What do I really need for when my baby comes home? Car Seat

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Car Seat: This is absolutely necessary gear for your newborn right from the moment you leave hospital (or home if you’ve birthed at home). You can choose an infant car seat (also known as a capsule) or a convertible car seat (also known as a 0-4yr), which is more expensive but will last longer. All car seats must have a 5-point harness system and comply with Australian Safety Standards. We have added links to applicable regulations here.

Somewhere to sleep: You have so many options available you can start with a cradle or bassinet, and then move to a cot or you can start out in a cot, though none of these are necessary if you plan on co-sleeping full-time, though it might be handy to have one around for naps and for when your baby is older.

A bassinet may be good for naps in the living room, but some moms find that a bassinet is not as useful as they thought it would be as babies grow rapidly and can outgrow their cradle or bassinet in around 6 months. You can look at the option of purchasing a pram fit out that comes with a detachable bassinet option and this can double up as your sleeping and your ‘out & about’ transportation. This is what I personally did for my last born (now 3 yrs) I purchased an all in one pram and then used a bassinet stand to house the bassinet when not connected to the pram, I personally found this handy and cost effective. For safety recommendations click here.

Cradles are great too because the swinging/rocking motion can assist your little one in falling asleep (though if you don’t want to be rocking your baby to sleep every time and have to go throw weaning them to learn how to fall asleep themselves when baby is older, I wouldn't recommend this option – but that’s a personal choice really)There are regulations in place around the safety of cradles which you can access here.

Starting out in a cot is practical and cost effective – just remember to always position your baby at the foot of the cot and follow the SIDS recommendations. Read up on the regulations here for Cot safety.

If you’re co-sleeping you can purchase little ‘sleep out’s’ so that baby is contained to a mini bed – this is also useful for protecting baby against being accidentally rolled on.

Porta Cots are also a handy option if you tend to sleep away from home a lot – you can double up here and use this as your main sleeping quarters as well as a travel cot. Travel cots are required to comply with the Australian Safety Standards which you can read here.

Just remember to ensure all your sleeping gear complies with the recommended standards, which you can access here.

Bedding: This is essential no matter where baby sleeps, but if your baby will be sleeping in a cot, you will probably want to buy:

  • A minimum of 3 cot sheet sets (preferably cotton or bamboo) especially for babies with allergies

  • A minimum of 2 waterproof mattress covers, these come in fitted varieties

  • Multiple blankets of different thicknesses to allow for temperature changes. Don’t forget the muslin wraps for summer and a sleeping bag for winter

Pram/Stroller: Investing in a quality pram or stroller is a good idea. For a newborn, you will need a pram designed for young babies that has a secure seat that reclines and also provides a 5 point harness (unless you are using a bassinet attachment). There are many prams that will allow you to attach your infant car seat (capsule) directly to them. Look for wheels of good size (is 3 wheels better than 4 wheels) look at the materials that the wheels are made from and if it is suitable for the types of surfaces you will be travelling on eg; hard plastic wheels will not only wear quicker but won’t be as comfortable for baby on a bumpy ride compared to air-filled rubber wheels.

Ensure that the handles are comfortable to hold and at the appropriate height for you – look for a pram with adjustable handles as I can assure you this – you won’t be the only one pushing the pram! Check the harness straps are secure and easy to adjust, but not too easy that your child can undo once old enough to try and work it out.

One of the main things parents forget to check when buying a pram is the ‘fold down’ process – don’t forget this, ensure that you can fold the pram away easily and that it will fit in your car boot without having to complete dissect! I would have to say that the most important feature of a pram is safety – check the brake system, is it sturdy and easy to engage, can it be easily knocked causing the pram to roll away or is it in a practical yet safe place? Also check that the pram has a ‘anti-fold’ mechanism to ensure that the pram will not fold down with your little one inside accidentally. Read product safety guidelines and regulated standards here.

You can check out our range of prams here.

Swing or Bouncer Seat: These tend to be a life-saver in the first months of parenthood; giving parents times to do ‘other’ things other than hold their little one. Your sweet little bundle can have a nap as you tend to any ‘chores’ or can be placed in the midst of the family gathering area without being held. Some babies enjoy being soothed in a bouncer or swing and can even drift into a peaceful sleep. Steer clear of using mobiles and music they aren't necessary in those early months and can actually distract your baby and cause ‘over tiredness’. Keep it simple and ensure that the equipment complies with the Australian Safety Standards.

Baby Carrier/Sling: Babies enjoy being close to their loved ones, and are often soothed and content when being held in a sling or carrier. They are a great idea for babies with reflux as they tend to keep baby in an upright position, and studies have shown that wearing your baby on a regular basis can help in their development. Ensure that the sling is suitable for your needs there are so many available, you need to pick the one you feel will put the least amount of strain on your back and shoulders. A soft, comfortable sling can be essential for new moms who want to stay close to their new baby, but still have the free range of movement to complete other tasks. They are great for city travelling where a pram/stroller can become a hassle on public transport or if you are attending a busy function. There are some product safety guidelines to assist you in your search.

Bathing: Bath time can either be one of the most special moments in your day as a parent or one of most daunting. There are many baby tubs and seats on the market all of them have advantages and disadvantages. It’s a good idea to shop around, read reviews, and buy what you feel will be most useful for you and your baby. Don’t forget to stock up on soft washcloths, hooded bath towels, and special soap free baby wash for your baby, too. Bath aids are regulated by the Australian Safety Standards, it's a good idea to check this out first.

Feeding: This will depend on your feeding choice, if you plan on bottle feeding, you will need to have several bottles around., extra nipples (teats), a bottle warmer, a bottle cleaner and also a sterilizer. There are a range of bottles and sterilizers available and your choice is an individual one that you are comfortable with – we suggest that you have at least two different options of bottles and teats as you may find your baby feeds better with one or the other. Sterilizers are available in many different varieties from microwave to chemical or you could use the ‘boil the pot’ method – though please remember this can be quite dangerous if you are sleep deprived and fall asleep whilst the pot is on the stove! Believe I know, I burnt down my kitchen the first night I was home from hospital – needless to say I purchased a microwave sterilizer.

If you are breastfeeding you will need to arm yourself with some breast pads to absorb any leakage (use can use disposable or reusable), a good sturdy maternity bra with easy access clips, a feeding gown (these are fantastic for privacy in public but still allowing you to have eye contact with your baby). If you are expressing milk in-between feeds you will need a breast pump, which can be either manual or automatic (I personally used automatic, so much quicker and easy to use, just hook on and read a book for a couple of minutes). You will also need something to store the breast milk (in fridge or freezer), you can use milk bags or bottles – your choice.

Without a doubt no matter how you choose to feed your baby you will need burp cloths! These are essential to catch any unwanted milk to protect yours and babies clothes.

Change Time: Well’s here’s another debate do you choose cloth or disposable nappies? Again do what’s right for you. Remember that a baby requires approximately 8-10 nappy changes a day in the first few weeks so stock up. If you use cloth nappies you will need a nappy bucket and nappy san for soaking, nappy liners can assist with mess, and you will need to allow time for washing and drying so ensure you have an ample supply. If you opt for disposable, you will need at bare minimum nappy bags for sealing in the surprise before you toss it in the trash. Baby will grow quickly and may change nappy sizes on a regular basis at first so don’t buy too many bulk boxes at once.

Either way ensure you stock up on baby wipes (for face cloths), ointments (to ease any rashes), and baby powder. With the wipes look for alcohol and fragrance free, remember baby’s bottoms are very sensitive. Try warming the wipes before using as this is more comfortable too. 

Think about where you will change your baby, will you use a change mat on the floor, or are you more comfortable with a change table that can also provide some valuable storage? Change mats are handy for travelling around and most nappy bags come with a built in mat. There are a large range of change tables available from traditional to the new compact modern day styles – just remember to ensure they meet the Australian Safety Standards and that there is a safety strap attached to prevent any falls.

Nappy Bag: You’ll need one of these to house all babies’ bits and pieces when you are out and about. You can purchase a purpose built bag or use a tote – the choice is yours. There are some wonderful bags on the market now that will house everything you need in the right spot without having to lug a suitcase.

Clothing: As a minimum your baby will need the following items to get you started.

  • At least 5 onesies, or one piece body suits (long-sleeve and short-sleeve depending on the time of year)

  • At least 5 pajamas (nightgowns make nighttime nappy changes especially easy) or you could use onesies

  • 4 to 5 outfits for play or trips out of the house (these are always adorable, but if you spend a lot of time at home, you’ll find yourself using basic pieces more often)

  • 1 to 2 jumpers or jackets, plus a winter coat if you’ll be having a winter baby

  • 7+ pairs of socks or booties (these are easy to misplace so have extra pairs handy)

  • 3 to 4 hats (keep in mind the season when buying baby hats, as some are more suitable for winter or summer)

  • 5+ bibs, which can come in handy whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding

  • 5+ singlet’s to keep babies body temperature steady – helps keep them sweat free in summer and warm in winter

A lot of parents go overboard when they start out and find that baby grows so quickly that they never get to wear all their little cute outfits, we recommend you keep it simple, most times you will receive clothing as gifts.

The small stuff: These are items that will be good to have around the house just in case:

  • 3 to 4 pacifiers. Dummies are regulated we recommend you familiarise yourself here.

  • First aid kit

  • Digital thermometer

  • Soap free baby wash and baby shampoo

  • Baby nail clippers

  • Suction bulb to assist with nasal congestion

  • Baby monitor

  • Nursing pillow – you can even use a U shape pillow 

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