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  • Having bought only a baby carrier in advance, Paul made a mid-birth dash to Mothercare, returning home with a carrier bag and two hours to spare before their son Levin was born in a hastily-erected birth pool. The couple were advocates of attachment parenting, a movement that encourages infants to be kept close and their needs met swiftly, without any emphasis on a baby-focused daily routine. Critics of the philosophy are plentiful: So what did they buy?

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    In Paul's last-minute trolley dash he picked up nappies, vests, babygros and a blanket. Additional clothes were given as gifts, and since the birth they have acquired or bought nursing bras, another baby carrier, changing mat, a breast pump, potty, cup, cutlery and a car seat. They have no plans to invest in the items most consider vital: Now aged one, Levin still sleeps in bed with his parents.

    The official advice from the Department of Health shies away from recommending co-sleeping but gives guidance for those who are considering it on how to do so safely. A study released earlier this month indicates the need for more research into this, suggesting a link between co-sleeping and unexplained death in infants, though the study doesn't distinguish between parents such as the Garlands, adopting a considered co-sleeping practice with safety measures in place, and those who have not.

    However, previous studies have indicated that bedsharing can decrease the risk of unexplained infant death, suggesting that newborns sleeping in contact with their mothers sleep better and have three times less stress on their hearts than those placed in a cot.

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  • Professor James McKenna of the University of Notre Dame mother-baby behavioural sleep laboratory is keen to emphasise the positives: It permits mothers to manage easier breastfeeding which is known to significantly reduce cot-death risks , while promoting increased sleep for mother and infant. It enhances communication skills among infants and provides an ideal venue for cognitive and emotional development. But if there's a lack of knowledge about dangerous bedsharing conditions, mothers are best sleeping alongside their infants on a different surface but not in the same bed.

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    Breastfeeding and baby-led weaning have eliminated the need for bottles and purees. They've also decided to invest in washable nappies, which they believe are better for their family and the environment.

    baby cot shop Baby cot shop

    Do Anna and Paul have any regrets about their small pile of kit and the lifestyle that inspired it? We discovered that the less you buy that's baby-specific and designed to put them at a distance, the easier it will be to meet their instinctive needs.

    Choose baby bedding that is simple, yet rich in quality to match. Be sure to remove any soft toys from the cot before each sleep period. Generally we would advise it is safest to have a new mattress for each baby, though we know this is not always possible.

    What are your tips for saving money during the first year of a child's life and beyond? Did you find buying things helped or hindered you when bonding with your baby?

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