As new parents we discovered that the wide world of baby products is vast and immense and from the beginning we were bombarded with baby industry marketing. When you think of it, the list of ‘newborn essentials’ presented to new parents is mind boggling. One could look at this list and feel pressured to buy every knick-knack on the market in a misguided attempt to ensure their baby’s needs are very much being met.
However with our rational thinking caps on and putting the marketing mayhem aside, we decided to look at what we needed. From the onset we were after baby products that we deemed functional, ergonomic and practical and from our research we discovered that the market is moving into this sector, as parents are no longer just after pretty things to look at.
In my first month with my newborn baby, apart from the standard essentials; nappies, rompers, bottles, toys and story books, I have only used 9 items religiously at home. Newborns are tiny bundles that don’t need much to thrive (apart from love) but these items which we purchased from the very beginning, are on daily rotation and a good starting point for new parents.
1. Swivel Bassinet
We purchased the Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper after reading the stellar reviews online. The bassinet is classed as a co-sleeper (as it floats over your bed) however the baby is never actually in your bed as the bassinet is on a swivel base which you can twist at 360 degrees, closer or further to the bed, or all the way around.
One side of the bassinet can also be pushed down which means you don’t need to get out of bed to place baby in and out of the bassinet and is therefore gentle on your tummy muscles (and for women who have had c-sections, I’ve heard this is particularly useful). This side bar is also great for breastfeeding as you move your baby in and out with ease. This bar can also be locked if you don’t use the feature.
The bassinet is also electronic, and has a menu with four functions; calming sounds like ‘baby in the womb’ which my baby initially was placated by to rainforests and lullabies, a nursing timer, a vibrating feature (the entire bassinet vibrates) and a night light so you can check up on bub. I also like the mesh sides and if I need to check on bub in the middle of the night, I press the night light and look through the mesh to see if everything is ok rather than turning on the bedside lamp or room light and in turn not waking the baby.
The mattress cover is washable, and I also bought fitted sheets for the mattress which are the exact size. The only downside to this bassinet is that it is heavy and weighs 16kg so once you decide on its spot, unless you want to endeavour move it, then this is where it will live as it is not easy to lift.
2. Sleepyhead of Sweden
The Sleepyhead of Sweden aka Dock-A-Tot or our baby nest as I refer to it, is a portable, light and functional sleeper. Newborns love the snug feel of the Sleepyhead as it mimics the tightness of the womb and my baby falls to sleep in it very easily. I use it during the day primarily and move it from room to room in order to keep her close to me. The cover is washable and it also comes in a range of colours and designs. However the only negative is that it is difficult to get the cover back on, once I have washed it. An added bonus is that it is great for taking with you when you are travelling and apparently baby’s are comforted by the familiar surroundings whilst sleeping away from home. There are two sizes, the Grand Deluxe from ages 0-8 months and the Grand Pod for ages 8-36 months. It also designed to be used it for play time, nappy changes and docking your tot anywhere really.
3. Play Mobile and Mat
Ensuring you engage in daily cognitive activities and tummy time with your baby is important from the newborn stage in order to help newborns stimulate brain activity and strengthen their neck muscles. Babies love stripes and these striped animals are great for engaging your baby. I use this Done by Deer activity gym which is ideal for everyday day fun and it is easy to move, I move it over her changing mat when I change her nappies to distract her, or over her sleepyhead when she needs something to look at during playtime. There are small weights in the base that allow it to stand up independently and the feet can be placed close or further apart dependent on what you are putting it over. I also have the matching foam play mat (which you can set up in two sizes) and is it great for practising roll over and tummy time and is easily stored away.
4. Baby Björn Bouncer Bliss
I like this Baby Björn Bouncer Bliss rocker for two reasons; firstly Baby Bjorn collaborate with pediatricians when designing their products which means it has the proper head and back support (our ergonomic box ticked) and secondly, it is not electric and hence the gentle bouncing rhythm is powered by my baby and in turn my newborn does not become reliant on an electric rocking motion to fall asleep. Manual rockers also help babies develop their balance and motor skills. I place my baby in this during the day particularly when she is restless and I tend to have her facing me in the rocker so she can see what I am up to. It works wanders in calming her and she rocks away cooing to herself. The rocker has four recline settings, playtime, rest, sleep and transportation mode and can be used from 0-24 months. As it is also light and portable, I cannot wait to take it along with me on our future family vacations.
5. Nappy Genie
This little Tommee Tippee nappy disposal system is simple to use, hides away your baby’s dirty nappies and also masks any smell. The dirty nappies go into a bag in the bin, then I twist the internal handle mechanism around a few times and the nappy is sealed ready for the next. The nappy bin can hold up to 28 dirty nappies and the cartridges are replaced approximately every 80 nappies. There is a mum hack online in which you can use normal bin liners instead. We have placed this in our guest bathroom (a little surprise for our visitors – only joking!) and it blends in nicely and doesn’t emit any smell. The only negative is that the bags are not biodegradable.
6. Changing Mat, Bathtub and Bath Support
Initially I was a after a combined changing mat and bath tub station however after reading comments online I decided to go for three separate pieces as the combined units were bulky, babies outgrew them quickly and to be honest I couldn’t find one I really liked. The changing mat is practical as I can move it anywhere and the the bathtub is small enough to make my newborn feel secure and is easy to fill and clean. We also have a bath support which we use occasionally when we fill in the whole bathtub. In order to ensure we always heat up the bath water to the right temperature which is in between 37 to 38 degrees celsius (a little warmer than human body temperature) we have this cute floating thermometer.
7. Electronic Thermo Scan Thermometer
My husband takes the credit for this nifty find! The Braun thermoscan thermometer is apparently as accurate as a doctor. It literally takes 3 seconds of skin contact in her ear or forehead for it to emit a response, green gives the all clear and red indicates a warning in which you need to act and consider taking your baby to your GP. We have had really hot weather in London recently and this was great in ensuring my baby’s temperature remained consistent and that she wasn’t over heating.
8. Room Temperature Gauge and Night Light
This little glow Gro-Egg 2 pod lights up in various colors to indicate the room temperature while also acting as a night light in the evenings. An ideal room temperature for newborns is between 16-20 degrees celsius, beyond this may increase the risk of SIDs. When our pod is red we immediately lower the temperature to ensure it is orange again and vice versa when it is blue. This is a great accessory to the Grobags which we also have and vary in thickness for different temperatures. The Grobags contain a guide on how to dress your babies when wearing them, for example if your room is between a certain temperature i.e. 16-20 degrees celsius then the guide recommends the appropriate Grobag and what they should wear underneath. This takes the guess work out for new parents like us and reduces the risk of our baby overheating.
9. Dual Electric Breast Pump
Electric breast pumps have come a long way from what I hear and not painful at all, particularly with their various settings and stimulation patterns. I discovered that the Medela brand is used by the NHS and is really good value. So I invested in this Medela Swing Maxi Double Electric Breast Pump which allows me to pump two breasts simultaneously to save precious time. The set comes complete with bottles and a teat that mimics a nipple. In order to santise the equipment after use, I either boil the the pieces for 5 minutes or use the microwave santiser bags provided. It is also good to know that breast milk can be stored in the fridge for up to five days and up to 6 months in the freezer.
Hopefully this list is helpful for new (and current) parents, and I would definitely welcome feedback on the items listed or if there are any other newborn products out there which are also worth considering. Happy newborn shopping!
Kerstin // Lux Mumma (and a yawn-y Ava Grace)