I’ve written a couple of posts in the past about both must-have baby purchases and over-rated baby gadgets, but since becoming a dad for the second time, I’ve been reminded of even more accessories and knick-knacks that have made my life easier.
I’ve also asked around some other parents too, to get their must-have purchases. Read on to find out what every expectant parent should add to their shopping lists…
(By the way, if you want to buy any of these for yourself, click on the picture next to it – that’ll take you straight to their page on Amazon! No need to thank me…)
These little bad-boys are simple, but oh-so very effective. They’re also very cheap, so worth getting a few of – though on the down-side they DO have a habit of getting lost amongst the rest of your clothes when they go in the wash!
Sock-ons are little elastic strap-things that sit on top of baby’s socks, stopping them from slipping off when baby wriggles. They don’t hurt the baby, but they’ll save you a tonne of money in lost socks…! Plus, you get to avoid that classic comment from interfering relatives or passers by – “Haven’t they got cold toes?!” ;-)
TV-output for your PC
This sounds a little strange, I admit, but I swear by it: If you have a TV anywhere near your computer, get yourself an output from your graphics card to your TV – we have an HDMI connection (purely so I can watch Blu-Rays from the computer on the TV) but any will do. Reason being: You can then stream iPlayer (or equivalent) to the TV, and con your kids in to thinking they’re watching regular TV.
Why would that help, I hear you ask? Well, if your child has a very structured routine (as I discussed in my previous post) you’ll often become a slave to it – particularly at bedtime. The iPlayer (which now streams Cbeebies shows, incidentally) can be your saviour – we quite regularly persuade Robert to go to bed a little earlier by showing him an episode or 2 of ‘The Octonauts‘ before bed, rather than having to sit through the entire episode of ‘In the Night Garden’…
Baby Gro-bags (Sleeping Bags)
No, not those bags of soil that you grow your tomatoes in – baby gro-bags are little sleeping bags that baby sleeps in, safe and snug without the need for a duvet or blanket. If you’re still breastfeeding baby, they can keep it on while feeding – thus making it a lot easier to keep baby asleep during the night feeds. They also avoid all the usual complications of a duvet or blanket: You can’t kick them off, they won’t get tangled up in them, they keep baby at a constant temperature (they come in a variety of TOGs, just like duvets) and they’re easy to wash.
If you buy a variety of sizes, you can keep using a gro-bag for years – we used one on Robert until he moved in to a “big boy” bed, and probably could have kept it up even longer. Definitely something I’d highly recommend!
I’ve not tried one of these myself yet, though I shall be investing in one next summer. They’re quite a nifty gadget – basically a detachable shade which you can clip on to baby’s buggy to keep it cool in the sunlight. Easy!
Most buggies or strollers will come with some sort of shade built in, but invariably you’ll find yourself pushing baby down the street with the sun behind you, shining right in baby’s eyes. Clip on the baby shade and you’ve got yourself a nice shaded baby. They’re also ideal for when you want to let baby sleep outside in the buggy in the hot weather.
Another one that was recommended to me by a friend, I shall also be investing in one of these when Frederic is old enough to walk. Up until now we’ve relied on a couple of permanent stair-gates that fit at the top and bottom of our stairs, but a collapsible gate may well make life much easier – particularly with another child in the house, who is currently very used to his freedom to climb!
Made by the same clever folk who make the sock-ons, dribble-ons are a little less subtle than their sock counterpart – let’s face it, they DO make your baby look like a cowboy from a 60s movie. But they really work.
The concept is fairly simple – it’s basically a fixed neckerchief that you put round baby’s neck to catch the dribble – particularly useful when teething is causing your child’s saliva glands to go in to overdrive! As well as catching loose drool, they obviously protect baby’s clothing too – they’re perfect for special occasions when you don’t want to have to change baby’s clothes at a crucial moment…
Hideously-sexist name aside, these are actually pretty ingenious. If you’re familiar with mountain climbing (and who isn’t, right?!) you’ll realise that this is just a fancy carabiner – those little clips that they use to keep their ropes together… or something or other. Anyway, in this instance you use them to hold a bunch of stuff together, which you can then clip on to a buggy – or just hold with your hands.
We got one of these a few months ago, and I can vouch for it’s usefulness. It’s particularly handy when you’ve been shopping – clip all of your shopping bags to it and you can haul around a lot more than your little hands would normally be able to cope with. Supposedly….
What did I miss?
So, those are my recommendations – for the moment at least. I’m sure I’ve missed some good ones though, and there’s a lot of accessories and gadgets that we haven’t yet tried. So let me know what you’d recommend in the comments below…