Preparing for your first baby can be very exciting but also daunting. Suddenly you’re faced with a whole new world of shopping, endless ‘baby must haves’ and products you’ve never given much thought to before, but what do you really need for a new baby?
Well, there are certainly millions of new baby checklists out there to help guide you, but the truth is you’ll never really know what you need or what works for you until your baby arrives.
So where does this leave you? My advice is to not fall into the trap of thinking you have to buy everything now before baby comes. I did this with our first...I think because it made me feel more in control. A better approach (and one I wish I'd taken) is to go fairly minimalist to start with and buy only a few of what you think you'll need. You'll be inundated with gifts, and you'll need a good few weeks to get into your stride. Take this time, enjoy it, try out your purchases and gifts and buy extra of what you need online once you know what works for you.
For me they really worked, that’s why I’ve made my own range. You’d be amazed how much a seemingly simple piece of fabric can help you out when you’re deep in the throes of newborn babyhood! What do you need muslin squares for? You can use them for feeding, wiping delicate skin, mopping up sick/mess/milk, covering changing mats and prams/moses baskets. I’ve listed a few of their many uses here, but if you’d like to know more you might find this blog post useful – what is a muslin square, what is a swaddle blanket and what do I need as a new mum
It is all of course subjective, but I thought this article from Huffington Post was interesting. They asked their ParentDish Facebook followers to give their opinion on new baby essentials and what you really need. Muslin squares came top of the list for essentials that DO make your life easier. There’s also a great list of things you DON’T need – all of which I agree with!
Large muslins have become increasingly popular and you’ll find them almost anywhere (we call ours ‘swaddle blankets', but they are one in the same). Mums like them because you can use them in the same way you do small muslin squares, but they do lots of other jobs too. You can use them for feeding, but also as lightweight baby blankets, swaddling blankets, pram covers, for lining prams and cots to protect sheets…the list goes on.
If you’re not sure whether you’ll prefer the large muslins or smaller size, my advice would be to buy a few of each and try them out, see what works before buying more.
There is no definitive answer! It really comes down to how you run your life as a new mum. Some prefer to do laundry loads daily (and just buy a few), others prefer to do extra-large loads a few times a week (and buy a bigger supply)
Mothercare suggests you buy 20, Mumsnet says 12, The White Company says 6, some mums say 7 (one for each day of the week)….
We asked our Instagram followers what they think and this is what they said:
18% said at least 5 muslins
36% said between 5-10 muslins
10% said between 10-15 muslins
36% said a never-ending supply/no number is enough/similar
You are likely to see muslin squares listed as an essential to pack in most hospital bag checklists, but how many should you take? I’d suggest taking two or three muslins and trying to pack light. The chances are you’ll be moved around a bit and worrying about lots of cases is a stress you can do without! You can read our full hospital bag checklist here
You can buy muslin squares from most major retailers, it really depends on how much you want to spend. We find that a lot of our customers are second/third/fourth time parents who have used muslin squares before, appreciate their value and are looking to treat new arrivals with a little something special (that hasn’t been handed down). Our luxury muslins cost more than most, this is because we make them in Britain and use 100% bamboo muslin. Bamboo is softer and more absorbent than cotton (still machine washable) and has in-built temperature regulating properties which helps to moderate temperature. Cotton muslin will not do this. We also put a lot of love into our designs, with each of them illustrated by a different British artist.
I hope you have found this useful, and thank you for reading,
Founder, The Little Art Collection