For the first time ever I am writing this post from a request. After reading my post “The top ten most useless products to buy for your baby” a friend of mine said she finds it hard to come up with new gift ideas for expectant mummy friends and as such would love to have a top ten of useful products to choose from. Now, those who know me will be aware that you don’t have to ask me twice to give my opinion on things, so here we are (some of my choices are a bit pricey though, so perhaps might be an idea for friends to get together to buy them, unless you’re feeling generous! 😃)

  1. Baby Grooming Kit

Something I never would have thought of if my mother hadn’t of given one to me as a gift! Briefly consists of a baby hair brush and comb, nail scissors and nail clippers. Babies nails grow like wildfire and are so small you do need proper baby clippers to get them done safely (even the baby ones aren’t foolproof, I did cut Seth just a little the first time I cut his nails!)

2. Baby sleep sound machine

Now, up to you which one you buy. There’s one called Ewan the Sheep ( I think? Don’t quote me!) Fisher Price do a seahorse, basically there’s a menagerie of animals available! My critter of choice is called a Tranquil Turtle. It projects a wave like light show onto the ceiling, plays white noise wave music or a soothing lullaby and shuts off after 30 minutes – this was a life saver when Seth was tiny and I still use it to zone him into nap times now he’s nearly one.

3. Bouncy Chair

Awww, babies are so cute and small and light, they only weigh a few pounds! Unless of course you have to sit and hold one all day long, for days on end, then your baby will instantly morph into a lead weight causing your arm muscles to burn and all your joints to seize up. My bouncy chair saved me from this and made cuddle time so much less painful. You don’t need to get an all singing, rocking, vibrating version, just a simple chair with a few toys on will work wonders for your sanity and restore the joy that is peeing on your own to your life.

4. Nappy Bin and cartridges

Now unless you want your probably beautiful, newly decorated nursery to constantly smell like baby shit then you need a nappy bin. There’s loads available, we have a tommee tippee sangenic and it works brilliantly to cut the odour of nappy time wafting about the house. If you do buy one of these for someone get them some cartridges as well, refils can be expensive and when it runs out and you don’t have a spare it’s more than a bit annoying.

5. Baby sleeping bags

In what feels like a blink of an eye baby will no longer lay completely still while they sleep and all those lovely swaddling blankets are useless as baby pulls their arms out and wriggles free. When Seth started this I was so worried he was going to wriggle down and suffocate, but being a first time mum I didn’t even know baby sleeping bags existed! But they do! And they’re awesome. Baby’s temperature is regulated and he can’t wriggle down and cover his face in loose blankets. Stress free sleeping for the whole house.

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6. Basic medicines and thermometer

If like me, you spend your entire pregnancy thinking about how cute your baby is going to be, you probably didn’t stop to think that they will get ill. But they will get ill, coughs, colds, sneezes, vomiting, diarrhoea, the list goes on and on and on and the last thing you want is to drag a sick baby out to the pharmacy so being able to lay your hands on calpol, olbas oil for children, infant ibuprofen, saline nasal drops, teething powder or gel, cough syrup and a good thermometer will be a god send.

7. Activity Playmat

Within a few short weeks baby’s eyes are focused and ready to be stimulated, so activity centre mat’s that you can lie baby on their back with lights, sounds and mobile toys suspended above them are perfect. The best ones can have the arms which hold the toys removed so baby can use the play mat when they’re bigger too.

8. Jumparoo

I’ve heard this referred to a the “circle of neglect” and it’s easy to see why. Most babies adore being plonked in one of these and it’s easy to let them stay in there a little too long! Keep in mind that these come with a hefty £100 price tag and take up as much floor space as a small family car though, so perhaps borrow one or go for a second hand one so you can sell on or return it when you’re done.

9. Video baby monitor

Ok, so you know you’re going to need a monitor! In my humble opinion you don’t need a pressure mat, heart rate monitoring all singing and dancing version! A simple monitor will suffice. I do think a video monitor is very handy, although here’s a good tip… Don’t buy a Tomy. I’ve got a Tomy. It’s shit. Every time I see other people’s monitors I am filled with jealousy of their picture quality and I can’t help but think of my own monitor which, when in night vision mode, can only be described as a tiny, grainy black and white screen which looks like a Paranormal Activity sequel with really poor production values. Through months of practise I can now just about make out which blob on the screen is actually the baby!

10. First years journal

About 2 weeks ago I was bought a first years journal to document Seth’s first 5 years. When milestones happened I thought I would remember the date and how old he was so vividly, but as I sat to write in his book I realised I had forgotten so much already! These books are a great gift from a mother to a child, but all the best bits happen so fast you really need to have it from the start to make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Happy Shopping xx

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