Becoming a parent for the first time is a massive learning experience; pretty much everyday is trial and error. So you do find yourself wasting a lot of money on stuff that doesn't work, but you also get a thrill from the little things that make life so much easier when you come across them. These are some of my best buys as a new mother that only came after several months of struggling. And there follows some of the biggest wastes of money I've had so far...

Image credit: Unsplash

Image credit: Unsplash

Products I should’ve bought in the beginning

Sleeping bags

My baby has never liked being swaddled. Frankly, it was a pain to try. We used to have to readjust the cellular blanket before putting her down after her bottle during the night and the faffing just woke her up. I started using sleeping bags as Winter crept in and she was moving around more, and I can’t believe I didn’t use them before. I had my reasons; I was worried about how safe they were as many popular brands failed safety tests in their design. But the ones we bought were perfect and kept our daughter warm and cosy each night.

Next-to-me crib

We started off with a Moses basket by the bed on a stand, but it was a nightmare to pick the baby up and put her down, especially since my joints were in agony for months after the birth. Sometimes she’d only be comforted if I dangled my arm over the side of the basket to hold her hand, but that wasn’t the most comfortable thing in the world for me. When she grew out of the basket, we weren’t ready to put her in her own room yet so we got a next-to-me crib and suddenly nights got so much easier. She could see me next to her which made her happy, we could fall asleep holding hands, and picking her up and putting her down was easy.

Full bibs

I struggled with cheap waterproof/terry towelling bibs and a large muslin cloth over the rest of the clothes for far too long. Those plastic bibs that catch dropped food were no good either as my baby would just grab it and start chewing on it. I would spend ages scraping food out from the seat of the high chair and obviously my baby’s favourite food was also the messiest. Eventually, I purchased a large waterproof bib with sleeves and a strap that pulled the bottom over half the high-chair table. Now my baby’s clothes are totally protected, and all dropped food gets caught in the bib. There’s also less mess on the table. They can be wiped down afterwards, or just shaken over the bin and thrown in the wash with everything else.

A decent pushchair

I can’t tell you how much I regret buying the cheapest travel system I could find. It was only when I took my baby out in her pram that I realised what a huge mistake I made. I live in a very mixed terrain area and it soon became clear that there were limited places I could walk my baby as the rides were just not smooth enough for her. We ended up purchasing a pricey all-terrain pushchair with pneumatic tyres, front and rear wheel suspension and three wheels for smooth steering. It was so worth the expense and now we fight over who gets to push it.

Reusable wipes

I have to admit, I have always used baby wipes at changing time. No other method has ever felt feasible. But when it comes to drying, reusable terry wipes are a godsend. No need to waste bath towels, my daughter can have a fresh one at every change and they take up very little space in the washing machine. 

Products I wasted money on

Image credit: Unsplash
Image credit: Unsplash

Bottle warmer

I suppose these are useful if you’re expressing milk and your baby likes it warm, but I used formula milk from very early on and these have to made up as and when you need them and cooled down. Health advice suggests it’s no longer a good idea to pre-make bottles and refrigerate them. So we just never needed to use this.


The only thing babies need on their feet until their walking are socks - fluffy socks if it’s cold out. They don’t need fancy booties when all you’re going to do is wrap them up in a blanket. Not only that, but most babies spend a lot of their time in sleepsuits in the early months. I literally never used them.

White noise machine

I purchased a white noise machine to help my baby sleep but the noises were just annoying. I couldn’t bear it on for more than a minute. Saying that, I did find an app with a few free background noises that weren’t as irritating (and actually quite pleasant) and that did the trick for a while.


I invested in a large piece of soft fabric with which to carry my baby around with me. Turns out it wasn’t that easy to get the hang of and by the time I felt confident enough to use it, my baby was uncomfortably heavy. I would recommend visiting your local sling library as soon as your baby’s born and trying a variety until you find one that suits you. Don’t wait too long though - your body needs to get used to carrying a baby and starting when they’re at their lightest will give you a fighting chance of sustaining it.

MORE: How to encourage your baby to love nature

Sub-par bottles

Do your research before you buy a bunch of bottles. If you can, get individual bottles of different brands to try before you buy loads of one sort. The most popular brand is not necessarily the best, and we had to put up with a lot of leaks, complicated parts and colic before we found the right bottle. We must have disposed of 20+ bottles that just didn’t work for us. 

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