Shopping for a new baby can be such an exciting time, but once out there in the bright lights of the mall, things can get confusing, repetitive and pricey! There are so many choices, brands and options of baby products and goods on the market that it can be hard to find the right thing for your family. I put on my snooping hat and asked some of the Sassiest Mama’s I know to give us their experiences and top tips on the ‘must haves’ out there (being 6 months pregnant, I am definitely taking notes)!
Founder of Parenting and Lifestyle website Seashells on the Palm, and mama to Luca 6, Sofia aged 4, Lorenzo aged 3 and Leonardo aged 1.
Honestly, as mums, we need a lot less than we think. We are always told about a million things that we need that we hardly use – when you are busy feeding, resting, and taking care of the baby you won’t get to use those things! At my first birth, my bag was full, in fact I filled two or three bags up from silly water Evian sprays to cool the face, to baby music to soothe the birth… when I went in with baby number 4 I didn’t have my baby bag as at my regular doctor check up I was told I had to go straight to the hospital. I had nothing ready but did it really matter? No. Just two outfits for great photos, hats, socks, and a blanket is pretty much all you need plus a car seat to take baby home in.
Most expensive, but well worth every dirham of the splurge: A Maxi cosi car seat, a bugaboo pram (best to resist buying a pram until after baby arrives, as you will know what you need as a family at that point). And a beautiful cot for aesthetics as it survived four babies!
Cheap but completely cherished: Muslins, baby all in ones that cover the hands (way better than gloves that never stay on), thermometer for baby and thermometer for the bath, really good quality swaddles (I love Aden & Anais), nail scissors (their nails would grow so fast), and they scratch themselves.
Founder of parenting blog Tuesdays Child and mama to Teddy, aged 4 and James, aged 3.
Most expensive, but well worth every dirham of the splurge: Our Bugaboo Chameleon was comfortable for baby and I, adaptable, easy and safe to use. It was a beautiful pram and I even ran regularly with it in buggy mode. When I had a second baby 15 months after the first I went through three other brand’s double buggies when I should’ve just bit the bullet and invested in the Bugaboo Donkey twin model first thing. We still use the Chameleon, with a skateboard attachment now and it’s the Rolls Royce of buggies.
Cheap but completely cherished: A dummy! My brother and I never had them growing up and my mum was a bit snobby about them, so I don’t even know why I bought one before James was born, but I did. And honestly, it (and the dozens we subsequently went through) were a God-send!
Editor of Good magazine and founder of parenting blog The Mothership, and mama to Phoebe aged 10 months.
Most expensive, but well worth every dirham of the splurge: The Bugaboo Cameleon 3 has proved to be a winning purchase. It’s not cheap, but has offered fantastic value with us using the bassinet as a moses basket when traveling, the base fitting on the Maxi-Cosi carseat (priceless when transferring a sleeping baby around) and she’ll no doubt be in it until she’s around 3 years old. We opted for red so it’s not too gender specific if the next baby is a boy (that kid better get used to hand-me-downs!).
Cheap but completely cherished: Phoebe’s favourite toys are usually items that are a) not toys e.g. water bottles, our dogs, keys, rubber ducks left over from a photoshoot (that cost Dhs7 from Daiso) and the bath sponge or b) accidentally stolen/liberated from other babies eg her friend Otis’ monkey. My advice? The non-toys are are always the biggest hits, so stock up on bath sponges and always carry an empty Masafi bottle around.
Joannne Hanson Halliwell
Founder of Small and Mighty, Support Group for Families with preterm Babies, and mama to George aged 2.5.
There is a joke among my family and friends that I am a “marketing man’s” dream client: I always fall for the all-singing and all-dancing items! When I was pregnant with George, my mental wish list was probably far longer and more expensive than I could ever have imagined. I never shyed away from ordering and shipping internationally… But its funny how life has a way of teaching you a lesson. My wish list had been noted and sourced but the day before my flight to begin this shopping spree our son George was born ten weeks premature. I was armed with sunglasses, a handbag and an abundance of tears. Nothing else..no baby items…nothing at all, not even anything in a secret cupboard at home. So what did it teach me…you don’t actually need much when you have a newborn baby! There is an old expression in the UK, “don’t put the cart before the horse” and I suppose thats what we all do before we have a baby – get everything before the baby arrives. In my case it was the other way around and in hindsight, it was a better method. Keep it simple: buy the absolute basics and don’t go overboard.
Most expensive, but well worth every dirham of the splurge: Our stroller – Orbit Baby G2 Stroller which became Georges mode of transport, cot, moses basket, rocker, play mat – you name it! We had to use it for everything.
Cheapest but completely cherished: An extremely cheap and thin fleece blanket which was rolled into a long sausage shape and folded into a “U” and used to surround George as he slept. In the incubator he had been surrounded like this and it was the only thing which kept him settled and comforted… Until his favourite black cat teddy arrived!
Editor and Co-Founder of Sassy Mama Dubai, and mama to Felix aged 5, Arthur aged 4, and Violet aged 2.
Most expensive, but well worth every dirham of the splurge: Other than my buggy – which cost a small fortune – and the birth of 2 of my 3 babies here in Dubai (as I had no health insurance – yikes!), each of which were of course worth every single dirham (and more) – I spent a fair amount on the merino wool sleeping bags that are soft and cosy and keep baby at exactly the right temperature.
Cheap but completely cherished item/items: The super soft blankie toys from Jelly Cat or White Company – each of my kids has one and was attached to them from very young – they’re a source of comfort and a cue to sleep!
Founder of parenting blog, Mum of Boys, and mama to Stanley 3 and Wilfred 2.
Most expensive, but well worth every dirham of the splurge: We were lucky enough to be gifted a voucher for Mumzworld.com when my second baby was born – and we splurged the lot on a 4Moms Mamaroo (Dhs1,250). This amazing baby seat has five different settings – and one of them is to mimic the movements of a car journey. We relied on this seat plenty of times when he just wouldn’t settle at night. We popped him in, set it to the car journey, and ramped up the speed – and within seconds, he had dosed off and we could transfer him back to his basket to sleep. I just wish we’d had it with my first baby, it would’ve made life so much easier.
Cheap but completely cherished: We bought both of my boys Jelly Cat Soothers (Dhs85 Db Babies) as newborns; my first a blue rabbit and my second a brown monkey. I totally underestimated how cherished these soft toys would become. They were useful too, as both boys became very attached to them around 3/4 months, which helped them to settle at night and give them the cue that is was time to calm down and sleep. We now have several spares of each hidden in a drawer in case the unthinkable happens!
Dr Nashila Jaffer
Specialising in Pregnancy, Pre and Post Natal Chiropractic, and mama of 2 girls aged 3 and 5 years.
Most expensive, but well worth every dirham of the splurge: By far, the best item I bought was “My Breast Friend”. It really was the Best! It is a breatfeeding pillow that allows the baby to rest comfortably on their side whilst feeding and also straps around mummy’s back to give excellent lumbar support for those long hours of sitting whilst nursing….definitely my best purchase!
Cheap but completely cherished item/items: The little strap that clips onto baby’s clothes and holds a dummy or toy or anything that you don’t want to lose – I would have lost many many toys and dummies had I not used these. A real must-have!
There you have it: all the mama must-haves to keep in mind!