It’s tempting to rush out and stock up on cute babygros and cuddly toys the minute you discover you’re pregnant, but go easy. Most parents find they don’t use half the stuff they buy before the baby’s born. So what should you be spending your cash on right now? Well, here’s a list of things of things you can and can’t live without.
These look great in the nursery and can take the backache out of nappy changes, but they’re also pretty pricey. A mat on the floor is cheaper – you can pick one up for about £5 – not to mention safer once your baby starts to wriggle and roll.
These can make the task of bathing your slippery baby easier, but they’re not necessary. In the early days you can clean her with a bowl of warm water and cotton wool and after that you can always bathe together. Just climb into the bath first (make sure it’s not too hot or cold), then ask your partner to pass you your baby. When she is a bit older you can run shallow baths and lie her flat on her back so the water is just up to her earlobes. She’ll love kicking around while you splash her tummy with warm water. Just make sure you never leave her unsupervised.
Towels and flannels
Baby towels are handy to have around but not essential. Your own are fine as long as they’re clean and soft enough for her delicate skin.
Again these are nice to have but not absolutely necessary. If you’re using powdered formula, just use warm (boiled) water to mix it up. You can also heat a bottle by placing it in a pan of hot water (don’t leave it on the stove) or running it under a hot tap.
If you have a dishwasher, your bottles are being sterilised when you wash them, but if you’re washing by hand and have a microwave, these can be useful.
Babies don’t care where they sleep, but a cradle or Moses basket is a nice luxury to have when your baby is tiny.
Matching quilts, cot bumpers and pillows might look adorable, but they’re a no-no for newborns. All she needs is a sleeping bag (the kind with arm holes) in the correct size, and a cellular blanket. A cot sheet is useful for swaddling. The rest is not only a waste of money, it’s a suffocation hazard.
Tiny babies are too young to even focus on mobiles, so you may want to hold off buying one until she’s old enough to appreciate it. You could even make your own by hanging up bright toys and ribbons – just make sure you hang it out of your baby’s reach.
These aren’t necessary in small houses or if you keep your baby close by, but they’re useful to have eventually.
It’s not a disaster if you haven’t made your mind up before your baby is born. Lots of mums panic buy then regret the decision, so take your time. Travel systems (where the car seat slots onto the buggy chassis) can save a lot of time and fiddling, but tend to cost a lot more and aren’t essential. The greatest consideration is how heavy and cumbersome the buggy is – after all you’ll be the one who has to push it around and heave it in and out of the car!
Slings are a great way to comfort your baby and free up your hands at the same time. Not all babies like the same kind of slings, however, so it’s better to wait until she arrives before you invest and that way you can try them out together.
Not all babies find the motion comforting and others like some types of swings but not others. If you do buy one, keep the receipt, just in case she sits in it and screams.
Some vibrate, some play music, and others simply give you a place to prop your baby so you can have a shower. It’s probably best to wait until you know what works for your little one before you splash out.
Toys and rattles
Until your baby develops his grasp, toys won’t be much use anyway, but you’ll want to have some around eventually. Cuddly toys are a no-no in bed – although that won’t stop friends and family buying you mountains of them anyway!