Top ten (Non) essential baby things

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!



3. Coffee

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!

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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.


5. Dummy

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.


7. Jumperoo

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.


8. Muslins

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 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.

baby sensory

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!

‘V’ day

I am now over 24 weeks pregnant. I have mixed feelings about getting to this ‘milestone’. In the pregnancy world, 24 weeks is considered to be ‘viability’, the stage at which if a woman was to go into labour doctors would be willing to intervene to keep the baby alive. However, it is still incredibly early and for me it doesn’t feel like much of a milestone given I had my son at 24 weeks and 5 days but still lost him. That said, every day bubs continues to cook has to be considered a success. I am more focussed on getting to 25 weeks as I am hoping if I get to that stage I may allow myself to have a little bit more trust in my cerclage and let myself believe that things are different this time around.

24 week bump

It’s strange though, as when I eventually hit a milestone, all I am thinking about is the next one and so each milestone never feels like a particularly big achievement. My main millstones are 25, 30, 34 and then 37 weeks. Still a long way to go but we are slowly inching forward. This week has been the slowest week ever though!

I have pretty much put myself on house arrest this last week but have ventured out in the car/a wheelchair for a coffee and a cake and also for some dinner. It’s nice to get out but I do find myself feeling anxious and concerned that I am sitting rather than lying down. It’s difficult being on modified bed rest as I am not ill. In fact, physically I am feeling pretty good. I am at the stage where I am not that big yet so I am not restricted movement wise and I actually have a fair bit of energy. Despite this energy, I do find it hard to stay on task and to achieve the things that I want to achieve. Most days I do some French, some sewing, some admin etc and feel a sense of achievement but at the moment I lack motivation. Because of the stage I am at right now, I have been taking it easy on myself and allowing myself to laze around the flat watching rubbish television and mopping around. I’ll be a little stricter with myself in the coming months and give myself more targets to achieve.

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The other week I did enjoy a trip out in my wheels to Craftland and Paper Lane in a lovely little mall, Town Centre, Jumeriah, just next to Mercato mall. I didn’t buy much but got some quilting batting, some more fat quarters (I’m slightly obsessed with them!) and some embellishments.  I will definitely be popping back in the future and I was pleased to find some decent craft stores in Dubai (even though they are expensive compared to those in the UK). Here are some of my current craft projects.


What happened?….What’s next?…..

So what happened? Well, the last 6 months has been the most difficult 6 months of my life and it has been full of extreme ups and downs.

In November I moved to Dubai. In December I gave birth to my baby boy prematurely at just under 25 weeks and he died when he was just two weeks old. I may write a post about this in more detail in the future but right now I am not ready to share. I am actually a pretty private person and so writing this blog is a big learning curve for me. It’s therapeutic but also quite an intimidating process as I am sharing much more than I would usually.

I’ve seen/spoken to loads of doctors since this happened to try to understand what went wrong and was surprised at the varying advice I was given in regards to treatment. The diagnoses wasn’t clear but everything pointed to an ‘incompetent cervix’ aka ‘cervical insuficiency’. So my cervix was incompetent/insuficient. Lovely. My cervix is a part of my body that I had never previously paid attention to. I knew about cervical cancer and had regular smear tests but that’s the most I had thought about my cervix. I also didn’t know the massively important role this small piece of my body would play in pregnancy. After a ridiculous amount of research I now feel like I know everything there is to know about my cervix.

January and February passed in a blur and I don’ feel like I was really present during those months. Then in February I found out I was pregnant. We were delighted but also petrified.

My obsessive research continued and after a huge amount of discussion in April I had an operation in the UK to basically sew my cervix shut in the hope it’ll help me get to full term this time. I can’t believe it is now mid May. I am almost 15 weeks pregnant and feel like I have been pregnant forever! I worked out the other day that if (god willing) I go full term with this pregnancy I will have been pregnant for around 15 out of 17 months. That’s a long time.

It’s bloody scary and extremely emotional and I am just trying to tick off the weeks whilst attempting to keep myself sane by keeping my mind as occupied as possible.

So what’s next? Well I’ve stopped looking too far into the future and don’t let myself look much further forward than the next week or so. The biggest adjustment at the moment has been to keep myself busy whilst doing very little (no exercise, walking far, swimming, baths, fun. etc. etc.). I am not on bed rest as such but plan to put myself on bed rest in July and August which will be the time I am most at risk (between 22-30 weeks).

Any ideas for bed rest would be greatly appreciated! So far this is what I’ve planned:

1. Sewing. I’ve bought my first sewing machine to keep myself busy whilst I can sit rather than lie down. If I don’t feel comfortable sitting my mum has given me a hand sewn patchwork quilt which she started many years ago that I plan to finish.

2. French. I am going to try to improve my GCSE French via Rosetta Stone’s online subscription.

3. Website/Blog. I will keep my mind busy by blogging as well as keeping my website up to date with book and film reviews, recipes and reviews of things to do in and around Dubai.

4. Box sets. I need programmes which are lengthy and have plenty of series to watch. So far, I have been recommended Grey’s Anatomy and the West Wing.

That’s about it for now!