I see many new mums and dads at baby expos, walking around with neon signs on their foreheads. These signs read “We’re bewildered and gullible, take our cash.” So, I feel a duty to my sisterhood to share my take on what you really need to buy before you have your baby.
Item 1: “Status Anxiety”, a Penguin-published book by Alain de Botton
Status Anxiety tells you to stop reading the Sunday papers – too many beautiful people with impossibly wonderful lives and homes – and realise that no matter how much you have, others will always have more.
In other words, live within your means.
Vital as a backstory to your future as a parent. You may be working, and used to the income that comes with this. Don’t assume that your income will continue at this level. Almost every mother I know has a reduced income post baby. Keep this is mind…
Item 2: Get a subscription to Choice magazine or simply go online
When your friend says, “I bought brand A because it’s the most popular with celebrities”, you can respond, “I bought brand B because it was tested the best by Choice experts.”
And when PR juggernauts host celebrity ‘baby showers’ with free products, these celebrities don’t spend their hard earned money on baby goods.
Item 3: A car with a good boot
Consider council pickups, eBay goods, and Gumtree; no doubt you’ll be lugging around stuff for your baby that you cleverly found on the side of the road. Plastic shell-shaped sandpits are usually a great find.
Item 4: Good wine glasses, tea cups, nice cake tins, tins of olives and gourmet bikkies
You’ll entertain at home more. I don’t remember what my friend’s pram looks like, but I do remember her gorgeous tea cups.
Item 5: A big bottle of vinegar, box of bicarb soda
Your cleaning friends… more research is pointing to chemical cleaning products in the home leading to ADHD, asthma etc. (Consider a lead paint testing kit if renovating).
Item 6: A pram so you can still walk (probably secondhand, big wheels, great suspension) and a light, well made stroller for the car. I had an Emmaljunga (used) and Maclaren (new). Not a bad word to say about either, and did loads of kms without owning a “jogger.”
Don’t go for ones with a coffee holder – you’ll spend a fortune on coffee. And if you do have a coffee, sit in a cafe and savour it. Pram sunshade.
Item 7: A car seat, cot, change mattress, and car sunshades.
Ensure you car seats all pass the Australian standard. Put the change mattress on the bed, cot or changetable if you have it.
Item 8: Nappies and wipes
Bulk buy nappies from day one; you’ll save a fortune.
Google ‘bulk nappies’ or ‘bulk wipes’. Cloth nappy systems are brilliant if you can stick it (soak overnight in vinegar/bi-carb soda and water). You’ll look back so smugly if you did cloth. I did some, but wish I’d done more. Definitely buy cloth swim nappies.
Item 9: Nappy rash cream
Item 10: Electric breast pump and bottles with good teats
This gives you an occasional night out, and it’s also a great baby shower gift.
Item 11: Breastfeeding pillow, cotton and muslin cloths to protect clothes and wipe up milk.
Item 12: Simple, soft, cheap jumpsuits and tops and pants. Wash before use. Don’t get all fancy.
Item 13: Baby carrier for round the house as well as outings. Look, hands free!
Item 14: A thermometer, first aid book and kit, and infant paracetemol.
Item 15: An in-house cot, a portable cot, and bedding.
Item 16: A bucket or baby bath.
Item 17: Baby bouncer or rocker (a must have – even a cheap $40 one is brilliant). Pop-up mobile and playmat.
And that’s it! Down the track you’ll also need a high chair, food storage cubes, bibs, cups and safety locks/gates, school books, money for movies and Converse sneakers, entry tickets to gigs, presents for birthdays, iTunes downloads, hair straighteners, fluoro pens, soccer boots, horse brushes, guitar lessons… You get the picture…
By Christine Kininmonth