Now Annika's 6 months old, I feel sufficiently experienced as a mama to impart some 'wisdom' on what I've found to be the most useful bit and pieces for baby rearing so far. 

So here it is...

+ Let's start with the biggies - a pram. I know a lot of people say you can manage with just a sling, and you can, if all you need is baby transportation. But what about when you get to your destination? I've found a pram invaluable not just for getting from A to B, but also as a handy baby-container for things like lunches out and train journeys. Plus Annika liked sleeping in hers, so it doubled as an occasional daytime nap spot. We went for the Bugaboo Cameleon 3, which we've loved. I'll do a full review on it once we've had a bit more of a chance to use it in pushchair mode. 

+ A sling. If you haven't read my previous posts, my pic would be a Close Caboo for the tiny stage and a Connecta for when they're a little bigger. 

+ Angelcare bath support. I LOVE this thing. It's such a simple idea - a soft, mounded rubber seat in which to pop your baby at bathtime but it's fab. It must be ridiculously difficult to cradle your baby in one arm while using the other to squeeze soap and shampoo and wash your baby. Yes, you can bring the baby into your bath with you, which I've done a couple of times and that does the job, but I like my baths to be deep, hot and bubbly. And preferably with wine. Call me selfish but a lukewarm, shallow bath of plain water and the risk of surprise poop joining the party isn't my idea of a fun time. 

+ A changing bag. When I first got pregnant I was determined not to have a changing bag. I mean, it's just a bag, right? Wrong. When you have a baby you need to be able to one-handedly lay your hand on whatever it is you need, without having to grapple around for hours among the dirty nappies and soggy muslins. You need multiple pockets and compartments and things. I've got a Skiphop Duo which has been great, but I'm starting to crave something bigger with even more pockets so I've got a Storksak arriving this week. Full reviews of both to follow! 

+ Any sleepsuit with integrated mittens. This is especially good for tinies, or for babies with eczema and a propensity to scratch their skin to shreds in the night like mine. 

+ Metanium. All hail the yellow miracle cream! Yes, it gets everywhere and you'll forever be finding yellow patches on muslins (and your clothes) but it does come off. And it fixes nappy rash a treat. 

+ Talking of muslins, I love the Aden and Anais ones. They're fantastically soft, wash brilliantly, are larger than average and come in an array of beautiful patterns. I've also got a few of the huge swaddling muslins which are also fab. They're a little one the pricey side, so I've also got some M&S ones (white for weaning, stripey for drying bottoms after nappy changes to ward off nappy rash) which also wash really well. 

+ Saline drops. We've been really lucky in that Annika hasn't yet really been ill - she's had a couple of sniffles but she's managed to shake them off pretty quickly. In the meantime, we've used saline drops to loosen up the snot and help her breathe at night. We've tried Calpol and Snuffle Babe and the former is by far the better simply because the dropper is much easier to use with a tiny baby nose. 

+ No post about baby stuff would be complete without a recommendation for a snot sucker (or 'nasal aspirator' for the more polite among you). We tried a Mam bulb one and the Snuffle Babe sucker type and the Snuffle Babe wins hands down (I couldn't get anything out with the bulb kind). Before your baby arrives, it sounds gross to use your mouth to suck snot out of your baby's nose but, believe me, it's nowhere near the most gross thing about motherhood. Most importantly, it works and really helps your little one to breathe again. 

 Burt's Bees baby wash. Before Annika got all eczema-ey and we had to switch to prescription wash I was living using this - it's really gentle, smells amazing and makes babies' hair and skin super soft. I'm hoping one day we can go back to using it. It's not the cheapest baby wash but a tiny bit goes a really long way so it last for ages. 

+ When I was pregnant, a baby bouncer chair thingy was something I was determined I didn't need. That was, until everyone told me I was being an idiot and that it'd be a lifesaver. Then I went to The Baby Show and realised baby seating didn't have to be ugly and naff and I fell in love with the Nuna Leaf. It's great, it rocks from side to side (and does so for a while just on momentum, no batteries to run out or electronics to fail), seems to be comfy (Annika has been known to fall asleep in hers) and it's stylish enough to not ruin your living room aesthetic. Annika kind of hated it until about 8 weeks, and I was worried I'd peed £100+ up the wall, but now she's happy as Larry in it (whoever he is) and it means I can have a shower without worrying that she's upstairs not breathing, but with the addition of a baby staring at me while I shower. 

+ A digital ear thermometer. Though we use it under the arm as apparently that's more accurate, and Annika's more tolerant of it in her armpit than in her ear. We have this Braun one, and it's been great at assuaging my paranoid mama fears. 

+ Another thing we have that has been fab at calming my inner paranoid Mama is this Snuza Hero monitor. We bought it when Annika had her choking episode and it's made me feel much calmer about leaving her to sleep in another room. It's basically the same as a sensor pad that you get with some baby monitors, but without the issue of the alarm going off when the baby moves, and much more easily transportable if you're going away or you're baby's sleeping somewhere other than their cot. It's fab - it clips onto the waistband of your baby's nappy and senses their tummy rise and Dallas they breathe. If it doesn't sense movement for 15 seconds, it nudges your baby with a little vibration. Five more seconds without movement and the alarm will sound. We've never had it go off (thankfully) but it's given me such peace of mind, it's been worth every penny. 

+ A playmat. 2015 Beth would be appalled to learn I own one of these things, especially m the brightly coloured, plasticky kind. I fought the lure of the playmat so hard, tried in vain to find something 'tasteful' that didn't cost the earth but, actually, babies love bright colours with plastic tat hanging from it. Matt hates the sly Fisher Price branding (there are FP logos littering this thing); thinks it's brainwashing babies. But now it's time to pack it away, he's the one saying we should keep it for the next baby while I'm in the 'bin it' camp. 

That's a teeny tiny fraction of all the baby gubbins we've found useful over the past few months, and I haven't even touched on toys as I fear that'll be enough to fill another post (and we're pretty minimalist!). I hope it's useful! 

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