Liv here, Jasper’s Mum and Caleb’s other half. We’ve had Jasper for two months now so are slowly figuring out what baby must-haves are actually that. I’ll leave Caleb to do a post one day about the big ticket items, but I thought I’d write a quick post about my favourite day-to-day things that have made my life easier in the first eight weeks. I figure they’ll be great reminders when we move on to baby number two, but I thought it might be handy for blog readers for future babies or awesome baby shower gifts. I was always that person that bought tiny button-up onesies and cutesy accessories. Next time I’m going to buy really practical stuff that might seem boring at 34 weeks pregnant but are real lifesavers in those early weeks. Most people know I’m incredibly cheap which makes it ironic that most of these things are on the expensive end of baby things. All of the things I’ve listed will easily get us through a second kid- so I guess they work out cheaper in the long run.
We have been gifted so many clothes that I am actually dreading what it will be like in six months when we might actually have to buy him clothes. Every item we’ve been given we are so thankful for. It’s made the first couple of months so easy, and its been nice for the wallet. We do have a few standout favourites though.
Bonds Wondersuits – Caleb mentioned these before but they really are lifesavers. Save up and buy a few in each size. The beauty is that they have two zips. One from the top and one from the bottom. They also have bits that fold over at the hands and feet to become mittens and socks. We tend to use them at night when we just want quick and easy nappy changes. Yes, they are expensive but you can get from places like The Warehouse or Tiny Turtles or Sleepstore on sale every now and again. I’ve mostly bought gender neutral stripy ones in case next time we have a girl. Be warned – the girl ones are waaaaayyy cuter than the boy ones.
Lamington and Bonds socks– I hate socks for babies. Just as much as I hate booties. We were gifted a few pairs of each of these and they are pretty much the only ones Jasper has worn. They stay on. Which keeps me somewhat sane.
Bodysuits – you can’t have enough of these. We went through sooo many of these in the early days before learning that for boys, you have to point their willy down in the nappy, otherwise their wees just leak out the top. I’ve also recently started using singlets and golly they are amazing too – especially at night when there’s one less thing to do up.
- If you are going to buy onesies get ones with zips. Buttons make you want to cry. Domes are all good during the day but Jasper has had a few nights of having a crotchless onesie situation because I am too tired to spend the time to line up domes.
- If you buy someone tights get ones with feet. Again, you don’t need to deal with socks.
- Buy a few jumpers or cardigans as gifts. We have lots of bodysuits and tights but only a few warm things for on top. They’ll get heaps of use because everyone likes a baby that’s dressed like an adult.
Random bits and bobs
A pack of old school cloth nappies- again, a few people recommended getting these but not for their actual use. We use them to line his mattress, as spill cloths, sun shades in the car and to lie him on after a bath. We use them all day every day. Get a pack.
Aden and Anais Swaddles/Wraps- Get these from Farmers in their 50% off nursery sale. You probably need 4. They are huge so perfect for baby burritos when you are swaddling. Lots of people use the Love to Dream swaddles. We were lent a couple but I wasn’t a fan. J sucked his hands all the time so they were a wet smelly mess. He could still hit his head with his hands and he also learnt how to shimmy up in them so a few times he would wake up from having hit is head on the top of the Moses basket. Maybe get one of each to see what one is right for you.
White Noise playing device- J loves it. The point is that it sounds like the womb so it is reassuring for them to sleep with. The minute its turned off Jasper will wake up. We put it on for every sleep. We have rainfall instead of the static noise so Caleb and I can sleep with it at night too. We think we are actually sleeping better too. We used my phone in the early days but I got annoyed at not being able to use it. I really didn’t want to spend $80 on a special device that only plays white noise so we got a cheap portable Bluetooth speaker and connect to the white noise app using our phone. There’s heaps of apps out there for white noise. I have an Android and use an app called Relaxio. But again, the cheap thing is coming to bite me in the butt. Tomorrow I’m going to splash out and buy a proper, standalone white noise device. We have concrete walls which means my phone does have to pretty much be in the same room as the Bluetooth speaker for it to work, which defeats the purpose. Its also just too hard when I’m so tired to remember to charge two devices every five hours.
A wheat bag- one of the midwives taught me this trick and it makes a huge difference to J’s sleep. Heat a wheat bag for 1min 30 and put in his bed for 30 seconds ( I usually swaddle him in this time). Take it out, lay baby down, put a blanket on top, put the wheat bag down, and then the other blankets. It goes on the bedding to emulate you and your warmth, and then on top because they like the weight and warmth on their belly as it reminds them of their womb. It’s cheap, easy and it works wonders. I stopped doing this for a week cos I got lazy. J’s day sleeps went crazy again. Plunket Nurse suggested going back to it. This afternoon he slept for two hours. Clearly this is a keeper for us.
A carrier- We (mostly me) made the decision not to buy a capsule for the baby. A capsule is the little plastic seat thing you see tiny babies sitting in at cafes. They are also what they sit in in the car 🙂 As I said earlier, I am really cheap but I’m also really safety conscious when it comes to my boy. I spent hours watching car seat and capsule crash tests to see what one he’d be more likely to survive in. I looked at hiring a really safe one but it would be just under $200 for six months. Instead we slammed that money into the safest convertible car seat on the market (a Diano in case you are wondering) that goes from newborn to 12-years old. The downside is you can’t just pop a car seat in the trolley, or carry them in somewhere for a quick errand, so we bought a carrier. We knew we’d want one anyway as we both liked the ease compared to the pram for everything. A carrier is essentially a harness so you can wear the baby. We used it for the first time when he was just four days old and has been used on the regular ever since Ergo is the popular brand. But, we both found them quite uncomfortable. Mountain Buggy (same brand as our pram) brought one out a couple years ago and it was way more comfortable for both of us. It’s called the Juno and it fits both Caleb and mine’s style. I love it because it means I can hug Jasper for hours and he has no way of getting off me. The downside is people can’t see your baby when they are tiny so you don’t get as many compliments on how cute he is.
*Ours is Navy and white striped so clearly way cooler than this one from their marketing.
**Yes, i know this is too expensive for a present.
Blankets- I knitted one for J for his bed and we were gifted two amazing quality ones from Nature Baby and Smith and Caughey. They are beautiful and we use them daily in the car, pram and bed. We have about five blankets for Jasper and they all get used all the time. We can’t believe how often we have to wash them, so don’t hesitate to buy a blanket for someone- just make sure it’s wool or cotton so baby can sleep with it (baby blankets have to be breathable fabrics like wool or cotton so baby doesn’t accidentally suffocate himself).
Spill Cloths- J spills a lot. We have found the best spill cloths are the cheap muslins from The Warehouse and Kmart. Get about 10. They are too small to wrap him in, but big enough to wipe up a few decent spills. Rocko also loves these, preferably in a used state.
Change Station– This has been one of our best buys. I got it at the 50% off farmers nursery sale but it doesn’t look like they sell them anymore. The brand I got is called Skip Hop. A compartment for nappies, a zipped area where I store wipes and hand sanitiser and a little tube of nappy cream. Then there is also a wipeable mat. Its great when you are out just to chuck this in the pram or a handbag and not have to take his whole nappy bag with me
Nappy Bag/Doggy bag dispenser- My boss mentioned this trick to me. You know those little holders that you put doggy bags in for walks? Get one of them for dirty nappies when you are out. I got one for a few bucks from Kmart. But dog ones are the same. I have this clipped on to the change wallet so that I don’t forget them. At home we just have some cheap nappy bags from Pak N Save that are in a wet wipe style pouch.
Change Mat- My aunty got me this awesome one by ‘Pretty Brave’ and I love it. It was such a cool gift. I hope like hell she didn’t spend that much money on me though. I leave it set up where we play and because it is wipeable it doesn’t matter if he spills on it or wees on it during naked time. I think this will be handy for laying him on the ground and him playing when he is a little bigger. Also, it’s great for photo backdrops
Water Wipes- Everyone raved about these. I thought $7, no way. Even more people raved about them. So, I bought a pack for those first few days where the babies have the awful meconium poos. They were great. When we got home we went back to using the cheap $2 wipes and within days Jasper’s bum was a sore red almost blistering mess. Back to the water wipes we went. In the past few weeks Silk (one of the cheap brands) has got water ones now too. They are about $2 I think and just as good. Get them. It’s also really reassuring that babe doesn’t have too many chemicals on him yet.
Lanolin Cream– For your nips. you can get this from the pharmacy. Just get the tiniest tube, you don’t need much and you will only need to use it for a few days. This is made of lanolin which is natural so you don’t have to wipe off before baby feeds.
Hydrogel Discs- You can get these from the baby shops for about $20. They are like ice packs for your nips. If you are cheap like me you will use them for a couple of days each so you only need one box of them. You only need them for the first few days
Even though I had feeding issues so had to use the breast pump heaps my nips were still in agony from being pulled so frequently and these were lifesavers.
Unimom Forte Breast Pump- Even before having Jasper, I knew I’d want to express so Caleb could help with a bottle every now and then. Everyone around us seemed to recommend this one because it is so good and way cheaper than the Medela ones. Despite feeling like a cow while doing it, it has worked great for me. I even just bought a switch converter so that I can make it manual when travelling. If you want one, wait until you sign up to Antenatal classes through The Parent Centre. Every two months they have a 20% off discount at Baby Factory. This brings the pump down to just $200.
Milton Tablets- you have to sterilise your bottles and pump stuff for the first three months of a baby’s life. You just chuck a few tablets in a couple of litres of water and ta da, everything is sterilised. This is what our parents did and it’s way easier than boiling or having to buy a gadget to microwave etc. The supermarkets sell them for about $8. They do smell like bleach, though. That’s the only downside.
Mam anti-colic bottles- I don’t know if they stop colic, but they have a steriliser built into them. This means when you are out and about you can just put a bit of water in the bottom and microwave for a few mins and they are good to go. Farmers sell them, so I just got them in the 50% off nursery sale.
Nursing singlets- everyone told me to get them and I agree. Don’t be cheap though. You will be living in these and nursing bras so don’t get the Kmart or Warehouse ones. Also. don’t get ones where you’ve got to whip the whole boob thing down to feed. The best one I found was at Farmers by Lyric brand. It has selectively cut triangle bits of fabric. This is great for privacy when out and about as no one can see a thing. They are comfy as can be too. I only have one so save it for when I know I’ll be out lots. Buy a few in a sale and they work out the same price as the cheap nasty ones.
*This isn’t the one I have. Clearly showing this much skin on the Farmers site isn’t allowed, but this is the kind of one you want.
Breastfeeding pillow- my boss gave me hers as she hadn’t used it much. A lot of people say you don’t need them, and you don’t, but they are handy. Try and get one that fits around your hips, so you can sit with your knees crossed. They are comfy and most importantly to me, when J spills on them I can whip the cover off and chuck in wash. Much better than getting milk voms on your nice lounge pillows.
Things you don’t really need-
A baby bath- I was dead set against one just for storage reasons. We were gifted one. We used it a few times, but by far his favourite thing to do is bath or shower with us. It is a lovely way to end the day and already I’m sad at the thought that in a short time we won’t be doing it anymore.
A change table- Again, didn’t want one. We were gifted one. It’s been handy, but I’m so keen to get rid of it. A mat on the drawers was our original plan and it is great. Don’t think you can just lean over on the carpet/bed- it kills your back.
Nursing Pads- Don’t buy nursing pads for people, or too many for yourself. I was gifted heaps of disposable and reusable ones. I don’t really use them. I thought this was just because I don’t have too much milk, but actually a lot of people I’ve talked to say they only use them at night.
Nappy Bag- I’m not stylish at all, but these things are seriously ugly. I use a country road tote when we are going to Caleb’s folks or for a day out, otherwise I use a small bag and chuck a spare change, a bottle, and the change wallet in.
Bath thermometer- lols. We bought one and were gifted one. It stopped working after a week. Your elbow or just common sense really is just as good at figuring out the temperature.
Really awesome present ideas
If these haven’t inspired you then get some things for mum. I got a bottle of fancy champers from one friend. Another got me some lovely lavender candles. When I finished up at work I got my eyebrows done and bought some nice lip scrub and bath bombs from lush. Sometimes they make me feel semi normal when I feel like death. Vouchers or those things would be nice. One of the best gifts we have received though is food in those early days. Coming home to cooked meals has been amazing. My sister in law and a work friend also made me lactation cookies. They were a really thoughtful and yummy idea. Here’s the recipe. Remember to add lots of chocolate: https://nadialim.com/recipe/lactation-cookies/
Lastly, make an effort to go and visit mum and baby. Everyone warns of all the people wanting to visit baby in the first week and I think it may have become the norm to do the complete opposite. We’ve been a bit surprised by the lack of enthusiasm by the people we love most to meet Jasper. While Caleb gets to go to school and have adult company its just me and Jasper all day and it gets pretty lonely. Sure, give new parents a few weeks but after that they are begging for adult company. Send a text to see if you are welcome for a cuddle.