Nurture Article | The Portland Hospital Parenting Magazine
Spring Issue 2012 | Tamara Abraham
From baby monitors to baths, kitting out a nursery can be as confusing as it is expensive. Here, London’s top experts guide us through the minefield.
Preparing a nursery for the first time is a wonderful way to tap into that nesting instinct. With a bewildering choice of products, though, knowing where to start can be a daunting prospect.
It can be tempting to over purchase, admit Anita and Joey Worlidge, of Babylist, a personal shopping service for parents-to-be, so it is important to establish what you are really likely to use.
By buying well-chosen kit, however, new parents will not only save a fortune, but cut down on clutter, an important consideration given that most London homes have limited space.
A place for the baby to sleep is a classic example. It can be handy to have a portable bed, such as a Moses basket for the first few weeks, but newborns can sleep in a cot from day one. A cot-bed, which is slightly longer and converts into a junior bed, is even more practical as it will see a child through until the age of about four or five. A Babylist favourite, Anita reveals, is the cot-bed by Danish firm Leander, thanks to its cool contemporary design.
As far as bedding is concerned, Anita instructs parents to invest in a good mattress with a breathable cover, a waterproof sheet, then a good quality cotton sheet.
Linen, she says, should be bought in sets of three, following the theory: one set on, one in the wash and one spare.
She advocates swaddling over sheets and blankets though, as babies tend to sleep better through the night that way. To prevent them from getting too hot, choose thin cotton layers, which are temperature-regulating.
Baby Concierge’s Caroline Cosgrove, whose past clients include Sam Taylor-Wood and Jools Oliver, adds: “Using a shaped swaddling blanket initially means you can’t get it wrong. Then, you can follow up by using sleeping bags for babies.”
Her view on bumpers is that they are more aesthetic than essential, and though considered controversial, the Foundation for the Study of Infant Deaths and other UK safety associations don’t warn against them.
Among the other essentials that a new parent should think about investing in are a changer, or a chest of drawers with a changer on top.
“Make sure it is roughly your waist height,’ Anita advises, “You’ll be changing around 50 nappies a week so it’s super important for mum to look after her back.”
On the subject of nappies, she would also add a nappy disposal bin to the shopping list - not essential, but useful because it keeps smells at bay.
Indeed, the Korbell model, has proved a firm favourite with Babylist clients.
“We get more thank-you letters about our nappy bin than anything else!” Joey revealed.
Nursing chairs, similarly, are a purchase new mothers will not regret.
“It becomes your office - you’re in that chair six to seven hours a day,” Anita says, adding that a side table, so that you have somewhere to put a drink and a phone, and a lamp with a dimmer (to help the baby learn to identify between day and night) are also important things to consider.
She finds Olli Ella make the most stylish, but any comfortable chair that allows the mother to sit upright while breastfeeding would work.
Baby monitors are another purchase that really depends on the parents‘ personal preferences. As Joey explains, Babylist’s job is just to empower parents to make informed choice, not to tell them what they should or should not buy.
There is a case for not choosing the highest-spec model though.
“Parents should use their own instincts rather than always rely on a monitor,” he says.
As for bathing the baby, using your own bath tub can put a strain on a mother’s back, says Anita. Solutions to this include using a basin, if it is large enough, but her favourite option, by far, is the Flexibath: a collapsible baby bath that can be placed on a work surface or the floor, yet takes up minimal space.
The purchase that most fathers-to-be get excited about, however, is the buggy, and given that it is likely to sit in a hallway, aesthetics can be as important as function.
Joey and Anita are highly impressed with the Uppababy Vista model.
In addition to looking smart, they say, it is hardy enough for the keenest walker, has a large shopping basket, and can even adapt to carry two children.
A bouncer chair and baby gym are must-haves for keeping the little one happy and entertained, and a car seat is absolutely vital - even if you don’t drive.
“Some hospitals won’t even let you leave the maternity ward without a car seat,” Joey warns.
He explained that models that are ISOFIX-compatible are best, because ISOFIX points, which are now a standard feature of most new cars, make fitting car seats correctly child’s play.
But even if you don’t drive, he adds, it is important to own a car seat for use in taxis
or other peoples’ cars.
A consultation with Babylist is complimentary for Portland Hospital patients. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org
A consultation with Baby Concierge costs from £120. Portland Hospital patients are entitled to a complimentary consultation at Baby Concierge. For more details, email email@example.com