From the moment I found out I was pregnant I was filled with a lot of emotions. Elation, excitement, anticipation, terror. But I can tell you the one thing that was rapidly not filled – our wallets. That was rapidly unfilled, or “emptied” of you will.
Before they’re even born the little humans have you haemorrhaging cash faster than you can say “my car cost less than that pram”. Tim and I quickly discovered there are A LOT of things you can buy for your impending arrival from carriers to beds to weird heart rate monitor things, all of which pitch themselves as the last word in protecteding and loving your baby. Nothing like some early parental guilt to get you rapidly purchasing every product and taking out a second mortgage on your house.
Fortuntaely I had friends and family who had been new parents before and were able to offer some advice on what they found useful and some thrifty hints along the way. In the interest of passing on the wisdom I hope this post helps some other new parents navigate their way through Baby Bunting/Kingdom/other completely overwhelming baby store.
DISCLAIMER- this is just an opinion on things we found helpful and is in no way judging or pooh – poohing any body else’s way of shopping for their baby. What works works guys!
So let’s start with the SAVE category.
Before you fork out $80 for the cutest little newborn outfit you’ve ever seen remember, babies change clothing size 2-3 times before they’re 6 months old and then again every 6 months after that depending on the brand. This means the cost per wear on that outfit is not great. I bought a $50 Seed outfit for Hugh and that boy wore that outfit at every single opportunity I could come up with until Tim declared that surely it was an it small and he could wear something else.
Target, Big W and Kmart all have super cute clothes for $5-$20 per outfit or look on your local buy swap and sell Facebook page and op shops. There are a lot of barely worn infant clothes there waiting for a new home at a bargain price!
In the interest of stimulating our boy and giving him the very best start in life and we got him a lot of toys. Like anything there are a lot of toy options out there from the brightest of colours to those cool Scandinavian looking arty pieces (I mean toys, sorry). Trust me when I say your baby will love the noisest, ugliest, most colourful today you have. Even better than that your baby will love the TV remote, your keys, an empty yogurt container and his fathers dirty shoes. The very expensive toys will not always be the most popular choice. I’m a sucker for cool toys though and I have managed to fulfill this need without breaking our bank by hitting up Gumtree and my buy swap and sell page! I’ve managed to get a walker for Hugh for $10, a stand up car for $15 and Thomas the Tank Engine tent and tunnel set for $25. All of these retail for much much more and to be honest he’ll grow out of most of them within 12 months so I’m glad I haven’t splashed my cash!
3. Car capsule
We decided to hire our car capsule and have never looked back! The car capsule is not to be confused with the car seat. A capsule usually sits in a base and can be clicked in and out of the car and your pram. The catch with the capsule is depending on the size of your small (or not so small) human it may only last you 4-6 months before you are shoving their rapidly growing limbs into this tiny torture chamber. Our capsule retails for around $400. Instead of buying it we hired it through Kidsafe and paid $120 for the 6 month period. You do the math there. Extra bonus is they don’t start the 6 month hire period until your baby is actually born and they professionally fit it for you in your car. AND it’s one less thing you have to store once Junior rapidly grows out of it. That’s someone else’s problem!
5. Random other saves
My Mum is a huge fan of her local Mission Australia Shop and can I tell you, so am I! She has picked up loads from toys for Hugh and my nephew Louis. The other score was a baby bath for $1 (a tubs a tub right).
We also borrowed a lot of things from bottles and a steriliser to sleep swaddles, toys, even our bassinet! If you can borrow it do it! Not only does it save cash, it saves you from having to store all this stuff once bub doesn’t use it any more.
Now, where to SPEND.
A pram is going to last you for a while. Depending on how independent your offspring turns out to be could be anywhere from 2-4 years. We wanted something with a slim profile (to get around the kitschy homewares stores that we love), easy to collapse (so I didn’t have a melt down 2-3 times a day in random car parks) and a large shopping basket (nuff said there) and we were willing to invest to get what we wanted. Hugh spent a lot of time in his pram and it was important to us that we had one we really liked. As a comparison for you, we did buy a cheaper smaller stroller with the idea we would use it for travelling. It has been dubbed “the shopping trolley” as its steering strongly resembles that supermarket nightmare with wheels going everywhere and takes you precariously close to ththe carefully stacked tower of tuna tins.
We purchased a cot for Hugh with the removable side meaning it will eventually turn into a toddler bed. The bed itself wasn’t that expensive but we did splurge on a better mattress that will go the distance for 3-4 years.
Ok, that ones a bit boring but hey – not everything can be fun and giggles right?
3. Baby Monitor
Aside from the fact that Tim got talked into buying the top of the line baby monitor because it had a touch screen we did intend to spend a reasonable amount on a good monitor and it gave me great peace of mind once Hugh moved into his own room. It was very reassuring for me to be able to see him not just hear him and it does help me to make judgement calls on whether he really needs me or if he will settle back to sleep.
4. Car seat
These suckers are expensive. There is no way around it BUT they do last you 4-8 years depending on which one you get and unlike a lot of other stuff that’s out there they directly contribute to your child’s safety. And they’re a legal requirement so if you’re going to do it do it right!
So that’s my advice but to be honest, don’t over think it too much. If you want to buy the $80 baby outfit because you’re pregnant and excited, do it! If you feel the need to splurge on a $4000 cot then go for it! At the end of the day its just important that you and your baby are happy and well kitted out.