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  • Writer's pictureAnika

What present do I get a 1-year-old?

The other day a friend of mine asked me what he could get his one year old nephew. It made me think about all the things I was given as a new parent. Many of these things were recommended to me by really experienced mums and dads. Things that had been tried and tested and were the ‘secret sauce’ to what made their parenting lives so much easier. Lots of them revolved around the same few topics – getting the babies temperature right and making sure bedtime/ sleep and food were a success.

I’ve put together my favourite top 10 items that made all the difference to me when my 3 were little.

2. A really light-weight cotton sleeping bag – I was given one of these when we went travelling in South East Asia and my oldest was tiny. After that I always used it in the hot London and European summers and loved it, as all the sleeping bags that I was able to get here were far thicker and therefore not suitable for those really hot and sticky days. It meant that I knew Josh was much more likely to sleep through the night (always a good thing!) because he was not going to be too hot at the start of the night and then too cold at 4am when the temperature drops… aden + anais Stars Sleep Sack - Pack of 1 | Grey 1.0 TOG, Breathable Single Layer 100% Cotton Muslin Soft Swaddle | Unisex Baby Sleeping Bag for Girls & Boys | 0-6 Months | Newborn & Infant Essentials : Baby Products

3. When my little ones turned between 6-8 months I started weaning them and did a combination of baby led weaning (where they help themselves to whatever is on your plate) and pureed food – Annabel Karmel’s book really helped me put some structure around this, in terms of introducing babies to new foods, how much they need and when, and how to make this less complicated than it needs to be by planning ahead a bit (she suggests ice cubes of different purees that really worked for me)

4. I was also given a ‘bath seat’ for babies – this was awesome when they were really tiny – as it allows the baby to ‘lie in the bath’ and you have your hands free to give them a wash rather than having to juggle holding them, their wobbly head and the shampoo bottle… There is also a bath seat for slightly older babies that allows them to sit and play in the bath and give them a bit of stability rather than constantly tipping forwards or backwards and getting ‘dunked’. You obviously still need to stay with them at all times – as they can wriggle off the seat (either because they are curious about something, or by accident) but it gives you a tiny bit more freedom to be able to wash and interact with them.

  1. For older babies to sit in

  2. For the really tiny ones to lie in

5. Sunshade for prams – I first got one of these in Germany and I loved the fact that it rolls up really small, so you can travel with it easily. It’s also totally open at the sides which means there is airflow around the baby and less risk of them overheating under a full blown sunshade contraption… the slight downside is that you need to keep an eye on the sun moving around so that the baby doesn’t end up in the sunshine at some point by accident – but you just move the pram round with the sun…

6. Travel Black out blinds – this was another amazing invention for us – even at home we still use them on my little one’s windows as we’ve never gotten around to installing permanent black out blinds in his room and these work brilliantly. And again, whenever we travelled, they’d come with us, as they fold down really small and it means that you can make the room nice and dark for the baby so that they can fall asleep more easily – either during the day for naps, or at night time (especially in summer when it’s light for so much longer) .

7. A good bedtime book was something that we picked really early on. It became part of the ritual each evening after bath time. And so that it became part of the sleep trigger, we read the same book each night, when they were very little. So… as a result we needed to pick something that we’d be happy to read over and over again. We loved ‘Bedtime Little ones’ and even today when we read it, the kids recognise it and love it. At one point, both my husband and I could recite the words, so that we could ‘read’ the book in the half dark when needed as well… 😉 Bedtime, Little Ones!: Freedman, Claire, Yerrill, Gail: 9781848952492: Books

9. The steriliser was amazing for when I was dual feeding – either with formula or bottled breast milk that I’d pumped. If you do get a pump I’d recommend hiring or buying a really good one like the Medela swing, rather than buying a cheaper hand held one – which brings me to number 9.

10. And finally I’d invest in a really good sling – they are so invaluable to be able to move around with your little one – whether that is when they are really little and don’t want to be put down and you need your hands free to cook, or help older children, or whether that is for when you are on a flight and need to be able to walk up and down the aisle to sooth them. There are sling libraries around the country where you can test and try the slings that work best for you. Sling Libraries | ( For me, there were two makes that stood out by miles:

  1. the BabyBjoern sling as it worked from newborn age onwards, was really easy to get on and off, gave the baby good support and was comfortable to wear.

  2. The Ergobaby sling for when they were a bit older, sturdier and heavier. The sling was really comfortable for me to wear, so I could still get out and about with them. Baby Carriers & Baby Wraps | Ergobaby

That’s it from me for now. What products do you use with your little ones? I’d love to know!

Anika x

P.S. one more - when our children were starting weaning we got them a pouch to fill with chunks of fruit and veg for them to suck and chew on - it was brilliant to get them to try new flavours and textures and we had piece of mind, as they wouldn't choke on the chunks of food. An example is this Teethe and Feed pouch from Tommee Tippee

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