You buy and you try a lot of shit when you have a baby. It’s a confusing, expensive, strange new world, not least because the baby changes entirely every few minutes and you need to upgrade your tech and also your brain and habits and routines and life accordingly.
Alas, despite the furious speed in which our fun little son insists on developing, and his desire to “keep growing,” this is the shit we have really REALLY used. I wish I had this list before I had Sonny, because as you know, I live for recommendations, and wander the streets confused and scared without them.
It doubles, I suppose, as a list for those needing to buy something for someone about to have a baby.
A bottle drying station
This is great for drying off bottles and dummies and stuff, but also a magnificent wine glass drying station. Anything Boon we own – plates, bowls, bath toys, original bathtub before he grew out of it at about 10 days old – is intelligently and practically designed and fun to look at. They are some of my favourite things in a company/life.
Terry towelling bath support thingy
We came too late to the party on this, using our slippery, stupid, panicked, incompetent hands for weeks before I bought this funny little tezzo towel ramp for Sonny to lay on and own bath time like the boss he is. Made bath time a lot easier and a lot less scary. We used it until he could sit up competently.
White noise is a powerful sleep cue for Sonny. I first learned about it while reading about the 5 S’s in The Happiest Baby On The Block. (That was about as far as I got before I threw it and the seven other baby books in a huge fictional bonfire because they were doing my head in. The 5 S’s though, I think they work.) Sonny has white noise on for every nap and all night. Just lightly, about the volume of a shower. I used to literally use ‘white noise’, until I realized the aggressive hissing was making me FUCKING INSANE. I switched to ocean waves on this cute whale sound machine, which was far more calming. We usually pack Whale with us when we travel, or I just use my iPad in flight mode with the White Noise app. (The app is by TM Soft, to help you find it on app store, cos there are a tonne of shitty ones). Whale also has projections, which we reserve for night time to dazzle him as we try to put his wriggly, porcine, delicious frame in his PJS after bath time and he wants to be about 10 metres away, playing with something like a power socket or pair of scissors.
My friend Bron gave me this plush baby mat at my baby shower. “It’s ugly as fuck but God it’s useful,” she said. BOY WAS SHE RRRRITE. We used it the day he came home from hospital as a little mat, and are still using it now he’s one. (I keep it in the bathroom, he lays on it before and after the bath, giggling and nude and jacked up on heat lights and nudity.) I tell all new parents to get one. So useful.
Love to Dream swaddle suits
If swaddling at 3am in a dark nursery after a feed, a 45-minute burping session and an explosive shit becomes frustrating, jam your darling into these awesome little suits instead. They’re nice and tight so baby feels snug and safe, and they allow their hands to rest safely up high where they want them to be, but without their fingers poking into their eyes and mouth and waking them up. Sonny was in his for every, single, nap from about two weeks old. When the hands became an issue (i.e: he was waking himself up by smacking them into his face) at about three months, we would tuck them down and zip him up. We didn’t bother with the 50/50 suits, we just went straight to a sleeping bag, with a wrap over the top to lock his hands down. Sounds barbaric, but so is being kept awake all night by a confused infant.
JJ Cole change clutch
This little changemat roll thingy has been all around the world with us, it has enabled us to change nappies in the pram, on floors and with a whisper of hygiene in planes. I’m not one for a nappy bag, preferring to instead chuck this into my usual tote. It holds wipes and nappies and I jam some nappy bags in there, and we’re done. I love this godamn change mat wrap thingy.
Como Tomo bottles
Made to be squishy like a boob, these clever, silicone bottles are the only bottle Sonny will use. Fussy little rat. If your baby is a fussy little rat, try the Como Tomo. (They also make brilliant ‘finger’ style teething rings. They are clever company, like Boon.) I give them to as many mums as possible to ‘show them the light.’
From about two weeks old, babies are gassy little monsters. Their digestive system is not very sophisticated yet, and after feeds it can take a lo-o-o-o-ong time to get that burp out, or that wind to pass. Sonny was a sweet, hungry pig and I had a jet like flow so he would always take in a lot of air, which would lead to up to two hours of bicycle legs and massage at 3am and near insanity for all of us. Like all puzzled, deranged new parents we worried it might be reflux, colic etc, but for Sonny it was just gas. Then a fellow mum recommended Infant’s Friend (all natural, buy from the chemist) for the wind, and we started giving it to him, and IT REALLY HELPED. We still use it now before and after flights and to calm him when he’s teething and pissed off.
Baby Bjorn bouncer
I had three friends tell me to buy this; that were was no substitute. I agree I agree I agree. Sonny could snooze in there from birth, and then, as he got bigger, I propped it against the couch and he used his feet to push off and bounce himself, squealing with delight. That this would give me a precious 20 mins of emailing or laundry or pole dancing; whatever Mum Stuff I needed to do.
As ‘clothes’ up until about seven months, then as ‘PJs’ when he began to look a bit ridiculous in a tight all-in-one in public. We didn’t understand that the arms and legs fold over to make socks or mittens until Sonny was about a month old, which is embarrassing, but worth revealing if it helps others.
Baby Bjorn travel cot light
Not the cheapest travel cot, but since we travel A LOT, I could justify it. Other great reasons to justify it: It folds up instantly into a tiny suitcase (6kg), it’s a cinch to pack and unpack, it’s super safe, and there is loads of ventilation. It’s a ripper.
GAIA Natural Baby Powder
All organic, made from cornstarch, and known in our house as The Great Eczema stopper. We slightly panic when we run out of it. A lot of people make their own, but we um, don’t, because we’re us.
A thick piece of black material
Just from spotlight. We use this to black out the window in Sonny’s room so it’s completely dark and he is not woken by 5am sunlight, we use it and some gaffa tape to keep light out of the bassinet on international flights (and also to cover windows in hotel rooms), and we use it over the pram when we want him to sleep (also usually when travelling.) It’s the best $4 we ever spent. This photo is the material attached (very stylishly) to the blind in Sonny’s room while we were in NZ. Please do a better job than us of this.
I can’t think of anything else right now, but am hoping that other mums will add their essentials, and then we’ll have this sensational directory of Very Useful Baby Stuff, because if anyone needs some help and direction as to what will make life easier, it’s new parents.
Sloths also need some help and direction, I imagine, because they are slow and finding food and shelter would take AGES, but I’m just focusing on new parents for now.