Local mums reveal their nursery must-haves
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Keen to create a functional nursery without the waste? St Albans mums share their best buys for baby - as well as their nursery no-nos...
The baby market is saturated with products often advertised as essential when they are not. It can be challenging to work out what you need and what you don’t.
We asked several experienced St Albans mums to tell us what they couldn’t live without, what they wish they’d left in the shop and any top tips for kitting out your newborn’s room.
Mum of two, Chloe-Anne Charlton, from the city centre, said: “The Bumbo chair was brilliant and easy to take about, when travelling to friends and family by car.”
Tracy Rooke, has one child and lives in Fleetville. She said: “The best bit of kit for me was a cot with a drop-down side so I could have it next to my bed but still separate. Also, a playpen, AKA baby jail, for the lounge. It kept all the ever-increasing toys in one area and a crawling baby contained and safe while I was running around doing chores.”
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Becky Shepherd, mum of two in Batchwood, said: “A swaddle suit and white noise app worked wonders for us.”
Jodi Peters’ tip is to use sling libraries and not purchase three different baby carriers like she did. She also swears by the Bjorn highchair, which was “a great investment – easy to clean and folds away and extends with a growing baby”.
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Jaimee Dee Norris, mum to one girl at Alsop Close, said: “A bottle warmer is a complete waste of money. I wouldn’t buy a faff around pushchair again. I would get a stroller from birth.”
Emma Hetherington said: “Breast pump, breast pads and a cabbage. Couldn’t have got through the first few days without them.”
Mum of one Lauren Rye, Redbourn, used a £500 pram for three months, then bought a second-hand Maclaren and used it for years. She said: “I wish I chose my pram wisely as the Maclaren can be used from birth with a carry cot but I never knew.”
Fleetville-based Sarah Luck, who has one child and is expecting another baby, said: “A changing table was a waste. I only needed a mat, as I couldn’t be bothered to go upstairs to use it all the time. I just changed the baby on the floor mat.”
Jennifer Denning said: “I personally think a gliding crib is much better than a rocking crib. And a Close Caboo sling is great from birth.”
Mum of two Ali Jeavons, from Sandridge Road, said: “I loved the BabyBjorn bouncer and use it every day. Tripp Trapp chairs are brilliant for growing toddlers.”
Anne-Marie Bullivant, who’s got two boys and lives in Jersey Farm, said: “I bought a £30 Moses basket from John Lewis and it has done both my boys, niece and nephew. I changed the mattress each time for a tenner, also from John Lewis. Glad I didn’t buy a more expensive one – it served us all really well.”
Amanda Jane Miller, who has three children and lives in Tingeys Close, Redbourn, said: “Swaddle blankets from birth and a Ewan Dream Sheep. I only just discovered this little wonder and wish I had one sooner.”
Jenny Stubbs recommends a specific type of baby plat mat. She said: “I was gifted a Cosyplay memory foam play mat, which was perfect for tummy time and play on our wooden floors and for outside. It’s still used five years on!”
Mum of two Rebecca Kiernan, London Road, said: “I found the nappy bin the biggest waste of money. Instead of just chucking dirty nappies outside in the bin, you end up with a stinking nappy sausage sitting in the corner of the room and argue over who is going to empty it. And the cartridges cost loads. The Jumperoo is great but parents should be aware it’s the size of Jupiter!”
Leverstock Green mum of one Christina Randall’s favourite purchase was her Chicco Next2Me crib.
Carly Nokes’ tip is to put “a washable rug right next to the changing table in case of any pee or sick episodes, to save the carpet.”
Go green! Alison Cobb is a childminder, with grown up children of her own, in Napsbury Lane. She adores Cheeky Wipes. “I wish they had been around sooner. Re-usable washable wipes to use on face and hands have saved me a fortune on disposable wipes. I have four littles and they know which colour is theirs and help themselves, then put it in the ‘dirty’ box. The system is brilliant and environmentally kind and will last from birth for years.”
Forget the pressure to provide the perfect room
Georgina Self’s tip is to remember that “babies don’t care what their nursery looks like or what equipment it contains”. This sentiment of ignoring the pressure and hype is echoed by other mums.
Ginette Kennedy said: “The best gift we can give is recycling/borrowing/re-loving the mountain of baby equipment that they use for such a short time. Save money and help our planet.”
And Fiona Handyside agreed, adding: “Yes to borrowing and reusing! Ours never had a nursery as we didn’t have the room – just a cot in with us. I was sad for a while I couldn’t meet this expectation that they had a beautiful room. But looking back it actually doesn’t matter. They felt safe and had everything they needed.”
-Co-sleepers, such as Chicco Next2Me cribs, are popular as a safe way to sleep with your baby.
-The Fisher-Price Jumperoo is a great way to entertain a baby from three months, giving them somewhere to happily play and helping their physical development.
-Tripp Trapp chairs are attractively cleverly designed to grow from babyhood to childhood.
-Bumbo seats are easily transportable and prop up little ones as they learn to sit unaided.
-Cheeky Wipes are a green way to clean your tots’ bots, hands and faces. Pop them in the wash and re-use.
-BabyBjorn bouncers are ergonomically designed to give your baby proper head and back support.
-Play pens. They are all about £50 and invaluable for the times you need to wash up or Hoover in the same room as your active crawler.
-Slings and baby carriers, such as Close Caboo. Always try before you buy.
-Nappy bins – dump these unnecessary stinkers.
-Changing tables get bought and not used. A changing mat on the floor is fine.
-A bottle warmer. You don’t need one.
-Posh prams. Those ones that cost up to a grand, are heavy, fiddly and only used for a few months old. Wise mums go for strollers from birth. With a carrycot adapter if you must.
-Any expensive products that are only in use for a short period – choosing pre-loved cuts costs and is greener.