About 5 years ago I was verrrrrry new to idea of parenthood as we were planning to welcome our first baby into the world. For many months I'd been online researching all of the different things that I would *need* for our baby. If you're reading this, then I probably don’t need to tell you that it’s a minefield out there. There were so many things that I all of a sudden learnt I needed just in case my baby would sleep/wouldn't sleep, self settled/rocked to sleep, breastfed/combination fed/formula fed, items for tummy time, sensory play, free time and of course sleeping bags for every different sleeping position and season.….the list goes on. And I think when you're new to it all and you don't really know what you're in for, one way you feel like you can prepare, is by buying lots and lots of different baby items and paraphernalia.
According to Canstar, studies show that new parents spend $10,000 in their baby's first year of life. Its easy to see how it can add up when you factor in all of the different costs there are before you even have your baby. Most people consider new furniture such as a basinet, cot, feeding chair and baby rocker to be essential items along with a car seat, clothing and bedding. Investopedia claim that the average spend on baby clothes is about $60 per month for the first year, but this varies and is highly correlated with income. Many of us probably know how easy and tempting it is to spend this much on a single outfit or pair of pre-walker shoes for our littles.
Now, I'm definitely what you would call 'minimalist-leaning'. I don’t like clutter, I'd rather not spend money if I don't have to, I get really annoyed at myself if I indulge in anything excessive or wasteful, I much prefer good quality over cheap and nasty. But I also wanted a cute nursery room to welcome our little bundle into. I had visions of her being impeccably dressed everyday and you know, because we were going to be out socialising ALL the time I'd need a really good pram and some great comfortable and breastfeeding-friendly clothes for myself (this little person as going to fit in with my lifestyle, not the other way around)….sound familiar anyone???
It makes me smile at my pre-baby self as I write this. What a different time that was. Now I would like to offer a few little bits of wisdom to any mindful, minimalist or just plain confused parents-to-be out there that may be reading this. I hope that it helps you with some of your pre-baby purchasing and planning. Maybe even a little bit of stress reduction too. So here goes…
Second hand baby items can be a total score!
Buy second hand. Consider Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace, Ebay and maybe even op shops. I know that this idea can have a bit of 'ick factor' to some people. I've seen it on my friends faces when I've suggested it too. But I've gotta say, don’t knock it before you try it. Because I've also been there for their compliments on my cot, change table, swing, rocker and pram. All of which I bought second hand from Gumtree. Depending on where you live, these online sites vary in popularity so check a couple of them out to work out where people from your area prefer to sell.
My hot tip is… you just have to be picky, like you would be in a shop. Research the brands you like and search for them, ask the seller questions about quality and condition and even ask for additional photos if you are re not sure. One thing I have to say is that I would usually only end up buying second-hand items off people that I got a 'good vibe' from. I could often tell from the amount of effort put into an ad, the quality and quantity of photos supplied and the sellers communication style as to whether I was keen to go and look at the item and ultimately buy it. I rarely ended up buying the cheapest thing in the brand that I wanted because I would opt for things in great condition. Something to think about here is that if your baby then damages the item (biting the side of the cot…did you know that was a thing!?), its not like you've lost as much money as you would if you'd brought it new. Secondly, if you go to resell it again once you're finished with it, you may even get a similar price to what you paid if it's still in great condition. So yes, clearly I'm an advocate for this approach in some situations. Although I won't lie, this can take a little bit more time and patience.
Some of my favourite brands to buy second hand have been Boori, Britax, TasmanEco, Bugaboo and Baby Jogger. As an example, I bought our Bugaboo Cameleon3 pram in outstanding condition with many extras in 2016 for $600 (RRP for a new one was about $1500 at the time). Two children, 4 years and 3 house moves (including 1 overseas) later, I sold it for $200 in 2020. So all up that was a total expenditure of $400 on our pram, and it was fabulous!
Friends with kids can be wealth of knowledge.
Ask your friends for recommendations. Find out what brands your friends use, ask them if they do or don't like it and then ask why? Even better, if they're still using it ask if you can see it or try it out. Not only are personal recommendations the most helpful, you become more knowledgeable when you're in a baby store looking to make a purchase. Lucky, because those places can be overwhelming! Your friends also know you, your style and your lifestyle better than a shop assistant will so they might even be able to suggest other brands that could work for you.
Its not a race to do all of your shopping before B-day.
Wait…..don't feel like you have to buy absolutely everything before the baby comes. There are definitely some essential items that you're best to have before bub's arrival. A car seat is pretty essential to be able to leave the hospital. However, once your baby is here and you get to see and experience their needs and you work out which things would actually make life easier and which things will just take up more precious space in your home for very little benefit. While it’s true that you are exponentially busier once you have a little person to care for, in the early months you also have a lot of time where you are sitting around feeding. So you are able to jump on your phone and make online purchases.
How many is too many?
Lastly, cool it on the quantity. Its easy to believe that you need a minimum of four baby sleeping bags and four fitted sheets when you are being advised by a well meaning shop assistant. Yes, one to wear two spare and one to wash is nice. But these things are costly. And believe me you'll be doing more washing, more often then you ever believed possible, so you can generally get by with just 2 of most things. Who knows, you may end up with a baby that vomits a lot or has nightly poo-namis, but it's easier to buy more once you know that you'll get use from them.
Get the best organic baby clothes around
When it comes to baby clothes Curious Kind has you covered. Babies grow so quickly (thank you captain obvious)! Depending on how big they are when they're born, they may only be wearing size 0000 for a few weeks. So why not consider renting this size from us. Who wouldn't want to smother their new baby in soft organic goodness? Plus, you'll spend just a fraction of the price, be able to afford more items, you can send them back as soon as they're outgrown and we don't start your subscription until you have bub!
Depending on your budget and preferences you can either rent the main staple items of your baby's wardrobe from us on a monthly subscription and then return them when you want new styles, sizes or the season changes. Or you can buy your baby's clothes and then utilise our Little Loop Return Program to receive 15% store credit for the return of any Curious Kind pieces that you've ever purchased. Either way, you've spent less money and gained access to a huge wardrobe of organic and sustainable clothes for your baby. Look at you go, you future-protecting parent-to-be!
One of the best things about Curious Kind is that it allows you to literally try before you buy. When you buy in a store you can't take the item home, take the tags off, wash it and then wear it for while before you decide whether you want it. But with us you can! Start out by renting pieces and then if you decide that it works better for you or you just love them a lot, buy them! Then when you're finished or they're worn to death, return them to us and we'll pay you for your hand-me-downs!
Come and shop our gorgeous collections at curiouskind.com.au. Drop us a line if you have any questions about sizes, styles or how we do things.
See you there!. x