I’ve been in this parenting game for just over three years and by Christ, it’s a limitless industry. You make it, and mums will generally throw money at it in the hope that something will eventually stick and solve a problem that may or may not exist. Hold a photo competition on your product’s Facebook page and you’re basically home and dry.
I’ve bought a lot of stuff in the vain hope of making life easier as a mum (top and tail bowls serve NO USE in my opinion). But there are some amazing things out there that I wish wish wish I’d thought of – if I did, I reckon I’d be a legit adult by now and own my four walls and drive an Audi TT. Here are my faves, in no particular order.
1. Sock-ons. These little gems literally exist to keep socks on your baby’s tiny feet by sitting over the sock to hold it in place. Once you’ve mastered the cutaway design (don’t mock, they’re fiddly to a newcomer!), you will go forth and prosper without so much as a bare heel. They will get lost in the wash, so I suggest tucking them inside the socks and tucking the socks inside something else. Still, get a few pairs.
2. Bumbo seats. I’ve had two very petite bambinos (both hovering around the upper 5lb region at birth). High chairs are therefore ridiculously impractical for me until the age of at least 12 months. The Bumbo gives your baby an excellent vantage point from which to nose while you race around keeping the house together before people visit. (I prefer to go out. Just saying.) Whack the tray on and you’ve got yourself a low highchair. A lowchair, if you will. Less distance for the food to fall, you see. You can mop up your laminate floor while maintaining eye contact with your baby at their level, which is so key to social relationship development.
3. Pretty drinks cups with silicon lids (for you, not the baby). So this is a new thing that has come onto the baby group circuit between the arrival of Mouse and Moo. It’s all about health and safety, innit – 10 regular mugs could wreak havoc on carpets, playmats and baby skin. These beauties keep your drink hotter for longer, always a nicety, and make you feel like you’ve just been to Starbucks (if Starbucks did Nescafé). The most hallowed kind of groups dedicate the second half to the act of drinking coffee and chatting. You can always spot a first time mum because they’ll almost always go for decaf, whereas us hardened 2+ kids folk mainline caffeine from 5am onwards.
4. Lamaze toys. Any of them. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I can name 90% of the product range. Lulu in a Tutu? Her knickers are great for monochrome sensory perception. Freddie Firefly? He’s lived in my car attached to the driver’s headrest since the day we brought Mouse home from hospital. Octotunes is on a whole different level for parent / child bonding. Did you see the video clip of that guy perfecting “Insomnia” by Faithless on the tentacles? And, when you squeeze Octo, he emanates gentle whiffs of vanilla. Who could ask for more?
5. Ewan the Dream Sheep. This guy is the marmite of the baby merch world. I’m in the love camp. The poor sod hasn’t had a day off since May 2013 (or a wash…). His four feet each play a sound with the gentle backdrop of a calming thud-thud heartbeat, supposedly to emulate the sounds your baby may have heard in the womb. Mouse liked the straight up, old fashioned heartbeat. Moo likes the vacuum cleaner. I took a stealthy power nap recently while Moo was downstairs with her father and I chose to put Ewan on purely for my own relaxation. At almost 32, I’ve forgotten how to self-soothe. Anyway, long after we’ve car booted all the baby tat from our house, Ewan will remain. The grandchildren will love him.
6. Birth control. Nah, just kidding!
-SJW June 2016