Back when I first started blogging I wrote a post entitled ‘5 essentials pieces of kit for any stay-at-home Dad’. On it was the essentials things I think you need to make your life as a parent 100% easier. I recently re-read this post and it inspired me to do a follow-up post on all the things you REALLY DON’T NEED TO BUY.
Once you’ve got over the shock that you’re actually having a baby, your head will quite quickly turn to thoughts of what you need to buy to look after the new little life that you’ve created. The first visit to a baby shop can be exciting but very stressful at the same time. They have pushchairs, cots, changing tables, cute and designer clothes, fluffy blankets, toys, teddies and many other accessories… If you’re anything like me when I first visited Mothercare for the first time you’ll be asking yourself, which of these things we are going to REALLY NEED?
What’s, even more, confusing, each and every item you’ll come across is labelled as ‘essential’ for new parents, most of the things you’re told you need, you really don’t need at all.
I’ve learnt a lot over the last Three years since becoming a parent. One of those things is; you don’t need to spend huge amounts of money on items to ‘help you’ look after your baby. This list I’ve put together should help you pick out those items that will actually ease your transition into parenthood from those that may be cleverly marketed, but that you can live without.
A changing bag.
Although you do need something to carry the entourage things that your children might need while you’re out and about, what you don’t need is one of the ridiculously-expensive changing bags on the market. The truth is, simply marketing something for parent and babies doesn’t change anything about it. Some changing bags might be pretty to look at, but most of them don’t have any special features that make them particularly “baby- friendly.” Just get yourself a decent backpack. There’s just as much room in, it’s easier to carry and a lot less expensive.
Super cute, but not necessary. The purpose is to have a place to lay your baby and let him/her look at and bat at the toys above his/her head. Your face, or you holding toys and playing with your baby work wonders and provide much-needed interaction with you.
A fancy-pants pram.
Yes, they look nice and you can show everybody how much money you’ve spent, but let me let you into a little secret – you’re baby really doesn’t care. It doesn’t matter what style pram you have. Is it really worth spending £500+ on one? I don’t think so.
Fancy, designer clothes and shoes.
I’m sure all parents want their babies to look cute and have all the stylish and fancy clothes, that are on the market today. But does it mean we have to spend a fortune on baby’s clothing? Of course not. Here’s why: the baby will quickly outgrow it, and when they are wearing it, they’re more than likely to explore some sort of food, sick or poo all over it! During the first months’ babies grow really fast and some clothes that are fine today will be too small within a couple of weeks! My advice: choose the inexpensive sleepsuits onesies for the first few months. Many of them can be bought at a reasonable price and they are also very cute!
Shoes are cute without a doubt but they are far from practical. In fact, they’re completely impractical. They barely have feet big enough to measure let alone walk on, so to put shoes on them will neither be a good fit nor comfortable for them. Plus, they fall off within seconds, so you’ll either end up lost or just in a heap of all the other odd shoes in your home. Same goes for baby socks, which slide off their little soft feet even quicker than shoes. What some advice? Buy babygrows with feet instead.
Just a footnote, that goes for hand mitts too. Just get the sleepsuits that have these built in. The mitts alone just don’t stay on.
A crib or Moses basket.
The reality? It will be fine today but will be too small within a few months. My advice would be if you can fit a cot into your bedroom, put them straight into one. You’ll save yourself a lot of time and money.
Yes, they are cute, and a great idea in theory. The reality? You’ll probably only use them for a short time before you transfer them to a cot anyway.
When we were pregnant with Liv, we bought the loveliest matching cot mobile to go with her newly decorated crib. I’m sure (and I know at least one), who swear by their mobile for getting their baby to sleep. However we had Liv, the demon baby who could scream blue murder over the top of the gentle soothing tones of a cot mobile. “Just be quiet and you’ll be able to hear it!!” I used to repeat over and over again at all hours of the night. So yes, I’m not saying that a cot mobile would never be of use, but if you have a very, how shall we say it? …enthusiastic baby (that’s how Rachel words it in her school reports for those students), a cot mobile will be drowned out by the ever so soothing tones of a baby wailing.
They’re all bulky and take up a lot of space. The best thing to do is to place them in a normal bath, on top of a slip-proof mat. Turn on the water and fill it up so the water is shallow water. We found this give the baby a little more freedom to move their arms and legs.
Baby towels are definitely one of those items you don’t need to buy. Regular adult sized towels are absolutely fine to use. I found baby towels to be thin and not as absorbent anyways. I will say the baby towels are pretty cute, but in my home we hardly ever used them.
Of course, you want to absorb all there is to know about being a good parent. In reality, you’ll learn the most in the early days from, the baby! Babies have a way of teaching you how to be a parent.
When you get into the tricker areas of parenting, like sleep training, you’ll find that you’ll read five different pieces of information that your advice you on five different approaches. Just follow your instinct and you’ll be fine.
What do you actually need?
In a nutshell? Nappies, wipes, cot, babygrows and vests, a car seat (if you drive), a pram, a fully charged phone battery, for all the photo’s you’ll be taking, boobs or a bottle (absolutely your choice), thick skin so you can bounce off other people’s advice on your choices and patience. Lots and lots of patience.
Let me know in the comments below whether you agree or disagree with my list.