He’s no longer a fresh, wrinkly newborn baby; in fact, Little B is now very nearly 16 months old. That’s given me (more) grey hairs just thinking about it. Of course, there’s nothing that can truly make those first few months or years easy, but easier? Definitely!

If you’ve spoken to any new parents, read parenting blogs or watched videos about baby essentials over the last year or two, then you’ll have seen the same things pop up; Snuzpods, Schnuggle baths, MAM bottles, water wipes and Ewan the Dream Sheep, to name but a few. And all of those things worked for us too. However, there’s a whole bunch of other, perhaps lesser-known, products that were (and still are!) a must-have for us.

Car Seat Blankets

Safety guidelines advise you not to put your children in pramsuits or thick coats in their car seats, as it leaves the harness too loose and they could easily slip out if there was an accident. We were having an autumn baby though, so I wanted to ensure he was still snug at all times! After a little searching on Amazon, I found this ByBoom® car seat blanket; it’s an absolute gamechanger and I’d recommend it to all new parents!

Not only is it safe for your baby, but they also can’t kick it off accidentally and it negates the need to take a jacket on or off when you leave the house, or even the need for a hat in some weather too. This one is universal and works with both three and five-point harnesses, with easy to use popper fastenings. We used it when Little B transitioned from the car seat to the buggy too.

And at the risk of sounding older than my time, it also washes really nicely!

I love my children dearly, but once they’re in bed, I want to be able to pack their belongings away

Baby Equipment (That Folds Flat!)

For someone so small, babies come with a whole heap of stuff; lots of it big, bulky and often plastic. And I love my children dearly, but once they’re in bed, I want to be able to pack their belongings away! Any baby equipment that could fold down flat and placed under the sofa or behind a door, was an obvious choice for us.

I don’t know what I’ve have done without a baby rocker. They’re so useful! We had the Joie Dreamer, which is a rocker and bouncer in one, that plays lullabies, soothing sounds and vibrates. It also means you can save space if you’re pushed for it and makes travelling a breeze, as it’s so easy to take in the car and set-up if you’re visiting friends or family. We used it every single day, without fail, up until the point Little B could sit up (and tried to escape!)

We didn’t invest as much money in a play gym, as our history with Big B told us we probably wouldn’t use it for that long, so we went for the Fisher Price 3-in-1 Musical Activity Gym. It’s really lightweight and slides under the sofa with ease. It’s also machine washable, which is great for when little milky accidents occur, after lots of thrashing around playing, post-feed!

You know what you didn’t use the first time around, so you don’t need to waste your money buying ALL the things.

Buggy Mitts

I’d always dismissed buggy mitts as unnecessary and thought, “Just wear gloves!” But let me tell you, in the morning rush when you’ve got a little baby and all of their belongings to contend with, as well as a child and their school bag, water bottle, swimming kit, PE kit, football kit, reading book… Your gloves can be very easily forgotten! But buggy mitts can stay attached to your buggy throughout autumn/winter. You don’t have to spend time putting on or taking off gloves when you’re in and out of the car, or if you need to use your phone or tend to your baby. I think they’re genius and so affordable too!

And my husband might have mocked me when I first got them, but I’ve definitely seen him slip his mitts in when he thought I wasn’t looking!

Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment

Sometimes, a baby’s sensitive skin is susceptible to nappy rash, no matter how often you change their nappy or apply a barrier cream. Metanium Nappy Rash Ointment is something I’ve used on both of the boys and I’ve always found it clears up any sores almost completely, overnight.

Stroller Organiser

I’m almost certain stroller organisers didn’t really exist in 2012 when I had Big B. Now, there is an abundance on the market! Stroller organisers are perfect if you’re going on a short journey like the school run, where a whole changing bag is unnecessary. I have the Diono Buggy Buddy Stroller Organiser permanently attached to the buggy, usually with my keys, phone, some small change, muslin, a toy (and an after school snack, if that’s where we’re headed!) inside.

A Playpen

I know not everyone likes the idea of a playpen, but now that Little B isn’t actually so little and is mobile, it’s become a necessity! It’s great to have somewhere safe to put your little one if you’re home alone and need to cook or go to the toilet or something else that’s awkward to do when you have a baby; you can pop them down for ten minutes or so with a couple of toys, safe in the knowledge that they’re not jamming their fingers in plug sockets or scaling up the curtains. Phew!

Little B is our second, so I suppose we had an advantage. We had been here before. We knew what we’d need; or at least that’s what people say isn’t it? You know what you didn’t use the first time around. You don’t need to waste your money by buying ALL the things.

Hear me out though. There’s so much more available now, that we didn’t have years ago with Big B! And with the (perhaps) bigger than average age gap between our boys, it felt new and exciting like it was the first time, so we did buy all the things. Plus, every child is different, aren’t they? What works for one, doesn’t necessarily work for another.

I’d love to know what worked for you during the newborn phase and beyond!

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