Newborn babies don't need as much stuff as you think they do. You could drive yourself mad trying to cater for every situation, but they're pretty simple creatures, really. There will come a time, I'm sure, when we need to cart everything but the kitchen sink around in order to keep our little one fed and entertained, but right now he's happy with a cuddle and a bottle of milk. That said, there are a few things that are making our lives that much easier and which I would recommend to new parents looking to stock up ahead of time on top of the usual sleepsuits and nappies...
I fell in love with the Snuzpod as soon as I saw it - and the love affair has continued ever since. It's recommended that babies sleep in your bedroom for the first six months and the Snuzpod is the perfect solution for their sleeping arrangements. Rather than the traditional Moses basket which doesn't really match our bedroom decor, the Snuzpod is a stylish alternative and the zip down side makes it the perfect compromise between separate and co-sleeping (for us, anyway). I like being able to reach out and put a hand on him to settle him, and since he's right next to me, I don't have to get up to check on him when he stirs.
We also caved and bought the Sleepyhead a couple of weeks in, when it became apparent that our little man felt a bit adrift in his Snuzpod. He's now nice and cosy, and we all sleep the better for it (not perfectly, mind you, but as good as can be expect). The only downside is that our baby is ridiculously long (like his father) and so I'm pretty sure he'll grow out of it before the six month mark, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it!
So many people swear by this life-saving contraption, so you probably don't need me to throw my recommendation into the mix - but here it is anyway. I had all the best intentions to breastfeed, but when I had a screaming, hungry baby in my arms and it was all going a bit pear-shaped, I was incredibly grateful that I had bought this machine ahead of time. In three minutes, you can have a perfectly made up bottle of formula with no faffing about - which is about as long as I can take the screaming for once Ben decides he absolutely has to eat that very second.
Pre-mixed formula bottles are also a lifesaver for the same reason, and great to have on you when you're out and about, and a bit nervous about breastfeeding in public. We use the Aptamil ones, but they're all pretty much the same. Even if you don't end up using either, it really took the pressure off knowing that I *could* feed him easily if I needed to.
There is a lot of stigma around dummies, and I'm not sure I totally get it. All of my NCT friends and I were reticent to use them but have all done so within the first couple of months (with no ill effects, I might add). Ben is generally a very chilled out baby, but there are moments when nothing but the dummy will settle him - and if something will comfort him, then why not use it? We use the Tommee Tippee bottles, so he likes the matching dummies best as they have a recognisable shape.
This was a bit of an indulgent purchase on my part, as I had to have my chosen wrap shipped over from the States and paid the price as a result - there are undoubtedly cheaper versions that are more accessible for UK parents. But I've seen so many of the Sollybaby wraps on US mamas that I follow via social media or blogs, and I've coveted them for a long time, so I splashed out - and I don't regret it. The material is beautifully soft and it's basically a baby sedative. Once you've got the hang of tying it, it's a really simple way to chill babies out whilst keeping use of your hands! I wore Ben in the wrap for a walk in the park last week, too, as the pram couldn't really get round on the paths, and it was perfect. We have an Ergobaby carrier, too, as Paul didn't like the idea of the wrap, but I prefer the softness and look of the Sollybaby, especially whilst he's so (relatively) small.
This isn't so much a specific product recommendation as a more general one, as I've only tried the one type of bouncer. That said, this one fits with our decor (we have grey & white stars pattern), and the combination of vibrations and (surprisingly non-tinny) lullabies that it plays keep Ben chill for long enough for me to unload the dishwasher, pack my changing bag and make breakfast in the morning.
Having somewhere to put him down that isn't horizontal is so helpful; he's so inquisitive and hates to be lying down when he's awake as he wants to be looking around so the bouncer is perfect now he's started to be a little more alert but not yet needing too much stimulation or entertainment. We pop him in this when we're eating, too, and we've managed most meals without too many interruptions, which is a miracle.
I bought a whole bunch of muslins before Ben was born, as everyone says how useful they are, but the ones I bought are on the smaller size so I recently invested in some larger ones from Mamas & Papas (and I have my eye on these Aden & Anais ones for after payday since spotting them on Catherine's Twitter), which are so much more useful. We use them to swaddle his arms at nighttime, as otherwise he flails and fidgets and wakes himself up. I've been using them as a sun shade for the pram when we go out, and, of course, they are good for mopping up all sorts of spills and the like.
A Netflix Subscription
Not strictly for the baby, but you'll be spending more hours awake and sat on the sofa with your newborn than you probably imagine so a Netflix subscription is an essential for those newborn days (and nights). Paul's been chain-watching Rick & Morty and Bojack Horseman, whilst I've been making my way back through Gossip Girl.