Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Must-Buy... or Complete Waste of Money?

If you've already been-there-done-that on the having babies front, you may remember the feeling of fevered frenzy as you peered into the room formerly known as a spare or guest bedroom (or in my case, the ironing nook!) and realised that it needed to be transformed into a nursery with a cot and nappies and tiny coat hangers and stuffed teddy bears and - well - STUFF.

Babies do seem to need a lot of stuff.

I remember feeling totally overwhelmed before I had Fern at all I felt I had to have, encouraged by stores and magazines and websites and friends and family. But in retrospect, I feel I was relatively restrained - - there were at least a few unchecked 'must have' boxes on my baby magazine tear sheets. I went a little more crazy with the decorative elements (how unlike me - not!) and figured I'd wait until I actually had the baby to decide whether to buy a baby bath (we did) or walky talky (we didn't) and so on.

Admittedly, I now have a lot of baby paraphernalia I can recycle for this new baby, but it does make me feel slightly guilty that with 13 weeks to go I've purchased nothing but one wrap, one blanket, one Alimrose rattle (on sale) and a tin of paint for my new arrival! Thank God Ikea came to my rescue by donating some key nursery furniture items and accessories, else the new baby might well have slept in the bottom dresser drawer until Fern vacated her cot!

Anyway, for fun I thought I might revisit the items I thought I HAD to have last time, along with those I WISH I had thought I should have and those I am damn grateful I DID HAVE!

Here goes.

Things I bought but wish I hadn't:
1. A Milkbar breatfeeding pillow. My stupidest purchase of all. Never used it.
2. One of those little handheld net thingies you pop fruit into and baby sucks it out. Interesting idea but mine was was rancid after the first use and I've never used it since.
3. A mosquito net for Fern's cot. Gorgeous and practical. Unless you forget to close it.... and your poor baby is bitten senseless in her sleep.

Things I wish I had bought prior to the baby's arrival:
1. Maternity pads. Lot's of them.
2. Breastpads. Possibly every box in stock at Coles.
3. A baby bath (sure its useless after a couple of months but I sure as heck enjoyed mine while we could!). Fern loved it so much, she used to fall asleep in it:
4. A breastpump and steriliser. I know, its frightening even thinking about it! But if you intend to breastfeed it will be your godsend at 4am when your baby chooses THIS NIGHT to sleep through and you are literally sleeping on boobs the size (and texture) of a football!
5. A grobag. In every size and weight.
6. A book on looking after babies... as opposed to 300 books about pregnancy!

Things I bought that I was most grateful for afterward:
1. A good SLR digital camera. You only get those first precious hours once and they can never be recaptured. And let me tell you, that camera got a workout the first 12 months!
2. Cloth nappies. Not that one ever touched Fern's bum, but they were useful for oh-so-many more purposes!
3. A nappy bin. Seriously, how does anyone survive without one?
4. A bouncinette. The only solution when you need to put the baby down somewhere that is not in your arms or in their cot.
5. A good nappy bag. It was my only handbag for a good 6 months and my lifeline when out and about!

What do you think - are/ were any of these items on YOUR list? What did you purchase that you regretted immediately or turned out to be most grateful for?! x


  1. Oh this post will come as a GREAT help to me as I haven't even started my list yet! Thank-you my dear! x

  2. My cousin, who's 23, is 15 weeks and I sent her a similar email only a whole lot more wordy he hee.

    I barely used my feeding pillow cos of where it sat around me with the c-section "wound" although I do know others who swore by theirs.

    So many people told me not to get a breast pump but I would have been so stuck without one. I ummed and aaahed for so long too but I'm really glad I did.

    AGREE especially re nappy bin and the cloth nappies which were so easy to wash and dry when they got all manner of ridiculous body fluid on them! :)

    The biggest waste for us was the bumbo chair we rushed out to get when Bebito was 5 months old. I also wanted a fabulous high chair a la Stokke but am so glad the Mr put his foot down cos the el cheapo kmart one Mum bought us folds up flat and is perfect for our space and the Bebito in his toddler years still.


  3. OMG yes the BUMBO CHAIR!!! I totally forgot about that one, Cat!! I think I was about the only one in my mothers group not to run out and get one.... but I was so grateful afterward!

    Mrs Bouw good luck with keeping a level head in those huge baby stores!!! You will be writing your own list next year!

  4. *I was talked out of buying a change table some how, stupid mistake..
    **I bought a crappy breast pump that hurt my wrist with baby #1 so i went out and bought a smancy electric avent one for bub #2 and never used it..
    ***Also talked out of the baby bath.. Really wish I had one of them. My kids were long and outgrew the laundry sink quickly and then the bending down to the big bath is such a pain..
    ****Dont know how I lived without my Mountain Buggy for bub #1.. Those things are fantastic..

  5. Oh that's interesting because I was wishing i bought a feeding pillow but just used two normal pillow shoved into one pillow case adn I was sure that the lack of proper feeding pillow was the reason for my breastfeeding wowes.
    My fav thing is my Bugaboo Bee pram, the best thing I have ever bought in my life hands down.
    And I really want to get a n Ergo baby carrier next time round.

    Great post Nicole!

  6. Great post Nicole - it will be so good second time around knowing what works/doesn't and what is needed/unnecessary. I agree, the breastpump was very useful and I too love the different weighted sleep bags. I also love our Maclaren pram - so light and easy to push. We didn't get a Bumbo either and I'm glad as it would have been only used for such a short time. I also really like the Baby Bjorn carrier we borrowed from a friend for when Grace was small - was good to have my hands free and being upright seemed to suit Grace (not so good once they start getting heavy though).

  7. great post nicole x love michelle

  8. hmm... here are my thoughts from the mother of a two month old point of view:

    Best purchases so far have been...
    1. Amby hammock, Alex has always slept well at night and I'm starting to think this is the reason, some mornings he's awake just laying there, rocking himself in his hammock looking at the ceiling...and he looks so cute in it.

    2. Manhattan toy company Infant stimulation mobile – one of the best things we've bought, bubby LOVES his

    3. Blankets for swaddling as his arms are still waving around as he gets tired, particularly light ones now that summer is finally arriving here in the UK.

    4. Baby Bjorn babysitter bouncer chair, he loves his, it's a bit pricey but worth every penny as it's safe for him to sleep in during the day but also is fun to play in. I take it to the park now so he can sit and look around.

    5. Cosatto easi peasi changing unit - , I know most mums are not into the idea of change tables but this has been a lifesaver and a backsaver for us. Our tiny London flat does not have a lot of space or storage so a unit that has the change table, bath and storage for nappies etc. has been invaluable.

    6. Baby Au lait breastfeeding cover - one of the girls in my mothers group had one of these and within weeks all of us had them with different funky fabric each. Basically an apron with a rigid neckline so mum and bub can look into each others eyes, or more importantly at the beginning you can make sure bub is latched on properly while out in public. With this I'm happy to feed him when ever and where ever I am without exposing my boobies to the world.

    Will think about my least useful purchases once Alex has recovered from this mornings vaccinations (eek!)

  9. I agree! I was the only one in my mothers group who didn't have the BUMBO! Glad we didn't bother. I really loved my milkbar feeding pillow! Bought a sling and only ever used it a few times. Loved the idea of it but gave me a really sore back. Other favourites were Baby Bjorn - still use it when walking the dog, great workout with an 11kg baby, breast pump, OiOi nappy bag (thanks mum!) little vibrating bouncy chair thingy - great for in the bathroom while I was having a shower.

  10. where do i begin??

    wish i hadn't bought: a valco pram. absolute rubbish. sold it.
    wish i hadn't bought: a phil and teds, although it did serve me well with two - for a very short window whilst one was a newborn. as soon as that newborn wanted to sit? forget about it. sold that too.
    wish i hadn't bought: peg perego highchair. great when i was feeding them - as soon as they were feeding themselves? forget it. way too much cleaning involved. sold it (lucky i had bought it second hand in the first place!)

    best buys: ikea antilop, ergo baby carrier (WAYYY better than a bjorn! much more comfortable for baby and mum), mountain buggy, grobags and go go bags (accept no imitations!).

    the biggest lesson i learnt (I have 3 kids) is simple is best. forget bells and whistles. forget that it changes from this to that. buy something because it does what you need it to do, now, and forget the rest.

    have fun buying for #2!


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