On average the UK spends over £11,000 on their newborn baby a year, according to the Money Advice Service. If it's your first child then you might end up spending money on items you think you need, but you might not actually use.
Finding out you are pregnant brings with it a whole gamut of advice about what you should buy and how much you need for your baby. But, with so many products to choose from, it’s hard to narrow it down, and very easy to go overboard.
When I became pregnant with my second baby, I knew what I would never use. By the time number three was born I’d got rid of the things I knew I wouldn’t need or use and only stuck to the essentials – saving me good money and time (which is so precious when you have a little one). Here are some of the things I could not have done without.
I was rarely without a muslin cloth during the first six months of my children’s lives. But, by the time I’d given birth to number three, I had realised that the bigger the muslin, the better.
A large muslin cloth is not just something used to mop up milk, it can be used to create shade, as a lightweight blanket for baby, or coverage for when you need to feed in public.
I found large muslin cloths invaluable. My youngest two children still use them as comforters, aged three and 21 months. You can pick muslin cloths up from many places, but I particularly liked the cloths from Aden and Anais.
There are a lot out there to choose from so it can be difficult to know what to buy. It’s a good idea to wait until your baby is born so you can see what is comfortable for you both, and definitely try before you buy, if you can!
Many towns and cities have NCT run sling libraries where volunteers can give you advice and help you to decide which is the best fit for you and your baby.
The bouncy chair was an absolute life saver when my children were little. I could put them in it and transport them from room to room while I showered, washed up, got dressed.
When you spend most of your time holding your baby, the bouncer can make all the difference. Being able to put them down, even just for two minutes to brush my teeth when my husband wasn’t there, would make a huge difference to my day.
I would recommend a bouncer or rocker which can be adapted from newborn, through to when they start to sit independently. We had a simple bouncer from Chicco but there are plenty out there to choose from.
Video, movement, breathing – there is a baby monitor out there for absolutely everything. Some monitors can be connected to apps on your phone, others use separate video monitoring units, and you can buy ones with pads that go under the mattress to monitor movement, too.
Choosing a monitor is a very personal thing, but elements to really consider are its reliability, its range and its quality. Read independent reviews from trusted sources such as Which? and consider what particular things you will need help with.
These are just some items I could not have done without, but the list is by no means exhaustive.
It can be easy to go overboard with your first child, but by speaking to other parents you can find out what essentials they would recommend so you feel more prepared for when your baby arrives.