The first time parent starter kit

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-23-38Knowing what to buy for a new baby is an absolute minefield. It constantly seems that you’re chasing your tail and missing out on an “essential”. Everyone has an opinion on what you need and what you can and can’t live without. Sometimes it seems unless you have the right highchair, stylish nursery set or kit yourself out with the latest gadgets , you’re really depriving your baby!!

Before our baby was due, a good friend of mine sat me down and told me exactly what I needed to buy for the baby, without buying any extra frilly little bits. Of all the advice I received before Conor arrived, this was by far the most sensible. It included so many things that not only I hadn’t thought about, but there was stuff in there that I wouldn’t in a million years have known about. So now it is my turn to impart this knowledge onto any new parents out there.

Before I get into it, I want to state, that by no means do you need the frilly bits that I include in this post. These are just the extra little bits that we decided to get. My best advice I can give any new parents or parents to be, is do what suits you and your baby! Not because it is supposed to be the next best thing. Trust me, the guilt I felt because I was “depriving’ my baby of certain things I had seen people post about!!

Do not panic when you look at this list. There looks like there is a lot, but apart from your bed, buggy and car seat, most of the other bits are relatively inexpensive. You also don’t need everything at once. People will ask, “do you need anything”? Do not be polite. It is easier for them if you say, “yes i need x, y or z”.

I also won’t be including any feeding items. Feeding is very personal to each mother and if I am being honest, that is a controversial topic I don’t want to get myself involved in!!! There are loads of books out there that will tell you exactly what you need to get you going with whatever route you decide to go. However, two tips! If you’re breastfeeding, TK Maxx have breast feeding pillows for €25 compared to at least €30 elsewhere. Whereas if you’re bottle feeding, Aldi often have Tommee Tippe bottles in a 4 pack for €10 compared to €44 for 6 in Boots!!

So where to start?

Furniture

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-41-12Before I go into the details of what you do and don’t need here, keep in mind that a baby will sleep anywhere!! They don’t know if their cot cost €50 or €1000. Once you spend on a good mattress the rest really is irrelevant and it all comes down to the parents choice of design.

Also do not get caught up with the pinterest perfect nursery! I still haven’t finished decorating our nursery and I won’t for another few weeks yet. The baby does not go into their own room till they are at least 6 months, so save yourself the time and money till you really need to have it ready.

Bedside cot

This is probably one of the most important items for when the baby arrives. This is where the baby will sleep at night. Sadly this was probably the item I gave the least amount of thought to, before Conor arrived. In my eye a crib was just a crib . Boy was i wrong.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-19-59-28We bought a wooden cot that can stay stationary or can swing. While it looks lovely the problems began when Conor was around 3 weeks old. Once he started to move in anyway, he started to hit his head off the side of the cot, which would in turn wake him up. I ended up rolling a blanket up as a buffer between himself and the bars. You can get a mesh that goes through or even around the bars, but it still isn’t thick enough to stop him from hitting his head. He is also a divil for sticking his arms and legs through the bars and now that he is a little bigger, he has a tendency to get them stuck!! A Gro bag stops the legs issue at night, but I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve found him entrapped during nap time!

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-44-11If I was going to buy a cot again, I would buy a co sleeper. Not for the co sleeping function, but for the fact that the sides are mesh. There are two cots that I personally liked the look of. The Snuz pod and the arms reach. Both have their pros and cons and while the Snuz pod is sleek and sturdy, the arms reach is also good for travel! You will pay a little more for these than the crib that I have with the Snuz pod costing €249 in Bella Baby ( it is €279 everywhere else I looked) and the Arms reach is €239. You will also more than likely have to buy a mattress for whatever crib you buy!

Moses basket

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-20-15-54This is one of those items that you might actually be able to do without. For the first 3 months ( more if you like) the baby sleeps downstairs with you until you go to bed. We bought an Izziwotnot moses basket to have in the sitting room with us. I loved it and it was great, but Conor grew out of it in 9 weeks and we now have him in our pram! Part of me thinks that I should have just had him in the pram from the beginning and saved myself on the moses basket. However, they are lovely to have and you can always borrow one if you don’t want to spend.  A moses basket shouldn’t really set you back more than €130 at the very most and you can get cheaper ones!

Changing table

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-20-25-58This is one where not everyone will agree with me, but I think a changing table is essential. If you change the baby on the floor, on the table or on the couch, your back will end up aching!!! However, you don’t need one upstairs and downstairs. We keep our changing table downstairs and upstairs we have a topper for on top of our cot, which I will go into when I talk about the nursery.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-20-26-46I was very practical with our changing table. While it is all great to have something that looks gorgeous and fits in with your colour scheme, at the end of the day it is a place where you change dirty nappies and you want things to hand. The last thing you want is to be opening drawers searching for baby wipes when you’ve legs flapping everywhere and a dirty bum in front of you!

We bought the Babyglo smart changer than is not only a changing table, but also has the baby bath included in it. I can’t emphasis enough just how good I found this. It might not look gorgeous but it has made my life so much easier I got ours in Tony Kealys for €105 and it was at least €20 cheaper than other places! Tony Kealys will also price match if you find it in a store cheaper!!

Nursery Cot

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-20-35-18This is something that you can wait to buy, as the baby doesn’t go into their big cot in the nursery until they are at least 6 months old. However, if you’re like me you’re gonna want to have everything ready because once they baby comes, you don’t want to be under pressure when buying one.

You can spend a mad amount of money on cots, or you can go to Ikea and buy a cot for as little as €49. The price all depends on what you’re looking for. Where you should however spend is on your mattress. There are so many different types of mattresses to pick from, but a good mattress will set you back between €150 and €250. I am not going to even pretend to know what I am talking about when it comes to mattresses, but I actually found that Bella Baby were cheaper without lacking in quality.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-20-32-39We decided to go for a Cot bed. Basically, that means the cot will eventually turn into a toddler bed. The set I bought was the Mia from Mamas and Papas. I went for the changer for on top of the cot, which is were I do my nappy changes upstairs and I also got the under the bed storage, which really is very handy. Prices vary greatly with this set, but what I would said with any cot you buy, don’t pay in full. Give a deposit, because if it goes into sale before you collect the furniture, they will give you the sale price!!

Feeding chair

I really wanted to buy the rocking feeding chair with the foot poof, but finances and space wouldn’t allow it. Instead I got an old cosy chair and put it in the corner of the nursery. No matter what type of chair you use, a chair is a must, as I didn’t use it for the first few weeks and nearly broke my back!!

Bedding

When buying all the bed for the baby to sleep in, I completely forgot about sheets!!! You can pay a fortune for sheets all depending on what you want, but I picked up two white moses basket sheet, 2 white for the crib and 2 white for the cot, all in Mamas and Papas on the buy two get one free offer. When one sheet is on, the other is in the wash!

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-50-13Gro bags are also fantastic. Babies like to be able to kick their legs and they tend to kick the blankets off. I swaddled Conor in a cellular blanket for the first 2 weeks, but after that, he refused to stay in the blanket, so the Gro bag came out.For the winter months look for the higher togs.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-50-56Cellular blankets are another must. The holes in the blanket mean that if it was to go over the babies face, they can still breath. Baby Elegance were cheapest for these!

Cosy blankets. My mam picked up a load of these for me in the States, but Tk Maxx is brilliant for these. I use these in the pram or if I have the baby in my arms and want to keep him cosy.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-26-06We also bought a Cleva Mama pillow. This helped when Conor had a touch of Colic ( it is not a cure for colic, it just kept the head slightly elevated) and it also helps prevent flat head. You can buy it here

Travel Systems

Oh god, you could seriously spend more than your car on some of these travel systems!! They cost a bomb but they don’t need to!! Instead of advising you on what one to buy, I will tell you what to look out for. I found Tony Kealys amazing for helping me pick a buggy. I went to all shops and these were by far the most practical and not looking just for an expensive sale.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-53-15First off you’re gonna need a pram/ buggy. It took me a while to get my head around how this works. Basically a baby needs to lie flat until around the 5/6 month mark when they can hold their head up fully. When buying you’re travel system, usually you buy the wheels and then the pram and the buggy top!! You store the buggy top away until you need it and then swap it out with the pram top!!

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-54-22When looking to buy a buggy, there are a few things to watch out for. Firstly, how easy it is to get up and down. Trust me, you will put this thing up and down so much during the day . You want it to be easy.

Secondly you need it to be light! Not uber light, but you need to be able to lift it comfortably in and out of the boot of the car.

Finally you need to find it easy to move. You would think that it is just a case of pushing the buggy, but some are harder to move about than others. I tried our pram out so many times to make sure that it was the one and I am so glad I did!

One other thing to keep in mind, is can the wheels get a puncture! The last thing you want is a crying baby and a wheel needing replacement!

I have the Bugaboo Cameleon and absolutely lovely it. It goes up and down easy. It is fairly light weight and it is a dream to push. only thing I would say, is you need a decent size boot, as the wheels are big!

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-56-29Next up is the car seat. Yet another mine field!! Your mind will be boggled with this stuff! We bought a besafe car seat and base. The reason we bought this was it had extra safety features. Do I think it is worth the extra money? I am not sure, but it is very easy to use! Most car seats only last you for the first year of your childs life and then you need to buy another base and another chair. We bought the base that can follow onto the next chair with the be safe. You also get adapters with your car seat that means you can place the seat on the buggy wheels. This is every handy because sometimes you don’t want to wake the baby moving them from the seat to the pram!

Baby monitor

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-21-57-37This  is absolutely something that you need. When the baby goes down for a nap, this is when you grab your breakfast/lunch/dinner. You want to be able to hear and even see the baby. This is what your monitor does. How hi tech you go, is up to you.

I use an angel care aC1100. The Angle care has a mat that goes underneath the babies mattress so that if he stops breathing an alarm goes off. It can be a little glitchy but at the end of the day, it gives brilliant peace of mind. What I will say is shop around. I found that this was €320 in most shops, but you can currently get it on amazon here for €166 plus delivery.

Baby bag

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-01-31This is another item you can spend a bomb on!!! I bought my bag in Tk Maxx for €55. It is a pink lining bag and I find it great. It doesn’t look beautiful, but it has lots of space, includes bags for the bottles, a mat for changing, a bag for the dirty nappies and loads of little pockets for bits a pieces. If you want an expensive bag, then go for it! However this is one area that you can save on.

Clothes

Unless you know what you’re having, it is very hard to buy clothes. What you buy, also depends on how long you’re going to be in hospital. Rule of thumb; you will need 2 baby gros and vests for every day you’re going to be in hospital. I bought 10 baby gros in total and washed them for the first 2 weeks. Then when I was up on my feet I bought a few bits for him myself.

While Pennys and Dunnes are handy for little bits, I just found that the quality just isn’t there. You will be washing these quite a bit, so you want them to wash well. Next and Marks really can’t be beaten on quality, while Tesco and George at Asda ( you can order asda online) are great for backups. Next do 3 baby gros for €23.50 and they wash so well.

You will also need little coat to take the baby home in, or if it is going to be a winter month, a travel suit will keep the baby nice and toasty.

Oh and you will need bibs. Loads of bibs. I mean you honestly can’t have enough bibs. I prefer the bandana type bibs, as I find they stop they baby’s neck getting wet when feeding and they also look cool!!!

Toys

I am using the term toys lightly here, as until your baby is a good bit older, then don’t entertain toys at all. However, there are three things that we bought that I wouldn’t be with. Again shop around. I found Argos.co.uk a lot cheaper if I used my parcel motel. Boots are also good for a bargain.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-02-51First up is a playmat. You can spend various amounts on these, but once there is music and hanging toys you’re onto a winner. These are brilliant for entertaining the baby and also for tummy time.   I bought the Fisher Price mat above in Boots. I bought it online as it was on offer and I got it delivered to my local Boots for free. I think we paid around the €50 mark for it. You can however get cheaper!!! Conor does love this though as the lights keep him entertained.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-08-29Baby chair. People views differ on these as to whether they should vibrate or not. We bought a gentle vibrating one that has hanging toys . For me a chair is a must, as I sit him in it when I run to the toilet, have a shower, cook the dinner or when I just need 5 minutes with my arms free. Again I bought the one above. I paid mad money for it at €113, I am blaming the baby hormones on that one. I have found a cheaper one for you that does more or less the same thing. You can check it out here.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-10-09
A mobile for the cot, is another life saver, but I didn’t need this until the 2 months mark. It now keeps him occupied for ages and gives me an extra 5 minutes in bed! It is also really good for sight development!

Bits and Bobs

These are the bits that you really need but might not have thought about. Pick these up as you go. Also, join the Boots baby club. You get way more points on your card when you’re a member and you buy baby stuff!!

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-12-48Room and bath thermometer. There is an event flower one that does both the bath and the room. These are very handy and great for peace of mind. You can buy it here for €24.99

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-14-32Baby thermometer. There are so many different types but I use both the one that goes under the arm and a chicco one that goes in the ear. No matter what one you buy a thermometer is a must! You can buy one here.

Baby towels. These come  with a hood and they are great for keeping the baby warm once you take them out of the bath! You don’t need to spend a fortune on these. Aldi often have them and they do the job.

Vitamin D drops. As we don’t get a lot of sunshine, you need to give the baby vitamin d drops every day for the 1st year of their life. ( I think it is that long)

If you’re breast feeding ansinoh nipple cream and multi mam compresses. Boobs get sore and these help!!!

Notebook and pen. You need to keep track of so many things!! I use our notebook to write down what time Conor feeds at and how much he takes. You can do on demand/ baby led feeding too, but for some babies you need to keep to 3 hours and in the middle of the night when you’re sleep deprived, you will struggle to count in order never mind remember when you last fed!! You will also need to keep track of nappies. You will actually become obsessed with poo!! It is mental. I cheer poos now! What has my life become? It is however important to monitor wet and dirty nappies as it can tell you a lot about the health of the baby.

Large cotton wipes for cleaning bums and cotton balls for the bath! I used the cotton wipes dipped in water for the first few weeks and then I copped on and used wipes!! You will also need A small lunch box/container for water, to dip cotton wipes into when cleaning baby‘s bum.

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-22-17-41Nappy cream. I really like the Moogoo nappy cream.

Scented nappy bags. You will thank me on this one, because how such smells come out of small little things is beyond me!! You can buy this very cheaply in lidl and Aldi.

Baby safety buds to clean cord when baby comes home. Use cooled boiled water to clean it. It’s pretty ugly looking. This part of the newborn experience I really didn’t like!!

Elave baby shampoo and a very soft baby brush to brush scalp at bath time. It helps prevent/treat cradle cap

baby nail clippers. Tommee Tippee actually do a grooming set that include the clippers, a hairbrush, comb and a few other bits!

Silcocks base /Aqueous cream for bathwater. It’s a very gentle cream that you mix in the bath water. My doctor told me to avoid all Johnsons products as the oils are unrefined and not good for newborns skin.

3 or 4 washcloths and 2 sponges for bathtime.

I hope this has helped. While it is all so overwhelming, once the baby comes, it doesn’t matter what you’ve bought, once you have the essentials. Once a baby is fed and loved, you’re already doing an amazing job!! My parting piece of advice. When the baby comes, take time to cuddle them, spend hours staring at them in wonder and just enjoy it. Even though you might be half dead with tiredness, it is all just a phase and even the dirty nappies and sleepless nights are worth it!!!

 

 

*** All products included in this post I either bought myself or was gifted by family and friends

Comments

  1. Karen says

    Thank you so much Sinead, this post is just perfect. I’m due in March and as a first time mother to be I was beginning to get overwhelmed by all the advice people had be giving me, not to mention the huge selection of items in the shops. I have no sisters and no one in my life that I could trust to guide me along so this post is a god send. I just love your no non sense and practical approach. I remember you did a snapchat of what you were packing in your hospital bag and it was so refreshing to see someone just pack the bare basics. So thank you and keep these baby related posts coming, God knows I’ll need someone to guide me along the way. xxxx

    • Sinead K says

      Oh I can’t tell you how amazing it is to become a mom. I don’t share a lot about it online, but I honestly have never been happier!! It isn’t easy, but for every down you have there will be 500 ups!!

  2. says

    So detailed, as ever! This is great, my baba is now a toddler and I definitely felt guilty / weird about maybe making savings on some items or not buying others that it seemed all my friends had. (and everyone on “what to expect” with their picture perfect nurseries!)
    I used a €30 changing bag as it was unisex and wanted something himself could carry too,, then when babs got a bit older, I started just packing one nappy and changing bag into my own handbag,, and a banana,, toddlers always need a banana!!
    I breastfed so I really liked the boppy pillow, but as himself got a bit bigger, I found a cheap Ikea cushion I had actually worked better! lol

    Baby things are just an absolute minefield, I wish I’d read a nice, balanced post like this when I was expecting, this just makes my heart happy.

    Thanks for using your platform to share such nice and sensible (and never judgey) information, Sinead, well done 🙂

  3. ShaUna says

    The co sleeper is the one thing as well that I was sorry I didn’t get. Also the Chicco cuddle swing is great. We’re all such panickers. I thought I had to have everything bought because once the baby was born I’d never see daylight 🙂 my biggest piece of advice would be to sit back and enjoy staring at your baby because it goes so fast. Dont constantly search the Internet for reassurance because yourself and your baby will find your own perfect routine. I was so conscious of not co sleeping due to the risks that everyone talks about. I now have a 2 year old that has sleep in a single bed attached to ours since she was a year. Turns out we all love cuddles after working all day! As long as our baby’s are loved, healthy and happy..who cares what anyone else thinks.

  4. Aoife says

    I cheer poos too! 😂😂 I was obsessed with recording everything when my little guy was a newborn. It really helped too. I definitely agree with you. The the time to just sit and look at them. They’re so precious and tiny!

    Now he’s 10 months old and I have no idea where the time has gone! Still precious but now wrecking the gaff!

  5. Leanne says

    Great read, i know u dont want to go into feeding (hot topic) but after breastfeeding i purchased the tomee tippee prep machine makes life so much easier.
    I also cant live without my clevamama 10 in 1 cushion €50 use this daily+has 10 different uses. Highly recommend.

    • Sinead K says

      I have the perfect prep and it is the best thing we bought. I would buy it 10 times over. I just didn’t want to put it into the post as last time I posted it on Facebook I took a lot of stick

  6. Serena moore says

    I LOVE this!! First baby coming in March and feel completely overwhelmed when going to mothercare etc for a wee nosy at all the stuff there is! This is a life saver, thanks!

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