With just a couple of months to go before New Baby arrives, I’ve been having a think about the equipment I found most useful when I came home from hospital.
Here are the five things that I couldn’t have lived without in the first few weeks with a brand new baby. Bear in mind that I was of no fixed abode – my house was being renovated, the work ran over, we moved three or four times before finally getting back into our house when Angelica was a few months old. We had to travel light and we did a lot of car journeying, so my “top five” essentials probably reflect that situation!
- The Snuzpod. A bedside crib that fits right to the side of your own bed with a zip-down side that means the baby can be instantly accessed without any bending or getting up. An absolute lifesaver if you’ve had a C-Section, I used this up until about six months. Recently my friend Lauren took loan of it for her newborn (she had a C-Section) and it has come back to me looking good as new, ready for a third baby! You can find the Snuzpod online at Amazon HERE – it’s £199.95 including mattress.
- The Snuzpod is also exactly the right size to hold a Sleepyhead Deluxe, which is a sort of baby “nest” that makes them feel snug and secure. The main benefit of the Sleepyhead, for me, was that it allowed me to keep the mesh side of the Snuzpod crib unfastened and tucked away so that I could slide the baby in and out of the crib for multiple night feeds without any bother. Then, when I went to live at my parents’ house for five weeks (told you I got around!) there wasn’t room in the car for the whole crib so I just took the Sleepyhead and put that inside the huge cot at their house. Bloody marvellous, I can’t recommend it enough. I have to say that the foam in the base of it didn’t fare very well and now, after a stint at my friend’s with her baby as well as a good half a year with mine, it’s a bit worse for wear. Do I mind buying another one? Not a jot. It’s £110 HERE.
- The Cybex Aton Q car seat. Car seat-choosing was my husband’s domain, if I remember rightly, and this was an absolutely brilliant choice. I have a sneaking suspicion he was first attracted by the very cool shape and excellent styling (I haven’t seen a better-looking car seat when the canopy is drawn over) but the suitability for newborns was the major draw. It’s designed so that newborn babies can lie as flat as possible and even has a special insert for premature and very teeny babies and will probably last until around eighteen months. Yes you can get car seats with a bigger age span, but we did a lot of long journeys and I liked that this one had been developed with small babies in mind, because you do have a bit of a panic when you get stuck in traffic on the motorway and a one hour journey turns into three… We bought our Cybex at John Lewis HERE – £175, but I highly recommend getting the Isofix base too, for ease of getting the seat in and out of the car. It fits most pram frames, too, including the Uppababy Vista.
- The Uppababy Vista was incredibly useful to me as a constantly-travelling new Mum. It was robust, easy to fold and the bassinet part was approved for overnight sleeping which meant that if I was in a hotel and didn’t want to take the Sleepyhead (I got the train to places a lot, I can’t think for the life of me why, I must have been mad!) I could put the baby to sleep in the pram. The other cracking feature was that the storage basket in the Vista is large enough to (almost) house an adult human. I mean, it’s seriously, seriously roomy. I went to a wedding at Babbington House, with a one-night stop at my friend Rach’s in Bath, and I had the baby in her Cybex car seat attached to the top of the pram (needed a car seat as was getting a taxi), I had the bassinet squashed flat below it and I had a small suitcase, baby changing bag, shoe bag and wedding outfit in a suit-carrier ALL STOWED IN THE BASKET! Bloody amazing. But yeah, I must have been mad. What was I thinking? That was a journey and a half… You can find the Uppababy Vista HERE, it’s £849.99.
- I didn’t use the motion detector thing on the Angelcare AC401 monitor until a few months in (long story: mostly an annoyance with the way that cot death figures are presented and new Mums are given information, I’ll leave it for another time) but after that first time I switched on the special under-mattress sensor pad, I have to admit I became addicted to the little swinging pendulum that told me everything was A-OK with the baby. Even though she was right next to me, it allowed me to sleep deeply for the two or three hours between feeds knowing that the motion pad was picking up her breathing movements and that an alarm would sound if movement ceased. I ended up using it until Angelica was a year old and kept rolling off the pad (false alarm central!) so I suppose you could call me a convert. I inherited my Angelcare AC401 from my sister and it is still going strong, so I can’t imagine I’ll be buying another, but if you want to take a look then it’s £68 down from £99 on Amazon HERE.