Tag Archives: nursery

Buying for baby: the ultimate (short)list

19 Nov

Baby in supermarketApologies to anyone visiting the blog expecting my usual mix of wit (snigger), intellectual banter (guffaw) and insightful opinion (falls off chair laughing). What you will find instead is a list that includes things that you do with your boobs and stuff you pop in your pants. Still here? Well then you must be a parent-to-be.

Over two pregnancies I’ve honed a list of what (I think) should be on every new parent’s shopping list, including what you should pack in the god-like object that is your hospital bag. I’ve cut the crap (you’ll have plenty of that when the tiny pooping machine arrives and who needs a top and tail bowl anyway) leaving what should near-as-damned be the ultimate, honed list of what you really need to buy before a baby arrives. I’d love to say this is a definitive list but babies leave your brain addled and it’s about personal choice (of course) so please do comment, suggest, criticise and share and help this baby continue to grow.

Toys / baby gym ;
Bouncy chair x1
Mobile for cot x1
Moses basket & stand x1
Bath (but don’t bother with a top and tail bowl – really, who uses them?) x1
Changing mat x1
Cot (or cot bed if you’re prone to planning ahead) x1
Monitor x1
Thermometer (for room temperature) x1
Dummies x2
Buggy x1 (but you may end up trying a few in your time)
Pram blankets and sheets x2
Sling/carrier x1
Sun shades for car windows x2
Car seat (you won’t get out the hospital without it!) x1
Feeding/Changing Note, this allows for bottle or breastfeeding (you can plan this one as much as you like but better be prepared for either/both I say)
Nappy bags ;
Nursing bras x2+
Breast pads (Lansinoh disposable pads are the best – other brands are available to course but in my experience none are as leak-proof) Boxes of the b*ggers if you end up breastfeeding
Breast pump (electric) x1
Bottles x6 to 8
Teats (slow and med) x6 to 8
Bottle brush x1
Steriliser (electric better than microwave) x1
Changing bag x1
Small insulated bottle bag x1
Bottle/food warmer x1
Bedding – cot ;
Fitted bottom sheets x3
Flat top sheets x3
Blankets x3
Bedding – moses basket
Fitted bottom sheets x3
Pram blankets x3
Linen – other
Muslins (preferably not white – they’ll end up grey) Lots!
Bath towels x2
Flannels/mitts x2
0-3 months (or newborn but 0-3 allows for whoppers)
Vests (bodysuits/short sleeves) x6 to 8
Sleeping bag (1 or 2.5 tog depending on time of year – NB only suitable for babies when over a certain weight) x2
Sleepsuits x6
Day outfits (eg b-gros, dungarees, t-shirts) Oh, never too many and these will come in gift form so don’t go wild before the baby arrives
Cardigans x2 to 3 (you may not need to buy if granny has been knitting …)
Socks x2 to 3 pairs
Mittens x2 pairs (ditto above re granny)
Shawl x2
Hats x2
Jacket (warmer) x1
Bibs x10
Toiletries etc
Baby bubble bath – don’t need to start with but add to stock ;
Baby nail clippers and scissors ;
Sudocrem (for bums and all else) ;
Metanium cream (for bad nappy rash) ;
Cotton wool balls ;
Wet wipes (we used ‘sensitive’ wipes – wipes not always recommended for newborns) ;
Baby lotion ;
Talc ;
Hairbrush ;
Cotton buds ;
Nipple cream – Lansinoh is the must-have! Other brands available but don’t bother looking in Ann Summers … ;
Infacol (worth having in case of colic) ;
Digital thermometer for taking baby’s temp ;
Calpol (NB can’t use until 3 months + but have it ready) ;
Hospital bag
Maternity notes! ;
Water spray/mist ;
Socks and/or slippers and/or flip flops 1 pair
Dressing gown ;
Nursing bras x2
Breast pads Quite a few!
Shower gel, deodorant, make-up, nipple cream etc ;
Arnica tablets (start taking as soon as you’ve had the baby – eases bruising to your bits!!) ;
Glucose sweets, eg Lucozade sweets ;
Phone charger ;
Something to read ;
Money ;
Snacks – eg cereal bars, bananas ;
Big bottle of water and small cartons of orange juice ;
Maternity pads (these will take up half your bag!) Large packet
Old cotton pants – don’t bother with the disposable paper pants as they’re undignified and unpleasant! x5
Button through nightdress x2
Change of clothes to go home in ;
Newborn nappies Small pack
Teddy (don’t do what I did for my first child and take the teddy out of the bag to make way for more of my own stuff. Selfless, eh?) ;
Sudocrem ;
Wet wipes 1 pack
Sleepsuits x4
Cardigans x2
Hats x2
Scratch mitts 2 pairs
Shawl/blanket x1
Going home outfit (what you’d like your baby to first meet the outside world in although the paparazzi are unlikely to be waiting outside) x1
Warm outer clothes depending on time of year ;
Muslins x6


My little big boy

28 Mar

Dear W,

Here is the view across the park I had this morning whilst I waited for you to finish your first hour at nursery by yourself. It’s the same view I had two and a half years ago as I waited for your sister to do the same. Same bench, same weather, same coffee (well, obviously not exactly the same coffee but you know …), same inane conversation from the dog walkers on the next table. And did I feel the same as when I waited for my first born to spend her first hour untied from the apron strings? Yes and no. Yes, in that I’ve never left you ‘by yourself’ for so long and it punched me in the heart to think of you realising that I wasn’t there. No, in that I knew you were being well looked after – when your sister started the nursery was an unknown quantity. Ultimately, I knew that if you cried they could show you a vacuum cleaner and you’d be alright. (But your penchant for vacuum cleaners must stop when you reach adulthood, young man.)

These coming few weeks will be big ones for your Mummy and you must excuse me if I blub over you a few times. You’re starting nursery, your first birthday is coming up, your boobie ration is being withdrawn and I’m going back to work. Big emotional stuff for me so don’t you go all teary on me when I leave you at nursery – I’ll be doing enough of that for both of us. Stiff upper lip and all that.

I’ve had a super year with you. Admittedly, I can remember very little of it but don’t take that personally. I blame a lethal mix of hormones, juggling you and your sister and not enough sleep. I hope you’ve had fun. If I’ve been ratty, cursed you when you’ve woken in the night AGAIN, not talked to you enough, not done enough cutting and sticking with you or ever missed an opportunity to give you a cuddle then I apologise. If I have done anything wrong then it’s not stopped you from growing into a super son. (Thank god your Daddy is the perfect counterbalance to my jingling nerves.)

Go get ’em my little big boy. There are crayons to be eaten and peas to stuff up other children’s noses.

With lots of love.

Black and white and pink and sparkly

5 Mar

Until a couple of years ago I lived on London’s Brick Lane – an area that the term ‘melting pot’ could have been invented for. After living there for ten years we moved to St Albans to be closer to work and family. I remember walking around in the first week thinking that something was odd. Something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Then it dawned on me – everyone was so WHITE. I found it unnerving. A bit like I’d moved somewhere that had yet to catch up with the rest of the country. What worried me most of all was that I’d be bringing up my children somewhere where they might only learn about different cultures and religions from books.

Three years into Snorbens life and thankfully those early impressions have proved exaggerated. It’s not Brick Lane but it’s hardly Midsomer (no John Nettles certainly) or Norfolk (ahem, no offence intended – I did live in Norwich for three years so feel somewhat qualified …). I was relieved to find that my daughter’s nursery wasn’t solely full of little white, middle-class faces (again, no offence intended for I fit that social bill). Great, I thought, she’ll grow up knowing and, most importantly, accepting that everyone is different.

Now here’s the rub. Yesterday, whilst looking at a picture of the whole cast of Disney princesses, my 3-year-old daughter announced that she likes all the princesses except Tiana (The Princess and the Frog for all you Disney luddites). And why doesn’t she like Tiana? Because “she is dark”. Because “she is different to the other princesses”. Gulp. Trying to explain that everyone is different is tough when a child knows no better than to base their likes and dislikes on such things as colour or quantity of sparkles. In her eyes a pink princess is better than a brown one. Fact. She doesn’t mean anything by it. It doesn’t make her racist. But her comments still made me quake in my parenting boots.

I’ll be doing my best to bring up my children so that they know better than to treat people differently because of creed or colour. As for the immediate future, if my daughter repeats her comment I hope that it will be taken for the little girl’s simplistic analysis of the world that it is and not for anything more sinister.

Brave new 4-day week

3 Jul

For the last 3 months I have, rightly or wrongly, been feeling guilty. (Don’t worry Mr C&P, I’m not about to reveal a terrible truth.) I’ve been feeling guilty because since the birth of my second child 13 weeks ago my daughter has remained at nursery full-time. There, I’ve told you. I’m a lazy, selfish mother. Well that’s how some people’s reactions have made me feel. The majority of friends/family/strangers in the street (don’t tell me no one else occasionally hangs around in the baby section of Boots looking for adult conversation??) don’t bat an eyelid. Yet I still find myself justifying the decision to other people (in fact, see below…).

Despite the guilt, the decision to leave the little lady in nursery has worked out well and I’ve been able to devote special time to the boy child. Looking back at the ‘dark days’ of the first 6 weeks (well, what I can remember of them and that’s very little) there’s no way I’d have made it through all the constant feeding, colic/reflux panics and general mental chaos a newborn brings with a toddler at my heels 24/7. (If anyone says that the newborn period is easier the second time round then they’ve reached the rose-tinted glasses stage. For those of us who’ve declared ‘never again’, it’s the same stage where the thought of having another baby starts to creep in and seem a lovely idea. But I don’t want Mr C&P getting wind of this vulnerable period.)

I’m not cut out to be a full-blown stay-at-home mum juggling the needs of a demanding brood. And I can say that without guilt. Thankfully, these days this admission doesn’t make me a freak or someone who doesn’t deserve to propagate. I take my hat off to those who are full-time mums – I just don’t think I have the necessary (and immense) energy, imagination and, above all, patience. Furthermore, I don’t think I can provide the educational experience that nursery does (or at least not as well). As for the emotional experience, well, my daughter feels none the less loved for not being with me all the time. I know some will beg to differ but each to his own I say.

All that said, tomorrow my daughter drops a nursery day and starts to spend Mondays with me. It’s a brave new world. (Deep breaths … I’ve done it before … [pant pant] … I can do it … feel the fear and do it anyway, etc etc). I confess that I’m daunted by the prospect of planning activities to keep her busy (especially whilst her little brother is still so ‘me, me, me’) that don’t involve CBeebies. (Although it’s a comfort to know that if all else fails we can watch the ‘Big Bear in a Spin’ episode of Everything’s Rosie for the umpteenth time.) I feel slightly sad that William and I are going to lose our Chilled Mondays (god, I’m selfish), and replace them with Manic Mondays. Then again, if I wasn’t able to endure stress and chaos then I wouldn’t be much cop as a mum. Wish me luck.

POSTSCRIPT: Mr C&P wants our daughter to be a nuclear-quantum-particle-physicist-wotsit so I was delighted to hear of the Science Sparks blog. I’ll be using some of the ideas on here for Monday activities and will no doubt have a mini female Professor Brian Cox on my hands in no time (hopefully minus the Legoman hair do).

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