All content of this blog is my own opinion only. It does not represent the views of any organisation or association I may work for, or be associated with. Nothing within this blog should be considered as medical advice and you should always consult your Doctor.

20 "Essential" Baby Items That Aren't Essential...

NOTE: Some people seem to have misinterpreted this article and feel I am suggesting no person ever needed the items below.  This is not the case.  I found with my first and second babies, my list of "essentials" was completely different; this meant with number 1 I had heaps of stuff sat around unused, and other stuff I needed to go and buy.  With number 2 I used some of the stuff I hadn't with the first, but there was still a heap I didn't and still stuff I had to buy.

Almost every baby website has a list of items every expectant parent needs or may want to have before the big day! Just how extensive the list of items is varies wildly list to list.

I'm going the other way, with a list of items you can do without - or at the very least buy at a later date when you know they're definitely going to be used.

Some people want or need to parent frugally, others want to go as environmentally friendly as possible - or perhaps both! Anyway hope this helps.

1.  Baby Bath - Many people already have a perfect sized baby bath.  One that is easy to drain, comfortable standing height and ready plumbed in - yep the sink.   Baby baths need draining one way or another - if you use them in the big bath, you then have to lean over the bath sides to wash a small slippery baby.  If you move them out of the bath, you need to carry a bath full of water somewhere, then back for emptying!  The sink can be a lot easier.

Another option (usually the favourite from baby's point of view) is to bathe/shower with baby; if you have a partner who would enjoy some 1-2-1 time with baby, this can be a perfect opportunity.  Heat and contact release oxytocin - which promotes good feelings and bonding.

Lastly a cheaper option than a dedicated baby bath is a washing up bowl - no built in drainage, but sit in the bath and tip it out when finished.

2.  Formula - Many parents who plan to breastfeed, feel they need to buy infant formula "just in case". You don't.  If a breastmilk substitute is required for medical reasons shortly after birth - this is provided by all hospitals in the UK.  Once you get home, or if you plan a homebirth - every supermarket, chemist, any numerous other places sell it if needed.  The other thing is if you have a bad night, mums report having formula on hand can be more "tempting", by the time the next day comes and they could go an buy some, they've changed their mind!

A more environmentally and pocket friendly option is milk donated from another breastfeeding mother (so it's same species rather than modified cow's milk)  There is lots of information online about milk sharing - a good starting point is this FAQ, and also this.  Details about how to flash pasteurise breastmilk at home can be found here

3.  Bottles & Teats - Logically it appears to make sense that if you plan to use bottles at some point,  you might as well add them to the baby list of things to buy when pregnant.  Not really so...

Firstly some mums never use a bottle - even if they planned to!  They move from breast to something like the doidy cup or a soft spout transitional cup such as this (Free of bisphenol-a (BPA), lead, PVC, nitrosamines, phthalates, melamine etc).

Even if you decide to use bottles, not all bottles suit all babies!  New bottles are released all the time, existing ones improved - you may want a different one when the times comes to use it.  If you've already bought a pack of 6/8 bottles it can be an expensive waste - at least if the need arises you can try a single first.

If you just want them to store breatmilk you can buy cheaper breastmilk storage bottles or bags.

4.  Breast pump - This seems to always make the essentials list with the assumption all mums will express at some point so someone else can feed the baby, and for some mums who are returning to work etc they may know in advance they want a pump to build a stash etc.  Other mums never end up using a pump - they may hand expressing works better for them, or find it works out easier for mum to just feed.  That's not to say others can't help out with baby, but it may be more convenient for them to nip baby back to mum for feeding when required.  Ultimately if you do decide you want one, the shops will still sell them then, and like bottles new pumps can hit the market.

In terms of buying second hand breastpumps, it's important to ensure they are is a CLOSED system - this means it is sealed to protect breastmilk reaching parts that cannot be adequately cleaned (which would be unhygenic for future users).

Medela systems are NOT closed as you can read here, and so I wouldn't advocate buying/selling one second hand.

5.  Bottle warmer - When using breastmilk substitutes guidance is now to make each bottle fresh, so I think this makes a bottle warmer pretty pointless.  Even if warming breastmilk (which is fine at room temperature) a couple of minutes stood in warm water and job done without an appliance that needs regularly de-scaling and takes up counter space.

6.  Nipple creams/ointments and nipple shields - Something else that can seem like a good idea just in case, but I have to wonder how many tubes get thrown away unopened if mum never has cause to use it.  Whilst this seems to go hand in hand with the notion everyone gets sore/painful nipples when they start feeding, this isn't true either.

Some nipple creams can contain a whole host of ingredients that you may not want baby ingesting eg Kamillosan contains:
"Extracts of chamomile 10.5% w/w standardised to provide 0.01% L-a-bisabolol. Other ingredients include maize oil, purified lanolin, yellow soft paraffin, beeswax, emulsifying wax and approved preservative (mixture of esters p-hydroxybenzoic acid)"

And although Lansinoh, a pure lanolin ointment state:
"In the over 20 years that Lansinoh has been available, the company is not aware of a single documented case of an allergic reaction to Lansinoh HPA Lanolin. However, that does not mean that someone somewhere could have a possible reaction."
They clearly don't class all the comments online discussing reaction as "documented cases", and in practice I have seen  thrush type symptoms (burning/itching) following use that has ceased when Lansinoh did, whether repeat coincidence or not - why buy until you need?   Midwives in the UK will also often give you samples of nipple ointment if required.

7.  Nappy cream - Very similar reasoning to the nipple cream.  Neither of my children ever had any sort of rash on their nether regions and thus the tube of just in case cream (with my first) remained unopened. Even if your baby does get a rash, what type of rash may influence your choice of which cream to use and you might want something different to what you have!

8.  Steriliser - Many never question whether they will need a steriliser, it's assumed essential.  But it is really?

Sterilising is an old practice, and many nowadays are questioning whether it is required at all.

In the US & Canada, paediatricians like Dr Flanders now recommend sterilising before first use, following which a thorough wash with hot soapy water is adequate (having a Google this seems quite common US guidance)

A study entitled: Cleaning and sterilisation of infant feeding equipment : a systematic review found:
"National guidelines from six countries demonstrated variation and lack of evidence to support current guidance. Manufacturers did not report evidence of effectiveness to support their recommendations. Nine studies were identified; eight conducted between 1962 and 1985 and one in 1997. All had methodological weaknesses. Hand-washing was identified as fundamentally important."
The study goes on to say:
Authors of several of the included studies suggested that the ‘clean’ (washed with hot soapy water and rinsed with hot running water) method is a safe alternative to traditional ‘sterilisation’ techniques, provided the safety of the water is assured. However, three studies found higher numbers of organisms on teats, suggesting that they are more difficult to clean effectively than bottles. Gatherer indicated that bacteriology results were excellent using either thorough cleaning or sterilisation; this was attributed to the education provided for mothers
"Use of dishwashers has been implicated in the release of plasticisers following a relatively small number of washes"
What the study also highlights is there is a distinct lack of evidence as to what is "optimum".  If using chemical cleaners should they be rinsed?  Should items be dried or left to try.  Dishwashers clearly aren't ideal for plastic although of course glass bottles are an option if they are required - what is the difference in bacteria levels between plastic and glass?  Is a bottle brush a good idea?  Logically yes it helps reach inside teats etc, yet what bacteria do these harbour and what are bacterial counts with and without?

As the review above states, what is being cleaned ie a teat v cup makes a difference and also what substance is used ie breastmilk or substitutes is also likely to be significant.  Breastmilk is antibacterial whereas substitutes promote bacteria growth, and furthermore infants not receiving breastmilk are at increased risk of diarrhoeal disease.

Indeed a study examining diahorreal disease found:
"After adjustment for confounders, breastfeeding was associated with significantly less diarrhoeal disease. Associations were striking even in infants aged ≥ 6 months.  They did not vary by social class, but were greater in those living in rented council accommodation and in more crowded households." 
"In formula-fed infants, there was significantly more diarrhoeal disease in those not sterilising bottles/teats with steam or chemicals."
(however how well the bottles were hand washed appropriately was not measured)
Given how much money must be generated from the sale of sterilising equipment, do you not think someone might have bothered to confirm what's actually the most effective way of doing things?

If you want to sterilise and use sterilising tablets - any glass bowl will do, no special equipment required.  Ditto boiling in a pan of water.

If you breastfeed you may find you never need to sterilise anything!

9.  Pram/Travel System - The trouble with prams is that unless you buy right at the top end of the price range, it's really difficult to find the perfect pram from newborn to toddler.  Newborns need to go flat, so a carry cot you can attach, a lie flat option or the ability to attach a carseat is important.

The latter sounds practical but in practice they can be heavy to lift on to the pram base, and often fiddly to clip and unclip. The other big downside to these systems is they are often really heavy and cumbersome - ok for school runs and long walks, PITA for throwing in and out of a car boot (after you've checked they actually fit!)  A carry cot may also only be suitable for just a few months, before baby needs to switch.

Evidence also suggests young infants should face the parent - often prams do this with the carseat attached, before switching to front facing as they become older.  As these are typically more expensive, saving money on a carrycot or the function to allow a carseat to attach can be a good option for some.  The cheapest rearfacing I could find was this - but if you know of others please share.

Another option is to ditch the pram idea for a tiny baby and use a really good baby carrier or sling - fraction of the price (even more so if you get second hand as there is a large market - some people buy oodles and sell them on barely used).  If you get something like a wrap for a tiny baby, you can use it indoors as well as out, giving you hands free to eat etc!  You can tie it on in a morning and lift the baby in and out as required whilst leaving it in place (including during car journeys etc)  Tiny babies love being snuggled close, which means they're happy - and you can negotiate the shops without wheels! (which in busy clothing shops or suchlike with narrow aisles between racks can be more of a bonus than you realise.)

Even if you want to add say a pouch sling to your collection for easy on and off carries, it's still cheaper than a high tech pram.  Some mums even make their own!

As baby gets older although you may want to change your sling for something perfect for a heavier baby, perhaps so you can wear them on your back and cook safely etc, again it's cheaper than wheels.  But if you do want pushability as they get heavier, you can then opt for a light weight buggy that's significantly cheaper and lighter than something suitable from birth.

10.  Breastfeeding cushion/pillow - Honestly most are pants, they make feeding more difficult and can be incredibly restricting if you don't feel comfortable feeding without it.

11.  Special breastfeeding clothes - Whilst they're an option if you want, they're really not essential.  Milk Chic is a site dedicated to finding breastfeeding friendly clothes on the highstreet, with lots of tips and tricks about how to feed in different items.  From this you may well find loads in your old wardrobe that is easy and convenient to feed in.

If you feel conscious of your tummy, a simple elastic "boob tube" slipped down to your waist, can help you feel covered even if you lift your top to feed, and again save on purpose made clothes.  If you don't have one, you could make one here - or you can buy one made for the job called a bellyband here

12.  Cot/Moses Basket/Crib - Some parents think all the above are required.  Moses basket for downstairs, crib for upstairs when small, progressing to a cot.  Whether you ditch all of the above or slim things down, is really a matter of personal preference.

Some breastfeeding mums choose to bed share - wear the sling during the day and none of the above are required.   You can add a bedside guard like this if desired.

Another option is a cot that sits snug next to your bed, so you can have the benefits of co-sleeping ie baby is arms reach, whilst having your own "sleep space".  Not having to sit up, lean over, retrieve baby, feed, try and lower them back into basket/crib (which in young babies triggers their startle or Moro reflex) however many times a night is a real bonus when you're living it!  You can buy special cots for this purpose such as this, and this at a snip of the price but only has two height levels (so check suitability) - but there are also tutorials online as to how you can adapt other height adjusting cots to suit, by matching matress height, removing a side and securing to the bed.

However you sleep it is important to ensure there are no gaps baby could become trapped or wedged down, and that there is no possibility of anything shifting to create a gap.  More information available here.

13.  All associated bedding for above - OK so unless bed sharing and you switch your own bedding to sheets and blankets, you will probably need some dedicated bedding for baby at night; but kitting out even one cot is cheaper than cot, crib, moses basket and pram.  Don't forget that as well as the fitted and loose sheet, you need numerous blankets for babies if they're in prams or sleeping in a cot/basket day as well as night.  You need several sets of each too due to sickness/nappy leakages etc and if using natural fabrics as recommended can quickly add up cost wise.  Of course if you're frugal and talented you can knit your own!

14. Lots of baby toiletries - The section is huge, but some are now questioning longer term links with health.
To read more about what's worth avoiding and alternatives this is a helpful page.

Guidance in generally that most things shouldn't be used on newborns who have thinner more porous skin than an older baby or adult. Some parents use virgin coconut oil for both bathing/moisturising afterwards - it's not the cheapest thing in the world but a little does go a long way when warmed on the skin.  Otherwise, plain old tap water works just fine!

15.  A special "baby bag" - If you're breastfeeding you may find all you need to carry is a spare nappy, no need to carry around everything required to prepare substitutes safely.  Even if you want to take water wipes, a change of clothes and a nappy, many bags can fit this in easily, with different compartments for if you're using reusable nappies.  If you end up using formula and need a bag with dedicated thermal pockets and big enough to fit in formula, water, bottles, teats (for as many feeds as will be required when out) bibs etc you could again get one if needed.

16.  A swing, rocker or bouncy chair - The reality 98% of all young babies surveyed preferred a sling ;) But seriously, it's impossible to know what your baby will like before they arrive.  Some hate a sideways rocking motion whilst others love it, ditto swings and bouncy chairs. If you  wait until baby arrives you can at least try them out in it and also evaluate how much you would actually use it.

Again a good reason to wait until needed is to get maximum use - some bouncy chairs are only suitable up to 6-9 months of age eg this is six months.  So if baby is 4-5 months before happy to even sit in it, it has a very short usage.  Others such as the Baby Bjorn at least can be adjusted into a chair for a child up to two, so if you did decide it an essential with an older baby, check out how long you will be able to use it for.

17.  Bibs - Whilst at some point most people will probably pop a bib on their baby, small babies don't always need them.  Whilst some posset regularly, others like my first never do (nor did she drool)  and so lots of "essential" bibs were never worn.  Again it's worth buying if/when you need as what sort of bib is more appropriate again changes with age - tiny baby ones are, well, tiny and often v soft if just catching milk.      For an older baby or one eating solids you may want something with sleeves or that you ensure will protect clothes well.

18.  Muslin Cloths - I know many people states these as invaluable, suitable for over shoulder burping plus loads of other uses.  Yet I didn't use them at all with my first, they just sat in a drawer.  As she wasn't a sicky baby I never needed anything over my shoulder.

18.  Baby Brush/Comb - I wondered if I was the only person who didn't consider these essential with a young baby, but a chat on Facebook highlighted many babies had bald heads or very fine hair for quite some time!  Some used the soft brush for cradle cap, others the comb for the odd baby with longer hair that became knotty, some found despite having long hair it didn't get knotty and was never brushed (my second has hair like this) so again it would seem more sensible to buy if/as you need.  If they're an older baby you may find a toddler brush more useful than the very ultra soft brush designed for use on a tiny baby.

19.  Bath Thermometer - Maybe we had a dud one, but the water felt cold at the "approved" temp and baby ended up shivering!  Used once then ditched.   We have a built in thermometer - the elbow.

20.  Nappies - Ok so to many there is no question over whether a nappy is essential, but some mums have the ultimate "eco bot", using a method called "Elimination Communication".  Some use nappies part time such as at night or when out, whilst others are completely nappy free - if you're passionate about the environment and/or budget it may be something you want to explore.


  1. I agree with all but the nappy cream - my poor baby had a bleeding bum from disposables no matter how much I changed her and it took me almost 3 months to figure it out :( But Green People's AMAZING nappy balm was a god-send and we still use it on every bump and scratch!

    1. Green People cream is better than most... but for most nappy rash, coconut oil works well, no need to buy a cream.
      Tht said, no one needs to buy nappy cream anyway, you tend to get a sample pot or tube of nappy cream (either sudocrem or bepanthem(sp?) ) in the bounty pack, and if you buy magazines like The Green Parent, they often have offers for free samples of eco nappy creams, or vouchers for money-off them.
      And midwives and health visitors have sachets of lansinoh nipple cream, which they will give you a couple of if you ask.. and lansinoh can work wonders on nappy rash too.

  2. Hi Luschka - I'm not saying people won't need any of these things, only that not everyone will, so buying as/when you need can be a better idea :)

  3. Excellent article AA. Very thorough and useful.

    #21. Dummies/pacifiers.

  4. I was lucky I found the perfect pram by just walking into the store one day, it was perfect for my child as a newborn and he is 21 months and we still use it a lot now and it still fits him. It was only from Target not even from a fancy baby store. Also the nappy cream I did use at least once a month or so. The baby bath was needed as we lived in a studio where the sinks were tiny and awkward, he would not have fit, so yes and no in terms of agreeing, I think its true and agree with you that there a lots of things you are "told" you will need and many of them you definitely do NOT.

  5. I used a lot of these very frequently during the newborn days and wouldn't have survived as nicely as I did without them: baby bath (our sinks are not good for bathing baby), breast pump (THANK GOD for this or I think my breasts may have exploded, not to mention mastitis would've been reoccurring), nipple cream, breastfeeding pillows (which helped ease strain on my postpartum body), rocking chair and bouncy yoga ball (still his favorite way to go to sleep at 1 year), bibs and muslin cloths pretty much made up entire loads of laundry during the 1st few months, and a baby brush. For me, these things were essential!

    Definitely agree with the formula one...YOU DON'T NEED FORMULA! I was determined that he would never have one drop of it, even if my milk took a week to come in! Which it only took about 2 or 3 days, but still, every time he cried I had my MIL acting like I was starving him.

    I also never used: bottle warmer, sterilizer, crib (ha!), bassinet, or a bath thermometer. And #21 from Alpha Parent, dummies/pacifiers :)

  6. QUOTE breastfeeding pillows (which helped ease strain on my postpartum body)

    I find biological nurturing eases more strain than any cushion....

    Other mums state having other items "essential" - which really highlights people find different things useful....

    1. Biological nurturing was the only way to get a bearable latch before my LO had his tongue tie divided too.

    2. It's true, but hard to convince parents, that much of what they need for baby will be easier to decide upon after they are here! But one reason (at least here) people get a lot of the bigger items earlier is if they are being thrown a baby shower by friends. Then they choose their items they think they want for a registry and friends and family may buy them as gifts. That's often the rationale: "I can't afford the $$$ breast pump but my sisters will club in together and get that for my shower if I ask for it."

      I would argue that it is actually better to buy a baby carrier after baby is born as well. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted with baby #1 and found it on sale. And it killlllled my shoulder/back. Finally when she was 6 weeks old I admitted defeat and bought another one which worked better for us, but I was stuck with the first one.

      My doula asked me (with #1) if I was ready if baby were to come early and I said, "Well the carseat is installed, we have some diapers and I have boobs so I think we're all set."

  7. Great post! I bought so much stuff that I didn't use, and even though I found some of the things on your list things useful, I could have bought them when I needed them.

    You need boobs, a car seat and a sling. Everything else is probably in your house or you can pick it up later.

  8. Freja has it spot on there. People might need some, none or all of these items - but the point is that they will ALL still be available in shops after the baby is born.

    The problem is of course, that parents usually want to buy for the baby they are expecting. It's fun, cute, feels productive in a time of waiting, and it's kind of a bonding experience as it helps you to picture having the baby if you can picture using the things you buy.

    So what would you suggest people buy, or do, in place of the above 20?

    I do love this article, and was all set to share it on, only I have a feeling that the EC included in the last bit will 'turn off' anyone I know that could do with reading the rest of it.
    Oh, another to add in? Changing table! (or even changing mat, as I realised with my last baby)

  9. Great stuff... I hated the way NCT antenatal classes were taken over by conversations about shopping opportunities! One of the best things I did buy was two lovely big blankets to enable safe co-sleeping, otherwise my biggest purchases for newborns were ringslings and nappies.

    I wish that people were taught to hand express, I found it such a useful skill and far more comfortable and less of a faff than using a breast pump.

  10. So very true. I wrote an article trying to encourage parents to think about what they need and want. Basically the only need I think is a sling, plus support for breastfeeding and getting the most out of sling. Anything else is individual need or want. Add car seat if baby is going to go in a car (quite possible, but very unusual to live with out use of car). Personally I chose real nappies, bought Boob tops when I eventually needed some clothes and still prefer them even though no longer breastfeeding, plus started using muslins at 6 months as fab bibs.

  11. Great article! We've often talked to parents to be at shows about what they 'need' & they seem to prioritise getting a designer changing bag for £100, but when we've fitted them in a 'really comfy' nursing bra for £30, they 'can't afford it'. Has always puzzled me, but I guess we all have different opinions! ;)

  12. " So what would you suggest people buy, or do, in place of the above 20?". Once you identify what you DO want then you can concentrate on things you love. A baby wish list is a good way to encourage friends and relatives to get what you have decided you need or want in designs and colours that mean something to you. A switch to mindful consumerism. The list will then be very individual to the family.
    For me this would be a special outfit in colours I love not usual pastels, beautiful sling(s) and nappies. Plus services, keepsakes and experiences all provide more in the long run. How about a series of professional baby photo sessions and photos. A Centre Parcel holiday. A cleaner or nappy laundry service.

  13. But then again - you're not going to know if you have a 'fat' baby until it's born. Surely the pram can be one of those things you spend out on after the birth?

    I do dispute the fat baby idea though, I reckon it doesn't matter how heavy a newborn is, they're always going to be easier to carry tied high to you than weighing down your belly, and without the weight of placenta and fluids ;-)
    And I don't drive :) Do walk lots though.

  14. QUOTE Hm, if you don't drive the pram/pushchair thing becomes more essential.

    Yep that's why I said: The other big downside to these systems is they are often really heavy and cumbersome - ok for school runs and long walks, PITA for throwing in and out of a car boot


  15. Lovely article, hopefully very thought provoking for expectant parents.

  16. @ Sundancer "you're not going to know if you have a 'fat' baby until it's born", true, although if you've had fat babies before you might consider planning ahead. Both of mine were normal weight at birth, but put on lots of weight in the first 8 months of life. Lots and lots of weight. Way above those charts they give you. But neither are/were exceptionally tall. So they were pretty unwieldy. Think of baby-sized bowling balls and you get the picture.

    And anyway, I'm just being an arse with a touch of the troll. In these arenas, there seems a lot of talk of idealism and not so much of the practicalities of day to day. I'm just adding my tuppenceworth; a mini article, "why I consider a pram to be an essential baby item for some people" to counter the one above. Although when a friend asked what I considered to be essential baby items for her baby, I did leave it at "a fine pair of breasts"!

  17. Another fantastic article thanks! Hate to be a nit picker but Dr Flanders is based here in Toronto, Canada and not in the US ;-)

  18. This is great. I have some of those items and have used the ones I have. I could probably find a way to live without them though. We didnt find out what we were having with our first so all the newborn clothes are unisex so theres nothing to buy for the next baby except cloth nappies, i'm sure i'll need more of them, yay!

  19. I love this article but it would also be great to have a nod in the general direction of buying second hand.

    Preparing for this baby, I've tried to adopt a "no new stuff" approach where possible so not only have we saved a small fortune, we've also made use of preloved baby items that otherwise may well have gone to rubbish tips. One thing I've learned about the baby paraphernalia industry is that it's incredibly wasteful and many of the 'essential' items have a very short useful lifespan.

    Our pushchair, cot, moses basket, mobile, and many clothes we've bought are all second hand. We've spent less than £400 on everything - a figure which is generally considered to be average for buying a new pram from a high street baby store. It's also given us a great opportunity to think back over our experiences with our other 3 children and figure out what we want to buy now and what we'll wait and see if we need.

    Obviously there are some items you should always buy new - car seats, mattresses etc, for hygiene and safety purposes, but in general there's an awful lot to be said for buying the basics second hand.

  20. AA, I would really love to see a blog from you looking into whether the lie flat on their back position is the preferred position for newborns to be in.
    Much I've read about babywearing leads me to feel that I will never put a newborn on its back again as the position appears to be unnatural and forced.

    If the lie flat position turns out to be less desirable than once thought, that information could relieve many parents who feel pressured into spending more money on "from birth" pushchairs and travel systems. For example, many travel systems require you to buy the newborn lie flat part separately, normally in the form of a carrycot.
    Parents could choose to bypass this part of the travel system and instead use just a well shaped car seat, as the position they cradle babies in seems more natural, providing there are no airway issues.)

    (A paragraph on car seats and how we are not supposed to keep babies in them for long periods of time would also make for interesting reading on the same blog I feel.)

    Of course an easier option is to carry the baby until old enough to support itself in a pushchair.

    If I knew then what I know now, I'd have bought a car seat, a sling and a bedrail. That is all. However, there was a certain feeling of "induction into parenthood" when researching and choosing all of these things. Therefore I think the number of new parents you could persuade to not buy all the non essential stuff is pretty minimal, but second, third and more timers might be a better market.

  21. I have a question, how do you respond to MIL's comments that cotton wool&water or plain water baths are 'unhygienic' because they don't kill germs? I usually just ignore them, but I feel if I could help her understand she would be more supportive.

    Expecting our 2nd in 5 months and I know exactly how I want to try things this time, LOVE this blog btw!

  22. This is a great list, and I just wanted to add that regular coconut oil is fine, there is no need to pay the premium for organic as there have been tests done to see what gets into coconut oil and very little does...

    thanks for this!

  23. Doesn't organic guarantee it hasn't been heat treated though? Which is important with co?

  24. 1. A clean bucket makes a very nice baby bath and can be picked up for a couple of pounds (make sure it doesn't have any sharp bits left over from manufacture).

    4. I bought a breast pump but left it in the sealed packet with the receipt until I was sure whether I needed one (I did). Likewise bottles, teats etc. - keep them in the sealed packet with the receipt and if you don't need them, take them back.

    7. Sudocrem is quite useful to have around the place - my parents keep some to deal with cuts, grazes, rashes etc. The tiny tub is one of only two things worth keeping from the Bounty bag (the other one is the newborn nappy).

    10. Get a breastfeeding pillow which fits - not too hard that it puts the baby up round your chin, and not too soft that the baby just sinks into it and goes to sleep. Also, the ones that fasten on are fine if there's no gap between your body and the pillow. The baby needs to be held close to you for feeding, not slipping into a gap.

    13. Most Moses basket and crib mattresses can be comfortably housed inside a standard pillow case. This was a tip I picked up in hospital when I noticed that this is what they use for their newborn cot mattresses. Also, two baby sleeping bags means no need for any bedding beyond the pillow case.

    14. Extra virgin olive oil is much cheaper than any baby toiletries - wash with warm water, then slap on some oil, and don't buy the cotton wool buds - not only are they much more expensive, but you go through hundreds by the time you're dealing with toddler poo. Cotton wool pleats are much cheaper.

    15. The Boots free baby bag is fine, although if you find yourself stuck, most large department stores will give you a free nappy if you ask. For wipes, just use the paper towels in changing rooms soaked in warm water.

    17. If you get given bags full of muslins (like I was), you can make one into a very simple bib by folding in half and tying a reef knot (NOT a slip knot!) so that it sits in the right place.

  25. Agree with all of this. The key is to get as little as possible, then only get what you need or really want.
    Personally went for nappies, later on got breastfeeding tops (Boob design) and loved them, but that was partly because they actually fitted me so much better than any other clothes. And although we didn't use muslins until 6 months I think they make the best baby-led weaning bibs and general purpose wiping up cloths.