The age old saying - "you don't know what you don't know" really hits home when I think about my first year of parenting. I did the best I could with the knowledge and support that I had. Second time around there are a few things that I knew would make life just that little bit easier. "When you know better, you do better" Right?
With Calla I tried my absolute best to save money at every turn, so much so that it probably cost be more in the long run because each time I bought something thinking I had saved, it turned out to be ineffective or just not what we needed at the time.
With my second, Toula, I knew these three things were on my 'to buy' list and I wasn't going to try and cut corners this time.
Let's get to to it:
Number 1. The highchair. First time around we began with a beautiful wooden highchair that transformed into a desk style table and chair from John Lewis. At 6 months when Calla was starting solids we got her in the chair and quickly released this chair is really not great for 6 month old babies! We had to roll up towels around her to help her sit up, the height didn't work well either so we had to have her sitting on something! Surely there is an easier way. This chair was a gift, which we helped pick! Dam it! So onto round two, we bought a clip on chair for our dining table which was great for a little while but after a few meals we realised the material just didn't clean well and it ended up disgusting! We had to strip it down and pull it apart to wash it and yes you've guessed it, we had nothing to use when it was drying and it was a nightmare to put back together again! Ok let's try again - the beloved Ikea chair. Costs less than a trip to Starbucks and wipes clean really easily. Win! But when I was pregnant with Toula I saw the Stokke Steps Chair and fell in love with it! This is a chair that will grow with them from birth to probably a young teen, it is amazing. I got the newborn adaptor for the top of it which meant that Toula was a table height when in it from just a few days old. This felt really social when at the table instead of her being in her moses basket (of course she was there when asleep though) or on her playmat whilst we had meals at the table. We loved the chair so much that we got one for her older sister too and we opted for black for both of them which fits in well with our decor. The adaptors such as the newborn seat, chair with 5 point harness and tray are all separate. The price adds up, yes. However I honestly feel it has been the best thing I have bought. Toula has ate really well since beginning solids and I think a lot of that was her being at table height, seeing food being served and eaten everyday!
A playmat. First time round I resisted getting a padded playmate for so long because I couldn't find anything that wasn't garishly bright. I finally opted for the brightly coloured jigsaw sectioned play mat you see everywhere. It served its purpose but it was a little annoying having to take it apart to clean. I know it isn't everyones cup of tea to try and keep your home within your aesthetic boundaries when you have kids but it is mine! Our living space is open plan meaning the living/dining/kitchen is also the play area. This time round I opted for a play mat that actually looks like a rug! It is beautifully soft and cushioned and it is also double sided so I can flip it over to change the colour. It is a really simple pattern and I absolutely love it! Mega bonus is that is is great for going some yoga or pilates on too!