Nothing can prepare you for life as a parent. I remember bringing Eli home for the first time after 4 rough days in hospital & thinking, ‘What now?’

I ran on adrenaline for a few days & muddled through with distractions from lots of visitors – but then it went quiet & the baby blues kicked in and I thought, ‘what am I supposed to do? I haven’t signed up to this. I quit!’ Slowly but surely I found my feet in my new role & realised learning on the job is what you do. I also found a load of products that made my bubs happy, relieved my parenting stresses & generally were awesome.

So here’s my must haves for surviving year 1 as a mum, some may be of help to you too 🙂

The right bedtime combo

Eli loved napping on my chest as a tiny baby. Yes, sleepy newborn cuddles are the best, but habits form quickly & I was keen to get my little guy used to sleeping somewhere other than on me after the first month or so. After some trial & error, the winning combination was a swaddle & a sleeping pod. Then once the rolling started we swapped the swaddle for a super soft sleeping bag, which he still uses for naps & bedtime.

Relieving breastfeeding woes

I’m still breastfeeding Eli & it’s been a wonderful experience, but the first few weeks were super tough going. Eli would only latch on one side, leaving me to pump the neglected boob & for a while he was also reliant on nipple shields, meaning there were lots of gadgets to be cleaned. We literally couldn’t have done without a microwave steriliser during those times – not expensive & so easy to use – perfect!

A match made for teething

A friend of mine recommended amber teething necklaces - you can grab one of these from Amber Pumpkin - when I was pregnant, & I have to say I was sceptical. However, Eli really has breezed through getting his first 8 gnashers while wearing 1. Either they work or he has his dad’s pain threshold... Yes, he’s been a bit grizzly at times, but Calpol has sorted that making these 2 miracles a match made in teething heaven.

Bathing made simple

High five to the clever guys that invented baby bath seats. Eli used a reclining support from day one & upgraded to an upright chair when he could sit up confidently. They make bathing babies on your own much less stressful, while giving your water babe a chance to kick around without you trying to keep a grasp on their slippery little bodies. Double win.

Top investment toys

I look at how many toys my almost one year old has & then understand why parents do a yearly bootsale. However, we have made a few cracking buys this year. First up, a wooden play gym which Eli explored from newborn days. Secondly, a bouncy activity centre - Eli spent hours having the time of his life in his & lastly, a walker. A welcome set of wheels for a baby who refused to crawl! I’ve been known to get some housework done while he excitedly chases after me as well. Happy baby, happy mum 🙂

Laura