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

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  • Don’t get crazy amount of clothes… they’ll grow out it right before your eyes.


  • Some playmats are now made in such a way that they have a drawstring threaded through the which you can leave small toys on and just pull the drawstring in tight. You can carry it out and put ii in your car boot in one piece. You don’t have to pick up every little piece separately. If you can place your first baby in the middle of the back seat. If you have an accident and are hit on either side your baby is less likely to be injured. I don’t know at what height airbags are either.


  • To start with, you need to make sure you have the basics like nappies and clothes. Car safety if you have a car. Somewhere to sleep. A pram. Then you add as you find you need


  • If you are having a baby shower you probably find that you are given all small clothes. legless onesies no sleeves, short or long sleeves are better than singlets as they tend to roll up under your baby’s back and must be uncomfortable. Onesies don’t do that. When I buy for relatives and friends I tend to buy bigger sizes as baby will grow into them. If need be in an emergency you can put one size bigger on your baby….but you wouldn’t use one that is too small……You don’t necessarily need a folding cot straight away. If you go out your baby can sleep in the stroller if it has a back that you can lay back.My parents never had a portable cot and they managed OK. If you are given a thick “mat” that can also as a toy mat or play mat, I have seen many Mums put their baby on one of them and the baby be asleep within 5 minutes. If you baby is going to spend a lot time at Grandma’s or other places, once baby starts to try to sit up, then you will need a portable cot. You may need the portable cot before you need a highchair.


  • With all the gadgets on the market for babies nowadays, the list of what you can buy is endless. But what you need is a bit shorter of a list. You just need to sit down and really think about ‘want’ and ‘need’


  • Thanks for sharing this interesting article; it is an exciting time and easy to buy things for your bub.


  • You’ll probably need bibs before you need a highchair. They will catch a small amount of vomit and save you a lot of washing. It is much easier to wash a bib and get it dry than clothes; also dribble is absorbed to a certain extent which is better than their tops being wet through to their skin before you realise it. If you baby has to be introduced to solids early, so don’t take long to try to blow bubbles while eating it.


  • As first time parents I think we all get a bit excited and go a little bit nuts.


  • Hahaha very practical :)


  • Looking back at some of our baby stuff, if I had to do it over again I wouldn’t buy half the useless items…who really needs a ‘nappy stacker’ when you have a perfectly good cupboard or draw to store nappies – just one of the silly things I bought.


  • And heaps of cheap t shirts because you will be constantly covered in god knows what for at least five years


  • So many gadgets out there and you don’t need half of them!


  • I would also put maternity clothes that go from start to finish and a couple of months after. You will not instantly be pre baby size again, and this saves you having to buy a whole new wardrobe post baby


  • Item 4 – if your friends are expecting gourmet treats, they obviously have not got kids! Half eaten rusks and damp cruskits are the norm!


  • Dont hesitate to buy second hand too, babys use things gently, I had fun with gumtree, saved heaps! (and spent it on silly things like fake fur coats for baby!)


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