What matters? Sleep aid? Baby gym? Diaper pail?
F acebook, Instagram, Google – usually these three know before colleagues and acquaintances when a woman is pregnant. Because it clicks photos, searches terms or joins groups and all this information then feeds the algorithm. This leads the expectant mother into an eternal whirlpool of more and more baby and pregnancy content, a colorful mixture of advertising, postings from momfluencers, product tips, some helpful, some amusing, much also too much.
After a round of scrolling you don’t know anymore: Is this really the invention my child really needs?? Should have bought this a long time ago? What do I really need in addition to the basic first equipment – and what could be a part that might be luxury, but will really make my life with a child easier??
A first-time mom-to-be shared her wish list with two moms to help guide the way: What’s a bad buy? What will be worth? What makes perhaps simply only fun?
A pretty blanket with something stretched over it for the baby to look at – I didn’t know it was called a "baby gym", but that’s exactly what I kept hearing about on Facebook early on: The Play Gym from Lovevery, a play sheet stretched over a blanket, but which can also do so much I didn’t even know a toy could do.
The blanket alone has five zones that you can cover or uncover depending on baby’s developmental stage to prevent over-irritation. You can also put different stimuli on the sheet as needed – for the beginning, for example, just a black and white contrast ball, but later you can also put cards with faces or small mirrors. Even later, you can even build a little cave for the child out of the bow – and the whole product gets by without any plastic at all and looks really chic for a child’s toy. Ex-top model contestant Vanessa Tamkan, by the way, recommends a similar product from FisherPrice on Instagram – also here* there are play blankets together with variable bow.
Lovevery Play Gym, around 150 Euro, available here*
Do you need it? Here’s what the mother of a now four-year-old says about it: "Baby-Gym", what a wonderfully absurd name for a play bow! As if babies already had to do fitness in the gym. But yes, my child also had a play bow: it was passed on to us by a friend. An old piece of wood, but for a few months my daughter found the colorful wooden beads very interesting. That’s why I would definitely recommend such a thing, it provides at least a few minutes of respite in the baby’s everyday life, in which you can "park" the child under it.
You need it? This is what the mother of a twelve-year-old child says about it: We also inherited our play bow – back then such things were still made of screamingly colorful plastic and probably anything but sustainable. However, my son has played less with it. However, the investment is not completely useless: Even if the sophisticated play equipment dangling from the arch is not of interest, you have at least a very practical crawling blanket – and you really need it.
We made our own changing table for the bathtub – sturdy wood, one compartment, very solid and inexpensive. That’s why I want this non-wooden product: a diaper pail that packs away the diapers in an odor-proof way, everything as hygienic and quick and easy as possible. My item of choice is currently the Twist&Click, it looks reasonably decent, doesn’t take up much space, packs each diaper in an antibacterial film that is supposed to kill germs and odors. Of course, the foil is not really sustainable, but compared to other manufacturers, the smallest possible amount is always used.
Twist&Click, around 17 euros, available here*
Do you need that? This is what the mother of a now four-year-old child says about it: I didn’t want to buy a diaper pail, because I found all the ones at the baby store too ugly. So I put a regular, pretty metal trash can next to the changing table. I soon regretted that. Because diapers stink martial – especially if you do not take the diaper waste away every day. And honestly, who has time for that with a baby?? I have held out the diaper time then anyway with the metal bucket, out of stinginess, but would really not advise anyone to do so.
Do you need the? Here’s what the mother of a now twelve-year-old says about it: The diaper pail with retractable foil was one of my biggest bad investments in terms of initial equipment. I had the Sangenic model – it looked a bit different back then, but worked on the same principle as it does today. The problem: it stank like hell, even though the diaper balls were individually wrapped – it felt like the stink had soaked into the plastic of the bucket, because even when it was completely empty, it continued to stink up the place. Not to mention the cost of refill cartridges. Better to buy a regular diaper pail with a tight-fitting lid and empty it daily.
Difficult topic, especially with breastfeeding you don’t know what’s coming, how and if it will work and for how long. Just in case, however, it seems to me that owning a breast pump makes sense – and is scary at the same time. I’ve now heard about Elvie from Nina Bott on Instagram – a breast pump that just doesn’t look scary big and technical and dehumanizing: Elvie is portable, can be hidden in the bra, without cables or tubes, plus it’s supposed to be quieter than ordinary pumps.
They even promise that you can wear the pump to work – I can’t imagine that yet (although at London Fashionweek a model actually walked the runway wearing Elvie in a bra), just as I don’t know what an "automatic switch between stimulation and pumping mode" means. But it should be something good!
Nina Bott already has four children and says it would be practical to have both hands free despite the pump, at least that’s what I can imagine now. However, a rental option of Elvie would be great, as it is available for other pumps in the pharmacy – because the price is steep and the duration of use is limited.
Elvie breast pump, around 300 euros, available here*
And even more milk fluencers: model Marie Nasemann, for example, recommends this pump*.
Need that? Here’s what the mother of a now four-year-old has to say about it: Whew, the breastfeeding issue still stresses me out in retrospect. Already in the hospital shortly after the birth it did not work out right, finally I should use a breast pump there. I did that exactly once – it really made me feel like an animal having milk sucked out of it. Elvie probably wouldn’t have changed this feeling either. But that’s just my whole personal feeling, I know that other women have no problem with breastpumps.
Do you need this? This is what the mother of a child who is now twelve years old says about it: I can only agree – the persistently gurgling breast pumps are truly not beautiful. But practical. Especially for mothers who a) are not always at home to take care of their baby, who b) share the feeding night shift with their partner, who c) prefer to have supplies in the freezer in case the coffee/alcohol/tobacco abstinence goes wrong and the milk is temporarily "contaminated" or whose children d) simply prefer to take the bottle. I have done well with the small rental model from the pharmacy – they are available, for mothers in a hurry, even for synchronous pumping.
Actually, I’m dreaming of a Snoo or a Swing2Sleep, both superfancy tech products touted especially by American momfluencers. The Snoo is a smart baby cradle that promises a better sleeping baby with all kinds of gimmicks (white noise, special movements, everything reacts automatically to a crying child), many parents who own one swear by it. Recently it is also available in Germany, unfortunately it costs around 1300 Euro.
For example, Influencer Mirella Precek used the Swing2Sleep for her daughter (she talks about it here), it’s a motor-driven spring cradle designed to automatically rock the baby to sleep over and over again. It’s also quite large and expensive (around 300 euros) – I plan to go with a smaller entry-level version: the Grofriends sleep-through.
These snuggles are included in the bedroom, with an integrated "cry sensor". It starts as soon as the baby cries and plays soothing sounds, depending on preference white noise, rain, heartbeat. The plan: If the baby is full and clean and only needs something to calm him down, that should be enough. You can try it?
Grofriends, around 40 Euro, available here*
Do you need this? This is what the mother of a four-year-old child says about it: We didn’t have any high-tech sleep aids, but we did have an expensive spring cradle that you can hang in the door frame. And honestly: It was very, very great for a few months, because my daughter got a good night’s rest in it, without me having to do anything. That’s why, if the price is bearable, I would always say: buy anything that can help you sleep better! Whether it’s the cell phone app that makes vacuum cleaner noises or the cuddly toy that simulates the heartbeat of the parents.
Do you need that? This is what the mother of a now twelve-year-old child says about it: Was there such a thing back then?? I probably would have bought it – I would have bought EVERYTHING that would finally let my son, a cry baby, sleep. The most reliable sleep aid for us was still us parents with the baby carrier strapped on – the fully automatic baby bouncer, which can make soothing noises at the slightest hint of a crying fit. Alternatively, the soothing sounds were made by a hairdryer controlled by a timer.
The postpartum is often transfigured beautifully on Instagram – but there’s more to it than lying in bed cuddling up. That’s what The Female Company’s "MammaBox" wants to take care of: the "survival kit" for the postpartum period contains, among other things, postpartum pads, organic sanitary napkins and an intimate douche. The beautiful design takes the terror out of everything – or? Or?
Around 70 Euro, available here.
Do you need it? Here’s what the mother of a now four-year-old has to say about it: The thick pads for postpartum, which are included in the MammaBox, I got for free after the birth in the hospital. And I didn’t miss a podusche despite having a cesarean section. In my opinion, you don’t really need the MammaBox – unless you value a nicer design, even for the postpartum pads.
Do you need this? This is what the mother of a child who is twelve years old today has to say about it: No. What for? The sense does not want to open up to me. For the first day after delivery, the pads from the hospital will do. But since these are real boards that you can hardly walk with, it’s best to switch to everyday pads from the drugstore – choose absorbent models for the night, preferably with little wings.
Sleeping bag, blanket, puck cloth?
So circa half a minute I thought you could just cover a child with a blanket for sleep. I know now that of course this is not possible and I have to deal with the issue of choking, sleeping and pucking bag, but everything I read sounds exhausting and contradictory. Is swaddling dangerous, as the professional association of pediatricians warns?? The real thing? I’ll just stick with the standard sleeping bag? Which is easy: I was given a very nice blanket from the Joolz Essentials collection, so I’m going to use that in the stroller – or protect the couch with it, the honeycomb design definitely fits in the living room too.
Do you need this? Here’s what the mother of a now four-year-old says about it: My midwife had recommended pucking during the postpartum period and showed me several times how it works. But somehow it was too complicated for me. That’s why I quickly ended up with sleeping bags, in which the children can’t suffocate – that seemed practicable to me and then it was for me too.
Do you need it? This is what the mother of a now twelve-year-old child has to say about it: Pucking was quite frowned upon twelve years ago – my midwife recommended it anyway. And I was really grateful to her for this tip. Especially premature or very restless babies are helped immensely to calm down when they are wrapped up tightly with this technique. I have always pucked my son, everywhere and with whatever blankets or cloths were available. I can’t say if a pucksack is absolutely necessary – maybe it helps if you have difficulties with the swaddling technique. And if you don’t swaddle after all, a sleeping bag is recommended – nothing is more practical. The decorative blanket you can still use in the stroller or as a crawling blanket.
And the basics?
The baby crib is already bought – a Babybay* like Jessica Weib from the blog Journelles recommends and advertises in different variations on Facebook. This is a side bed, open to one side, so that you don’t have to get up so often at night and can simply roll the child towards you, that’s the plan.
Then there’s the stroller issue: I never wanted to become a Prenzlauer Berg mom with the way too typical Bugaboo stroller – but currently the Fox2 model seems to be almost the only stroller that fits in the trunk of a small Polo. Can this be? Must be? However, there are currently anyway delivery problems, so I can still look further.
In the process (and on the account of Momfluencerin Viktoria Rader) I also came across the Joolz Day+, which also seems quite small and handy, plus you can completely personalize it in four steps (from the cover, to wheels, handles and frame you can put together countless combinations) – and would just not have the stroller that everyone has.
Do you need that? This is what the mother of a four-year-old child says about it: I don’t have a car, but I use public transport a lot, so I also wanted a small, maneuverable stroller that was light enough that I could lift it onto the bus on my own from time to time. That was then the Zapp X from Quinny*. I would have loved to own a Babybay, but it was too expensive for me – in the first days and weeks my daughter slept on top of me, later she slept next to me. The initial fear of accidentally rolling her over in her sleep was quickly forgotten.
This is what the mother of a twelve-year-old child says about it: In fact, in the absence of a large trunk I also had a Bugaboo – of necessity, because there was not so much choice of small strollers at the time (okay, and because I thought it was beautiful). You don’t really need the model with the tub for a long time, so you should think through the investment carefully. You need a buggy much longer, so it is worth buying a good and above all robust model. Best basic also: the Tripp-Trapp high chair from Stokke* that grows with the baby. My son still sits in it today – and sometimes even I do.
Another tip: "Pregnant!" by Lilli Hollunder
I currently already own this – and am extremely grateful for this very honest and refreshingly different pregnancy book. Hollunder is an actress, podcaster and mother of a son for almost a year now. And tells in her book all the things that other books, mothers and Instagram accounts like to leave out:
How much it stressed her out when she didn’t want to have a child right away, that you don’t have to immediately burst with joy when the test is positive, how great the fear can be of being a different person after birth. All without horrible mommy blog terms from "bullet time" to "belly dweller", but with many everyday thoughts, with which you otherwise often feel alone. One chapter is called: "Why a boy? What have I done to the universe?", and all this is just a lot of fun in a time that is not always only fun for everyone.
At 17 euros, available here*.
In our podcast, Lilli Hollunder shared more – it’s about breastfeeding pump horror, big new worries, bubble trauma – and the love and responsibility you suddenly feel for a little one: