Essentials for up to 4 months

This morning I’m continuing my list of essential (for us) items as we learn what we did and didn’t need and use as Bea gets bigger. This isn’t the obvious essentials (see more on that here,) for a baby, but the things that have been used every day and made a big difference to our lives, the things I’d recommend to every new mum. So here you go, the up to 4 months edition!

Baby Sleep Timer app
A Mummy essential first… this sleep timer saved my sanity! Around the 8-10 week mark Bea started to cry more than usual, particularly before sleeps. We exhausted ourselves thinking about what could be wrong and after a few days I realised we were totally missing her sleep cues and she was getting over-tired. This app tracks the baby’s sleep and as a result I know what her patterns are. When I’m out and about I find it really useful to know when she is ‘due’ a sleep (as we don’t use a rigid routine yet,) and it helps me stop second guessing myself as to what’s wrong when she is simply tired. Being able to see the patterns also helps me plan. Now she is 4 months we’re working towards a 3-4 nap routine and knowing what time her last sleep of the day is and when bedtime is due has made life so much easier. It essentially means we work with her sleep routine rather than trying to bend her to ours – far less painful!

Giraffe Squeakaboo Squeaker and Rattle Toy
This rattle was a gift and is one of her favourite toys. It is the perfect size for her tiny hands and that’s why it’s a firm favourite for practicing her grabbing, plus there’s a bonus jingle when she finally gets there and safe gnawing!

Bigjigs Toys BB050 Mini Roll Rattle (Blue)
This is also a favourite toy – it contains a bell, a squeak and crinkle in the stick part and she love to stare at it when I shake the bell and try to grab it. There is also textured fabric and it invariably goes straight into her mouth!

Mamas & Papas – MAGIC – Stargaze Stripe Playmat
On the toys front, this is hands down the best, well actually the only ‘baby entertainment’ buy we made. There are many cheaper baby gyms on the market but we bought this at 6 weeks and having bought her no other toys thus far, I felt it was worth splashing out on. The other reason we went for this over standard gyms was the integrated lights and sounds. I reasoned that at 6 months she didn’t really look round much and certainly wasn’t grabbing, so a static gym with hanging toys wasn’t going to do much. This has lights built in to the canopy that twinkle with very relaxing (spa-like rather than nerve-jangling baby) music! There’s a kick plate to change the lights and music, and dangling bits that do the same. She is absolutely transfixed when she’s on it and after 3 days gave a big smile the minute the music came on. Every morning she goes on there while I get breakfast and have a bit of me time to plan the day.

GroBag We used to swaddle Bea but when we came back from Florida and the temperature had dropped, plus Bea had grown big enough, we transitioned to a GroBag. I actually bought a neutral one from Mini Club at Boots, but any brand with the side poppers to adjust the size is essential, particularly if you have a small baby, due to the large age range on them. It’s one less thing to worry about knowing she can’t smother under blankets, particularly now she naps in the cot and blankets would have been harder to tuck in.

Mamas & Papas Baby Snug Raspberry
Now Bea is 4 months she is napping less and taking much more interest in the world around her. She’s not even close to sitting yet but we wanted her to be able to sit with us sometimes, to get a different view of the world, as otherwise she is always lying flat looking up. We don’t have a bouncer so it’s great to give me some hands free time when I’m eating, or preparing food and I imagine it will be useful when we start weaning with the built in tray. I also like that this one grows with the child, as the coloured insert slips out – perfect if you have a big baby!

So readers, do you have any of these items? Have I missed anything that you found a life saver at this stage?

Love,
Rebecca
xo

PS!
Essentials for the first 6 weeks

Family Lifestyle: Daily Essentials @12 months

Now that we have an almost one year old (say whaat?!), daily life is very different from those foggy newborn days. The changing bag gets re-filled with nappies and snacks, but the contents barely changes; we can pack the car for a night away and still be able to see out the back window because we’re not so worried about having to take everything and the kitchen sink “just in case”, and we can even go for a walk and stop for a coffee without needing much more than our coats. But we have definitely built-up a selection of family essentials that we use everyday and could not live without, they’re just not necessarily the same ones we were using when Freddie was tiny.

Becky did a fantastic post a few months ago on newborn essentials that you should all check out if you haven’t already, and I thought this would be a good next step. You won’t find nappies, a pushchair and a car seat on this list, because I figured that by this point you’ve probably got those sorted, but here are a few things that might make your days that bit easier (or give you something to look forward to if you’re still at the oh-my-goodness-we-only-brought-one-change-of-vest stage.)

Baby’s essentials
H&M baby socks
I bought a pack of these on a whim when Freddie was newborn and discovered that they are the best baby socks EVER. They simply do not come off! We’ve gone through 3 sizes already and find them thick enough for those first few cautious feet-dragging steps.

Sleeping bag
We loved the Arden & Anais muslin sleeping bags this past summer, but have used coser ones since then. I really rate the sleeping bags from Matalan, but as long as they’re easy to fasten and are warm enough for the time of year, then I’m not fussy.

High chair
We LOVE our Stokke Tripp Trapp and would definitely buy another for a second child. It’s lovely to have Freddie right up to the table with us and it doesn’t look out of place (or get in the way) in our kitchen.

Mum’s essentials
Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser
I included this in my Christmas gift guide, but wanted to put here it as well because I cannot rave about it enough. I bought this for myself the first time I went shopping without Freddie and wandered into SpaceNK, and said that I was sick of looking like I hadn’t slept in a week (which was only partly true) and instantly fell in love. Nearly every time I wear it someone tells me I’m looking well and it takes 4 seconds to put it on. Buy some now.

Waterproof jacket
I have this one from Seasalt in a different pattern and, while not cheap, is fantastic. For most of the mums I know, getting out the house everyday is an absolute necessity and while you can plonk the rain cover over the pushchair, it’s just miserable getting wet yourself when you know you need to do another loop of the park. High fashion a proper rain mack is not, just plain sensible it is.

Plain stud earrings
I stopped wearing dangly earrings and cut my hair short when Freddie was about 3 months old and started grabbing both, but I hated not being able to wear any jewelry – I just didn’t feel like myself. Luckily my husband was listening to one of these rants and bought me some gorgeous simple gold bird studs (they’re flat to my ear, so even when Freddie spots them he can’t yank them out) and I wear them everyday.

Dad’s essentials
A big jumper
Although it is getting warmer, if can still be quite chilly at 5.30 am. If you’re lucky, like me, daddy will often get up with the baby and give them breakfast, while you can have an extra hour in bed and a jumper like this pulled over pjs is what I usually find Tom in when I come down for a cup of tea.

Roobios tea
When I asked Tom about his daily essentials since becoming a dad, this was the only thing he could think of. Rather than having a normal cup of tea before bed, he now has this vanilla caffeine free roobios tea so that he can get as much sleep as possible. (I also liked this when I had morning sickness as an alternative to ginger, by the way.)

So, tell me readers, what have I missed? What are your daily essentials for older babies? And, as toddler-dom gets closer every day, what do I need to get sorted for the next stage?

Love, Esme.

Find Esme on her blog Esme Wins or @Real_Married

Florence’s Gift Guide #6: Newborns and New Mums

This morning, Becky is back with a gift guide that although it’s timely, will remain useful to you guys 365 days of the year. When my friends have babies I’m always unsure what to buy. I want to buy them something practical and I usually want to spoil mum too. I was pleased to see many of my favourite purchases on this list that Becky has complied with the aid of her new mum friends. I hope it also gives you confidence to give the ultimate gift, that of time, whether it’s helping out at home as Becky suggests or spending time cooking something lovely for them.

Before I had a baby, I never knew what would be the most useful and appreciated gift to buy friends with newborns. Now I know, and as it’s the season for gift giving, I thought I’d share some present ideas with you.

To assist me with this post, I asked my trusted group of new mum friends for their suggestions. Everything comes with a personal recommendation.

For Baby

  • Clothes are always much appreciated but it seems most people give 3-6 month sizes. It’s nice to receive newborn basics too. Vests and sleepsuits with built in scratch mits are very useful and difficult to have too many of. If you’re going to buy for when the baby is a little older, make sure you consider the seasons. Cardigans are essential for a winter baby but not a summer one. And ‘Sock Ons‘ are an essential accompaniment to any pair of socks
  • Baby Bundler – Great for quick, popper free night time nappy changes
  • A bouncy chair or musical cot mobile – essential for Mum to grab a shower. The mobile also helps to calm during nappy changes.
  • A fleece wrap or footmuff for a car seat – saves having to wake a sleeping baby to put a coat on
  • Ewan the sheep lullaby soother
  • Grobag 
  • A music box – can act as a distraction for nappy changes
  • Extra large muslin wraps – indispensable for spillages, swaddling, and great for your modesty if you’re breastfeeding in public
  • A Cuddledry bath towel can help to make bath time a little easier
  • Most Jellycat toys are suitable from birth and have been very popular
  • Sophie the giraffe – for when they start teething
  • Beautifully illustrated classic books make great lasting gifts for children as well as providing pleasure for parents.
  • Baby hand and footprint ink set
  • Tommee Tippee Closer To Nature Healthcare And Grooming Kit 

For Mum

  • A homemade dinner in a disposable container (pies, casseroles, and pasta bakes are great options) or a homemade cake
  • A good book or magazine accompanied by a clip on book light – great for those lonely night time feeds
  • A scented candle
  • A luxurious bath or shower treat that can be enjoyed in 5 minutes off
  • A pedicure – it doesn’t have to be professional, a home pedicure from a friend would be equally appreciated
  • The offer of help with the housework

So readers, I’d love to hear what your favourite newborn/ new mum gifts are for giving and receiving.

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, and the happiest and healthiest of New Years.

Love Becky
Xx

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