Stephanie is enjoying being a (sleep-deprived) first-time mum living in the Northwest of England.
Becoming a parent for the first time can be an expensive business; especially when you have no idea what you may or may not need. Here are some products I have tried and tested and would recommend.
Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine
This was the one piece of equipment every new parent I knew told me to get as soon as they found out I was expecting, and now I'm telling you. The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine will save hours of your busy life if you plan to formula feed your little bundle of joy.
All you do is fill the tank with tap water (the tank will make up several bottles) place a sterilised bottle under the dispenser and choose the amount of formula you wish to make up. Press the button once for the 'hot shot' of water, then add the correct number of scoops of formula, shake the bottle to dissolve the powder, then press the button again for cooler water to be added. The bottle is made up to the perfect temperature to feed your baby instantly. No waiting for boiled water to cool down as used to be the case. It takes me less than two minutes to make up a bottle which is a life saver when your baby is screaming with hunger at 3am and you can't think straight (even your sleep deprived brain can press a couple of buttons and scoop out formula).
People who have never heard of this machine have actually mistaken it for a coffee maker on our kitchen worktop, but a bottle maker is a lot more useful to you than a coffee maker in the first few weeks! We bought ours in black, but you can also get it in white, red and occasionally in other limited edition colours. Get one to complement your decor!
Ready-Made Formula Milk
I discovered the existence of ready-made formula milk before I had my little one. I needed to pack milk into my hospital bag to feed my newborn in their first few hours. But this has not been the only use of the few bottles I bought in preparation for the birth. Ready-made bottles are great to stick in your changing bag for when you are out and about.
Babies drink milk at room temperature, so all you need to do is transfer the milk to their feeding bottle and give this to your newborn. Or even better, you can also buy the ready-made formula bottles with teats attached, so you don't even need to bring bottles and you can just throw the bottle away afterwards! I wish I'd discovered the bottles with the teats earlier because these would definitely would have been in my hospital bag for the long and sleepless first night with my child.
Yes, ready-made formula is a little more costly than the powdered formula, but the convenience definitely outweighs the cost as a busy and tired new parent.
MAM Anti-Colic Bottles
Keeping to the theme of formula feeding, you are going to need some bottles to feed your baby with. I looked into the diffferent bottle sterilising methods and discovered the MAM 'self-sterilising' bottles with the added bonus of reducing colic. Unfortunately, self-sterilising doesn't mean they magically wash and sterilise themselves after use (though if these exist, please let me know!).
MAM bottles are made up of 5 different components that fit together: the bottle base, the rubber seal, the main bottle body, the teat and the lid. By placing these components together in a particular order and adding a little water to the base, you can put the bottle in the microwave and sterilise within 3 minutes. You can add several bottles to the microwave at once and just increase the time.
The convenience of this sterilising method means you only have to purchase a small number of bottles and you don't have to plan too far in advance to ensure you always have clean and sterile bottles for feeding. It also reduces the clutter on your kitchen worktop by removing the need for a sterilising unit.
It's great to hear the air leaving the bottle as your baby sucks on the teat too, as you can hear the anti-colic feature working. We have also found that our baby has very little wind after feeding, creating less distress and reducing feeding time.
Kiddy Infant Car Seat
When I was looking at pram she, I accidentally found the car seat I wanted first and it was made by Kiddy. Kiddy infant car seats have their innovative lie-flat technology which allows you to change the position of your baby from upright to laying down.
Why is this important? Newborns should not be in a car seat for more than 30 minutes as the upright position restricts their airways and can lead to devastating consequences. But when your child falls asleep in the car, it seems like you are punishing yourself by moving them from the seat into their pram and waking them up in the process. With a car seat that lays back, you are freeing their airways and they can stay in the car seat for longer.
I own the Kiddy Evolution Pro 2 car seat along with the isofix base that allows you to just 'click' the car seat into it (making it a lot easier to get in and out of the car), though you can use just the seatbelt to secure it in place. This car seat has been used a lot more than the carrycot and the seat that came with our travel system. It is compatible with maxi-cost car seat adaptors, so it will fit to most travel systems. The seat also has a large sun hood that almost covers the baby completely. This is great on both sunny and windy days as it protects them well.
The only regret I have with buying the Kiddy Evolution Pro 2 is that it doesn't lay flat whilst in the car, unlike the Kiddy Evo-Lunafix which is sold with the isofix base included. If I could choose again, I would go for this model instead, but I am still very happy with my choice and other parents I have met can't believe they didn't find it for their child.
Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor
Everyone looks at baby monitors for their new arrival, and nowadays you can get Ines that let you see your baby as well as hear them. I decided I wasn't going to stare at a monitor when my baby was asleep, but I still wanted to know they were okay.
The Angelcare Movement and Sound Monitor provides me with the reassurance I need. After a scary episode during our first night home with the little one when they stopped breathing due to the mucus in their lungs, we were glad that the movement sensor that you place under the baby's mattress would alert us if our baby stopped breathing again. You can set the monitor to let out a regular ticking noise to confirm everything's okay, or you can, like us, set it to let out a 'tick' noise after 15 seconds of no movement, then a loud alarm 5 seconds later if there's still no movemen. You can have the sound component of the monitor on at the same time.
This monitor also has a couple of additional features that you may find useful. It has a blue night light as well as a temperature monitor. With the ideal temperature for a baby to be in being 16-20*c, this monitor will tell you the room temperature and can alert you when the room gets too hot or too cold.
I love this baby monitor and wouldn't consider any other.
A Good Night Light
Despite our baby monitor having a built-in night light, whilst pregnant I found the meemoobaby meelight, which has four light settings: dim and constant, dim on a 30 minute timer, medium intensity on a 30 minute timer and bright on a 30 minute timer. I thought the brightness settings would be great so that I didn't wake my partner during night feeds when he needed to get up early for work the next morning.
Even better, this light can be clipped to you whilst feeding, meaning you don't need an extra set of hands like everything else you do for your baby.
This light lasts about a week after being charged and we leave it on the constant dim setting throughout the night at the end of the baby's cot.
If you need a night light, I highly recommend this one (despite the high price tag), or any other one with the same great features.
These are my must-have items for any new parent that I personally have found to be invaluable. If you have any more to add, please let us know below in the comments.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2017 Stephanie Elford
Stephanie Elford (author) from Manchester, UK on March 14, 2017:
Agreed! When you need to put your little one down they are extremely useful!
Kathleen Cochran from Atlanta, Georgia on March 14, 2017:
A swing - but use it sparingly - like when you need a shower or a meal.