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As a new parent, I bought a lot of baby paraphernalia, most of which was used once and never again. I think, as a new parent in that irrational sleep deprived haze you get stuck in, I felt that if I had all the kit, I’d be doing a better job. So, through trial and error, and from talking to my shrewder fellow parents, I have compiled a list of some really great baby and toddler items.
Baby Bjorn BabySitter Balance. Sadly not a balancing babysitter, but a baby chair. We referred to it as ‘the bouncy chair’ and adore it. To the point, where I have already found it and made sure it is still in one piece for baby number 2.
I don’t think this is the only brand on the market, but it is the one I got, having purchased a automatic swinging chair and finding it too big and cumbersome for my daughter and sitting room. This one fold flat, looks great, is fully washable
and can be bounced with a toe, so almost construed as a form of exercise. It’s well worth every penny.
Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair. This simple wooden high chair, is great for toddlers. It simply slides up against the table, with a safety strap for little ones, and steps up to the seat for bigger children. It looks great, comes in lots of colours, and doesn’t require complicated straps and maneuvering of a wriggling toddler. It is also really easy to wipe clean, with no secret hiding places for those renegade peas to escape to.
Medela Freestyle Breast Pump. I really struggled with breast feeding my daughter. I didn’t make enough milk, and was told to pump between feeds to increase milk production, which when you are doing 3 hourly feed cycles, gave me precious little time to sleep, which made the problem worse. The final straw for me was having pumped for what felt like hours and gathered enough milk for one feed (a first), my husband knocked the bottle over before I managed to put the lid on. Suffice to say, cross words ensued. However, dramas aside, if you are going to pump, this was by far and away the best model o the market. I tried four different models (sleep deprived haze of irrationality strikes again), and this one yielded the most in the quickest time. It’s ridiculously expensive, but if it gives you a hour or two more sleep a day, then it might be worth it…?
Duvet Playmat. We bought a Fisher Price playmat for our daughter, which was great, with lots of colours and noises, but having wooden floors in our sitting room, I was always worried about her being uncomfortable. My very clever friend Sareeta, who has a gorgeous little boy the same age as Fifi, had the best solution. She simply folded over a single duvet, sewed it up and halved a single duvet cover, to make the comfiest playmat to leave your little one on. You can decide how thick you want it and what colour/pattern cover, and the cover is fully washable…genius!
iPad. I have posted about this on my blog, so apologies if you are reading the same thing twice, but the iPad has been a lifesaver to us since having a baby. It holds a huge host of amazing (and dare I say it, educational) apps in one small light weigh device, hundreds of television programs and films and I like to think it helps with hand eye coordination. You can buy cheap straps to put it on the head rest of your car, which is guaranteed to keep a little one quiet for longer than a rendition of ‘The Grand Old Duke of York’, and when baby finally decides to go to sleep, you can catch up on all your celebrity gossip. Not the cheapest baby toy in the world, but my daughter’s favourite, and one that grows with her through the years (well, until the iPad 4 is released!).
Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance – from £80 on Amazon (but check eBay, they go very cheaply)
Stokke Tripp Trapp Highchair – from £135
Medela Freestyle Breastpump - £265 (gulp!) on Amazon
iPad 3 – from £399, but you can get much cheaper iPad 2’s on eBay, and I’m sure your little one won’t know the difference!