GIFT IDEAS FOR FATHER’S DAY 2016

motherhood

This blog is usually about everything relating to motherhood, but since Father’s Day is next week (take this as your official reminder!!), I thought maybe they deserved some airtime too, just for once!

Although we often resent them for being at work and having ‘time off’ whilst we’re stuck home 24/7 covered in sick and juggling a tricky new baby with demanding older ones (it definitely IS possible to simultaneously feel grateful and resentful about this – that’s just the kind of confusing emotional rollercoaster that motherhood is), and we moan that they get to use the toilet in peace and eat their food without having to hold off a toddler and begrudge them that they don’t get fat, or suffer stretch marks, or experience torn, blistered nipples, and we reiterate frequently that they can’t ever possibly understand what we have to go through (which is all true), but we should probably (even just occasionally) admit that they work pretty damn hard too.

From going to work on little to no sleep and missing those precious newborn days and baby cuddles and toddler firsts, to coming home every day just when shit is hitting the fan in the midst of witching hour, to help with the exhausting dinner, bath, bedtime routine and subsequent clean up operation, to the fact that yes they don’t suffer the side effects of pregnancy but they also never get to experience carrying or birthing a baby. It really isn’t an enviable job and more a case of poor them. I for one would definitely rather carry the extra few stone and get to experience the magic of giving birth and being a Mama, than miss out altogether, be on the receiving end of my irrational and hormonal pregnant partner and keep my figure. The few extra stone, tiger stripes and mild incontinence is a small price to pay for the joy that is having a baby.

With that in mind we can hopefully all agree they deserve a treat, so just as I did prior to Mother’s Day, here’s a little round up of gift ideas for the Daddy in your life…

1.Selfish Mother ‘Papa’ Sweater. If your other half has been stealing your SM sweater for too long, now might be the time to treat him to one of his very own. As with the Mother sweaters, profits go to support worthy causes so you can feel extra good post-purchase.

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2. There are also ‘Papa’ t-shirts, ‘Papa’ baseball tees and ‘Dadding It’ tees all available from the Selfish Mother Fmly Store (that’s not a typo, FYI…)

 

3. I’m loving these ‘Breaking Dad’ t shirts from Parent Apparel, not least because Breaking Bad was my most favourite TV series EVER.

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4. Also from Parent Apparel, check out their Dad Ass tees and badges. That’s Dad Ass like Bad Ass, for those who might now be thinking Dads also suffer from flatter and fatter arses post-procreation. (Spoiler: they don’t. That non-perk is reserved solely for mamas).

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5. YESMUM Pops. Dads don’t have to make do with affirmations made for regular humans anymore (although they are great too), because they’ve now got their very own tailored Pops range. What better gift is there than a daily pat on the back to remind them they’re doing a great job too?!

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6. Ticket to Dad’s Breakfast Club. These meet ups are organised by the uber-friendly @LondonDad and are a win-win when it comes to gift buying; Dads trot off (with the smalls) to have breakfast and make new friends whilst Mama chills at home child-free. See what I mean? Win-win.

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7. Another gift that Mama can benefit from too; a stylish unisex changing bag from Tiba + Marl. We know Dads change nappies too, so surely they deserve their own changing bag? I certainly think so. And if that means buying him the bag you’ve been long-time lusting over then so be it. Hopefully he’ll be none the wiser and you’ll be able to ‘borrow’ it whenever you fancy. Natch.

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All of these gift ideas listed above are from small, independent, parent-run brands. So when you make a purchase you’re not only sharing the love with the Dads you’re buying for, but also the wider community of parents who are out there working hard raising babies and businesses. So if you can, shop independent this Father’s Day.

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Preparing for Birth – The Baby Shower / Mother’s Day / Gifts for New Mums

motherhood, Preparing for Birth

So as part of my ‘Preparing for Birth’ series I had planned a post around The Baby Shower, basically listing loads of cool stuff for Mamas, because jeez, don’t you know the baby gets enough?!! Then I realised Mother’s Day was just round the corner (as in next weekend folks, the countdown is officially ON) and I thought the stuff on my list would be great for the big M-day too! Basically this is the stuff on every Mama’s wish list, so if you’ve got a Mum or Mum-to-be to buy for, either this Mother’s Day or for an upcoming baby shower, or just because… they birthed a human and deserve a treat, then check this list out:

THE BOOKS

1. How to be a Hip Mama without Losing your Cool written by the hippest mama on the block; Jenny Scott, founder of Mothers Meetings. A guide to motherhood like no other. Fun, useful, the opposite of prescriptive and most importantly easy to dip in and out of (don’t underestimate how important this requirement is for a new mum: “Oh I just tore through that novel what with all the time I’ve got on my hands” said no new mum ever).

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2. The Mother Book – so freshly launched that I’ve not even got a copy yet, but I’m going to bet it’s brilliant! Curated by Molly Gunn, the superwoman behind Selfish Mother, this book is packed full of the most popular posts on parenting from the blogosphere, all written by regular fellow Mamas. Plus one of my posts has been included, so ya know…

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3. One Day Young by Jenny Lewis – I absolutely adore this collection of photos of new Mamas with their babes, all shot within 24 hours of having given birth. I often flick through the pictures and feel goosebumps with the anticipation of holding my own newborn baby, in just a matter of weeks… eek!

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THE MAMA MERCH

1. THE Mama chain from Cult of Youth. I still haven’t got one of these but Kelly, the wondrous woman behind the brand, promises they will be back in stock soon! Plus there’s a whole heap of awesome new designs landing (featuring all the things we love like pineapples and skulls) also coming very soon!

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2. The Mother Sweater. I absolutely love these (and the mother tees), all sold by Selfish Mother. Not only do they look awesome but they’re comfy as hell to wear and best of all they’re raising serious amounts of cash for some incredible charities. An all round win-win situation. You can now buy them from NOTHS and as of this week they’re even stocked in everyone’s favourite department store: John Lewis! Molly, the mama behind it all, is ON FIRE people!!!

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3. Mere Soeur Merch – be it the tote mag or the tee or the mega ‘One Good Mutha’ mug, any item here would make an awesome gift for Mother’s Day / a baby shower / a new Mama. The site is being relaunched on the 1st March so set your alarm peeps! This stuff sells out every time.

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4. YES MUM CARDS – they have literally taken THE WORLD by storm. Packs of positive affirmations for Motherhood. Simple yet so effective. These make an excellent gift for all Mamas out there, no matter how many years they’ve been in the mothering biz for. Who doesn’t enjoy a metaphorical friendly and encouraging pat on the back?!

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THE MISC

1. Tiba + Marl baby changing bags. Or just really cool bags, designed with baby changing in mind. Honestly these are so awesome, you could rock one without even having to rock a baby. From the quilted black Raf holdall, to the flowery backpack, to the mini-me leopard print versions, the amazing mamas behind the brand have got all your bag needs covered. You would be literally loved forever if you were to gift a new Mum or Mum-to-be one of these bad boys. Now also stocked in Harrods and Selfridges!

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2. Emily Gray Photography voucher – again, you would be loved big time FOREVER. Dads – buy this for your other half, girls – club together and get one for your BFF. Charlotte the mama who makes the magic happen, is THE photographer of choice for so many mamas out there. Her snaps are all over the internet, or at least instagram (just check out @mother_pukka’s IG feed). Get a booking in ASAP though because this lady is in high demand!

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3. We couldn’t list gifts for new Mums without mentioning DON’T BUY HER FLOWERS. Yeah, really don’t, because not only are they unoriginal but she’s got enough to worry about keeping alive. But definitely DO visit the Don’t Buy Her Flowers website and treat her to one of the amazing packages on offer. Boxes of sheer joy beautifully packed and full of goodies that Mamas really want/need/will appreciate. From COOK vouchers to G&Ts, glossy mags to hand creams, dry shampoo to truffles, these packages are perfect for all the mamas in your life. So if your friend has just given birth and you’ve no idea what to send, or you’re out of ideas for your own Mum this Mother’s Day, look no further: DBHF has the solution! (Also brilliant for any other occasion – I was sent one by a lovely friend for my b’day / just after our horror m25 crash and it was like a perfectly timed hug in a box).

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THE DOUBLE MAMA’S XMAS GIFT GUIDE

motherhood

Ok so Christmas is officially LESS THAN 4 WEEKS AWAY (!!!) and if you’re anything like me you’ll be starting to feel slightly panicked right now. If you’re sat smugly reading this, with your shopping already done and gift wrapped, then well done you. But I’m going to assume that you’re not representative of the majority of people.

So to help you guys out (and myself), I thought I’d round up the stuff I’ve been buying, lusting over, or reckon would make an ace gift for the big and little people in your life….

If you’ve got any suggestions for stuff that should be included please let me know!

For the MEN in your life (be that husband, boyfriend, father, brother, other)

Beer 52 – subscribe and have a handpicked box of craft beers delivered monthly to your beer-loving loved one – or just buy as a one-off! Use this * link * to get £10 off your first order making a crate of 10 craft beers just £14!

beer 52

 

Alternatively if they are more of a coffee-drinker than a beer-drinker (or you’re trying encourage slightly more healthy habits) then go for a PACT coffee subscription instead. Another gift that keeps on giving, the guys at PACT will deliver a delicious bag of freshly ground coffee as frequently as you wish. If this sounds like something you’d like to try yourself, use this * link * to try a bag for just £1 including delivery! Be warned though, it’s addictive stuff!

pact coffee

 

For the MAMAS in your life (be that yourself, your own mama, your sister or one of your mama mates)

Selfish Mother Sweater – I’ve bought a number of t-shirts for myself and friends but am yet to get my hands on a sweater. Definitely hoping Santa delivers me one this Christmas! Not only do these Mother Sweaters from Molly of Selfish Mother look super cool and comfy, they’re for a good cause – all profits go to Women for Women UK. (So far the sale of Mother sweaters and tees has raised an incredible £40,000 for the charity!). Go Molly!

selfish mother sweater

 

Cult of Youth MAMA chain – if you can get one, DO IT. Be warned though, they are massively in demand and frequently sell out but are oh so awesome.

cult of youth mama chain

 

Tiba+Marl Bag – well if your kid’s going to have one (see below), you certainly deserve one. The best nappy bags out there by a bazillion miles. Launched just this year by a power mum duo, they are already stocked in Harrods! I LOVE my floral Elwood backpack but the Raf holdall is now top of my Xmas list. A girl can’t have too many bags, right?! Plus, new baby, new change bag. Seems only fair.

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Mere Soeur goodies – Perfect gifts for your best Mama mates. From Boob Appreciation Mugs (no I didn’t make that up) and Mums of Anarchy badges, to cool tees and useful tote bags. It’s all about the sisterhood and everything is really reasonably priced and many items are hand-printed by the lovely Mama behind it all.

boob appreciation mug

 

A Weathered Penny – Awesome AND affordable jewellery. Be warned though you will want to buy one of everything on the website. These pieces make perfect gifts… for yourself. Or friends. Maybe your sister. But mostly for yourself 🙂

a weathered penny

 

For the BABIES in your life:

This lot can be pretty tricky to buy for since they are so easily entertained with a cardboard box and some tissue paper, but here are a few suggestions for special gifts that Mama is sure to treasure (even if baby prefers the packaging it arrived in).

  1. A brightly-coloured, hand-crocheted blanket with pom poms (!) from Hollie at Flora Fairweather. Truly a gift to be kept forever. Check out her gorgeous Instagram feed here. She also makes beautiful, equally-colourful, hats and booties, all with fun pom poms of course!flora fairweather blanket

2. A pair of gorgeous, hand-made, leather moccasins from Amy & Ivor. I particularly love the little high-tops and have recently bought a pair for my Arlo Bear (unintentional rhyme right there). I also love the metallic platinum moccasins and the furry cheetah moccasins from the special limited collection. Oh and the pretty Erin shoes (if only a girl!). Really I just love them ALL. But if you want some for xmas, make sure you act fast because they are made to order and can take up to 2 weeks.

amy & ivor cheetah moccasins

 

3. A cute pair of PJs with a fun print from The Bright Company (and perhaps a pair for Mama too – #twinningiswinning afterall)

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4. An ultra-sweet Marta Mini for a baby girl – handmade by Sophie & Co and available in a variety of fabrics (this was top of my mental shopping list for baby no.3 but alas it’s another boy!).

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5. Alternatively absolutely anything from Cissy Wears is sure to go down well. The Mama behind this online concept store is the Queen of Enabling so make sure you have your credit card at the ready!

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For the BIGGER kids in your life:

1. Go outside the lines – buy a fun poster with an appropriate life motto for the kids to colour in. It can then be framed and hung (without ruining the minimalist insta-friendly vibe) in the home/their bedroom and makes a welcome change from the usual ‘art’ you feel obliged to stick up! Plus it’s always nice (and rare) to find an activity that keeps kids occupied and doesn’t involve any technology!

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2. Ruff & Huddle – I’ve just bought my big boy an awesome bomber jacket that I know he is going to LOVE. Check out their full range, all designed by a mega Mama.

ruff and huddle ma1 bomber

3. Tiba+Marl Mini Elwood backpack – if it wasn’t enough that these guys make the coolest changing bags around for parents, they have just launched mini versions of the super-popular Elwood backpack for the little ones in your life. If you’re a fan of the #twinningiswinning trend (and who isn’t?!) then you need to get your hands on one of these (and one for yourself obvs, see above).

tiba and marl mini elwood

 

For the SIGNIFICANT OTHER in your life:

This is perfect whether or not you’re a parent but especially so if you are, because parents are always in desperate need of a break, am I right? Or is that just me?! No, everyone needs a break (and Mums and Dads most of all).

What makes this gift even more perfect is that you totally get the benefit too. A complete ‘Win Win’ situation.

Introducing… THE WEEKEND AWAY. I’ve decided (although have never actually been) that Amsterdam is THE destination for the perfect long weekend away. Paris has been overdone. Any further afield (like NYC where I went for my b’day) and the excitement is somewhat mediated by the distance and the worry that sets in when you think about how many miles (and hours if there was an emergency) you are away from your precious monsters. So with that in mind, Amsterdam is just perfect. Plus you can get there on the Eurostar and BYOB, which I much prefer to Ryanair and paying a fiver for a bottle of water.

To help you plan the ultimate weekend away to Amsterdam, get your hands on an e-copy (which can be read on any device) of A Perfect Day in Amsterdam: Winter, Spring, Summer & Fall by Hilde Veeren and ensure you don’t waste a single precious minute. Hilde is not only a fellow Mama (based in Amsterdam), she also runs the international travel blog Fish & Feathers with her husband, is managing director for a fashion mag and writes freelance for Grazia and others. So it’s safe to assume she knows how to make best use of your time.

Buy the guide now and start plotting your escape immediately!!

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GIFTS for the GRANDPARENTS:

A personalised photo calendar from somewhere like Photobox is not exactly shopping independently (which I am making a conscious effort to do this Christmas) nor is it spectacularly imaginative and they do take a little time and effort to make, but grandparents seem to really, really love them. And you can just make the one and then order duplicate copies for the both sets (or more, if like me all four grandparents live separately!).

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The PERFECT gift for the whole family (including grandparents):

A voucher for Emily Gray Photography Services. This super-talented, in-demand Mama is offering personalised vouchers which can be put towards a photo shoot and prints. I reckon this is the perfect pressie for the whole family and gives you something you will treasure forever.

Check out my interview with the amazing Charlotte here. Plus get 10% off by quoting ‘DOUBLEMAMA’.

emily gray photography voucher

 

The PERFECT Stocking Fillers for the whole family:

Yes Mum cards make the perfect stocking filler! ORIGINAL cards for the Mamas in your life (yourself included), MINI cards (for the little people) and HUMAN cards (for everyone else). Fist pumps all round!

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And for the TRICKY ones in your life / on your list:

Don’t Buy Her Flowers – Initially launched with new Mums in mind, a beautifully wrapped, tailored package of treats and goodies is the perfect pressie for anyone in need of some TLC and R&R. You can create the perfect package for your lucky recipient with a number of add-ons that include gin, fizz, luxury socks or even a COOK voucher. Akin to receiving a great big warm hug in a box, I am confident there is no woman on earth who would not appreciate this thoughtful gift.

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FILMS FOR FAMILIES:paddington bear

Christmas time feels like the perfect time for family films (or games, but films tend to lead to less fights than monopoly). However I have a very limited attention span and I resent spending 2+ hours of my life watching something annoyingly cheerful and full of song. So here are a couple films I’ve seen lately which I genuinely enjoyed and proper LOL’d at and would make good pressies/stocking fillers…

Paddington Bear

Big Hero 6

If you have any suggestions for films I can add to this list please let me know!

 

BOOKS FOR BOYS:

I’ve spent a long time trying to encourage my eldest son to read. It’s not that he finds it difficult, in fact quite the opposite, he can whiz through pages. But he finds it boring. Which breaks my heart. I spent so many hours as a kid reading late into the night, long after I was meant to be asleep, tilting the book towards the crack of light that shone in under my door from the landing. I used to lose hours of my life reading and I loved it, so I find it really upsetting that until recently he finds it just a drag to even read a chapter.

BUT WE HAVE HAD A BREAKTHROUGH!the boy in the dress

Here are some books my 8 year old son actually enjoys reading (so if you have to buy for any boys of a similar age this Christmas, chances are they might be into these too)…

Any from The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Any from the Tom Gates series.

The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams

 

 

And finally, a gift of LOVE…

the love box campaign

This week (watch this space!) I’m launching The Love Box Campaign. The aim of the campaign is to deliver 100 boxes of love to older people in the community, who might otherwise not receive anything this Christmas. Please support the campaign by buying a Love Box here and sharing the love online using #theloveboxcampaign #100boxesoflove. It’s a sad truth that many older people in the community spend Christmas alone, so let’s do our best to let those most in need know they’ve not been forgotten this year.

the love box campaign

 

I hope you find this list helpful and if you think of something I should include please let me know! You can email thedoublemama@gmail.com or find me on Twitter or Instagram.

 

NOW LET’S GO SHOP!!!!

Baby paraphernalia – what you really need to have a baby

motherhood, Preparing for Birth

A few of my friends are (FINALLY) pregnant (yay!!) and because I’m prepping (in the loosest sense of the word) for numero 3, and have spent the best part of a decade rearing small people, they’ve asked me for advice on what they should buy in anticipation of their precious arrival. So I created a list for them and thought I’d share it here too…

In short, you really don’t need a lot. These newborn babies don’t want for much and they mostly just eat and sleep (and maybe cry). So you’ll need milk (but if you’re breastfeeding, that’s already on tap) and a place for them to sleep i.e. a moses basket, a stand, a couple crib sheets and a baby sleeping bag or two. Of course you’ll also need a shedload of nappies and some basic baby clothes like vests and sleepsuits. Maybe some baby-friendly washing detergent and softener. But that’s really about it, in terms of what you NEED.

Then of course you’ll probably want a pram or a sling so you can get out and about and a bouncy chair to put them in when you need a wee (because that’s the only time you’ll be putting them down. And no, you don’t eat, unless some kind person feeds you). Oh and you’ll also need a car seat if you’ve got a car and plan on using it (go for Maxi-Cosi EVERY time – I speak from crash-testing experience).

Muslins are useful. So are dummies (you might be anti them now but withhold judgement until you’ve experienced extreme sleep deprivation coupled with screamy baby at 4am at which point you’ll realise you will try anything. And dummies really aren’t that bad and in fact they are said to decrease the chance of SIDS. So get a few in, even if only for emergencies).

If you’re breastfeeding you might need lansinoh (magic stuff that protects nipples and is safe for babies), breast pads and a pump. If you’re bottle-feeding, you’ll need bottles (obviously), formula and a sterilising device.

You can see how things can quickly get out of control and how easy it is for a first-time pregnant mama to feel overwhelmed with all the paraphernalia on offer. Also decision making is tricky at the best of times but near on impossible when pregnant and really, how can a first-time pregnant mama really know what they actually will need?! Maybe I only speak for myself here, but I certainly couldn’t differentiate between what would come to be a literal lifesaver and what would become just another T.U.P (totally unnecessary purchase)!

So to help you avoid too many T.U.Ps, here’s my list! I’m no expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have got a couple kids and as consequence have tried and tested a lot of baby paraphernalia! So let me at least save you from the mistakes I made…

Baby clothes

You don’t need much. Firstly because you don’t really know how big (or small) your baby will be – they come in all sizes and scans aren’t reliable (I was told to expect a 4lb babe and I got an 8lb-er. I’m not alone). Secondly because you’ve got your whole maternity leave to go shopping and it’s kind of fun buying things for baby once they have actually arrived. So don’t deprive yourself by buying it all in advance! Thirdly you cannot over-estimate how much you will be given – either new gifts or secondhand stuff from friends, family, neighbours, colleagues etc.

So with that in mind, I suggest buying in newborn size (because although you will want stuff for them to grow into, you will also need some stuff that fits when they’re born and there is a surprisingly big difference between ‘newborn’ and ‘0-3months’!):

* six cotton sleepsuits (all-in-ones)

sleepsuit

* six cotton vests

bodysuit

* two cardigans (you do not want to be pulling jumpers over baby’s floppy head)

* two hats (they have a tendency to go missing)

* blanket to wrap baby in / lie baby on

blanket

* baby socks (can double as scratch mitts/be used to keep hands warm – they get so cold when baby is sleeping!!)

* sock-ons (an amazing invention that do exactly as they say)

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* snowsuit for the winter babes

* ecover or similar gentle non-bio detergent to wash baby clothes (which should be done before baby arrives and wears them).

Baby bedtime

* Moses basket – a really simple one will do because they really don’t stay in them long – definitely buy new – this one from John Lewis is perfect:

moses basket

* Moses basket stand – useful, also easily foldable for transportation/storage. Can be bought secondhand for approx £5.

* 4 x fitted sheets to fit the crib/moses basket – you’ll find yourself changing them frequently – 4 times in one night is not unheard of.

* At least 2 or 3 grobags for aged 0-6 months – you need a few because newborns are prone to explosive poos that escape their clothes (sorry), and they can sick up quite a bit (they may be small but they are very, very, messy). Make sure you get the right tog for the season your baby is due.

* Swaddle wraps/blankets are good but they have such a short life so maybe get some second hand if you can or given as gifts.

swaddle

*Dummies – trust me on this one. If your baby takes it(and some don’t) and it offers them some level of comfort, then you’re going to want to have them.

* Gro-egg – useful for knowing the room temp and therefore what bedding and clothing layers you should be using. Can’t really put a value on something that reduces the anxiety new Mums experience. Also works as a nightlight.

gro egg

* You might be tempted (or rather your other half might be (forgive my gender stereotyping)) to buy an expensive, state-of-the-art, tech-lover’s dream of a baby monitor. In my experience when baby is really new you’re unlikely to be leaving them out of your sight for very long, so it’s definitely not necessary to have one at the start. And later on, a regular one will do just fine and you’ll be glad you didn’t purchase the one with a TV screen, light show, lullabies and two-way walkie talkie function.

Leaving the house (!!!)

* You might want to get a sling but again in my experience when baby is brand new, they are too tiny for most baby carriers and sort of sink down and crumple, leaving you worrying whether they can breathe! So wait until they are a little more robust and have some head control before strapping them to your front. There are loads of options when the time comes so try and test out a few and see what works for you. I can recommend the ergo baby carrier and I would say avoid the baby bjorn original because it’s a back killer!

* Pram-wise, I basically tried everything with my first son until I got a Bugaboo. Second-time round I knew to get one straightaway! Our Bugaboo Cameleon 3 has been our best purchase and I would recommend everyone get one if they can! Bugaboo are like the Rolls Royce of buggies but when you think how much you’re going to use it, it becomes worth every penny. It can be false economy buying cheaper prams because they break or are difficult to use. We got ours secondhand, which I would definitely recommend doing if you’re on a budget. Not only can you get a nearly-new one in immaculate condition for half the price, they also have a really good resale value, so even after a couple years of use, you can sell it on again for not much less than you paid for it originally! A Bugaboo is a sound investment, even if your other half cannot get over the RRP.

bugaboo

* Car seat – it’s a good idea to get a Maxi-Cosi car seat because they are compatible with so many prams including the Bugaboo. Also try and get an isofix base (or easybase if you don’t have isofix points in your car). Not only are the bases meant to make the seat safer as they ensure they are correctly fitted, but they also make your life tons easier as you can simply clip the seat in and out without having to faff around with the belt. Also having recently survived a pretty horrific crash, I can hand-on-heart vouch for the Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix as despite a 70mph motorway crash which involved flipping our car (!!!) after a lorry went into us, our baby (who was in a Maxi-Cosi Cabriofix) escaped without a mark on him or a single injury.

maxi cosi cabriofix

* Change bag – I’ll tell you a little secret: you don’t actually need a designated change bag. You can just use a regular bag! Who knew?! But if you want to use the baby’s arrival as an opportunity to buy yourself a new bag (and why not?!) go for a Tiba & Marl one. Tiba & Marl design the best change bags out there, without a cupcake in sight, and you’ll happily use it when nappy changes are a distant (bad) memory.

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* A small portable change mat with space for nappies/wipes is super useful for when not taking a big bag out. One like this does the job:

portable changing mat

* Other useful items for leaving the house include a dummy clip and a portable Milton mini steriliser like this:

milton

(otherwise dummy ends up being thrown overboard, resulting in you having to suck it clean and subsequently spend the day worrying if the residual germs will kill the baby…or you, leaving the baby orphaned. Save yourself the trauma and buy the dummy clip and steriliser pot).

Washing and changing baby

* Changing table – Get a basic one, better still a secondhand one, as again you don’t tend to use them for long and they take up valuable space.

* Changing mat – this wedge one from John Lewis is good and stops baby rolling over to a degree – NOT failsafe, I repeat NOT failsafe.

wedge mat

* Nappies – LOADS of them – buy in bulk for best value. We use Pampers because despite trying to be more eco-friendly and getting real nappies and biodegradable ones, we found Pampers to be the best in terms of absorbency (and therefore less bum soreness) and they also win hands down with the least amount of leakages.

nappies

* Cotton wool balls – you will use these with water at first until you tire of the faff

* Water Wipes – for when you tire of the hassle of cotton wool balls and water. Water Wipes are more expensive but they are also the best (causing no bum soreness). First time our baby got a sore bum was after we started using a different brand. Buy in bulk and look out for offers in Boots etc.

water wipes

* Nappy bags – SCENTED ones! Breastfed babies’ poo looks gross but the smelly is relatively inoffensive. However once you start weaning… *GAG ALERT* Scented nappy bags are a MUST.

* Nappy bin with cartridges – we don’t actually have one of these and just take the nappies straight to the main bin because we don’t want them sat in the house but you might feel differently and want one for ease.

* Baby bath – don’t buy one! They take up loads of space and are unnecessary.

* Baby bath support – Buy one! Takes up so much less space! Get this fabric covered one from John Lewis because plastic is hard, cold and uncomfortable.

bath support

* Natural sponge

* Organic baby wash products

* Baby towel x2 – could just use a hand towel to be honest and I would put money on you being giving a ton of these for presents once baby arrives!

Feeding Baby

No need to purchase a highchair or stock up on bibs yet!

* Medela swing electric breast pump – The best pump out there. Also gives you the opportunity to have a night off and let your other half do the feeding. Can’t put a price on that.

medela swing pump

* Medela bottles with a teat that works like a nipple (yes, really), looks like this. You’ll only need 1 teat but maybe 2 or 3 bottles.

* Lansinoh Lanolin nipple cream – as mentioned before, magic stuff, 100% natural. Saved my life first time round.

lansinoh lanolin cream

* Muslin clothes – really useful for just about everything.

* Steriliser machine – get one for the microwave (if you have a microwave) – you can throw bottles in, dummies, plastic baby toys.

* Nursing bras – don’t bothing buying non-nursing maternity bras, which are rendered useless as soon as baby arrives due to the lack of easy boob access, go straight for the nursing bra option when pregnant. You will get a lot more wear out of them. Also they don’t have to be ugly: Google ‘Elle Macpherson Intimates Nursing Bra’.

elle machpherson intimates nursing bra

* Nursing sleep bra (like a crop top but with easy access – offers support and holds breast pads in place at night – definitely recommend buying. They changed my night life).

* Washable breast pads – softer than disposable ones (less chaffing), cheaper (in the long run) and greener (got to try and offset the nappies)

* Nursing chair – waste of money! Do not buy! You will end up feeding in bed or on the sofa not on some ugly monstrosity that you’ve had installed in the baby nursery but looks like it belongs in a retirement home! If you really want to buy a new chair then get a lovely armchair that you actually like the look of and will want to keep beyond the nursing years.

nursing chair

* Nursing cushion – don’t even bother. Treat yourself to a lovely cushion that you actually like instead. Your elbow doesn’t need an odd banana-shaped cushion covered in stars to support it, anything will do.

Baby Health & Safety

* Digital ear thermometer – get an in-ear one rather than one of those forehead scanner types because they’re more reliable.

* Calpol – good idea to have in the house at all times. Solves almost every ailment.

calpol

* Baby snot sucker or nasal aspirator, as they’re more formally known, (yes these things exist and yes you will want one as the alternative option is much worse – sucking it out yourself!)

nasal aspirator

* Try and go on a pediatric first aid course, where you will learn what to do in an emergency and also how rare really serious emergencies actually are (which is kind of reassuring for an anxious new parent).

* All the other stuff like baby prisons, sorry baby pens, stairgates, plug socket covers etc. will be needed once baby is on the move, but not for a number of months, so just don’t worry yourself with that at the minute!

At home with baby

* Baby Bjorn bouncer – I don’t know about you but brightly coloured, noisy bouncers with flashing lights aren’t on my wish list. Nor a new baby’s. You can’t go wrong with the simple yet stylish Baby Bjorn bouncer which folds flat for storage/transport. The fabric seat is also really easy to remove and machine washable which is a BIG bonus as you’re going to need to wash it a LOT.

baby bjorn boucer

* Baby play gym – whereas the above is really useful, the play gym is less so. Once babies can move they don’t lie under them and beforehand, well, they would be just as happy on your lap, studying your face. This is once they can actually focus! So you could go without or get one secondhand.

* Rattles and soft toys – you will be given loads. They also aren’t needed straightaway so no need to buy as part of your pre-baby prep.

* Door bouncers – not needed for a while but great fun for baby, don’t take up lots of space and are relatively inexpensive. I mention this now in case somebody suggests you need a Fisher Price Jumperoo! Yes lots of babies love Jumperoos, but lots of adults like fair ground rides but that doesn’t mean we get one installed in our house. Jumperoos cost over £100 and proudly boast ‘lights, sounds and music’. Door bouncers are the way forward and if the baby wants music, pop the radio on and choose to stay sane instead.

jumperoo

This list may seem long but it’s intended to be fully comprehensive, all-inclusive. You can get a LOT of this stuff secondhand on eBay, gumtree or at NCT nearly-new sales which are brilliant! Find out where your nearest one is here. There is also freecycle and charity shops dedicated to children’s clothes, toys and equipment, such as Fara. You’ll also find people are happy to give you stuff when they’ve finished using it such as friends, family and neighbours. You should be able to get the above lot without breaking the bank.

The really great thing about buying baby stuff secondhand is because any given item is used for such a short period of time, it tends to all be in really condition and can be bought for a fraction of the price new. However there are a few things I would buy new and these include: car seat (unless you know where its come from), mattress, dummies and bottle teats. Everything else should be fine secondhand after having been given a wash.

If you think I’ve missed anything off the list, please email and let me know: thedoublemama@gmail.com xxx