When you’re expecting a child, prepare yourself for the onslaught of newborn baby products you will find online. Some are good, some won’t work for you, and most aren’t available in Malta unless you are willing to pay extortionate delivery fees.
So, to help you sift through the tsunami, we asked our Island Bébé parents what newborn baby products they personally found useful as new parents in Malta, as well as any general advice they had to offer having gone through the experience themselves. Here’s what they said.
1. Black-out blinds
Our island is lucky enough to experience sunshine almost all year round. This is great, until you have a newborn baby who needs a daytime nap, then it becomes a bit of a pain in the ass. One useful recommendation is to invest in some good quality black-out blinds to help your little one nod off during the day.
2. Baby vest shoulder flaps
Those little cut-out shoulder flaps on baby grows and vests are not a design feature, they have an actual function. Who knew? When your baby has a poop explosion or spits up all over themselves, the shoulder flaps open up so you can roll the vest down and off to save getting the mess all over their hair and face.
3. Multi-Mam compresses
Available in pharmacies, these soothing gel compresses work wonders for sore breasts. The gel creates a moistness which reduces the chance of bacterial infection and optimizes the condition of the skin around your nipples. The compresses are single-use and the gel is 100% baby safe.
4. Be prepared
After a hard days parenting, it can be tempting to leave tomorrow’s prep for the morning, but one of our islanders recommended always packing your baby change bag the night before, as nothing ever goes to plan in the mornings when you a have a newborn in the house!
5. Swaddle blankets
Some babies love them, some not so much, but it is always a good idea to have a couple of swaddle blankets on hand as the optimum sleeping environment for a newborn changes on a weekly basis. I spent days trying to figure out why my once happy napper was suddenly fighting sleep, turns out the swaddle he hated two weeks ago was now exactly what he needed.
6. Prep your meals
When you first come home with your new arrival, the last thing you will have the energy for is cooking healthy meals. I can vouch for this, having survived on toast for about a week straight. I wish I had taken our readers’ advice of batch cooking a couple of weeks’ worth of food and throwing it in the freezer before my little one arrived.
7. Ewan the Dream Sheep
Available from My Favourite Things, this adorable sleep aid has helped many a local parent win the bedtime battle. This cuddly sheep uses light and sound inspired by paediatric sleep research to lull your little one to sleep. It even has a smartCRY sensor which automatically activates when your baby stirs, so don’t worry, this sheep has everything under control.
8. Accept help when it’s offered
This is a tough one, we know. Pregnancy robbed you of your ability to get around and now that you’re so much lighter, you feel like you should be doing more. We order you to put down the car keys, forget about tonight’s dinner, and stop refusing offers of help just to be polite. You’ve worked so hard, this is your time, milk it while you still can!
9. Isofix car seat base
We absolutely second this one. Leaving the house for a car journey with a newborn is absolute mayhem at the best of times, so anything that makes the process easier gets our vote. An isofix base allows you to click your car seat into place without having to deal with seat belts and straps every time you want to take the seat in and out of the car. You definitely won’t regret this purchase.
10. Have patience
Here’s another bit of advice that’s easier said than done. There will be bad days, but it’s important to remind yourself that it is all temporary. What seems like a massive, unsolvable issue today will often be a distant memory within weeks, sometimes even days, so try not to put too much emphasis on fixing things straight away, focus instead on enjoying the good bits when they happen.
11. Metanium nappy cream
Despite using your everyday nappy cream, there will be times when your baby’s bum comes out in a rash or looks a bit irritated. That’s when you bring out Metanium’s nappy rash ointment. This super-effective barrier cream is a treatment for nappy rash (as opposed to a preventative cream), so it’s not for regular use, but every time I used it, it gently cleared up any rashes overnight.
12. Go with your gut
When we asked the Island Bébé community for their tips for new parents, overwhelmingly the most common answer was to “go with your gut”. You can seek out as much advice as you like, but ultimately each baby is different and as you get to know yours, you will gain your confidence as a parent with or without the latest new-fangled gadget. Amen to that!
Thanks to all the parents who contributed their favourite newborn baby products and their wise words – and to all you new parents and parents to be, we hope you have found this helpful. But no matter what, you got this, we promise!