There is every possible thing imaginable available for babies. From newborn-sized designer shoes, to a sensor that alerts you when your baby has pooed, to bins that cling wrap every dirty nappy, turning it into a hard, shiny, never-degradable packet (they’re bestsellers). Majority of these things either won’t get used, are totally unnecessary, or are simply baby-branding something you already have. You know, like a bin. Once the baby arrives, you at least have a reference point, but when you’re prepping, it’s particularly hard to navigate what’s a must-have and what’s insane. We know you’re conscious of excessive waste and the ecological impact of nesting (so are we!), so we’ve compiled our gold-star advice for parents-to-be who want to turn prepping into a time of upcycling, smart-shopping and benefiting the community. Honestly, it can be done.
Do pregnancy like a minimalist
If you’re clever, you can get through your pregnancy without having to totally rotate your wardrobe. Whatever your style, the trick is to buy key pieces, and wear them a lot. Long, flowy dresses are great for the office because they make you feel dressed and polished from T1 to T3. Fitted pieces in (very) stretchy fabric are great for T2 and T3 because they give you shape when you feel like you have none. And comfy maternity tights will grow with you and still be used postpartum. Finally, invest in a good pair of chic sneakers that will help you feel cool right up until D-Day, and thank the fashion gods that the athleisure trend had staying power.
You do not need everything before the baby arrives. Stores are open 24/7 and even though you have a pretty good idea of what you’re getting (a baby), there are still so many variables based on delivery, health, lifestyle and what your baby likes! Some babies are in 0000 for a month, and others jump straight to 000, some like to sleep with their arms up, others swaddled, you might use a bassinet pram, or you might find the car capsule easier to click-on and off. Gosh, your kid might refuse the certain type of bottle teet, that comes with the extensive breast-pump system you’ve just dropped a wad of cash on. So, get what you need to take them home, feed, bath and care for them, but with everything else, pump the brakes.
Ask for a lend
Friends and family love to offer their preloved babywares. Quality baby gear (prams, high chairs, cots, etc.) are made to serve more than one baby, so accept the offer. Newborn-sized onsies, singlets and socks are great to borrow because you need a lot of them (you’ll likely cycle through several outfits a day) but they grow out of them so fast! Borrowing from friends also means you can try before you buy, find out what works for your baby, and then buy it in bulk!
Don’t fret, we’re not saying you can’t do any shopping before your baby comes. For many parents, nesting is a really important step in mentally preparing for what’s to come. When the baby’s stuff starts entering your home, it all begins to feel more real. You’re going to need a car seat, sleep situation and a pram, but making the right decision first off can save a lot of waste and expense. So, think about your lifestyle: how big is your car? Do you have stairs in your house? Will your pram adventures be on paths or offroad? How much bedroom space are you working with? What do you already have that could work as a feeding chair/change table/nursing pillow. You don’t want to end up with a pram that only fits if absolutely nothing else is in your car, or a bassinet that’s too heavy to move downstairs. With bed options, consider where your baby will sleep during day naps and nighttime, whether you’ll need a monitor and what will fit in your own bedroom. When you’ve got your checklist of needs, look for versions with high safety ratings and excellent reviews. You want something that’s going to last, work well and be able to be reused by others.
In those first few weeks, you’re so consumed with feeding your newborn, you sometimes forget to feed yourself. It’s so important to make sure you are getting lots of nutritious food postpartum, and hopefully your loved ones will be delivering food on the reg, but it doesn’t hurt to get a little organised yourself. Cook, portion and freeze meals, so post-birth it’s easy to eat something good when you get the chance. This will also save you from relying on Uber Eats and all the disposable packaging that comes with it.
Every mother’s feeding journey is unique, it might be a dream from first latch, it might take a while, or it might not work at all, and that’s OK. Hospitals will provide you with everything you need to get your newborn fed, from advice to formula. Once you’re a few days in, you’ll know what you like, but it’s smart to prepare yourself a little “first days” nursing survival kit. We recommend: a pair of nipple shields, a couple of dummies, some bottles, hot and cold packs for your boobs, breast pads, nipple balm, comfy nursing bras and, of course, maternity pads. These are great things to pop on your baby registry, and if you end up not using something, pass it on to a friend when it’s their turn. A lot of these things are also helpful in the last trimester (particularly cold packs and nursing bras), so picking them up early means you can get more out of them.
One way you can really help the community and do good out of the baby “stuff” boom, is by planning to donate when you’re finished with something. There are dedicated charities set up for baby goods, but each organisation differs slightly on what they can collect, so be sure to check the specifics for your local charity. You can also donate your breastmilk! Sometimes this can be done through your hospital, otherwise you can contact Milk Bank for more information. New technology developed at the University of Sydney has created a way to turn donated breast milk into a longlife powder form that doesn’t require refrigeration and can be transported all over the country to feed babies in need. The Australian Breast Milk Bank is set to be operating soon, so you get triple good karma points for this one.