If you are like me and you have never met a list you didn’t love you are probably crafting a list of things you will need once the baby comes…and are eager to start crossing things off.
It is true that babies require a lot of stuff. But I would keep your list to the bare minimum. Wait and meet your baby and then see what you need. Your baby might come early and then all those 000 long sleeved onesies won’t be any good because by the time the baby is in 000 it is summer! Or you might have a giant baby who only spends a week in 0000 before growing up and out and becoming a size 1 by four months…ahem Baby C!
If you are interested in saving money then before you buy anything spread the word that you are preggers and see what comes your way. You would be amazed at how many friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends are willing to give you second hand baby paraphernalia. We got bags and bags and bags of clothes. We got a baby tub, a port-o-cot, a Bumbo, a nursing chair. And we even picked up an infant capsule. With babies, if you build one, things will come.
Also before you head off to the baby box store check out ebay.com.au, gumtree.com.au and there is this fantastic second hand baby market called, you guessed it, Baby and Kids Market (babykidsmarket.com.au) where parents can sell their used baby gear. The Baby and Kids Market is especially great as you can actually see the merchandise and speak to the people who used it. The Market can be hit or miss but when you hit it you hit it big. We got a Boori Sleigh Cot with a mattress and two sets of sheets all of which looked as if they had never been used for $350.00. For those of you who have done your homework, that same ensemble would have set us back about $1100.00 if we had bought it new. And if all else fails, there is always Ikea.
But before you can shop you need to know what you are looking for. So here is my take on what you need. To the list!
1. Car Seat
As you cannot even leave the hospital without one, this is obviously a must. However, car seats are complicated.
You can get an infant capsule which should take care of the first six months…or if your baby is a giant like Baby C it will only last you four months. The bonus with these capsules is that they can be removed from the car. And some can then even be clicked into prams. So if your baby has fallen asleep in the car you just take the seat out with them still in it and bring them into the house or put them in their pram without waking them up. The down side is, like I mentioned before, these capsules will only last a few months. And with a price tag of up to $500.00, they can be an expensive option. But there is no need to actually buy one…rental services to the rescue!
I think the most popular option is hiring a baby capsule from the Queensland Ambulance Service (http://www.ambulance.qld.gov.au/babycapsule/default.asp)
These are basic and should truth be told kind of ugly…one of my friends, Mommy B, dubbed hers the fruit basket…but they get the job done.
There are other hire companies (http://www.hireforbaby.com) that rent a variety capsules including the types that click into prams…I believe the retail word for these is “travel systems.” We ended up with the Peg Perego Viaggio and mostly loved it. It suited our purposes perfectly as we wanted it to go primarily from car to stroller. It did that beautifully. It is much bulkier and heavier…especially when you add a 9 kilogram baby…than the fruit basket so if you plan to take the capsule from the car to the house and your driveway is not near the front door then this is perhaps not the capsule for you. As you will see so much of baby paraphernalia buying depends on how you are going to use the products. So really think about your life before you buy…and think honestly.
Anyway, the second option for an infant car seat is a convertible seat. These cannot be removed from the car. But as the name implies they convert from an infant seat to a rear facing seat to a front facing seat and so should last from birth to about four years. You will need to get one of these seats anyway once your baby outgrows their infant capsule so you might want to just start with one from the beginning. Again, it is hard because since you have never had a baby you don’t know what to expect but try to think about your life. Are you constantly in and out of the car? Then maybe the capsule is the way to go. Do you live in the city and only use the car occasionally on weekends? Then maybe just get a convertible seat.
Whatever you decide to do, it is important to get the car seat installed properly. The best bet…and by best I mean it is free…is the Queensland Ambulance Service (http://www.qld.gov.au//about/health-and-communities/car-baby-seats.html). You simply make an appointment, bring your seat and they will install it for you! Magic! I would call early because they do book up…and babies come early and if you get a capsule it is helpful to practice taking it out and putting it back in a few times before there is a real live screaming baby in it and then once it is in you can cross it off your list!
I have just realized this list is going to take me forever. So unless Baby C decides to sleep all day I should probably break this up into separate posts. So the rest of what you need will come later! Stay tuned for the second installment…prams!