This post is sponsored by Fisher-Price and includes a great giveaway!
Navigating a baby store as a expectant, first time parent can be daunting to say the least. As they are filled to overflowing with all manner of baby-related paraphernalia, determining what you will actually need can be quite the task. As many soon-to-be parents expect to take some time off work, being smart with purchases before the baby arrives can help to alleviate some of the pressure of living on a reduced income. I know I certainly did things very differently the second time around with AJ, given what I had learnt when Immy was a baby!
Here are my top 7 must-have items for new babies and some tips on how and why I chose what I did…
1. THE PRAM
As one who learnt this lesson the hard way – if you can afford it, buy the pram you really want. Don’t compromise. When Immy was a baby I compromised and I regretted it every single time I stepped out of the door onto the footpaths of Bondi. Needless to say I traded it in for a stroller as soon as I could justify spending more money! Second time around and we bought the pram I really wanted – the Bugaboo Bee – and I love it still. We continue to use it even now AJ is 18 months old with absolutely no need to swap to a stroller as it is compact and lightweight and super easy to manoeuvre.
When choosing a pram I suggest that you think about;
- Where and how you will use your pram
- The physical size and weight of the pram (particularly, will it fit in your car boot and through shopping checkouts?)
- Are you likely to need a pram that can convert to include a newborn and toddler (or preschooler)? ie. You are hoping to have your babies close together?
- What accessories are available for use with your pram?
- How big is the basket and is it easy to access when the pram is reclined with a new baby?
1. THE CARRIER
Tied in first place on my list of must-have baby items is a baby carrier. As my friend Shae shared in 6 Tips for Baby Wearing;
“There are so many reasons to love wearing your baby. You may want to leave the pram at home or go somewhere a pram won’t go, you may like rocking your baby to sleep and want to make it easier, you may like to get things done while keeping your baby happy and up seeing what’s going on, or you may just love keeping your baby close. Or, like me, you may have a baby that simply refused to be put down.”
Shae’s post includes tips for choosing and using a baby carrier. I used a Close Parent Caboo baby sling (on Shae’s recommendation) when AJ was brand new and loved it. We have since graduated to an ErgoBaby and appreciate the support it provides with a bigger baby/toddler.
3. THE BASSINET & COT
On the recommendation of a friend, when Immy was a baby we hired a hospital-style bassinet for about five weeks before moving her into her cot. This saved us the cost of buying a bassinet (which was a totally a good thing given that I had chosen the very expensive Taj Mahal of cots!), and actually worked well for us as we lived in a very small apartment and Immy’s bedroom was an easy stumbling distance from my bed so no need for a bassinet longer term.
By the time AJ was born the excessively expensive Taj Mahal had been retired (it had been damaged in our interstate move) and we had moved into a rather large house where the children’s bedrooms were a house-length away from the master. So the second time around we did buy a bassinet, which AJ slept in in our room for almost six months, and you can bet I was thankful for it each time a night time feed rolled around. I also learnt my lesson when it came to cots and purchased a just-as-lovely, much cheaper cot for her to move into. After all, the baby just sleeps in it and I personally would much rather spend the money on a better pram or a baby carrier.
4. THE SWING & BOUNCER
Even as a big fan of baby wearing, there have been times when I just honestly need a bit of personal space. Or I would like to cook dinner or hang the washing or *insert any task requiring two hands* without the baby on board. A baby bouncer or swing that can be positioned near where you are working is worth its weight in gold. I remember being so thankful for my Fisher-Price bouncer that was compact enough to pop down just inside the bathroom door so that I could see Immy while I was showering – and I can’t tell you how good a hot shower would feel in those early days of new motherhood Many babies find the rocking, swinging or bouncing motion very soothing, which can also be a big help with settling.
5. THE WRAP
I shared my love for muslin (and flannelette) wraps in my recent post, Travel With Kids: Flying With a Baby, and not just for swaddling. I am sure that I could easily add another ten ways I have used a muslin wrap to the six listed there! They are just so handy and versatile even if your baby doesn’t like to be swaddled. I particularly love Vanchi’s extra large pure cotton version.
6. THE BAG
For me, a bag that keeps all of the baby paraphernalia together and (relatively) organized is a necessity, but don’t feel limited to bags that are marketed as nappy bags. I have used both a large, regular handbag and a commercially produced nappy bag and both have had their pros and cons. The important things to consider when choosing are;
- The size and weight of the bag: You won’t want a bag that is heavy to begin with as it will feel like it is full of bricks by the time it is packed with all your baby stuff. Also, consider if the bag will fit into the basket of your pram.
- How many sections the bag has: I personally like to keep baby nappy change supplies in a separate area to toys and feeding supplies. You can however get around this by using a combination of zippered wet bag style pouches, and an insulated bottle bag and lunch bag as necessary.
- The length of the shoulder strap: You will need to be able to sling your bag over your shoulder comfortably, often in a hurry and at the same time as you are juggling a fussy, wriggling octopus baby, so choose a bag with a shoulder strap that feels comfortable to you.
7. THE CAPSULE/CAR SEAT
Oh my, how we went back and forth when it came to deciding if we needed a capsule carrier for AJ as a newborn. I was especially worried about the dreaded school run and I even asked Childhood 101 readers to weigh in with their experiences and opinions. Although I could see how helpful it would be, especially now that so many capsules can be mounted to your pram with special adaptors, I wasn’t sure if the $ investment warranted the amount of time I would use it for…after all, we have good sized babies 🙂 In the end we did not use a capsule (I used the baby carrier instead) and it worked out just fine for us but what I would suggest to those who really feel a capsule carrier is necessary is to look into the possibility of hiring one instead of buying one.
Get Ready for Baby With One of These 3 Great Prizes
Fisher-Price are giving three Australian Childhood 101 readers the opportunity to get ready for baby with these three wonderful prizes;
Prize 1 – Snuggabunny Bouncer: Plush, deluxe fabrics, eight songs, nature sounds and calming vibrations provide all the options for comfort your baby needs, and sweet little birds “fly overhead” to engage and delight!
Prize 2 – Rainforest Friends Newborn to Toddler Rocker: The Newborn-to-Toddler Rocker is a portable grow-with-baby rocker and seat. The modern, sturdy frame includes three different recline positions for newborns, infants, and toddlers. It can be used as a rocking seat or, with positioners in the back, it can be converted to a stationary seat. Calming vibrations help soothe baby.
Prize 3 – Rainforest Friends Soother: This deluxe soother provides parents and baby with a wonderful variety of options to help soothe baby to sleep. Three adorable characters, an elephant, lion and giraffe, sit atop the soother, each delivering a soft soothing light effect, while a full colour scene with these characters projects overhead.
Entry is simple. This is a game of skill and entries will be judged based on creativity and originality. To enter, leave a comment on this post in response to this question:
What are/were you most excited about buying for your new baby and why?
Australian entrants only. Entries close 5:00 pm AEDST on Tuesday, 19th November 2013. Full terms & conditions here.
I am a Fisher-Price Play Ambassador. Please see my disclosure policy for full details regarding reviews and giveaways.