You can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.
Welcoming a new bundle of joy is exciting, but with so many products on the market the prospect of preparing for life with a newborn can be completely overwhelming. Fear not, Offspring has created the ultimate guide to help you sort the essentials from the gimmicks.
The Australian Institute of Family Studies suggests a first child can cost between $3,000 and $13,000 in the first year alone – a marked difference between thrift and indulgence when it comes to preparing for your little one’s arrival. The truth is you can stick to a budget and still have everything you need with some clever planning.
Tip: Talk to other mums about what was useful and what was useless. They may be willing to loan you items, just check the safety standards and condition.
Tips for buying on a budget:
- Question every purchase: is it really essential?
- Plan ahead to take advantage of sales
- Buy in bulk especially nappies and wipes
- Borrow items
- Decide on the brand/model and then check local Buy and Sell pages, eBay and baby markets.
Out and about
Before you hit the shops, what do you actually need to buy? Here’s a list of what a newborn needs:
Heading out with a newborn is like packing for a small camping trip and involves the biggest ticket items, so do your research to get the right equipment:
- Car restraint:
The car seat will be one of the most expensive items on your shopping list. It is best to buy new, as car seats have a life span with most not made to last more than 10 years.
- To trim costs, consider a travel system with a capsule that clips onto a pram frame. It might also mean easy transfers from the car to the
- Baby capsules can be hired as they are quickly outgrown.
- Convertible models that change from rear-facing to forward-facing will last from birth to four years and will save you the expense of buying two seats.
The price tag on a pram can vary dramatically and there are many features and accessories on offer so set a budget and do lots of homework.
- When will the pram primarily be used – exercising or leisure?
- Check it is easy to fold and lift
- Check it will fit in your car boot
- Are you planning another baby quickly or expecting twins and require a double pram or added accessories such as a skateboard or toddler seat?
- Is it important to have a reversible handle or interchangeable seat to grow and change with your baby?
- Do you need a rain cover, sunshade, cup holder or storage?
- Look for second-hand alternatives as many mums change their minds or opt for different transport options as their baby grows.
- A nappy bag
- Pram Liner
- Baby carrier
- Window shades
- Trolley cover
- Breastfeeding cover
- Portable Cot
Unfortunately, sleep isn’t for sale, but you can set up a safe and secure environment for your baby to encourage a bit of shut-eye.
A cot is often one of the most expensive and difficult decisions faced by parents-to-be. All new cots have to comply with Australian safety guidelines but if you’re on a budget, ensure a second-hand cot meets current standards. To save money consider a cot that converts into a toddler bed. But, sometimes spending money on quality will ensure it can be reused for future siblings.
There will be many (yes, many) spills and accidents and years of use so select a good quality mattress that snugly fits your cot and invests in a waterproof mattress protector.
There is a huge market dedicated to wraps, swaddles and sleeping bags, but they may take some trial and error to see which suits your baby. A large muslin wrap and some practice swaddling will work just as well.
- A bassinet, Moses basket, cradle, cozy sleeper or hammock is smaller, more portable than a cot and great for those early days.
- A baby monitor – to save money consider a monitor that doubles as a nightlight for those late-night feeds.
- Light and music display
- White noise machine
- Room thermometer
- Quilts, fluffy blankets, and cot bumpers
While breast milk is free there are some things you will need to make the experience easier:
- Breast pads
- Breast pump – consider hiring or buying a manual one
Bottles and formula can cost a pretty penny and there are so many options. Ask for recommendations and trial a couple of brands. Even if you are certain you will breastfeed, you may need bottles for expressing.
- Drying Rack
- A feeding chair/glider
- Nursing pillow
- Burp Cloths
- Formula dispenser
- A high chair, food processor, and plastic cutlery can all wait a few months.
- Bottle warmer
- Bottle sterilizer
- Nappies and wipes:
Cloth or disposable – you will need to stock up and be prepared to use lots of them!
Babies don’t need lots of products on their delicate skin. But having some baby shampoo, moisturizer, and nappy rash cream ready to go, is a good idea.
- Change table – a changing mat on top of a dresser might be a cheaper option.
- Nappy bucket or nappy disposal bin
- Baby bath – to save money use the sink or an adult bath with a bath support.
- Wipes warmer
- Nappy Stacker
One of the best parts of preparing for a new baby is buying gorgeous teeny tiny outfits! But it is easy to go overboard and people will often gift lots of outfits.
- At least six onesies get a mix of size 0000 and size 000 for an average-sized newborn (short-sleeved, long-sleeved, full length or a combination, depending on the season they’re due). These can double as day clothes and PJs.
- Singlets or singlet suits
- A jacket or cardigan
- A hat (a sun hat for summer and a beanie for winter)
- Socks (these can double as mittens)
- Scratch mittens
- Going out outfits
- Shoes – super cute but not necessary
- Baby thermometer
- Grooming Kit
- Baby proofing kit
- A few rattles, teething toys, and books
- A bouncer, swing or activity mat for play and tummy time.
Tip: If you’re having a baby shower, set up a baby registry. It isn’t offensive to ask for gifts that will be appreciated and well used.
Your newborn will not know if you purchased the most expensive nappy bag or put them in designer clothes. The most important thing your baby will ever need is your love and attention. Fortunately, that’s free!