Decluttering seems to be the trend in 2019, with Tidying up with Marie Kondo gaining vast popularity on Netflix and “everyone’s” Insta or Facebook feeds claiming to tackle their homes to become clutter-free and more organised. I’m not jumping on the bandwagon here because I’ve never liked clutter in the first place and am pretty good at doing regular spring cleans to get rid of old items, be it clothes, books or just piles of paperwork that’s no longer needed. However, it did make me think how many things we’ve bought since our daughter was born and how obsessed I’ve become trying to keep our living tidy because her stuff seems to be everywhere!
We try to keep our daughter’s toys in her play pen and boxes, her books neatly on her bookshelves and soft toys piled up in storage baskets. We don’t have too many toys for her and we’re fortunate that most of them have been given to us as hand-me-downs or presents. I also don’t keep everything out for her, I’ve hidden a stash of toys in our wardrobe and swap them over so she can re-discover them. So, I’d say things are under control when it comes to toddler-clutter but I remember when she was a baby and before she was born, I was online almost daily and ordering stuff. Things I had read we’d need and things friends had recommended.
I was swimming in muslin cloths because someone had said you can never have too many. Yes, you can…
Now I’m looking back and creating a list of what we could have done without and what were a godsend, perhaps it might help a few readers to buy smarter for their baby. It’s just my opinion and some mothers might disagree! But first, here are five items that we found to be very useful.
- nurtureOne™ nesting cushion – was recommended to me by an osteopath. It helps with snug position for sleeping, allows for an easy transition to the crib from breast or rocking, regulates body temperature (!) and is also great for taking with you when you travel, meaning your baby has their familiar bed with them wherever you go! This is on the top of my list because it worked out to be a miracle baby product. I used to feed her to sleep lying next to the pillow and once she was asleep I just slid it back to the crib, no repositioning needed. We also travelled with it a lot so she had her own bed even when we weren’t at home. We were able to use it until she was almost seven months old, she was quite a small baby ;).
- Cocoonababy – this was actually given to us as a present and we used it to transport her from room to room. When she was a newborn she would actually sleep and fall asleep there but the older she got the less she did that, so in the end it was a very useful transport ‘device’. We’d keep her on the kitchen counter, toilet seat while I showered, between us on the couch when we watched TV, etc. It’s quite expensive and had it not been a gift we might have purchased a cheaper version of this.
- Ewan the Dream Sheep – we still use it and she’s almost 17 months old! Some might argue that it’s better to have a white noise machine that plays sounds constantly rather than for 20 minutes only but it works for us. I really do believe the soothing heartbeat and womb sounds have a calming effect on her and when she wakes in the night, the first thing we do when we go to her room, is switch the sheep on and it never takes her too long to resettle back to sleep.
- JoJo Pack-away Pocket Highchair – it folds into a small pack and fits easily into a baby bag or suitcase. It allows your baby to sit securely in almost any chair with strong ties, making eating out in places that don’t have highchairs much easier. It has come in handy in lots of places.
- Wonder Weeks app – if you’re someone who needs a reason for everything that’s happening, this is the app to explain your baby! Some mothers just say: “My baby has never followed a book” and it might be true but they all experience lots of developmental phases and this app (and book in more detail) guide you through them all by describing the signs, what skills they’re learning, and how to help them through those difficult times. There are 10 developmental leaps and she’s going through the last one now. She’s growing too fast!
- Baby boots and shoes – luckily I didn’t buy any myself, all were presents, but they were just a decoration! She’d pull or kick them off and just wear socks. In the wintertime she was in the pram suit plus foot muff so her feet definitely didn’t get cold.
- Moses basket – I’m so glad we were given one and didn’t give into buying it ourselves because we also had a Cocoonababy so they really doubled up. In the end I used it for storage. So, basically, it’s one or the other, don’t get both! 🙂
- Bath seat. Once she had grown out of the baby bath and it took her a while (she’s a petite one), I decided to get the next stage product – a bath seat. I used it for a few months over the summer period when it was hot and I showered her every evening but after a short while I did wonder why exactly did I need it… 😀 She was sitting up by herself confidently and there was no risk of her falling and slipping in the bath, I could have just sat her down and showered her… Oh well, I was able to sell the seat later and learnt a lesson – your baby doesn’t need all the gimmicks.
- Baby walker – I was adamant on not getting it until we were given one… I knew she’d walk eventually (rolling eyes). She started taking independent steps when she was 14 months old and just before that we were given the walker. Did it help her to take those steps? I’m sure she would have done it anyway. Would she have started walking earlier if she had had the walker? Maybe? But I always have “she’ll do it when she’s ready” approach to everything she does.
- Bumbo seat – I feel it was a waste of money but at least I bought it second-hand so didn’t spend too much on it (prices for similar baby seats start from about £40…). She always wriggled in it and yes, I used it before we got her highchair, but after that… just a big lump of foam lying around taking up space. I’m struggling to sell it now, makes me wonder if there really isn’t a big interest for it out there…
As I already mentioned, this is my personal opinion and some mothers might completely disagree with me. At the same time perhaps I’ve convinced someone to buy a bit less for their baby and make do with fewer devices.