I have been reflecting back over my first year with Baby J, and have thought about what items I was given or bought that became essentials items & what I would recommend all new parents to invest in.
1. Ewan the dream sheep - this furry, friendly sheep was recommended to me by Mummy N when Baby J was 3 weeks old. I was looking for something to help soothe him to sleep and Mummy N said to try Ewan, at that stage I was willing to try anything so bought him to try. He looks like a simple round cuddly sheep that has 4 soothing sounds activated by pressing his feet, his tummy glows as well. His tail is Velcroed meaning you can safely attach him to the cot, Moses basket, car seat, buggy etc. Ewan is a miracle worker! I remember when I first went to try him, Baby J wouldn’t settle and hubby was doubtful that a cuddly sheep would make any difference… oh how wrong was he, with the soothing sound of ‘heartbeat’ playing within minutes Baby J calmed down and drifted calmly off to sleep. After that he was used daily I used different sounds during the day / night to help baby identify long sleep and naps, he was used until Baby J got better at settling himself. He now lives on the corner of Baby J’s bed and gets lovingly played with. On nights when Baby J is cranky or won’t settle he gets used. Ewan is worth every penny, & hubby and I soon learnt to keep spare batteries in the house so when we heard the gentle beeps of the battery low signal we were able to change them in a flash.
2. Baby Sheepskin rug – my lovely sister-in-law bought me this when Baby J was a few days old, she advised me to sleep on is for a night to get my scent on it before using it with baby. I did as she suggested, and got hubby to do the same. It was ideal to lay baby on to help snuggle down; I used it for naps, tummy time, during the summer to help cool him and during the winter to keep him warm. It was ideally shaped to fit in his pram & Moses basket. Baby J loves it and when he’s sick it’s guaranteed to help cosy him. A great gift / buy and one that will last a long time.Available widely in shops and online
3. Gro bags / sleep bags – my brother gave me 2 Gro bags before Baby J was born, at the time I’d never heard of them and was unsure how they’d work or how they would be better than blankets…. That was until I tried putting covers on Baby J when he went to sleep, swaddles failed, as baby likes to sleep in the muscle man pose, blankets got kicked off time and time again disturbing him and causing him to stir, so when baby was 6 weeks old and old enough to be put in the Gro bag I gave it a go….. It is basically a sleeping bag for babies, which has arm holes for baby’s arms, and fastens up round the feet / baby’s side. Baby J couldn’t kick if off and was free to sleep in his poses, which meant he was kept warm and snug during the night….HOORAY!! I’ve since learnt that you can get different tog sleep bags, during the summer we used a 0.5 tog [sheet thickness] and in the winter a 2.5 tog. You can layer baby’s clothes up underneath depending on the season too. I have now stocked up on Gro bags and tend to use them as long as possible.
4. Buggy Buddy – this nifty little basket attaches easily to the handles of any pram / buggy. It has a holder at either end for bottles / drinks for parents, and a roomy compartment for keys / toys / purse/ nappy / wipes / mittens etc. So why do you need a Buggy Buddy when you have a changing bag? Buggy Buddies are ideal to quickly attach to your wheels if you are just nipping down the shops or on any short outing where you don’t want to take your big bag out. On full long day outings, I’ve used mine with my changing bag on Baby J’s wheels; I keep Baby J’s drinking bottle/ my keys / wipes / snacks and hats in it for easy access. I have also used it on car journeys; it’s great to put everything for Baby J in one easy accessible place.
5. Aunty B’s Blankie – The lovely blanket was crocheted for Baby J by his Aunty B & he loves it! It got used in his pram and now his buggy, it got moved into the car for journeys, and back into the house to be used for naps. Its ideal as with its holey nature baby can grab it and hold on, I know that it keeps him warm without overheating baby. I loved it so much that Aunty B kindly created another one in multi colours, so one now lives in my car, the other in the house. So if you have a knitter in your family get them to make you one, I’m sure you can get them in the shops, but one given from a family member or friend means so much more and will become a treasured loved item.