Like most mums, I went a little crazy when I had my first baby. I bought just about everything anyone proclaimed I ‘needed’ or that promised to make life easier. For the record, that was a lot of ‘things’. Turns out, I barely used any of them (partially due to my son being in NICU for so long, but mostly because they were completely useless items).
But, the second time around is always different. By the second time you know which items you need for your second baby, and which ones are just a waste of money. And, I made sure I spoke with a whole heap of other mums to ‘confirm’ as best I could that these items were in fact necessities. Because I was kind of worried I would go the opposite way and not buy enough this time.
But here’s what’s on the ‘must have’ list:
1 – Baby Wrap / Carrier
This delightful item saved my sanity when my son was little (and beyond). He was one of those babies that loved being held and had colic so would cry when he was put down. I purchased a carrier and used it every single day and it was amazing. I had my arms free so I could do the work I needed to do around the house and it was nice to be able to hold him so close. He would always fall asleep in it within a few minutes too.
We purchased a structured carrier that holds up to 18kgs of weight – thankfully my son is small and he was still using it at 3 years old!
We will also be purchasing a soft wrap for our second baby, they are so comfortable and snuggly too! Perfect for newborns!
2 – A Good Quality Breast Pump
I burned through nearly 3 pumps with my son. If you’re planning on breastfeeding, getting a good quality pump can really be worth the investment. With my son, I had to exclusively pump for the first two months of his life, so pumping isn’t a new experience for me. It also meant that I had a great milk stash for when he came home from the hospital. This meant I was able to let my husband give him a bottle at night while I got an extra few hours of well-needed sleep.
Because this is what we know, we will be endeavouring to do the same this time too. I’m hoping to build up enough of a stash that I can have that little extra freedom and flexibility to leave our baby girl with my husband if needed and not stress about not having any milk for her.
A pump can also help if you have oversupply issues or develop mastitis.
3 – A Bassinet / Moses Basket
Seems pretty obvious hey… your baby is going to need somewhere to sleep. But this time we are choosing to go with a Moses basket over a traditional cot or bassinet. Our reasoning is pretty simple – we can carry it and move it around the house, when we go anywhere (visiting in laws etc) we can take it with us so she has comfort in her own bed and it’s even easy enough to take camping when we go. Pretty darn versatile.
Plus it’s super cute, compact enough that it won’t take up heaps of room in our bedroom and big enough that she will be able to sleep in it for more than a month (have you seen how small some of the bassinets are for babies??).
4 – Old School Cloth Nappies (Diapers)
But not for the reasons you think. These terry towel cloths are the handiest things you will buy. Hands down. We still use ours 4 years later! I remember my mum washing them by hand and soaking them in a bucket when my brothers were little but we definitely aren’t using them for nappies.
They serve as a great clean up cloth, burp cloth, cover, extra padding for a pram or carrier if needed and just about anything else you could possibly need. They are cheap as chips and will be your most used item for sure
5 – A Good Quality Water Bottle
You need to remember to take care of yourself too and one of the fastest ways to feel run down and exhausted (besides the severe lack of sleep) is because of dehydration. Especially for those mumma’s who are breastfeeding, if you become dehydrated, your milk supply will drop.
It’s estimated that around 70% of Australians are in a constant state of dehydration. That’s crazy!
Find yourself a good quality (preferably tough glass) water bottle that you can carry with you everywhere. Even better if you have a few of them and keep them in your regular places throughout the house, such as next to the nursery chair and next to your bed.
6 – A Bumbo
Oh, I love this little chair! Not only are they super cute and lightweight, they are brilliant when your baby starts to want to sit more often and be part of the action. We used ours a lot when Alex was starting to experiment with new food because it was super easy to clean and kept him upright and comfortable enough while we helped him out with his food.
It also means you can free up your hands (we sat ours on our kitchen bench a lot) while your little one watches you in the kitchen or moving about and you can still keep a close eye on them. Winner.
7 – A Nursing Pillow
I thought I could just use a normal pillow for my son, I figured they were the same thing… right? Uh no… a nursing pillow is revolutionary. It’s like a haven for your back. I would get horrible headaches from straining my neck, slouching and leaning to support my son. A nursing pillow reduced these so much. Definitely on the essentials list.
8 – A Car Seat
Again, seems obvious but sometimes it’s the most obvious items we miss. As Paramedics, we are pretty big on car seat safety and we wanted to have a seat that was super comfortable and didn’t end up taking up the whole back seat. Each country has different laws regarding seats and different makes and models available.
The best thing we did was go to one of the large stores that sold a whole bunch of different brands and styles and actually looked at them, felt them and used them (with a dummy to see how they worked). It made the whole process easier and meant we weren’t just relying on what people were saying online, we could actually see the seats for ourselves.
9 – Super Cute Onesies
Admittedly, I went a bit crazy before my son was born, buying him so many clothes that were so cute. It becomes addictive and there’s just so much out there. It turns out, he rarely wore a lot of the clothes we bought for him because they weren’t comfortable for him and often they were difficult to deal with (for nappy changes etc). So, he was in onesies most of the time. Which is why we are buying cute onesies this time around that can be used as comfortable night time ‘pyjamas’ but still worn when out and about.
Versatility is what we are going for and really, does it matter if your little baby is out in the same onesie they went to sleep in the night before? As long as it’s comfortable and still clean, do what you can to reduce the laundry loads!
10 – Warm and Light Blankets
Don’t let the season you have your baby determine which blankets you get, you’ll need both, which is something I didn’t realise. While our little girl will be born just before Summer, I know there will still be the occasional cool night and a warm blanket will be essential. The same goes for babies born in Winter. Sometimes you’ll be somewhere where the heat is turned on, but you’ll need a light blanket too.
It’s essential to have both. Bonus if they are cute too!
By the time you have your second baby, I think you realise that there’s just not as much ‘stuff’ you need, but there are still items you need for your second baby… the essentials. What item is an essential for you?