With your rounded belly growing and the first kicks breathtaking amongst excitement and trepidation growing in near equal measure, thoughts no doubt turn to the how you will cope on maternity leave pay with all the things the new baby ‘needs’.
It can be overwhelming to think a new baby will cost a fortune. You are bombarded with marketing emails, Bounty packs and remarketing campaigns after every sleepy nightime Google (to pass the time amid pregnancy insomnia).
Therefore, I present you with all the things you DO NOT need to buy for your new baby.
Save your maternity pennies!
All of them are my most humble opinion of course.
- Moses basket. The classic item that first time mums seek out! Firstly, I question whether one is needed. Mums now have so many baby ‘vessels’ available to them. Can you use the carry cot of the pram for example, a travel cot or normal cot? It’s nice to have something to plonk them on downstairs so if you do need one, still don’t buy one! They are used for a few short weeks and then are passed on from one mum to another; I see them given away for free regularly. I actually came home one day to one on my doorstep from a friend. Did I use it? A bit, because I had it. There are so many around, you will never get your money back on a brand new fancy branded one.
- Baby bathtub. I actually have one of these because I have no bath and my giant baby was too big for the sink even at a month old. Unless you are in a similar shower-only-giant-baby boat, you really don’t need one. Oh and don’t get me started on a top and tail bowl. Just use your common sense and don’t wipe a bottom before a face and use the same water!
- Play pen. Some mums swear by these baby prisons and it will depend on your home (I say this with full understanding that when they start to move, a prison is good so you can pop to the loo). I got given one, tried it once and the boy hated it so much, it never overshadowed our lounge again. There is a very frustrating period when they start to move, when it is very tricky to get things done, but the answer for us was a movable baby prison, a sling!
- Changing table. We used the top of a chest of drawers upstairs and the table or floor downstairs. We had a little nappy changing box that had all we needed in it. Not sure why wiping a bum needs a dedicated piece of furniture.
- Cotton wool mountain. Again, I got given a ton of cotton wool for using on the newborn. I used a flannel.
- Bottle prep machine. Making bottles in the middle of the night is a pain in the sleep-deprived parental arse so I appreciate people will buy an expensive machine that promises the perfect temperature of milk. The answer to this quandary is a thermos flask. Boil and cool to the right temperature and simply pour into a bottle with a few spoonfuls of milk powder. I even got bored of this after a month and just prepped all the night feeds in one go. I know, I know, this isn’t ‘allowed’ or sterile but it worked for us, it worked for all the babies of my generation and it means my boy now takes milk whatever temperatures it comes.
- Nappy bin. A little bin that squishes dirty nappies so you can avoid the main bin. Two easy options; either use reusable nappies so that your bin won’t smell because poo goes down the loo or put the dirty nappies straight into the outside bin.
- Baby shoes. They can’t walk. Even when they can walk, developmentally it’s best to keep them bare foot for as long as possible.
- Baby towels. They are little humans, so they fit nicely into big human towels.
- Talcum powder and baby oil. One is drying and causes them to cough, one is not needed. Dry skin or cradle cap? Coconut oil for the win.
- Baby blankets. You will be given about ten of the cutest blankets around, you don’t need to buy them yourself.
- Pretty, impractical changing bags. For me, impractical meant over the shoulder. Backpacks for the wins so you actually have hands to hold the baby, without a bag falling off your shoulder all the time.
- Too many newborn clothes. If you have a tiny or premature baby you’ll need more but generally newborn clothes are worn for a very short time. If you have a 10lb 3oz baby like me, they will never fit. My son went from 0-3 size clothes to 2-year-old clothes by the time he was one. Do not buy newborn clothes that need to go over the head. It may be cute but it isn’t worth the crying.
- Toys. You’ll be given rattles and soft toys by the dozen. If by some fluke, you aren’t, pick one up for 20p from a baby sale. Babies can’t grasp for a while. Newborns love black and white images and milk. A little older, your car keys will do. The beauty of a newborn is that you can read your books to them, the sound and the early access to reading is key, not the content.
- Cot bumper. Cot death recommended guidelines stipulate that you have nothing in or around your cot, so a bottom sheet and a baby sleeping bag is all you need. And yet, cute matching nursery sets always include a bumper.
If you are a first time mum-to-be, I hope this list makes you realise that you don’t need everything adverts tell you. If you’re a parent already, you may agree or disagree with my list, do let me know!