Baby products you don’t need (and a few you might)October 8, 2015
In the run up to our daughter being born I turned into a shopaholic, my hormone-laden logic being that if we had enough stuff, everything would be fine. I inexplicably became obsessed with Dr Brown bottles, buying them by the armload, and scoured online forums for lists of ‘must-haves for newborns’ convinced that there must be some magic product that would make motherhood easy. Ha.
Of course, plenty of shops are more than willing to take money from worried pregnant women, and it’s only after eight months that I can look back (and stare at a few unopened boxes) and realise what products are actually needed – and which ones are total nonsense.
You don’t need…
Lots of newborn clothes
Ah, they grow up so fast. No, they really do. While those teeny-tiny onesies are obviously so adorable they somehow make you broody WHILE YOU’RE ACTUALLY CARRYING A CHILD, some basic white vests and sleepsuits are fine for the first few weeks. And maybe the odd cute outfit for Instagram (you’re only human).
See above. We have miniature Converse, Timberland and Supergas. She hasn’t worn any of them and they’re now too small. Babies don’t need shoes until they can walk. Simples.
Madness. Stick your elbow in.
Damn you Pottery Barn and your adorable (shockingly expensive) linen. Your baby will probably be swaddled or in a grow-bag for at least the first six month. Buy yourself some nice sheets instead.
Baby wipe warmer
Yes, these exist. Your baby doesn’t need warm wipes for their precious tush. It’s an early life lesson in toughening up, kid.
Breast feeding pillow
I bought one (it even had pockets) and used it for a week before ditching for a squishier cushion.
A long as you’re taking the nappies out of the house every other day, a normal pedal bin is fine.
A few things I recommend…
We bought the Avent warmer and really like it. It take three minutes to heat milk up, which is the perfect amount of time to wrestle your child into a fresh nappy. No messing around with boiling water, either.
With two dogs it’s important to keep the sprog a bit separate, and putting her in ‘the cage’ as we lovingly refer to it for a nap is very handy. You can also turn it into a small playpen. They’re weirdly hard to buy in Dubai, so check Dubizzle and Facebook groups to find them second hand.
With sticky summers and vicious, unpredictable air conditioning here in the UAE I find a reliable thermometer for the nursery really useful. The Gro-Egg (available from Just Kidding) gets the thumbs up because it has a range of colours (from blue for absolutely bloody freezing to red for hotter than the sun) so you don’t have to squint at tiny numbers with your gritty, sleep deprived eyes.
One thing Pottery Barn sells that I found worth the expense are the grow-bags called SleepSacks (around Dhs200), because the smaller sizes have ‘wings’ that velcro around your baby to swaddle them. Hands down the best thing we bought.
I’m possibly the world’s biggest fan of Baby Secrets, and having a machine that tells the sprog when it’s bedtime has been crucial for getting her to sleep through the night. As part of the evening routine, her very ugly but totally useful Elephant Summer Infant Slumber Buddies Soother (I can’t believe I just typed that) is proving essential for letting her know when to pipe down and close those little eyes, whether we’re at home, travelling, have taken her to a friend’s house for the evening. I bought this plastic fantastic bit of kit from Mothercare.
Two friends, Elly and Lyndsay, got me onto an Australian company called Bonds, and I’ve never looked back. They ship the UAE (remember to give a physical address rather than a PO box) and there are regular sales. The absolute must-orders are the Wondersuits; zip-up sleepsuits in soft fine cotton with envy-inducing patterns. I like them because the two-way zip makes dressing a wiggly baby super fast, and the mittens for hands and feet fold back, so they last a big longer than regular sleepsuits if your baby has a growth spurt. But mainly I love the patterns.
These little pots hold out measured formula, so you can just tip it into hot water in the bottle. The genius lies in the fact you can spend five minutes after the sprog has gone to bed measuring it out, rather than making up bottles when they’re hungry and losing count of scoops “One, two, three, yes darling it’s coming, six, seven…”.
I’d love to hear what products you can’t live without or always recommend to pregnant friends – and what you wish you’d never spent your hard-earned cash on…