Everyone has their ideas about where their Holy Grail Baby Product Mecca is and often this is based on numerous factors including the price you’re willing to pay for certain things. The way I see it is I’d rather not shell out on something costing the earth if I can go down the street and get it for a fraction of the price, so we’ve always gone for reasonable and practical when picking out items. Of course there are the big one-off purchases like prams and cots but there are also the day to day costs of owning a child and there are SO many options when it comes to solutions to mop up sick, contain wee and all the other things you need to do daily.
Initially with Alexandra we only ever used Aldi nappies. They came heavily recommended by pretty much everyone we knew who had a child and they’ve never really let us down (aside from the odd poonami which NOTHING in this world could have contained). Recently she’s worn Asda nappies and although they don’t leak I find they sag horrendously as soon as there’s a little bit of wee in them (she’s a size five).
However with Max I actually prefer Asda nappies (he’s currently a size two). I think they fit him better although Aldi’s don’t leak and are perfectly fine. We’ve never really used Pampers except for when we’ve had promotional freebies but to be honest I can’t really see the benefit of using them when the cheaper alternatives work so well.
We used the peach coloured ones from Bodycare for a long time and I thought I was getting a bargain at 65p for a pack of I think 200. However Dylan recently discovered Asda’s mint green versions. They’re not fragranced but they’re just as thick and we find they contain two nappies easily (I try and change everyone at the same time!) and they’re about 30p for 300.
Aldi all the way here. The Mamia fragrance free ones are excellent and have never caused either baby any issues (although neither of them have particularly sensitive skin). I also use them to take off my make up because really who has time for all that cleansing and toning business? I hate the texture of Huggies wipes, Johnsons are fine but pricey and no better than Aldi’s and Asda’s are okay but I’m definitely a Mamia fan here.
With Alexandra we bought a Tommee Tippee sterilising set on offer for about £65 which contained a few accessories too. It was fine and I didn’t really have any complaints about it. This time round while Max was in hospital I was cold water sterilising and we’ve carried this on at home. I didn’t think anything could be more simple than using an electric steriliser but this is! Literally pop a Milton tablet in five litres of water and that lasts for 24 hours so you can just throw in all your bottles after you’ve washed them and they’re safe to use after 15 minutes. The tablets work out at a couple of pounds for a month’s worth and we bought a big Tupperware box rather than an official tank so it was even cheaper.
This is where you can go completely overboard! We’ve been very lucky in that friends and family have passed on things their children no longer wear and about 50 per cent at least of Max’s wardrobe was first seen on his cousin Zachary. However if I’m buying for the kids I’m a huge fan of Asda (so good for leggings which are going to get ruined at nursery anyway! Plus they have sales really frequently. We also love their coats for boys), H&M (particularly for tops for Alexandra and newborn baby leggings which have feet in them – so useful to save constantly putting socks back on the baby when they inevitably fall off every five seconds), Primark (especially for vests which are going to get stained, pooed on, worn frequently. You don’t feel guilty about throwing them away when they only cost a couple of pounds! We’ve also had some lovely dresses for Alex from there and her 2016 winter coat which she got compliments on all the time).
I’m an utter stickler when it comes to shoes and Alexandra has only ever worn Clarks shoes. Yes they’re not cheap but the fact they measure her up every time and you know you’re getting a sturdy pair of shoes which are going to support her as she grows is the key thing. When she’s a bit older I’m sure she’ll have some cheapy shoes for playing in but for now she’s a Clarks toddler.
We don’t use many products on the babies but we do have shampoo and baby bath from Aldi – as I mentioned before neither of them have sensitive skin but we really like the Mamia products and they’re much cheaper and just as nice as Johnson’s. We have talcum powder from anywhere as it’s all very similar! (Alex has ‘snow’ after a bath but Max doesn’t yet) and we use Sudocrem on her bum if there’s any redness (Max hasn’t had any yet but we will use it if and when he does).
Make your own! I was astounded when I looked at the price of baby food jars in the shops when it came time to wean Alexandra. So I bought different vegetables every week, steamed and blended them and created flavour combinations, froze any excess ready to defrost when needed. Same with fruit once she’d started eating that. Then after a while I simply blended down whatever we were having for dinner, making it chunkier over time until she didn’t need it blended. I’ll definitely be doing the same this time round – I’m sure we saved hundreds by not buying any jars or pouches!
Hope that’s useful or interesting to anyone looking at where to buy all those things you need to sustain a baby. I think it’s just confirmed to me that I need to buy shares in Asda and Aldi!
Harriet, Alexandra and Max x