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Nikki Yazxhi

Here’s a quick list of what you need – and what you can actually live without – for your newborn to 6 month old…

STICKING TO A BUDGET – the essentials

1. A car seat or baby capsule
Number one thing you need is a rear-facing baby restraint or a ‘baby capsule’ – in order to leave the hospital and until your child is at least six months old. Check www.choice.com.au to see which models comply with Australian Safety Standards – and choose a car restraint that can be turned around to face the front when baby is bigger. Baby capsules can also be hired from a number of sources, check the Yellow Pages, and remember to book well in advance as this is a popular service.

2. A cot
Even if you decide to co-sleep with your newborn, you’ll eventually want him/her to start sleeping in a cot by him/herself. Keep in mind that cots are constantly being recalled so check with www.choice.com.au before buying a either or secondhand one. Other things to look for are: that there are no sharps bits on the cot, the mattress can be positioned either high or low, and that the mattress fits snuggly.

3. A stroller
There are so many prams and strollers to choose from but you can shorten your list of potentials by making sure the ones you like comply with the Australian Standard AS/NZ S 2088. If it doesn’t carry this information on a label or brochure, check with the manufacturer before you purchase. Another tip: choose a model that will grows with your child – and that can have a toddler seat/extras added if you have another baby in the future.

4. A baby sling or carrier
Being out and about with a baby can feel like a juggling act. As well as your baby, you’ll probably be trying to carry a bag of nappies and bottles, a handbag and possibly shopping bags. 

With a baby carrier or sling, you can keep your baby close and secure while leaving your hands free for other tasks. Slings are also great for discrete breastfeeding in public.

5. Baby wraps
Swaddling or wrapping babies is a method that has been used by many cultures for centuries to help babies sleep. It makes baby feel secure and prevents them from waking themselves up with the startle reflex. Buy a few wraps – as you’ll need to launder them regularly – and choose ones made from natural fibres like cotton or wool to prevent the baby from overheating.

BLOW THE BUDGET… the extras you ‘CAN’ live without

1. A bassinet
Bassinets do have their place in the nursery, but they can be expensive and your baby can outgrow them pretty fast – so not matter what you are going to need to purchase a cot as well. If you don’t have the budget for both, putting your baby straight into their cot in a ‘snuggle bed’ (available from most baby shops) is a great, less expensive option.

2. A change table
This somewhat pricey piece of furniture serves one purpose, which will be obsolete in about three years when baby starts potty training. Instead of purchasing one, set up a changing station using a changing pad on top of a low, sturdy dresser instead. The other thing is you’ll probably find yourself changing your baby elsewhere most of the time anyway.

3. A nappy-disposal bin
Nappy disposal bins are a great idea, but the nappy bag cartridges can get expensive when you have to frequently replace them. A small garbage bin with a lid and nappy sacks (available at the supermarket) will work pretty much the same but at a lower cost. One tip though, keep it in the bathroom and not in the nursery.

4. A baby bath
Baby baths take up space and create extra work, as filling and emptying them can turn into a chore. An easier, cheaper alternative is to use the kitchen or bathroom sink which are the perfect size (and height) for your little one’s bath. By the time he or she outgrows the basin, you can just transfer him or her into your regular bathtub and use a newborn bath support.

5. Clothes in larger sizes
Babies grow at unpredictable speeds, sometimes with huge growth spurts that means one size won’t fit them for long. It’s also difficult to guess what size clothes your baby will be wearing in a particular season – so buying too many baby clothes in larger sizes might mean your baby has a wardrobe full of 6-month size winter clothing, but fits into that size in summer.

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