The essential baby items for second time mums.

When you’re expecting your first child it is easy to get swept up in the sales pitches of those trawling the floors at baby stores.

Before you know it, you walked in for a change table but walked out with a whole heap more and a credit card debt that will make you want to cry.

Jacqui just before the birth of her second child. Image: Supplied

Second time mums like to think of themselves as a little more seasoned when it comes to knowing what a baby does, and doesn’t need. You are acutely aware that most of the things you were told you really needed the first time around sat unused in the corner of the room. You're determined not to let it happen again.

But, just like first time motherhood, becoming a mum to two is a whole new ballgame and with it, comes a whole new set of requirements essential to tackle your new situation.

As I prepare to welcome my third bundle into the fold shortly, I’ve found myself digging out the most essential items from storage. These are the baby products I couldn’t live without as a mother of a newborn and a two-year-old and sure as heck won't be without the third time round.

1. A baby sling or baby carrier.

This is number one because it is so bloody crucial. Depending on the age of your older child, it’s highly likely that you will require use of your hands at all times. If you’ve done the standard two year gap, you can expect to be tackling tantrums, spilt food, runaways and toilet training, all while a newborn demands to be cradled lovingly in your arms.

I'm a big fan of baby wearing. For newborns you can't beat a Hug a bub wrap which keeps baby snug and safe, and keeps you free to chase toddlers. Image: Supplied

Do yourself a favour and make it easy. I’m pretty sure my second son spent most of his time strapped to my chest while I maintained all the required activities I had enrolled my firstborn in to wear him out. The baby slept, the toddler played and I could even feed the newbie (after a few incidents of trial and error) without sitting down.

Baby number three can expect the same treatment and my weapon of choice for the early days is a hug-a-bub wrap which is designed to keep baby close and safe and still give you use of both arms. Once you get the hang of putting it on, you'll be a playgroup ninja in no time. Bonus points because wearing your baby helps with bonding through skin to skin contact.

2. Easy to use feeding system.

Whether you choose to breast feed or bottle feed, it needs to fit in with your lifestyle. Trust me, your available time to sit for hours on end with a fussy bub is greatly reduced. Something like the Kiinde feeding system (which is now finally available in Australia) allows you to pump milk straight into the plastic bag (read: no sterilising bottles), store in the freezer and feed using the same storage bag with the click of a teat.

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Not only does it reduce time and washing but it means that milk is on hand, and easy to access for the times you just need to get the hell out of the house for some space. Get yourself a pouch warmer to heat the milk and hubby had no excuses for skipping some night feeds. Also perfect for mums who need to get back to work or run errands with an older child while someone else looks after bub.

3. Soothing noise.

I’m a great believer of getting baby used to sleeping in an environment of noise and chaos. That way, you never have to sit in silence praying that they don’t wake to the sound of a pin drop (of course every child is different and knowing my luck, this one will be a shocking sleeper).

But, it does pay to have a little help on your side for times when your older child just won’t calm down.

The homedics SoundSpa was one of my first purchases when I was pregnant with number 2. Image: Supplied

Get yourself something like the Homedics SoundSpa On The Go to leave in baby's room and drown out the sound of the chaos happening outside. (Mental note to self: take own advice and buy baby a new baby sound machine - mine died from overuse). These are also great because you can strap them to the carrier or pram for on the go white noise.

4. A big nappy bag.

Forget your dainty nappy bag, you’re packing for two (or more) now. That means snacks, water, bottles, bibs, wipes, nappies (possibly for both depending on the ages) and who knows what else. Therefore, you need to get yourself something big enough to handle the haul. Some mums go the full hog with a backpack or oversized tote because frankly, a lot of the specially designed nappy bags on the market just don’t cater to your new requirements.

A gift for baby, a gift for me. Image: Supplied

If you do feel like treating yourself, I can highly recommend the Mimco “Lucid” Baby Bag. I bought mine on sale before my second was born and it is yet to let me down. Big enough to fit all the junk, still pretty enough to use without the kids in tow. Plus, it has handled many  a smushed banana or avocado and wiped clean.


5. Breastfeeding Box.

“What the what is a breastfeeding box?” I hear you ask.

A breastfeeding box, my friend, is your sanity saver. Stock it with books, activities and toys that you know your older child will enjoy and use it to give yourself some time while feeding your new bub. If you reserve it for feeding times, your older child will have something to look forward to and you’ll have some peace and quiet to enjoy bonding with your new addition.

I'm in the process of putting one to together at the moment. In my weaponry I've got stickers, magnetic drawing boards (read: no mess) and puzzles. All quiet activities in the hopes that I'll actually be able to feed the poor child without the other two 'assisting'.

6. Baby swing/bouncer.

When I was about to have my second child, someone told me I needed a baby swing. I didn’t have one with my first so I nodded politely and rejected the idea. Then reality hit me. Once I got my newborn home and realised I couldn’t hold him constantly and rock him to sleep I got myself on ebay and bought a second hand one in desperation. I could kiss that thing.

Not only did it swing baby to sleep but I knew he was safe from the adoring hands of his brother while I attended to fun things like washing and cleaning.

My second son spent a great deal of time in his swing. The best bit? I didn't need to rock him to sleep. Image: Supplied

Want to keep your sanity? Get a baby swing or bouncer. Depending on your available space there are several options. If space is not an issue, something like the Fisher Price My Little Lamb swing or the 4moms Mamaroo swing is great because you can change the speed of the swing while baby is safely up off the ground. If your space is limited, look to something like the Rainforest Bouncer which has a smaller footprint and is portable enough to move around the house with you.

What are your essential items for second (and third, forth) time mums?