It really does seem like there are so many new and brilliant baby products since I had Vivienne seven years ago. Plus last time we were expecting a baby we really didn't have much as we were students at the time, so a few years down the line it really feels like a bit of a luxury to be able to get a few things to help make our lives a bit easier (I'm all for throwing a bit of money at being lazy and getting some sleep in particular..!)
When I was pregnant there was one week where three separate Mums told me that I *had* to get a Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep Machine (1). I didn't understand the fuss, but when I was looking at reviews online on one site there was something like 1,200 five-star reviews and 12 one-star, and people said it had completely changed bottle feeding for them. It went in the sale and we decided to go for it.. BEST DECISION EVER. Seriously, just go and buy this thing if you're bottle feeding. It makes a room-temperature bottle within about two minutes. I love this thing. We also bought the Tommee Tippee Starter Kit in the sale with steriliser, bottles, bottle warmer (useless, really..) and powder containers which was great value for money (I know it was in the sale, but it seems to be in the sale everywhere at some point).
My friend was given this sweet little fleece star-shaped blanket from Tuppence and Crumble (2) for her little boy and I loved it. You lay it in the pram and wrap it around them. On days where I was rushing to get out of the door on time (I'm looking at you, school run), I could put Sylvie in this and another blanket on top within about 30 seconds. You KNOW how difficult it is to get tiny baby arms into a cardigan or snowsuit quickly.. This thing was only about £20 and you can use it in a buggy or car seat too.
If you live near an Aldi and have a baby there's every chance you love Mamia products (3) as much as we do. They are cheap and they work as well as if not better than other baby changing products out there. That's basically all you need to know.
At a baby massage class, one of the other Mums had this app to settle her baby and it really worked. I downloaded it on a whim and it sends Sylvie into a hypnotic state where she's drop off to sleep. It's called Sound Sleeper (4)and plays different white noises, you can set the time and even set it to 'listen' for when baby cries and it'll automatically play. I don't know why or how it works but it really does.
We were lucky enough to be lent a Snuzpod (5) from my sister-in-law and we really love it. It's wedged in between our bed and the wall and brings Sylvie to our height but in a safe space by the bed. In the night it really makes all the difference to lean over to pop her dummy bag in or rub her tummy rather than getting up and leaning over a cot. The Sleepyhead also fits into it well.
This amazing Orla Keily print Gro Bag (6) was on sale in Mothercare and I really loved the print (we were also sick of little legs kicking cellular blankets off a few weeks in). This is a 2.5 tog, lightweight baby sleeping bag but has clever little functions like poppers under the armpits to temporarily make it smaller for tiny babies, and a velcro opening at the back and a double zip so that you can thread buggy or car seat harnesses through it and they can use it like a footmuff when travelling too. We'll definitely be making the most of this when we're away next month. (I also picked up another GroBag in a different print from TK Maxx for half the price - definitely worth keeping an eye out).
You may remember from my Paternity Leave post that our first baby bag was stolen from David's car when Sylvie was a few days old. I was especially annoyed and upset because I'd bought one that I really loved and had really looked into - the Tiba and Marl Raf Hold-All (7). I loved that this didn't look like a changing bag and didn't look too 'Mumsy'. David and I would also both use it for nights away when the baby's grown out of it. It has compartments inside, a shoulder strap, and clips onto the buggy handles so the bag hangs at waist height when you're pushing which is great for dipping into the bag here and there when you need to.
The Sleepyhead (8) is another thing I would tell every parent to get - it's another product that has really just *worked* for us. It's a baby nest that you can put into a crib, cot, co-sleep with it (not our thing, personally) and use it on it's own as a travel cot when baby is still very little. It also has handles and weighs very little so I carry it around the house with me as a safe and comfortable place to put Sylvie during the day. It also comes in a plastic travel bag so you can easily pack it for a night away and keep it clean. The only downside is how much spare covers cost for it (about £45 I think), but the Snuzpod fitted crib sheets stretch over it perfectly as an easy hack.
I wasn't aware of any of these things seven years ago, but I definitely feel everything has been made a bit easier with these things in our arsenal this time. When there's enough going on with a new baby every little thing that helps feels a bit miraculous!