September 8, 2015
You don’t need a lot of furniture. The baby shops try to sell you lots of it, but most of it is pretty useless. This is what we got:
- Cot - Tasman Eco Sienna. It’s big, and convertible to a toddler bed and children’s day bed, should be able to get a lot of use out of it! (edit: the older one used it until he was 2, and passed it on to his sister, who used it until she was 3. Could have easily fit in it until she was 4!)
- Chest of Drawers with change table attachment. We got a matching Tasman Eco chest of drawers and bought the change table attachment too. Regular trolly change tables become white elephants once the baby’s too old to lie on them, but with this one we can just remove the change table attachment. It’s nice to have all the clothes and nappies handy when changing the baby too! We got the version with the 3 little drawers on top, which has been handy for little baby items like socks, bibs, wash clothes, as well as having nappy rash creams and wipes nearby! When buying, make sure the height is reasonable for both you and your partner. Change tables that are too low down (or using the bed) will quickly give you a backache. Better to use the floor than the bed, fwiw.
- Bouncer: Didn’t have this with first baby, regretted it and bought one second hand for $5 at the baby market. It’s the best thing ever! I wouldn’t pay too much for it or get one with bells and whistles, but it was the best $5 I’ve ever spent!
- Bassinet/Cradle/Moses Basket: Having one of these is handy when the baby is very little, just cos you can have the baby in the living areas of the house with you when he/she sleeps. They are definitely not essential though! We were lucky to get a very very nice handmade cradle for the babies from their uncle :) My babies fall asleep anywhere (usually under some random bit of furniture, like the piano chair right now!) after they’re about 3 months old, but all babies are different, and some will much prefer to sleep at set times in their own bed.
- When our two children were old enough, we moved them into a lowline bunk from Bunkers. It’s low enough for the upper child to be tuck-in-able by an adult, and we’ll put their desk and some storage under it when they are school aged. Right now, it’s a good cubby house.
Out and About
- Stroller - we got the Mountain Buggy Swift. It’s a great stroller, light and narrow and really easy to push, even for taller people (we’re both well above average tall, but not off the charts tall). Look for one where you don’t have to change your stride when walking to push it. Make sure your partner can push it easily too. Make sure it fits in your car. One that has a car seat attachment (usually sold separately) for your capsule is a wonderful. When we had 2 and needed a double stroller, we got the Mountain Buggy Duet. It too was wonderful, being no wider than most 3 wheeler single strollers, but comfortably fitting a 3 YO in it. We used the double stroller until the youngest one was about 2, she was pretty good at walking after that. Having a double stroller with 2 children close in age is very valuable, because even though your toddler can walk, he/she gets tired quickly, and can bolt. It’s hard to push a stroller/carry a baby in a sling, while trying to catch the other child, esp if you have shopping to carry too!
- Capsule - we got the Safe and Sound Unity capsule. Its the only one that’s big enough for a largish baby for 7 months or so (it says 12 months, but you’d have to have a pretty small baby!). That’s long enough for them to face forwards after outgrowing it. The S&S Unity can be attached to the mountain buggy strollers, which makes shopping trips and outings a dream. It’s great not having to wake the baby up when you get to your destination! You don’t strictly need a capsule (you can use a convertible car seat), but we totally loved ours. Made trips much much easier! They’re also slightly safer than a regular car seat. It’s been used by 5 babies now, and going strong!
- Sling - We bought both the Hug-a-bub and the Ergo baby carriers. The hugabub is great for tiny babies, most people didn’t even notice I was wearing a baby when they were very little! It’s so comfortable they fall asleep in it after about 3 seconds! It’s a bit fiddly to put on at first, but you get used to it quickly. It’s pretty good for older babies too, we had ours in it even at 14 months! We got the Ergo cos it’s a bit easier to put on for quick trips, it’s also fairly comfortable (more comfortable for dad than the hugabub, but not for mum, in our case), and can be worn as a baby back pack. Baby loves it too! Slings are great for trips out, and especially good for travelling places where you don’t want to carry a stroller.
- Cloth nappies: We got a whole lot of bumwear pocket nappies for the first baby. They’re one size, and they worked pretty well initially (after he was about 7-8 weeks old, he was too skinny for them before that). Unfortunately they delaminated by the time his sister was born, so we bought a whole lot of other nappies. We tried some Happy Heinies, Rumparooz, Baby Kangas, and Fuzzibunz. So far, the Fuzzibunz have been my favourite. The inserts from the first batch of nappies were fine, so we only bought outers the second time. Pocket nappies are great cos they dry really quickly and are a breeze to assemble. They fit on just like a disposable nappy. People get scared of washing them, but it’s not hard at all. You just tip it out in the toilet (you can squirt liquid poo off with a squirter (see below) if you like), put it in a dry pail, and chuck it in a washing machine. We do an extra rinse cycle before the wash cycle, and set the washing machine to do a second rinse cycle after washing them to get the excess detergent out. We used to use half quantities of Omo sensitive to wash them, but then we discovered soap nuts. Soap nuts work fantastically for washing nappies and everything else, and don’t leave a residue on the nappies.
- Nappy squirter: Something like this: http://nappybucket.com.au/item_213/Nappy-Diaper-Sprayer.htm that attaches to your toilet plumbing. They’re great for getting poo off clothing and nappies. You can even use it as a bidet. You can buy them like that, or just buy the bits from Bunnings and assemble yourself. Costs about $35 from bunnings. Make sure you buy *pink* plumbers tape to install it though. The pink stuff is teflon coated, and doesn’t leak like the blue stuff!
- Disposables: We use disposables at night (we’ve never found a cloth nappy that holds enough liquid for our babies overnight!), at daycare, and on trips. The best ones we’ve found are the Aldi mamia ones. They work great for us, no rashes (we had a lot of problems with pampers and rashes, and huggies never fitted right). They’re cheap too, which is always a bonus! You don’t need any nappy disposal systems. Just shake the nappy into the toilet, and shove it in the rubbish bin! We do have a bin we only use for disposable nappies that sits in the toilet though, keeps them together.
- Wipes: We only send them to daycare. At home, we just wash the babies in the sink when pooey (don’t need to really wipe them when they’re not). You can also just make your own wipes using bits of cloth (polar fleece works great, and you don’t even need to overlock it), just squirt them with some water (you can mix some Sorboline in if you like to make them work a bit better) and wipe their bum. You can chuck it in your nappy pail to wash with the nappies afterwards.
- Nappy rash cream: we very rarely use it, and never on cloth nappies. When we do use it, sudocream works pretty well!
- Terry Towel nappies: we never used them as nappies, but they’ve been great for mopping up messes of all sorts. We still use them on a daily basis almost 5 years after we purchased them!
- Breast pump: I didn’t really use one till I went back to work, but some people like to express and be able to go out without the baby :) I have one of these: http://www.mothersdirect.com.au/catalogue/breast-pumps/amedapurelyyoursbreastpump (it’s double electric, it’s fantastic!). I expressed every work day from 7-12 months for baby no. 1 and baby no. 2, it was quick and easy. :)
- Bottles/teats: We only used Philips Avante bottles and teats (1 and 2 hole ones). Only because it was the first brand we tried and it worked for our baby.
- Storing breastmilk: We used the same bottles as we fed the baby in to store the milk. You can get a pack of 12 or so of them with lids instead of teats specifically for freezing/refrigerating milk/baby food. It means you don’t have to bother transferring the milk, and you have a lot of backup bottles :)
- Baby food: We just fed baby what we ate (minus salt if possible). We also made big batches of soup and froze them in single serve sizes (using ice cube trays/muffin trays/baby food freezing containers) for days we didn’t have baby-eatable-food and for daycare. When on holidays, baby ate mostly packaged food, he liked the rafertys stuff. He got pretty sick of them after a week or two of eating them though, so I wouldn’t recommend making them a regular feature of their diet. Best saved for emergencies! Our baby also loved rice cakes (regular ones are more healthy than ‘baby’ ones, and taste better anyway), all sorts of crackers, and bread. All those things make great food to put in your baby bag when out and about. Once he had enough teeth, he basically ate off our plates when going out anyway. Look up baby lead weaning for a good way to effortlessly raise a non-fussy eater without having to make baby food!
- High chair: IKEA! The cheap one. It’s what all the cafes and restaurants use too. It’s easy to clean, comfortable for baby well into toddlerhood, and because they’re so common, baby doesn’t make a fuss when you eat out! You can always chuck it in the shower if a particularly bad mess happens too.
- Depending on the season your baby is born, all you need are some onsies or body suites initially. Don’t buy anything else, cos you’re bound to be given heaps of clothes by everyone who visits you! Once your baby is born, and you’ve got all your presents, you’ll know what you’ll need. One piece outfits tend to work best for little babies, two pieces are nice once they’re a bit older (after 3 months or so), it means you only have to change half their outfit when they spew/explody poo. Ask your friends with older babies/children for clothes. Most people have tonnes stashed away, and would gladly pass them on to you too!
- Another thing you’ll probably get given lots of. Babies don’t need a lot of toys, you’re their favourite toy! We did find having a play gym handy though. Little hanging toys for their carseat/pram are nice too, but wait till the presents are done! :)
- We used the baby dan baby den to secure our stair area, and the front of a particularly wide door opening. For our kitchen door we use a love’n’care swing gate.
- Our power outlets are covered, and we got some special child proof powerboards. To plug stuff into them, you need to twist them with the end of the plug. They worked for a while, but curious babies were smarter than them.
- We attached the computer monitor we use as a tv to the wall.
- We use mag locks on the cupboards, including in the vanities. Our baby figured out the plastic lever locks in about 2 weeks. The mag lock keys can be stored high above so the baby can’t reach them. They’re available at bunnings. Mysteriously, getting the version with the key included costs less than getting the locks without the key.
- We replaced our fly screens with secureView. Very important if you live above the ground floor like we do. We’re very happy with the purchase.