I’m not a consumerist, really. But babies famously come with a lot of stuff, and most of this is cheap and useless, but some of it is good. Like, really good. I thought I’d talk about a few products I wouldn’t have been without in our first year as parents, and why spending some money wisely is better than spending a lot of money stupidly.
Bonds baby clothes
Babygrows are a nightmare. Really. If the body isn’t too short, the legs are too long, but then the feet become too small before the rest of it does, leaving you the choice of cutting the toes off or recycling a ton of clothes that otherwise still seem brand new. And if none of that is a problem, you can guarantee your baby will have taken their legs out somehow, and be rolling around with their knees by their chest in a makeshift baby sack at 3am, and suddenly be very unhappy about this.
However. There are babygrows, then there are Bonds. Bonds is an Australian clothing company which makes underwear, swimwear, and really great baby clothes. When we went through the unusually lengthy heatwave here last summer, it was Bonds that came to the rescue. Their summer vests were the only thing I found suitable for pyjamas, but equally their babygrows with inbuilt scratch mitts, fold over toes that prevent premature growing out of, zip fastening (who wants to mess about with press studs in the middle of the night?) and really cool designs make them an all round great brand. And the sizes last far longer than anything else I’ve found so far.
The early days of breastfeeding are hard, and it hurts like hell. All pregnant women seem to come across a professional who claims that ‘if you’re doing it right, it shouldn’t hurt at all’. Bollocks. My c-section recovery hurt less than those first days of feeding. But the good news is that a) it passes and it’s worth it, and b) there is Lansinoh. Some people recommend using it before birth to prepare your skin for the intensive use it goes through soon after, but even if you don’t, just don’t leave it on the list of ‘maybe later’ products. Have some in the house ready for immediate use, and don’t let the price tag tempt you to opt for a cheaper brand. They’re not the same, and Lansinoh is worth every penny. Plus, some GPs will prescribe it for free.
That’s Not My books
I think these books are probably responsible for Maddie’s love of bedtime stories now. That’s Not My is a series of books which allow babies to explore the pages of a book using different colours and textures on the pages, encouraging them to touch the books and look forward to the page being turned, which in turn is a brilliant way to start a love of reading. From a really young age I remember being impressed with how quickly Maddie picked up on what to do, and to spot the patch made from fabric. Our favourites so far are That’s Not My Bunny and That’s Not My Monster.
Silver Sense baby clothes
With the risk of sounding like I treat my child like an exotic princess, I am going to admit that she owns a babygrow made with real silver fibres. Hear me out. Silver is known for its healing properties, and while we’ve been struggling for months to find a solution to Maddie’s increasingly severe eczema, we reached a point where we had to focus on treating her skin in anyway possible over finding the cause. Someone suggested pyjamas made with silver and I laughed, mentally grouping them with things like tree houses, ponies and baby shoes that cost £50 and last for five minutes. A few weeks later, still no further on with finding a cause, I bought a too-big-so-it-will-last-longer Silver Sense vest in the sale. A week after wearing it every night and she has stopped automatically trying to tear her skin off the moment it is exposed. I’m a convert and I don’t care if I sound like only pyjamas lined with precious metal is any good for my darling daughter. It just well might be.
Before we found Silver Sense, we found Scratch Sleeves. Babies pull mitts off, or they just fall off. Either way, they’re famously rubbish to everyone with a baby, and famously cute to everyone who doesn’t (and buys them as gifts). But Scratch Sleeves don’t fall off. Like a miniature bolero cardigan, the sleeves wrap around the baby’s back, staying put all night. They’re not expensive considering how long they last (ours far outlasted the 3-6 month tag), and the silk ends is really soft against their skin when they’re tiny little newborns.
What are your favourite products for your little ones? Let me know in the comments – I’m always on the lookout for great baby companies that work to make our lives easier.