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Preparing for a baby is so exciting, but it can also be mind-boggling when faced with so many options. Offspring to the rescue! Here’s the only guide you’ll need to be ready for your new arrival…

Before baby arrives:

  • Maternity clothes are a must have. It won’t be long before undoing that top button just won’t cut it!
  • Invest in good quality maternity bras — mastitis (blocked milk ducts) can be caused by ill-fitting ones.
  • Take care of yourself using skincare products specially designed for mums and bubs.
  • Book a maternity and newborn photo shoot. This is a great way to commemorate this special time in your life.
  • Consider taking a plaster cast of your pregnant belly! It can be decorated and hung on the wall of the nursery.

Start thinking about the birth:

How you choose to give birth is a personal decision. If this is your first baby, it’s natural to feel apprehensive. If you’ve had a baby before, you may feel upset and anxious if your previous birth didn’t go to plan, or you may even be looking forward to the birth! Many women say birth is a natural and enjoyable experience.

However you are feeling, it’s normal. Take some time to research your options:

  • Will you give birth in hospital or at home? Home birth is legal in Australia with a registered midwife or obstetrician.

 

  • What pain relief options have you considered? No doubt you’ll have heard about an epidural which is a spinal injection to make your lower half numb, but there are other options like gas and air (laughing gas), pethidine injection (related to morphine) or using a TENS machine (to stimulate nerves in the lower back).

 

  • Who would you like to be present? Most women choose to have their partner present, but some also choose to have another support person such as their mum, sister or close friend.

 

  • How about a water birth? Many claim water birthing is relaxing and eases pain.

 

  • Have you thought about hiring a doula? A doula is a (non-medical) trained professional who offers support throughout labour and birth.

 

If you plan to go to hospital, get your bag ready early.

“Everyone has a different experience of birth.

Try not to get stressed if things don’t go to plan”

What to pack for hospital:

  • Paperwork – maternity notes, medicare card and birth plan.
  • Old nightie or T-shirt – and maybe a dressing gown.
  • Socks – feet get cold during labour.
  • Lip balm – particularly if you plan to use gas and air.
  • Your toiletries, toothbrush and glasses/contact lenses.
  • Hair ties.
  • Snacks and drinks to keep your energy levels up.
  • Something to distract you and help pass the time  – maybe an iPad loaded with your favourite shows.
  • Maternity and breast pads.
  • Old underwear.
  • Newborn nappies – disposable are best for hospital.
  • Baby onesies.

 

Travelling with baby:

 You will want to show your baby off to the world at the first opportunity, but it is sensible to limit visitors and outings for a little while. You will be exhausted after the birth, and those first few days getting to know each other are precious – enjoy your little baby bubble!

  • Car restraint

Newborns must be in a rear-facing seat which conforms to Australian standards. Consider having it professionally fitted and buy new for safety. You might like to hire a baby capsule since newborns grow so fast although some seats can accommodate newborns to four year olds. There are also capsules that lift out of the car and click straight onto your pram which can be very helpful when baby is asleep!

  • Pram

Take your time choosing the right pram. Test drive them! Practice putting the pram up and down and don’t forget to check it will fit in your car boot. If you plan on having more children, consider a pram that can take a second seat.

  • Baby carrier

Babies love to be held and a baby carrier means they can be close whilst you still have your hands free.

  • Nappy Bag

There are so many stylish options available. It’s a good idea to choose a purpose made nappy bag as they often come with a portable change mat, bottle insulator and a zip-close pouch for storing your valuables.

Setting up the nursery:

  • Bassinet and Cot

Many babies spend the first few months in a bassinet close to mum. This makes those night feeds a lot easier! Another option is co-sleeping and there are cots that attach to the side of your bed if this suits your family. Make sure you buy a new mattress if you opt for a second hand cot.

 

  • Changing space

Set up an area with a mat, fresh nappies and wipes, plus a nappy disposal bin for convenience.

  • Nappies

There are lots of great re-useable nappies out there. They save money in the long run and are better for our planet – Win! Win!

  • Feeding chair and pillow

A reclining glider chair can be your saviour if you are struggling through night feeds or to settle a distressed baby. A nursing pillow will save your neck and back too.

  • A baby monitor

Put your mind at ease and invest in a monitor. Some have video option so you can see as well as hear your sleeping bub. There is also a heart rate monitor option which can help decrease the risk of SIDS.

Helping older siblings adjust:

It can be challenging for existing children to accept a new arrival. Choose how to break the news carefully. They may not be as delighted as you are. Depending on the age of the child, sharing a book about a new baby is a nice way to introduce the idea.

Let children be involved in preparing for the baby. Maybe they could help paint the nursery, help wash their old baby clothes ready to give their new brother or sister, or even be involved with choosing a name!

Once baby makes an appearance, consider getting a gift from the new baby to their sibling as a way to encourage a bond. Also, try to ask visitors to acknowledge the new big brother or sister before they fuss over the baby.

Baby clothes:

Lots of people gift baby clothes so it’s up to you how many outfits you buy, but looking at baby clothes for the first time is particularly exciting. Enjoy!

  • Onesies

Size 0000 and 000 fit newborns. Buy more than you think you will need and get a variety of styles such as long sleeved and short sleeved. Some also have scratch mitts incorporated.

  • Cute outfits

It’s nice to have one or two little outfits – but be aware babies grow quickly

Feeding time:

Breastfeeding gives your baby the best nutrition, boosts the immune system and is sterile and convenient. However, if breastfeeding is not possible for you, don’t beat yourself up! There are lots of different formula options available so accept the situation and enjoy time with your beautiful bub.

  • Formula and bottles

Buy a couple of different formulas, bottles and teats – your baby may not like the first one you try. It’s sensible to have some on hand even if you plan to breastfeed. Babies are unpredictable and you will be more relaxed (and probably more successful) knowing you always have a back-up available.

  • Steriliser

This is the best way to keep your bottles germ-free.

“Feeding time is a great time to bond with your baby

– whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed”

  • Breastfeeding cover

If you plan to breastfeed, you might like to buy a cover (a bit like an apron) for when you’re out and about. That way you can breastfeed anywhere without compromising your modesty.

  • Breast pump

It’s a good idea to have a breast pump too – electric ones are the easiest. This way you can pump and have spare milk to use if you get sick and need to go on medication, or if you need to be away from your baby for a while.

Bath time:

  • Baby bath

Buying a small tub to put inside your bath or shower saves water and makes bath time quick and easy, but you can also use your sink!

 

  • Toiletries

Invest in good quality nappy rash cream, shampoo and body wash specifically designed for babies. There are a lot of harsh chemicals in some products.

Other essentials:

  • Muslin cloths

There are many beautiful designs out there for this multi-use item. These can be used to swaddle baby, drape over a pram for shade or even to mop up baby vomit – it’ll happen!

  • Baby thermometer

There’s nothing worse than being up in the middle of the night trying to decide if your baby has a fever.

Top Tips

You can often borrow baby items from friends or family – don’t be afraid to ask around.

Search for second hand items online – you can save a lot on your big ticket items that way!

Your baby will grow faster than you think, consider preserving those tiny fingers and toes by creating a plaster model from a kit. When they grow up, they won’t believe how little they used to be!

How much does one little baby actually need? Your baby shopping list might seem overwhelming, but you don’t need all the bells and whistles. Offspring has created a guide to help you work out the must-haves from the nice-to-haves.

Before you hit the shops it is important to do some research. Look for product reviews online and talk to other mums about what they found most useful. Going to the shops unprepared can be overwhelming (just how many additional features can a pram have?) and it can be very easy to overspend when you are surrounded cute baby clothes.

Out and about

The first trips outside of the home with a newborn can seem scary, but you don’t need to pack like you are going away on a holiday.

The must-haves

Car restraint

You must have a rear-ward facing car-restraint that meets Australian Standards sorted before you bring your baby home from hospital. Many car seats will be suitable for your child from birth up to four years old, so as well as being an important piece of safety equipment, it is something you will be using every day for years.

Your decision will be determined by:
The space you have available (if you have more than one child you might need a slimline car seat to fit all the car seats across your car’s backseat).
You might decide on a travel system with a capsule that attaches to a pram frame. Some parents love this option, as it is easier to get baby out of the car without disturbing them, however, babies do outgrow this option quickly.

TIP: It’s a good idea to add to your to-do list to get your car restraint professionally installed by a local fitter to help ensure it is correctly fitted and safe to bring your newborn home in.

Pram/stroller

There are so many options when it comes to purchasing a pram, it can seem like you are purchasing a car. Features and prices can vary considerably.

Consider:
The intended use of the pram. Do you want a pram that you can exercise with (to put your baby in when you go running or for long walks) or will it mainly be used to go to the shops or short trips?
How big the pram is. It is important to check that the pram will fit in the boot of your car.

Check how easy the pram is to fold. If it is too complicated or heavy it will make it difficult for you to get the pram in and out of the car’s boot.
A big consideration is if you also have a toddler, are expecting twins or are planning on having babies close in age. Twin or double prams are available (but be sure to check the width is practical to go shopping to fit through the aisles, for example) or configurations are available with toddler skateboards at the back of the pram, for example.

Second hand gems!
Purchasing or being gifted second hand baby items are a great way to save some money – and as many baby products are used for such a short time, you might find they are in brand new condition! However, it is important to carefully check the condition of things like cots, mattresses and car seats if you are considering hand-me-down options. Ensure any product is safe and meets relevant Australian Standards.

Nice to have

A nappy bag

Some sort of bag is definitely important so you have some nappies and spare clothes on-hand, as well as bottles if bottle feeding, and toys etc. Some nappy bags revival designer handbags with stylish designs and multiple storage compartments (including in-build change mat and insulated bottle carrier) but for the budget conscious, you can also get away with any practical bag or backpack.

Baby carrier

This is a personal choice and for some parents, a good baby carrier will supersede a pram. It is certainly useful to be able to carry your baby and keep your hands free to do the shopping, for example, and is a great option for using in the outdoors when going for a walk. A supportive baby carrier can also be handy to use at home to settle your baby.

Portable cot

A portable cot is definitely not on the must-have list, but can be very handy, especially if you are planning on going on holidays or to be used at a babysitter or grandparent’s home for naps or sleepovers.

Other travel products to consider: pram liner, trolley cover, rain cover/sunshade for pram, ‘Baby on Board’ car sign, car window shades.

Going to sleep

It is important to create a comfortable and most importantly safe environment for your baby to sleep in.

Must haves

Cot

A cot is an expensive investment, but if you are considering using a family heirloom or second-hand find, it is important to ensure it meets current Australian safety guidelines. There are many cots to suit your needs, including cots that convert to a toddler bed at a later stage. A good quality, clean mattress that properly fits in the cot is also a necessity.

A good quality, waterproof mattress protector is essential to ensure your baby’s cot mattress stays in good condition. Purchase two or three so you have spares for when you are doing the washing.

There are many options when it comes to wraps, swaddles, sleeping bags and baby blankets. Again, ensure you have a few options, so you have spares for when you are doing the washing. Some babies love to be swaddled, while some love to be able to have their little arms out in a sleeping bag, so test out what option is going to be best suited to your baby.

Nice to have

A bassinet

This will only be used for the first couple of months, so it isn’t a necessity. However, a bassinet can be very handy during those first few weeks, as a bassinet is easy to move around the house.

A baby monitor

If your baby is in their own room, it can be comforting to be able to easily hear them if they wake during the night. Some monitors are quite sophisticated, with options including video monitoring. Some monitors are also available that doubles as a night light, and some monitors also monitor a baby’s movement, to provide additional peace-of-mind.

Other sleep products to consider: White noise machine, room thermometer, night light.

Feeding time

Your feeding essentials will differ depending on whether you choose to breast or formula-feed.

Must-haves

Breast pads are essential if breastfeeding to prevent embarrassing leaks. Disposable pads are available, or reusable pads can be washed and used again and again.

Bottles and teats are essential if you are formula feeding or if you want to express breastmilk. There are many styles of bottles and teats available and sometimes it can take a while to work out which ones will suit your baby, so don’t buy too much until you try them out for yourself.

High chair

When your baby starts solids, a high chair will be used regularly. High chairs range from very basic options to deluxe designs with padded seating and adjustable backs. Whatever you choose, remember that this is where your child will be eating (which often means mess!), so it is very important to ensure it can easily be cleaned.

Nice to have

Breast pump

This might be an essential item if you are breastfeeding (especially if you want to express some feeds) but you don’t have to buy one as they can often be hired at your local chemist.

A steriliser

A steriliser isn’t optional (you can always sterilise by boil bottles, teats and feeding gear in a large pot), but a steriliser can certainly be handy.

Mess Mat

This is useful to put under the highchair to catch any food that falls from the highchair.

Other feeding products to consider: Mess Mat, bibs, suction bowls, bottle warmer, bottle drying rack.
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Nappy changes

You will be changing many nappies over the next couple of years! Here’s what to get:

Must haves

Nappies and wipes

Whether you choose disposable or cloth options, you will need a good supply of nappies and wipes. However, it is advisable not to go overboard and buy too many nappies before you have bub. Firstly, babies grow very quickly so if you buy boxes and boxes of newborn disposable nappies, chances are your baby will outgrow them before you use them all. For cloth nappies, it might best to try different brands to find the best fit for your baby.

Change mat

Whether for out-and-about or to use at home, a good quality and easy-to-clean change mat is a must to keep nappy changing mess contained.

Nice to have

Change table

For some parents, a change table is essential as a dedicated nappy changing space. Other parents might use a change mat on top of a dresser or might change their baby on a bed. Do whatever works for you!

Barrier creams

Your baby might never get nappy rash, but if they do there are many nappy rash creams on the market. Some parents like to use a barrier cream as nappy rash preventative after each nappy change (talk to your pharmacist or health care professional about the best option for your baby).

Other nappy change products to consider: Wipes warmer, nappy bin, soaking bucket

TIP: Nappy changes can be tough on your hands, so get a good quality hand moisturiser to help keep your skin in good shape after all that hand washing. Hand sanitiser is also a good idea to have on-hand in your nappy bag for nappy changes on-the-go.

First aid
For peace of mind, some first aid items are a good idea to have on-hand when you bring baby home. Saline solution, baby paracetamol (ensuring it is only used according to directions) and a baby thermometer are good products to have handy in the early months.

Baby clothes

Of cute, tiny baby clothes! It is tempting to go overboard, but your baby will not need too much. Remember, baby clothes will be one of the most popular gifts or hand-me-downs you are likely to get from family friends, so to start off with, buy what you think you will need for the early weeks.

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Must haves

Several onesies

Remember, even in the warmer months, hospitals can be quite cool due to air-conditioning, so get some long sleeved, as well as short sleeved in the Summer months. 0000 is a common size for a newborn but get a couple of 000 if you are expecting a big baby.

Hats

Get a sun hat for the warmer months or beanie for the cooler months.

Socks

Tiny socks can double up as mittens in the early days to stop a baby from scratching themselves. Buy a few pairs – one sock can easily fall off and go missing.

Nice to have

Fancy outfit

Cute little outfits, such as tiny dresses, suits or little tracksuits look adorable on a new baby, but they are not necessary. However, you might like to buy a special outfit for taking baby home from the hospital.