First to consider is the large and most expensive purchases – cot/bassinette, pram, car seat, etc. The car seat is the most important, as it is a safety issue. A good option if you are on a budget is to hire a car capsule. We did this for our second son and it was just fantastic. It made it super easy to move the baby in and out of the car without disturbing him, and he was so comfy in it he didn’t even sleep in his cot the first few weeks, I just left him in the capsule to sleep. To reiterate, I really think the child car seat is probably the most important purchase you will make for your baby - buy the best you can afford on your budget, & do not use a second hand one unless you are 100% sure it has never been involved in a car accident.
You need to consider whether you want to use a bassinette or cot when you arrive home from the hospital, or even whether you are going to co-sleep. It is completely a matter of personal choice, but remember a bassinette really only lasts a few months so unless you are given or lent one they are not a great investment. Going straight into a cot means you only need the one size of bedding too until your baby is about 2, or even older if you opt for a toddler bed before a larger size bed.
The pram also is a large purchase. I found a sling a great alternative for a new baby, and didn’t even really use our pram at first. It is a really good idea to thoroughly research pram types and price options early on, so even if you don’t buy one before the baby is born you have a good idea which one will best fit in with your lifestyle.
I also loved our baby bouncer. There are so many brands on the market, we had a Baby Bjorn and it was fantastic. These make it easy to have your baby with you no matter what room you are in around the house, or if you need your hands free to do something for a while. They are very portable too, perfect to pop in the car if you are going out visiting.
Clothing for your baby comes next. I recommend only buying a few all-in-ones or bodysuits, singlets, perhaps booties and a beanie depending on the season. You tend to get given a lot of baby clothes as gifts when your baby is born (especially your first)! Baby grows so fast, when you have too many 000 and 00 clothes they just don’t get used.
Buy (or make!) a baby bag ready for the birth, there are options ranging from well below $50 right up to the $100’s. They all do the job - in fact you can even just use a tote bag that you like. You can also use in conjunction with your baby bag a nice padded change mat, and keep your nappies etc in a nappy wallet – that way it is easy when just popping out for a while or going for a walk you only need the nappy wallet and not the whole nappy bag!
Other products I found essential for a newborn were lots of Bunny Rugs, flannelette wraps and burp cloths. Rattles, tag toys, etc you only really use after about the 3 month mark or so. A newborn baby really has very little needs for the first couple of months apart from feeding, sleeping and lots of contact with Mum (and Dad). Bunny Rugs and Muslin Wraps are fantastic for lots of uses – wrapping for sleep, as a light cover in the pram or cot, to lay under baby, etc. (Have a read about my special handmade Heirloom Bunny Rugs & Wraps in a previous post). I also loved burp cloths as you do spend so much of your life those first few months burping your baby, and if you have a baby prone to lots of little up-chucks as I did you do get a bit sick of having baby spew all over your shoulder and back!
You can also consider a baby comforter / lovie / blankie to start using for your baby. Comforters are recommended by experts to be given to babies. You keep it close to your skin for a while to absorb your scent so when given to your baby it is very comforting to them. You can use either a specialised comforter such as a Cuski Baby Comforter or the Save Our Sleep Comforters, or you can use something like one of your flannelette or muslin wraps.
Bath products are also really a luxury – I recommend only using very pure, gentle, organic products if you do buy any. You can also consider just having a goat’s milk soap for babies, a little goes a long way and a bar will last a very long time. A nice soft washer and towel is also nice to have just for your new baby. For newborn babies, products like shampoo are really not needed at all.
The first few weeks with Bub are super busy, so a baby journal can be a good idea... I recommend the Bubbalog Baby Journal.
Lastly, depending on if you are bottle or breast-feeding, a few bibs will not go astray. Even if you don’t use them at first they get very well used when you start solids with your baby.
It really is easy to get so excited about buying things for your new baby, however there are really very few items that are an absolute necessity and you can even wait until after the baby is born to see if you really do need something or not. It can be a great idea to make a comprehensive list early on, list the things you have to buy, the “maybe” items, and the” luxury” items. Keep an eye out for specials and sales of the products you need to get, and don’t leave the vital things until the last minute just in case the baby arrives early. Also get your Hospital Bag Checklist sorted out early in the third trimester. And last but not least, the early months really do fly by so enjoy every minute with your gorgeous newborn!
Photography by Maureen Haynes