Don't Buy That Baby Thing
It’s 2am and the baby is crying - shit. You do what you’re meant to - feed them and begin rocking them to sleep. As they drift off you get your phone out making doubly sure it’s on silent and begin scrolling through the endless feeds - and that’s when you see it.
The best thing in the world - guaranteed happiness. Want convenience? This is the answer. Look at these happy babies using the product, and just look how miserable they were before. Want to add this to your batman-style utility belt? Sure - you totally still have room and will use it every day. Oh? Apple Pay? Perfect.
You won’t use it, or you’ll try and shoehorn it in to your setup to feel like it was worth the price you paid. It’ll end up in the garage and eventually gifted to some poor soul who will probably never use it - the cycle continues.
I’m this person, by the way, and so is my partner Amy. We’ve bought loads of shit we shouldn’t have, and here is our guide on what is worth buying, what isn’t, and some other useful tips we seem to keep sharing.
We’re writing this post together, and also completely acknowledge our place of privilege in that we can consider a wide range of price points.
- Buy bottles even if you plan on breastfeeding, just in case.
- Only buy 2 or 3 in case your baby rejects them (they can be fussy little sods).
- We used these NUK First Choice+ bottles - they have a nice temperature strip. We still use them but in the bigger size.
- Note: you will need to rebuy teats once they are about 6 months old.
- We use this NUK Baby Bottle Cleaner liquid - you don’t need a lot per use.
- We have a this Tommee Tippee Super Steam sterilizer as we don’t have a microwave, but the microwave ones are much cheaper.
- Note: Try and buy the the sterilizer from the same company as the bottles - they will fit a little better. We have different brands and it’s still ok, but sometimes a balancing act.
- Same with the cleaning brush - make it the same brand as the bottles. We have this NUK bottle brush. Do buy a specialised brush though as it can get right up in the teat.
- We have this OXO bottle rack to let them dry and be stored. It uses very little surface space for what we can store on it (all components for 9 bottles).
Making Up Bottles
When using formula you have some options:
- Boil water, wait 30 mins for it to cool, put in formula and shake. Takes ages but requires no special equipment.
- Buy pre-made formula liquid, heat in a mug of boiling waiter or put in a bottle warmer. Pre-made is very expensive, but convenient when on-the-go.
- Use a Tommee Tippee perfect prep machine like us - takes about 45 secs to make a bottle at the right temperature.
- The Tommee Tippee pump was clunky af. Lots of moving parts to clean, and it was very involved.
- The Elvie electric wearable smart breast pump was very pricey and pretty good, but isn’t as flexible as it claims to be. The smallest of movements can dislodge it and cause it to leak or misreport that it is full. It’s easy to clean, but requires buying extras to make it feasible, and it’s already freaking expensive.
- When Sage was being fed, the other boob would sometimes leak. We didn’t get along with the Haakaa pump for general use, but it worked as a receptacle for leaking milk.
- Getting a breastfeeding pillow is really valuable - we liked this bbhugme nursing pilloe (more expensive) and this Niimo pregnancy pillow (cheaper and still good for feeding). We had one in each of the two places Sage was often fed.
- Don’t buy expensive change mats - they all break eventually. Ours came from Aldi and they are about £4 and worked fine.
- We had a more expensive one and it experienced exactly the same wear and tear.
- We recently got this "The Wriggler" which does help if your baby struggles, but it is about a month old and is already on the verge of breaking. For the cost I would not recommend it given it’s short lifespan.
- Create several nappy caddies which contain everything you need for a change - it’s a lot easier in-the-moment to grab one thing. Ours contains nappies, wipes, nappy bag, nappy rash cream, and a distraction toy.
In the UK we call soothers/pacifiers “dummies”, just so we’re on the same page.
- Like bottles, only buy a small number of dummies as not every one works for every baby. We used these NUK ones for 0-6m and these NUK ones for 6-18m.
- In the early days a bedside crib is pretty nice. We used the Tutti Bambini CoZee and one side of it can drop so it acts like an extension of your bed. It works as a travel cot in the early-days too.
- Ewan is the only sleep-aid toy that we found useful. It emits white noise and a pulsing sound similar to a heartbeat. It makes noise when it detects noise from the baby.
- Don’t overthink or overspend on your baby monitor. We have a BT audio-only one which was cheap and has amazing range. We do also have a cheap £30 Eufy Indoor Cam in case we want to get a visual on-demand but even if we didn’t have this (we happened to have one spare) the audio monitor would be fine.
- Grobag sleeping bags are great. Make sure size and tog is appropriate for time of year.
- In the early days we found the Joie Dreamer Rocker a good place to pop Sage down for a nap wherever we were.
- We used this Angelcare bath support chair at the start.
- We use this chair now that Sage is bigger.
- We use this Tommee Tippee thermometer. Doesn't matter what you get but we'd suggest a digital readout rather than a disc that changes color.
- Hooded towels are useful (and super cute).
- These Munchkin spoons go white if they have food on them that is too hot.
- Don’t buy suction mats - they’ll pull em up no matter what. Think you’ve found on that’s baby proof? Come back in a month.
- We used this Cosatto Noodle high chair until recently. It is solid.
- We use this Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair now. It’s expensive ocne you add the extras needed to make it baby-safe, but will grow with Sage right up to adulthood.
- Popover bibs are ace.
- Reusable wipes like the cheeky wipes are great and versatile.
- These NUK ice lolly moulds are good to create soothing ice pops as a desert for teething babies. We freeze them with fruit purées.
Out & About
- Buy dummy clips. They’re cheaper than replacing the dozens of dummies they’ll inevitably throw on the floor without you seeing.
- Have a wet bag like this one from Bambino Mio. They’ll trap smell if they shit all over something while out.
- Like a caddy, a stocked nappy bag is useful. Also travel with a change of clothes (maybe even a set for yourself). We were gifted this Lekebaby rucksack changing bag and it’s solid.
- There isn’t always a high chair available. This Chicco Pocket Snack Booster is super handy and packs down small. It has two adjustable straps - one for the bottom of an adult chair, and one for the back - once tightened it is solid.
Strollers & Car Seats
“Travel systems” allow you to lift car seats from their mount and pop it on a stroller frame. These are good when transporting your baby in and out of places.
However, do not expect them to last much past 6 months as they will outgrow the car seat component. The rest of the travel system will see them up to when they walk.
Side note: when we saw that the Cosatto Wow had a double-stroller XL variant, we thought it’d be a good system to buy in to if we had another child just needing to rebuy the frame at that point. We met another family who had the same thought, and it turns out that the Wow and Wow XL are a few mm different in width and none of the components are compatible. Really sneaky and disappointing.
We also recently bought the GB Pockit+ All-Terrain umbrella stroller (suitable from when they can sit up independently). It packs down to the size of a rucksack and can be carried-on to a plane.
We use these Baby Uma buggy clips on the handle of our stroller to quickly hang the nappy bag.
- Muslin cloths. Buy enough that you think there’s too many, and then buy more. Babies piss, shit, and puke a lot.
- These indestructible books are amazing.
- This Braun underarm thermometer is useful.
- This Miofresh laundry cleanser has saved some very very messy clothes.
- We like this Infantino Cuddle Up sling (from 5.4kg) but there’s so much variety - try a few out and find the one that works for you.
- This Tushbaby thing was a stupid 2am purchase. Maybe if it was £25 instead of £60 it’d be worth it as it did alleviate back pain, but we’ve not used it nearly enough to justify cost.
- This Mini Meis thing is yet to pay off too - I’m not convinced it ever will.
- This jumperoo / baby bouncer / circle of neglect / vomitorioum was enjoyed for a grand total of 2 hours before being committed to our garage forever.
- We use these retractable BabyDan baby gates as we foresaw stubbing of toes on more traditional ones. While it keeps Sage from opening it, it als ostumps our parents and grandparents - you may have to save them!
Our Top Picks
- Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine
- Chicco Pocket Snack booster chair
- Joie Dreamer Rocker bouncer chair
Our Most Regretful Buys
- Baby Bouncer
- Tush Baby
- Elvie for the cost
- Bottle warmer given we had a perfect prep machine and didn’t end up expressing.
- Every stroller parasol we’ve had sucks - even ones from the same companies that sell the strollers.
We'll keep updating this document as we find new things we genuinely like on a long-term basis, and when we buy useless shit at 2am and live to regret it.
This is the first time I've tried my hand at Amazon affiliate links too - so if you buy through a link here I get a small kickback, though I still encourage you to shop-around and support local baby stores too (a lot of our stuff is from small independent businesses).
FInally, if you have further questions just tweet me - I'm @_phzn.