It’s so easy to get sucked into buying all.the.things for your sweet little baby to be. In reality though the only essentials are milk, love, hygiene and warmth. That being said, these are the top items that helped make our first 6 months of parenthood just that much easier. They are by no means “essentials”. But, since we’ve had them we would really struggle without them next time!
We were given a lot of really great hand-me-down items and some generous gifts, so ended up only really needing to buy a few items ourselves. In fact, this entire list was hand me downs or gifts. This was such a huge blessing in a time where costs add up extremely quickly. In fact, preparing this list made me realise just how much money we actually saved! A major “Thank you!” to all our friends and family. Be sure to bless your friends with your items that you no longer need, it can make such a difference! (But also be prepared to graciously accept a “No thank you” if they don’t want all of your old baby junk 😉 )
Ubuntu Baba Carrier
I cannot tell you how much this locally made carrier has helped! They aren’t kidding when they say it comes with sleepy dust. Being able to be a hands free mama while allowing a tired baby to sleep can be such a lifesaver, especially in the earlier days when many babies want to be sleeping on you. Another MAJOR benefit is that you can breastfeed in it. And it’s SO discreet. So discreet in fact, that I ended up putting a cloth over my shoulder to make it LESS discreet and prevent people trying to peek at her while feeding! Lately I’ve also been pairing it with my Milk Mama feeding cover popped right over the top. Hello freedom!
As she got a bit heavier I’d started to use the pram a bit more for walking to the shop. All it took was a few walks home having to hold a niggly baby while still pushing a pram to quickly get me using the Ubuntu more again! The pocket on the front is easy enough to hold my bulky, slip filled wallet and cellphone leaving you completely hands free. Seriously, win!
They are available straight from Ubuntu Baba, who will ship directly to your door.
Comfortable Feeding Chair
It took a little while to finally settle on a chair that worked for me. At first the late night/early morning feeds where done in bed, but she moved into her own room at one month, meaning I needed a good chair. At one stage I was even using a creaky office chair, that would sometimes wake her up when I wanted to put her down. I’m now using one of my grandpa’s old rocking chairs. It’s not perfect, but it does the job.
Things to consider:
- Good arm height for resting on
- Gentle rock
- High enough back to lean your head back on when you’re still half asleep yourself
A local option that I love though is the Nula Baby High Back Chair. (And while you’re there have a look at the gorgeous strollers! They give me pram envy! I love that you can face your child either outwards or towards you.)
While bubs was still small, we used a borrowed Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker Napper. What was great about it was that we could just move it around the house with us while she was sleeping. It lived next to my bed for that first month and then we just popped it into her room from the night where she slept on her own semi-unintentionally (but that’s a story for another day). The funny thing is that it can also be used as a rocker/chair while they’re still small, but I only realised this when looking for pictures for this post. Whoops! Next time…
Medela Swing Pump
I’m fortunate enough to be staying with bubs during the day, so I don’t need to express too often, but I do express then I still want it to be a quality pump. If you’re a breastfeeding mama it’s a good idea to express some milk even if you’re with your baba. Number one is that it can give you a little freedom, but it’s also great if you get sick or need to be away for any other reason.
Western Cape moms please consider donating any extra breastmilk to Milk Matters. As little as 50ml of milk can keep a tiny preemie fed for 24 hours. They are always in need of milk and will greatly appreciate your donation.
Another wonderful hand-me-down was my wonderful nursing pillow. With some clever balancing in my chair this thing has allowed me to feed handsfree at my desk and keep working while she feeds and naps. Feeding becomes such a huge part of every day that it’s worth investing in making it as easy as possible. Small sanity savers make all the difference.
I can’t seem to find it in South Africa, but it is available internationally here. Another “pillow” I’d love to try is this locally produced Jean Kelly one. It would be great for taking out as you simply pop it over one arm.
My Snuggletime Preggy Roll has affectionately been called my “throne”. I used it for sleeping while pregnant and then used it to sit up against while feeding in bed. It was really great for this time.
Another thing that took a while to get figured out, was how to have enough light to see for night feeds, but not so bright that everyone is woken up. Through some trial and error I’m no able to get by with the light that comes in from the outside light, but a soft little night light is so useful, especially when it can be as cute as my little cloud one.
Let’s be real. When they are small, there is only so much interaction that you can do with the cute little bundle. Sometimes you need them to be entertained by something else. A fun play gym with some noisy rattles, some crinkly bits and some patterns is really great. As much as we want to give them a nice neutral, matching space, sometimes we have to give in to the bright things. But only sometimes 🙂
Our mobile attached straight to her cot. Mr Monkey, Mrs Ostrich and young giraffe were her first friends. Together with the mobile’s music they have put her to sleep many times!
And finally, grace. Lots of grace.
Be gentle on yourself and your partner. Love each other. Help each other. Take lots of photos.
What are the things that you couldn’t live without or that you are looking forward to using?
Wishing you all the best!