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All I want for christmas is...

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According to some of our non-parent friends Tom and I have become experts on what to buy people with new babies. I know that before I had Elliot I was buying very lovely but quite unhelpful gifts for babies, it's amazing how many things are on the market that are completely useless but kept in production by an army of clueless new aunties and uncles. So here is my list of "Very Useful Baby Gifts" for new parents...

1. The Pram Buddy 
This thing changed my life! You can attach your shopping to your pram leaving your hands free to do useful things like answer the phone, use keys and wipe away spew. It's so simple, I'm amazed prams don't come with one already. Don't get the plastic sort, they're rubbish, get the metal carabina style one. You may be thinking, 'Why don't you just get a carabina, it's cheaper?'. Well, the padded bit on it stops it from sliding along the pram bars. This product is making someone very rich.

2. Burt's Bees Baby Bee Skin Cream
Another delightful surprise that no one tells you about babies is that they get really nasty skin in the folds of their necks which collects lint and builds up a sort of spewey neck cheese. It's gross and their skin gets really sore so this stuff is great. I was lucky enough to get the whole Burt's Bees set as a baby shower gift and it's all fantastic, but this is the stand out product. It's also perfect for winter on little cheeks and noses in the cold wind or on nappy rash. You can see it taking the redness out as soon as you put it on.

3. Melobaby change mat/bag
Most nappy change bags are really bulky and have hideous cartoon characters all over them. This one is fantastic because it pops in a normal handbag bag and doesn't look like you've brought a dead clown along with you. It's also got a change mat that is fleecy on one side so it's comfy for changing or a plastic side for more toxic situations where wiping clean is a necessity. There's also a little sealable pencil case thingy that you can put wet wipes in and they don't dry out so you don't need to take a whole packet with you.

4. Sophie the Giraffe
Sophie is quite famous, she has been on sale since 1961 and she's French, so you know she's stylish. She's been seen with Nicole Richie, Isla Fisher and Sofia Copploa and has starred in movies like Sex and The City and Three Men and a Baby. There's a fair bit of hype surrounding her and at £12.99 she's quite expensive for what she is but it's got to be said, babies love her. Why? Because she's chewy, easy to hold because of her skinny little legs and her face is shaped like a nipple. That's all there is to it. New parents have got more important things to spend £12.99 on and probably wouldn't buy what is essentially a dog toy in a fancy box, but she makes an excellent gift. Elliot loves to snog her.

5. Baby's First Skills by Miriam Stoppard
There are moments in the first few months of parenting when your fatigue addled brain makes you forget how to be fun. You're sitting on the floor with a small person who screams and you think, "I don't know what you're into and you're far too young to be into things that I like, like impulse buying and binge drinking, so what the hell are we going to do for the next hour?" The answer is in this book. It gives you really simple educational exercises to do like counting fingers and toes, peek-a-boo and baby sit-ups. It also tells you what babies of a certain age should be doing and how each exercise stimulates their development ...which in turn alleviates the middle class guilt that comes with plonking them down in front of a Rihanna video on MTV. (For the record, Rihanna and Katy Perry videos are high on Elliot's list of favourite things. Must be the boobies).

6. Insulated Milk Bag
I wouldn't have even thought of this unless I'd received it as a gift but it's so useful and super cheap! It's great for carrying a bottle of boob milk with an ice pack to a dinner party. That way your milk doesn't gross out the single male guests by appearing in the fridge next to the beer (although grossing out single males is quite fun and easy too! Just use 'breast pump' in a sentence and the job's done).

7. Socks
Sounds very boring but socks are a great gift and they come in cute little sets like these. When Elliot was born we had teeny tiny socks coming out our ears in every colour of the rainbow, everyone gave us some, there were hundreds and I thought we would never use them all. Now we have only a few left. I don't know where the hell they go. Maybe to some sort of sock commune behind our furniture, or perhaps there's a wormhole in our washing machine which leads to a really crap alternate universe which is filled with baby socks, Oyster cards and pen lids. So if all else fails, you can't go wrong with socks.


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