Since Ted was born I’ve bought so much stuff and some of it was utterly useless (and expensive) but every now and again I find a real gem.
Some of those gems are collected together here for the benefit of other Mums:
The baby swaddle blankets by Infantino were among the best things we ever bought. Ted was forever waking himself up by hitting the sides of his basket whenever the startle reflex kicked in and the swaddle stopped that from happening. In fact, the first time we used one of them BabyDaddy and I commented that it was like black magic as Ted fell asleep the minute we tied the bow.
We did try another type when he grew out of these as, unfortunately, Infantino only make one size & Ted was too big quite quickly, but we didn’t get on with it at all. The one we tried was the Summer Infant SwaddleMe but it used Velcro which couldn’t be tightened far enough to keep his arms in. The Infantino one could be left on his mattress while we slipped him easily inside without disturbing him too much, but the SwaddleMe required a “wing” to be brought right behind his back.
As he got bigger and his startle reflex faded we started using sleeping bags for Ted and have found the Mothercare ones to be the best because they zip from the top to the bottom, meaning we can change his nappy without having to take him right out of the bag – perfect when we can’t afford to have the heating on all night! We like the Grobag ones too but they’re not as practical (although they do have nicer designs!)
On the one night the magic-swaddle didn’t send Ted straight to sleep we found that the Bright Starts Fun On Safari swing seat did the trick and was worth its weight in gold if only for that one night. It was useful for getting him to chill out and he also napped in it, but for that one night it was an absolute saviour. I know lots of Mums whose swing seats were the best things they bought, and I would definitely recommend having one, but unfortunately Ted outgrew his really quickly and if it hadn’t been for an unexpected gift of cash I’m not sure we would have bought one at all. I am very glad we did though. If only for that one night!
The best things we bought for feeding, second only to Lansinoh when I was nursing, were Tommee Tippee bottles because they have these fantastic little pots that fit inside. I originally got one with the manual breast pump to collect milk whilst allowing you more of a grip as the bottle fits around it. Later I realised that I could still use them to hold formula powder as the pots with three sections and a lid that turns (you know the ones I mean!) kept allowing powder to move between the sections and I could never be sure I was using the correct amount. I still use these now, so they’ve lasted from birth to five months. They only hold 7oz so they won’t last much longer but they’re well worth the money. I only wish I had bought the Tommee Tippee steriliser too. I didn’t think about the fact that the bottles would fit better and just bought a cheaper one that matched my kitchen. Fail!
As I’ve mentioned before, I gave Ted a dummy at three days old in order to get him from the hospital to my house (an hour away) without him screaming for more boob. The first dummy we gave him was the only one they had for 0+ at the hospital shop, but we later bought him a whole selection of shapes and sizes with various promises. The ones he uses now are the ones he’s used all along, and he won’t tolerate any other kind. We could have saved ourselves a lot of time, energy and money by just accepting that he liked what he had and it didn’t matter that they didn’t have pictures of animals on. And the dummy he liked was the Avent Freeflow soother. Another great thing about these is that they come with individual cases so you can chuck them in your bag and they’ll stay sterile. Perfect.
Among the others we tried was an “orthodontic” one that has since been recalled. Just go with what they like and sod the blurb!
As featured in a previous post, the Cosatto 3sixti Circle is a fantastic highchair that I would recommend to anyone. Ted can hold his neck up and has a pretty strong back but he’s not sitting alone yet, but he’s perfectly happy in the 3sixti as it has a recline option. It also has a big post between his legs rather than just relying on the straps, meaning that he can’t wriggle out or slip under the tray – which can be set to three different positions and has a removable top. I can’t help sounding like an advert when I talk about this chair as I absolutely love it, and although I’m a *bit* miffed that my only criticism – that it could do with wheels – has been rectified in the new model, just too late for me, I’m still happy enough to recommend it to everyone. Go Cosatto!
Two of the best toys we bought Ted can be combined to make one master toy! We bought a wooden baby gym from Ikea and because the blocks are removable we’ve been able to change the toys regularly, meaning we can stay up to date with Ted’s development but also stop him from getting bored. What we found worked best for this were ‘Lots of Links’ which allow us to add toys or just let him play with the links. As the Bright Starts toys all come with loops they’ve been great for adding, and Ted loved “crispy dog” from a month old. Now he prefers the flexi-ball, which is also good for encouraging him to roll. (Is Ted the only baby who was great at rolling at three months but got bored and gave up by four?) The gym itself is also fantastic because it’s just so sturdy. I’ve yet to come across another gym that can withstand so much kicking, pulling and grabbing. It also has wheels on the sides that turn when punched (or that’s what Ted likes to do to them, anyway) and as they have swirly patterns on they really keep their attention. For as long as anything keeps a baby’s attention! It’s a great design and I’m so glad I bought it (on a whim even though I already had another baby gym at home).
Another range we LOVE and that work well with the baby gym are the Lamaze toys. Ted got the firefly as a present when he was born and I swear he must be getting EVERYTHING else for christmas. Freddie the firefly kept him occupied when he was newborn as it has the black & white contrast patterns that babies love, and as he’s got older he’s appreciated the textures, crinkles and colours, plus now he’s also chewing it and loves the teether that fits in its pocket. We’ve now had Freddie for five months and he hasn’t needed washing yet. What more could you want?
We also used the Nuby award-winning Bug-O-Loop teether on the play gym as it was one of the first things Ted could grab confidently and seemed to be his favourite toy for a good six weeks or so. We used to use the Bright Starts links to attach it to his bouncer, his pram and anything else he was near! Now he’s teething it’s even better, and it’s constantly covered in dibble. We’ve also got a couple of the other teether toys by Nuby and although he likes them none of them last as long as the Bug-o-Loop before they’re thrown across the floor.
When I was pregnant I said I didn’t want a baby monitor as I didn’t want to be obsessing over every little noise he made, but then after he’d been born I saw the BT 150 on sale in Boots and thought I’d give it a try as my husband was a bit nervey whenever we put Ted to bed. As it turned out, it was a great buy. It’s been discontinued now and ours has a couple of faults (but nothing we can’t live with), but I would definitely recommend a baby monitor. As would @sdabill, who says her baby monitor is priceless. I still don’t obsess over every tiny noise as I just don’t have the receiver upstairs. When he’s in bed I have the receiver in the lounge or in the kitchen, but I never ever take it to bed. If he needs me he’s loud enough to tell me, and if he doesn’t I don’t need to be woken up!
One thing we really struggled with was bath products. Ted absolutely loves his bath, which is always his bonding time with his Daddy and one of the best times to get photos, but when he was little and slippery we wanted something to make it *feel* safer. We looked at reviews and bought the Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather (sorry Summer Infant, it seems that you just don’t get on with Ted!) which we absolutely hated and only used once. (If any of you would like to try it, by the way, let me know and we can arrange to cover the postage.) Ted’s got long legs and it seemed as though they were just folded up against him. We also tried one of those moulded plastic ones but that only got used for a week or so anyway. As he likes to splash about Ted just has his bath in Daddy’s arm now and is much happier. I don’t think we’d bother trying anything at all next time.
I’ll add any other recommendations as I think of them, use them or have them tweeted to me @stitchnstretch.
Please feel free to comment with the things you can’t live without or wish you’d never bought, or to tell me I’m raving mad or have hit the nail on the head.