Every person and every baby is different so this list of 'essentials' won't necessarily be right for everyone but these are some of the less obvious things that we have found to be essentials, some pre-pregnancy and some that we do not go a day without using now that Aria is here.
This one really is quite an obvious one. I am not convinced that all these lotions & potions really do prevent stretch marks, if they do then I dread to think how bad mine would have been if I didn't use them, they are bad enough as it is now! I found the lotions to be essential for easing itching. When you are pregnant your stomach is stretched, a lot, as a result the skin can sometimes itch like crazy, using a good amount of cream/oil helps to ease the itch.
The foot cream is not necessarily something that everyone will suffer with, but during pregnancy I could not sleep due to my feet being on fire, a good layer of cream helped to cool them down a little.
Hand cream is something that has now become an essential. I am constantly washing up bottles which can be very drying on my hands. I am now keeping hand cream everywhere (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom) and giving my hands a good coating when I remember.
A friend of mine who had a baby several months before I did gave me this lavender oil (along with other lovely gifts) at my baby shower. The Midwives who attended my home birth were very pleased to see that I had a bottle and instructed me to add two drops to my baths for the next few weeks after giving birth as it acts as a natural antibiotic. As well as helping to aid recovery a nice warm bath with the scent of lavender is very relaxing.
I bought this cup from Primark for during labour. A few people had told me to take straws so that Spencer could easily give me a drink. I didn't end up using it in labour as our hospital bags were in the car ready to go to hospital, and my labour took place in the house! I did however use it loads during the first few days when attempting to breast feed. I was tired, clumsy and constantly holding Aria which meant that I was either not drinking at all or hitting my drink over. I could easily tuck this cup into my legs while feeding Aria and not have to worry about water spilling everywhere if I hit it over.
The Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine is a very new addition to the Cornelius household and has already made the house a calmer environment, especially during the nights. As I am no longer breastfeeding, just expressing and feeding Aria via bottles, the night time feeds tend to be formula as that is when I am not expressing. Boiling the kettle, waiting for the water to cool down, making the drink, etc really isn't ideal at 4am when your baby is screaming. We debating making up the bottles in advance and storing them in the fridge, but then we would still have to warm them up and making them in advance isn't really recommended.
This machine is a saviour. It is small enough to sit on my dressing table in the bedroom during the nights and it makes a bottle at the perfect temperature in less than two minutes. The lights flash quite bright and it is noisy which can be annoying for Spencer when he has work the next day, but it isn't half as annoying as Aria screaming while waiting for a feed.
The machine can be expensive but we managed to get it for just £51 through Amazon, it was reduced to £66.66 and then we received a further £15 discount as we are members of their family club.
As we had issues breast feeding Aria in the early days we were put onto plan two by our Midwives, which was to continue breast feeding but add two 70ml bottles of formula into her day too. We were advised to buy these ready sterile bottles that contain 70ml of ready to drink formula. They are amazing and we still tend to buy these now despite not needing them as much due to having the Perfect Prep machine. They are quite expensive but they are perfect for popping into the changing bag and taking out with you just in case you run out of bottles or don't have time to make up bottles before going out. You just shake the bottle, take the lid off, put the teat on and they are ready to go.
Aria is a very sleepy baby who drops off to sleep too easily if anything! However, in the first couple of days she did struggle to drop off to sleep in her Moses Basket. Ewan the Sheep really did help her to drift off, he plays a variety of different sounds including white noise, which helps to settle Aria. We don't use him as much now but there is still the odd occasion that he is required and I am pretty sure there will be a lot more occasions to come.
Now this one isn't necessarily an essential but I thought it was worth putting in this list so that people don't make the same mistake as we did. If you buy a microwave steriliser be sure to check that your microwave is big enough to fit it in. Our's wasn't hence a trip to Wilko to pick up this new microwave. I fell in love with this microwave so was very happy to have an excuse to buy it, but it is an expense we could have done without so just double check before buying anything! (our steriliser came in a set with bottles that we had already started to use which is why we didn't just return the steriliser!)
As well as having a 'proper' steriliser these microwave steriliser bags* are very handy. Each bag can be used a total of twenty times (there is a check box on the bag that you tick after each use so you remember) and only takes three minutes in the microwave. They are great if you quickly need to sterilise a bottle and will also be good to give to baby sitters instead of having to give them the big steriliser which may not fit in their microwaves!
The Tommee Tippee Sangenic bin is amazing. We were recommended by two of our friends to buy this and we managed to get it quite cheaply on a weekend that Mothercare were matching their competitors prices and Kiddicare had it on offer, I think we only paid something like £10 for it! This bin compacts nappies and ties them into a nappy bag for you, it contains the smell so you only need to empty it when it is full. It is great to be able to simply put a nappy in a bin and forget about it!
Other essentials include :
Leggings and t-shirts - in the early days you have so many visitors and what feels like so little time and energy. I took to sleeping in leggings and t-shirts and keeping them on all day, so that when people came and I hadn't had time to put clothes on they thought that I had got up and get dressed.
Paper diary - not only will you have a lot of people wanting to come and see the baby you will also have a lot of appointments for the baby. I know a lot of people rely on their phone calendars nowadays (us included) but we found a paper diary a lot easier, we could keep it in a central place and both pick it up when needed to check time slots and add appointments in.
Chocolate/biscuits - you will come to realise that the baby comes before everyone else and you will find little time for yourself in the early days. Eating, drinking, washing, everything goes out of the window! Keep some high energy snacks handy that you can easily grab and eat when you have that rare spare five minutes. For me this is a great excuse to eat loads of chocolate and biscuits!
Are there any items that you couldn't live without pre and/or post pregnancy?