Congratulations!! You are expecting. Whether this is your first or fourth baby, this is such an exciting time. I think back to when I was pregnant with my first baby and I was in a whirlwind of kitting out the nursery, investing in the pimped out pram and buying shoes that my baby was never going to wear.
Let’s face it, we really have no idea what we’re in for (especially when we’re having our first) so we just get what everybody else has and whatever looks pretty at Baby Bunting. I very quickly realised that so much of the stuff I bought in preparation wasn’t necessary and the things I really needed I hadn’t even considered. Three babies in now and boy did my ‘must-haves’ evolve as I had each baby. When I had number three I swear I could have made do with just nappies and blankets.
Now as a Sleep Consultant I have things I recommend to my families to help with their baby's sleep, but I also have good old ‘I’m a Mum must haves.’ In sharing a bit of both with you now, I hope it will help make a little clearer what you really need to spend money on.
- Most importantly our babies are sleeping in a safe sleep space. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need a bassinet, your baby can go straight into a cot. We simply need them sleeping on a firm/well fitted mattress with just a fitted sheet. If you don’t use a bassinet, you’ve probably just saved yourself $300-$400.
- White noise to me is non negotiable for a young baby. Silence to a newborn is very unusual, whatever you hear whilst pregnant-your baby heard also. White noise helps to lull your baby off to sleep and if there is any outside noise that could disturb them whilst sleeping, the white noise will help to block that out. There are many devices to play your white noise from. One that I recommend is the My Baby Sound Spa and it is available at Baby Bunting for around $40.
- Another non negotiable for me is a dark room for your baby to sleep in. So many families will tell me their babies room is dark but when I arrive for a consult I quickly realise their baby had no hope of napping well as their room was way too bright. Some families choose to have their newborn nap in the living area for a few weeks. I would suggest by 3-4 weeks they are napping in their bedroom and we are able to achieve a level of darkness close to 8/10. We want it to be dark enough so our babies aren’t stimulated by objects in the room, a fan on the roof can mean party time to them. And as night time approaches we want their room pitch black to help with Melatonin (sleepy hormone) production.
- A camera/monitor helps so much for any age baby. I don’t suggest these so you can listen to your babies every sound but so you can see your baby. Newborns are so noisy whilst they sleep, often if we hear the noises they are making we would be inclined to rush to them and possibly disturb them when they are still sleeping. If you are able to first see what they are doing, a lot of the time they are sleeping whilst making these noises. I would find it very difficult to have my baby settling to sleep and not be able to see how they are going. The Lollipop Baby Monitor is quite incredible. It is small, it is compatible with all devices, it tracks their sleep and it provides a clear picture. Check out the website, I’m sure you will love it also: https://www.lollipop.camera
- When you bring your newborn baby home, believe me, they will not always sleep in their cot. And I simply wouldn’t expect them to. Sleep is sleep and if you invest in a newborn baby carrier I promise you will love the feeling just as much as your little one. A carrier is super helpful if you have older children as you can do what you need to with them whilst bubs feels safe and secure on your chest. My favourite for a newborn is the Hugabub carrier: https://hugabub.com
- Two or three large, jersey swaddle’s are my kind of swaddles. Aim for a wrap that is at least 100x100cm’s. If you aren’t keen on wrapping yourself Ergo Pouch have an arms contained sleeping bag that gives the same comfort as a swaddle. I don’t believe there are any babies who ‘hate being swaddled’ - often it’s a case of your baby is soooo over tired that they lose it when you try to wrap them up. Bubba Blue are one brand that has jersey wraps.
- A comfortable feeding chair is going to save you from the aches and pains we get in our backs and necks during the first weeks we bring our baby home. I would absolutely go for comfort over aesthetics here.
- I feel change tables are one of those things that may look great but take up a lot of room and not be a necessity. Yes, of course I had one for my first baby but when you have your second you find it’s wiser to stay in the living area as much as you can (mostly to avoid toddler causing havoc while you’re out of the room). A portable changing mat does all you need it to and it’s ever so compact. Then you just need a stash of nappies/wipes/cream and the mat goes where you need it. They can be as inexpensive as $20.
- Cotton, crop top style bras are a lifesaver when you are breast feeding your baby. No clips to undo and heck, you’ve had your huge boulder holders on for the last few months-this will feel like you’re barely wearing anything yet it’s enough to hold your breast pad in place.
- If you are formula feeding , you will need to warm and feed your baby through the night as quickly as possible. This has been made possible by two of my local Mumma’s who created a high quality thermos that has an in inbuilt thermometer and LED light to let you know if the water is safe to be used. The water is kept warm for 12 hours, meaning you can be away from a bottle warmer for that amount of time. Genius!! Find this bottle at https://missta.com.au
- When buying your baby singlets, I recommend bodysuits instead of traditional singlets. They help to keep a babies back warm and they also add a bit of extra protection and firmness around a nappy. These are available from any baby supply shop, just look for nice soft cotton.
And there you have it. My must haves for when you bring your baby home. I’m sure there will be at least 3 trips to a baby store the week you come home but I encourage you to lie back and feed your baby, hold your baby, let everyone do everything for you - you’ll blink and it’s already their first birthday.