As expectant mothers, we’ve all pored over Baby Centre (actually ‘Center’ usually) articles on products you absolutely MUST have for your newborn. And for some reason both times I’ve felt like everything I need has to be bought BEFORE the baby arrives – as if I’ll be house-bound for weeks and months after (I wasn’t) and as if Amazon isn’t handily there for some night feed purchasing (it certainly was).
So you’ve got the Moses basket/fancy sleeping cushion/co-sleeper, a mountain of coloured muslins and enough newborn nappies to fill your shiny new cot. But what about the real essentials that no one talks about? The things that are going to keep you sane and functioning for the first few months? Here are what I’d call my newborn (in)essentials:
- A portable phone charger – because, let’s face it, the iPhone/smartphone is your constant companion. For night feed browsing and spending (see above), for arranging coffee dates, for finding the baby massage class and for uploading adorable sleeping baby shots.
- Eye cream – you might not be able to fake sleep but you might want to help your eyes while you adjust to being up at odd times and falling asleep in the middle of Homes Under the Hammer.
- Your local coffee shop loyalty card – OK you’re spending a bit on large lattes (and a small sliver of carrot cake) but look, you’re getting a free one each week so it’s all worth it! And you can now say ‘the usual’ to the owner which feels quite nice.
- A nice rain coat (that covers your bottom) – even if your baby has a summer birthday you still need to be prepared. I learnt the hard way that there’s no holding an umbrella when you’re pushing a pram. They have a raincover, you have a pack-a-mac or something lovely from Seasalt if you’ve got yourself organised.
- A remote control with working batteries – boxsets are your friends. As is daytime TV. My favourite thing was/is to clog up our Sky Planner with episodes of Frasier. Great for feeding in front of and for watching as your baby falls asleep on you (and you drift off too).
- Decent biscuits – none of your plain Rich Tea nonsense. You’ll probably be eating one handed for a while and there’s no easier and more filling snack/breakfast/lunch/dinner. Just make sure there are some wholesome oats (and chocolate chips) in there.
- A corkscrew – or even better, buy screw top wine that you can open with one hand (only kidding – you’ll need to pop the baby in the bouncer for this one ;-)).
What newborn inessentials would you add to the list?
Back in November I spent a great few hours refreshing my sewing skills at Sew Pretty, a sewing workshop in a purpose-built garden studio in Wimbledon. The owner, Katya, has created a lovely, relaxed atmosphere for those who want to start from scratch, those who are keen to dust off their sewing machines and learn some new skills (like me) or those ready to tackle more complex projects.
I’d really recommend a Sew Pretty workshop or course – they would make a great, original present (as mine was) and they’re a good way to learn something new whilst also creating something to take away: from PJ’s to bags to dresses.
Here’s my review for West London Mum to tell you more.
My sister has given me space for a guest blog. I won’t use it to rhapsodise about being Scrip’s aunty (I’d like to save that for a future post), but to highlight another blog, which has now also become a book, Late Fragments, available to pre-order here.
It’s a blog by an old friend of mine, Kate Gross, who writes about being a mum, amongst other things, but also about ‘advance mothering’ – that is, preparing her five-year-old twin boys for a future without her. Kate needs to do this because she’s in the final stages of advanced cancer, and she won’t be with her family for much longer.
I knew Kate when we both worked in Brussels more than 10 years ago. After that we drifted apart, as people do, but I sometimes heard her news from mutual friends or acquaintances. It was an absolutely dreadful shock to learn of her diagnosis a couple of years ago, and a lovely surprise to discover her blog. I knew Kate before she had her children (in fact before she met her husband), but through her writing I have got to know her again as a mother.
I sincerely hope no-one reading this is in a similar situation to Kate or her family. And I don’t recommend her blog to make you realise how lucky you are, nor to remind you that the little annoyances of life don’t really matter, nor to prompt you to hug your own little ones that bit tighter when you put them to bed tonight. I recommend it because, through my tears, I have found Kate’s writing beautiful, wise, and life-affirming, and I hope you will too.
I was out for dinner on Friday (a rare treat) with friends I first met over 10 years ago at my first job in advertising. One of them is now a rather talented wedding and family photographer – Jonny MP – and we were talking about kids’ shoots being his favourite.
He took some lovely photos of our wedding when he was just starting out, did a bump shoot for us in Richmond Park and also took some pictures of Scrip at 9 months when we gave friends a kids’ shoot as their son’s first birthday present and managed to have some of our own done, too. With two children himself and a naturally friendly nature, every shoot has been a lot of fun.
I recommended him to some parents just a couple of weeks ago. Jonny has a very natural style and is fantastic at making everyone feel at ease, instantly, so getting the best out of you. We have so many of his photos around our home (I use one in my profile picture) and we’ll treasure them forever. And I’m sure when the new little one arrives we’ll be organising another family shoot.
Here are just a few of mine, and plenty more examples.