The essential collection

There is a sense of denial pervading our flat about the imminent addition to our household. The ability to continue with our heads firmly in the sand is supported by the distinct lack of change to the flat. Nursery decoration? Ha! Reallocation or removal of clutter? Double ha! Baby items procured? Not one! So with life continuing pretty much as usual chez nous, it is easy at some level to separate the expanding and spontaneously moving belly from anything that is likely to affect our lives thus far.

This week this has to change! There is a nearly new NCT sale coming to town tomorrow and I am determined to pick up some bargains and start the process towards getting at least the minimum required to survive the first few weeks.

Mamas & Papas provide a nifty little Checklist for what you need – so I intend to use this, plus some knowhow from the internets to start my campaign.

So as not to bore you rigid with my shopping list, I have isolated the items which are on there whose presence in the world I had no idea of (let alone their status as an essential baby item) so I can share my new found knowledge of what these mysterious items are!

Cellular blankets
Seems to be a blanket with bigger holes than usual so that if the baby pulls it over its head it can still breathe.

Breast pads
My friend Anita suggests cabbage leaves as an alternative to this – but I am unconvinced about wandering around with cabbage stuck in my bra so I think I’ll stick with the purpose-built kind.

Maternity sanitary pads
Like normal sanitary pads on thickness overload, apparently the thickness helps when you are sore or if you’ve had stiches. And normal ones are bad m’kay because of their plastic backing which absorbs moisture and can inhibit stitch healing. Some say normal nighttime sanitary pads are a good alternative though.

Bedside Cot
Co-sleeping with the baby in a cot right next to or attached to the bed is increasing in popularity. This appeals to me, not because of my hippy side, but because it sounds a perfect solution for a lazy person like me who is very attached to her bed!

TENS machine
20130423-231621.jpg explains: ” a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) machine is used as an alternative to painkilling medication. A TENS machine is a small portable, battery-operated device which is worn on the body. The box is attached by wires to sticky pads stuck to the skin. Small electrical pulses are transmitted to the body, like little electric shocks. This can help to ease pain in some people with certain types of pain. Although there is not much robust proof that TENS machines work, many people do find them very helpful.”

Nasal Aspirator
Basically used to suck the snot out of the baby’s nose. According to those sitting at my table at Danielle’s wedding this is a must to avoid unnecessary hospital trips.


For those in a similar predicament or who just like shopping lists, here is the full essentials list, largely drawing on Mamas & Papas’ with a few additions!

Checklist – summer baby
Group 0+ car seat & base if required
Moses basket + mattress – will need a new mattress if the basket is second hand
Cot – for downstairs and later on
Cot mattress
Bedside cot – for upstairs
2-4 fitted sheets
2-4 flat sheets – since the British summer is bound to be hot hot hot!
3 cellular blankets
Buggy – although might be able to get away with a sling for some time
Changing bag
Changing mat
Chest of drawers
6 vests – 0-3 months as they’ll outgrow newborn too fast
6 sleepsuits
2 cardigans
Newborn nappies
Nappy bags
Cotton wool pads
Muslin squares
Towels / hooded towels
Bath & nursery thermometer
Nail scissors
Nasal aspirator
Olive oil – apparently the best thing initially for baby skin moisturisation and fighting meconium poo
? Baby bath or support seat – some argue a washing up bowl will do
? Breast feeding pillow – v-shaped
? Baby changing top (for on top of the drawers) – Changing mat on top might do
? Rocker, bouncer or swing
? Travel cot – unless my Mum is purchasing a proper cot

Checklist – me
Maternity sanitary pads (4 packs)
Granny knickers – huge for after the birth
Nightdresses for hospital – ones that you don’t mind throwing away afterwards
? TENS machine

Nursing bras
Breast pads
Breast cream
? Electric breast pump – seems a bit controversial whether you should express early on
Bottles, teats
Bottle brush

Blimey. Better get shopping!

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