Rio has just turned 1 years old (HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?!), and one of the things I get so many messages about from fellow mum’s or new mum’s-to-be – is a list of all my top baby buys from the very beginning up until they’re around 6 months. There are so many things people recommend, so many different products and gadgets you get told to buy or that you just have to have. Granted, there were a lot of things that proved to be useful to me, but also a lot of stuff which I didn’t really get using! Being a parent is already costly enough (especially in the beginning when you just consume like mad, without really knowing what you’ll end up using), so I thought I would pull together my personal must-have essentials the first 6 months. I know this list might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but please know that you don’t have to own all of these things – this is just what I personally found very useful. So take from it what you want, and leave me a comment below if you have any questions!
This is something you should probably get in place a good few months before the baby arrives, as you never know, your baby might be early – and shopping for a pram (which is such an important and big decision) is not something you want to do while you’re stressed out! After a lot of back and forth (it was between a Bugaboo or an iCandy) – we finally opted for the Bugaboo Cameleon, and could not have been happier with our decision! It’s the perfect size (ideal for both city and park life). It has great suspension, it’s so comfortable to push (and for Rio to lie in), and looks super chic (we opted for the grey and black combination). It’s all personal choice though, and my biggest advice to you, is to test, test, test before you buy! Don’t rush into anything (as it’s such a big investment), and really think about where, and how you want to use your pram. I knew I wanted a pram which was easy and quick to navigate on the pavements, as well as a pram which was sturdy enough to take the bumps and terrain of the park.
This is another thing which you should get in place months before your due date, as you can’t leave the hospital without it! We opted for the Maxi Cosi Pebble Plus, and we were really happy with it (we’ve since upgraded to a bigger version). We also got these car seat converters, so it’s been easy to pop it on the pushchair base (when we’re out and about, and don’t want to bring the whole pram with us).
I get a lot of questions whether the Sleepyhead Deluxe+ Baby Pod is worth it or not, and my answer is 100% YES! Granted, it’s quite expensive for what it is, but it will be your saving grace. As it’s a pod, the baby feels really nice and cocooned in there (they say it’s the perfect transition from the womb), not to mention safe, and portable! Although we never personally co-slept with Rio, whenever we did have him in our bed in the mornings, we would just pop him in there, and we knew he would be safe. We also used to pop it in his crib during the night to sleep in (and in his cot later on) – as well as having him in it asleep (or awake), if we were downstairs in the lounge. It’s lightweight, safe, easy to carry around and so soft and cozy. After he grew out of it after around 6/7 months (and had already moved from his crib to hit cot), I just took the filling out, and placed the long filling underneath the sheet, to still give him that ‘bumper’ and cocooned feeling – albeit a lot wider.
Another thing which you should definitely get in place well before the baby arrives, is a crib – as if you’re not planning on co-sleeping, then this will be your baby’s bed for the first 3-6 months (or shorter/longer). We ended up getting two cribs – the Shnuggle Dreami and a traditional Moses basket. We used the Shnuggle in our bedroom for the first few months, and the basket downstairs, and then we did a swap, as the Shnuggle was easier to transport around from room to room, and he actually slept better in the Moses basket as it was that bit longer. Although we were planning on having Rio in our bedroom for the recommended 6 months, practically we had to move him into his own room and cot at just over 4 months, as he’d outgrown his crib, being such a long baby! I would have liked him in our room for a bit longer, but we were left with no choice (and fortunately, he slept so much better in his own room).
We decided to get the nursery ready before Rio arrived. Obviously, this is not a must, as your baby will most likely sleep in your room for the first 3-6 months – however, as I had time on my hands, I decided to get it all ready quite early on (see the full nursery tour here). One of the first things I wanted to get organised was his cot. Again, I did a lot of research, and after some deliberating, I decided to go for the Boori Casa Cotbed. I love the simple and classic style, and the fact that it converts from a cot to a toddler bed (suitable from birth to around 5 years), making it worth the investment. It’s super sturdy, and I got a matching dresser/changing station (more on that below), to complete the look.
Baby carriers don’t work for everyone, but I personally couldn’t be without ours! We have the Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh, which can be used from newborn, and can eventually be used four ways (front, forward, side and back). It’s so comfortable and easy to use, with Rio always feeling perfectly comfortable and cushioned. I’ve always had a bad back, so I was quite concerned about using the baby carrier at first, but it’s never been a problem with this one, as it’s so ergonomic and distributes the weight really evenly.
MUSLINS, SWADDLES & BIBS
This is the one thing you can’t have enough of – I mean literally, you will go through SO many muslins during the first few months! My favourites include Aden + Anais swaddles (cutest prints, amazing quality), Baby Mori muslins (softest cotton) and these Mothercare bibs. Stock up, it’s worth it! The quality is so good with the Aden + Anais swaddles and Baby Mori muslins, I’m going to keep them all if we have a second baba (so worth the investment in my opinion).
SLEEPING BAG, SLEEPSUITS & BODYSUITS
Another thing you can’t have enough of – again, especially during the colder months – is a cosy sleeping bag, sleepsuits and bodysuits. A sleeping bag is something we introduced just before 6 months, but I know many people love using them from the beginning. Favourite brands for sleepsuits include Baby Mori, Next, H&M and Mothercare, favourite brands for bodysuits include Mothercare and H&M – and the best sleeping bags are Baby Mori (for colder months) and Aden + Anais for warmer months.
Lovely, cozy blankets for the pram is so nice to have (especially during the colder months). Knitted, woollen and soft – yet breathable (cellular style blankets are good) to keep your baba warm, but not overheated – we had a lot of different ones, but one of my faves is this knitted patchwork one from The White Company.
We had two changing stations in the house the first 6 months – the main changing station in his nursery on the first floor from Boori (this matches the cot bed), and this portable plastic changing unit on the ground floor. Someone told me to get this second one, as I would be changing him all the time, and sometimes you need to do it quickly and fast, so it’s handy to have it close by! This advice was invaluable, as we have used it all the time. We have a long set of stairs upstairs to his bedroom, so this saved me going up and down to change him, and it’s also been easier to change him on a plastic changing table, rather than the nice wooden one we had at the top. When that said, we only did this as we had the extra space to do this (with a spare room to have this in) – if you live in a flat or all on one floor and don’t have to climb a set of stairs, you wouldn’t need this. The plastic unit also has a bath within it, which could be handy (again, if you only had the one unit).
This might not apply to everyone who’s not breastfeeding, but I couldn’t be without my Medela Swing Breast Pump. This was actually something I hadn’t organised before having Rio, but I definitely should have (thank you Amazon Prime for Next Day delivery!) – as I ended up developing Mastitis the first week. Because I still wanted to exclusively breast feed, I needed to get milk for Rio (as it was too painful to feed directly off the breast), so this electrical breast pump was an actual lifesaver. A breast pump is also a great way to manage over supply (especially in the beginning), keep up the supply (to regulate – or if you don’t have that much milk to begin with), and an essential when you’re going away and you need your family to take over using the freezer supply! I opted for the single breast pump, which I’ve been so happy with, and also really recommend these Medela Breast Milk Storage Bags for the fridge or the freezer.
BOTTLES & BOTTLE STERILISER
Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding – some bottles and a bottle steriliser will come in great use. Even if you’re like me, and planning on exclusively breastfeeding – the occasional bottle (with breast milk), will really come in use, and will also get them used to the bottle (so others can feed them too). We went for the the Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser, and it’s been brilliant. Fits lots of bottles and steams quick and easy. We have been through our fair share of bottles (Rio has been fussy – hence why it’s good to get them used to bottles from early on!), and he ended up loving these ones from Philips Avent.
Ah teething. The bane of any young mama’s life! To be honest, when it comes, there’s not much you can do to take it fully away, other than try to make baba’s as comfortable as possible. Teethers can be a good relief though, and I personally love Matchstick Monkey and Oli & Carol. A little tip when it gets really bad: pop them in the freezer for a few hours, this can really help!
Whether you decide to keep covered whilst breastfeeding, or not (100% your choice either way!), there are so many useful covers out there now, which makes feeding so simple when out and about. I got this simple cotton style – super easy to use, lightweight and cheap as chips, and I’ve used it near enough every day when I’ve been out.
If you have a bath in the house, I would recommend getting a safe and secure bath stand/support for the baba. I got the Angelcare Soft Baby Bath Support, and it’s been excellent! So safe, sturdy and with gripped plastic back to keep the baby in place. It also heats up with the water, so the baby stays nice and warm, as well as an anti-slip base to keep it secure within the bath tub.
Ever since Rio was born, we’ve had a plastic pouch with some of his core toiletry essentials, which has been so useful! These main things include: Calpol, barrier cream, bath bubbles and oil, cotton buds, cotton wool pads, coconut oil and moisturiser, thermometer and nail clippers. 12 months on, and these are still my core toiletry essentials for Rio.
There are a lot of changing bags on the market, but in my opinion, there aren’t a whole load of stylish ones. But after a lot of trawling around, I found two great styles in two different sizes. I initially wanted a feminine black leather style for every day, but agreed to get a more sporty and neutral black bag which Sam would be comfortable using as well, so I went for the Jem + Bea Lola Tote Changing Bag in black – a good size to fit all your essentials, but not too big. It’s sporty in nylon, with durable shoulder straps, lots of handy pockets and spaces – perfect for on-the-go (and goes with everything). I also wanted to get bigger bag, so I opted for this camo printed weekend bag from Tiba & Marl, which is way more spacious for trips away, or a longer day out (when I need more pockets and storage). I love the camo print, so stylish yet edgy.
A pretty boring, yet practical baby essential which we couldn’t be without, is the Tommee Tippee nappy bin. A neat, easy and hygenic way of disposing the nappies, with (much needed) odour prevention, keeping up to 28 nappies at once.
WHITE SOUND MACHINE
This is something I couldn’t be without – especially when you’re on-the-go with the baba in the pram during nap times, travelling or even just a familiar and soothing sound to get them to sleep in their crib/cot. I’ve had Ewan The Dream Sheep since before Rio was born; I actually used to sleep with it with the music on when he was still in my stomach, so he was familiar with the melody! I use it for the crib/cot and helps him to settle. For on-the-go, travel or in the pram during nap times, I can’t be without the Marpac Hushh, with theee different (noise cancelling) white noise sounds, which always gets him to sleep when we’re out and about. It also clips onto the pram super easily, making it easy when we’re out and about. One could argue that white noise machines might make your baby more sensitive to noise, as they would always be used to this soothing swooshing sound to get to sleep, but in Rio’s case, we don’t have it on at night, so I know that he can sleep without it (and he also manages to sleep without it, on the odd occasion I have forgotten to bring it with me).
BABY MONITOR & CAMERA
This is something you definitely need to get – to keep an eye on your baby (especially the first year!) but sadly the one we got has not been the best. When that said, I actually don’t know of anyone who has actually said their baby monitors are good – there’s always some kind of a screen issue, sound, battery issues… Anyways, we ended up going for the Motorola Digital Video Baby Monitor – mainly because it had a good range, Wi-Fi enabled (so you can stay connected when you’re away), two-way talk back (my husband could log onto the app and talk to us) etc. It’s been OK – but the battery life has been very poor. Either way, do your research and find one which works for you.
HIGH CHAIR + POD
I wasn’t initially going to include this in my essentials – the iCandy Michair Complete system – as it’s quite a big investment, and you won’t really need the actual highchair part of it before introducing solids at 6 months (unless you decide to start feeding your baby earlier). However the thing we really liked about it, was the clever iCandy Pod attachment (which you docked on top of the high chair), which makes it suitable from birth, bringing your baby up to parent height during meals, or during other times when you want your baby higher up! When used on the floor, the Pod also serves the purpose as a relaxing rocker for your baby – so although it’s expensive, you get a lot of different uses out of it (and Rio loved being nice and high up).
BOOKS, SENSORY TOYS & SOFT TOYS
These might be a given, but as I’m including so many other essentials, I thought I would pop this in too! In the earlier months, a lot of toys/books will be pointless, but after a few months, it’s good to get reading and give them soft toys to play with and explore – our favourite sensory soft toys come from Lamaze (especially Freddie the Firefly – which was a firm pram staple).
A play gym is something which a lot of people recommended that I get, and I will do the same on here! It’s a great way to bring colours, objects and overall sensory sensations to their lives when they’re only a few months old. I opted for this one from Skip+Hop as I loved the colours, the padded mat and all the fun toys it (not to mention the mirror, which he was obsessed with!).
Last, but certainly not least – as we could definitely not have been without our bouncers! After a lot of research, we actually ended up getting two different bouncers (note: one of these alone would suffice). Again, after research and recommendations, we decided on the BabyBjorn bouncer & the 4Moms Mama Roo Rocker. I really like the BabyBjorn bouncer, as it’s so lightweight and easy to transport from room to room. With no batteries needed, it helps the baby develop their own motor skills, by balancing and rocking on their own. We also got the Mama Roo rocker, which is battery driven, and has 5 rocking motions, with music and sound – which was a great way to keep them entertained or get them to sleep. There’s a big price difference, and the BabyBjorn is much more lightweight, yet the MamaRoo is more fun and interactive. If you’re unsure which one is right for you, I would do a little research yourself and maybe pop to your local department store (or look on YouTube) and give them a little test! I loved them both.
Disclaimer: Please note that I was gifted a few of the above things – but this is NOT a reflection on my recommendation, as all the gifting came from personal selection, and I have ONLY included the baby essentials which I 100% personally love.