Top 5 Mommy Essentials for Baby Arrival
As we continue the Belly Beautiful Series, I’d like to share my top 5 list of baby essentials to get started in the first few months. My list considers the following:
- Living in Europe in urban, city-centers
- Short on space and storage
- Starting out using public transport only (i.e. trams, buses, metros, trains, no car)
- Maneuvering with baby on small, windy (and often cobbled) streets
- Essentials to begin, because, let’s face it, we really don’t know how things will go!
1. Baby sling & carrier (Boba wrap and Ergo baby carrier): In the early months, I used the Boba wrap mainly, and then eventually switched to the Ergo baby carrier. I didn’t buy a stroller until my son was 6 months old. (I know I cheated on this one as it is two items, not one!) Traveling alone on a plane with a baby can be challenging, whether it is across town for a monthly check up and vaccination to travels abroad. Using a wrap or carrier is a life-saver! Before my son turned one he’d already been to Italy, England, Spain, USA (Detroit and San Francisco), Peru, Mexico, and each time I travelled with either the Boba wrap (early months) or the Ergo carrier, with hands free and ability to rock him to sleep.
- Your baby is cozied up against you, sleeps and chills
- You have hands free
- Easy to travel, (short and long distances), avoids on and off boarding public transport with stroller
- Cobbled streets aren’t a bumpy stroller ride (Although I know there are some high-tech strollers that have quality suspension, thus smooth riding).
2. Changing mats: Normal & portable
Absolute necessity and helpful when you are constantly on the go. Additionally, I bought a regular, thicker plastic mat, white with grey stars. You can stick it anywhere – on the bed, sofa, floor, back of the car, grassy patch. I use it still after almost 20 months. The portable one less so, as it is smaller in size.
- Changing mat: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kit-Kids-Baby-Changing-Stars/dp/B00FXOPCNI: 10
- Portable changing mat: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kit-Kids-Folding-Change-Flamingo/dp/B0160CIOU4: €20
- Used the mat on a dresser table in the first few months, and then placed on the bed or ground once he started rolling over and moving, still use it today
- I didn’t have space for a changing table, plus once babies learn to roll over, say good bye to changing table
- Folding mat was essential when leaving the house, whether to go to the park or travel on the airplane
- Folding mat neatly fit into my bag and came with a matching diaper deposit bag
3. Bath tub
For the first two months baby took baths in the deep rounded bathroom sink, then we switched over to a bath tub. He adores bath time until this day. We wanted something that was functional at three months and more. Once baby sits up and is more active, add fun colourful bath toys. We have boats, ducks, a cup for pouring and even a small comb.
- Okbaby Evolution Bath tub: https://www.amazon.fr/Okbaby-Evolution-Baby-Pearl-White/dp/B002FOPY46/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1510241841&sr=8-4&keywords=onda+evolution: €45
- Accommodates baby lying down (first 6 or so months) and sitting up (after about 6 months)
- Water comes out from bottom, has a plug and Drainage system allows water to spill out from the bottom instead of dumping it out all at once
- Works well in Italy and France where our home has always had a stand-up shower, therefore, no tub
- Stands up in the corner of the bathroom and doubles as a little paddle pool in the sweltering summer
4. Baby bouncer
I’m a major fan of the BABYBJÖRN brand. Although items can run a bit on the pricey end, their products are very functional, easy to clean and quality. (Side note: We also have the BABYBJÖRN travel crib and high chair, although not “must-haves”, for the first few months, unless you are doing hard core traveling in the beginning. We purchased these at around 4-6 months in.)
- BABYBJÖRN bouncer: https://www.babybjorn.fr/transats/ : €155
- Adjustable levels according to baby size
- Simple and sleek
- Washable slip cover
- Baby started eating his first purees at 4 months here as he was not fully sitting up for the high chair, but able enough to try solids
5. Board books
We started reading to baby since he was born. Many of the books we started reading are his favorites today. He loves his books and sits quietly each night before bedtime anticipating the story as if it was the first time. Pure magic. The highlight of the night. The board books are great for bedtime, quiet/down, traveling. Whenever we did a long trip, I packed some of his favorites, not only for the journey and for during the trip. His favorites include: good night moon, caterpillar, brown bear. We have a collection of books in different languages. Parent tip: To make it more fun, I try to add special voices or read at different speeds. A few times even sang the book! Keeps it different and exciting, if not for the kids, for you!
- Depending on book: €5-12
- Once baby is grabbing, pulling, tearing and exploring, board books endure all.
- Great to set-up bed time routine with books from the beginning
- Useful for quiet/down time during the day
- Brings familiarity when traveling, especially for longer periods of time
Expecting mothers, what are you buying? Veteran mommas, what items could you not live without? Anything you’d add to the list?