My favourite mom things | What essentials to buy for baby

Mother’s day is coming up this weekend. The last one that I cared about as a mom was a month after Kiera died. To say that was a hard one for me is an understatement. To commemorate it, my mom lovingly had a necklace made for me with an engraving about Kiera. It was very special to me. So this year, I’m really excited for Mother’s day because it’s my first one that I can celebrate while being happy, grateful and fulfilled. Also, I expect to be treated like a motherflipping QUEEN (no pressure, Jon).

But celebrations aside, I’ve been thinking about what makes a mother. Aside from obviously lying down and being willing to die for your child, and protecting them and loving them, motherhood is really just loads and loads of acts of service – which, incidentally, is my love language. And with all things servicy, you need tools. I’ve been meaning to write a post about the things I’ve found useful in being an every day mom and no, this post is nowwwat sponsored. It’s an authentic, objective and opinionated list of things that Jon and I have loved since bringing home our tiny human last year.

We’ve spent so much money on things we didn’t need, and I’ve been sent so many mom things over the last year – some of it has been incredibly crap and wasteful, but a lot of it has been so handy. This made me think that I needed to compile a list of my favourite things because it’s probably the most common question I get asked by pregnant women: what are the baby essentials? Well, here are mine.

All the nappy cloths.

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For cotch, for warmth, for sunshine blocking or even last minute “shit I forgot to pack picnic blankets” blankets. We have about 12 which we rotate in the washing because they get diiiiiirty.

A mountain of wet wipes.

I especially love the ones that have the lids on so you can travel with them without losing the stupid, flimsy sticker that covers the pack but Aiden has developed a taste for stealing the sticker covers anyway so that he can stick them on his hand, pull them off and giggle. Or eat them, it totally depends on his mood. Either way, we end up with a half pack of dried wet wipes if we don’t actually close them properly. The problem is that not a lot of places stock the wet wipes with lids. So I found a little bag at Woolies last week that has a zip lock type bag with a lid and you can replace the wet wipes. GENIUS.

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A Tommee Tippee flask.

I cannot stress this one enough, especially in the earlier days when Aiden was small, we used this daily. Not once did we have to wait for restaurants to warm up bottles or bring hot water, we had it on us wherever we went. To mix into formula, or reheat breast milk bottles, it worked for both. Later Jon and I used it for ourselves, or to keep on hand in case of an emergency requiring boiled water (one never knows, you know). I loved it so much I convinced Kate to buy one too, and then she loved it so much for Carter, and then later on used it for herself to keep coffee warm. See? Many uses. Get one.

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A dishwasher, microwavable, steriliser safe dummy case.

Nothing is worse than a sticky, cat-fur covered dummy. And even though my child only likes one when he’s going to sleep, I still like to make sure his dummy is clean. At home we keep them sterilised in a tupperware, but when we go out the dummy case is golden and always comes in handy. It’s also very funny to watch my 10 month old hold the transparent dummy case and not understand why it won’t go into his mouth like it normally does. Ahem.

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Bum Buddy

Honestly, this is the one thing I swear has been the biggest innovation between birthing my two kids 13 years apart. No more fumbling with wet wipes and bum cream tubs while trying to hold those little squirming legs together and in the air. Just push one button and bam! Wet wipes are available. Press another and boom! Bum cream is right there waiting for your finger to smear. This thing has saved me minutes of frustrations. And even though they mostly come branded with one product, you can replace those with your preferred brand if necessary.

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Sudocrem. The big tubs. And small tubs. 

All of the Sudocrem tubs all of the time. Nothing else seems to work for our boy’s butt. The minute we use anything other than Sudocrem, he will get a rash. Not ideal. So this is where I apologise to Bennetts because I totally bought their bum buddy and replaced their cream with a small tub of Sudocrem.

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Pampers nappies.

Remembering the early days of changing nappies every 3 hours throughout the 24 hour day makes me want to weep all over again. Luckily 3 months in, we switched to Pampers and stopped changing nappies at night time. Suddenly the leaks stopped and Aiden’s bum stayed dry and happy for over 8 hours until the next morning. This alone made life so much easier because we no longer had to take him out of his bed during night time feeds which meant that a 45-minute stint at midnight and 3am was reduced to 15, tops (because not taking him out of bed meant that he didn’t get stimulated and stay awake for longer).  I have to admit, we haven’t had the same luck with any other brand.

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This Graco Ultima Plus Travel System.

Because seriously, it was probably the only “expensive” thing that we bought ourselves (most of everything else was gifted, preloved or second-hand) and it’s awesome. I’ve now got mommy friends who bought Stokke (very expensive, like R60k for a pram expensive) products and changed to my pram instead because it’s just that easy. I can collapse or set it up using one hand, it has enough storage space to carry the nappy bag, two bottles, a compartment for my phone and car keys, as well as a whole basket under the carriage itself. And it fits into my boot with extra space left over. One small flaw to note is that the material is quite plastic and not very breathable – so in Summer Aiden used to sweat like a 1940s aerobics instructor. That aside, my favourite thing is that it came with a car seat which slots into the pram itself, and is still in use by Aiden. Altogether I think we paid just under R4 000. Highly recommended.

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A washable, plastic, sturdy feeding chair with removable tray.

Our feeding chair was a hand-me-down from Aiden’s cuzzies, so we didn’t give it much more thought until we started using it. Fortunately, the tray is removable, which is so much easier to clean than the chairs that don’t have removable trays. The only thing I would change is that the chair cover itself be plastic so we could just spray and wipe it down instead of having to unbutton the whole thing to wash it once a week in the machine (and believe me, it needs it that regularly. Nobody ever told me how messy solids would be!).

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A breastfeeding pillow, and then a large donut pillow.

This is for a few reasons: I am short and my legs almost never reach the floor, which means that when I sit in a chair, I can’t rely on my knees for much support. Also I have big boobs and quite a tummy so what little space my upper thighs have to be leaned on is already taken (Fattist TMI!). Enter the breastfeeding pillow! It frees up your hands while breast or bottle feeding the bebe, so you can do important things like tweet, scroll through Facebook and snapchat filters on your kid.

Then, the donut pillow is is important because (especially if you have a winter baby) the floor is COLD man, and tummy time is not recommended on beds and other soft surfaces without much support. Once your baby grows a bit older, it’s also great for when they’re learning to sit but still fall over and konk their heads. With a donut, they only get a fright but don’t get hurt as the soft cushioning protects their fragile widdle snowflake skulls. Lastly, just before they start crawling, the pillow helps to contain all the toys as they sit and bang things. Once they’re crawling? Forget about it, nothing can contain the pure balls of energy wriggling to get out through those limbs.

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A good, neutral nappy bag with lots of compartments.

Our friends clubbed in and bought us the best, most neutral coloured and stylish nappy bag on the market – we love ours so much. In fact, it was so loved that I stopped using my own handbag for the first 6 months of Aiden’s life. It has all the right compartments, an attached dummy carrier, changing mat, foil-lined bottle warmer section, and plenty of space for everything you need (you know, tampons, cell phone chargers, diaries, books for mom baby…) or could possibly want to carry around with you.

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A changing mat with a removable, washing machine safe cover.

Well, for obvious reasons. I liked the material covered mats instead of the plastic ones because they’re warmer in the middle of the night, and also less likely to break apart in the washing machine.

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I hope this list has helped you. All of the above can be sourced locally in most baby shops, or online. Good luck shopping!

 

5 comments

  1. Kate says:

    So agree with most of these things (especially the flask) but it’s so funny you loved the breastfeeding donut pillow. Got zero use out of mine. As well as the dummy holder. I’m not a good mom when it comes to sterilising.

    Another big thing I would add to this list is telament drops and the actual bottle brush. Which now gets used on my hard to reach cutlery and crockery items.
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  2. Debbie says:

    I have huge high chair regret. We got the wooden one that folds out into a chair and table eventually. Super kuk. If I ever get to have another baby, we’re having a high chair do over.

    • Shebee says:

      Oh no shame, Debbie, and they’re so expensive to replace too. Thankfully I learned from friends mistakes on this one so we knew to get a decent one, and luckily as I said in the post, we were gifted ours which was perfect.

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