AUSSIE GUIDE - THINGS TO KNOW AND BUY FOR 1ST TIME MUMS

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Are you going to be a 1st time soon-to-be mum or dad? Confused where to start? Well I had no clue either when I discovered I was pregnant at the end of 2005. There is so much information going around that one does get really confused. Here, I am writing this guide not to confuse you further but to list some of the useful things I have discovered in my year long journey to 1st time Motherhood. Hopefully this will help some of you out!

1) WHICH GOODS ARE GOOD FOR MY BABY, WHERE DO I START?

We found a subscription to Choice Magazine online (choice.com.au) one of the best investments we ever made! Choice does lots of independent testing on all types of Australian goods and recommends the best. A three month subscription sets you back $16.95 and entitles you to unlimited articles in regards to all the things you may need for your new baby (e.g. cot, strollers, joggers, baby food, etc.) plus tonnes of other things of no relevance or only slight relevance to baby (for instance that new plasma tv you were thinking of getting using the baby bonus! Or, perhaps a new digital camera or video camera to record your baby's first moments in this world). You can always find Choice magazine's best recommendations then shop on eBay or the shops for the best price!

2) WHAT IS THE BABY BONUS?

If you have a baby between 1st July 2006 and 30 June 2007, you are entitled to a $4,000 baby bonus from our Australian Government who try to encourage us to 'have one for mum, one for dad and one for the country'. On the offset it may look like an attractive bonus, but in reality it hardly covers the costs of having a baby, much less raising one. You get this bonus by sending in the forms that the hospital gives you after you have given birth - so don't worry about this part as the hospital will have everything ready for you to fill in and send away for your baby bonus. However, if you have thought of splurging it on a new stereo system or plasma tv... forget it. I repeat - f-o-r-g-e-t   i-t! You need all that money plus more(!) to prepare for your baby. Before your baby arrives, there's obstetric consultations, ultrasound scan bills and hospital bills (for daytime or overnight observations if there are complications - your private health insurance might cover overnight stays, but you may have to pay a gap). Then there are things you need to buy in preparation before the baby's arrival - baby car seat or capsule, cot, changetable etc, formula (if you are not breastfeeding), special laundry detergent for baby's sensitive skin, products for baby's care (eg baby bath oil, lotion, nappy rash cream etc) baby's clothes, nursing pads and maternity bras (esp for breastfeeding mums), nappies (esp if you plan on using disposables), and so forth. 

3) WHAT ARE THE EXTREME ESSENTIALS FOR BABY?

  1. Baby car seat/capsule (This is crucial, as you can't take baby home without this in the car!)
  2. Baby cot or bassinette (A cot is essential, but a bassinette is optional, however I have found that in the first few months when you want to keep baby close, a basinette is a great thing to have as you can place it right beside your bed, so when baby cries to be fed, you just need to sit up and get baby from the bassinette! Great for when you are half asleep in the middle of the night!)
  3. Baby sling like a Baby Bjorn (This item is quite costly, but you can buy 2nd hand ones on eBay for a fraction of a brand new one. Bear in mind you can pop this in the washing machine if it gets dirty! I know this is probably not essential for alot of people, but if you are one who is always on the go, and pushing a large cumbersome pram is not your thing, then I would recommend a baby bjorn! I have found it gives me alot of mobility esp when out grocery shopping, and cuddling baby close makes baby happy and helps enhance my bond to bub in the first few months!)
  4. Bunny rugs and burp cloths (These are great and has multipurposes! You will find yourself washing them all the time! Later, when they become all shabby, they are great to use as rags for cleaning the house or the car)
  5. Nice decent sized baby blanket to swaddle baby in as soon as baby arrives (Keeps baby happy and settled!)
  6. Baby clothes (For winter - long sleeve rompers/wondersuits, plus singlets to wear under these, and for summer - loads of singlets and bodysuits, plus cute 1-piece rompers with snap buttons on the bottom for quick nappy changes. IMHO, snap buttons are the best invention ever when it comes to baby clothes! If not, make sure they are easy to pull on and off (has stretch), and the neck is not too small, as baby can get upset if you spend too long trying to pull a top with a tight neck over their head and it gets stuck!
  7. Baby changetable - Great but not crucial - if you are on a budget you can buy a padded foam change mat from Big W, Kmart or Target for under $15 and change baby on the floor or bed on this thing, or buy this to use with a cheap 2nd hand changetable on eBay (for hygenic purposes!)
  8. Nappies - Whether you decide to use cloth or disposables, nappies are a must! There is no way you can get around this. If you decide on disposables, be prepared to use 6-8 nappies a day when your baby is newborn as you should try and change everytime after a feed (and as newborns, they tend to feed more often as their tummies are so teeny!)
  9. This is free, but just takes a little time and lots of understanding - Patience and LOTS of love and cuddles! You will find that most babies cry alot, and sometimes it can get frustrating on your part as you try and figure out WHY. However, try and see it from their point of view. They got yanked out of your cosy warm womb into this world naked and helpless, unable to fend for themselves, unable to speak. When your baby cries, they need you to help figure out what is wrong - is it too cold? Too warm? Are they bored, do they just need a cuddle? Or maybe they are hungry again...

I hope you find my guide somewhat useful in some way! Good luck on your own personal journey to 1st time Motherhood or Daddyhood! Hope you find it as fulfilling and exciting as I have so far! I am continuing my journey, and will write more guides as I gain more wisdom into this wonderful world of motherhood. All the best! :)

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