So this post has been in my drafts for months… and I have a couple of travel posts I want to get out, so decided to finish up this one first 😀
I’m a researcher and planner by heart, so when I fell pregnant, I immediately started looking into all the things I’d need to make my pregnancy easier, and also started creating my baby shopping list. Equally, I’m a sharer. I love sharing my finds with friends, and so this post is an extension of that.
There are tons of these lists all over the internet, so I used a combination of those stock standard non branded lists, and also recommendations from other influencer mamas. Some of my favourites to follow on Instagram are Sazan, Bakedthebaby, Rosie Londoner and Brandslut. I also read A LOT.
In terms of pregnancy, there are only a few things I’d really swear by. I tried really hard not to buy too much stuff because we have a small apartment with no storage space, and in retrospect I’m really pleased with all my purchases. They’ve all been great investments and we’ve used everything. This list is a mix of stuff I got in the UK And in SA.
- A good pregnancy pillow. I used a wedge for support in the first couple of months and I also took it with me on my travels, but from about 7 months onwards my pregnancy pillow was a godsend. I got this BBHugme one which comes highly recommended by everyone and was so worth the investment. It feels like someone is giving you a giant bear hug. While using it I got zero lower back pain during my pregnancy. These days I use it as back support when I’m feeding Arin, so it hasn’t gone to waste.
- Bra extenders. Your bra size increases by cup size and width during pregnancy, but rather than buy new bras I just bought a couple of these bra extenders which worked perfectly.
- Comfy clothes. I lived in tights and dresses / tops in winter and summer dresses for warmer weather. I bought a couple of items and just kept rewearing them. My go-tos for maternity clothes were H&M, Asos and Gap. For nicer items, like my baby shower dress, I shopped at Seraphine. A lot of maternity clothes double as nursing clothes (i.e. have holes at the boobs, so it’s good to try and buy those so that once the baby arrives you immediately have stuff to wear that’s breastfeeding friendly. I still haven’t entirely gotten rid of my post baby belly so the flowy clothes are coming in handy now even
- Stretch mark cream. I used Mamma Mio tummy rub butter religiously from like 3 months and still got loads of stretch marks 🙁 Friends swear by Bio-oil, which probably is a better bet. Either way, it’s good to prevent against them with whatever remedy you choose.
- Books to read: I read tons of books but the one that really changed things for me is The Positive Birth Book by Milly Hill. It is UK-centric, but I think anyone would benefit from the confidence boost this book gives. After the baby arrived, I loved The Book You Wish Your Parents Read (and your Children Will be Glad You Did) by Philippa Perry
More than physical items, the best thing you can do for yourself during pregnancy is to get yourself in the right headspace. Pregnancy yoga helped me so much with breathing techniques, and a hypnobirthing course made me feel a lot more confident about the birthing experience. I’d highly recommend both.
I used an Aniball beforehand to help prevent against tears. It’s not a great experience using it, but I did end up getting only one tiny tear so it must have worked.
I also used a TENS machine and microwavable heatpack, both of which were helpful for early labour, but didn’t do anything when the contractions got worse. At that point, your breathing is your best friend.
In your hospital bag:
You can find these lists anywhere, but the main things I took which were helpful were maternity pads, disposable underwear, comfy, nursing friendly pjs, an eye mask, your own pillow (I probably would have taken my own linen if I could – it’s so nice to have your comforts from home in that horrible hospital environment.)
Once the baby arrives:
Again, I’m not going to give you an exhaustive list of every single thing you’ll need for the baby because you can find those lists everywhere, but I’m just going to highlight the few items I got that I’m really enjoying.
Crib: The number one item I would recommend to everyone is a SNOO Smart Sleeper. It is a crib that rocks the baby to sleep, increasing the speed at which it rocks depending on how fussy baby is. It also has a built in swaddle and plays white noise. Arin slept in solid 3-4 hour chunks for the first couple weeks of his life, and if he’s fussing and he’s fed and nappy changed, I just put him in the SNOO and he would calm immediately. It looks really good too. He started sleeping through the night in it from 10 weeks old. The only problem is it’s only sold in the US, so I had to bring it back on one of my work trips which was a real hack, but so so worth it. You can’t put a price on sleep! Even now, 9 months later, he goes down for naps really easily – and is just generally calm and happy most of the time. I’m convinced it’s because of the SNOO!
Sleepsuits with built in mittens: Babies’ nails are really sharp when they’re born, so you need to use mitts else they’ll scratch their face. It’s a pain to put these on individually, so these ones from John Lewis with built in mitts were really handy. The quality is also incredible. I alternated between this and stuff from Woolies, and the John Lewis fabric is thicker and just feels better.
Zip up sleepsuits are also really handy and way easier for all the frequent nappy changes compared to regular poppers. I bought a couple from Mori that were great but expensive. In SA, I recently picked up some great ones from Keedo
Baby bouncer: This has been a lifesaver for when I need to cook, or shower. I can just pop Arin in it and he’s usually happy in it for a good 10 minutes leaving me to get on with what I need to. I got the Bjorn one.
Sleepyhead: We use this in the lounge, when we’re all there and Arin is sleeping. It’s great because you can’t really lug the crib around from room to room and this is super comfy for him. You can also take it to friends’ houses when he needs to nap
Waterwipes: Arin got no nappy rash from using just cotton wool and water, and then waterwipes on him. So much better than the perfumed brands.
Hooded towels: These towels from the White Company are so soft and luxurious and work perfectly to wrap him in after a bath
Bath thermometer: I was gifted this from a friend and it’s just really handy to get the bath water at an optimal temperature: 37 degrees
Ergobaby OMNI 360: This carrier is one of the only ones that is suitable for newborns. I’ve gotten the hang of it over time, and have found it really handy when I don’t want to carry his stroller around.
Babyzen YOYO stroller: This stroller has been my other lifesaver. Bear in mind that my lifestyle here is very pedestrianised – I’m always walking around, never in a car, and I also live in a walk up with 3 flights of stairs. I needed a stroller that I could carry easily. This one weights just 4kg and folds up tiny so I can also use it to travel
Sollybaby sling: I bought this sling from the US as well, and love the fabric, the quality and the design. Arin is also always really happy and comfy in it.
Nappy backpack: Again, because I live in a walk up and need my hands free to carry the baby and the stroller, I needed a changing bag that is a backpack. I love this one from Jem and Bea – it has enough compartments to keep all his stuff organised and also has an insulated compartment for his bottles.
Baby monitor: We got this one from Netvue which has been great. We also take it with us when we travel and it works well.
Breastfeeding pillow: Even though I didn’t end up breastfeeding, I still found this pillow useful to prop up on my lap and feed Arin his bottles
Muslins: For the first few months I didn’t go anywhere without these! So useful for spitup and to mop up any accidents
Later for Weaning
High chair: At the beginning, I was much more in the frame of mind that my baby needed to have only the best stuff, but a couple of months later, I’m a lot more practical and have been buying simple stuff. I got this IKEA one that completely does the trick.
Philips Avent Steamer Blender: With a baby there are always a million things to do, so I found that having a machine that took the stress and time out of preparing the baby’s food a godsend. This machine steams and purees food in the same machine and is super handy
And that’s about it! As always I’m happy to answer any questions, baby related or otherwise!