RRP £29.99 Available from www.snoozeshade.com and a growing number of other places
Antibacterial wipes. In the early days it's important to sterilise, but that's not always easy when you are out and about. At some point the bag is going to drop/ throw their toys or dummies on to the floor. There are a range of companies that make antibacterial wipes (I've tried Tommee Tippee and Tesco own brand) and I find them brilliant to have in the changing bag for a whole range of uses. Tommee Tippee Soother, Teat and Teether Wipes RRP £1.99
Tiny Love play mat. As Baby M started crawling at 6 months this mat had a limited period of usefulness, but we used it every day for months. The Tiny Love playmat is one of the largest I have found. It has bright colours and a variety of textures which are great, but the main reason I used it both at home and at other people's houses is Baby M's tendency to vomit (or technically spit up). The mat is brilliantly washable and still looks great after several washes. It saved many carpets and myself from embarrassment.
The mat measures 150cm x 100cm and RRP is £40
Napisan. A bucket with water and Napisan is brilliant for soaking clothes dirtied by leaking nappies, and more often these days, food stains. I then wash them as normal. This has saved many an item of clothing.
(You probably don't need to see a picture of stained clothes or a bucket). RRP c £4
Munchkin Caterpillar Spillers. From very early on I wanted some stacking cups for Baby M as I think they are great to play with. I bought some from Munchkin because they had the added features of holes to make use in the bath more fun and they connect together to look like a caterpillar. RRP £3.99 recommended for 9 months plus.
Tommee Tippee Roll n Go Explora Bibs. I like these bibs because they are soft, flexible and reduce the amount of food dropped on the floor. They do stain with tomato sauce, but all rubbery things I've seen do. In the early days of eating I found large bibs caused problems for baby M feeding herself because her hands would get stuck behind them, but this period didn't last long. I bought one of these bibs at 7 months and another a few days later. We now use them for most meals. RRP £3.49
What I have learnt from a few mistakes:
Changing mats must must must be wipe cleanable. I got a relatively expensive, but lovely and soft sponge one it looked great, but doesn't really clean. You can buy covers for it, but why buy covers when you can have a cheaper one, wipe it and save on the washing?
Baby gates need to open easily. We have 3 different baby gates. One of them is really difficult to open, gets stuck and it's noisy too. Annoyingly it's the one at the top of the stairs and I'm going to have to replace it at some point. My advice: test them out before buying, and don't believe when the packaging says easy one handed opening.
Highchairs should be minimalist. We originally bought a high chair with padding, it had 3 different seat positions and a storage basket underneath. It has been in the garage for months. The best advice I have read about highchair selection is choose one you could hose down. I love the cheap Antilop chair from ikea which has no detail and is about as easy to clean as a chair could be (pictured above).
Consider purchase of shoes carefully. I found shoes and socks just never stayed on Baby M. Socks only stayed on with the use of Sock Ons, and shoes were just a game for Baby M to remove. Most babies I have seen have shoes or socks on so this obviously isn't experienced by everyone. Even Gap socks which are meant to stay on well don't stay on Baby M's feet. I have now bought Baby M a pair of proper shoes from Clarks even though she's probably a good few months of walking and they stay on, meaning the socks do too.
I continue to love (and use daily): my bugaboo bee, my bebe au lait nursing cover, angel care movement monitor