Yes there is so much stuff for your baby. There seems to be an endless opportunity to purchase toys and equipment, for you and your baby. Its marketed to you, as what you need, how to give your baby the best start in life and how to remember these special days.. I think the market is covered from every angle to target a new parents emotions, and as parents want to do whats best for their children I think that the choice of products will always be multiplying.
When I had my first baby I wasn't too keen on anything second hand but as we were saving to buy our own place, we couldn't be fussy. Jons sisters had already had their children and were able to pass stuff down. It was a blessing and we did buy some things new as well. When my 2nd child came along, we realised how little use you get from all the baby things and that 2nd hand things were certainly not second best, and saved us a fortune. Babies do not need alot, so I thought I'd write my list of baby essentials...
Cot. Baby needs somewhere to sleep, obvious. If you intend to have more than one child, get a cot in a standard size so it will not cost a fortune to replace the mattress and buy sheets. For 3 of my babies, they outgrew the moses basket in a month and they were noisy sleepers, so were in their own room by 6 weeks. So a moses basket although pretty wasn't essential. B was in a toddler bed before 18months, as he kept climbing out of the cot, due to my small age gaps, if I had chosen a cot bed I may not have used it as a bed or would have had to purchase another cot for when N arrived. So just a standard cot to me was essential.
Bathing. I love the basic white bath support from mothercare. In hospital it can be really fiddly to hold your baby correctly to bath them so I loved having the support, leaving me free to clean him with ease. I also like boots sensitive bath range and found that using johnsons products - they do smell nice but baby just wants to drink the bathwater and it dries out their skin. I also found using grape oil was great at hydrating my baby's skin (L was overcooked and had very dry skin, when he was born). I much preferred this to the baby baths, as I found this small and awkward for washing newborns.
Clothes. I love baby clothes, the cute socks, baby grows and little outfits. My babies were better dressed then me! I particularly like Next clothes as they wash well and wear well with time (hand down to my other children). I also quite liked Sainsburys Tu (although they come up a little small) and Asda George. I also like Mothercare but some of the colours fade with time. M&S do some nice boys clothes, as well as some strange colour choices in the boys range. Debenhams and M&Co also have a lovely boys range but come up a little small for my boys.
Feeding. When I breastfed, I loved having an electric pump - it really got me through the engorgement stage. I then had a series of cups and syringes to feed the baby this milk. I sterilised the equipment in a bowl with miltons. When I fed I either laid on my bed with lots of cushions or in the reclining chair - with lots of cushions. Cushions were certainly needed! I also think lanolin is great in helping the soreness. Now onto formula, I have tried lots of different bottles over the years and my favourite is tommee tippee. This is because baby can latch onto the bottle, like he did when he was feeding. They are cute and the teats are soft. The steam steriliser is finished in 5 mins, so is really quick. I also like their brand of dummies as they come in their own microwave steriliser cases which means if dummy is dropped they can be cleaned and sterilised really quickly.
Nappies. I have tried both throw away and re-use able. I like pampers baby dry nappies as great for holding in the moisture and the print on them is unisex. I also like tesco's own baby dry version. My babies have sensitive skin so absorbency is really important. I like sudocream for first instance of rash plus its really good for lots of things and handy to have in your nursery bag for when the children get older. When something more is needed, I liked metanium. If the rash was not contained after this, then I would visit the doctor. When it comes to re-useables, I tried bamboozle stretch at night time and bum genius 3 during daytime. The bum genius come in great colours and are really easy to use, however absorbency not so good and caused my baby to get nappy rash really quickly. The bamboozle stretch, were so much better on my babies skin but are really bulky. They aren't that much work and are really simple to use, but I think it would be good to trial a few different ones before you buy the set.
Car Seat. I have used second hand car seats, as well as brand new and passed them from one child to another, as long as I was confident the seat had been in no accidents or showed marks of wear and tear. I think its best to get the best car seat you can afford as technology advances in safety and you need your precious bundle to be as protected as possible. I did get the carry version of the car seat along with the travel system but to be honest this was a waste. I have such big babies they were over 9kg way before 6 months and I struggled carrying them in the seat from 3 months! A bigger car seat that can be strapped in reverse for first stage, moved round when they were over 9kg, would have made better financial sense.
Pram. I wasn't really fussed about the pram until after I had my first child. They are your biggest tool - buy wisely. I think I could write a whole piece on this alone - I love them! I never really considered storage, weight, ease of steering etc. and how I would be using it. I have had lots of different pushchairs and prams. Perhaps more than I should admit too! The big named brands do tend to hold their value and can be sold on. My advise would be consider the above, as I used mine practically everyday and with big babies and living near lots of hills, a light weight pram suited me best. Also really consider how you live, I went for the all terrain pushchair at one point, as loved the idea of going on big family walks but the truth is, in reality I go to the shops and walking with toddlers, is not the same as going on a 'walk'.
Bedding. I like to decorate the nursery's for each of my children, so have bought new bedding and sheets. This is part of the process of preparing for baby, for me. Its not an essential to have a pretty nursery but I really enjoyed choosing a theme, painting it, matching the sheets and curtains. I love colour and design so this was my way of doing something special for them.
I will cover toys and gadgets later...