5 Things I Regret Buying As A New Parentby Sarah Hurst
It can be hard to navigate through the essentials and the non-essentials as a parent to be. Planning for a new baby as first-time parents can be like planning a dinner party when you don’t know who the guests are going to be and you’ve never done one before. You may have vague ideas from other people about what it will entail, you’ll probably look up some advice in certain books or web searches, and you’ll almost certainly buy too many things from the supermarket - just in case – and then probably have a lot of waste.
Obviously, every baby is different, and you won’t know your baby until you meet them, but here is a list of items I really didn’t need, and you probably won’t either…
They look super cute and are almost the epitome of the ‘newborn baby’ image, but let’s be honest, you don’t really get your monies worth. Babies outgrow Moses baskets really quickly, and if your baby was late (like mine) or just a bigger size, then you’ll get a few good weeks at the most. Most new parents will own a pram – which is essentially a Moses basket on wheels, so that leaves ‘upstairs’ for where to place your baby. Truth be told, most new babies just want to be held or carried. My advice would be to buy a co-sleeper cot or a sleepyhead bed-nest at the start. With my second I was prepared for the fact that my children prefer to sleep ‘with’ me and I used a sleepyhead in my bed next to me. I followed all of the guidelines for safe co-sleeping as a breastfeeding mama, so this worked out much better for me than shelling out for a basket I would never use. NB: Both of my children had terrible reflux so rarely slept laying down anyway!
[Read more: Sleepyhead Deluxe+ : A Review]
Expensive cot (with bedding and bumpers)
Hey, they look great in a freshly made up nursery awaiting the arrival of little Mr / little Miss, and if you really just want to pretty up your Instagram feed with some photos of a gorgeous room then go ahead…but otherwise? I wouldn’t bother. Firstly, bedding and bumpers can be lethal to a new baby. Babies have died from becoming tangled or stuck in cot bumpers and research has shown that the lack of airflow can also lead to serious consequences. Have them for 'show' if you must, but please remove them before leaving your child in a cot with cot bumpers. If you are worried about your child ‘bumping’ themselves then why not do what we did this time around and use a travel cot instead? The sides are soft, it is easy to pack away and move around from your room to theirs and most importantly if you go somewhere else for a night or two your baby will be sleeping in familiar surroundings. It was a revelation when I suddenly realised that no, I did not need to shell out for an expensive cot which may not fit our room, or fit our needs in the long term. Besides, they will be in their own bed before you know it…
Formula milk prep machine
Okay so I’m going to hold my hands up and say this is something I almost purchased, but didn’t, and here’s why: You can actually prepare formula safely, to the right temperature, within minutes yourself, using exactly the same principles as an expensive machine. I exclusively breastfed both of my children, but my first child went through a biting stage which was SO severe at the time, I had to pump and feed him from a bottle for a few months. My boobies don’t work very well for breast-pumps so as my supply fell, I had to supplement for a while. The first time I used formula, I followed the instructions using hot water and the powder and then waited for almost an hour until it had cooled down. Arghhh! Not needed. Let’s say for argument’s sake you need 1 fluid ounce of water to one scoop of formula. You’re making 6 ounces. Here’s what you do: Measure out 6 scoops of formula. Add 2 fluid ounces of boiled water to the bottle. Add in all 6 scoops to the boiling water and shake. The boiling water sterilises the formula and kills the germs. Once mixed, you can now add in 4 fluid ounces of cooled boiled water. Shake. Your milk will be warm but not hot, and ready for your baby. NB: you can experiment with different ratios depending on how much milk you are making, you may find that 50% of the water needs to be hot and 50% cold. Either way, make sure you always use exactly the right amount of water for the formula and measure it out first, rather than topping it up to the right amount as you add it in – this is because once the formula is added, the amount in the bottle will rise. You’re welcome.
Oh, and for those of you wondering…we got over the biting stage and I went on to continue breastfeeding again until 2.5 years.
‘Over the head’ new-born baby vests
If you haven’t seen the meme that made its way around Facebook, then it is actually possible to take vests off by pulling them down the body rather than over their little (feel like they might fall off) tiny newborn heads…but honestly, just buy the ones that fold over and tie at the sides or fasten with press studs at the side. You’ll be grateful for it when they’ve had an explosive poo … and no one needs to make their life more complicated than it needs to be! Whilst we’re on the subject, don’t bother with the babygrows or outfits with fancy, difficult to undo buttons either. They might look great, but you’ll be sick of them by the time they’re on their 5th nappy of the day. Ease of access and ease of removal is key.
Parenting help books
If you don’t listen to anything else, listen to this (yes, I appreciate the irony coming from an advice post!). Babies don’t come with manuals, because every baby is different. Every parent is different too. Don’t read the baby books with the sleep schedules and the feeding schedules and the advice that causes you to fret and panic and worry about putting it into action. Ignore the books who pretend to know your baby better than you do. Put judgey Gina back on the shelf and listen to the one person who actually has a clue about any of it: Your instinct.
Nobody knows your baby better than you, and as long as you follow their cues and listen to their needs you won’t go too wrong. You’ve got this mama.