It’s now less than six weeks until our due date (that’s 40 days to be precise) so it’s fair to say that things are getting a bit real in camp pending parenthood.
Having said that, despite my initial freak out at the start of the year, six weeks now feels like a really long time to be THIS pregnant (heavy, sore, tired, swollen, and pretty damn useless all round) and I’m starting to get a tad impatient to meet our little one now. Especially when my midwife says things like ‘it could still be 8 weeks, first time babies tend to be overdue’ – please no! The first baby in our NCT group has now been born (a little girl!) with two more imminent and it’s starting to feel like everyone will have their babies and have moved onto the next step and I’ll be over here like ‘yup STILL pregnant’.
Of course, I know I shouldn’t wish the time away and for now mini seems pretty happy and very wriggly in there so naturally I’m pleased to let them grow away inside me for a while yet. And it’s not as if we’re just twiddling our thumbs here on the outside world – there’s a nursery to be decorated, a cot to be assembled, prams and car seats to be bought, work to be finished, tax returns to be filed and general life to be gotten on with – so time will no doubt fly in.
The last time I mentioned baby related matters here on the blog I was in the midst of my – ‘OMG a baby will be here NEXT MONTH’ – panic phase, and you’ll be happy to hear that I have now calmed down. It’s amazing how quickly things get sorted when you A. throw a bunch of money at the situation (and it turns out when it comes to babies there is no end to the haemorrhaging of money) and B. rely on speedy delivery options just to put your mind at rest (thank goodness for Amazon Prime). We’re now about 50% of the way through the giant list we wrote ourselves at the beginning of the year and it’s only the 13th of January so I’ve every faith that by the end of the month we’ll be on track.
So within a very short space of time we have gone from owning absolutely nothing baby related to amassing quite the collection of baby ‘essentials’ and our house feels like it’s overflowing with ‘stuff’ that at this point we’re not entirely sure how, when or why we’ll be using (I jest – we aren’t that bad, we have done some research). Being a shopaholic, the buying of such things has definitely been my forte and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the shopping, spending, unpacking and arranging side of things. I do, however, have to admit that my head hasn’t quite got around the fact that a real live human will be using these – for now simply pretty objects and cute clothes – very soon. Let’s hope that part of my brain just kicks in shall we? Anyway I thought I’d share some of the pieces we’ve bought so far for anyone else who might be in a similar situation (or if, like me, you’re just nosy when it comes to other people’s shopping).
When we first allowed ourselves to venture into the – planning for a new born – world, the general advice from everyone was to make sure baby had somewhere to sleep most importantly, so this became our first task. We reckon out of everything, the sleeping section is where we are most organised and have a number of options for getting our bubs off for a nap.
Firstly, we have a gorgeous cot from Boori which is waiting patiently to be assembled and arranged in our nursery room. But the guidelines for a newborn are that they should be in your room for the first six months (or there abouts) so we’re also borrowing a Chicco Next to Me co-sleeper crib from a friend and just buying our own mattress, which will sit alongside our bed for the first while.
On top of that, we felt like it was important to have something that was a little more portable and able to be moved around the house depending on where we happen to be, so that (at least for the first few months) we can put the baby down for a nap in the living room or upstairs in the spare room and still be able to keep an eye on them. So as well as the main cot and co-sleeper, we also have a Moses basket and a Sleepyhead Deluxe pillow.
Moses Basket – c/o Izziwotnot
At first GB was, it’s fair to say, reluctant when it came to Moses Baskets. It appears we have very different tastes when it comes to baby items and while I love the look of pretty vintage style things, GB is very much a gadget man and leans towards the pieces that have all the mod cons and added extras but look damn ugly.
I cheated slightly and ordered the Moses basket while he was working abroad but even he had to admit defeat when he came home as it really is gorgeous and we’re now both pretty taken with it. I just keep imagining a tiny baby inside rocking away and get all the feels. We chose this cream wicker style from online store Izziwotnot (which is a treasure trove of gorgeous nursery items, furniture and interiors and not at all expensive either) which has a white basket and stand and cream bedding, meaning it’s gender neutral and looks the part in most rooms of the house. Regardless of which colours we choose for the nursery this should slot in perfectly. It has the option to be either static or rocking – you simply screw in the rocking legs to the bottom or leave them off so we’ve got a couple of choices depending on how our baby sleeps.
Sleepyhead Deluxe – John Lewis
Our final purchase on the sleep front was the Sleepyhead Deluxe – a cushioned pillow/snugpod which can be placed inside a larger cot or crib or moved around the house for baby to nap/play/be changed in. The idea is that it keeps your baby more snug and reminds them of being back in the womb so they are able to sleep easier. Apparently going from a the cosy confines of the uterus to a giant open cot can be quite a shock for a newborn so anything that makes them feel safer and is familiar to them is better. This is a slightly indulgent purchase as it comes in around £100 and realistically will only be used when they are quite small (it’s suitable from birth up to 8 months but all babies are different sizes so chances are yours might grow out of it quicker than that). But, it was the one product which everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) seemed to rave about – from bloggers, to friends, to mums on the forums – it got the thumbs up over and over. We had a John Lewis voucher to spend, and hadn’t found anything else we really needed so were able to put that towards it. If we hadn’t of had the voucher we might not have been able to justify the spend but I am really REALLY hopeful that our baby will love this product and it might just be the ticket to our survival in those early days, like it has been for so many other parents I’ve spoken to. In fact, if it turns out that our baby is one of the odd ones who doesn’t like sleeping in this, I’m going to be the one throwing my toys out of the pram!
It’s important for me to say, that I really don’t believe you need all four of these sleeping options for a new baby, and probably one or two of them (a large cot and one of the other items) would be totally fine. Considering that the Moses Basket might only be used for the first four or five months, the co-sleeper for six and the sleepyhead for eight (if you’re lucky) it does seem a little excessive for the first year of a baby’s life. We have ended up with all four thanks to friends offering us things second hand, being gifted some pieces and as I mentioned using vouchers. Our thinking at this point is that we’ll try them all and see what works. Because, having never had a baby before we really don’t know what will work, and what our baby will like to sleep in. We have a few other friends who are also pregnant and due after us so we figure whatever isn’t suitable for us, we can pass on to them.
Cardigans (from left to right) – F&F at Tesco, Baby Gap, Mothercare
Once the sleeping arrangements were under way, we figured being able to clothe the baby was probably next on the list. Surprising to everyone (especially myself considering how much I love buying clothes) was how long into the pregnancy it took me to start buying baby clothes. Upon reaching the third trimester, we had about three Babygro’s in the cupboard (two of them presents from others) so my shopping mojo really hadn’t kicked in. I think it was partly me being a bit scared and superstitious about buying things too early and partly because I just didn’t know where to start.
But, once I did start… well I found that mojo and I haven’t been able to stop since. What I’ve come to realise is that it doesn’t matter where you start as once you begin looking there are cute baby clothes absolutely everywhere!
Sleepsuits – M&S | Muslin Cloths – Primark | Bibs and Booties – Mothercare | Nappies – Aldi | Blanket – Baby Gap | Towel – Morrisons
We started off buying a few of the essentials – sleepsuits, vests, bibs and hats – for the initial newborn phase, and a couple of special pieces for their first outfit/going home outfit. Just when I was starting to panic that we didn’t have enough of the basics, My Mum and Dad came to visit at Christmas and brought with them the biggest bag of sleepsuits, mitts, muslin cloths and vests that I couldn’t help but laugh. I think my Mum has been buying a new set a week ever since finding out we were pregnant and has got so far she’s now reached the 9-12 month stage so I’m pretty certain we’re sorted on this front. She assures me that you really do go through the basics super fast in those first few months, of which I have no doubt, so I’m glad that we won’t be stuck at the beginning should they throw up/poo all over all the nice things we’ve bought on the first day! Everytime I look in the cabinet we’re storing everything and see so many neatly folded suits adorned with the likes of polar bears, elephants and pandas (our favourites) it does make me smile and think ‘maybe we’ll be ok after all’. Good places to shop for the basics are M&S, Primark and your local supermarket – many of our items are from George at Asda, Morrisons or Tesco.
In the last few weeks we’ve also started stocking up on nappies (Aldi do the cheapest ones and they seem to get good reviews), wipes, muslins, and antibacterial hand gel (another tip given to me by countless Mum’s due to the amount of nappy changes you’ll be doing a day) and the plan is to just keep buying a pack of these each time we do a food shop until baby is here (and beyond of course).
Bear T-shirt, 2 pack leggings and Joules sweater and jogger combo – all John Lewis
As well as the basic sleepsuits, we’ve also bought a few actual clothing items here and there, and this is the shopping that really is FUN. A friend told me that for her baby she reserved sleepsuits for sleeping and when ever they went out somewhere made sure to dress her in actual clothes, and I quite liked this idea – there are some adorable clothing items out there and it does seem a shame to deprive yourself of the joy that is dressing your baby to look all kinds of cute!
I do get a little annoyed about how much of the newborn clothing sections are still segregated by gender though (and don’t even get me started on the lack of kids clothing hangers in any other colours than pink and blue) – obviously until we meet our baby I won’t go buying any dresses/tutus or mini suits but are we really still bothered about girls wearing blue trousers or having cars on their T-shirt? We’re big colour fans over here so I’ve been hunting out those fun, bright, printed pieces that could suit either boy or girl. My favourite places to shop are John Lewis (where the above haul is from – all in the sale!) as they stock different brands such as Joules too, Baby Gap, Next (the fox print pieces below are from their baby range) and TK Maxx (lots of bargains to be had).
Fox sleepsuits – c/o Next (sold out, shop similar)
Sleepsuits – Next and Morrisons | Fleece jacket, bibs and hat – Mothercare | Joggers – John Lewis
Cardigans – Baby Gap, Morrisons, F&F at Tesco
Without it being intentional, we’ve ended up with quite the collection of animal related items, but seeing as we’re both big wildlife fans, we’re hoping our baby will be just as into polar bears and pandas as we are! Also, as we’re due in February when it could still be pretty cold we’ve got a few warmer jackets and cardigans to keep us going. Further down the line we’ll probably buy some of those puffa snowsuits too (mainly for the photo opp).
Panda Towel – Morrisons
Organic skincare – Storksak (available at Jojo Maman Bebe)
Lastly, we’ve organised a few bits and bobs for bath time. GB’s parents kindly bought us the baby bath and we’ve bought a few cuddle and dry towels (again we found them cheapest in supermarkets, the panda one is Morrisons).
We’re not planning to use any products on baby in the beginning but we were given this lovely organic skincare set which is designed to be kind to sensitive baby skin, so after the first few months I’ll be really keen to try these gorgeous products out.
Our blanket collection is also getting there, as with every visit from family a new one arrives, and GB’s Mum even gave us the hand knitted blanket which was used on GB and his two brothers as babies so we’ll be bringing jacpot mini home from the hospital in that special one and keeping the tradition alive (how lovely is that?).
There’s a few other bath and bed related items we need such as a thermometer, baby monitor etc so if anyone has recommendations on those, please do pass them on.
Obviously there’s a whole host of newborn items I haven’t even touched on in this post such as prams, car seats, slings, bouncers and so forth but we’re still in the research mode for those and I thought I’d save that chat until after baby is here so that I can review them properly.
So, with six weeks to go, I don’t think we’re doing too badly and already mini looks set to take after their Mum and have a bulging wardrobe from the off. I hope this post might have been helpful to a few of you, and of course as we’re definitely in unknown waters ourselves if any parents reading notice anything major that we haven’t thought of, do let us know!
Now just to get painting that nursery…