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So, you’re into the last months now, probably been spending money on stuff you never knew existed. Don’t forget to kit out the nursery. A word to the wise now: be practical! What will you need?

  • Cot
  • Pram/Buggy
  • Car Seat/Carry Cot – the MaxiCosi! (Ideally get a car seat adapter too to keep the thing strapped in!)
  • High Chair (the Stokke TrippTrapp might be more expenisve, but it’s excellent and lasts for years)
  • Nappies (LOTS of them)
  • Cosmetics for cleaning the little one and warding off infection
  • Things to occupy him/her
  • Babyphone (we went for the Avent one – it’s superb)
  • Baby-changing table
  • Bottles if you’re going to bottle feed (and one or two for milk if you’re breast-feeding)
  • Possibly a travel bed

That’s the basics. When you get the stuff, check it and find out how it all works. We assembled and disassembled the pram several times. Ours, the Hartan VIP XL, is really good. When you’re buying one, be sensible. Will it fit in the boot of your car? Can SHE carry the frame whilst holding Bubba in the other hand? How adaptable is it? What’s the turning circle? (Yes, you’ll be surprised how often you may need to turn on a sixpence whilst out!).

You can’t get round the car seat – the Maxi Cosi has more or less cornered the market and is that heavy plastic trough with a handle, which you carry around. These things are bulky and get very heavy but there’s no way around them! A babyphone is an essential piece of equipment. Get one with a good range and which isn’t TOO complex. We trawled Amazon for ours and got the Avent, and it’s great.

When it comes to clothes, you’ll soon realise that gender stereotyping abounds! Most baby stuff is available in blue or pink. That’s it. Girls are stuffed into pink and boys into blue. We didn’t know what gender Sunshine was going to be until he was born, and neither of us like pink anyway. So we got things in white, beige, blue and yellow (the Sunshine colour!). And that worked out well, as we have a range of colours to choose from.

You can also pick up lots at second-hand sales. Hey, the little one won’t be in much of the stuff more than once or twice, why spend oodles of money? Be practical too about how things open and close. Sunshine HATED having things forced over his head at the beginning, meaning lots of bawling. Most things are press-studded, some at the side, some with larger necks which are closed. Go for practicality, rather than cuteness.

Don’t go and buy complex stuff to keep the newborn occupied. They can’t see much, if anything, at the beginning anyway. Things that make noises and move are good, but honestly, at the beginning, your fingers and some plastic rings that click together are perfectly sufficient. Don’t forget, as they grow up, you’ll be spending more and more on toys and technology. It’s not worth wasting money on stuff for the beginning, when they can’t appreciate it!

When it comes to bottles, it’s obvious you’ll need some. If you plan to feed with formula, you’ll need a lot and it’s wise to get a steriliser too. If you breast-feed, like we are, you’ll need less equipment in this regard. Remember, though, that we guys can’t breast feed and will need a reserve of milk to be fed to the tiny chap in a bottle. We had two little bottles for such cases. I sterilised all our stuff by steaming them in a kitchen steamer for 10 minutes. That worked well.

So those are the basics. The sky’s the limit as to what you can buy. It’s best to write it all down in advance and talk it through. At the start, get only what you NEED (people will shower you with stuff when the baby arrives (we got so many dummies, it wasn’t true – not a lot of help when Sunshine spits them all out again!)). You’ll be amazed at what’s on offer out there – don’t let it go to your head. Many will say “Well, I personally think it’s wise to have it, but of course, if you don’t think so…” and shake their head knowingly. Don’t fall for that. We didn’t. Be sensible about what you want to spend. Some of it will be money down the drain, but some will be good (the TrippTrapp high chair slowly turns into a normal chair over time and can be used for years).

This is your baby – do what YOU think is best, not what well-meaning tongues say you should! Next time around, we’ll be dealing with the dreaded ante-natal classes!