Whether you’re building your own nest or buying baby shower gifts, don’t waste your money on crap (like we did!)
It’s tricky, isn’t it? As soon as you do one maternity-related search, you’re avalanched with baby ads. They all promise you that their little baby gadget will change your life, whilst implying if you don’t buy it, you’re a terrible parent. And buying baby shower gifts is even harder! Because you don’t want to waste your money buying them something that will just sit in a cupboard. But the question is, what stuff should you buy?
Our ill-advised spending spree
In our house, when it comes to spending money, my wife and I are locked in a never-ending game of cat and mouse. A game in which the mouse frets over bank statements by candlelight, while the cat lounges in a mink coat, nibbling caviar from between her freshly-manicured claws. But after suffering through two years of infertility, when we finally got pregnant and began building our own little nest, what kind of a husband would I be if I ruined her fun?
And so it was that Carefree Cat and Miserly Mouse embarked upon a crazy nesting spending spree. It was like Supermarket Sweep down a mile-long baby aisle. Jeff Bezos even sent us a thank you letter.
The result is an entire room in our house filled with useless baby accessories. It’s like a graveyard for gimmicks. And this puts me in a great position to recommend baby products. Because on the one hand, I hate spending money. On the other hand, we’ve bought and tried pretty much everything.
So I’ve put together a list of baby accessories for you that I thought were actually worth the money. Lots of little gems that will make your life easier every day, make looking after your baby that much more manageable, and in some cases, just help you stay sane by giving you ten minutes’ peace.
Baby sleeping accessories
The perfect co-sleeping cot for newborns.
So how does a Snuzpod work? You adjust the height of the pod so that the baby’s mattress lines up exactly with yours. You push the cot up to the edge of your bed next to where you sleep and unzip the side, and now the baby’s mattress is like a little extension of yours. It’s like the baby is in bed with you, but still in her own cot so you’re much less likely to accidentally roll over on top of her in your sleep.
And it’s the perfect cot for breastfeeding, because you can just pick her up and slide her over. The open side also allows you to wake up in the middle of the night and look over to check if she’s breathing (which you will, a lot).
And when you don’t want her right next to the bed any more, or if you want to put her down for a nap in the day, you just zip up the side and you’ll have a self-contained cot that you can move around. The bassinet part comes off too and is rockable, making it a great crib for daytime naps as well.
It’s very versatile and absolutely brilliant for about 5 months, at which point you’ll need a proper (bigger) cot.
Buy your Snuzpod here
An egg that changes colour depending on room temperature.
Babies don’t regulate their heat properly, and they’re so fragile that you have to get it right otherwise they kick off. But they scream at you when they’re too hot, and scream at you when they’re too cold. It’s like dealing with a very small Goldilocks who can’t talk, so she just screams.
This little egg takes the guesswork out of it. So handy, immediately visual even in the dark, and stops you from worrying. Egg’s blue? Turn the heating on. Egg’s red? Open a window. The amount of worry it saves you compared to its cost makes this great little sidekick a no-brainer.
Memorise this phrase:
“Alexa, play rain sounds continuously for fourteen hours”.
Voice activated white noise is an absolute game changer. Don’t waste your money on ‘shhhh’ boxes or white noise machines, just get Alexa to do it.
To buy your echo dot, click here.
Baby feeding accessories
This bib is like a drop cloth/barber’s apron that you attach to your baby!
We did a few weeks of her feeding herself with just a normal bib and then found the Bibadoo on Instagram. It literally halves the cleanup time after every meal because it catches everything they drop in front of them. It also saves a LOT of laundry, as most of the time the clothes come out unscathed from the ensalught of food. This is a must-have for baby-led weaning.
What makes the Bibadoo different from a normal bib? Well the top part goes around their neck and over their arms, and the bottom half straps over the tray so it catches all the food from the neck down. Then you just take it off and empty it all into the sink or bin. Simple but incredibly effective.
We take one with us whenever we go anywhere to eat. They’re easy to wipe down, machine washable, and even come with cutlery that clips onto the arms for when your baby moves onto using forks and spoons.
Another relatively cheap product that makes your life so much easier. Also a great baby shower gift because it’s cheap but will get used a lot!
Buy your bibadoo here.
This high chair can be adapted over and over again so you can just buy the adapters and keep using it as they grow. From a newborn feeding chair to a self-feeding weaning chair, to a toddler high chair.
It’s an investment for sure, but a worthwhile one. Because you can use it until they’re well into their school years, it’s great value for money. And it looks nice too, unlike a lot of the bulky plastic high chairs you get. Choose your colour carefully, because it’ll be next to your dining table for a decade.
This tub disinfects up to 4 bottles at a time in 4 minutes. You just wash them up and then put them in this tub with a bit of water and chuck it in the microwave. It comes in a starter set with 4 bottles and a set of tongs so you don’t get germs all over the bottles when you’re reassembling them. Couldn’t be easier.
To be honest, we didn’t try anything else but I can’t see how one of those expensive disinfecting machines would be any simpler or quicker than this. And obviously this is a fraction of the cost.
Baby travel accessories
Like a swaddle but so much less complicated, and can be changed to forward facing when they get older. Our daughter loves this. We were gifted this and it was one of the best baby presents we got.
Sometimes you don’t want to get the buggy out. When you’re nipping into the shops or going for a walk in the park, buggies are a lot of hassle and aren’t always the best thing for the job. We tried the whole swaddle thing for a while but as soon as we tried the Ergo Baby we never looked back. It’s so easy to put on compared to a swaddle, and can be used for three years (up to 20kg).
And they’re so happy in there too! They’re nice and secure when they’re little and facing inwards, and I felt a lot better with that than the swaddle when I was always worrying I’d tied it wrong. Our baby fell asleep in the Ergo a lot as a newborn, which meant we could walk around like normal people for a while!!
After a few months, you change the carrier configuration and to a forward-facing carrier and they LOVE it! They get to see what it’s like walking around as an adult, they’re close to you, they can see what’s going on, they’re involved (not separated from you like they are in the buggy), you can hold their hands or play with their feet while you’re walking around…it’s just great. We were given ours, and bought one in turn for a close friend as a maternity gift because it’s just that good. Can’t recommend enough.
Buy your Ergobaby carrier here.
This is a super handy pouch that hangs on clips between your buggy’s handlebars.
Fill it with nappy changing stuff, keys, spare headphones, water, wallet, dummy. There’s a few separate compartments to keep it all organised and it’s spacious enough to be useful, but not so big it’s cumbersome. Relatively cheap and really useful.
Nappy and changing accessories
This nappy bin has built-in nappy bags that twist shut after every use to seal in the smell.
When the bin is full, you open it up and you have this weird string of nappy sausages that you just cut off and throw away. We have one in the living room and one in the nursery and the only time the smell escapes is when you accidentally leave the lid open or when it hasn’t been emptied for a while.
The only disadvantage is you need to keep buying the cartridges that hold the nappy bags, which works out to about £15 a month. Even so, I genuinely can’t imagine life without this.
This is also a great baby gift, because you can never have too many of them, so duplicating someone else’s gift isn’t an issue.
Buy your life-changing nappy bin here!
A handy little caddy to keep your nappy stuff together and organised.
I rolled my eyes at these when my wife bought them but they’re actually really useful. They have compartments for nappies, sudocrem, wipes etc. to help keep everything tidy and organised at a time when it’s important you have everything to hand! And the handles mean you can pick up all your nappy stuff at once and carry it around.
We gave one to my parents as well to keep at theirs and just keep it stocked up so we know we’re OK for nappy stuff when we visit. They’re pretty cheap and just a really handy thing to have.
Buy yours here.
Baby accessories that give you a break!
Oh the hours of priceless peace this has brought us!
The chair bounces backwards and forwards, either through your efforts or your baby’s own. And they’re strapped in so they can’t get out, making it a nice safe place to put them while you tidy up, get a bottle ready, or even just watch Tiktok for 5 minutes! Still keep an eye on them though, obviously.
We tried the Nuna Leaf as well but she wasn’t too keen. Plus it’s annoying because you have to keep pushing the Leaf yourself to keep it swinging, meaning you can’t get on with other things. But your baby can bounce the Baby Bjorn by themselves so they’re quite happy to be left to get on with it. Having said that, all babies are different and it’s tricky to know what your baby will like. But our baby is 9 months old now and still absolutely loves this one.
The cloth part of the chair (i.e. the whole seat part) just slides off the frame and is machine washable in case of any accidents. Speaking of which, there’s something about the angle and the bouncing that makes them poo, which can actually be quite handy.
I left this chair at my parents’ house once and only realised when I got home. It’s a 50 minute round trip and I went back to get it.
Buy it now and thank me later.
She loves this!!! It clips over your doorframe and has a harness you attach to your baby. Then just hook them up to the spring and watch them bounce!
The length of the chain is adjustable so you can keep using it as they grow, it helps them develop their leg muscles and just brings them so much joy!
Sometimes I work out next to her while she’s bouncing like a little father/daughter gym session, sometimes I play my guitar so she can bounce along, sometimes I just put some music on and have a dance while she bounces. She’s usually happy in her jumper for about 15-20 minutes before she gets tired/bored.
You should see the look on her face when I get the box out and she realises she’s going in her jumper. Seriously such a good toy. This was a baby shower gift from my nan, and we always send her videos of Winnie whenever she’s having a bounce. Never fails to make her happy.
Buy yours today, you won’t regret it!
It’s basically a giant play mat that will fit in with the decor of your home. This actually isn’t on Amazon but it was too good not to include!
It’s spongy enough so you don’t have to worry about them banging their heads on the floor, and is big enough so you’ve got loads of room to get on there comfortably with them and have a play. I’d definitely recommend it if you have hard floors as they fall over A LOT when they’re learning to sit up/crawl and this takes the constant worry away (a little).
Plus it’s reversible so you can change the look if you’re bored. You can’t vacuum clean it though, which is a bit of a flaw, but it’s easy enough to brush off.
Another thing I rolled my eyes at initially but has proven to be priceless.
All the recommendations I’ve made above are based on my baby’s preferences, and who knows what your baby will love?! But practical things like the temperature egg, the Bibadoo, the Tripp Trapp…they’re all such brilliant purchases because they make your life soooooo much easier! The cheap, practical things are also perfect baby shower gifts. Because they won’t just get chucked in a pile with the rest of the gimmicks, they’ll be used again and again, and you’ll know your money will have been well spent.
If you enjoyed this blog and you’d like to read more, feel free to have a look around at my other categories. Or if you’re looking for someone to write a blog for you, I write on a range of subjects, so feel free to get in touch.