Created in partnership with John Lewis & Partners
If you’ve had a baby or, like me, are about to become a parent for the first time, you’ll be aware that babies need a lot of stuff. Well, in truth, they probably don’t otherwise we wouldn’t still be here making more of them (pretty sure my grandparents got on fine without the GroEgg and an ergonomically designed pram), but the baby market is vast, mind boggling and scary.
There are a million and one products you might need and new names for things you thought you knew everything about – e.g. a sleepsuit is just a posh word for a babygrow. Who knew? And togs: I’m now so well versed in togs I think I could write a thesis on them.
Some parents-to-be love it and get stuck into the TrustPilot reviews an hour after they’ve peed on the stick, and that’s lovely and probably far more organised, but I’m more of the what’s-still-going-to-fit-from-&-Other-Stories-New-Ins-section-when-I’m-30-weeks? That’s not to say I don’t want the best for my baby, of course I do. Safety and security are a must, good quality: paramount. I’m just not sure I want to spend more time than is necessary looking at breast pumps.
But as the big day creeps up, nesting mode does kick in and it’s dawned on me that yes, this actually is my first rodeo and I might need some help. That help came just at the right time this week from John Lewis and their new All Things Baby nursery services. It’s a completely free service created for parents, usually first-timers, who need a bit of help with the baby list, whether that’s what to pack in your hospital bag to baby essentials and travel must-haves.
As the big day creeps up, nesting mode does kick in and it’s dawned on me that yes, this actually is my first rodeo and I might need some help.
I could not rave about it more; it’s taken the pressure off, unscrambled my pre-baby brain and got everything we need ticked off the list in rapid time. The service is available in store and online – we went online because, well, COVID – and it was brilliant.
After an easy signup, I was emailed by the lovely Poppy, one of the brand’s Nursery Product Specialists, who sent through a couple of questions on what we’re looking for, our lifestyle, what we already have and our taste and style. All very informal and easy. Plus, Poppy advised on what the session could offer us, from creating a Hospital Bag Checklist to the New Baby Essentials Checklist and their Car Seat Buying Guide. You can book in for as little as half an hour and up to two hours depending on what you’re after.
We settled on a one hour appointment going through newborn essentials – the big stuff like prams, down to some cute little bits. As well as a look at car seats and what was going to be best for us.
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Some of my John Lewis & Partners picks below
We then scheduled in a Google Hangout for a Friday evening (things really have changed round here) and Poppy was wonderful – calm, unjudgey, easy to talk to, had a sense of humour – basically someone an eight-month pregnant woman wants to be around. There’s not an inch of info Poppy doesn’t know about baby products and she was happy to answer any questions however silly they might be, while she talked us through everything with a shared screen and links to all the products the brand stocks.
As I mentioned before the service is completely free, impartial and with no obligation to purchase. Instead of feeling the pressure to buy then and there, Poppy sent over everything we had discussed in a spreadsheet with codes to view online and costs – a wish list of baby products straight to my inbox, all within an hour of the session itself. Bliss.
The great thing about John Lewis is that they stock a plethora of brands, so most of the products I had had my eye on prior to the session were by and large available there.
Keen for the BABYZEN YOYO pram thanks to it being super lightweight and the fact that it can navigate the ridiculously tight entrance to our flat, Poppy talked us through the benefits, the new model and some more affordable alternatives.
She also highlighted the extras we might need to buy on top (essential for a novice like me), like car seat clips, raincovers and foot rests – the little things you wouldn’t otherwise think of until you’re locked out the house in the pouring rain come December with a non-waterproof pram and a crying baby to contend with.
She even popped us an email post-session to tell us the car seat we’d been looking at had officially been safety test-approved to work with the pram we wanted just that morning – little things like that that made the whole experience such a pleasure and so personal.
So we spent a good chunk of the weekend looking at baby stuff and satisfyingly ticking things off the list. I don’t know about other people’s partners and I’m certainly not wanting to come across as ‘mother knows best’ before the baby’s even come out, but I’m definitely thinking more practically than him. Keen to get involved in the process, which I’m of course so thankful for (it’s lovely to do the shopping together), I suggested he added a few bits to the basket with the help of Poppy’s spreadsheet.
Five minutes later and there was a basket full of six cuddly toys at £25 a pop, a pair of Chelsea boot-esque booties and a pack of three muslins. Cute, but not that helpful. So we’ll be reverting back to Poppy’s spreadsheet – the Magna Carta of baby lists – adding to basket, and within the week, should have everything we need before baby arrives.