TOP 10 BABY PRODUCTS EVERY NEW PARENT OUGHT TO HAVE - PART 1
Firstly, if you’re expecting, congratulations! You’ve probably heard it before but you’re facing the most rewarding AND the most challenging emotional roller-coaster ride you will ever experience.
So it’s no surprise that preparing for this ride can make your head spin too.
No one wants to panic purchase all that expensive life-saving baby gear with a newborn in tow, so most parents-to-be spend a fair amount of time researching their purchases beforehand by visiting specialist shops and baby fairs, speaking to other parents and reading product reviews and “Top 10 baby product” lists like this one.
Whilst I personally found some products easy to shop (e.g. baby clothes, swaddles, muslins/burp cloths, sleep sacks, cots, changing tables, car seats, activity mats, nappy bins) because there are a number of great options out there to suit any budget, others required a lot more research.
So here is my attempt at helping you prepare for your new arrival with my Top 10 baby products every new parent ought to have. These products were a total hit in my family because my children loved them and they really did make our lives easier. Hopefully your child will love these products too and you’ll never have to shop for alternatives, saving you time and money.
To help make this list easier to digest, I’ve split my baby must-haves into two parts: Part 1 focuses on products that make bathtime and bedtime more relaxing, Part 2 includes products that help make daytime a little less stressful. Here we go.
TOP 10 BABY PRODUCTS EVERY NEW PARENT OUGHT TO HAVE: PART 1
Having a baby bath isn’t absolutely necessary but makes bathtime so much more relaxing and fun. It’s also quicker to run and saves water versus a bathtub.
There are infinite options, from basic, inexpensive baths to jacuzzi-style tubs with built-in jets and electronic scales, via free-standing, folding and inflatable options. It all depends on what you’re looking for and how much you’re willing to spend.
However, if you’re looking for something fairly basic and inexpensive (like I was) that makes bathtime hassle-free by keeping your baby safe and your back and arms ache free, I would definitely recommend the Tippitoes Mini Bath.
The back has a soft foam headrest and is slightly reclined to allow your baby to sit back comfortably, whilst the built-in support seat stops him or her from sliding down into the water.
Our kids loved it! We used it from 0-7 months so it was well worth the £10 spend! A separate bath stand is available but we found it less messy to keep the baby bath in the bathtub.
Alternatively, for £25 [actually seems to be £20.79 on Shnuggle site atm - bargain!] you can get the Shnuggle Baby Bath, which has the added benefit of being more compact so it fits in most kitchen sinks and takes up less storage space.
Neither my husband nor I really trusted ourselves with the “dip your elbow in the bath to check the water temperature” technique so with our first baby we always used a bath thermometer.
As with most baby products there is a vast choice.
It activates automatically and displays digital temperature readings (in Celsius) that automatically update every five seconds. It has a temperature alarm which displays "Cold" for low temperatures, "Hot" with red LED flashing light when the water is too hot and shows digits when the temperature is just right. It can be used in the bath as well as outside to indicate room temperature (although it never occurred to us to try it outside the bath!). It also comes preloaded with a built-in battery so you can start using it straight away. The battery lifespan is approximately one year so there’s no need to replace the batteries often.
As well as giving you the peace of mind that you won’t scorch your baby and help rule out water temperature as a possible explanation for your baby’s crying, it doubles up as a cute, easy-to-grasp bath toy :)
BATH TOWEL WITH HOODIE
Our daughter loved bathing but screamed blue murder as soon as we got her out of the bath. That’s because babies can’t quite regulate their body temperature yet. Wrapping her up in a hooded towel was the best way to get her dry, warm and happy as quickly as possible.
So whilst they’re not essential, hooded baby towels are both practical and adorable.
Personally I found the baby options a bit too small and short-lived. Opt for a slightly bigger size and invest the savings in a quality natural option that will last years.
Danish company Liewood make cute, cool and wonderfully soft hooded baby towels in organic cotton. Because organic cotton is grown without the use of synthetic agricultural chemicals such as fertilizers or pesticides, it is gentler and kinder to your baby’s skin (as well as gentler and kinder to the environment and the people involved in its production).
These towels are not cheap (around £26) but they are durable, high quality and a generous size (100x100cm), meaning they’ll last as your child grows. This is a great option to add to your baby gift list!
Some parents swear by it, others don’t, and to this day I don’t know if it made our kids sleep better but we loved it nonetheless.
The Sleepyhead pod is really quite a simple design, but nevertheless seems to be a complete lifesaver for loads of parents. It’s essentially a wrap-around mattress that creates a lovely, cosy cocoon for your baby and stops him or her moving around too much when they’re asleep. And it has handles, so you can move your baby’s bed around really easily and ensure they’re always sleeping on the same familiar surface even if you’re away from home.
We used to put it in the crib during the night or in between us in bed on nights when our kids refused to sleep. (Co-sleeping warning here: having your baby in bed with you is not recommended by health professionals but frankly some nights NOTHING else worked! At least the Sleepyhead has a ledge which stops you from rolling onto your baby). We also moved it around the house for nap times, packed it in the car when we went to visit family and friends and even into our suitcase when we went away.
The only thing to mention is that although the product specifications suggest you can use the smaller size for up to 18 months, our kids grew out of it after 7 or 8 months.
But even so, it was well worth it considering how much our kids slept in it for the first few months of their lives!
DIMMABLE OR TOUCH-SENSITIVE BEDSIDE LAMP
Not technically a baby product but SO convenient if you don’t want to dazzle yourself, your baby and your partner (that’s if you’re still sleeping in the same bed...) when getting up to breastfeed or make a bottle in the middle of the night.
John Lewis has a wide selection of dimmable and touch lamps in various designs.
I opted for the John Lewis & Partners Cuboid Touch On/Off Table Lamp, which has three light settings, is fairly reasonably priced at £40 and is a pleasing non-baby design so will look great in your bedroom.
Definitely one I would recommend every new parent ought to have!
Found this useful? Read our “Top 10 baby products every new parent ought to have: Part 2”.
Martina is the founder of NINE+QUARTER, a brand new range of maternity and nursing clothes.