For the uninitiated, the list of products required for the expectant parent can be overwhelming. Advertising, peer pressure and pushy shop assistants can mean that often new parents wind-up with drawers full of never touched appliances and equipment costing many thousands of dollars.
So, what exactly are the basics that you should be writing onto your baby wishlist? The answer to that question will depend on a number of lifestyle factors such as whether you intend to co-sleep. Other decision surrounding feeding options such as breast or bottle will dictate the type of equipment which will need to be purchased.
However, there are a few items which every parent will need to have ready to go as soon as baby leaves the hospital. Let’s have a look at the primary ones.
1 - Travel
Quality strollers and car seats, which are compliant to Australian safety standards, are the two big-ticket items here.
Strollers and prams can be purchased with ‘newborn nests’ or detachable carry cots, meaning they can adapt to suit newborn through preschool aged children. Travel compatible systems not only save money, but they make transitioning in and out of the car a breeze.
Convertible car seats which can adapt from newborn to four-years of age are the optimal choice. Purchase only top of the range brands which meet or exceed Australian safety standards.
2 - Sleep
In the first year, unless you are planning to co-sleep, you will need a bassinet, cot, and mattresses. The bassinet provides a small, secure area for baby to sleep and can be placed beside your bed for convenience.
Once she can sit up, there is a danger of toppling out and it’s time to move onto a cot. This generally occurs around five to six months but may be sooner. Cocoon style bassinets which have a high amount of ventilation will protect baby from mosquitoes and other pests while supplying a steady flow of air.
If looking for a bed which will truly grow with your child, consider the advantages of purchasing a 3-in-1 Convertible Cot which transforms into a toddler bed!
As with prams and car seats, cots and bassinets need to be compliant to current Australian safety standards (AS/NZS 2172:2003). That old hand-me-down from grandma is now only suitable for housing a doll collection, as the paint and design may pose extreme health and safety hazards.
For those considering co-sleeping, it may be a wise move to hold off the purchase of a bassinet until you have made up your mind either way – the same goes for a cot. Many parents have purchased nursery furniture, only to find themselves will a five year old still in their bed and the nursery furniture untouched in the child’s bedroom.
3 - Bathtime
A single, affordable baby bath should suffice through the first year. For newborns, a cheap insert can be purchased for around $25 which will make the experience of bathing easier for both parent and baby.
4 - Furniture
If working within a budget, much of baby’s other furniture such as wardrobes and drawers need not be specialised, and existing furniture can be utilised.
If restricted by limited room, a change mat can be used in place of a change table. Alternatively, purchase drawers which have a change table on top, to save space.
Clothing and accoutrements...
Most mothers will be gifted with a wide array of clothing from other well-meaning parents. This has become particularly common since the baby’s gender is usually known prior to the birth. Other items which should be on the shopping list are:
Whilst the above list is not comprehensive, it does give you a basis to begin your shopping list. Consider your unique lifestyle needs before making any purchase to ensure that every dollar is spent on equipment which will enhance the parenting experience and make life with baby a little easier.