Sisters list best baby buys and best lefts as they set up nearly-new sales around Norwich

PUBLISHED: 15:15 28 September 2017

Claire and Jack (left) with Katie and Heidi (right) Picture: contributed

Claire and Jack (left) with Katie and Heidi (right) Picture: contributed


Babies might be tiny and adorable, but the costs that come with them can be huge - here’s what one Norfolk mum found

Sisters Katie Heathcote and Claire Frisby had their first babies just 10 weeks apart.

Now they are about to embark on another new venture together.

During all the purchases of two pregnancies, plus the first year of their babies’ lives, the sisters, like many new mums, have developed a keen sense of what is essential, what is useful and what is unnecessary. They also became expert at picking up bargains at second hand sales.

Katie, 31, of Poringland, near Norwich, and mum to 11-month-old Heidi, has just returned to her job as a cardiac nurse at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

She and her sister, Claire Frisby, mum to 13-month-old Jack, are also launching a series of sales in which parents can sell-on outgrown clothes, toys and equipment.

So what were the most, and least, useful, of all their new-parent purchases? Katie says:

Best buys:

Hakaa breast pump. Easy to use while feeding Heidi at the same time. This cut down on the time spent pumping and gave me more time with Heidi.

Breastfeeding cover. Looks very much like a cooking apron, but it gave me the confidence to feed in public and in front of relatives in the early days. I used it the first time I breastfed in public, on a bench outside Norwich Market as Heidi couldn’t wait until we made it to a café.

Lanolin. This cream is a lifesaver when first breastfeeding and saved me from stopping altogether.

Nappy bags on a roll. Such a space saver in your already-laden bag.

Large muslins. Claire used them to swaddle Jack. I, however, had an incredibly sicky baby who would unload her entire stomach contents on anyone and everything. I don’t know what makes them so absorbent but they are amazing. I also used them as a breastfeeding cover, blanket and sunshade.

Ikea highchair. Value for money. It’s one of the cheapest on the market, really easy to transport around, and easy to take apart and clean when food inevitably goes everywhere.

Travel sleeping bag – A little pricey but we do quite a bit of travelling to visit family. We found it best to travel at night with Heidi in the travel sleeping bag in the car seat. You don’t have to unzip the sleeping bag and wake them when you arrive.

Swinging and jumping. We had second hand swings and jumperoos. Baby swings are ideal for babies who like being rocked constantly and the jumperoo enabled me to prepare tea and do a bit of house work with a happy baby, rather than a screaming one.

Wifi camera. Helps you to tell whether your baby is just moving around and settling him or herself or is genuinely upset.

Not so useful:

A specially designed shaped swaddling system. Heidi hated being swaddled so we used this all of twice.

Scratch mittens. We ended up with about 15 pairs, which were used…never! Mittens are so ridiculously hard to keep on. Clothes with inbuilt scratch mittens are much easier.

Toiletries. I have a box full of lotions, potions and creams. Heidi is still on her first bottle of baby shampoo. I bought lots of nappy cream thinking I would need it with every nappy change and have pots sitting there as decorations! You forget how small a baby is, so you use the smallest amount of each product anyway.

A baby changing bag. You need a bag to put your baby things in but you don’t need a specific baby bag. They are quite expensive and I love my baby bag, but after less than a year I need a backpack as I’m running around after Heidi.

Rompers – Heidi was born in September so when I was heavily pregnant it was summer (bad move!) and a lot of the baby clothes around were summery. I bought two rompers for Heidi and she never wore them as it wasn’t warm enough. Think season specific.

Things we needed but hadn’t bought:

Coat hangers – I seriously underestimated how generous people would be when it came to gifts. I suddenly found myself surrounded by beautiful baby clothes, lovingly given to us, and some hand-made, but no way of hanging them.

Toys – I didn’t realise how early a baby would start ‘playing’. I use that term loosely as I think some of the time I was just shaking stuff over the top of Heidi thinking she was playing. When she got to six weeks and woke up a bit more in the day I was at a loss and had to do a frantic google on what a baby plays with a purchase them quick!

Bibs –Heidi was a very sicky baby so to save her outfits bibs were a must. I found the specific ‘dribble bibs’ to be the best.

Plain vests and babygros – I seriously underestimated how many of these we would get through and bought a newborn starter pack from Mothercare thinking that’ll see me through. I had to send my mother in law out to get more vests and babygrows.

Katie and Claire will be running mum2mum market in Norwich.

The franchise business, which featured on Dragons’ Den last year, runs pop-up sales of nearly new baby, children’s and maternity clothes, and toys, books and equipment.

Sellers book and pay for stalls online then turn up on the day and sell, keeping all the takings.

Katie and Claire’s next mum2mum market is at Hethersett Village Hall, near Norwich, on Saturday, October 7.

They have another at the Costessey Centre, 1 Longwater Lane, Norwich, on Sunday, November 5.

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