The Bare Necessities
Bouncers, buggies, baskets, booties – the list of “stuff” to get for your new arrival is endless. But do we really need all this paraphernalia?
Hands Off Parenting requires the minimum amount of baby and infant accessories. Below is a list of what you absolutely should buy for your little one (and yourself) before the birth; or after if you’re as disorganised as I was. This list is for infants under six months old. I left off obvious items such as nappies, bottles, clothes etc – otherwise it’d be ridiculously long.
1. Pram or Sling: I was happy to mostly hang out at home after Rose was born. Life was easier siting on the sofa watching Rose play around on the floor. As I don’t drive, guests had to come visit me. But of course, there are times when you need company or just some fresh air and that’s when a travel system or sling comes in handy. I would advise a pram over a car seat on wheels, as babies need to lie flat. If you’re getting a sling, try a few from a Sling Library before you buy. And make sure whatever one you choose is suitable for new-borns.
2. Toys: Babies really need a minimum of fuss. And babies under 2-3 months don’t need toys at all. They are getting enough stimulation and activity from you, the world around them and their own bodies to keep them content. Older infants can still be easily over stimulated by their surroundings so when you do go to buy some toys try to stay away from electronic noisy items or ones that have flashing lights. Instead buy open ended, passive toys like balls of different textures and sizes, plastic links, small metal bowls, wooden bowls, face cloths to grab and manipulate, and chewing or teething rings.
3. A small cot or side-sleeper: We co-slept at first, and if you are co-sleeping then you don’t even need this “essential”. We got a loan of a side-sleeper from my husband’s sister, instead of buying a cot. As a breast feeder, I found the side sleeper a life saver. It kept Rose close enough that I could fed her with ease but left me with enough room that I could have a decent sleep myself.
4. Cheeky Wipes: Ok, so I know most parents will be using baby wipes for nappy changes. But I can honestly say that these tiny cloths were my best purchase. You can get cotton or synthetic types, which you just wet yourself before use. You can stick them in the washing machine to clean like new. No waste, no plastic, no nasty chemicals and a much better wash than baby wipes that I find leave a greasy film on baby’s bum.
5. Muslin Cloths: You simply cannot have enough of these. Rose is over a year old and I’m still using them to mop up any spills, wipe her hands and face clean, use as a blanket etc. They are indispensable. The extra-large ones are particularly good.
6. Silicone, hands free breast pump: Commonly known as a Haaka, these handy little pumps are cheap, user friendly and easy to clean. If you’re breastfeeding and do not need to pump excessive amounts of milk, then this is going to be the perfect device for you. Of course, you don’t need it need it, but I found having a little bit of frozen breastmilk really helped me in emergencies.
So that’s my list. No bouncer chair (Rose was quite happy lying on a blanket on the floor), no Moses basket (had one, never used it), no scratch mitts (told by midwife that a child’s hands are their favourite toy, so don’t restrict access!) and absolutely no baby monitor (unless you live in a mansion you will hear your baby cry when they need you).
So, you can scratch all those essentials from your list and instead spend the money on something you really DO need - like that fabulous pure wool coat you saw in the ASOS Winter sale… Happy Shopping ;)