Preparing for a new baby means navigating a world of endless "stuff" - it is confusing, exhausting (yes sometimes fun!) and always challenging to decipher the needs from the wants, the over the top from the essentials and the functional from the ornamental. I've done my research this time around because with my first baby I literally had no idea what I was doing and wound up with a heap of things I didn't really need. Take two and I've been a smarter, slower and savvier shopper when it comes to what I do and do not need. So what made the essentials list and what didn't...
*Quality nappy bag
*Light weight pram
*Bassinet & Cot
*Netflix, Stan & Foxtel Subscription
*Comfy Feeding Chair or spare bed
*Zip Up Onsies
*Safe car seat
*Change table - change mat, yes, change mat covers, yes, but a change table might be one piece of nursery furniture you don't really need especially if you have a two level house, you will want to avoid carrying bubs up and down every time they need a nappy change
- top of the line baby monitor
*Feeding clothes - if you are going to be home most of the time for the first few weeks or months, you will not be un-clipping your feeding bra or top every five minutes, you will probably just wear something comfortable enough to whip up, or down, or off, or whatever is easier. Stocking up on feeding specific clothing means a whole lot of waste a few months down the track. So not worth it! Just get one for the hospital or for when you have visitors coming, there is no need to stock up on these at all.
* $1500 pram - the truth is, all you need from a pram is something light, easy to fold and with enough room or a place to put your nappy bag and a coffee. Some prams can set you back hundreds of dollars and in reality you might find yourself hardly even using it, with many babies being happier in a front carrier. If you plan on walking a lot, ensure you select a pram with bigger wheels and a rain cover but don't go wild on all the extra's or the brand name. A pram is a pram!
* Bath thermometer - you will know if the water in the bath is too hot or cold by placing your hand in up to your wrist. Common sense on this one and to be safe, go a little cooler than a little warmer.
* Extensive range of baby bath products - don't be fooled into this trap. All babies need is a good gentle cleanser/soap product, a moisturizing product and nappy rash cream. Everything else is over the top, unless your bub has specific skin concerns which you will discover at a later date and can then tackle the issue as it presents itself. Keep bath time as simple as possible!
* Button up onsies and excessive separates. For the first few months you will be craving ease and comfort, both for you and bubs, and the best way to ensure this is to stick with simple zip up onsies. Of course baby clothes are adorable so go nuts if you wish but you will find a lot of it goes unworn so select carefully!
Bibs & Feeding Clothes
This is one thing I scrimped on the first time and have decided to embrace this time. So often I used a manky cloth or relied on wipes and I let a lot of cute baby clothes be ruined, not to mention the fact the manky clothes only further added to the feeling of mankyness (promise that is a word) that is the first 3 months of caring for a new born. Don't get me wrong, it is also magical and beautiful, but the baby spew, milk stains, nappy changes and sleepless nights are an incredibly tough slog and I firmly believe being surrounded by beautiful things helps to lift this sense of bland monotony. I have discovered the most gorgeous range of baby bibs and feeding clothes by a local designer (winning). Based in Perth, My Little Heart are completely Australian made and come in an adorable range of prints so you can have everything match.
Quality Nappy Bag
I didn't indulge myself to a nice nappy bag with bubs number 1 and this time I have decided that I need one which represents my true style for the same reason I wanted to opt for nice bibs and burp clothes this around. A nappy bag is really a second handbag, it goes everywhere with you for a good year or so and it is well worth investing in one which is practical, functional, high quality and stylish. Look no further than Claudine and Ash - their nappy bags are absolutely gorgeous, will last for years and have all of the practical features you will need. I would happily tote the Kalani Bag around as a regular carry all, it is that stylish. The leather is buttery soft and the gold hard-wear is right on trend (also comes with the option of silver). There are all the compartments and extra's you need - padded changing mat, nappy purse and longer detachable strap included and yes they are an Australian based brand, which is always worth a big tick in my books!
Bassinet & Cot
I was given a cot from my partners cousin which I was more than happy to take - there is so much waste that comes with stocking up on brand new baby gear and the more we can share between us mama's the better! I also decided to get a bassinet because I know realistically, bubs will be in our bedroom for the first few weeks at least and often a big cot can be overwhelming for a little bub so a smaller area can promote better sleep for them. I selected the Moses Basket because it is made of wicker which I absolutely love right now, plus it is really easy to carry room to room. I've heard some mothers end up putting the basket in the cot while the baby gets used to their nursery after transitioning from their own room so this again was another reason I went for this option.
Chemical Free Cleaning Products
I first stumbled across Tri Nature last year and now use their shower and body products but why stop there. I have discovered they offer loads of alternatives to chemical laden products with their household cleaning range - I know my life is about to become a whole lot messier and I would much prefer to go natural than load up on toxic cleaning products with a new born in the house.
Tri Nature is eco responsible, they use plant based ingredients, they do not test on animals and all their products are Phosphate, Nitrate and Petrochemical free (plus they really work, they are award winning so you know you are getting bang for your buck!) Try the Green Cleaning Starter Set which has a great range of everyday cleaning products to keep your kitchen, windows and floors spick and span.
I am opting for the Steelcraft Agile 4 Travel System Stroller, which is only $250-$330. I walk, a lot, and so I have made sure this one will be appropriate for high activity but the main thing I want is ease - this weighs only 7.5kg and folds down into a super compact size. My family lugs around enough stuff, especially on weekends, with gold clubs, surf boards, snacks, skateboards...the last thing I want to contend with is a heavy and oversized pram.
Change Mat & Covers
My biggest tip when purchasing a changing mat is to consider whether you also need a change table. While I did use my change table a lot the first time around, I now have a place with stairs place and I cannot imagine carrying bubs up and down every single time I need to do a nappy change. I've decided to purchase 2 change mats (and a bunch of covers), keeping one upstairs and one downstairs. The reality is, when it comes to changing a nappy, convenience is key and I would rather whip out the change mat from the hallway cupboard when I need it rather than have an oversized piece of furniture clogging up my nursery. A chest of drawers can often double as a change area and there are great nappy caddy's available for storage so think twice before adding a change table to your life!
Waist Trainer/Postpartum Support Belt
This is an absolute must for any new mum. A support belt or girdle helps with abdominal recovery and holds everything in place which makes new movements and easing back into exercise more safe and effective. I had 4-5cm ab separation after giving birth the first time around, despite remaining highly active and only gaining 10kg over the pregnancy. The reality is, the abs have to be forced apart to make room for baby and there is nothing you can do about it but you can repair and return to normal with the right support and core exercises. A support belt or tummy trainer holds the abdominal muscles flat meaning you move correctly as you begin to engage your core again and this helps everything fuse back together the right way, avoiding injury and a prolonged recovery. Try Mamaway Nano Bamboo Postnatal Recovery Waist Support Band.
Safe Car Seat
This is one area you shouldn't scrimp on - ensuring safety while traveling in the car is the most important thing you can do. That first drive home from the hospital with a newborn is one scary feeling - they are so tiny and vulnerable! Whichever car seat you choose, make sure you get it fitted properly - you can have this done by a specialist who will provide a certificate for you and this gives you peace of mind that you baby is safe and the seat is as secure as possible. I like the Britax Safe & Sound range, they are on the higher end but are sturdy, safe, easy to adjust and come in a stylish range of colours and designs.
Video Baby Monitor
A baby monitor is another thing worth spending a little extra on, especially if your home is spread out as a weak signal is quite common with the cheaper versions. I recommend getting one which is easy to mount in the babies room and has a screen with a clear picture. Also consider getting two screens so you can have one in the bedroom and one in the living room. Oricom is my choice, they have great reviews, are an Aussie product and you can pick up a good one from around $200.
Obviously there are other things you will need - patience, support, anti leakage everything, a lot of coffee..the list goes on, but when it comes to the "stuff" these are the main ticket items worth investing in! Remember, you will find your own way and what works for some babies will absoluteyly not work for others, but as mum's the best thing we can do is share our knowledge, swap tips and be open with how we got through the rocky road that is the newborn phase!