Wednesday 8 May 2013

what does a newborn need?

I have been asked so many times lately if I'm "ready" for #baby5 to arrive. And every time I answer "no way!" But today I bought some nappies, so I consider myself ready if she pops out tomorrow!

But if there's one thing I've learned since I had Chloe 15 years ago, it's that the list of things you need before baby arrives is actually quite small.

Car restraint
This is a legal requirement to be able to carry baby in a vehicle. Make sure it is compliant with Australian standards (it will be marked on the box, and on the restraint when you remove it from the box.) It's up to you which style you want from newborn - I've used a reversible car seat, and capsules before. Reversible car seats don't fit in my current car, so we will use a capsule this time (one of the few remaining items from Riley's baby years.)

I have always found that for the first three months of baby's life, onesies are a mum's (and dad's) best friend. They're easy to slip on and off when poo-splosions happen (and they will happen) , you don't need to change baby into anything at night time, and they come in a huge variety of makers, colours and sizes. Buy a couple of 0000 for bringing baby home from hospital, but invest most in 000 and 00 sizes, babies grow much quicker than you think they will! Singlets and socks are a great way to build layers to keep baby warm - I put the socks on under the suits, less chance of them falling off or being in the way for nappy changes.

A sling or carrier
This one truly comes down to personal preference. When Chloe was a baby, I carried her everywhere instead of bothering with the pram. I had never heard of a carrier or sling, so when Natalie was born and I was dealing with a reflux baby and big kids, a bit of google (and eBay) research led me to Baba slings. I still have my original sling, it is fantastic for quick trips to the supermarket with lots of kids in tow, and for use around the house when bub wants mum but mum needs to cook, etc. I've also used an Ergo carrier with both Natalie and Riley. It was fantastic as they got bigger for longer trips to the shops or any visit, walking, adventures we had planned. And dad can use it, too!

Wraps/blankets/bunny rugs
Handy for swaddling, especially in the early days, great for throwing over baby if you're not sure about how warm they are, especially handy for cleaning up random projectile vomiting. And laying baby on the floor at playgroup/mum's group/the house of Great-aunt Mabel who has three big dogs.

Burp cloths
I made burp cloths for Riley, but had an enormous pile of towelling nappies for both Chloe and Natalie. Whatever shape or fabric they come in, it's handy to have a small cloth over your shoulder every time baby gets near it. And even more important for dad who will whinge and carry on about vomit on his clothes. Between 15 and 20 is a good number, but you will be washing them every day in the first couple of weeks, baby can't help the small spit-ups after feeds.

Lotions and potions
I'm of an age now where I use the same products my mum used. I've tried other things, but I come back to the smells and memories of those products every time. For probably the first two years, I just wash baby with Johnson & Johnson head-to-toe wash. It's slightly milder on hair than the old no-more-tears shampoo, and smells fantastic!

I was given a bottle of Johnson's baby lotion when Chloe was born. I think I might still have the original bottle. This is another awesome smelling product, but I was never really sure what to do with it. It found a job when I had sticky sudocrem to get off baby's butt, because it wiped away with ease!

Johnson's baby powder has always been on my shelves. I think my grandmother still uses it to dry her feet! In our house (and growing up) it was called "foof" Great for rubbing in to all those creases on a newborn and making sure they're dry and smell-so-sweet!

Lastly, I use Bepanthen. Chloe called it "nanny's magic cream" - it's fantastic for sore nipples in the early days, great for soothing baby's bottom, and fantastic to heal the kids bumps and scratches (I currently have 3 tubes in my room, all in use) I smear it on baby's bottom at every nappy change for the first few months, and have never had a problem with nappy rash.

Nappies are another personal preference. I used terry cloth flats with Chloe, as that was all I had available to me, but chose disposables for both Natalie and Riley. I did try to convert to modern cloth nappies with Riley, but found the expense of purchasing the nappies was more than our budget could handle at the time, and they were often too bulky for his clothing. This time, I'll be sticking to disposables, although I'm open to trying a few different brands as baby gets older.

Washing clothes
I've always used Sard Wonder Soaker. It's slightly cheaper than other brands, and I've been using it so long it's second nature. A couple of nappy buckets with well fitting lids will help keep fingers out of the soaking clothes. I'd recommend soaking all baby's clothes in the first few months - poosplosions and dribble can leave yucky stains and ruin the look of clothes. It isn't necessary to use a different laundry powder just for baby's clothes, wash them all in the same load (baby touches your clothes, sleeps in the sheets, uses the towels, why make work for yourself by keeping clothes separate?)

Washing baby
A midwife once told me that babies who showered with parents were more used to putting their faces under water, and therefore didn't mind doing it when learning to swim. My anecdotal evidence is that this is true for my older kids. A baby bath is an extra expense, taking up extra space that isn't really necessary in the beginning - this girl loves standing under the shower with water washing over my belly, so I don't see she will be any different once she pops out. It is handy in the beginning to have standing by with a towel, as babies can be slippery, and no matter how many you've had, you always feel like a butterfingers in the first few days.

Extra equipment
Cot or bassinet - personal preference. I have co-slept with all my children, so never used either a cot or bassinet. Make sure whatever you buy is compliant with Australian standards.
Port-a-cot - another personal preference, but I believe it is unnecessary.
Pram or stroller - I still have the pram and stroller I bought when Natalie was a baby. They are handy to have as baby gets bigger and is away for longer periods of the day when you want to get out of the house. Because I'm an advocate for baby wearing (using a carrier or sling) I don't see the purchase of either a pram or stroller as necessary until baby is at least six months. But again, personal preference.
Rocker - I have used a rocker with all my babies. It's handy to move baby into whatever room I'm in (especially the bathroom!), and great for reflux babies to sleep in without any discomfort. There are so many different sorts available on the market, shop around for one you like. But the bells and whistles aren't necessary.


  1. Wow you have read my mind with this post!! We use the Johnsons head to toe and powder and sudocream and will continue when no3 turns up. I wish I had found out what I am having as there is very little neutral stuff around. Ebay and babies and kids markets will be up on my list when it is born. Luckily we still have our bouncer and carrier, I am getting a new pram as mine is 4 years old and has done 2 kids and is on its last legs!! I agree with the shower, it is so much easier plus dad gets to be involved more. My biggest tip is son't uy too many newborn nappies as they are not in them for long!!

  2. Seems like Johnsons has been around for many many years and the smell of it just makes you think of newborn babies. (The nice clean just out the bath smell, not the yukky side of it!)
    Seems like you have everything organised, now all you need is the baby!

  3. What a great and comprehensive list, Cate. And I agree about the baby products - there's nothing like that sweet baby smell after a Johnson & Johnson bath (or shower). :o)

  4. Oh I agree with almost all of these! Have been writing a similar post in my head for the last few weeks!!

    Particularly agree with the baby bath thing. I think the only thing I used ours for was making a water play station for Lior when he was like 1! Haha! Definitely so much easier to just put them in the shower with you, and I always thought it was a great skin-to-skin time also, particularly with Daddy. :)

    I wonder what this second baby will be like. Things like burp clothes I had with Lior, but seriously NEVER used them. Probably only like 3 times in his entire life. But maybe this next one will be spitty? Who knows!


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