Baby on the way? Congratulations. Started shopping yet? Yeah, it can be pretty overwhelming. Finding the right foundation is hard, but finding the right *anything baby related* is an emotional headscrew. And expensive! But it doesn’t have to be. To save you from forking out for exxy gadgets you’ll only use once, cute but ridiculous clothing you won’t use at all and to stop you from filling your house with garishly coloured plastic, we are here. Think of the memo as the place where your research has been done for you. A place where you’ll only find essentials that have the highest ratings, are considerate of the environment, look great and are considered the best of the best by people who know: parents. In fact, that’s how the idea for the memo started, a list of “the things that make life with a baby easier” passed between a group of Melbourne-based parents, then forwarded, added to and edited as the list was put to the test by more and more babies.
Now we think of the list as the best things you can receive, or give, when a baby is on the horizon — a.k.a the MVPs of baby shower gifts. Whether you’re going to hold festivities or not, your friends and family are going to want to shower you and your baby with gorgeous gifts. Get used to it. In fact, we suggest you embrace it, make it easy for everyone, and minimise the waste by creating a registry. No duplication, no unwanted gifts and no wasting your loved ones’ money. Plus, in the spirit of sharing the love, for every registry made on the memo, 5 percent of the total value is donated to the St Kilda Mums to helps provide families with everything they need for their children.
Whether you’re rolling with a bassinet to start with or going straight to a cot, you’re going to need a few sets of sheets to get you through washing cycles and accidents. 7pm linen sheets have a great range of neutral, non-gender-specific colours in block or classic bed stripe designs, are natural, sustainably made and designed to be cherished for generations.
2/10 Swaddle bags
Babies sleep swaddled until they lose their startle reflex or start rolling over (both at about four months). Swaddling comforts and soothes your baby, and yeah, you might really enjoy wrapping your baby the old fashioned way with a muslin cloth, but in the middle of the night when you’ve already been awake for an hour feeding/burping/nappy-changing and you’ve got to do it all again in two hours, you don’t want to be spending another 10 minutes performing origami on your baby in the dark. Plus, those newborns are little Houdinis, they can wriggle out of the tightest of swaddles and regularly wake themselves up with a finger in the eye, resulting in less sleep for you and them. Swaddle bags save you from all this caper. Some bubs like to sleep hands up (Love to Dream), some hands down (ErgoPouch). We recommend trying one of each to see what your baby prefers.
Not essential, but wow, this French obstetrician-designed nest is raved about for helping newborns — and their parents — get some quality sleep. The lack of which is something expectant parents fear the most. The elongated, semi-fetal position allows babies who have lost their known landmarks in the womb to feel safe and content. It also makes travel in the first three months super easy — it’s small and light and the only thing your bub needs to sleep. If money can’t stretch to buy a non-essential, this is a great gift for your friends to go in together to give you, and in doing so, crown themselves Best Gift Givers of All Time.
4/10 Skip Hop Changer
Babies wee and poo everywhere, not just at home. Everywhere your baby goes, a loaded nappy wallet should too. Stock it with everything you need to change your kid’s butt: nappy, wipes, disposable nappy bag, spare outfit (in the event of a poonami). They fit nicely in your baby bag, but when it’s change time, fold out large to protect even the squirmiest of babies from car seats, public change tables, grass — wherever you find yourself needing to change a nappy. Plus, they’re water resistant so they’re easy to clean. We particularly love the Skip Hop Changer. Whilst it’s still compact, it’s our largest nappy wallet and holds a lot of nappies.
5/10 Liewood Hooded Towels
Have you ever seen a cuter towel? Obviously no, but that’s not why Liewood Hooded Towels are on the list. Well, not the only reason. Bathtime with babies can be slippery and tricky, and keeping your baby warm is important. Just like adults, babies lose half their body heat through their head, so keeping it covered means you can easily keep them warm and buy yourself more time for drying and dressing. the memo stocks the larger towel rather than the baby towel size because it will last you years rather than months. These also make great beach towels for summer holidays to come.
6/10 Braun Thermoscan
Australia’s number one ear thermometer (the choice of paediatricians and doctors worldwide) is money well spent. When sickness hits, and stress levels go up, you’ll be so thankful you made the investment. A baby’s normal temperature can range between 36.5°C and 38°C, so it’s good to know your own baby’s baseline temperature so you can more accurately monitor any changes.
7/10 The carrier
Once you get your baby into a carrier, you’ll feel like you’ve got a new lease on life: you’ve got your arms back! Both the Ergo Baby and Baby Bjorn carriers are great for being streamline when you’re out and about, but you’ll find you use them even more when you’re at home. Sometimes your baby just wants to be close to you, but you also need to get stuff done: pop them in and you can do your makeup, work on your computer, prep dinner — whatever you need!
8/10 The monitor
Monitors are so much more than just ways to alert you when your baby wakes. They sense the room temperature, play lullabies, have two-way talk systems, act as night lights and more. When choosing which is right for you, think about your home and where your baby will sleep. Will you just need audio? Video too? Breathing pads? Or everything? Oricom have a monitor to suit all needs, including a pack with the works while the Kodak Cherish has the option of app connection, so if you’re away from home you can still watch your baby. It also takes an SD Card so you can record and save monitored moments.
9/10 The rocker
Need something to hold your baby? A bouncer can do that. Babies feel safe and secure in bouncers (so often prefer them to lying flat) and are still able to observe and interact with you while they’re in it. The Charlie Crane Levo is appropriate up to seven months old — and looks great with your decor. While the Baby Bjorn Bliss Rocker can be converted into a seat and be used up to two-years of age. Both gently rock when your baby kicks or waves their arms which helps with motor skills and brain development. But mainly, you’ll love it because it holds your baby.
10/10 Something beyond newborn
A lot of gifting goes into the baby’s first three months, so it’s good to think beyond the newborn stage. It’s currently recommended that solids be introduced at around six months, which means you’ll need less bottles and more baby-appropriate plates and bowls and cutlery before you know it. Bamboo tableware is great for kids because it’s mostly made from natural fibres and is extremely durable. Liewood bamboo baby sets have everything you need for weaning: cup, plate, bowl and spoon, while Love Mae also make great divided plates that come with a suction cup to stop it being thrown by active toddlers.
Looking for more advice? Check out our guide on how to throw a modern baby shower.