Baby Shopping: Buying Guide for First-Time Parents
Shopping for baby items can be an exciting time but if easy to find yourself getting carried away. There are the cute necessities, the tried and tested must-haves, and the items that cost the price of a trip abroad. It’s important when shopping for baby items that you consider what your baby really needs which is why I’ve put together 11 Tips When Shopping for Baby Items so you’re not left with piles of unused items and clothes that cost a lot but have little value to your family. See my favorite baby products, for some inspiration. Happy Shopping!
11 Tips When Shopping for Baby Items
When I became pregnant with my first, I was thrown into a world of baby products that I had little to no knowledge about. I spent hours and hours researching to find the best. I wanted to spend our money wisely and have products that would last.
Keep it Simple
Babies grow so fast. By the time they have grown into something, they have almost grown out of it. Buy what they need for the first few months. Babies tend to have 5 growth spurts in their first year, with their clothing at this time typically lasting 2 – 3 months at the most. After a year, stock up a little more as the clothing sizes change to last 6 months at a time and their growth slows down a little.
Wear Cute Clothes Often!
I found myself putting my two in the same clothes over and over, keeping my favorite items for we were in the company of others, which was few and far between. I ended up with most of my favorite items looking brand new and hardly worn which was never the intention. Dress your baby in your favorite items often, even if you’re staying at home all day.
Consider Age vs. Weather
If you live somewhere with a vast difference in the seasons, take the weather into account when shopping. There’s no need for an age 6-9 month winter coat when your baby will be 6 months old at the beginning of Summer. When shopping after Christmas, I found myself buying jumpers for the summer months. Although there are often chilly times during the summer in the UK, it’s best to buy lighter clothes, like t-shirts and long sleeve tops and you can buy the additional layers if you need them closer to the time.
Hit the Sales
There’s so much to buy for a newborn, you might as well get what you can in the sales. The main sales are usually around Black Friday, just after Christmas and late July / beginning of August. Plan ahead and get larger items in these sales. It’s also a good time to stock up on clothes for the year. Just be mindful of tip number 3.
Baby Gender Neutral Clothes
If you plan on having more children, buy bigger items in gender-neutral colors. High chairs, travel cots, baby swings, and toys can be very cute when gender specific but it can also be beneficial to have items that can be reused by all of your children. If you don’t mind pink for boys or blue for girls, then, by all means, buy whatever color you fancy at the time.
It Might Not Work for You
Just because your best friend’s neighbor’s aunt, swore by a particular product, it doesn’t mean it will work for you or your baby. Do your homework and check the reviews. You might find some insight to another product that might be more of what you are looking for. A vibrating baby swing might send one baby off to noddy land while can easily send another into a meltdown.
15 Must-Have Baby Products
As mothers, our time is precious. Baby products that work well can give us some extra needed minutes in a day, provide some relief to a crying baby or relieve some anxiety when we can’t help but worry. To save you time, I’ve put together a list of my favorite baby products. Products that, I wouldn’t want to live without.
Prince Lionheart Slumber Bear
Sleepless nights are a thing for many parents, so in the world of baby products, anything that can help us to get more sleep is a must-buy! The Slumber Bear is a soft cuddly bear that houses a sound machine in its stomach. The sound machine can be set to play womb sounds, lullabies, white noise, ocean sounds, and even your own recordings. It activates sound when your baby cries or movies the bear. My favorite feature is the blanket it comes with. You can wear it on your shirt to transfer the scent to the blanket so that when you’re not close by, your baby is comforted by the scent on the blanket! The sound machine can be removed making it easy to pop in the changing bag for afternoons at the grandparent’s or when traveling.
Lillebaby Complete All Seasons Carrier
Having a baby carrier that is comfortable for both you and the baby is incredibly important. It’s one of those baby products that can make your life easier when out and about. For my firstborn, I purchased a well-known baby carrier brand. After only 10 minutes of carrying my baby (even at just 6 months old) my shoulders would be aching. I had read great things about Lillebaby and decided to give it a go.
I went for the Lillebaby Complete All Seasons. It can be used from birth at 7lbs without the need for an additional insert, and be used up to a toddler of 45lbs. There are 6 different carrying positions including on your back and outward facing. A stowaway hood to use as a support for the baby’s head when sleeping, to protect them from the sun, and for privacy during breastfeeding. The carrier comes with a mesh panel at its back which provides temperature control.
I love this carrier so much. I love that I can be on the move, hands-free while breastfeeding, and have the privacy element at the same time. The mesh panel comes in handy on hot summer days and during our travels. Lillebaby, have some beautiful designs and I get many compliments when out with this carrier. Most importantly, it’s comfortable. I can walk wearing my son in this for hours and it’s effortless. Lillebaby has created an all-around brilliant here.
Graco Electra Travel Cot
This Graco Travel Cot has it all. A changing station, a cot mobile, music, night light, vibration. It also comes with a bassinet mattress which is suitable from birth. It’s easy to fold away, has wheels, and comes with a carry bag making it easy to transport. My husband and I took this on our daughter’s first holiday as we packed everything but the kitchen sink and it traveled well. It was used frequently in my daughter‘s first year and has lasted well, still in perfect condition almost 5 years on. With so many features, it’s hard not to do a good job.
My firstborn was a needy baby. She didn’t want to be alone much, would wake up the second you put her down for a nap, and then cry out of tiredness. When she was settled and happy, I’d have 10 minutes here and there to get anything done before she would start crying again. During my pregnancy with my second, I decided baby wearing would be the way to go to ensure I could get more done and both I and baby would be happier.
I have the Moby Wrap Evolution. The material is soft and breathable which is perfect for your little one’s skin. It was the perfect way to carry my baby as a newborn. Although I had a Lillebaby Carrier, (point 2) I wanted something slimline for at home. As a newborn, it was lovely to keep him snug and extra close. I can leave the wrap on during the day and pop him in when needed. If he’s being fussy, I can carry him while doing tasks and he loves watching what I’m doing. If I had invested in one of these with my first, I would have had a much easier time getting things done!
Grobag Sleeping Bags
Baby sleeping bags come in a variety of cute patterns and colors to match your nursery. The best thing about them is that your baby can’t kick them off. We used blankets with my first in the initial months. I often worried about them covering her face while we slept or her being too cold if the covers weren’t on fully. She was born in the thick of winter. It was a struggle to keep the room warm enough but not hot and then cool enough but not too cold. Like duvets, sleeping bags come in different togs to suit the season.
I particularly love the Grobags brand. I always find a style that I love, the designs really are lovely. The zips are quiet which is useful if you want to change a nappy of a sleeping baby. The material is soft and long-lasting. An extra bonus with the Grobag is that you get a free room thermometer card with a handy diagram showing recommendations on what your baby should be wearing depending on the room temperature. Grobag has done a fantastic job with its range of baby products, making parents’ lives a little easier.
Washable Breast Pads
These were by far, one of my favorite, no-frills day-to-day baby products. Disposable breast pads work well but decent brands can be costly. Washable breast pads are inexpensive and have worked better for me than disposable ones. They are soft, which is especially important if you have sore or cracked nipples. They’re discreet, comfortable, and available in different colors and sizes. The most important part of this product is that it never leaked and I never ran out!
Washable Breast Pads come with a laundry bag to keep them together in the wash. The breast pads wash easily and dry quickly on the heater. I purchased them in a pack of 10 (5 sets) which has been enough for me with the amount of household laundry I do. They lasted the duration of breastfeeding my first for 15 out of the 16 months as I used disposable for the first month. I’m currently using them while breastfeeding my second. Any product that lasts for more than one child is a good investment for me.
Skybaby Travel Mattress
My family loves to travel when we can. Both children took their first flight at 12 weeks old. While most airlines provide bassinets, the bassinet seats are limited. This mattress allowed us to hold our children comfortably inflight for long periods of time. The airline infant seatbelt passes through the mattress, allowing them to fall asleep and be undisturbed. With the thicker pillow area, the mattress is comfortable enough for you to rest the pillow area on the armrest. The Skybaby Travel Mattress rolls up and packs away into a carry bag and clips onto your pushchair or bag. Weighing only 0.3kg, it’s lightweight enough to not think about while roaming through the airport.
Angelcare Baby Movement Monitor
When you think of baby products, a baby monitor is usually on your list. This product has been my saving grace. I had bought this before my daughter was born as I liked the idea of it monitoring a baby’s movements.
The Angelcare Baby Movement Monitor has a sensor pad that is placed under the mattress. The monitor senses the slight movements from breathing and if no movement is detected after 20 seconds, an alarm will sound. You can have the parent unit set to have a tic sound, letting you know the monitor is picking up movement while you’re not in the room. As with most monitors, it picks up the sound too so you know when they’ve woken from a nap. With a whole range of other features, such as a night light, a temperature display, and a mute button, the Angelcare Monitor is a fantastic buy. If you’re lucky enough that your baby is sleeping through the night and your sleep has become limited because they are waking up to check their baby, this would be a worthy investment.
Mamas and Papas 2 Stage Bath
The Mamas a Papas Bath grows with your baby. On one side there is infant support where your baby can lay from birth, and once sitting, they face the opposite direction. I love that it meant we didn’t have to run a full bathtub every night. This bath lasted my daughter for years! During the infant stage, you can rest your baby in the bath without fear that it will slip or slide. Of course, never leave your baby unattended in the bath.
Sophie The Giraffe
There are many baby products aimed at teething. Sophie The Giraffe is my son’s favorite teething toy. Sophie is made from natural rubber and has various different textures. The smaller Sophie in this set is great for smaller hands and the early stages of teething, with the original Sophie flexible and a good size to carry decorated with food paint, allowing for a safe teething toy.
Cloth Diapers are not only adorable but great for little bums and the environment. They come in a variety of colors and designs, you’ll often find yourself buying more. My favorite thing about these nappies is that they’re free of chemicals and therefore, even better for delicate baby skin. Over the duration of your child’s nappy wearing, you can save a substantial amount of money compared to disposables. You can use them, child, after child, saving even more. It may take some time to get into a wash routine but once in the swing of it, it’s like second nature. I used a mixture of Bumgenius, Little Lamb, and TotsBots. All of those that I used, grow with your baby so you never have to worry about buying more, unless you want to! Some were colored which allows you to throw some bleach into the wash every month to give them a deeper clean. What’s not to love about cloth? Depending on your needs and preferences, there are so many great cloth nappy brands out there.
Babymoov Babyni Sun Tent
The Babymoov Sun Tent provided our children with the shade they needed in the sun, allowing us to enjoy hotter days without the worry of finding an area with enough cover for the baby. We used our sun tent when traveling to hotter climates or at home in the garden on summer days.
The Babymoov tent is lightweight and folds up making it easy to pack in a suitcase. It comes with a hook to put over your pushchair so you can easily take it for days out. The tent has a thin mattress for comfort, a net cover to keep bugs out and even some soft toys to keep them entertained. It’s made days at the beach a lot easier, keeping the baby as sand free as possible. Days out in the sun were a little more enjoyable and stress-free.
A decent thermometer is one of the must-have baby products in any family household. When your kids aren’t feeling well, keeping an eye on their temperature is needed, along with plenty of cuddles of course! Some babies loathe the ear, under the tongue, or even armpit readings, making it difficult to get an accurate temperature reading. The Beurer Contactless Thermometer provides accurate readings without touching the baby at all. Reading along with a happy or sad face is displayed to show if there is a need for concern. It stores recent readings with the time taken, so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them. I’ve had nights where I’ve had to check temperatures throughout the night and this came in handy as I didn’t have to wake the baby and the fact that the display can light up is an added bonus.
Mamas & Papas Baby Snug
The Mamas & Papas Baby Snug seat can be used once your baby can support their own head (approx. 3 months) until around 12 months. I found this product to be most useful at the 7-month mark when the baby is rolling or crawling and I needed to keep them confined for a moment. There’s enough to keep a baby entertained for short periods of time with the activity tray. When they are bored of this, you can take the activity tray off and put other toys on the plain tray.
I was drawn to this product due to the removable seat insert. The colored section of the seat can be removed leaving the larger white seat. My daughter had chubby legs and I was sure other seats might be too tight for her. I wanted something that would last and grow with her and the Mamas & Papas Snug did the trick for us.
Fisher Price Rainforest Jumperoo
Both of my children absolutely loved the Rainforest Jumperoo. The music, the many different activities, the hanging toys, and the fun of jumping! There is so much to keep them entertained and plenty of opportunities to practice their fine motor skills.
This isn’t a small toy by any means. It takes up a considerable amount of space but it does give you much-needed time to complete some tasks. I love it, both children loved it. It’s a win, win. Fisher Price now has a fun new design which I’m sure will be just as great as this one.