The 50 Best baby essentials
With so many baby products on the market, deciding what you need to buy to help look after your little one can be daunting. Charlotte Philby gives you some ideas
Charlotte Philby is a writer at The Independent with a weekly column on motherhood in The Independent Magazine. She was shortlisted for the 2013 Cudlipp award for excellence in popular journalism for her undercover investigative work, and writes for various cultural magazines.
Friday 20 September 2013
For something a little more vivid than the traditional wicker-and-linen basket, this polka-dot number makes a great first bed, home and away.
Designed to prolong the length of naps, this ergonomic foam bed supports shoulders and arms in a semi-foetal position, limiting the occurrence of Moro reflex, which can wake baby. If only it came in large sizes.
With a temperature gauge and clock, the TF550 works up to a distance of 350 metres with two-way talk-back, remote-controlled nightlight and an in-built lullaby player.
mamascarf.co.uk, from £37.99
This two-in-one sleeping bag is 100 per cent cotton, and you can take out the inside layer to make a 1- or 2.5-tog slumber sack. Sizes from birth to three years.
A cosy blanket crossed with a bed, this merino wool-blend cocoon has a hood that can be left open to create a pillow. Patches on the back can be cut open to fix to a buggy
A hand-held baby-calming aid that plays white noise that only your baby can hear, replicating the sounds in the womb. It fits in your hand so you can use it while holding your little one.
This organic cotton comforter from animal-centric Danish brand Franck & Fischer is washable at 40°C and comes in various designs.
These beautiful bibs from new label Brit Chic Signature are almost too pretty to use. Made in the UK using Egyptian cotton, they come in a variety of prints. Machine washable.
Washable wipes are easy on baby’s bottom, your wallet and the environment. With 25 terry towelling or bamboo wipes and two essential oil blends for hassle-free cleaning.
Perfect for weaning, this multi-purpose steamer and blender smoothes food to the perfect texture. Easy to use – the steamer even times itself.
Once your baby can hold its head up, this is a genius way of keeping him/her entertained (and static) while you potter in the house. In red and blue with a retractable tray, it can be also be used for feeding.
This hospital-grade electric breast pump can be used as a single or double pump and is comfortable, if not glamorous, to use. It’s easy to put together and works on several speeds.
Part of the sweet “Hey Bear, It’s Me Bear” collection, this 3- in-1 cushion can be used as a maternity pillow in pregnancy, for support while nursing, and to help prop babies once they can hold their heads up.
This changing table is remarkably spacious. You can buy straw woven baskets to slot inside or just pile your wipes, nappies and creams straight onto shelves.
The iconic Tripp Trapp from Norwegian company Stokke is still unrivalled. It is easy to clean and will see children through from the moment they start on solids until they’re ready for a real chair.
Muslins are essential for burping and wiping baby, and these are big enough to be used for swaddling, lining the pushchair and even for use as a changing mat, too.
Out and about:
Leaving the house with a baby can be tricky – a well-organised changing bag helps. This “wave” design cotton and leather bag will do it in style.
Putting up a travel cot can feel like a Herculean task. Not so with this lightweight design, which weighs just 5kg. Easily washable.
This 3-in-1 organiser can hang from your pushchair handles or car-seat, neatly storing nappies, wipes, spare clothes and the rest with an inbuilt insulated bottle holder to boot.
Micro Scooter has developed a model that grows with your baby. The adjustable 3-in-1 comes with a seat suitable from 12 months and will see children through to age five.
US WeeRide is a favourite in the UK due to its unique frontfacing design and unbeatable comfort, with ultra-thick seat and back padding.
Suitable from birth, this three-wheel travel system is easy to manoeuvre and sturdy. The seat faces forwards or backwards, with an adjustable footrest and handlebar.
A comprehensive first-aid kit suited to babies, in a waterproof case, with plasters, low adherent dressing, microporous tape, three disposable thermometers and scissors.
This soft Spanish design will fold into your bag and opens out to be a practical size for dealing with disaster on the go. Has a wipe-clean outer covering and waterproof lining
A two-in-one retractable car blind, this has one layer to reduce glare and filter UV rays while retaining the view, and one which blocks out the sun.
These super-cute puppy-print trousers are a new addition to the high-quality Polarn O. Pyret brand. With soft roll-up ankle cuffs and a waistband to grow with baby, they are available in sizes from birth to two years.
Available in lemon yellow, red or navy, this hooped tank top (with matching bloomers available) by Caramel Baby & Child is cut so you can get several months’ worth of use.
Seek solace from monsters or robots with this nautical theme – and when it comes to chic stripes and boat motifs for tiny people, no one does it better than Petit Bateau. This romper is 100 per cent cotton.
Boys & Girls has brought out a new range suitable from birth, including its signature Out to Play logo and bold star prints. Super soft and durable, from a brand based in east London.
Available in a range of Liberty prints including Mauvey, some proceeds from this incredibly soft kimono go to British charity Action Against Hunger UK. Washable at 40°C.
Made with organic cotton and no scratchy inside labels, this beautifully soft playsuit from Ava & Luc comes in various sizes suitable from birth to 18 months.
Suede-soled slipper socks are perfect for running (or crawling) around the house. Protect toes and keep little ankles warm with these, which come in various patterns
With a canvas upper and soft nylex lining, these personalised booties from My 1st Years make perfect pram shoes to protect tiny toes. Emboss with words of your choice.
This Scandinavian take on the traditional matryoshka, from Swedish artist Ingela P Arrhenius, will look pretty on the shelf until your little one is three years old (or beyond).
This super-safe door bouncer has pads to protect baby’s head, adjustable shoulder straps and dual fastening for extra peace of mind.
Available in fox, deer, hedgehog or rabbit, these cute crocheted rattles from Sebra of Denmark are the perfect size and weight for tiny fists to shake about.
Wall stickers are a cheap and cheerful way to turn a room into a playroom, and Bobo Kids has a particularly good selection. Highlights include this zoo design.
This woodland-themed bouncer from Fisher-Price has a vibrate option to soothe, as well as detachable toys and a musical owl.
This all-singing, all-dancing activity gym and play mat by Skip Hop comes with 17 developmental activities including teether and rattle.
These handmade Danish mobiles are mesmerising. They come in a range of designs, hanging from barely visible strings so they appear to swoop and glide.
This timeless tale of Toffle, a lonely, timid creature who searches for friendship and confidence, by Tove Jansson, is a childhood favourite in Scandinavia
Measuring 50cm x 70cm, this cheerful ABC poster is brought to us by Shropshire-based children’s interiors brand Little Yellow Birds. It will give your baby something pretty – and educational – to ponder.
This 500ml shampoo and body wash from trichologist Philip Kingsley contains camomile to soothe the scalp and amaranth protein to gently moisturise. It is free from chemical nasties.
One for mummy, Dead Sea Salts contain potassium, which is said to help regulate fluid balance and improve circulation. They certainly make for a relaxing soak.
This PVC-free folding baby bath comes in various bright colours. It has a non-slip surface to help balance baby and packs flat so it can be stowed between washes. What more could you ask for?
Be it miniature nail clippers or tubes of teething gel, babies require lots of little bits and pieces that are amazingly easy to lose. Keep track with this zip-up farm purse.
Taking your baby for a dip is one of the most glorious parental activities, and a disposable swimming nappy will make it so much easier.
Presented in a white muslin bag and pretty ribbon, this bath towel makes a beautiful and practical gift. Made from 100 per cent cotton.
Stacking birds that double up as pouring cups make for the perfect bath-time toy. This charming little set by New York brand Skip Hop is available in various shades.
Olive oil, coconut oil, Tahitian monoi from Tiare blossoms, marshmallow plant and oats leave baby’s skin ridiculously soft and silky smooth.
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