With less than 2.5 months to go until the arrival of B2, I’ve been reminded once more of the excessive consumption that many new parents are encouraged to pursue. It’s ironic, many parents will spend months selecting the perfect cot and pram, yet few spend the same amount of time preparing to satisfy baby’s real needs (breast milk, love and comfort).
Although it may be ‘fun’ to kit out the nursery, it can become horrendously expensive and lead to large amounts of waste. With this in mind, it’s worth taking a moment to remember exactly what babies actually need. Turns out it’s a lot simpler than we are led to believe!
• Breast milk (Only 2-3% of Australian women are physically unable to breastfeed. If you are not in this tiny minority, the health and developmental benefits for your baby are well worth persevering with breastfeeding)
• Love and comfort
• A safe spot to sleep
• Clean nappies
To help you avoid the confusion and excessive consumption advised in most baby lists, I have compiled the below short guide to essential baby items. I hope that you find it useful!
Please note – these are the things that have been of most use to me. Everyone will be slightly different.
• Car Seat (Australia law states that children 0-6months must be in a rear facing car seat and children from 6month-4years needing to be properly secured in a front facing seat). This is an item that I refused to scrimp on or buy second hand. You may think differently to me on this or have access to one that you know has not been in an accident.
• Baby sling / carrier (I found a sling to be non-negotiable. It enables Mum to do the household chores, go for a walk or even do the shopping with hands free and a very happy and cosy baby. If you get really clever, you can even breastfeed on the go!)
• Nappies (We have opted for modern cloth nappies for environmental reasons. Do your research and find out what works for you)
• Nappy wipes (Get organised before baby is born and make your own. Cheaper, better for the environment and you never need to worry about running out. Check out my ‘how to’ here.)
• 6-8 Singlets (Opt for organic cotton / bamboo)
• 6-8 Onesies / grow suits (Again – opt for organic cotton or bamboo. Depending on the size of your baby, you may need anything from 00000-000 at the very start. I’ll be taking a few options to the hospital)
• A safe spot for baby to sleep (This could be your bed, a basket, recycled crib or even a wooden drawer lined with soft blankets)
• Breast Pads (I used disposables with my first baby and would prefer to find some reusable ones. Can anyone provide recommendations?)
• Breastfeeding / Nursing tops (Breastfeeding your baby is a wonderful thing and is worth celebrating. I’d personally recommend having a couple of versatile tops / dresses that are suitable for nursing and that you feel fabulous in. After giving birth, spending days on end covered in baby vomit and poo and possibly dealing with leaking boobs, it’s nice to have a few outfits that you don’t feel dowdy in. Bear in mind that the WHO recommends breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond, so it is likely that these tops will get a lot of wear!)
‘Useful, but certainly not essential’
• Baby monitor with motion sensor (Generations of babies have survived just fine without them, BUT if your child is a tummy sleeper like our daughter, the monitor will give you additional peace of mind.
• Muslin wraps / baby blankets (this will depend on your baby’s sleeping arrangements and if they like to be swaddled.)
• Pram (Useful if you need to put baby down to sleep while out and about, but baby will benefit more from being close to Mum or Dad in a sling / carrier)
‘Don’t Even Bother’
• Dummies (Contrary to popular belief, dummies / pacifiers are not an essential item for most babies. Given the number of dummies that are thrown into landfill or end up as litter each year, it’s well and truly worthwhile seeing if your baby is happy without one.)
• Bottles (Unless you are among the very small minority of women who physically cannot breastfeed, or you have to return to work – your baby will not need a bottle in the early stages)
• Special towels / bath products
• Loads of toys
• Baby bath
• Cute outfits
• Baby food
• Formula / Artificial Baby Milk
• Breast pump
What did you find essential in the early days?