Baby items you couldn't live without (up to six months)
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Drop-sided cot- I took one side off completely, and had the cot right up against my bed, so I could grab baby in the night without getting out of bed, feed, and put back down with a minimum of disruption, fuss or getting cold. This made all the difference to me between baby 1 & 2, and I did this up to about 7 months, when no2 went in with her brother. You can buy expensive bassinets that do the same thing, but there is really no need. I rolled a blanket and put it under the sheet at the join, to make sure no fingers etc got stuck, but to be honest, even that was unnecessary. I'm not going to bother this time with moses baskets and cribs - both my older ones outgrew them so quickly (two weeks in the case of the second) that they seemed pointless.
Some sort of seat/swing where you can safely put them down - this might be less important if it's a first baby and you have no pets, in that case, a blanket on the floor might be fine. I have two older kids (and their friends), a dog and a cat, so it is important to me that baby has his own space where he is a bit protected, and where he will be able to watch me when I am doing baby-unfriendly things, like using sharp knives, kettles, and showers!
Some sort of baby carrier of your choice - my favourite is a Calin Bleu wrap, but they take practice to get right... the important thing is that sometimes, you need your hands free, and your baby won't necessarily agree on the timing! A carrier helps you get things done a bit around the house.
A bottle of hand cream by every sink in the house, one by your bed, and one within easy reach of wherever you tend to sit. You wash your hands a lot with young children, and hands can get dry and sore very easily.
Lansinoh if breastfeeding.
Infacol if baby has trouble with wind/reflux.
Clearly marked and easy to find tea and coffee things in the kitchen, so people can go in and make their own AND make you one! - and an insulated mug, so yours stays hot longer when your baby automatically needs feeding/changing as you sit down with it!
We use our travel cot as a playpen in the lounge just to have somewhere safe to pop her down in a hurry if we need to run and answer the door or similar - original plan was to take it to grandparents if we needed - but they've both bought their own to have up there in the end. We never got on with the borrowed swinging chair - the original owner of it found it a godsend - my stroppy madam HATED it!
I would also highly recommend a pump for expressing milk once baby reaches 5 weeks or so. Just having the ability for Dad to give LO one bottle a day restored my sanity Also it meant LO was ok with bottles when I decided I'd had enough of BFing. Some of my NCT friends couldn't get their children to accept bottles because they were so used to the nipple, and had to carry on BFing long past when they would rather have stopped.
We also loved our white noise machine (from Prince Lionheart slumberear). It worked miracles for getting LO to sleep... and still does (she's 16 months)!
“Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” Arthur C. Clarke
That's a good point actually - not so much grandparents, but anyone offering to help. They mean it, they want to help, so let them! Even if they offer something specific, that isn't what you want, there is nothing wrong with asking for what you do need, be that half an hour in another room, or a load of washing done.
It's taken me until number 3 to figure out that most people want to help their friends/family, but aren't so good at accepting or asking for help
This was invaluable for my granddaughter, she could sit and watch the world go by
Jumperoos (aka The Circle Of Neglect) should not be used before baby is 6 months old.
Or pile up cushions to make a nest instead.
Haven't bumbos been recalled for safety reasons?