These are ‘non-essential’ baby items as to be honest your baby doesn’t really need much besides you (cheesy but true) and there is soooooo much stuff out there that is unnecessary. So I have listed what I consider to be my top ten items, things I actually used a lot and would buy again, in no particular order.
1. Baby sense pads
By far my best purchase. I bought this as a bundle along with a Motorola video monitor. They are movement sensors which you put under the baby’s mattress and they set off an alarm if they don’t detect movement, e.g breathing for twenty seconds. A few different brands make these and ‘Baby sense’ as well as ‘Angelcare’ always had the best reviews. I bought the Baby sense ones and we’ve been very pleased as we have never had a false alarm. The only time the alarm has gone off is when we have forgotten to switch it off before taking him out the cot – easily done on little sleep.
They have allowed me to relax a bit once the little man is tucked up in his bed. It just gives me that extra piece of mind. They are unquestionably OTT, but if you are a worrier then they are amazing. Not sure what else I can say about them. The only downside is I am not sure whether I will be able to wean myself off them (they have two in a pack so you can even use them once they start crawling) which will probably mean that I will make my son have these under his mattress until he goes to university.
2. Bogey extractor
Unsurprisingly this is not it’s official name, it’s a nasal aspirator, I believe. A friend introduced me to this invaluable bit of kit. It is disgusting and satisfying in equal measures. Babies get colds and they get all snotty and can’t clear their noses themselves. This means giant bogeys can make their lives pretty miserable. Cue the nasal aspirator, a little device which allows you to suck the snot out for them. Yes, I told you it’s disgusting. But god, it is satisfying!
If you don’t drink coffee then you will need to start or at least find a substitute. For me, there is no substitute and I went from an occasional latte drinker to a hardcore coffee drinker of at least 3 a day. I bought a new coffee machine, a coffee holder for the pram, a reusable coffee mug and am now on first name terms with most of the staff in my local Costa and Starbucks. Yes, I am now addicted and I feel the effects if I haven’t had my usual dose of coffee. My friend who has two kids recently made me a coffee and I was shaking for the rest of the afternoon it was so strong. Clearly mums with two kids are in a totally different league to me and I am not yet at their coffee drinking level!
4. Baby carrier
I was given a Stokke MyCarrier Cool as a maternity present from work (they are available in Dubai at a few places, including Just Kidding) and I thought it was great as it uses breathable fabric which is important when you live somewhere that resembles an oven for a decent chunk of the year. I have used it for travelling a lot and it is great at the airport as we check our pram in as hold luggage. Also, as my son is super inquisitive (a.k.a nosey) he absolutely loves it. If he gets a bit grumpy I stick him in it and walk around for a bit and he just loves it as he smiles at everyone we pass.
Ok, so lots of people have different views on this. My sister suggested a dummy when the little man was about 5 weeks old and honestly I’ve never looked back. Yes, I will have to get it back off him one day but it has helped us out on numerous occasions. When I flew with him at 5 weeks I was so grateful for the dummy as I was so concerned about his ears and had been told to feed him on the way up and down. Well, planning feeds like this isn’t that easy, the poor thing kept falling asleep and I’d wake him when I thought we were about to take off so that I could force feed him, only to find we were still taxing etc. In the end I shoved in the dummy and the sucking seemed to help.
6. Feeding cover
My mum suggested I got one of these when I had the little man buut I didn’t fancy one. I should have listened to my mother! In the early days I just used a muslin to cover up when feeding the little chap but as he got bigger he often tried to get me arrested by making me show more flesh in public than is deemed acceptable. So at around 6 months I bought one of these feeding covers with the stiff top bit so you can easily see them as you’re feeding. If you have a fussy feeder like mine who likes to thrash around, these are fab. They are also great as a kind of black out blind for their pram as you can drape it over whilst still being able to see them. Also, I found it brilliant on a day flight as a cover over the sky cot when he needed to sleep but was way too ‘inquisitive’ to do so.
My sister bought us this as a Christmas present and it is truly amazing. It has come into its own since the little man turned 4 months as I needed something to contain him as he started to roll around. The jumperoo is great for knowing he can’t escape! My parents even bought one when we went home for two weeks after they saw how much he loved it (my dad had images of having to bounce him on his knee for hours otherwise!). Please be warned though, the song will drive you totally insane…yes there is just ONE song and it goes off every time they jump, which obviously happens a lot since that is the whole point of it. I have caught my dad and my father in law humming this tune when out and about when the little man is not even around. It is also huge and plastic and bright and will take over your living room. But it is great. Get it.
People will buy you these, you will buy them for yourself and you will think that you have way too many. You do not. You can never have too many of these wonderful things. They are brilliant as sheets, swaddles, comforters, breast feeding covers, sick mopper-upers, dribble mopper-upers, milk mopper-uppers ..you get the gist. You will have to wash them constantly (they are always white?!) and so more is definitely more. Aden and Anais are the posh ones (Prince George was wrapped in one when he left hospital and my lovely friend bought me the same one for my George). They are really great and available in Dubai at Db babies. I bought some cheap ones and they didn’t even come close to comparing to the A&A ones.
9. Long sleeve bibs
This is more of an older baby item. I searched high and low for the perfect bib. Yes, I am that much of a loser. I wanted an adjustable back, elasticated wrists, long sleeves, machine washable, stain resistant and a decent pattern. This meant paying to get some Bumkins bibs from the US as I couldn’t find them elsewhere. Luckily I love them and they were worth the money and wait. I would actually prefer a full snow suit style approach as baby food seems to get everywhere and is ALWAYS orange, no matter what food it is, it will be orange.
10. ‘Say Hello to the Sun’ song
If you go to baby sensory (we go to the one at the Change Initiative in Dubai) then you will know this song as well as the accompanying sign language. Baby sensory always begins with this song and the babies seem to love it. If the little man is ever having a meltdown we sing the song and he immediately stops. Honestly, it is unbelievable! In our household there have been many middle of the night renditions of this song (usually with the incorrect words). Its a bit random, as most baby rhymes are, but it’s less violent than most nursery rhymes (I’m thinking of Humptey Dumptey, Rock a Bye Baby, Three Blind Mice, etc. etc.) and addictive for both you and baby. Learn the words, learn the signing, you won’t regret it!