As Ruby fast approaches her first birthday, I have been reminiscing about the first few months with her. She was never a particularly happy newborn, she had reflux and she cried A LOT. She didn’t like to nap in the day (she still doesn’t) and was happier on one of us than being put down. Luckily she is happier now she can get around though! I thought about all the things we bought before she was born and after which made our life a bit easier. Here’s our top 5….
5) Dr Browns Bottles
Our baby cried, and cried, and cried, particularly after having a bottle of milk. It didn’t matter if it was expressed breast milk or formula she still cried and raised her legs up and arched her back. We were using the Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature bottles as I had used these for Hannah and had no problems. Someone suggested switching to ‘anti colic bottles’ so being at our wit’s end I splashed out on two Dr Browns Bottles as recommended. These were a complete game changer for us, so much so that I went back and brought more. The idea is the little tube in the inside keeps the air at the bottom of the bottle and not going into the baby resulting in no gas. I was a bit sceptical but hey they worked so they were worth the fortune I spent on them. We still use them now and have no issues with them at all.
4) Bath Time Duck
I brought this on a b it of a whim. It cost about £3 from Mothercare and in the base of the duck is a little thermometer. The idea is that as the bath fills up you check the temperature of the water to make sure its just right. I have always thought things like this were a bit of a waste of money, why don’t parents just dunk their elbow in like everyone else?! But since Mark has asbestos hands and can’t feel any temperature on them (he handles trays and pans from the oven 5 minutes after taking them out) I bought one and it’s been a complete life saver. Poor Ruby would have never been able to let Daddy run her a bath without it…I’ve stopped asking, I can’t get in it for 20 mins after he’s run it as its so hot (come to think of itmaybe that’s why he does it!!)
3) Baby Swing
Another item I thought was a waste of money before I had Ruby. I have always felt a little bit like people are building a rod for their own back by letting their babies fall asleep in a moving swing – like they will get used to the motion or something. We had a bouncy chair which Ruby didn’t mind but once I realised she would only sleep on one of us and my house was beginning to resemble a dump because I couldn’t put her down, I bit the bullet and bought one (second hand off a friend). One of the best things we ever got. She would suddenly sleep for hours in her swing and sit happily swinging away watching the world go by….and I am happy to report she does now go to sleep in her cot with no swinging needed. Rod for my own back…ha!
2) Video Baby Monitor.
I did buy this before Ruby was born because we now live over two floors. When Hannah was small we lived in a flat and it didn’t matter whether I was in the lounge/kitchen or the bedroom she was only ever next door in the middle room. I knew this time that Ruby was likely to be sleeping upstairs and there would be times when I am downstairs and I wanted the reassurance that I could see her. I brought this one off a friend, it’s a Hush Video Monitor, it has an extra large screen, talk back function and it only makes a sound if she makes a sound so there is none of that background hiss you get with some monitors. We still use it now at night-time because sometimes she cries out and then self-settles so I can just look at the screen to see if we actually have to go into her. I like that I can see her when she’s going for a nap too as sometimes she’s so quiet I think she is asleep when in fact she is actually just sat playing in her cot!
1) Ewan the Sheep
Have I ever mentioned that our baby didn’t sleep?! One day I desperately googled ‘why won’t my baby sleep?!’ and got reading about white noise, how noisy it is in the womb and how we tend to try to keep quiet when babies are sleeping. I went and unplugged Hannah’s radio that day, plugged it in, untuned it and turned up the volume and hey presto she slept for 2 hours…the longest nap she had ever had in her cot. I got googling about white noise devices and found Ewan, rushed into town to buy him and never looked back. He was the best £30 I have ever spent. When Ewan broke a couple of months later I emailed the company who sent a replacement absolutely free, excellent customer service! Ruby snuggles up to him now, plays with him when she’s supposed to be falling asleep and I am sure she can switch him on when she wants to too!
So there you have it our top picks for the first year, I can’t believe the baby days are nearly over!