’m going to talk about now I would 100% buy again for myself or for gifts – they have been worth their weight and I continue to use them all even though some of them are suggested for much younger babies!
Weleda Calendula products – If you follow me on Instagram then you’ll know that I have used these products since the day we first bathed Raffie and I talk about them often. I am totally passionate in my belief that they are kind to his skin AND they make him sleep better after our nightly post bath massages. They are expensive but totally worth every penny and he’s never had nappy rash which speaks for itself!
The nightly massages take place on the cot top changer which is a bit of a game changer in itself actually. First time we had a baby and we didn’t buy one but soon hotfooted it to get one as we knew how essential it was to be able to change a baby at the right height after only a few days of doing it on the floor. Raffie’s nursery furniture is from the Stokke Home collection so his changer matches that and let’s just say if the old one we had was good then this is blooming BRILLIANT! It stays in place, it has a wipe clean and machine washable cover which is soft and cosy and it also has lots of storage on the side. All this and then when we don’t use it anymore it fits with the crib (oh the crib is amazing too by the way and we STILL use it even though he’s one now, and turns into a desk! Honestly these products are SUCH good buys and they look perfect too!
Whilst we are in the realms of sleep and having already ascertained that a parent will pretty much part with any money for something which works in getting their baby to sleep I HAVE to say that the Sleepyhead of Sweden is by far one of the best things we have. A review on the John Lewis website says ‘When you look at what this IS it’s a complete rip off but when you know what this DOES it is the bargain of the century’! I co-sleep and having this in the bed makes me feel much safer about it while Raffie always cosies down in his really well. The website says up to 8 months and then you can buy a bigger one. A friend has actually lent me her bigger one but so far at 12 months Raffie is still in the Deluxe…
Next on my top buys has to be the at home footprint kit from Baby Art – It was so easy to do at home and the frames are really great quality too. The clay is air drying and if you make a mistake you can squish it back up and start again. we did not have much success with their foot and hand casting kit (disastrous attempt to say the least) but this kit was BRILLIANT and I highly recommend it. I scratched the date on the back too and LOVE the little extra prints I made with the excess clay so we now have quite a few! Fab keep sake which took seconds to make, created no mess and was easy peasy to do!
Ok so this next product I have bought for other people as gifts since Raffie has used his SO much – the Nod Pod! It’s a lightweight fleece blanket with feet, a hood and a wrap for the body. I use it in the sling, buggy car seat… Everywhere and it’s ace! The one Raffie has and still uses is for age 0-6 months so he’s had 6 more months out of it than intended giving it ever more brownie points! I will be buying him the next size up very soon! LOVE this product SO much and it’s all a simple business by two mums who just rock their business!
.Perfect in the snow… Brilliant on the beach! Amazing!My next best baby buy is swimwear and choosing the right things. So we swim regularly but have found different things work for different situations like the normal swimwear we use is from Splashabout and is a baby wrap from Splash About. The wrap is ideal for changing a baby in a public pool because it unfolds completely flat and literally does what it says on the tin by wrapping around the baby and shutting tight with Velcro. The material keeps the baby warm in the pool just like a wetsuit and because of the wrap nature to the garment we have found it has lasted a lot longer than the age it is intended for as you can adjust it. We also LOVE the swim nappies which can be matching patterns. When we were on holiday we found that they were the only re-usable swim nappy (we had one from an SPF 3 set and one from M&S that didn’t work AT ALL) that actually did work! Even if you don’t want the wrap then the nappy is worth its price tag because a pack of disposables cost me over a fiver when I forgot our Splash About one one day. There were only 12 in a pack! The other costume for swimming that I highly recommend IS the SPF suit we bought from Tu Clothing at Sainsbury’s as it was great on holiday for helping to keep Raffie safe in the sun. The hats are great with a flap down the back for neck protection and the suits easily wash and dry well. The supermarkets are quite inexpensive but it’s worth buying for next year in the sale too as we picked up the bigger size for half price to store away until needed!
Back to Stokke again AND holidays when I have to say the Flexi Tub, a fold flat bath tub, is high on my list of things to pack whenever we stay away from home. It’s great for camping but also even just going to stay with family or for our abroad holiday it was so handy because it takes up no room but putting a baby in a big bath is really hard! We LOVE our Flexi Tub and use it ALL the time even at home too! Bathing al fresco in the summer and also… aherm… Not intended but we have other uses for it too like this messy play area I have created with spaghetti and (unusually perhaps) Nurofen syringes… what can I say, he loves them when they’re empty so who am I to deny?! Also makes a great beer cooler for parties – just saying!
Baby wearing! I am SO into baby wearing and I had to include my sling on here because it’s the best one I’ve ever used. I have two (different colours) Baby Bjorn carriers. A Baby Bjorn One and a Baby Bjorn One Air and I absolutely love them. I was really anti the Baby Bjorn I had with Florence as the one I had then was quite stiff and I much prefer a soft feel to a sling because I think the baby is more comfortable but something happened in 8 years to the design and while it still has all the sturdy quality that made it an easy carrier to use, it is now really soft and moulds around the baby in a much more comforting way. It’s not a wrap that’s for sure and I do like those sorts of slings too but… They only last so long whereas this one could have carried Jimmy until he was 5 because the weight limit is 15kg. I LOVE everything about this sling and the fact that you can have the baby face in or out as well as swivel the baby onto your back. My Ergo does the same but is SO difficult to actually get the baby in on your own when back wearing that it’s just not worth it when this one is SO easy! Oh and… There’s a leopard print one coming out! HOW EXCITING!
Moving on and The Tidy Tot has to get a mention here. I don’t use it every day but for really messy food it’s a complete winner! Plus, I will use it for messy activities like Play Doh (I hate bloody Play Doh) because it absolutely contains all the mess! The bib (which has long sleeves) Velcros onto the tray which goes over your high chair and catches everything before it hits the floor. It’s then wipe clean (hurrah) and folds up (like a pop up tent) and into its own bag which we keep on a hook in our kitchen pantry cupboard – it’s BRILLIANT!
And while we’re on the subject of eating that brings me back to Stokke (bit of a theme isn’t there). The Tripp Trapp chair. I won’t have a bad word said against it and why would anyone?! They are not cheap as chips but they do last a child from birth to adulthood (we ALL sit on the Tripp Trapp chairs here when we run out of other chairs) and there’s not many chairs you can say that about – apart from the Stokke Steps chair (which we also love and have at my Mum’s house)! All three children have the Tripp Trapp chair around our dining table in Hazy Grey (the exact same as our Home Nursery furniture) and they all love them. They don’t even argue over them now as Stokke will engrave your back plates for FREE in the flagship store at Westfield White City so we have names on them and there can be no arguments! I have LOVEd having Raffie at the table with us from birth and I am sure it’s why he’s such a good eater when his big brother and sister were very definitely not so. we only got them for the big kids about 3 years ago but I do wish they’d had them from babies too. There’s all sorts of design genius which makes them great for little backs too!
Choosing a bouncy chair is like searching for a needle in a hay stack. There are SO many on the market and I like lots of them but actually this very simple one from Baby Bjorn has been remarkable because not only does Raffie like being in it but he actually still snoozes in it in the day time when he takes a nap. The Bouncer Bliss with a mesh material is the one we chose and we’ve found it to be unobtrusive in the room while still being great for the baby. You can buy an arch to go over it to make it a bit more exciting for an older baby and it’s suitable up to two years which is perfect because I keep the baby downstairs with me until I go to bed and this is a great place for him to sleep until I do! It doesn’t actually need flashing lights and music as it gently rocks with the baby’s own movements and when the baby is bigger you turn the material around and it simply becomes a child’s seat and not a baby bouncer – I’m all about the longevity aspect! Oh and P.S, It folds FLAT!
You might have noticed that I am NOT a fan of the all singing and all dancing but I AM a fan of a stimulated baby and do appreciate that sometimes plastic and flashing lights is what it takes. Doesn’t mean that I’m ever, EVER going to go for one of those hiddeous Jumperoos though! I mean they are just TOO much and I have found that you can strike a happy medium. Not surprisingly with Scandi design I much prefer the Skip Hop Jumpscape Foldaway Jumper! Is it big? Yes. It is plastic? Yes… But… It has far more palatable colours and, I think is much more interesting for the child with the actual things they can do on it. Raffie still uses his and it has different heights so can be made to last longer while… Well, you read the words fold away right?! UH HUH! In all honestly Jonny was absolutely not on board with this coming into the house but as soon as he saw how much enjoyment Raffie gets in it he was prepared to never even fold it down. Having just turned one and being a lot more on the move now his time in here is less and less but when we first got it he would spend half an hour in a go just bouncing and having fun! There’s till lots to keep him entertained though and I reckon 15 minute stretches are what he enjoys now. It’s great for containing the baby while you pop to the loo as well… Just as an aside!
Also on the Skip Hop train I must mention the roll up double sided foam mat which we used outside in the summer and now in the house too. It’s brilliant when they’re just learning to move as it’s not hard flooring therefore doesn’t hurt their heads when they bump (as they inevitably do), it kind of contains toys, is wipe clean and double sided so you can change the pattern up! I like things which are easy to store and as this rolls up it’s just that, it’s also really bright and stimulating for Raffie!
Another play mat we’ve found to be invaluable is the Meadow Days Gymini Play Gym by Tiny Love – This has always been my favourite brand for play gyms and I remember Florence loving hers which we bought as a second gym after we realised how rubbish our first one was and how brilliantly Tiny Love make them. again this is a longevity thing as far as I’m concerned as this has entertained Raffie from a newborn right up to today where he now sits up and plays on it. Great for tummy time too!
There are obviously lots of other things we think are totally worth the money when it comes to baby gubbins – Our steam steriliser, manual breast pump and bottle warmer by Tomy are others that I don’t have a picture of because, well, boring, and lots of expensive muslins – the cheap ones don’t last or stay soft but ones from higher end stores tend to be lovely. My faves are the Matchstick Monkey ones with their teething corner and the rainbow pack from Mothercare! while I’ve mentioned it Matchstick Monkey in himself is rather amazing and SO much better than Sophie Les Giraffe as there’s no hole for dampness to get inside and grow mould! I could literally go on and on as I have lots of favourites but these, the things that I’ve listed here, are the things that immediately spring to mind when I think about the things I would spend money on again! Things which are good value for money in the long run even if expensive in the end and the things I actually have used as opposed to the things I haven’t…
But what about the things I wouldn’t buy? Things like the Cucoonababy for instance… I did absolutely love it at the time and now that I have it I would use it again but looking back, it was such a short period that we used it, I don’t think it’s worth the price tag. Don’t get me wrong it is a lovely thing to have and if money isn’t an object then go ahead, you will absolutely be glad to have it, but for me I would just use the Sleepyhead and not bother. I used to use them in different rooms and that was an indulgence not a necessity while out of the two, the Sleepyhead is my favourite. I love things like baby sleeping bags too but I wouldn’t bother spending big bucks on them when you can buy every bit as good quality ones from the supermarket and Matalan – who always make surprisingly great ones! I also never used the baby box other than to store grown out of clothes and that dream sheep thing… Blimey, that’s a prime example of me being prepared to try anything to get my baby to go to sleep. He didn’t work for us!
Just before I go and before I accidentally leave on a negative I must just mention that when it comes to car seats I am SO glad we have an AxissFix car seat from Maxi-Cosi because really and truly a seat that goes up to 4 years is a real money saver. It IS from 4 months so for a newborn you would still need a carry handle seat (we have the Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix) but we actually currently use both. I wouldn’t be without my cabriofix as I use it to take Raffie to the pool at his nap time so that he sleeps while I swim but the AxissFix is BRILLIANTLY easy with a swivel seat for all other times! Definitely worth the money!
So that’s it… My baby best buys and we will totally talk buggies another day. I LOVE buggies too much to skim over anything and this post is long enough but just a little FYI we currently use (and have used since Raffie was born) the Stokke Tripp Trapp while we took our Britax Revolution Pro away on holiday with us and think that’s great for all terrain surfaces and a bit more rough and tumble care!
Happy baby buying!