Last year while my sister was still pregnant I put together a list of things to consider before baby (in her case, ‘babies’) came along. It’s by no means a comprehensive list – and catering more to a winter climate. I used to get frustrated at the lists I’d find online, even the ‘no fuss’ or ‘minimalist’ lists seemed a bit ridiculous. But I get it now, it’s difficult to comprehend or even imagine what it’ll be like having a tiny human in the house when it’s just been the two of you for so long. Well here’s my addition to the millions already existing on the internet.
It’s important to remember (as much as your irrational pregnant brain allows) that once baby is born, there’s plenty of time to pick up more things from the shop as you need them.
- A cot: You don’t need to have a bassinet as it is something extra to buy and won’t grow with baby, that being said, we loved the little hospital containers you can wheel right next to the bed and I imagine a bassinet would be the same…small and easy to have right next to you for night time feeding. Don’t forget a fitted sheet for the cot (two so you can alternate…their little heads leave oil marks and hair on the mattress. Cute.)
- Blankets: The more the merrier because they get milk and vomit and stuff on them easy and always need washing. Get ones at least 1m x 1m so they grow with baby. Cotton wraps are great for swaddling, swaddling is awesome and you will probably do it for the first 3-5 months if not longer (we stopped swaddling at about 5 months old).
- Oil Heater: If it’s winter you’ll need to keep the room warm (it helps them sleep better-longer). Oil heaters don’t dry the air out so much.
- Onesies: Maybe about 4 in size 0000 (or newborn) and the same again in 000. Babies are mostly wrapped in blankets (especially a winter baby) for the first couple of months so you don’t get to see their clothes. Bonds wondersuits are good and cute, but any onesie will do (just note the fabric, the big winter polyester ones aren’t good for sleeping in, their like target ugg-boots, too hot too quickly).
- Singlets: Put a singlet on underneath the onesies. So maybe get about 4 in size 0000 and the same number in 000. Apparently babies usually grow out of the 0000 in a month or so…Curly took about 8 weeks, but she also didn’t gain any weight until after 6 weeks old. For winter I usually put a long-sleeved top or one of those ones that pins up underneath (I still don’t know how baby clothes are named) underneath the onesie for some added warmth. The bonds wonder-suits might look warm and snuggly but they’re quite thin.
- Jumper/Cardigan: Just a couple will do, they can go over the top of the onesies if you’re heading out…you could also get a pair of baby trackies…cute. But for going out a nice soft polyester onesie is awesome too.
*I preferred the singlets with press studs that clipped up at the crotch, otherwise you end up with tops riding up leaving a bare belly exposed.
**Don’t overdo the 0000; it’s not worth it. You will buy clothes as you need them once she/he is born and be given all the cute fun clothes. So long as you have enough to get you through the first few weeks until you feel comfortable leaving the house again.
- Nappies: Cloth – don’t buy into the brand names…it fulfils a pretty basic purpose and most do the job. This lady… http://myworld.ebay.com.au/bountifulbubs?_trksid=p2047675.l2559 does good cheap clothe nappies and accessories. The one-size-fits-all nappies are pretty big on a newborn, you also need to be prepared with at least 20, newborns poop a lot. I’ve essentially stopped clothe for now (might go back), they’ve been leaking all the time on our one year old, even after stripping them of oils and build up. She does do heavy wees.
Disposable – Huggies are probably the best, but on a budget, the Coles brand nappies work just as well (as do the Aldi brand if you have a store nearby).
- Nappy Liners: Flushable liners are great, especially later on when poos become a bit more solid, you can just tip the whole thing into the toilet and flush!
- Baby Wipes: The bountiful bubs lady on ebay (link above) sells bulk flushable wipes (way better than just water and a flannel…depends how Nimbin hippy you want to get). Most wipes say they’re not flushable from the store.
- Sudocream: For nappy rash, and any rash that appears on baby, including neck rashes. (Just use with a nappy liner on cloth nappies because creams can reduce their absorbency).
- Car-seat (rearward facing): We got one that can be forward facing as well when she’s old enough. I did wish we had one with a detachable bassinet carry thing…would be so handy when she was fast asleep, not to mention you can use the basket to carry him/her around in outside of the car. Nevertheless, with super parent skills you can move them in and out of the car still asleep anyway and use a pram outside of the car. (We always looked for what would last the longest so we wouldn’t have to buy extra later, it’s convenience vs. frugality). My sister ended up hiring car seats for the first 6 months, ended up pretty cheap.
- Pram: You don’t have to get this before…depends how soon you want to go strolling down the street with him/her. If you live in the city then I strongly recommend using Gumtree to buy a second hand pram. We splashed out and bought a ‘baby jogger city mini GT’. I love it. Think about ease of folding, and weight for lifting in and out of car, and also what weight it can go up to (e.g. ours should last into toddlerhood). You don’t need one that faces you when they’re little, just as long as it can go flat(ish) for sleeping.
- Nursing Bras/tops: Think easy access…baby will feed anywhere from every 1-3 hours! (Day and night). Every outfit you wear will need to have easy boob access. Those things will be so much bigger too, buy bras as you need them…you could waste money by pre-empting it (much the same for during the pregnancy).
- Cabbage leaves: Freeze cabbage leaves for when your milk comes in. Engorgement won’t last that long and cabbage really works (you cover your boobs with the leaves…but wash your nipples before feeding).
Other cool stuff
Everything else from here is extra stuff that can be bought before or after really.
- Wrapping/Baby-wearing: The “sleepy wrap” or “boba wrap” is awesome (look on gumtree). You can wrap them up like a little koala on your chest. You want something that allows their knees to sit higher than their bums (like an M). Old school baby bjorns aren’t good for hip development. As curly got older I made a long woven linen wrap, this was fantastic, especially in our colder climate. My favourite now is a mei tai wrap, so easy to put on, can be worn front or back, newborn or toddler.
- Bouncer seat: Good little dumping ground so you can do stuff like shower (the ones that have batteries and bounce are brilliant).
- Pack of flannels: For bath-time
- Old school terry-towel nappies: They make useful cloths for things (like the shoulder for spew burps), or to use for naked kick time.
- Terry towel bath seat: We got ours from target, it’s just a wire frame with a terry towel cover over the top. We washed Curly in the sink a few times…baths are tedious to manoeuvre because they’re heavy with water in them. You can get cheap baby baths off gumtree…ours was free from a garage sale!
- Change table: Our change table was also free from a garage sale…basic will do, just makes changing nappies and getting him/her dressed easier so you don’t have to bend down to the bed. OR you can just get a change mat cushion…they’re pretty cheap, and use it on the dining table.
- Teething rings: Good for when babies about 3 months+
- Baby panadol and syringe: For the “maybe something’s wrong” moments…or if baby has a fever. Good to use after immunisations.
- Thermometer: Hold in their armpit with arm down. Should be around 36 degree (above 37.5 is entering fever territory, above 38 is def. a fever).
EVEN MORE NOTES
- Best to avoid all baby shampoos and body washes initially, even though they smell nice and are really tempting. Curly got pretty dry skin on her legs, arms and cheeks so I threw them all out (they were gifts…I should have kept them and used them on me!). We started using them again after around 7 months.
- Do read about schedules and sleep training when he/she is about 8 weeks…getting in early and starting to establish something is a good idea. Before 8 weeks though…just do what feels good and right for you and cuddling to sleep, feeding to sleep, rocking to sleep is perfectly fine and lovely, don’t worry that you might be starting bad habits…habits are easy to break in babies before 6 months (and after). This side of parenting is very personal though and is more about discovering what you’re comfortable with and what fits into your lifestyle.
A word of warning about attachment parenting, there’s some puritanical ideas out there surrounding this, and I don’t object to it…just remember it’s a long-term commitment being an attachment parent. There is no focus on getting baby to sleep through the night as it’s not considered a priority. Sleep is a major priority for me, it’s the rest time that helps our bodies heal and brains to compound what’s been learnt that day.
- Dummies: I felt pressured into using one. The dummy is an amazing soothing thing for a baby and also perfectly acceptable (though wait until you’ve been breast-feeding for a month at least…I don’t know if it impacted my feeding or not). Lots of breast-fed babies won’t take a dummy anyway. I’m torn because it was great at first (out and about or to get to sleep) then it started to disrupt her sleep from about 3 months (keeps them a bit more in light sleep and they cry when it falls out). Either way, we broke the habit in about 3 days cold turkey at 4 months old.