This week has marked some pretty major milestones in Scout’s life as we approach her first birthday on Thursday.
Firstly she took her first steps the other day which was quite unexpected and we were pretty thrilled…and then scared as we realised how unprepared we are to have a walking baby. Cue panicking buying lots of magnetic cupboard stoppers to prevent little hands disappearing inside them. No one wants an emergency trip to A&E with a baby who’s happily drank the bleach.
She also graduated from sensory class! I can’t rate sensory enough – I started taking Scout when she was about 2 months old, mainly because I was lonely at home and had no idea what else to do. I met some wonderful mamas there and Scout has had a blast. But after watching her scoot up and down on her bum narrowly avoiding taking newborns eyes out and biting in to balloons much to everyones horror it was time to call it a day. I’ll miss it though – especially as it was on at a lovely tea house in Stoke Newington so my lovely cousin and I would meet for Chai Lattes before every class.
But as we approach her first birthday I wanted to put together a list of all the things I found essential in the first year. These aren’t horribly expensive things – or there may be cheaper alternatives but they really helped us out across the year.
I haven’t yet blogged on my breast feeding ‘journey’ but after a rough start Scout was given formula a few hours after she was born and has continued to drink it since. I’m a huge believer in breast feeding and I wished I could have done it for longer but I also believe fed is best. I hate to think of women feeling bad that they can’t brevast feed when products like Aptimal exist which contains all the goodness our children need. This milk maker allows you to quickly prepare bottles at the perfect temperature and has been totally essential in our lives. We still use it now and it’s so easy to use even the most tired parent can operate it in the middle of the night. It’s a bit pricy but I promise you won’t regret it. Mothercare are currently stocking it with £66 off!
This was a spur of the moment purchase just before Scout was born – you know one of those ‘I’m so pregnant I can’t sleep so I’ll panic buy everything on Amazon’ ones? However, it totally paid off. Scout napped inside it from the moment she was born and because it’s so portable it meant we could take her into whatever room we were in easily – even the bathroom. She loved snuggling down in it and it comes in a variety of stylish covers. We even used it on the first night she came home from the hospital and stuck in our bed between us.
A Spare Buggy, £40 – £100 from Mothercare
Before Scout was born we were lucky to be gifted a totally gorgeous Donna Wilson Mamas and Papas buggy. It’s brilliant – robust, stylish and great for napping…but totally useless for public transport, dragging up and down stairs and putting in our tiny hallway. So when Scout was about 6 months old we invested in a cheap Mothercare ‘Chicco London’ buggy in the sale for £45, including a leg warmer. It’s a copy of the old Mclaren style and hasn’t let us down yet. It’s been thrown on to planes, buses, back seats of cars and pushed all over London. We keep it up in our hallway and it’s light and easily foldable. Totally worth the money! We keep the posh buggy in the car and use it all the time too – it’s much better for napping and easier to push so it totally gets it’s fair share of use.
This was actually a Christmas present from my Mum but it’s proved so useful. At first we thought about using it for our main high chair at home as it quickly and easily clips on to a table, but as she was so tiny at six months we decided to buy a cheap and cheerful (and wipe down) Ikea highchair and use this for outings. It’s been a godsend on any train journey as it clips on to a table and so Scout can easily eat and play without clambering all over us. It’s also been great to take on holiday as it packs completely flat. Only downside is that you can’t take the canvas seat off to wash it so it’s basically wipe down only which can be a pain, but still definitely worth buying.
Kate insisted on buying a ‘professional’ thermometer when I was pregnant and of course I was slightly horrified at the cost and didn’t see the need at all. But actually the ease of using it – you literally place it in your baby’s ear for a second and it quickly reads their temp – is so worth it. I must have taken Scout’s temperature hundreds of times this year, especially when I was a completely brand new Mum and every cry made me worry she was dying.
Scout didn’t take to her milk very well in the early days and was very sicky and cried because her tummy was hurting. A friend recommended these miraculous Colief drops that you pop in their milk before giving it to them and literally as soon as we started using them Scout became the happy and content baby she was meant to be. They are pricy but so worth it, we ended up nicknaming them Liquid Gold!
This isn’t exactly an object, but I guess it’s a ‘thing.’ Amazon Prime Now which is available where we live in London has been amazing. Ordering things like nappies, wipes, milk, dummies etc and then them arriving in a paper brown bag on our doorstep a couple of hours later has been incredible! You know those days when you’ve got a newborn and you haven’t worn proper clothes in days and can’t face going to the supermarket? Enter Amazon Prime!
One of my closest friends is a wonderful and talented musician and a few years ago wrote a musical theatre production called Macamu for small children. She gave us the CD when Scout arrived and it’s been on repeat in our car ever since.
The songs are brilliant and catchy and unlike other children’s CDs in that they are for adults too so it won’t drive you insane when listening to it for the hundredth time. All the songs are about life – playing in the park, car journeys, water in the bath, monsters under the bed and I can’t recommend them more.
Digital Video Baby Monitor, from £100 from Amazon.co.uk
Until Scout was born I thought it was totally over the top to buy a video baby monitor. I mean, our parents all survived without one right? But after a friend told me she wished she had purchased a monitor with a video I decided to get one and I’m so glad we did! When we first brought Scout home being able to see her sleeping (and breathing!) was a real comfort and saved my sore c-sectioned self from having to get up and check on her physically.
Obviously muslins are essential, especially in those early days when you are constantly mopping up milk, sick, your tears, your babies tears etc. But Etta Loves muslins come with the added bonus that they are specially designed so your little one can enjoy the patterns.
Would love to hear your baby essentials that you used and loved in the first year!