Newborn MUST Haves - What We Can't Do Without

by - Monday, July 22, 2019


Are you a first time mum and are getting ready for your newborn to arrive? Are you looking for advice and tips from other mums as to what you should be looking to buy? You want to make sure products are tried and tested before taking the plunge and splurging your money?


Then look NO FURTHER!




I'm a first time mum myself, my little girl is 5 months old as I'm writing these here lines, and I've done extensive research on pretty much everything we ended up buying. 


Now I'm not going to tell you all the products I'm mentioning in this post are essentials, because they're not. If you're looking for a list of the absolute musts, the BASICS, then this is not it. You will probably be provided with one of them by your midwife, especially if you're a first time mum. 

BUT!

This is the list of products you should be looking to buy alongside the basics. Besides the one item I can't see any way of replacing, there are various ALTERNATIVES for all the others. 
All of these items have made a massive difference in our every day life as new parents and helped us get the baby to settle a lot easier and a lot faster, which is the main reason why I wanted to share them with you. 


Let's get started already!


 PurFlo Breathable Sleep Nest 

Like I mentioned in my YouTube video, PurFlo performed well over our expectations. Andromeda sleeps so well in it, she settles and then goes off for a good 6-8 hours every night, allowing me to sleep properly and be rested in the morning when I have to be up before her and start her routine.

PurFlo nests have a breathable mesh where the babies lay - you can see it in the picture - and air permeable sides. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT feature of theirs, because it won't cause suffocation if the baby digs their face on the pillow while they're asleep. It is compliant with UK's test BS4578 for breathability as well, which is something you need to be looking for when shopping for a nest.


BS 4578
March 30, 1970
Specification for Methods of test for hardness of, and for air flow through, infants’ pillows
Tests for hardness and for air permeability, and includes measurements before and after washing and drying by a specified procedure.

I know there are a lot of gorgeous looking nests on Etsy that are a fraction of a price even compared to PurFlo, but they're not tested and therefore NOT suitable for kids to sleep in, so please make sure to check before you buy anything. 

But the PurFlo pros don't stop there. 
The technology used in making the nest, AMICOR Pure, helps reduce exposure to dust mites that can aggravate asthma or eczema. That means the nest is hypoallergenic, also its filling is antibacterial and has been approved by Allergy UK. And on top of all this the pillow covers are machine-washable, the nest is very lightweight (1.2kgs) and portable - which I can attest to after our latest mini holiday away - and it offers a big area for the baby to sleep (64x28cm). The one we went for is the 0-6 months old but there is a 6-36 months old nest as well.




I am sure by now you know the benefits of white noise when it comes to getting a little baby to sleep. It helps them massively, as what they were used to before they were born is listening to their mother's heart, along with any other noise her innards were making. Noises like them calm the baby and help it feel safe and in a familiar environment, so having something by the bedside that can provide these noises is invaluable.

I had been looking for one of them sound and light sleeping aids for quite a while, but I was being deterred by their prices. A £40 price tag for an item that will be used less than a year and that I can't wash if it gets dirty is a bit too much for my liking. So when we spotted this Owl with my mum at our local Lidl during their Baby Event, I checked it out and was happily surprised as to how well made it was, how many features it offered and how reasonably priced it was (£15), so we bought it. And I've not regretted it!

I mention most of its great features on my YouTube video - 3 settings for light, 3 for volume, 3 white noises (heartbeat, hoover and waves) and a lullaby - but I also need to mention that it can be hung on the side of the cot (it has a fabric loop that attaches with velcro on the back), it has a cry sensor and will start playing music for 15mins straight if it picks up crying (or sneezing! Funnily enough, I've set it off a few times by sneezing in the room!) and it took a little bit over 3 months before we had to change the alkaline batteries. 





Another great buy if you're preparing for a baby is a room thermometer. I know most bath thermometers are also able to provide room temperature, but the reason why I believe you need a Gro Egg is because you know straight by looking at it where the temperature in the room is. And no, I'm not saying that because of the monitor it has but because of the colour of light it emanates.

Gro Egg is not just a room thermometer, it doubles as a soft night light as well. The colour of the light indicates different temperatures and prompts you to take action when needed. What do I mean by that?

When the temperature is lower than 16 degrees Celcius then the colour of the light is blue, indicating that you need to make sure the baby is well wrapped up/adjust the TOG of its sleeping bag etc. Between 16 and 20 degrees is the perfect room temperature for a baby and the colour of the light is yellow. When it rises above 20 and below 24 degrees the light changes to orange (like you can see in the picture), which means you should ditch the sleeper and leave the baby with a vest when it's sleepy time. If the temperature rises above 24 then the light will turn red and that means you need to find a way to cool the room off before having a baby sleeping in there (ditch the vest and bring in a fan maybe?)

We found that extremely helpful during winter (Andromeda was a winter baby), plus the soft light it emanates was all I needed to be able to see and feed her in the middle of the night. You literally get to kill two birds with one stone, plus if you buy the one in the picture - there is a newer version released - then you're paying less than £15. Just don't put it close to a heating element and then complain it's not reading the temperature correctly! (yeah, I've seen that happening).



I'm mentioning the Motorola sleeping monitor in this post because it's the one we bought, but like you've seen in the YouTube video, I do believe any form of video monitor will do. 

The version we bought was sold exclusively at Mothercare and the only reason why I went for that one instead of the one I've linked above is because it doesn't connect to the internet. Yeah, you read that right. I didn't want the camera to connect to the internet due to many concerns I had over hackers and IP and the one I picked also has SECURE DATA ENCRYPTION. That means the frequency at which the image is being sent to the receiver monitor is encrypted and it would take a professional hacker to break the encryption and be able to see what the monitor is showing. 
I'm being paranoid you said? Maybe, but that's just one aspect of my OCD showing here. I do also mention in the video the other main reason why my OCD forced me to buy a monitor. 

The Motorola one we have has a portable colour 5inch screen that connects up to 300m away (but the signal does break a bit if you do test its limits), you can remotely move the camera up to 270 degrees, it provides two way communication (the times I sang to her while sat in our living room because she shifted in her sleep, woke up and wanted a nursery rhyme to go back to sleep) and has infrared night vision and a 2x zoom. It also has 6 different sounds (3 white noises and 3 nursery rhymes) and a room thermometer (but it's always a couple of degrees higher than the room because the camera gets hot, so be mindful of that). You have to keep the camera plugged in all the time but the monitor obviously works with rechargeable batteries, that last 4-6 hours. 





I'm sure you already know a lot of information about these two machines during your researching journey through brands and features they offer. If I'm honest, I picked Tommee Tippee for none other reason than the Prep Machine, so I'll start with that one here as well.

Let's start first of all with the fact that the one in the picture is not the newest model the brand has released, it's actually the one before that. Let me also note here that I bought ours second hand, because even the older model costs just over £125 when bought brand new and not on offer (have seen it 50% off during certain Baby Events though). Ours cost us £30 to get and after a thorough clean and a new filter you wouldn't even know it was second hand. 

The in-built filter system is amazing, it removes all impurities from the water - go watch a few videos online as to how good it is, you'll be shocked - plus it dispenses the correct amount of water you need for formula consistency. Firstly it dispenses a "hot shot" to kill any bacteria the formula may contain, then you add your powder, mix and put back under the spout. This time room temperature water is being dispensed to bring the bottle to the PERFECT temperature - all done in under 3mins! You know what that is when it's 3am and you need to make a bottle for a wailing baby? It's a LIFESAVER!

Being a first time mum who had to bottlefeed, I can't imagine how I could have survived the first 3-4 weeks without this. 

As for the steriliser, it has a 2 tier stackable tray that can sterilise up to 5 bottles, the contents will stay sterile for 24 hours if the lid remains closed. It has a one button start and auto shut-off for safety and it's BPA free, but the reason why I bought this one in particular was because it came with a whole anti-colic feeding set and was on a half price offer when I picked it up, so it was a lot cheaper than buying the newer version or another brand at that time. 





OK, you can laugh with this one, because it's obviously NOT an essential. Well, not to many people but it's one handy thing to have when you have bottles that you need to keep separate from the rest of your dishes while they're air drying! 
And if you're asking why then I feel like I should let you know you can't use the same sponge to wash your dishes and bottles either, as the oily fats from our food will discolour the teats of your bottles and will make them deteriorate faster.  

There are a couple of features that are very handy, for example the bottles get pushed "in" the grass, which secures them on it and helps with the draining. Very easy to dispose of the water as well, you just empty the white tray, plus it's also easy to clean, all you need is a brush if you don't have a dishwasher - it is dishwasher safe. It's BPA, Phthalate and PVC free and you can purchase extra accessories if you like, but I didn't really see the point in them. 





I don't believe I have much more to say over this that I've not covered on my YouTube video. My mum was looking into getting us a changing table when we went to IKEA before she was born, saw this one, liked it, I resisted a bit because I don't think changing tables are a necessity but when the sales assistant told us that it grows with your child and changes first into a play table and then into a desk as the child grows up, then I couldn't see a reason not to buy it. 

And now I'm happy we did, because it's so much easier to change her on it rather than anywhere else in the house - I know other mums don't mind changing their babies in other rooms of the house, but my OCD dictates that I go to her room to change her EVERY TIME she needs a change. 

There is a plain version of it without the drawers, it's just called STUVA and is a little bit cheaper, but I love the drawers and I've "Marie Kondo"-ed them. They also come in many different colours, pink, blue, orange etc and recently IKEA has added a natural pine looking one which looks really nice as well.





You are free to laugh with this purchase of mine too, you are. But I don't regret it for one millisecond! 

Andromeda is a winter baby, she was born on Valentine's Day and the weather was still cold at that point in the UK. Trying to wipe her clean after every nappy change wasn't a nice job, the wipes were cold and she would scream and cry, she was very obviously distraught. 

I went looking for a solution to our problem and most internet forum mums were saying that they used warm water and cotton pads, but I tried that and it didn't work at all for us. Andromeda was still crying with every nappy change. And then I stumbled upon a few videos on YouTube from mums on the other side of the pond and many of them were talking about wipe warmers. Consider myself intrigued, I started looking into them too. 

Wipe warmers are not a thing in the UK currently - I don't know if it will become one or not, we'll just wait and see - which means I couldn't find one in any of the big baby shops, so I turned to Amazon. Lo and behold, I found the one in the picture. 

The company shows to be D.ragon online but the actual box says Matyz, so I don't really know what to tell you about that. I can tell you though that this little box warms up the top 4-5 wipes of a pack that are closer to its heating element - the lid - and keeps them moist, while the rest of the wipes remain wet. If all 5 are used then it takes roughly 20 minutes for the next small stack to be warmed up. It has automatic rebound, which makes it a piece of cake to pull wipes out, it is non slip and it's only "flaw" (if that is even considered a flaw) is that it's an American plug, so you will need a transformer plug to use it. I didn't keep it on top of my changing table but on the little chest of drawers next to it, only because the wire wouldn't reach further. 

And yes, a miracle had happened. Because the wipes were now warm, Andromeda stopped crying. HALLELUJAH!





Another miracle product right here! Let me explain.

Before Andromeda came and while I was researching on baths, the Angelcare seat kept coming up. I read a lot about it and I really liked the idea behind it, I felt it was solid and it will work for us. Plus it had so many raving reviews I couldn't NOT give it a try. So we got the plastic baby tub from IKEA and the Angelcare seat and guess what? Andromeda HATED IT! 

You know how heartbreaking it is to try and clean your baby, knowing what you're doing is right but feeling the most guilt because you've upset the baby so much, it's sniffling for the rest of the day until it goes to bed? That was me during the first month. Bath time was breaking me, little by little. So I went back to researching and this time I found the Schnuggle bath.

It is suitable from birth up to 12months of age, has a warm foam backrest you don't need to further warm prior to a bath, it has grippy non-slip feet and an integrated bum bump for support. To all the powers that be, I'm so thankful I found this. Andromeda doesn't react to the slightest when she is having a bath, on the contrary, she helps me to clean her back because she pulls herself away from it with the help of the bum bump! Oh, did I mention it's also so small you can easily store it away, contrary to most other baby tubs?

It has won many awards, from Mother & Baby to Mumii and it is a real GAME CHANGER when it comes to bath time. 





One of the best buys on this list, hands down, although slightly on the expensive side for what it is. But is worth the money? DEFINITELY! 

We were looking for a play mat quite early on, as we had noticed that Andromeda was looking for amusement a lot faster than what we expected. I can't remember how I stumbled upon it, pretty sure it was one of the Amazon suggestions when you're viewing a similar item. I was thinking more like a traditional gym but when I saw this and read all the things it does, it sealed the deal for us and we had to have it.

First of all, it does what most gyms do. It has a mat you can lay the baby and an arch with multicolour toys hanging down (elephant teether, monkey cymbal clackers, panda crinkle and lion rattle), along with a mirror for self-discovery. And it has a piano where the baby's feet should be, so when it kicks it plays music. So far so good, right? But we're not finished!

There are 4 different ways to play because the mat grows along with the needs of the child. So it starts with laying down, then it's tummy time, after it's sit down and lastly it's take along. It also offers Smart Stages Technology, where each stage is something different.


Level 1: Sense – Teeny-tiny ones can enjoy up to 20 minutes of continuous playful music, lights, and sounds to engage and stimulate their senses.
Level 2: Discover – Learning animals and the sounds they make, along with short instrumental tunes, is worth sitting up for in this level.
Level 3: Explore – Playful songs and phrases introduce your little mover and shaker to colours, shapes, and numbers.
It helps develop Sensory and Gross Motor skills, their Curiosity and some Early Academics. AND the mat is machine-washable. What else can you possibly want from a gym mat? 





I've mentioned on my YouTube video that before we found this mobile I had bought one of those old fashioned ones, where you have to manually wind it up to play music. You wanna know something else? I paid £15 for that and we never really used it, but ever since we bought the Tiny Love one it hasn't stopped!

Andromeda loves the fact that the little characters are multicolour, they get her attention straight away when I turn the mobile on. She will gladly listen to her "birdies" - I know, it's only one bird there but that's how we ended up calling them! - until she gets tired and falls asleep, which happens quite a lot! 

You want to know what I love about it? The universal clip attachment it has! The majority of mobiles come with an attachment that would fit any wooden cot but we opted to use a travel cot for the first six months she was to spend with us because her wooden cot wouldn't fit in our bedroom. And of course it was almost impossible to find a mobile that would attach fine on the bulkier sides of a travel cot, until I stumbled on this one! And not only does it have a universal clip, it also has a claw that allows you to clip it on the hood of your pram and take it with you! It will play non-stop for 30 mins - it has 5 different melodies - before it stops on its own and you can also choose to just have it rotating without the music on. And along with all that, we only have changed its batteries once within the space and time of 5 months, so it doesn't use much power either. 





This was NOT a planned purchase. We went visiting a friend who was due and she put the little bouncer seat they bought for their little one up so Andromeda has somewhere to sit and she went crazy on it! She loved that she could force the chair to bounce and after seeing her reaction I knew we would have to buy one.

After checking some deals sites - I do check a lot - I found out that at that moment in time Argos was having on clearance the Grey Sheep Cuggl one for less than half price (£19.99) and if I'm honest I didn't hesitate. I had read it had lots of nice features - 7 tunes, 3 volume settings, 3 vibration settings, 2 positions adjustable backrest, compact folding frame, 3 point safety harness and a washable cover - and lots of good reviews so I just went in and bought it, as the average price for a bouncer was around the £30 mark at that point and this seemed a bargain that had to be grabbed. 

I'm SO HAPPY we bought it! As you can see on the video, so is Andromeda! She loves her little bouncy chair, she can't get enough of it! We don't use the harness anymore but she is always under supervision when on it, so it's no big deal. We only used it when she was still quite small and I was afraid she will fly off it!





And there you have it. These are all the products WE as a family CAN'T DO WITHOUT. 


I am wholeheartedly recommending each and every one of them, because they helped us so much as first time parents, that I feel would help any other parent along as well, first-time or not.


May your journey into parenthood be an easy one to navigate and may the smiles you receive from your baby fill your heart with love and happiness!

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