I have been a parent for nearly 20 years now. Sometimes I forget, and then remember that Bee is 20 this year and come over all funny. How has it happened that I’ve had children for more than half of my life? When did Bee stop looking like this?
The very act of having those thoughts then makes me feel even older. Young people don’t sigh to themselves and lament the passing of time do they? And then I catch a glimpse of my hair in a mirror and it’s downhill from there.
The flip side of this is that despite having the hips of a 52 year old, I still feel about 19 inside, so it’s odd when people ask for my ‘expert opinion’ on anything parenting related. ‘How would I know?’ I want to say, ‘I’m only a baby myself!’
Still, I guess after nearly 20 years you do learn a little bit, if only what not to do, so when Online4baby asked me if I fancied writing a little something about them I reminded myself that if I had made it this far with no trips to A&E and only a minimal therapy bill under my belt then I probably wasn’t doing too bad.
Here are I am then cutting through all the nonsense of the ‘must have’ baby lists to bring you seven things I think are genuinely useful for new parents:
Belle was not the sort of baby who liked to be put down. Being in a pushchair or car seat was definitely not relaxing for her, and she generally liked to maintain skin contact at all times. You’d think then that I would have invested in a decent baby sling, but I just had a cheap, uncomfortable thing that I barely used. In fact, I remember one day thinking it would be nice to just carry her into town, in my arms. (Top tip: this is a stupid idea and gets boring after about 27 seconds. DO NOT DO IT.)
A decent pushchair
My first carrycot/pushchair combo cost me £10 from a car boot sale, but if I was doing it again I would love one of the modern ones where your baby faces you and is higher up – much more sensible than always having to lean over the front to check they aren’t choking on a raisin or anything. It’s always good to go into a baby showroom* if you can to check they’re a comfy height for you to push. Prams.net have an amazing selection too, so have a good browse to figure out exactly what you want.
A Cuddledry baby apron towel
‘But you’re just saying that because you were their marketing manager for years!’ I hear you scoff.
I don’t know what you’re talking about.
Seriously though, they are one of those things that really is actually useful, not just a gimmick.
A bouncy chair or swing
Bee LOVED being in her bouncy chair when she was a baby. Belle not so much, but then she didn’t really like any situation where at least 80% of her wasn’t in direct contact with me. The dream when she was a baby was one of the baby swings where you don’t have to sit there rocking it with your feet.
A hip seat
Our Hippychick hip seat was absolutely invaluable as Belle got older and her liking for physical contact remained undiminished. You strap it round your middle and it turns your hip into a proper seat, so you don’t have to stand at that silly angle that puts your spine permanently out of alignment.
Never ending patience
For nearest stockists see… Oh, hang on.
What one thing would you recommend to all new parents?
*As in baby items, not a showroom full of babies for sale, although I would definitely visit one of those.