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The Lists of lists!… for those expecting

I have been meaning to post this list for so long. However, apparently after you have a baby, you don’t have time to even go to the toilet? Hmmm.. Who would have thought?

This is my sister Carolines list. Caroline lives in London and whilst I was pregnant and leading up to the birth she wanted to help me by passing on some of the things she learnt when she was expecting, and because she wasn’t physically in the country she made this insanely awesome baby list… what to get for the baby and what to take to the hospital. Now, there are a million of these lists online. However, I believe this one is extremely practical and honest. It also comes with hilarious commentary from Carolines husband Ben (so tell your partner to read it too).

My sister is not only an amazing mum, she is also an incredible doctor, so her tips on what to give the staff at the hospital should not be taken lightly.

I have passed this list onto my friends who have in turn passed it onto their friends and they have all loved it. So, I hope this list helps you along the very daunting but incredibly amazing journey that you are on. And huge thank you to my sister, the wisest and most supportive person in the world.

Love,

Emma

 

List of Baby Stuff. By Caroline Clapham.

This list is by no means exhaustive; it simply contains the baby products that I found helpful with Victoria. There are a million of these lists on the internet, but I think a lot of them contain sponsored crap and there are so many brands out there it can be really confusing – these are the brands/products that I found to be the best. Every baby/mother is different and you may find that none of this stuff is useful at all, that’s fine, just do what you’ve gotta do! Feel free to add your own recommendations to this list and we can keep passing it on.

General list for the Baby:

Muslin wraps: Midwife Cath sells really good large ones of these. Other great ones are: Emotion & Kid, Aden & Anais and Baby Sheridan. Whichever ones you get make sure they’re lightweight, cotton and large. Even if you don’t swaddle/wrap your baby they’re handy as blankets, nursing covers, pram covers, emergency playmat etc.

Nappies: Huggies – the ONLY nappies in my opinion! Don’t even get me started on the awful British nappies. FYI I have heard that Tushies by Tom are great nappies too.

Ben: “Agree”

Baby Wipes: So long as they don’t contain perfume, parabens or alcohol you will be fine. The WaterWipes brand is great (they only contain water and a tiny bit of grapefruit seed extract). I think the official recommendation is to use cotton balls and water, but I was waaaayyy too lazy to do that!

Ben: “quantity is also key”

Nappy Rash treatment: 4 step approach (also baby’s can get essentially the same thing in their neck folds too – basically any area that is wet can become excoriated and then also get fungal infection. Nappy rash is usually excoriation +/- fungal infection).

  1. Keep the area as dry as possible – so change nappies regularly/dry area well etc, and use Curash Anti-Rash Zinc Powder to help keep the area nice and dry (this stuff is amazing and smells kind of nice too)
  2. Antifungal – use a small amount of antifungal cream – such as Daktarin (Miconozole) or Canestan (Candesartan) on the affected area
  3. Barrier cream such as sudocream or curash zinc on any very excoriated areas
  4. Use WaterWipes or cotton balls and water to clean dirty areas (any wipes with alcohol or other nasty’s will sting excoriated skin and make it more irritated

Ben: “Fungal infections are pretty bad”

Cotton nappies/terry-toweling cloths: Never used them as actual nappies but super handy as nursing covers/to catch/mop up errant breast milk, also really great for cleaning up never ending mess.

Ben: “cotton nappies look like normal towels… with no leg holes…rookie error”

Sleeping bags: Ergo Cocoon. Come in a range of different weights (thin ones for summer, thick for winter) and they have handy little press-studs so your baby can have their arms either in or out!

Ben: “man they look comfortable”

Baby clothes: Purebaby (the best newborn baby clothes by far) and Bonds (the Bonds wondersuits are seriously the greatest invention of all time!). Honorable mentions to Baby Gap, Petite Bateau and Jacardi (note French sizes run really small), Seed and Country Road for cute things. Target do pure cotton vests and short and long sleeved, no-legs onsies that are fantastic (and great value for money) – buy loads of these, some will inevitably get SO dirty you will throw them straight in the bin.

Ben’s special comments: “Much easier if you buy clothes with zips… those studs are confusing, especially in the dark”

Bottles: Victoria was extremely finicky with drinking from a bottle. She point blank refused between the ages of 2 to 6 months. When she would take the bottle it was either the Avent Classic (this is the bottle range Midwife Cath generally recommends) or the Nuk Classic (fantastic German brand that a lot of people swear by).

Ben: “Go Germany”

Formula: No specific brand recommendations but don’t be scared of it!!

Ben: “Send to China for quick $$$”

Sippy cup: The Pigeon MagMag cup was recommended to me by my mum (it was the only cup all 4 of us kids would drink from) and by some miracle it’s the only sippy cup Victoria would take too! It has a great soft spout that seems to make it easier for babies to drink from.

Ben: “Sippy cup rules, real baby achievement”

Baby food: We started weaning Victoria from around 4 months (this is the Australian recommendation). She started to take the sippy cup at about 5 months and really started to eat ‘solids’ from around 5 months. Every baby is really different. I’m lazy and didn’t make my own baby food. I can recommend the baby food that comes in the little pouches and jars at the supermarket (super convenient). Just be careful as the yoghurt ones contain sugar (babies under the age of 1 year shouldn’t have any sugar in their diet). I can’t recommend any specific brand, just be careful to always check the ingredients list and only use the ones that have no additives and no sugar. Rice cereal is also fantastic to start with (mixed with a little breast milk initially and then water), and there are these great things called Munchkin Fresh Food Feeders – you can put whole fruit in them and the baby can safely chew on the fruit without choking on chunks of it. They are a great fun way to introduce food and really good when the baby is teething.

Ben: “So much mess”

Bassinet: I’m a big proponent for having your baby sleep in the room with you initially (this is also the recommendation for SIDs safety). Because Victoria was a terrible sleeper and fed A LOT overnight, I found a bassinet that could be safely kept up against our bed the easiest (it meant I didn’t have to get out of bed 100 times a night!). I’m not sure if they have them in Australia but SnuzPod is fantastic, as is BedNest. Another thing lots of mother’s swear by is the CocoonBaby Nest. You can put your baby in this and then in either a bassinet or cot – Victoria didn’t really sleep in hers, but worth a shot if you’re having difficulties finding the right sleeping arrangement for your little one.

Ben: “babies make funny noises when they sleep”

Prams: Prams are all about personal preference. We have ended up with 3 prams (ridiculous I know). The Cybex Priam for everyday, a BabyZen YoYo for travel (it folds up small enough to fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane – amazing!) and a Dream Design jogging pram for running with. Whatever you end up going with get something that’s good quality, it will be worth the money – your baby is going to be in it a lot from the ages of 1 month to 3 years and they get battered around A LOT!

Ben: “Prams required = Number of Babies + 2”

Baby Capsule: We used the MaxiCosi Mico AP Infant Carrier. It only lasts for about 6 months, but it means you can get your baby in and out of the car without disturbing them and you can fix the capsule to most pram bases which is super handy. It’s pretty expensive for something that you will only get 6 months use out of, but I think it’s worth it (even better if you can borrow someone’s!).

Ben: “Car to coffee in one go”

Baby-carrier: If you’re unlucky and your baby has reflux, a baby carrier is going to be your lifesaver (I basically carried Victoria for the first 3 months of her life – it was the only position she was happy in). We went with the Baby Bjorn Classic and I was happy with it. A lot of women say the Ergo baby carrier is comfier, whilst Men tend to prefer the Baby Bjorn. I found the fabric sling versions, which look really cute to be far too hot to wear in Australia. Whatever you go for, strap that baby to you and get walking!

Ben: “Chick magnet”

Baby toys for the first 6 months: In my opinion (and my experience of n=1!) these are the only baby toys you need for the first 6 months (your toy library will rapidly expand after this):

Intertwined colorful rings (amazingly these provide endless hour of entertainment)

Sophie the giraffe

Teething rings

Colorful playmat

Toy book (one of those ones that makes rustling noises – there is a great ‘Guess How Much I Love You’ soft book)

Ben: “What is it about Sophie… iPad Garage Band is also a hit”

Baby Swing: These bad boys can be really expensive and like the baby capsule will only last around 6 months, so if you can find one to borrow, go for it! We had the ForMoms MamaRoo and it was great. We also used the Fisher-Price My Little Snugabunny (cheaper but definitely not as sleek looking). Both worked great and for the first 6 months may be the only way you can get in the shower!

Ben: “endless entertainment… with Bluetooth control”

Baby bath: We have the Stokke Flexi-bath. It is fantastic as it folds up flat so it’s really easy to take with you when travelling. You can also get a nifty newborn insert – keeps them from slipping away from you and drowning!!

Ben: “Splish, Splash I was taking a bath”

Bath/Skin products: Babies don’t really need much as they have such beautiful unblemished skin. Victoria has mild eczema, have found QV bath oil to be helpful and Milk Baby and Mustela products to be great.

Ben: “They all look the same”

 

Pregnancy list for the Mum

Breast Pads: Do NOT scrimp and buy cheap home-brand breast pads. If you’re a dairy cow like me you will end up with breast milk all down the front of your top! I used A LOT of these, best brands: Johnson & Johnson, Mendela and Rite Aid.

Ben: “Not the easiest to locate in the pharmacy”

Maternity Pads: Libra extra-long maternity pads with wings (in purple pack). I’ve heard some women recommend buying those big incontinence undies (essentially adult nappies), I think that is going a little far! But you will definitely need some good quality maternity pads – normal ones are not going to cut it!

Ben: “…”

Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs: Nipple cream is useless. Buy yourself a truckload of these. Put them in the fridge and use them on repeat for the first couple of weeks. They will save your nipples (or at least help them to feel a little better!)

Ben: “Really fun to try and describe to the pharmacy assistant”

Maternity Bras: Bonds – the best nursing bras in my opinion. They’re all wireless and cotton and they’re both comfortable plus supportive. Target cotton nursing crop tops. These are fantastically light and comfortable (they don’t have any clips – you just pull the fabric to the side to nurse), perfect for when your milk comes in and your boobs are enormous and so uncomfortable. Also the most comfortable nighttime nursing bra I found. If anyone can find or recommend a great maternity sports bra please let me know!

Ben: “A challenge to buy in Target… I looked kinda creepy loitering in the maternity bra section”

Underwear: No specific brand recommendations (although I went for cheap and cheerful Target and Bonds again), but I strongly recommend buying only high-waisted black, cotton underwear for the immediate post-partum period. Even if you have a c-section, it’s going to be total mayhem down there – aka do not be wearing white undies! Whilst you may not be planning on having a c-section, you never know what will happen, get yourself high-waisted knickers just in case (they sit above a c-section scar so don’t cause any rubbing or discomfort).

Ben: “Refer to Maternity bras comment”

Clothes: Button down nighties and PJ sets – you can’t get too many of these! You’re going to be nursing that baby constantly for the first 6 weeks, might as well be comfortable with easy access! Peter Alexander and ‘Keep it Personal’ do lovely PJ sets. Buy a shitty nighty from Target or Susan etc for the first 72 hours (with the rapid changes in hormones and everything else that’s going on it will inevitably get covered in a combination of sweat, breast-milk and blood). Other staple items: nursing singlet’s – so you don’t flash your belly every time you’re feeding (again either Target or Bonds), SRC recovery shorts (supposedly help you to get flat abs, I found the compression they provide helped my sore back), lightweight cotton clothing (hormone changes = sweating +++), a nice pair of loose fitting black trousers (Witchery and Seed do great versions) – you will feel like you’re wearing tracksuit pants – but they look much smarter!

Ben: “Have you guys tried the maternity pillow?!”

Following up from that comment, get your self one of those massive maternity pillows, amazing for the last 10 weeks of pregnancy (if your husband doesn’t steal it)!

 

Maternity clothes:

Legoe: beautiful, good quality cotton basics

H&M or Topshop maternity jeans

SRC pregnancy shorts or leggings (provide nice back support)

Active wear (leggings will become your best friend!)

Loose fitting black trousers: Seed or Witchery have great versions on these (they’re also great for post-partum)

Sports bras: Your boobs are going to get huge, Sports bras may become your only confortable bra options

Asos dresses: these can be a little hit and miss, but a lot of people love them 

 

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Hospital Bag(s)

Private hospital stays in Australia for uncomplicated births tend to be around 3 to 5 days. So pack enough for roughly this period of time and have your bags packed from around 36 weeks (or earlier depending on what your obstetrician says). Private hospitals also usually provide a lot of stuff for you (nappies, ice-packs etc) and they typically specify what will be provided and give you their own hospital bag checklist. These are my recommendations below:

Hospital bag for Mum:

1. 8 pairs of high-waisted black undies

2. 4 nursing bras including x1 ultra soft nursing crop top (for day 3 when your milk comes in)

3. 1 pack of breast pads (your milk doesn’t usually come in until around day 3 so you wont need loads of them until then)

4. 1 large box of Rite Aid Hydrogel Breast Discs (put them in the fridge in your room)

5. 2 packs of Libra extra-long maternity pads with wings (in purple pack)

6. If you have a vaginal delivery – 2 ice-packs (although most private hospitals provide disposable ones so you don’t need to worry)

7. If you have a c-section – compression stockings (hospital should also provide these)

8. 1 or 2 crappy button fronted nighties – wear one in labor if you’re having a vag delivery (if you have a c-section they will likely put you in a hospital gown). Regardless of whether you have a vag delivery or c-section wear a comfy cotton nighty for at least the first 48 hours (a nighty means its easier to change your underwear/maternity pads and make sure it has buttons to allow for easy access for feeding). Don’t get beautiful and delicate nightgowns – they’re only going to get covered in sweat, breast-milk and blood!

9. 1 or 2 pairs of button down PJs

10. 1 or 2 cotton nursing singlets

11. SRC recovery shorts – wouldn’t bother wearing them for the first 24 – 48 hours. They offer serious compression so they’re pretty difficult to get on/off – not great when you’re changing pads frequently, or if you have a tender c-section scar to get them over. Although I did find the compression helped my sore back and I liked the feeling of all my wobbly bits being ‘held-in’ so I wore them daily from about 48 hours post-partum.

12. Slippers or flip-flops (you don’t want to be walking the hospital hallways in bare-feet)

13. A ‘nice’ dressing gown (ditto you don’t necessarily want to be walking the hallways in just your PJs)

14. A ‘going home’ outfit – comfy trousers/leggings, a nursing singlet covered by a soft cardigan/jumper is a pretty good outfit idea

15. Mobile phone + charger

16. Toiletries – you will be feeling fat, hot, sweaty, dirty, sore, emotional and generally a bit all over the place at times – take some nice body wash, shampoo and moisturizer, its amazing how much better you feel after a nice shower!

17. Books, magazine, laptop, iPad etc – whether you have a planned c-section or vag delivery there will be a lot of waiting around, take something to keep you entertained

18. Plastic bags/laundry bag – for dirty clothes

Ben: “Netflix subscription is pretty good”

Hospital bag for Baby:

1. Cord Blood storage box (we used the Cell Care company) (and if you are doing that)

2. Onsies x 6

3. Hats x 2

4. Singlets x 4

5. Muslin wraps x 5

6. x1 ‘good going home outfit’

Don’t bother with mittens or booties – much easier to put your baby in PureBaby and Bonds onsies, which have little cover-over bits for hands and feet (also mittens can be dangerous as they pull them off and can supposedly choke on them)

1. Cotton nappies/terry-toweling cloths for moping up/feeding/burping – most hospitals will provide these

2. Nappies and baby-wipes – again your hospital should provide these

3. Baby toiletries (bath wash + moisturizer)

4. Blanket x1

Ben: “their arms are surprisingly strong… and the long finger nails are lethal!”

Hospital bag for Dad/birthing partner:

1. Change of clothes + PJs (the hospital room I stayed in had a double bed so Ben stayed the whole 4 days with me)

2. Snacks and drinks – mostly for hubby whilst you’re in labor! But also really handy for the first couple of days when you don’t want to have to raid the vending machine

3. Books, magazine, laptop, iPad etc – something to keep him entertained

4. Camera

5. Boxes of chocolates and biscuits – give these to your midwives and nurses as thank-you presents – you will seriously be the most loved couple on the ward!

6. Thank-you notes (see above)

7. Nice bottles of wine + thank-you notes for your obstetrician and paediatrician (ditto above)

Ben: “Snacks”

In the car:

1. Installed baby-seat or capsule

2. Window shade

3. Baby mirror (mirror attaches to the car seat so you can see your babies face in your rear view mirror)

4. Fully stocked nappy bag

Ben: “So that’s what those little metal isofix things are for…”

There you have it! The lists of all lists!

Please be smart and know that this is the opinion of one person and in no way should you take this as gospel etc etc. Take what you need from it. And it goes without saying anything medically related to your bub seek the professionals! 

Lots of love. xx