Weddings and babies are two industries that are heaving with items to choose from and decisions to make! Walking into Baby City as a first-time mom-to-be can be a truly daunting experience – where do you even begin??? From cribs to co-sleepers, carrycots to travel systems, the list is endless and there are countless options to choose from. My husband and I spent a good few Saturday mornings walking around with slightly dazed looks on our faces, wondering how on earth such tiny humans can possibly need so much! The truth is though, they actually don’t need all that much to begin with and you really can keep things simple. Here are my top 10 newborn essentials that I couldn’t do without. Grab a cup of tea and get comfy – it’s a long one 🙂
- Petit Bunny Wrap/Ubuntu Baba Babycarrier: Hands down, the BEST purchase I made! If you’d asked the pre-baby me what I thought of baby-wearing, I probably would have chuckled and said ‘oh cute” – I certainly never thought I’d be a baby-wearing mama. Oh how wrong I was! My Petit Bunny (a local manufacturer of exquisitely beautiful, luxurious baby goods) wrap was an absolute lifesaver and I honestly don’t know what I would have done without it. Having a little premie (you can read about his hasty arrival here) meant kangaroo care and keeping him cuddled up close was hugely important in those first few weeks (and more often than not, he only wanted to sleep on me) – but this mama also needed her cup of tea and rusk. So popping my little one into his wrap meant he was kept warm and snug and I could get things done with two hands. At 5 and a half months, he still loves being in his wrap and on cooler days I take full advantage and get the wrap out . Once we hit January though, I needed something a little cooler and after reading great reviews on Ubuntu Baba’s babycarriers, I was sold. My beautifully packaged Stage One carrier arrived on my doorstep just three days after placing my order. I love how quick and easy it is to put on and the breathable, organic hemp fabric means it is lovely and cool and super soft (and it gets softer the more you use it) Like my wrap, the crisscrossed shoulder straps and back strap provide good support so you can wear your baby for longer. The added dose of sleepy dust doesn’t hurt either and you’ll often find me baby wearing while doing my Pick n Pay shop and on days when he’s fussing or wont settle in his cot, I pop the carrier on and he happily dozes off. I love baby-wearing and this is definitely my number one pick for new moms – Ubuntu Baba share some of the benefits of baby wearing in this article.
- Plonky Donkey: Make no mistake, breastfeeding is hard and definitely not something that comes naturally, despite being one of the most natural things we can do. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance and still doesn’t work out for all moms (and yet there is SO much pressure to do so!!) Having a baby born at 35 weeks meant he hadn’t learnt how to suck yet and this was a skill he still needed to learn which made our breastfeeding journey even more challenging considering we both had no clue what we were doing! But what made a huge difference was getting the positioning of baby correctly (or at least in a position that worked for us) and having a good feeding cushion made the world of difference. A friend of mine had recommended a Plonky Donkey to me and after using one in the NICU, I sent my mom out to get me one. The cushion is firm so baby stays at the right height and it fits comfortably around your body with enough space to still sit back in a chair. My husband also used it when doing bottle feeds especially as handling such a teeny tiny baby was more than a little daunting! Now that we are both more comfortable with breastfeeding, I don’t always use Plonky but now he’s put to good use when doing tummy time or propping Oliver up after a feed. Plonky Donkey is made in South Africa and has a removable cover so it’s easy to throw in the wash (something that you will be doing regularly) You can get the original Plonky Donkey from Well Mother and Child in Cape Town or online from Louisas Baby Shop for around R700.
- Bassinet: While I wasn’t up for co-sleeping (I was far too nervous of having my newborn in bed with us and if I’m honest, I probably wouldn’t ever let him leave since who doesn’t love baby snuggles??) but I also wasn’t ready for my tiny buba to sleep in another room so I settled on a bassinet. I absolutely LOVE our Moba basket and it fitted into our room beautifully. I have only just moved Oliver out of his Moba now (having a premie does have a few benefits) and since I’m still not ready for him to be in his own room at night, I’ve now put him in his camp-cot next to our bed. I now use his Moba basket for him to play in (when he’s not in the washing basket 😉 ) as I can prop him up in it and he can sit and play without the risk of him falling over. I bought this gorgeous basket online from Clever Little Monkey for R3398 including stand and linen.
- Petit Bunny Baby Shade: What a versatile and incredibly practical item to have! I have a few Petit Bunny baby shades and they have been extremely well used. They are perfect for covering baby when out walking or in shopping centres when baby is sleeping (and if you like me, don’t love strangers peering into your pram and squeezing those delicious chubby cheeks…) As it fits snuggly over your car seat, you don’t have to worry about it blowing off in the wind or falling off when transferring a sleeping baby from car seat to pram (and vise versa) As a breastfeeding mommy, this has come in handy on more than one occasion when I’ve had to feed on the go (back when Oliver was happy to be covered and didn’t have FOMO!) With beautiful designs to choose from, your pram will look super stylish too. Keep reading to the end of this post to find out how you can win yourself a gorgeous baby shade!
- Jeankelly Nappy bag: I am a real handbag girl and with a hatstand over flowing with beautiful bags, when it came to a nappy bag, I knew I needed something stylish yet practical. I also wanted something that I could use afterwards so good quality was also key my search. Jeankelly have the most beautiful range of nappy bags, all locally made in South Africa (I am so pleased that I have been able to support so many amazing local brands when getting my baby supplies together) Just take a look at their website to see the gorgeous array of bags and other baby goodies to choose from. Offering simple, natural products that balance quality, comfort and style, I settled their stunning Tan Laminated Shopper – big enough to fit both baby’s gear and mama’s essentials. It also comes with a cute nappy changing mat that slips in the side. At R1099 it is slightly easier on the pocket than the genuine leather bags but without having to compromise on quality. You can order online on their website or through Take A Lot.
- Muslin blanket: I love the Baby Sense range and have slowly built up a collection of their products. The first product I ever got of theirs was their Taglet in the Discovery Vitality Baby box and boy has that been put to good use! But with a newborn you can never have enough muslin blankets – whether it’s to swaddle baby, cover up while breastfeeding or cover baby from the sun, you always need them on hand. I love Baby Sense’s muslin receivers as they really big so you can double them up if it’s a cooler day or use as is when it’s really warm. They also get softer with every wash so they are lovely and comfy. On hot days in summer, I had Oliver in a nappy and used these to swaddle him for naps (despite him being like Houdini and always managing to escape) I still need to swaddle him for all his naps and it helps to have a bigger blanket since it’s like trying to wrestle an octopus when it comes to swaddling now – something he finds hilarious! I also prefer to use a muslin instead of an actual swaddle blanket because of the shape – I always end up getting the swaddle blanket the wrong way around and am left with one end too short. Baby Sense muslin blankets retail for R175 and I’ve purchased from Baby City, Pick n Pay and online.
- Baby Belle Feeding Chair: So it doesn’t have to be a Baby Belle feeding chair and it doesn’t have to be a rocking chair either but a comfortable feeding chair is a must. I am in love my Jayden Rocker and so happy that I stumbled across it by chance when I was passing Baby Belle in Cavendish one afternoon and happened to see they had a fantastic sale on their rocking chairs. It is the perfect size, so comfortable and the back is high enough that you can rest your head (something that you’ll be grateful for). I would strongly recommend sitting in a few chairs before making your decision as you are going to be spending a lot of time sitting in that chair, so it needs to be one that you bond well with! You can customise your rocker and the ladies at Baby Belle were so lovely to deal with. I chose a charcoal fabric (I can definitely recommend going with a dark colour!) with white piping along the edges. This is one of my favourite spots in the house and you’ll often (possibly a strong word… sometimes is more realistic 😉 ) find me sitting in Oliver’s nursery with my cup of tea, taking a few minutes to myself. While this rocker is most definitely an investment, it was worth every penny and given the neutral colour, I can see it moving to another room in our house one day.
- Hand sanitizer: This might seem an obvious addition but it has been so incredibly useful. We have the Germstar touchless hand sanitizer in the nursery (you can read my previous post on it here) and since you cannot leave baby on the changing mat while you go and wash your hands, hand santizer is a real essential. And with the Cape Town drought, you definitely can’t go wrong. I also keep a mini Dettol hand santizer attached to my nappy bag so that it’s always easily accessible when I’m out and about.
- Nappy bin: An absolute must!! A good quality nappy bin is something you will not regret investing in. After a few days of dirty nappies, opening the bin to remove the bag takes some courage so you want a bin that has an air tight seal and locks the smell in! I love our Ubbi nappy bin (grey of course) and we settled on this one as it takes any bin bag so you don’t need to buy brand specific bags. We got this off Take A Lot for R899 (you’ll notice I did a fair amount of my baby shopping online!)
- Toweling Nappies:You can never have enough of these cotton toweling nappies. They’ve saved my pretty changing mat covers countless times and are easy to clean. I fold a nappy in half and keep it at the bottom of the changing mat for when the inevitable mid-nappy-change poo takes place. I won’t lie, there have been more than one folded up and thrown into the bin but most of the time if you soak them straight away and pop a drop of bleach or Milton on them, they come out perfectly white again. I also keep one in my nappy bag for on-the-go changes as I really can’t handle putting Oliver on a public changing mat – or I put it under my Jeankelly changing pad for the places that don’t have changing stations and you need to make do with the floor (seriously though, this should be a requirement for all restaurants – it is beyond grimy and unhygienic for both mom and baby!) A pack of 5 toweling nappies is R120 from Woolworths.
I couldn’t leave this one off so while it isn’t part of my essentials list, this is something that you wont regret doing… A Journal: I started journalling right from the very early days of my pregnancy and while I’m not writing as often, I am making sure I document all the big firsts, new moments and emotions of these early days. It’s been amazing to look back at my pregnancy journey and come in very handy while putting together my baby scrap book. I also think it will be so wonderful to read should there be a baby number two – not only to see how different (or similar) my pregnancies and babies might be but also for those times when I hit a really low point and can see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
What are some of the newborn essentials that would make your list? I love hearing and learning from other mommies so comment below and let me know!
Now for the fun part:
** PETIT BUNNY BABY SHADE GIVEAWAY **
I have a beautiful Petit Bunny Baby Shade up for grabs and I’ve made it super easy for you to to enter. Simply follow the steps below and keep your fingers crossed!
- Follow me (@bigcityboots) on Instagram (if you don’t already!) and Petit Bunny (@petitbunnysa)
- Like this post on Instagram and tag a friend who’d also love to win
- For an extra entry, share this post on Facebook
** Competition closes on Friday, 13 April 2018 – winner will be announced on Monday, 16 April 2018 on my Instagram story. Competition is only open to South African residents. Winner can choose between a navy and white or grey and white Baby Shade (pictured above). This competition is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administrated by, or associated with Instagram or Facebook **
Happy weekend friends!