Midwife Grace Strange discusses what to buy for your baby
OHbaby! editor Kristina Rapley interviews Grace Strange – midwife and star of our online antenatal class to discuss what to buy for baby in our first episode of the OHbaby! podcast. Find some great tips on what to buy and what to hold fire spending money on, and some great tricks to save you time and money.
Preparing for your first baby is an exciting time, but it can also be confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out what you do and don’t need.
“The first thing you need to think about” says Grace, “is where they’re going to sleep. With your newborn you’ve got three options – a moses basket, a bassinet, or a cot. You’ve gotta decide on your budget. Most people will do either a moses basket or a bassinet for those first three or four months, then they’ll put their baby into a cot once they start rolling and have grown out of their moses basket or bassinet…They ideally would sleep in the same room as you for about six months”.
While buying a brand new cot or bassinet is not essential, Grace suggests that you do buy a brand new mattress as you don’t know what spills or mould may be inside a secondhand one. She also recommends using breathable fabrics such as wool or cotton for your baby’s blankets, wraps, etc.
Once your baby is rolling, they’re ready to transition into a cot and this is the time to remove anything extra such as cushions, toys, or blankets and ideally sleep baby in a sleeping bag/sleep sack. It’s also important to make sure their feet are touching the bottom of the cot so they can’t slip down, says Grace.
Changing, bathing, and cleaning
Babies have very sensitive skin, so make sure you use natural products such as water wipes, or make your own wipes with cotton cloths and water. Grace says that while cloth nappies are a great option, this is not practical for everyone. Even buying one pack of biodegradable nappies a week or using just one cloth nappy a day makes a big difference, she says. “That’s 365 nappies each year not going into landfill.”
A baby bat is a non-essential item, says Grace. “You can bath your baby in the kitchen sink. You also don’t need to bath them everyday, in the newborn phase in those first few weeks you might only bath them once or twice a week... It’s actually recommended that you try not to bath them in that first week, to try and keep all of those lovely microbiomes on their skin which helps them line their gut and helps them with their immunity.” She suggests just wiping their face and neck with a warm cloth on days they are not bathed.
Out and about
Capsule or carseat? This is an often debated topic! “A Capsule is a carseat that is removable.. and is usually used for the first 6-9 months, they are actually really handy as a new parent, if your baby has fallen asleep in the carseat you can take them out and put them in the pram.. Having those adaptors to the pram that you can put the capsule into is awesome, having your sun and storm covers.. making sure that your pram is the right height for you and your partner [is really important]” says Grace.
When it comes to feeding, Grace says that “the most essential part is having a really great space in your home to feed, especially in that fourth trimester you’re going to be doing a lot of feeding… making sure you’re in a really comfortable spot where your back is well supported, making sure you’ve got snacks and a charger”. As far as breast pumps go, Grace suggests they’re something that you can easily buy or hire once baby arrives, if you do need one. What about bottles? “I do recommend having at least one bottle, and that you take it with you to the hospital. They generally won’t give you formula unless it’s deemed medically necessary. So if you want the option you’re going to have to take it with you” she says.
Newborns grow fast so you don’t need a huge amount of items in that size category. You also don’t know how big your baby is going to be at birth. Grace recommends having about five of each item of clothing such as bodysuits, jerseys, pants, etc. “If you’re having a winter baby, ideally you would have almost everything in merino wool. All cotton if you’re having a summer baby, and a combo of each if you’re having an autumn or spring baby”. Tip – buy items with zips rather than domes or buttons so that you don’t have to undo everything to change them. For mums, Grace suggests high waisted, comfy pants, and high waisted, large underwear. Adult diapers are also becoming more popular than maternity pads, she says. It’s also good to think of breastfeeding friendly clothing such as button down shirts, and maternity bras and singlets.
Newborn first aid kit
A thermometer was the number one item Grace suggests for your newborn first aid kit. “Buy the best one you can afford. You want to be 100% sure it’s going to be correct” she says. Other essentials included bandaids, gauze, saline, pamol, ibuprofen, and a snot sucker for when baby is congested.
Education for parents
Being an antenatal teacher, Grace praises these classes for being a fantastic place to meet people. “Having a baby can be a lonely experience… It’s really great to have people that are going through the same experience as you at the same time” she says.
Take away: You don’t need everything! Just think about things that are going to benefit your life.. And your baby. “As long as they’re fed and they’ve got somewhere safe to sleep, they’re totally fine,” says Grace.
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