Ivor loves a push in his travel system, but even after all the months of research, our fantastic Kinderkraft Moov needed a bit of pimping. Here are ten items that will make trips out with the pram easier.
1. Stroller organiser
I didn’t get one of these until three months in. I had a smallish baby bag that came with my stroller so I used to just use that. I can’t tell you how much easier a stroller organiser made things. When all you need is a muslin it’s really annoying having to open a bag and route through it. Everything ends up jumbled around and the thing you want always, always, always ends up at the bottom. The stroller organiser is perfect for a short trip out, where all you need is one nappy change and a feed. On longer trips I pop the things I’m most likely to need quickly, like muslins and baby wipes (I use Cheeky Wipes reusables). It’s also a handy place to pop a drink, your house keys and purse whilst you’re out for easy access whilst shopping (just don’t leave the buggy unattended!). Ours is a simple one from Ana Wiz that cost less than £15.
2. Buggy clips
I use mine to hold my bag for life so I’ve always got it, and I often use them to hold the dog’s lead when I’m taking him a walk. But they are absolutely necessary if you’re planning to do solo shopping trips with baby. Even if you’re buggy has a great storage basket like mine does, they can only hold so much. I like the kind pictured above. I tried the ones that are basically a camping clip, but they were always falling down the sides of the buggy, and they were really clunky. The ones with velcro straps hold in place much better. I’d also recommend getting clips that fully close, as opposed to ones that have a hook. They just keep thinks more secure.
3. The Rockit
This great little device retails at around £40 and has been a godsend with Ivor, a baby who loves the buggy as long as it’s moving, and will scream a hail mary the second it stops. The Rockit takes four AA batteries and at one click of a button vibrates, which in turn rocks your buggy! You can also increase the intensity of the rocking to suit your baby. It’s most useful when Ivor has fallen asleep. If I get home I pop The Rockit on and get on with boring grown up stuff. I’ve also had an entire coffee and cake date with friends whilst The Rockit fooled Ivor into thinking we were still tredding the streets. It’s less successful if Ivor is awake, but it still works long enough to stop him from losing his shit at a red light. I highly recommend The Rockit if you have a stationary stroller hating baby, or if you just want to extend that nap once you’re back home.
4. A sensory toy
As he got older, Ivor soon got bored with a simple toy. I recommend getting something large with lots of different sensory materials like the Eric Carle Hungry Caterpillar toy. Lamaze do a great range of stroller toys too.
5. A phone holder
Yes, in a perfect world we would not look at our phones while pushing our precious bundles around. But back in the real world, I’m trying to find the baby sensory scout hut I’ve never bloody heard of and it’s really annoying having to stop to get my phone out every five minutes to check Google Maps. I can text someone to tell them I’m running late without having to wrestle my phone out of my pocket and have a conversation with my husband about whether we need milk or bread bringing home via speakerphone without having to stop and block the pavement. Order one that’s meant for a bike, they’re cheaper than the ones made for strollers, despite being exactly the bloody same.
6. A smash proof phone case
This item should be on any baby list. Insurance excess for a top end phone will be at least £70 a pop and don’t kid yourself, you are not getting through this experience without a breakage or two. A good quality, baby and toddler proof phone case doesn’t come cheap, but if it prevents your darling vandal breaking your phone just once, it will have more than paid for itself. I use the Otterbox Defender series. Prices range from around £50 down to £25 depending on your phone make and model. And baby aside, as a mother out and about, you will drop your phone. It will fall out of your hands, darling vandal will knock it off the table in Costa, and if you’re a complete moron like me, you’ll drop it down a whole flight of stairs on your way into Tiny Talk. Whilst the Otterbox isn’t 100% waterproof (You’ll need to spend considerably more for one that is), after its drop down the stairwell it didn’t have a scratch on it.
7. A bluetooth speaker
A lot like The Rockit, you can live without it, but you really shouldn’t. Sometimes, babies are just gits. And they will scream and scream just because. And when you’re ten minutes from home, and you really don’t want to have to stop and pay £2.90 for a Chai Latte just so you can change or feed them, a speaker comes in handy. When Ivor starts whinging, I pop on his favourite songs (I highly recommend the Super Simple series) and it will usually calm him down long enough for me to get him home. A couple of lullabies will get him to settle down for a nap when he’s fighting sleep. I got my baby-safe speaker as a gift from someone who bought it abroad, but any bluetooth speaker that can be clipped to the pram can work, as long you don’t let baby gnaw on it if it isn’t baby-safe. Make sure you buy a waterproof one in case of showers!
8. Thermal travel bag
If you’re bottle feeding they’re great for keeping water hot or cold so you can make up the perfect bottle when you’re out. We use the Tommee Tippee ones, but check your bottles will fit whichever ones you chose to buy. They’re great if you’re just popping out for an hour or two as you can strap them to the stroller and leave the hefty travel bag at home.
9. Safety strap
This came free with my buggy clips and I honestly had no idea what the hell it was… But I’ve actually grown to quite like it. It straps onto the handle of your stroller and you just pop your wrist through the loop, meaning if you need to suddenly go hands free for a second your baby isn’t going anywhere.
10. Linking rings
They cost just a few quid and are brilliant. We use them all the time at home to attach toys to things like his bouncer to play with. We also use them on the go to attach things like teethers or toys that he’s taken a particular shine to.