The Cayman Reporter: Little essentials for the new arrival

(Published in The Cayman Reporter, Friday, Dec. 30)

With the recent arrival of my little girl Ella, a whole new parenting world has unfolded before me. Now, instead of enjoying a night out at one of Cayman’s swish restaurants, my husband and I spend our time monitoring feeding, changing nappies, and discussing the merits of what seems like hundreds of baby items which seemingly take up every corner of our home.

Indeed, I’ve spent the last nine months being bombarded by must have baby items, from eye wateringly expensive cribs, swish baby bouncers that can be operated via your smart phone, to formula makers that wouldn’t look out of place in a swanky coffee shop. Like most excited new parents-to-be, my husband and I dutifully purchased enough baby paraphernalia to fill every spare nook and cranny of our home. You name it, we have it. And, guess what? Most of it we haven’t used.

So, if the pitter patter of tiny feet is in store for you in 2017, save your pennies and shop smartly. Here’s my must have baby essentials to see you through those first few precious months.

Doona car seat, by Simple Parenting

I’m in love with this nifty car seat and stroller in one, which means there’s no faffing with a bulky buggy or multi-piece travel system. The Doona looks just like a normal car seat and offers all the protection you would expect from a good-quality one at that, but with a difference. Simply remove from the car, push the wheel release button and it transforms into a compact stroller, perfect for quick trips to the supermarket or a stroll around Camana Bay. With the Doona, the only time you’ll have to lift a car seat is when going up and down stairs, or manoeuvring in and out of the car. Even better, the Doona is approved for air travel, meaning you don’t have to worry about gate-checking a stroller either. The Doona comes with a whole host of accessories too, making life even simpler, from a coordinating changing bag to a mosquito net to keep those pesky bugs at bay.

Available from overseas retailers, including Amazon and Babies “R” Us

Swaddle blankets, by Aden + Anais

You’ll want to stock up on these gorgeously soft muslin blankets. Silky soft to the touch, these light-weight breathable blankets are perfect to swaddle your newborn in, and also do double duty as a nursing cover, burp cloth, and stroller cover to protect your tiny bundle from Cayman’s harsh tropical sun. Made from 100 percent cotton, and available in a range of delicate prints, these newborn must haves also offer just the right amount of warmth to keep baby cozy during nap times.

Available from Bedside Manor, Camana Bay.

Nursing pillow, by Boppy

Whether your breastfeeding or bottle feeding, a nursing pillow is an essential to avoid weary arms, while also offering a cozy and comfy spot for your newborn to feed. My husband loves this award-winning “C” shaped cushion too, which helps sends our little one from wriggly to restful in minutes, and frees up your hands for other activities – like enjoying a much-deserved glass of wine! The pillow comes with a zip cover too, making it super easy to keep clean.

Available from the Baby Shoppe, Alissta Towers

Moses basket or bassinet

The first item we purchased was a crib – and a few weeks in and Ella still hasn’t slept in it. So, save your pennies and instead opt for a compact Moses basket or bassinet for those first few months. Our Moses basket – purchased second hand on Ecay – has been a life saver. Ella loves sleeping in this compact little basket, and its light weight, foldable base means it’s easy to move from room-to-room too. We even took it with us when we went out for our Christmas lunch. The Baby Shoppe stocks a wide range of compact and foldable bassinets to suit all budgets. Of note is the foldable and portable Deluxe Newborn Rock ‘n Play Sleeper by Fisher Price.

Available from the Baby Shoppe, Alissta Towers

Rinse n’ Grow Tub, by Fisher Price

Our initial choice of bath tub proved completely useless. It might be ultra-modern looking and be all the rage with those yummy mummy celebrities, but when it came to bath time it didn’t stand up to muster. Step in good old Fisher Price with their Rinse n’ Grow Tub. This may be a bit of a gaudy, plastic tub, but it does what it says on the tin; bathes baby easily and without any fuss. And, let’s face it, that’s precisely what you want when you have a teeny tiny 7 pound wriggly baby to grapple with on top of sleep deprivation. The newborn sling makes it a cinch to wash your tiny bundle, ensuring they stay warmly submerged in just the right amount of water and with adequate support to boot.

Available from the Baby Shoppe, Alissta Towers

Itzy Bitzy Body Wrap, by Zutano

You’ll need lots and lots of bodysuits and onesies. My favourite, by far, is Zutano’s Itzy Bitzy Body Wrap, which makes getting baby dressed effortless. The easy snap system allows you to open the garment completely, meaning there are no pulling outfits on over baby’s head. Made from 100 percent cotton, they also come in a range of adorable patterns and colours, which make these little outfits super cute too.

Available from Partial to Blue, Plaza Venezia

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