So my wife and I had a baby. Statistically speaking, you’re very likely to as well, if you don’t already.
Ours arrived about a year ago now. Some of our friends have had children since and some, oddly, continue to do so. I am asked many questions about our journey, and I thought I’d answer some here. I’ll add to this as time goes on and I slowly get my memory back.
Having a baby is something that you can prepare for materially but not emotionally or spiritually. By emotions I mean crying uncontrollably for no reason, and by spirits, I mean vodka.
Do you remember that TV show ‘Lost‘, where there was a countdown timer that had to be reset every 108 minutes? That’s your baby, but when it blares all over your house, it’s not as simple as pushing a button to turn it off.
And it’s not necessarily every 108 minutes either. Sometimes it’s 5.
Anyway- here’s some of the material stuff you can get. I do recommend getting as much done as you can before the big arrival. People will say it to you and you won’t believe them, but please please trust me…. YOU WILL HAVE NO TIME AFTER YOUR CHILD ENTERS YOUR LIFE. This is not so much a bad thing I’ll be honest, but it must be recognised. When the child is asleep- you need to do the same.
Anyway- go buy this stuff.
Most of these products can be found pretty cheaply at The Nile.
If we’re talking bigger stuff like cots, prams etc, then eBay is your friend. It seems baby stuff doesn’t hold it’s value particularly well, so if you’re ok buying second hand, then go for broke. I was also slightly surprised to just discover that Kogan sell a bunch of baby gear, most notably Baby Bjorn gear for pretty competitive prices.
Put these Everywhere. I know that sounds ridiculous, but trust me, there are times when you’ll wake up in the middle of the night and you will NEED to know the time, especially if you’re on a feeding regime with your bundle of joy.
Ours needed to be fed every two hours for the first week or so- a nightmare for all involved. In these instances, you don’t want to have to use your phone to tell the time because, to a sleeping baby, any change in light in that room is equivalent to shining the sun directly into their face.
If you can find something that has pretty subtle lighting, that’s the way to go. We got these Audiosonic cheapies from KMart, and they’re pretty good.
You’re also going to find yourself rocking your child to sleep successfully, only to find that you now cannot move due to the fact that your arm is contorted around your child’s head and you’ve somehow snapped all the ligaments in your knee to get them into that ‘right’ position so they’ll nod off to sleep.
But you still need to know the time.
And you can’t reach your phone.
Lucky you bought 17 bedside clocks.
Zip up swaddles
Many people will try and tell you these are the way to go. Make no mistake- this is wrong and these people are either misguided, or they’re midwives who deal with 10 babies a day, not one every few years.
What you really need is a zip up sleeping bag for your new bundle of no sleep.
Please trust me on the swaddles- they really will save you months of frustration and feelings of self-doubt that maybe you shouldn’t have been a parent because you can’t work out the origami required for a ‘normal’ swaddle.
Yes yes yes, I know I said to keep away from those pesky cloth swaddles (also known as muslin wraps) but they do actually come in handy, just not for swaddling your baby. They’re excellent sun shades for the pram, as well as the car. They’re light enough to block most of the bad bits of the sun but not so heavy to turn day into night.
My mum gave us a bunch of these when the child popped out, and we still use them heaps. I am also aware of the irony of me telling you hnot to use them as wraps, when in fact the hero image of this article is my son….. in a muslin. You see, that photo was taken when the boy was a week old, ie: before we knew better.
Onesies are now part of your life. The Bonds Wondersuits are especially good. These have some excellent zip work going on which makes it especially easy to change a nappy without completely undressing your child.
Which is pretty nice.
We’ve found the best value for Wondersuits is to buy them directly from Bonds.
Nope- I’m not being a hippie- you’re going to need these even if you plan on using disposable nappies on your kid’s bum.
Cloth nappies will save your life. One place we found to buy them online was The Nile.
They’re great for cleaning up any spills (whether bodily or otherwise) and can also act as a reasonable bottom sheet in the pram or anywhere on a cold day. We got into a pretty good regime of them being at arms reach from any part of the house. Nope- I’m not joking.
I can’t say enough on how important it is to have an army of these things at your disposal. You can generally get these for about $20 – $30 per dozen, so buy some now.
Even if you have hundreds, it’s not enough.
Really, a no-brainer. Even if you’ve got a small place with paper thin walls, you still need to check the mail.
You can get these from pretty much anywhere that stocks baby gear. Don’t get sucked into buying some crazy expensive thing. All you need is the sound. Some people like to go with video as well which is cool, although we decided not to.
Buy your baby spy device from Kogan.
Bassinet / Cradle
FACT: There are more models of prams in this world than there are grains of sand.
I am currently in the process of reviewing three different models of pram, but I can say without question that you should definitely get one that has a bassinet fitting that will clip into your car seat.
From birth, we used the Steelcraft Agile Plus pram with the Steelcraft Infant Carrier. When used together, the infant carrier can be attached to the pram, as well as the car seat (not at the same time obviously).
What does this mean?
Baby falls asleep in the car, and you can just remove the carrier with bub inside and clip it into the pram and off you go.
I cannot imagine how extremely inconvenient life would have been if we didn’t have this, and I cannot recommend the Steelcraft range more, as all their prams have the ability to do this with the same infant carrier.
Again, this is something you’re unlikely to avoid. This is the deal with car seats – in Australia, you absolutely must have your baby rear-facing until at least 6 months old. Find out more information from Kidsafe.
As I said above, you are really going to benefit from having this invaluable travel companion that allows you to transfer your sleeping baby from car to pram and vice-versa.
If you look at car capsules, you’ll generally find most will have the pram transfer system.
This is something that won’t be a necessity for everyone, but they’re certainly handy to have around. As with most baby accessories, you can spend anywhere between ‘not much’ and ‘extremely much’ when it comes to travel cots (also known as a portacot or a pack and play).
If you’re just looking for something for the occasional stay at a friends or grandparents, and you’ll be travelling there by car, then I suggest getting something no-frills from Target.
If, however, you travel a bit and are concerned by space and/or weight, then I cannot more highly recommend the Phil and Teds Traveller Portacot.
We live in Melbourne and regularly visit family and friends in Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney. Carting a massive thing around the country isn’t practical and becomes close to impossible when you’re also juggling prams, bags, car seats, and of course, a baby.
The Phil and Teds Portacot packs down to a ridiculously small size and weighs under 2kg. I’m going to write a full review of it at some stage, but trust me- it’s great. We took ours on our two-week jaunt around Hawaii and it couldn’t have served us better.
Some friends of ours have the Baby Bjorn portacot and love it. I’ll do a comparison in the eventual review.
I’ve written previously about the Baby Bjorn bouncer, which until recently had been standing for duty in our bathroom.
Again, a highly recommended piece of kit. It’ll last from a couple of months old until around 1 year old. Definitely worth it.
Surprisingly, I’ve found that a baby carrier is quite a personal thing, and many people have very different views on each. Over the next little while I’m going to review a bunch of them, but not just from my perspective, but from friends and acquaintances as well.
For my money, I’m a big fan of the Baby Bjorn Original from birth to around 6-9 months, and then the Baby Bjorn Carrier One once they’re too big for the Original. My wife, however, has been using the Ergobaby Original since birth and swears by it.
As soon as I get the reviews done, I’ll post them here.
Note – I have started the reviews, with the first one being for the Baby Bjorn Original Carrier. More is to come.
Wash your car
It’s probably the last time you’re going to be able to do something that frivolous for some time.
Later on as your child grows, you’re going to need more stuff. As far as I can see, this trend won’t stop for about 20 years. Possibly more.
At some stage in the next few months, I’ll either add to this post of maybe make another focussing on 6 months +.