Shopping for Baby Items – Separating the essential from the non-essential

A pregnant friend of mine came over for dinner at the weekend and said on numerous occasions and said that no one could tell her what she needed to buy to prepare for the baby. I have made up a list for her consisting of what I think are ‘essential’, ‘nice-to-have’, a ‘luxury’ and so on based on what I have found to be a ‘godsend’ for me. Check it out and tell me what you would recommend and if you think I have some non-essentials that are essentials or vice versa…

Essential Baby Items

Item Price Range Brand I bought What I think of mine
Car Seat $250 to $600 Chicco Infant Capsule It is the best for safety on the market- meets all safety requirements plus some for Australian Standards. Whilst it is great to have an infant specific seat, I could have saved by getting a car seat like the Safe n’ Sound Platinum AHR Air Cushion (Top of the range) for $659.00 BUT there are cheaper ones.
Cot $400 to $1500 Kingparrot I like the safety rails and how they have a special lock on them within the run. ‘Baby Girl’ can’t get her fingers trapped in it and she won’t be able to push the side down when she is older as a result. I don’t like the mosquito canopy on our cot but most cots don’t come with that.
Pram/Stroller $150 to $1500 Baby Jogger (City Select) I love my pram/stroller! It is very easy to fold and folds small compared to other pram/strollers. The wheels come with a guarantee (the only brand that does) and the company will send replacements to anywhere in the world for me. The stroller seat converts to a bassinet for when they are newborn (costs an extra $80) and an attachment can be bought (extra $60) for the car capsule to slot straight onto the pram frame (no waking baby when they fall asleep in the car). Just check the Baby Jogger website for compatible car seats before you buy a car seat.
High Chair $100 to $500 Svan High Chair I love this chair. It is wooden and is just about the only highchair that you can use from 4-6 months (as soon as they have control of their heads). It can be converted to a chair for up to 7 year olds. This brand is at the higher end of the price range though.
Steam Steriliser (If bottle feeding) $40 to $200 Medela Microwave Steriliser bags I like the microwave bags however as I have started bottle feeding more than I used to, I think a microwave steamer (container) would be better for the larger volumes I am sterilising.
Breast Pump $100 to $1000 Medela Portable Double Electric Pump I prefer using an electric pump and hand expressing. This pump is light weight and easy to travel with. It came with 2 breast attachments and 4 bottles to store the milk in.

There is a hand pump that can be bought by AVENT which is supposed to be alright. Most people will say that an electric pump will take off more milk than a hand pump though.

Cot Sheets $40 and up No particular brand Let’s face it, you need sheets and I would say a minimum of 2 sets but the more the better to cope with those babies that vomit/posit a lot. The only thing to be aware of is that different cots have different sized mattresses so make sure the set you are buying is made to fit your cot.
Cot Blankets $40 or more (for Bamboo) Anything made from Bamboo I love the bamboo as it is warm, light and it breathes.
Nappies Disposable – approx $25 for a week supply; Cloth – $30 each or more Disposable – Huggies; Cloth – Baby BeeHinds I love the Baby BeeHinds but I haven’t been using them because you really need to have both parents on board to cope with the amount of washing and my hubby isn’t too keen… part of me isn’t too committed either.
Baby Carrier $80 and up Hug-a-bub & Beco Carrier I love both carriers for different reasons. The Hug-a-bub is great for preemie babies, allows for skin-to-skin contact between mother and baby, can be worn with bub facing front or back and fits snug making it easier on your back (I have never had a sore back from using this one and I wore it 12 hours straight on a night shift once). The cons for the Hug-a-bub are that it gets hot and can be difficult to get your head around how to wrap it around you.

The Beco is really quick and easy to put on, you can do skin to skin if you like (but it won’t cover you completely so you might flash people), there are multiple ways of wearing it, it grows with the baby up to 2 years. It is easy on your back however not as nice as the Hug-a-bub. I use the Beco in PNG every time due to the Tropical Heat being too hot for the Hug-a-bub.

Nappy Bag $50 and up OiOi I bought an expensive leather bag because I decided that whilst having a handbag would be nice, I can essentially rule out that luxury for the next… let’s see… 8 years or so (taking into consideration the next baby and a third that I haven’t decided on yet). I wanted a bag that would go the distance and look a little like a grown up handbag. It fits everything we need (nappies, bottom cream, wipes, nappy bin bags, a change of clothes, bib, bottle, formula sachets, toys, lunch/dinner for ‘Baby Girl’, a change table mat, my purse, a bottle of water, panadol for M and me, lip balm, sun cream, insect repellent, Sunglasses for M and me, towel, small blanket… need I say more?

‘Nice-to-have’ Baby Items

Item Price Range Brand I bought What I think of mine
Change Table $100 to $500 Kingparrot Mine matches my cot BUT you don’t need a change table.

Alternatives: If you put a few towels down on the couch, bed or bench top, then you have a homemade change table.

Baby Bath $20 to $100 ??? We used our bath only a handful of times and preferred the alternatives.

Alternatives: The kitchen sink when they are newborn, the normal bath when they are a little bigger or shower with them wearing a sock with the toes cut out on your forearm to act as a grip for them (be careful of soap, you could drop the baby).

Baby Monitor $100 to $400 AVENT I like my baby monitor. It tells me the temperature of the room (which is REALLY important to ensure they sleep well – too cold and they don’t sleep; too hot and they don’t sleep). Some have a camera on them so you can always see the baby and some also have breathing plates to lie the baby on so if it stops breathing it alarms (these go off for no reason sometimes and the camera, I’ve been told, keeps you glued to the screen when they are sleeping so you get little done in the mean time).
Cot Mobile $50 to $150 ??? I bought one but didn’t use it as I read that putting toys in the cot doesn’t help the baby realise they are supposed to sleep there and instead think it is a play area. Toys of any kind in the cot are also considered a SIDS risk anyhow (although a mobile would be less of a risk).
Baby Sleep Sack/Sleeping Bag $$79.95 and up Merino Kids I like my sleep sacks/sleeping bags. I love that the Merino wool is breathable and can be worn in temperatures from 18 Degrees Celsius up to 30 Degrees Celsius. I have needed to use extra blankets however but check out the Save Our Sleep Bedding Guide for more info on that (link below).

Luxury Baby Items

Item Price Range Brand I bought What I think of mine
Steamer/Blender $170 to $250 AVENT I love this appliance! It makes really healthy puree foods for ‘Baby Girl’. It cooks the food and blends it up so there is less to clean up afterwards! The alternative however is to get a steamer (because steaming is the best way to keep the nutrients in the food so long as you keep the water) and then get your hand mixer and puree it after cooking. The Magic Bullet would be great for purees and you can steam-microwave the food and puree it afterwards.

Clothes to start off

Item Average cost Size Notes
Onesies Pack of 3 at Target approx $12 newborn/0000 x 3
3 months/000 x 6
6 months/00 x 6
9 months/0 x 6
1 year/1 x 6

Don’t forget you need short and long arms for hot or cold days.

I only recommend these numbers as the bare minimum but lots of people will most likely buy the bub clothes when it is born so hold off on the shopping spree. I should specify however that I didn’t hold off and went on a big shopping spree cause I just loved all the little girl clothes when I visited America during my pregnancy.

With the newborn size, many people will say their baby didn’t fit newborn clothes after a few days or a week so there was no point. You could always put them in bigger outfits or just get a couple to last for the time being. Who knows? Your bub could be the same as mine and fit the newborn size until 3 months! OR you could keep the clothes for their first dolly

Toys

Item Price Range
Play mat/Activity Centre $80 and up
Walker $80 and up
Rocker/Bouncer $80 and up
Soft Toys $8 and up (I like the developmental toys by Lamaze)

Things for Mum

Item Price Range Brand I bought What I think of mine
Breast Pads $10 to $30 Bamboobies – Bamboo Washables The washable ones are great and stops you needing to buy more. I also have some disposables in case the washables can be seen through my top. I bought the Lansinoh brand but you can get Pigeon and other brands too. They are relatively inexpensive and stop embarrassment when you leak.
Lanolin Ointment/Cream $10 to $20 Lansinoh This is a must have particularly if you intend to breastfeed. It soothes cracked, sore nipples.

Good Websites or Resources:

I can easily give an exhausted list here but I’ll give just a couple and then exhaust it later… this blog is getting huge!

  • Bubs n Grubs Online Store
  • I have never found a baby shop that offers essential items for a cheaper price. You can get the majority of the essential items list in a package deal (Newborn essentials Packages) starting at $1399.00 for the Bare Essentials Package.

  • Baby 411 by Denise Fields and Ari Browne M.D
  • This book has been the best ‘go-to’ book for all of our general questions such as ‘How much food should she be eating?’ ‘How should I store the milk?’ ‘She has a rash… Should I be concerned?’ AND the first chapter is all about preparing for the baby. A really handy thing about it is that it covers the old wives tales that our parents tell us with regard to various baby raising points and offers suggestions as to how to deal with it when they tell you about it.

  • Save Our Sleep by Tizzie Hall
  • Whilst controversial, Daryl and I really found this book to be of the most help in establishing a daily routine and getting ‘Baby Girl’ to sleep. She has been a VERY happy and content baby since. Many have said it didn’t work for them however it was gold dust for us.

    Notes:
    Many shops will say you need a pillow for the baby cot but it is against SIDS guidelines and I wouldn’t recommend it. They are comfy without the pillow anyhow.

    Beware of BPA in plastic food items. It is believed that it can cause Cancer. Most baby products will specify if it is BPA free or not. If it doesn’t specify, then it most likely has it. You can also look at the recycle number, if it is a 7 then it has BPA… there are other numbers to watch out for too but I will have to look them up and make that a whole other blog!

    2 responses to “Shopping for Baby Items – Separating the essential from the non-essential

    1. So much information Brooke! Thank you so much. I started my online shopping yesterday, which added up to a fair bit. But I am happy with what I got, well at least until I receive it all and test it out – the problem of living in Darwin and not having options. I think I have most of the essentials covered now, just a few more items left. But I think I will let the first purchase settle with Nath before I go online shopping again 🙂 Next scan is coming up soon. Can’t wait! xoxox PS: Love the blog, so funny. I’m interested in the books you mentioned so will purchase and get back to you after I have a little read.

    2. No worries Stephanie 🙂 I hope all your shopping is going well… has your stuff arrived yet? Is it good?

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