Nearly one year since my last post and I now have a 3 month old bundle of joy in my life! In the spirit of my travel-related posts I wanted to share some of the things we’ve found useful just in case anyone else finds them helpful too. I’m certainly no kind of parenting expert at all, and goodness knows you get bombarded with an overwhelming amount of information and (often conflicting) advice when you’re about to or have just become a parent, but if you do find any of this useful, fantastic! If not, that’s totally fine too.
This post is about… STUFF.
They are expensive. For the most part you can get away with buying larger sizes of normal clothes, but there are certain things – namely pants – that you will want to get a maternity version of for your own comfort.
Side note: maternity jeans are the comfiest jeans ever. You will wish all jeans could be like maternity jeans.*
You can get significantly cheaper maternity clothes at H&M and large Kmart stores, but I’d recommend getting bras from somewhere you can be professionally fitted (eg Myer). If you need some fancy maternity clothes for a special event (eg wedding) try the Pea In A Pod factory outlet in Collingwood. (Still more expensive than normal clothes, but they have a much bigger range than H&M or Kmart.)
*Top tip for post-baby pants: Katies denim! Probably the closest thing you can get to maternity pants that aren’t actually maternity pants.
Basically, don’t buy heaps of newborn (0000) and 0-3 month (000) sized clothes. They’re ridiculously cute and tempting but your bub will most likely grow out of them before each outfit gets even one wear. You will need some though – babies can go through several changes of clothes a day. Oh, and unless you’re due in winter, you’re unlikely to need any socks until they’re at least 3 months old. Target and Kmart have quite decent and very affordable babies clothes. Cotton On have some very cute stuff too.
In a similar vein, don’t stockpile too many newborn size nappies or you could end up with heaps of unusable leftovers.
Car seat/capsule, carrier and pram/stroller will probably be your biggest investments. Having said that, you don’t need to spend a fortune to get good ones. I recommend signing up for an online Choice membership, which you can always cancel after 3 months if you don’t need it any more. They have a detailed section on kids stuff and their tests often reveal that cheap models can be just as good as, if not better than, expensive ones.
- Car seat – They can take up a LOT of room. If you have a small car ask about models that won’t leave the front seat passenger with their knees folded up around their ears. You don’t need excessive padding either. It looks good, but in our experience it just leads to a screaming, overheated bub. If you’re the least bit unsure about how to install it get it professionally fitted. We got a Britax Safe-N-Sound Compaq AHR which suited our Toyota Corolla, but removed all the strap padding because it’s too hot and choke-y in summer.
- Soft structured carrier – Not all babies like being in carriers but we’ve found ours very convenient for our life in the inner city and it gets more use than our stroller. Carriers that allow your bub’s legs to sit in a froggy “M” position are best for hip development. We were tossing up between an Ergo and a Manduca – we went for the Manduca in the end because it was cheaper and didn’t require an additional padded insert for the early months. We’ve also found a borrowed Hugabub wrap invaluable for surviving the witching hour in the early days.
- Pram/stroller – Visit a physical store to do some test driving. Make sure it’s easy to manoeuvre, fold, lift and load into the boot of your car. Then you can buy the model you like online where it’s probably cheaper. We skipped the pram and went straight for a Maclaren Quest Elite stroller: it lies back so it’s suitable from birth, turns on a dime, folds up in seconds and is super light.
Be aware that sometimes models go out of stock across the board and it can take a couple of months until they’re back in, so you might want to get big items sorted a couple of months before your due date. If you’ve only got enough brain power and energy to sort one thing, make the car seat since you need that to get home from the hospital.
Practise using all of these before the baby arrives. Especially the car seat!
I always thought we’d put our bub straight into a cot, but we wanted to have her in our room for at least the first few months and a cot was not going to fit, so we used a moses basket and stand. She was wee when she was born and grew out of it in only 2 months, but for us it was better than a traditional bassinet because it was easy to transport up and down our stairs and we could even pop it in the car to take on visits to family and friends’ houses. We got our cot and change table from Ikea.
Practise your swaddling skills before your little one arrives. If you want to make things easier on yourself try to snag some second hand Love to Dream Swaddle Ups on eBay. They’re usually in good condition because they aren’t used for very long and they’re just too expensive new ($40!). They’re brilliant and as a fun added bonus they make your bub look like a starfish. Or a caterpillar. :)