Baby Product Guide – A must read for all Expectant Parents, Written by Mums.

Welsh Mummy Blogs along with other mums review baby products from simple changing mats to bottle equipment. Find our baby product guide below.

It seems like only yesterday I was 25 years old and I just found out I was expecting my first baby. I was over the moon, I was excited and from the moment I looked at the two blue lines on the positive pregnancy test I was thinking about all the baby products I wanted to buy.

But where do I start? I had seen friends of mine go out and buy baby clothes, changing tables and nappies. I’d watched movies where the characters go out and buy everything from muslin cloths to wet wipe warmers (wtf is a wet wipe warmer I hear you say) but do you really need everything the pregnancy handbook states?

Like many other expectant parents I went out and bought everything! Looking back, I didn’t use half of the baby products I purchased. When pregnant with my second baby, I bought minimal.

With the help of friends and parents from the Facebook groups Cardiff Mums and Pontypridd Mums, below you will find a parents guide to baby products you need and those you don’t. Of course everyone is different but I am hoping that some of these tried and tested products will give you the chance to make your own decision on what’s best for your family.

Baby Product: Sleeping

Moses Basket 

I bought a moses basket for both my babies. My first baby hated it. He just wanted to be near me so would wake often. To be honest he preferred to sleep in my bed! With it being to much of a risk for him to sleep in my bed I instead endured sleepless nights. It never occurred to me to consider a bedside crib as everyone around me used a moses basket.

Moses baskets are widely available and come with different price tags. In my opinion I wouldn’t spend too much on a basket as they don’t sleep in them for very long. The moses basket will last about 3 months or so (depending on length of baby) the swinging cribs are a bit longer so may last an extra couple of months.

Babies are fine to go straight into their cots, but healthcare professionals recommend that baby sleeps in mums room for up to 6 months which can reduce the incidence of cot death.

Bedside Sleeper Crib

I really wish I had bought one. You can easily attach the crib to your bed to safely co-sleep with your baby. A favourite amongst parents is the SnuzPod 3 which can be used as a bedside crib, stand alone crib or moses basket/bassinet.

SnuzPod 3 Bedside Crib with Mattress Dove Grey (Kiddicare, £199.95)

SnuzPod 3 Bedside Crib with Mattress Dove Grey
Kiddicare

 

“Looking back the thing I wish I’d had was a bedside sleeper crib, they were super expensive or could be rented but now they seem more reasonable and there’s more choice.”

“The things I never used were the crib and the cot. Once I discovered co-sleeping it was just the best ever.”

Some parents co-sleep with their baby for part of the night or during the day so that they can get more rest. They might breastfeed their baby while they doze or sleep, for instance, or co-sleep because they find it easier to settle their baby this way.

Sometimes parents fall asleep accidently or without meaning to. This can be risky, particularly if this happens on a sofa or armchair. It’s therefore important that all parents have accurate information about co-sleeping even if they don’t plan to do so, as many parents co-sleep with their baby or fall asleep accidentally.

Co-sleeping safety
If you co-sleep with your baby, here is some guidance about sleep safety:
Make sure your baby can’t fall out of the bed or become trapped between the mattress and the wall.

  • Keep your baby cool by using sheets and blankets rather than a duvet
  • Ensure bedding does not cover your baby’s face or head.
  • You shouldn’t co-sleep with your baby if you or your partner smokes (even if you don’t smoke in the bedroom).
  • You shouldn’t co-sleep with your baby if you either you or your partner has drunk alcohol or taken drugs (including medications that may make you drowsy).
  • Always put your baby to sleep on their back rather than their front or side.
  • You should never co-sleep if you smoke, drink or take drugs
  • Babies don’t need a pillow until they are at least a year old. They should also be kept away from parents’ pillows.
  • Never risk falling asleep with your baby on a sofa or armchair. If you’re feeling really tired and think you may fall asleep with your baby while feeding or cuddling them on a sofa or armchair, move to a bed (keeping in mind the safety guidelines above) or, if possible, ask your partner, friend or family member to look after them while you get some rest.

The above information was taking from the NCT website, more can be found here. 

 

Cot

Even if you decide to co sleep to begin with, baby and you will both enjoy your own sleeping space, especially when baby gets bigger and starts to move around more. We bought a hardwearing cot bed which we changed into a toddler bed when the time came.

Prices vary and you don’t have to buy a cot bed, a regular cot or space saving cot if you don’t have a lot of room in your bedroom are just as good. It is good to bear in mind that a cot bed will save you money in the long run.

Kiddicare Chloe Cotbed White £149.99

One thing I found really useful when using a cot was a breathable mesh wrap cot bumper. Regular cot bumpers although cute and colourful, can sometimes slip out of place or the baby can pull on them. If like me your a worrier, I would suggest getting a mesh wrap for peace of mind.

Airwrap 4 Sided Mesh Cot Bumper, (JoJo Maman Bébé, £27.99)

Mesh Wrap, JoJo Maman Bébé
Mesh Wrap, JoJo Maman Bébé

A mesh warp is a padded breathable mesh that protects against bumps, and stops limbs getting caught in gaps or cot bars.

  • Increases visibility
  • Allows maximum airflow reducing the risk of over heating
  • Can be breathed through should a baby’s mouth come into contact with the fabric
  • Secure Velcro fittings that are adjustable and can be attached below the mattress level to increase protection
  • Machine washable
  • Suitable from birth

We bought our Air Wrap second hand and it was just as good as brand new. We used the same second hand wrap with both babies.

Baby Monitor

I would highly recommend getting a baby monitor, it offers peace of mind to both parents when baby is asleep in another room or upstairs. It is also great to have if you have a busy household. Sometimes when the T.V is on loud or guests are loudly chatting away, it can be hard to hear baby crying. The baby monitor will surely let you know if baby has awoken.

Again the price ranges. Some monitors offer more than sound. We bought a video monitor so we could always check baby was okay without having to go upstairs and accidently wake baby. For extra reassurance, you can also purchase a movement sensor with sound baby monitor.

Sleeping bag

A baby sleep bag is a wearable blanket that will keep your baby at a comfortable temperature all night long. An ideal time to start using a sleeping bag is when baby weighs more than 8.8lbs/4kg (0-6 months in size) although you can get them from newborn.

The grobag below is suitable for a newborn.

Gro Company Newborn Light 2-In-1 Grosnug, (John Lewis, £22.99)

Gro snug, John Lewis image
John Lewis £22.99

The Gro-snug enables you to swaddle arms in or out for a great night’s sleep. Suitable for newborns, it’s extremely easy to use with no folding needed and a handy zip that opens from the bottom for nappy changes.

  • Unique design creates space for hip
  • Healthy natural leg position.
  • Perfectly transitions your baby in to their first Grobag.
  • Supersoft and stretchy cotton.
  • What to wear guide provided on pack.
  • Includes a free Nursery Thermometer which gives guidelines on which weight of fabric to use, depending on the room temperature.
  • Size fits 5lbs to 12lbs

Parents don’t have to buy the branded Grobag, any baby sleeping bag does the same job. We used sleeping bags from George at Asda and John Lewis. I am pretty sure we bought some from a charity shop too! All did the same job, kept our baby warm and comfy.

A sleeping bag is a firm favourite. When talking to parents they said that their babies slept for longer. I have to agree with them, before using a sleeping bag my 1st baby would wake up often or I would wake up to find the baby sheet had been kicked off. One morning I found a baby sheet covering my sons head! I immediately switched to a sleeping bag and found I was more relaxed at night knowing my baby was safe.

You can shop for a Grobag and find useful information and guidance on the correct tog of Grobag and clothing to be used in different room temperatures by visiting https://gro.co.uk/product/grobag-baby-sleep-bag/

Gro Company Gro Egg Baby Thermometer and Night Light (John Lewis, £14.99)

Gro egg John Lewis image
Gro egg

It seems the Gro Egg has been a life saver for most parents. I didn’t use mine but I can feel temperature fluctuations quicker than most.

The simple to use thermometer changes colour according to the room temperature and acts as a warning if the room is too hot or cold. It also provides baby with a soft and comforting glow at night. It is great for reassuring parents that baby is wearing the right clothing or right tog sleeping bag with changing temperatures.

“Love our Gro egg – we have them in 3 different rooms. We were shocked at how cool the ideal temperature for babies is. It was very useful when mother-in-law came to stay and complained the house was too cold – we pointed at the Gro eggs and said the temperature was perfect!”

“My OH loved the gro egg whereas I was less fussed by it (he’s hot, I’m cold and it usually told him he was right!)”

 

Sleepyhead Deluxe+ Baby Pod, Pristine White, (John Lewis, £130.00)

Sleepyhead is a multi-functional, portable baby bed you can take anywhere. Softer than a blanket or Moses basket, you can use it awake or sleeping, as a play pod, for tummy time or as a bed. Talking with parents about the sleepyhead, all agreed it seemed like a good purchase however, it is not used for very long.

“Sleepyhead was a waste of money – she’d grown out of it by 8 weeks!!!”

Ewan The Dream Sheep (Argos, £29.99)

Ewan the sheep, Argos image
Argos

Help your baby settle down to a peaceful sleep with Ewan the sheep. Ewan replicates the soothing sounds of a pregnant mum’s womb and heartbeat.

Ewan includes vacuum cleaner, rain and harp recordings as well as the womb sequence to mimic the noises babies hear inside the womb.
Use Ewan at home by securely attaching his velcro tail to the cot bars or simply place him beside the moses basket. You can also take him out and about by attaching him to your pushchair or car seat.
A 20 minute timer and automatic shut off allow you to set Ewan going and let your baby settle to sleep. The volume can be adjusted and the pink light can also be switched off if needed.

I didn’t buy Ewan the Sheep so I cant really say if it would of helped my babies or not. I have however talked with friends about the sheep. All agreed that the sheep was cute but £29.99 for a stuffed toy seemed too pricy.

“The sheep was waste of money, other people swear by it but our girl glared at it and shoved it angrily.”

After researching the sheep and reading many positive reviews online, it is up to the parent if they want to give Ewan the Sheep a try

For more information on baby sleeping please read my how to choose the right mattresses and bedding for your baby post.

 

 

Baby Product: Feeding

I was not able to breast feed due to medication so this section of the baby product guide is mostly based on bottle feeding. If you decide to breast feed I have come across two product reviews by fellow mummy blogger – Yummy Blogger

Medela Swing Electric Breast PumpFull review here 

Philips Avent Comfort Breast ShellsFull review here

Muslin Cloths

I did buy a pile of muslin cloths however, I found using a tea towel or flannel worked just as well and they washed well too! Its definitely worth getting some muslin cloths for on the go though. No one wants to see a baby being wiped down with a Shaws tea towel lol.

Bottles

With so many bottles on the market how do you know you are buying the right one? Below you will find parents top bottles.

Tommee Tippee closer to nature Bottle 260ml 4Pack (Argos £19.29)

  • Teat designed to mimic the natural flex and feel of a mum’s breast
  • Super-sensitive valve
  • Soft natural feel silicone teat
  • Easy hold bottle with a slow flow teat
  • BPA free for total reassurance

The unique shape encourages your baby’s natural feeding action so that switching between breast and bottle becomes second nature. These bottles are a favourite of many parents including myself!

Dr Brown’s Options (anti-colic) 270ml Bottle – Four Pack (John Lewis £25.00)

  • With the vent in place Dr Brown’s is clinically proven to help reduce colic, burping and wind
  • First choice of baby bottle by UK Health Visitors for the relief of colic symptoms
  • Encourages good digestion for a more settled, happy baby
  • Creates 100% vacuum free feeding – the teat will never collapse
  • Most medically researched baby bottle in the UK

The bottles have a unique feeding system that grows with baby and helps alleviate the symptoms of windy colic. They are suitable from birth as they are the best anti colic bottles and prevention is better than cure! 92% of UK Health Professionals recommend Dr Brown’s for the relief of colicky symptoms.

Both bottles are equally as good!

Sterilisers

When it come to a steriliser I bought the The Tommee Tippee Electric Steam Steriliser (£58.00) so my bottles would fit in. It was great, really quick to use. You just have to remember to descale it every now and again with a baby sterilising tablets (you can pick them up in Boots)

Talking to parents, many said that the Milton cold water steriliser saved time.

Milton Cold Water Steriliser (Kiddicare £10.99)

The Milton Cold Water Steriliser has been specifically designed for use with the Milton Method of cold water sterilisation, as recommended by professionals. It’s large 5 litre capacity allows 6 bottles of any brand to be sterilised, and can also be used for sterilising breastfeeding equipment and baby accessories, including teething rings, plastic toys, soothers and weaning items. Used with Milton Sterilising Tablets or Fluid, the Milton Method kills all harmful viruses, fungi, spores and bacteria. Sterilises in 15 minutes and the solution stays sterile for 24 hours. As always with Milton, there is no need to rinse items after sterilsation before giving them to baby.

“Oh and my can’t live without – Milton cold water steriliser – so much easier than an electric or microwave steriliser! Such a lifesaver!!”

Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine (Argos, £124.99)

Boy I wish I had bought one of these when my boys were babies. I have only ever heard positive comments from parents when talking about the Perfect Prep machine.

Argos Perfect Prep Machine

 

  • Makes a fresh bottle, at correct temperature, in less than 2 minutes
  • Filter system removes impurities present in water
  • Initial ‘hot shot’ of water kills bacteria that may be present in formula
  • Dispenses correct amount of water for a more accurate and consistent dilution
  • The Perfect Prep machine works with any powdered formula milk

“I struggled to beast feed Chloe so bought the perfect prep machine found it was brilliant especially at night”

 

 

Baby Product: Bathing

Top and tail bowl

The idea is you put warm water into the two parts of the top & tail bowl, wash baby’s head / top half with water from one bit of the bowl (using cotton wool or a small cloth), and then wash baby’s legs and bottom with water from the other bit of the bowl. I did buy one but I used it once!

When washing baby, I never used the same piece of cotton wool more than once so it didn’t really matter which section of the bowl I used. Every piece of cotton wool I dipped into the warm water was binned after wiping baby so the top and tail bowl was not needed.  If you are using a cloth to wipe baby then the top and tail bowl may me beneficial.

“What the actual…” said a mum 

Baby Bath 

I loved the baby bath, I think we got ours in home bargains for £5! The baby bath is great when baby is small. I used no products in the bath, products can dry out baby’s skin so I always bathed in plain warm water and put a little olive oil on any dry patches of skin.
Some parents I spoke to never used their baby bath, instead they opted for a shallow bath and used a bathing aid.

“We used a bathing aid when baby was able to fully support his neck”

“I never really used our baby bath, just ran a shallow bath when needed”

 

 

Baby Product: Travel

Sling/carrier

I loved my baby sling, I bought the Close Caboo Lite Baby Carrier (John Lewis, £54.99) which was perfect for my small baby.  I loved that it gave me the freedom to get on with household chores whilst still comforting baby and it was very useful to use when trying to entertain my eldest child with reading or playing toys. But its not only the freedom that makes baby wearing awesome there are other benefits to baby wearing.

Close Caboo Lite Baby Carrier
Close Caboo Lite Baby Carrier

Benefits of baby wearing include:

  • Mothers’ oxytocin is increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness in the mother.
  •  Infants who are carried are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone is constant.
  • Infants are more organized. Parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) have balancing and soothing effects on infants.
  • Infants are “humanized” earlier by developing socially. Babies are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language.
  • Independence is established earlier.
  • Attachment between child and caregiver is more secure.
  • Decreases risk of positional plagiocephaly (“flat head syndrome”) caused by extended time spent in a car seat and by sleeping on the back. Sleeping on the back is recommended to decrease the risk of SIDS. Cranial distortion resulting from non-vehicular time in car seats has shown to be more severe than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress.

The above information was taken from the NCT website, more can be found here

When I was going away on holiday my little man had out grown the Caboo so I opted to hire a sling for my holiday.

Sling hire – From newborn to toddler to preschooler – there is a selection of slings or carriers at your local sling library. You can try a few different types at a low cost before spending money on buying your own (NCT sling hire is just £10 for 4 week hire.)

NCT Cardiff – Sling hire is very busy so to make is easier for you and them you can browse the inventory they hold online so you have an idea of what is available and even reserve a sling for hire if you know exactly what you want.

Carry Me Close Sling Hire – Covers Cardiff, Penarth and Newport http://www.carrymeclose.co.uk/sling-hire.html

As some of my readers are not from Cardiff, a UK directory of sling libraries can be found HERE 

“I actually don’t know how to parent without one, especially when you have more than one child. Jumperoo (“circle of neglect”)”

“My can’t live without is definitely a sling. I would never have been able to get dinner on the table without one.”

“Baby slings – try before you buy, sling meetings are good for this as they hire them out. I wasted so much money buying slings I just couldn’t get on with.”

 

 

Baby Product: Changing

Wet Wipes

I am not a fan of using wet wipes, they are really handy when on the go but at home I used cotton wool pads and warm water. This method will save you lots of money in the long run. Wet wipe favourites from parents include, Huggies Pure (£1.00 a pack) and Water wipes (£2.70 a pack)

Purse friendly wet wipes that have been approved by parents include, ASDA Little Angels Sensitive Baby Wipes (0.52p a pack) and Lidl Toujours Comfort Baby Wipes (0.52p a pack) 

A friend of mine actually bought a wet wipe warmer!

Prince Lionheart Wipes Warmer Pop! with Case, Argos £24.99

argos wet wipe warmer product image
Argos

“It was a complete waste of money, some parents love it but it just sat in the corner of the room. Who invents these things!”

Nappies

As an expectant parent I stocked up on nappies throughout my pregnancy. I would only buy Pampers. Once using the nappies I found they leaked quite a bit. A few months after baby had arrived and all the stocked nappies had disappeared I found myself searching for a cheaper version that would offer more protection.

My favourite cost effective nappies to use are Lidl Toujours Newborn Nappies (24pk, 0.99p) and Tesco Loves Baby Newborn Size 1 Economy (50pk, £1.80)

Another firm favourite among parents are ASDA Little Angels Newborn Nappies Size 1 (70pk £2.50)

Real Nappies

Baby product - baby modelling in nappy
Photo credit – Jenny Wern
www.mamabirdbaby.com

Real nappies are an alternative to disposable nappies and are a great way to help the environment and could half the amount of waste your family generates.

  • Babies will go through approximately 5,000 nappies by the time they’re 2 ½
  • Around 200 million disposable nappies are taken to Welsh landfill sites every year
  • A disposable nappy will take around 300 years to decompose in a landfill site

Real nappies have modern designs as well as poppers and Velcro fasteners so there’s no need for complicated folding or using pins.

There are support groups across Cardiff who can offer further advice. For more information visit The Real Nappy Campaign website

“Real nappies help baby’s hip development and come in so many cute patterns, it’s great to never have to worry about running out”

Nappy Disposal System

Angelcare Nappy Disposal System (Argos £19.99)

The Angelcare Nappy Disposal System is a convenient and hygienic way of disposing of dirty nappies. Featuring OdourSeal technology designed to keep bad smells at bay, this simple-to-use system makes a happier, more fragrant home. 1 refill cassette is included with the Nappy Disposal System, which is normally enough for up to 1 month of usage.

The Angelcare Refill Cassettes, £15.99 for 3. That is on average £63.96 a year to dispose of nappies!

“I had the Tommy Tippee version. It was good but worked out expensive for the refills”

Parents like me found they did not need a nappy disposal system. We bought an air tight bin for roughly £10 and for FREE the local authorities/council will provide you with bags for the purpose of nappy disposal. Details on how to arrange this in Cardiff can be found here.

Changing table

We all think we need one but when talking to parents, most actually preferred a changing mat on the floor to change baby… I know I did.

“Articles like this always say don’t bother with a changing table but we used it for every single nappy change for my first. My hubby is 6’5″ so it’s a long way to kneel on the floor!”

This list really could go on forever! I think the most important thing to remember when purchasing baby products is: Do you need it? Can you afford it? How long will it last? Will baby outgrow the item fast?

I really hope this baby product guide helped, if you found a baby product you hated or couldn’t live without please add it in the comments section below.

A follow up to our baby product guide will be must have toddler products, written by parents

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