Family Life Interiors Products

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: Useful Baby Items

There’s the baby stuff you’ll use once and put in the loft, the stuff you pass onto friends, and the bits that stick with you and you use time again with each baby. Having a good clear out is always an uber satisfying process. It also got me thinking if we were to buy again with the beauty of hindsight, what were the items did we use the most and couldn’t have done without?

Psst.. here are 50 things I wish I’d know before having babies

A cot bed

Classic Cot Bed, The White Company


No point buying a normal cot as you will inevitably have to buy a cot bed. ‘What about if and when a sibling comes along?’ Buy another cot bed as the firstborn won’t be out of the original cot bed for a…. long… time.


A travel system

Maclaren Techno XLR, Maclaren


So you can’t tell a first-time mother to buy second-hand because they won’t. (Would you have bought second-hand for your precious firstborn?!) However, you can direct them towards a Maclaren. Maclaren works from the offset as it has a travel system and a newborn adapter so you really can use it from newborn. They are also pretty cool…

A high chair

Bjorn High Chair, BabyBjorn


We were very kindly given this on long-term loan when our second was about 10 months and it lasted till he was about 2.5. Now my daughter is using it and you wouldn’t know that it has gone through 4 children (2 of my friend’s and 2 of mine) – it is still spotless. It is very supportive so you can use it from about 5 months old. The seat extends as your child gets bigger. What I love the most is the detachable tray that makes it easy to clean. We initially bought a vast padded monstrosity with straps that became so skanky and worn we binned it after number 1. Oh, if I had known.

A baby walker

Chicco Walky Talker Walker, Amazon


We bought a static ring of neglect, I mean bouncer, first, but should have just gone straight to this one. You can even feed the baby in it as the activity tray detaches. I was quite sorry to see it go! (If you don’t have the space for anything on wheels, the Jumperoo is the best option for a static one).

A baby carrier

Baby Carrier One, BabyBjorn


We have been the owners of an Ergo, a fabric sling and a backpack carrier (not all at once) but nothing compares to the trusty Bjorn which we always reverted back to. I still have a vivid memory of my husband carrying round my 3-year-old in it (as a joke obvs, but it shows you how sturdy and hard-wearing it is). It is also super snug for a newborn, easy to put on (once you master the technique) and most importantly comfortable. I carried a ‘refluxy’ baby around the kitchen in it for many months and we were both pretty happy for hours on end.

A Phil and Teds buggy

Sporty Inline Buggy, Phil and Teds


After resisting the pressure from most mothers of 2 or more that the Phil and Teds was the only option (as I didn’t want little bean not to have a good view) after trying a number of bulky side by side buggies, with my tail wagging between my legs, we relented and bought the Sport version. Best decision ever.  Suits a new baby too with the cocoon. (Doubles up as a brilliant basket for footballs/scooters/buckets and spades when not in full use…)

Hours of entertainment

Playskool Explore N’ Grow Busy Ball Popper, Playskool, Amazon


I posted an article this week on my Facebook Page about fewer toys being better for children. Wish I had read that a while back! One toy that has had all three children amused for hours is the Ball Popper. With a 5, 3 and 1-year-old, it is still a great toy. There are 5 balls, so no ‘mine’ and the music that accompanies it is less grating than most. The battery lasts longer than the average too.


A nappy stacker

Nappy Stacker, The Nursery Window


This is on the expensive side for a nappy stacker but it hasn’t dropped a thread in 5 years of everyday use and is still as pretty as the day we bought it.


A black of blind

Gro Anywhere Blind Moon and Stars, Gro


This is a saviour if you are staying with people and don’t want to inflict (lack of) sleep paranoia on your hosts, as it has suckers that stick to anything and the curtain blacks out the light very sufficiently.


A spill-proof beaker

Anywayup Classic Beaker, Haberman

From £4

I have had many a soggy handbag situation from non-leak beakers but this really won’t leak. So much so they are quite hard to take the lid off but totally worth the struggle (and for the price). They also come in green/pink/cow print and with handles.


Second-hand items

Some items you have to buy new (like the above obviously), but some are just as good second-hand. The Buying/Selling/Giving groups on Facebook in each postcode are a simple way to buy locally and a good way to save some £££ (to put towards a much-needed date night!). My house no longer looks like I am a Pantone colour tester for plastics but some of the contraptions will be missed (for a short time at least).

What items did you find useful?

Take a peek at my ultimate directory for the best places to pick up baby items.


  • Reply Alex Robins August 9, 2020 at 3:02 pm

    Great tips. Thanks TLM!

  • Reply Chloe June 16, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    I thought I would share it here, because after reading your article it is so true! When I had my first there were so many things that were bought that didn’t get use, but something that I bought was a floor cushion and it was the best thing ever! It was great for my little one to play on and for me to chill out on when I was spending time getting my little one to sleep. I got mine from vertbaudet but I think other places do them too

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