What you really need for a baby

So the arrival of your new baby is just around the corner and it’s time to get some gear. You walk into your nearest Baby Bunting and... you come face-to-face with walls upon walls of products.

When I was pregnant with my son (he was due in Winter) the shop assistant insisted I needed this device that warms up baby wipes should Jr think that I’m not wiping at the desired temperature.

She also suggested the ‘latest’ baby swings. Now I’ve nothing against baby swings (our rocker saved many tears when my daughter was a baby) but this particular swing swung in six different directions, came with an I-pad holder, surround-sound, sheepskin bucket seat and probably a back massager.

Don’t feel like holding Jr’s bottle? There’s a product for that too.

You could literally take out a mortgage to pay for all the goods available for bub and there’s no shortage of family, friends and shop-assistants to insist that you need each and every one.

Apart from the obvious clothes, nappies, medical and feeding requirements, here are my top three baby items to prioritise:  

  1. Cot.

The most important thing is to check your cot adheres to the mandatory Australian safety standards (Choice.com.au is great to check these things out) and is fitted with a firm, well-fitting mattress and sheets. Some parents like to use a bassinet in the early days but there’s no problem with skipping this step and going straight to the cot for a safe and cost-effective option.

Insider’s tip: ‘You can pick up a great second-hand cot to save money. If you pick a good brand like Boori then you can be pretty sure it’s good enough to last a few babies.’ Jess, 31

Baby sleeping - maternity blog

  1. Car seat.

By law, all children from newborn until the age of 8-10 need to be in an age/height appropriate child seat when in a vehicle. Newborn children must be restrained in an approved rearward-facing child restraint like and infant capsule or convertible car seat. Click here for a great guide. 

Insider’s tip: ‘Make sure you fit the car seat before you buy it. We have a large car and the car sear still didn’t fit so we had to exchange it for a new one.’ Leah, 31

  1. Pram or stroller.

You can go from the most basic umbrella stroller to a deluxe 4WD version that holds your latte and feeds you grapes. Things to consider are whether you’re likely to need a second seat (for a toddler or new baby) or you’re happy to upgrade if that time comes.

Insider’s tip: ‘We bought FOUR prams in the first year of Cooper’s life and were finally happy with a smaller, cheaper one because it was so easy to fold in half and throw in the car boot.’ Chris, 33

Baby pram - maternity blog

Once you have these three baby items locked down, plus the various clothing, feeding and medical incidentals, you’re ready for baby to arrive. But what are all the other products people keep saying that you need? Here are my top five baby products that are nice to have, but you can live without them if you have to:

  1. Baby bath.

Using a small baby bath will be much easier than using your big bath while bub is little. But really, you can just use a large bucket or even the kitchen sink as long as it’s safe and clean.

baby bath - maternity blog

  1. Baby monitor.

Unless you’re a significant distance away from your baby, you’ll probably hear him when he wants you. However, most parents like to have one of these for peace of mind and many come with video and movement monitors.

  1. Bassinet.

This is basically a smaller version of a cot and while there are some benefits to a bassinet – easily transportable, can wheel or rock bub to sleep -  there’s nothing wrong with putting bub to bed in the cot.

  1. Baby carrier or sling.

While you can live without a carrier or sling, these are incredibly handy to have while travelling with bub or getting things done around the house like cooking dinner or cleaning.

  1. Changing table.

Look you can literally change bub on a towel but it won’t be great for your back and a changing table is more comfortable.

baby change table - maternity and pregnancy blog