Hey there Mumma and Mumma to be! Hope you're sitting down with your feet up with a cuppa whilst reading this :)
It can be so OVERWHELMING, especially as a first time Mumma knowing what you do and don't need for your bubba when they arrive. To be perfectly honest, there is so much (ahem) rubbish out there and so much stuff shoved in your face it's hard to discern the difference between necessary and not necessary baby items.
Because lets face it, we aren't all millionaire's, and even though we would like to be able to buy whatever we want, its not really very feasible, and it also doesn't align with my ~less is more~ vibe.
So, as a first time mum myself with a now almost 6 month old, here is everything that I have used/found useful. I've divided them up into categories so its easier to read :)
- Bassinet - I have always dreamed about owning a bassinet like this, so I saved up hard and allowed myself one 'splurge' item. I would recommend considering the dimensions of the basket before you make your purchase as some bassinets are small and your baby will outgrow it quickly. If you're like me, and want your baby to sleep next to you for as long as possible, then I would recommend getting a larger size, like this one which I have for Alfie.
- Sheets - it's up to you where you purchase these from, here are some of my favorite small business' to support elmzy.co, Lief&Little, Snuggle Hunny, otherwise Kmart and Target have some beautiful sheets that I have for Alfie as well. Make sure you also get some mattress protectors as well - there is a lot of vomit, wee etc that happens on those sheets :) Don't forget: you will need both BASSINET and COT sheets. I would recommend at least x5 bassinet and x5 cot. So that you can cycle them through the wash
- Chest of Drawers or Wardrobe - if your nursery doesn't have an inbuilt wardrobe, my husband and I upcycled one I found on marketplace and it turned out beautiful.
- Cot - once you decide your baby is big enough to transition to a cot you will need to purchase one. We actually purchased ours when I was pregnant and it took about 3 months to arrive in the post, so keep this in mind when ordering. This is the cot we bought. It has an adjustable base, with a setting for a newborn and then when Alfie stands up we will move it to the bottom. It also can be turned into a toddler bed by taking the side off and putting in a small side rail. (3 for the price of one is pretty good!)
- Rocking Chair - Ok this is personal opinion as to if this is necessary or not, and you can choose how much you spend, but we have one for Alfie and I LOVE it. This is ours.
- Blankets - It doesn't matter if your baby is born in winter or summer, you will still need blankets and swaddles. I would recommend gauze/muslin swaddles for summer and nylon/cotton swaddles for winter. My favourite swaddles I have for Alfie are actually stretchy swaddles from target. You will also need 2-3 blankets (knit, thick) to use as a 'quilt' and to help layer in the cooler weather. I don't recommend using the soft fluffy 'mink' material as it traps all of the heat in and doesn't allow any breathing room for your baby, meaning they can overheat.
- Books - For the first couple of weeks your baby can ONLY see in black and white. To help with their development, showing them black and white books is a great start! And books are also a really nice wind down tool to use before bed. These would be great to add to your baby shower gift registry ... they are a nice gift for people to buy your bubba!
- Baby Monitor - This was a MUST for me, especially knowing Alfie had a heart condition I wanted to make sure I would be able to see him at all times. We just purchased a mid range one from Target, but there are plenty of options around depending on how much money you would like to spend.
- Comforter - A comforter isn't recommended until 4 months of age according to Sids and Kids. But they are a great settling tool for putting your baby to sleep. I kind of have to recommend our own Cuddle Bunnies here :)
- Dummies - Personally I love using a dummy for Alfie, it has helped to both comfort and settle him to sleep. There are some people that won't use dummies for the first couple of weeks of their babies life as it can interrupt the establishment of breastfeeding. Please note that there is a chance it can do this, but it is totally YOUR decision. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Here's a link to our FRIGG dummies :)
- Nappy Bag - Oh I had soooo much fun looking for one of these! Here is the one that I chose. I love it, it looks so pretty, is a perfect size, can be used as a backpack, over shoulder and hang on the back of the pram. It also comes with a bottle warmer, and nappy change mat.
- Nappies and Wipes - a very essential item! We just purchased ours during our weekly food shops. As a newborn and even now, Alfie goes through about 5-7 nappies in a 24 hour period. Sometimes more. For wipes I have gone with just 'water wipes' so there are no nasties on his fresh little bott.
- Change Mat/Table - We decided to save money and not buy a whole change table, instead I just purchased a change mat from target and put it on top of our chest of drawers we upcycled. I then assigned a drawer directly underneath for the nappies and wipes.
Side note: People will probably buy you heaps of teddies, bears and toys, to be perfectly honest, they are NOT NECESSARY. You don't need a whole drawer full of them. But if you end up getting lots, you could either re-gift them, or rotate them around every couple of weeks so your baby gets 'new toys'.
It's very hard to know before you give birth if you will end up Breast feeding or Bottle feeding. I'll tell you right now, that in the end, it truly doesn't matter which you decide to do. As long as your little one is fed, healthy and growing. That is the main thing. This can sometimes be hard to get your head around and accept, especially if your heart was set on BF like mine was and then you have no choice but to bottle feed, it's ok if it takes time to come to grips with this!
- Maternity Bra's - I would recommend investing in 3-4 good quality bra's as hopefully you will be wearing them for about 12 ish months. I bought mine (when I was expressing) from BONDS and they are FAB, so soft, comfy and easy to wash/use.
- Nipple Balm - you can purchase this from most chemists and there are many different brands. I personally like the lanolin based creams as we use them on the Post natal ward in hospital.
- Breast Pads - These are IMPORTANT! Please don't forget these ... otherwise you will have milk stains over all of your clothes (hehe)! I bought reusable ones, which actually worked THE BEST for me from elmzy.co I did have some disposable ones given to me and they just didn't absorb as well and quite often leaked through.
Now, some people will say you need nipple shields and cold packs for your breasts. I would not recommend using a nipple shield unless directed by your midwife or Lactation Consultant. So you can hold off on purchasing one of these until then. It's also really important if you do need one that you get the RIGHT SIZE for your nipple.
Cold packs are useful, especially around the time your milk comes in and they feel, hot, big, solid and sore. However you can make your own at home by freezing nappies or cold face washers.
Some of you may choose to express and bottle, or express and breastfeed and store your EBM and this is totally ok, go you mumma!
- Breast pump - If you can borrow one from a friend... this is the best way to go as you know it works well and you save $$. I borrowed a Phillips one from my sister in law that was a small portable one side at a time pump. It worked great for when we travelled to Melbourne for Alfie's heart surgery.
- Bottles - you will need bottles to store the milk in even if you are still breastfeeding
- Steriliser - you will need to clean your pump and bottles, you can do this with very hot soapy water or purchase a steriliser, I just bought a micorwave one from Kmart that worked perfectly. If you already own a Thermomix you can sterilise it through the rice cooker part.
- Breast pump - if you are planning to pump and bottle (see above)
- Bottles - make sure they are the same brand as your pump so you can attach them. We used Phillips bottles to begin with and bought the smallest slowest flowing teats as Alfie was sooo tiny (2.5kg). But we have had to change to special hospital ones now as he was aspirating during his feeds and not gaining weight. So just a reminder to make sure your baby takes the bottle well, and doesn't choke during feeds. I would recommend having at least 4 bottles so that you can make bulk feeds and save a little bit of time. It's also good if you are out and will need several feeds.
- Steriliser - see above
- Formula - this is a very personal thing. If you are unsure which one to choose you can chat with your GP or Pharmacist, they are great resources. In hospital we use the Aptamil and Nan brands. Alfie is required to have a script only high calorie formula so his story is a little different.
- Extra bottles - for storing cooled boiled water in. When you make up formula you cannot just use water out of the tap for babies up to 12 months in age. They can only have cooled boiled water. So I usually boil the kettle fill up two bottles right to the top and store it in the fridge for when I make up the next lot of feeds.
When your baby gets to the age that they can start having solids (recommended 4-6 months) you will need a high chair of some description, plus a couple of bowls, forks, spoons and bibs. You don't have to get this before your baby is born, but just a gentle reminder that you will need them eventually!
- Car Seat - this is a VERY IMPORTANT decision as you want your babe to be safe! I would recommend going to your local baby store and chatting with the experts about the car seat that they recommend for you that is within your price range. If your parents or in-laws are offering to buy you a gift and are feeling generous this is a GREAT ONE to suggest :) Here is the carseat we have for Alfie, its for 0-4years old and is rear and forward facing.
- Mirror - We bought a mirror to go on the front of the head rest so that I can safely see Alfie at all times through my rear vision mirror when we are driving. This isn't a 'necessity' but I use it EVERY time I drive! And it's much SAFER than turning around every 5 minutes to make sure your baby is breathing :)
- Pram - This is also a personal choice as to what you choose, as there are SO MANY to choose from. But here are a couple of tips for what to remember. You still want to be able to afford to eat after you buy one (ie. you don't have to buy the most expensive pram in the store, some are like 2-3 grand!!). Its handy if you get one that can be both a bassinet and stroller. It needs to be able to fit in your car. The handle has to be at a comfortable height for you to push. You want to make sure it has a good storage/basket space underneath, super handy! It has to be easy to put up and down, which most of them are these days. You also want to get one that has good reviews so that you know it will last you a long time. Here is the one we have for Alfie which I LOVE
- Baby Carrier - I use this almost EVERY DAY. Not just when we are out, but also at home when Alfie is grumpy and just wants to be held but I need to do things. Here is the Solly Baby one that I have, I have two diff colours. Alfie still fits in this now, and even my husband Dan uses it (#winning). When he gets a bit bigger I think we will invest in a forward facing one.
- Play Mat - Alfie lies on this EVERY SINGLE DAY, I could not go without it! Somebody bought this for me as part of my Baby Shower gift registry and I am ever thankful. The one I have is from Elmzy.co. It's just a round playmat that is washable and very easy to take with me on the go. it's also neutral and stylish so doesn't clash with our decor.
- Play gym - I also use this EVERY SINGLE DAY! I have three toys that I hang from it, that as Alfie grows and develops he interacts with more and more. It's just a cheap one from KMART, and it works a treat. It's also wooden so goes with the style of our house.
- Bouncer - When Alfie was a bit older (like three months) I bought a Veebee bouncer from marketplace for about $20. We use this most days to change up his position. I also use it in the bathroom when I'm showering so he can sit outside but I can still see him.
- Toys - Ok this is a tough one... your baby does not need heaps of toys in the first 6 months. Honestly even if you just have one round teething ring, something they can shake and a teddy that makes noise you'll be fine. That's all I have for Alfie and he is developing well. The outdoors is amazing for stimulation, and also good for Mummas to breath some fresh air!
- Baby bath - You could just use your laundry sink, but Target sells baby baths for about $20 and it's pretty cute seeing your bubba in one! It actually saves so much water using one of these, rather than filling up your whole bath! Please remember its NEVER SAFE to leave your baby or toddler unattended in the bath, many children have drowned because of this.
- Bath Towels - Just a couple of soft bath towels will be suitable, if you don't have any, don't stress, normal adult towels will work just fine! This goes the same for washers. Mum to Mum tip: You don't HAVE to bath your baby every day if you don't want to, every second or third day is fine when they are little.
- Baby soap - This is another one of those personal opinion things, but I like to use soaps that don't have any nasties in them when I can, so I use Moogoo.
- Baby Nail Care - Ok this one terrified me! I was so worried I would cut Alfie's finger (ahem which I did once). I ended up using the scissors rather than the clippers and it has worked soooooo much better for me. Unfortunately this is kinda a practice makes perfect one.
- Baby Hair Brush - If your baby is like mine, he or she might be born with lots of hair!! Here is our favourite brush (yep from our store) that we use for Alfie.
- Nappy Rash Cream - I would have this stored away just in case. We use the Al.ive brand and it is beautiful, natural and it WORKS!
- Portable white noise machine - Unfortunately I wasn't smart enough to think about this prior to birth and so I used my phone a lot for Alfie before this one arrived. But this is my favourite item out of this whole blog by FAR! It has many different calming sounds, it turns on for half an hour then automatically turns off until it hears your baby crying and then turns back on again. And its battery life lasts for literally weeks. I take it literally everywhere with me!
- Night light - If you really wanted to you could purchase a night light for feeding, but to be honest, I just use my phone torch and it works perfectly well. You need enough light to be able to see what you are doing, but try and keep it as dark as possible so that you don't disturb your babe during night feeds.
- Burp Cloths - an essential that I use every day (ahem well actually I just use tea towels, because I have heaps of them and they catch large vomits!)
Ohhhh this was my FAVOURITE thing to shop for!! Clothing is a very personal thing, and it really depends on how much money (and self control) you have as to how much you purchase, but below is what you NEED, you can always get more if you feel inclined (like I did at times :))
Remember that your baby will go through sizes, most of the time, except for Alfie it seems, really quickly! So don't buy heaps and heaps of one size, because you'll probably end up not using them all. If it's easier, just start off with 3-5 zero's and then just buy as your baby grows and you know what size they are for each season, this way you save money and don't waste beautiful clothing.
HOT TIP: remember that babies CANNOT regulate their own body temperature so its recommended you always dress them in one layer more than what you are wearing. Just always think 'weather appropriate' and you'll be fine!
- 00000 - if you know you are having a small baby like I did I would recommend treating 00000 like 0000.
- 5-8 zip up long sleeve/short sleeve depending on the month born onsies (studs are a pain, unless you have a sick bubba in hospital, you can see my previous blog post for more details) this should be enough to rotate/wash every couple of days
- 2-3 pairs of leggings
- 1-2 'nice outfits' for special occasions, church etc. I love our Rompers for this!
- Socks - to be honest they are a pain because they always fall off, but necessary as bubbas feet get cold quick! It's much easier if you just use footed rompers!
- 1-2 Jumpers/Jackets - especially for the colder months
- Shoes are NOT NECESSARY for 0-6 months - they can't walk!
- You can get tops/shorts but I find onsies are easier for this age.
- Dress - if you have a little girl you might wish to buy her a cute dress for Church or special occasions.
- PJ's - I just use onesies for this - but if you want a good brand, buy BONDS, they are GREAT!! Just be mindful their sizes are always bigger than expected.
- Sleep sack - THIS IS A MUST!! Honestly I use it every day and its soooooooo easy even my husband can do it! Its recommended that you swaddle or (hands down) your baby to sleep until they can either roll or turn 6 months old. Sometimes it can be hard to swaddle, especially if they are sneaky at getting their hands out, and then they wake themselves up! A sleep sack fixes all those problems, and it means anyone can do it, without having to know how to swaddle. We use ERGO POUCH, but there are other brands such as LOVE TO DREAM that are really good as well!