I have to admit, this process I was obsessed with. I had THE biggest Pinterest board, read so many blogs, books, articles, forums - you name it. I wanted to be so overly prepared - plus I had a lot of time on my hands as I wasnt working. I used Pinterest and typed in Baby Shopping list/Registry and collated a few different lists in order to make one big list. I was in two minds about whether to buy bits and bobs for breastfeeding or bottle feeding as I wasn't sure how I would feed the baby. I really wanted to breastfeed but didn't want to spend money on things I may not use. Similarly with bottle feeding, I didn't want to buy formula just in case as firstly it may have been tempting at 4am to prepare formula if I was really struggling with breastfeeding and secondly just because it would be a waste of money to have formula sitting in the cupboard if breastfeeding was faultless. So I decided to buy neither.
The items that I am so glad we got are as follows:
(NB- for a newborn)
Wubbanubs - these have been our saving grace AND the worlds biggest pain in the arse! While Oscar was in NICU they asked if he had a dummy as it would settle him, I guess as he was in an incubator he couldn't find comfort from being cuddled so he sucked on his dummy. It has done such a good job in soothing him, he used to cry when I changed his nappy and the dummy would make him happy again. When he is milk drunk and put into his bed, he has a little suckle on his dummy and is asleep in minutes. When he had blood tests his dummy would calm him - he just becomes so content when he has it. I think its also a good indicator of when he wants to suckle for comfort and when he is hungry - he will suck for dear life on his dummy when he is hungry which is an easy way to know when to feed him! As for the Wubbanub brand - it has a teddy attached with weighted feet so that the dummy sits on their chest, so when the dummy falls out his mouth, it's still somewhere around his mouth and he is able to pop it back in his mouth by himself. It also makes it a lot more difficult to lose them as opposed to a normal dummy. Although they have been a pain due to our greedy Wubbanub thief of a dog, Milo. He has chewed the dummy off SEVEN Wubbanubs!! And they are not cheap! Luckily I have been able to buy replacement dummies, wash the Wubbanub teddy in the washing machine, and attach a new dummy.
Nappy bin - The Tommee Tippee Nappy bin is revolutionary - O.K. maybe not but I think it's pretty cool (you will need to buy the specific bin liners that go in here too). It allows us to have a nappy bin in our bedroom without any nasty smells as each nappy is individually wrapped in a bag by twisting the dial to knot the bag. It probably fills about 30 nappies so lasts a few days but my gosh are they heavy when you take them out!!
Microfibre towels - I bought so many muslins as I was told they were an absolute essential however, I definitely prefer Microfibre towels. I use them for everything. We got a pack of 12 from Amazon for £24. I use them to drape over the top half of Oscar's bed so that if he spits up, I can just change the towel instead of the bedding. I use them in the bath to get wet and drape over him so he stays warm. I use them to have handy around the house to wipe spit up. I use them on any toys he has such as the playmat or his chair and place the towel, again, where his head is in case of spit up. I find that they're a lot softer than muslins so I don't mind wiping his face with them.
Water wipes - as far as wipes go these are great, they have no chemicals in them just 99.9% water and 0.01% fruit extract. They stay really wet and do a terrific job at cleaning up the poo explosions.
ASDA Little Angel nappies - I bought these upon recommendation but also bought Pampers just in case. I started using Pampers as we had to buy Micro size nappies while Oscar was in the NICU and once we were both out of hospital and he was in 1's I couldn't believe how much softer Little Angels from ASDA were. I haven't had any issues with them (apart from the odd unavoidable poocano) and now that he is in size 4's and only pooing once a day, I am able to put him in their size 3 Comfort Dry nappies that stay dry for 12 hours which are great for overnight. (They are also blue and have whales on which really excited me - how sad!)
Nose Frieda and saline drops - This contraption looks like you would end up with a mouthful of snot, but I've found it works really well. I did have one of the snot suckers in the bulb form but I didn't like not knowing how much force was being put up his nose - so with the Nose Frieda (A long tube that you suck one end and the other end goes up babes nose) I am able to control how hard I suck. To be honest, when Oscar sounds congested and starts snorting like a pig, I will put a few saline drops in (remember this has to be thrown away 4 weeks after opening) so that his snot becomes wet and loose, and I will lightly blow/suck around his nose which normally tickles him enough to sneeze which jets out his bogies anyway. If that doesn't work I will gently suck around his nose moving the pipe to the walls of his nose so I am sucking snot rather than right up his nose and into his damn brain! It works everytime and Oscar is always so relieved when his nose is clear, sleeps so much better and I don't have to worry about him not breathing when he breastfeeds.
Chicco Next 2 Me crib - This crib has been really good. When we brought Oscar home we didn't have the Sleepyhead pod that he sleeps in, nor did we have an extra mattress. We just had the Chicco crib. It is huge - and he looked so tiny compared to it. The matress it comes with is also hard as nails, so I would reccomend getting a matress insert thats a lot comfier. The Next 2 Me crib is great to prop up to the bed so when he needs feeding I can scoop him out and onto my lap to feed him. I also think that with a baby sleeping so close to you, as oposed to a moses basket in the corner of the room, I can hear him much more easily. Which means I can catch his early hunger queues and grumbles and feed him as quickly as possible, instead of waiting for him to cry uncontrolably and get himself worked up and not to mention wide awake. This way Oscar stays in his sleepy state and settles back down a lot faster. (I also just keep the bathroom light on and the door ajar to light the room which I find helps a lot instead of turning on a light and startling him and waking him up)
Sleepyhead 0-8 months pod - This has been a lifesaver product I think and I definitely think it's worth the money, despite when it arrived thinking - well its just a big cushion. If you look into a concept called the 'forth trimester' it is all about replicating the conditions of the womb to make your baby feel safer and sleep better. The Sleepyhead has a nice comfy, flat cushion base and a padded pod around their head and body in a U shape. Although it says 0-8 months, Oscar is filling it out pretty quickly even now, so I will have to see how/if it lasts him til 8 months! I love how it is transportable, so Oscar can nap in the daytime in his nursery with the Sleepyhead inside his big boy crib, and he wouldn't even know the difference. We can also take it to friends and family's houses and he can nap on the floor/on tables or kitchen worktops (big kitchen islands, not just the side of the kitchen sink!!) and on the sofa. All of the above of course under supervision - I would never leave him to sleep in this anywhere other than a safe and wide surface.
Sleepyhead bed covers - This is a no brainer, anything that you can buy a cover for that a baby uses you should. We bought a pack of three, theyre really soft and ever so slightly larger than the Sleepyhead which I think works better as it allows the cover to dip down in the same way the Sleepyhead does rather than the sheet being taught due to the high sides. I do, as previously mentioned, use a Microfibre towel under where his head sleeps so that I can just change that if he spits up. The Microfibre towels are long enough that they run no risk of being on his face in the middle of the night - they drape well over each side of the Sleepyhead so stay put no matter what.
Bath insert and sponges - We bought an individual baby bath as my Mum suggested you may not always want to bath the baby in your bath but maybe bath him in the lounge. I can say that for us, it is not convinient at all to bath a baby in the lounge. We have two dogs, wooden flooring in the lounge so not the cosiest and to fill the bath with water then walk down the hallway whilst it sloshes about, only to have to walk back to tip it away - PLUS getting all the bath bits into the lounge and then put them back in their place is JUST a nightmare. It may work for you but it doesn't for us. So the baby bath has been used all of one time. The bath insert is really good. It's so simple to just run a shallow bath while you undress the baby (we keep a packet of wipes in the bathroom and a spare babychanging mat) and then pop him in. As I said before, I also drape a Microfibre towel thats wet with warm water over his body and it keeps him warm throughout. We also have sponges that we use to continuously squeeze warm water over his body to keep him nice and snug. The insert also works if you want to get in the bath too and you can play together. It allows them to lie at an angle, have their bum supported so they don't slip down/off and has holes in so that they are half submerged in water. It's really easy to clean and Oscar seems pretty content in it.
Arbonne Baby range - Nappy cream, Body Lotion, Body wash and SPF for when he is 6 months old. (http://www.arbonne.com/PWS/OliviaAmes/store/AMUK/product/ABC-Arbonne-Baby-Care-Set-1149,2258.aspx) - I don't use products on Oscar everyday but when I do, its reassuring to use a product that is all natural and gentle on the skin. The body wash/shampoo gets nice and bubbly in the bath if I do want to put some bubbles on his head for comedic value, and the moisturiser is nice as sometimes he gets dry legs. The brand is so pure it's so reassuring to use something 100% safe for your baby and worth spending the extra so you know exactly what's going on your baby's skin.
Breastfeeding pillow - Although I don't use this pillow for breastfeeding, I do find it really good to sit Oscar up in if he's awake and sat next to me, and it's also really good for tummy time. I like to put a mirror the other side so he's arched over the pillow and looking at his reflection. He doesn't love it everytime, but much prefers it to lying on the ground while he builds his neck strength. It also doesn't run the risk of him face planting the ground.
Various chairs/play mat - we have a Rock and Play bed from a friend that oscar would sit in in the lounge, a vibrating chair that sits on the dining table in the kitchen and a playmat upstairs, I've found it really handy to have somewhere in each of the main rooms you use to have somewhere to put the baby. Alternatively, if the wheels of your pram don't get muddy you could keep the pram inside and count this as somewhere to put the baby. When we brought Oscar home we didn't have anything so he slept in his pram a lot of the time, even next to me in it in bed for the first week.
Gro Egg - I love the Gro Egg as it gives you peace of mind that the temperature of the room is good. When we first brought Oscar home I was a bit obsessive with it, checking the exact temperature of it and then taking his temperature and making sure he had the correct amount of layers on and was making sure far too often that he wasn't too hot or cold. Now I just make sure the egg glows orange rather than blue or red and make sure he has a few layers on and it's great peace of mind. It has only glowed blue once, so I was able to get up in the night and turn the heating on and put an extra blanket on him until it glowed orange again.
Sleepsuits with mittens - I never noticed how much I valued sleepsuits with mittens until he was in one without them. When he was a newborn he used to try and gouge his own eyes out and scratched his face a lot. I took him to my parents one day and he didn't have anything to cover his hands and had to end up stretching out a few finger puppet toys my Mum had bought me for bathtime and putting them over his hands! Now that he's older he doesn't scratch his face anywhere near as much but I would definitely recommend sleepsuits with mittens for a brand new baby.
Warm button up coats - As Oscar was born in winter, I was having to dress him up in a lot of layers if we were leaving the house. Not so much now, but when he was a newborn he would hate being changed and anything put over his head would really upset him. So I found coats that were button up as opposed to over the head jumpers meant he was a lot more settled and didn't have to disturb or upset him by forcing a jumper over his head.
Blankets - cellular and normal - I use cellular blankets for Oscar and put them up to his armpits when he sleeps, so that if for any reason they get pulled up, he can still breathe through the holes, and then I use thick fluffy blankets about 10cm down just to keep the heat in at the bottom of him. The normal blankets are also great to put around his legs in the carseat and keep him nice and snug. I like to use lots of thin blankets so it's easy to build up layers and take layers down if he gets too hot.
Grobag - The only Grobag I bought Oscar was a very thin togged, 0-3 month size. I used it when he had a little more meat on his bones and didn't run the risk of slipping down and inside it. It has four poppers that go two on either shoulder but I just attach one popper furthest from his face as I worry it's too tight on his neck. They are slightly a pain as they are so high up they always seem to end up with milk on from him feeding or spit up on. So I do find that it is in the wash a lot, I put it on a 15 minute wash just to take the edge off the smell. I also like to keep it on the radiator while I do bathtime and then it's a good part of the bedtime routine to put him in his sleeping bag all warm and cosy. I find that it keeps him in his sleepy state while feeding him at night as I'm not taking him out of every blanket keeping him warm, so the warmth stays with him when I pick him up. Its then a lot easier for him to fall back asleep as he doesnt have to get cosy or adjust to the temperature of his bed if it has dropped - as he is already in his sleeping bag of warmth.
Carseat with adapter for pram wheels and Isofix Base - I didn't like to keep Oscar in his car seat for days out when he was younger as the carseat was quite big for him and he couldn't hold his head up properly in it so it wasn't ideal for him to breathe very well. However now he is over 10lbs he fills it out a lot better and is able to sleep in there a lot more comfortably. It is so much easier popping in and out of shops to put Oscar straight from the car onto a set of clip in wheels. I would also really recommend the Isofix Base as it takes two seconds to clip the carseat in - times I have taken him in other peoples cars without them you have to climb over and fiddle around with the seatbelt every time you want to get in and out. The Isofix base is also safer in case of an emergency as the base is attached to the carseat so less movement. It also has an indicator that goes green when the car seat is in correctly.
Multipack boring, cheap vests - Oscar was born in the winter. I have so many vests with designs on, sayings, brands, characters. It is absolutely pointless as they are never seen. If I had thought this through when I was pregnant (as I had no concept of dressing a baby) - I would have simply gone to ASDA and bought various sized, white vests and be done with it. If you have a poo explosion the vest just goes straight in the bin so no point buying expensive or branded vests and spit up usually only gets on the top layer (sleepsuit/tshirt) so you're unlikely to need to change a vest as much as you do sleepsuits or outfits so no need to buy a million.
If breastfeeding -
Lanisol Breastpads in bulk - I actually bought a bulk order of Breast pads by accident and was so shocked when a huge box of 100+ turned up but BOY do you need them. I hadn't really ever read what happens, how often or why you leak so didn't know what to expect. But let me tell you - you need breast pads and you need a fresh pair for the daytime and a fresh pair for bed. While you feed on the left side, the right side will 'let down' which just means a few drops come out automatically. I also like to rest Oscars face on the breast pad under the side he's feeding, as a lot of milk dribbles down the side of his face - so instead of making my clothes/bra wet, it just soaks into the breast pad. If you are due a feed, your boobs can go rock hard and start to leak as they are so full. I also found that while using a breastpump, sometimes if you don't have the suction cups at the right angle, the milk just dribbles down you, so again, placing the pads just by folding them down over your bra, they can save you from embarrassing wet clothes.
Amazon Nursing bras - These bras I wear in the day. They aren't padded in the sense to give you cleavage by pushing your boobs up, but they are thick enough to give you a nice rounded shape under clothes when you don't want to wear a really unflattering loose sports bra. I've slept in these bras a couple of times by accident/laziness and they are uncomfortable so you will need a looser nursing bra for bed. They are spongy enough to fold down well and not get in the way when you do want to feed and are a nice pillowy surface for Oscar to rest his head on! They're also really cheap - I have four in black as I wear one everyday and they can end up smelling quite milky so good to have them on rotation in and out the wash. Black is definitely the best colour as doesn't show any possible wet patches and goes with most things you'll want to be wearing.
H&M Nursing bras - These bras I bought in a large which are really big for me, which I'm now really glad they are. I wouldn't wear them under normal clothing as they come up quite high and are really loose and unflattering. Its suggested that you don't wear a bra at all at night as your boobs are producing milk while you sleep so a tight bra wouldn't do you any favours and you would also wake up quite sore. I have tried going braless and just in a pyjama top but as I said before, you need (well I definitely need) breast pads as my top was soaking wet! I bought these bras in white, pink, black and grey although given the chance again I would buy them in all black. The white bra has turned a dingy off-cream colour and the grey shows wet patches really badly as the fabric gets darker in comparison.