Getting ready for your first baby

If you're expecting your first child, you're probably looking forward to baby's arrival. Although friends and family may already be offering advice for what to buy, along with hand-me-down clothes and gear, resisting the urge to shop can be tough. Here are some tips for buying smart for that all-important first baby.

Getting ready for your first baby

The basics: From newborn to nursery

You will probably start off with a basket or bassinet that the baby will sleep in.

  • It can be placed next to or near your bed for easy access in those early days.

Fairly soon thereafter, baby will make the move to his or her own room. In it, a well-designed crib, dresser and changing table will be essential.

Do your homework on crib safety.

  • Canadian officials warn against using older cribs that may not pass for construction.
  • Crib mattresses should be bolted down; the gaps between the side walls of the crib must be narrow enough to avoid the baby's head being caught.
  • The crib should have a lockable drop down side.
  • Remember to regularly check any screws or fittings.

A dresser is useful for storing baby clothes and provides space for items such as baby wipes and diapers.

Changing table
The changing table should have slightly elevated sides for baby's safety.

  • A wide range of styles are available, so you can go simple or very ornate.

Thinking ahead: Rockers and sofas

At the very least, you will also need some form of rocking chair for those midnight feeds and bonding times.

  • A small sofa bed can be useful for nights when you want to keep a close eye on baby.
  • Granny's offer of her old wooden rocking chair may be tempting, but think about your comfort rather than tradition.
  • A chair with padding on the seat and arms will be much more comfortable for hours of rocking baby, especially late at night.

Buy now or buy later

Items such as prams, strollers, baby rockers and body-hugging baby slings are best bought after baby has arrived.

  • Other than the nursery furniture, have a stock of necessary items on hand, such as diapers and wipes, and invest in a good quality diaper bag for storing diapers, wipes and those all important changes of clothes for you and baby.

Clothes for baby

Hand-me-down clothes from friends or family are a great start.

  • Save money by purchasing clothing only after the child is born, when you have a better idea of the sizes and types of clothing you will need.
  • Invest in a few very good pieces for occasions such as christenings and holidays, but buy functional and cost-effective items for everyday use.
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