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Must haves

11 pieces of newborn kit that are worth the money - from an ear thermometer to a good changing table

Chrissie Russell shares the items that got her through those early days.

ONE OF THE most terrifying moments in any parent-to-be’s life is the day they innocently go online to have a look at what bits and bobs are needed for their impending new arrival.

I can still remember sitting, ashen faced reading things like ‘the average parent spends €4k in the first year’ followed by a lengthy list of ‘must haves’.

This is not one of those articles. In fact, from the other side of having two babies, I can report you really don’t *need* much and, more often than not, you certainly don’t need it to be bought new.

But if you are going to spend a couple of quid, then here’s what I’ve found to be my favourite bits of kit for the first six months…

1. A waist-height changing table
In the early days when you could be doing ten changes a day, having a waist height unit is a godsend, especially if you’re operating from the other side of a C-section.

2. A white noise app
This one’s actually free. When my babies were over-stimulated, a dark room and the sound of the ocean on my phone’s Sound Sleeper app was, and is, what always what saves the day. Occasionally the four-year-old still asks for ‘the waves’ when he’s having trouble going over. The 9 month old is firm fan too.

3. The car-seat-to-pram adaptors
If you’ve bought a travel system, i.e. a buggy, car seat etc that work together, you’ll want the adaptors too. These bits of plastic (often sold separately) enable you to attach your baby’s car seat to the pram wheels. Only a sleep-deprived new parent understands the absolute JOY that comes with being able to lift a sleeping baby from car to shops and back again without disturbing them.

4. A wrap or sling
In my experience, babies just want to be held in those early weeks and months. …And yet mummy still wants to make herself a sandwich – enter the wrap/ sling/ carrier. Check Babywearing Ireland for advice on picking the best carrier for you.

5. A stock of cleaning items for poo explosions
I don’t want to be one of *those* parents that bang on endlessly about the contents of their child’s nappy. But wow. And no matter what brand nappy you try or what size you use, it does NOT stay in the nappy.

shutterstock_1033088542 Shutterstock / KieferPix Shutterstock / KieferPix / KieferPix

6. One basic play mat
Not a ‘baby gym’ or a ‘tummy time toy’ or anything branded with flashing lights and dangling monkeys, just a nice clean bit of material that you can scatter a few toys on, play with baby on, have tummy time… and then fold it up and put it away.

7. A good ear thermometer
There can be a lot of wailing in the early months. Reassuring yourself that there’s no temperature (or being alerted when there is) will be massively important. Trying to hold something to a baby’s forehead or get it under their tongue is a nightmare, so ear thermometers are the best.

8. Lots of muslin cloths
For sopping up spit-ups, leaking breasts and dabbing at all the other miscellaneous excretions that come with having a newborn.

9. A mirror for the car seat
There’s a lot of research that shows it’s safer to keep your kids in rear-facing car seats for as long as possible but the challenge is that you can’t see them when you’re driving. A mirror on their headrest that lets you see their face when you look in your rear-view mirror is a simple solution that’ll reassure you when you’re on the road.

10. The Wonder Weeks
In the vast library of baby books this one, by Frans Plooij is the one I found most helpful. It’s great at explaining fussiness in positive terms of development leaps and helps build confidence as a parent with suggestions of age-appropriate activities and reassurance. It was my baby Bible in those baffling early months baby behaviours.

11. A nappy bin
Tardis-like, smell trapping, waste units of wonder.

We’re teaming up with Irish Life Health to give away a Fitbit Charge 3, perfect for blasting your health and fitness goals. Enter right here

More: 11 handy pieces of breastfeeding kit you may not have thought of>

More: 9 truths about childbirth I wish I’d known before going into the labour ward>

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