The thing about city mums is that we tend to live in apartments with minimal storage, without a car, and with little to no family nearby… While these common factors can make early motherhood a struggle, we also have some advantages. For example, Amazon Prime (!!!), a wide choice of amazing baby products and services, as well as easy airport access for family visits. As a city mum myself, I’ve drawn up a list of all the things you’ll need to prepare for the first 6 months of your big arrival.
Your Village in the City
While I was pregnant, the phrase I kept hearing over and over was how “it takes a village.” I remember finding it a little frustrating, this constant reminder that I need precisely what I don’t have. But since having my baby 6 months ago, I’ve come to learn that you can build your own village right in the heart of any city.
Through local pre and postnatal classes, mummy Facebook groups and random neighbourhood encounters, I created a new network of friends, mummies and teachers that have helped me realise that I am anything but alone.
Therefore building your village is the first essential step for any new mum, but especially city mums that don’t have family nearby.
Facebook groups are also a fantastic resource for buying and selling secondhand goods, saving you money and storage space! (Another money-saving tip is to visit the Baby Show for discounts on new and display items.)
- Baby Nest (e.g Sleepyhead or Babymoov)
- Moses Basket
- Sleeping bag x2
- Fitted sheets
- Waterproof mattress protector
- Night light (for night breastfeeding and not waking up husband!)
- Baby monitor
Babies sleep a lot. It’s easy to underestimate just how much they sleep given how little sleep you will be getting! Even when babies are not sleeping, they are mostly lying on their backs. So having comfortable spaces for your baby to lie and sleep is really important.
A cot for the nursery: Although baby won’t be sleeping in his cot at night until he is around 6 months old, it’s a good idea to make up the nursery before baby arrives. I chose the Snuzkot because I love the design and that it expands from baby to toddler to child, which is excellent value for money and a durable product.
A bedside crib: Although 6 months doesn’t sound like a long time, buying a good bedside crib is one of the best investments we made. Our Chicco Next2Me Dream is height adjustable, fitting perfectly next to our bed, with a drop-down side that was essential in the first few months. Another popular crib with similar specifications is the Snuzpod.
Babymoov: For supervised daytime naps (not recommended for nighttime sleep), we loved having the Babymoov Cosydream next to us on the sofa while baby slept. The raised leg position mimics the womb for baby and the anti-flat head support might have contributed to our baby’s nice round head, who knows.
Sleepyhead: Although similar to the cosymoov (and also not recommended for nighttime sleep), we also used our Sleepyhead a lot in the first few months. It goes anywhere, on top of the dining table, sofa, bed, and I like that I can carry my baby around in it whenever I need to change rooms. It’s also a useful product to take with you when visiting family and friends.
Moses basket: As my baby started to spend more hours awake, he decided that his Sleepyhead was just for chilling and not sleeping, preferring to take his naps in the Moses basket instead. We think he likes this one from Mamas & Papas because it is deep and so it feels similar to his pram, which he also really loves for napping.
VTech Starlight Bear: This VTech invention is only the best baby sleep toy ever invented. Whenever our baby had difficulty sleeping, we would simply turn it on and let it soothe him back to sleep. It has a 15, 30 and 45 minute setting, after which the music will turn off and start again when baby makes a sound, bringing him back to sleep. We have used this toy in so many different ways, for sleep, fun and play.
- Pram with accessories (rain cover, footmuff, carseat adaptor)
- Changing Bag
- Carrier and/or sling
City mums tend to use public transport and travel frequently, so having the right gear is really important! While it may sound like a lot, many city mums will buy two prams:
(1) A small lightweight one like the Babyzen Yoyo for travel and getting around narrow city streets and small shops. The great thing about the Babyzen is that you can take it with you onboard a plane and store it in the overhead compartment.
(2) A bigger and more comfortable all-terrain pram like the Bugaboo Fox for long walks, off-road and everyday use. I chose the Bugaboo Fox for its design and many great features, such as all-terrain wheels with suspension, parent and world-facing options, easy folding, one-hand steer, large storage basket, amazing set of accessories.
Over the past 6 months, I’ve used both a lot and since I have the luxury of a pram storage facility in my building, having two prams to do different jobs is the most convenient option for me. However, I do think that there are a lot of amazing versatile prams on the market today, making it hard to go wrong. iCandy, Uppababy, Stokkee and Ergobaby are some other leading brands to consider.
I also went with two baby carriers as I feel a wrap or sling is more suited to newborns, whereas I prefer my Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier for longer walks and bigger babies. The two slings I recommend are the Amawrap (see review) and for an easier option, the no-wrap sling by Studio Romeo.
- Pram toys
- Baby bouncer
- Tummy time llama
- Soft books
- Soft toys
Newborns spend a lot of time lying on their backs. A playmat is a great place to keep them entertained. This Fischer Price Jungle is amazing, every friend of mine with babies has one. It’s bright, colourful, and is still entertaining my baby at 6 months.
A second essential baby product is a baby bouncer. I mostly keep mine in the kitchen so when I need to cook or do laundry, baby comes with me. I love this Mamas and Papas one because it vibrates, plays music, and has a bar for hanging toys from.
Lastly, tummy time is really important for baby’s development. We love this Fischer Price tummy time llama that provides support for babies and also grows with the baby.
- Breast pump (if breastfeeding)
- Bottle kit (bottles, warmer, steriliser)
- Formula, readymade and powder
- Muslin cloths
For the first 6 months, babies will either feed from breast, bottle or a combination of the two. Although breastmilk is free, breastfeeding might not be (see post on the hidden costs of breastfeeding). Since there’s no way to know which method suits you best until you try, I suggest stocking up on these basics.
Whether it’s formula or pumped breastmilk, most city mums will bottle-feed to some extent. I highly recommend the Tommee Tippee Complete Feeding Kit. It comes with everything you will need. When we first got this, it felt like a lot of stuff. However, we have since used every item and it is much cheaper than buying everything individually.
In those first few weeks, some babies will have an appetite greater than mums milk supply, requiring supplementary formula feeds. Readymade formula is definitely the way to go in those first few sleepless weeks. But once you’re comfortable and if continuing with formula, you should switch over to powder. I recommend Hipp Organic, and buying a thermos for making up feeds on the go.
Another baby feeding essential, muslin cloths. These are used during and after every feed for drying babies mouths and protecting clothing from drool and reflux. I have about 20 of these, which is a reasonable number to have, trust me. Don’t worry about buying anything for weaning before your baby is born, as you’ll have plenty of time later.
Washing and Changing
- Changing station
- Changing mat
- Nappy bin
- Nappy stain remover
- Baby wipes
- Baby bath
- Shampoo and lotion
- Hooded towels
- Grooming kit (scissors, booger sucker, comb, thermometer)
Newborns are basically miniature poop machines. So having a good changing station and changing mat set up is super important. The most popular changer around is the Ikea Hemnes chest of drawers. Maybe you already have one, we did.
Where do all those dirty nappies go? I suggest the Tommee Tippee Sangenic Tec Nappy Bin, it’s the best. And also pick up a few boxes of Miofresh nappy stain remover, for getting poop stains out of baby clothes.
Washing babies is not easy. We bought the Shnuggle, but didn’t like struggling to wash the bum and leg creases properly since baby is sitting. In hindsight, we would have preferred the Skip Hop Moby Smart Sling 3-Stage Baby Bath Tub or the Angelcare.
- Scratch mitts
- 2-3 outfits
- Fleece booties
Last but not least, clothes! Before my baby was born, I found it really confusing to figure out what I needed to buy and how much of each size. So let me break it down for you!
Sizing will always be difficult since you won’t know how big your baby is until he arrives. But I suggest starting with a variety of newborn and 0-3 month sizes. Also, different brands have different sizing, so to make life easier, find a brand you like and stick to it!
Always stock the next size up because babies grow at a ridiculous speed. At 6 months, my baby is now in 12 month clothing. I still had to buy all the sizes in between, he just outgrew them quicker.
In terms of brands, I really like Next Baby and Mothercare (RIP!) for sleepsuits (onesies and PJs for babies) and bodysuits (bodysuits go under clothes and sleepsuits). Baby Gap, Zara Kids and Le Petit Bateau for cute outfits and things like coats and hats. I’ve also bought a lot of value multi-packs from John Lewis, and found H&M have some of the lowest clothing prices.
Personally, I don’t see the point in dressing my baby in clothing that is too fancy or complicated when (a) it’s just going to get pooped on, (b) it has to be convenient for the thousands of daily nappy changes and (c) he grows out of it after only a few wears. For that reason, I had my baby pretty much living in sleepsuits until he was about 4 months old. In my defence, it was summer…
I also don’t believe in buying shoes for babies before they can stand or walk, but that’s just me. However, I did buy these amazing fleece booties (that actually stay on!!) for keeping my baby’s feet warm in and out of the house.
Another way to know how much to buy is to decide how often you plan on doing laundry. If that’s once a week, you’ll need at least 10-12 sleepsuits and bodysuits each for babies under 3 months, and 7-10 for babies over. The difference is poop. After a few months, baby’s poop a lot less and go through a lot less changes of clothes.