Preparing for a new baby – what do I really need? Part 1

As expectant mums-to-be, it can be so exciting to prepare our babies room especially if we enjoy decorating or have an artistic flair! A visit to a baby store or a flick through a parenting magazine may leave us feeling overwhelmed with just how many things our babies need and for many of us, the potential cost can also be overwhelming.

The good news is it is possible to create a beautiful room for your baby on a budget whilst remaining green and budget conscious!

The reality is babies don’t need half of what is advertised. Some of it can make your life easier but most of it is just plain unnecessary and costly.

I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve found helpful but I’m sure there are many of us who have survived on less!

What do we need?


These can be purchased secondhand on ebay or at but need to meet strict safety standards. If you are going to purchase something brand new – this is the item! You can hire capsules (which can be handy in the early days) from your local council inexpensively and this will fit babies up til 6 months. Convertible carseats are a good option to buy new as they last longer.

A SLING or baby carrier

Many mums will tell you these are essential! These are perfect for newborns and unsettled babies and will keep your hands free to do things like shopping or housework. Babies also benefit from the security of being close to you (more info on babywearing) and may settle quicker and sleep longer! You may find you need a pram once baby gets a bit bigger but in the early weeks it’s nice to keep baby close.


This is for learning and development. These don’t have to play music or flash lights (in fact I would argue these are too over-stimulating for baby) they just need to be be colourful. These are great items to find at garage sales or as hand me downs and are most useful once your baby has hit 6 weeks and needs some tummy time to strengthen its muscles in preparation for rolling.


Op shops, recycled boutiques and online stores are excellent sources of secondhand baby clothes. Smaller sizes are only worn for a short amount of time so are often in excellent (like new) condition. Singlets, short sleeved bodysuits and all in one suits are the most sensible for newborns although a few cute outfits can also be nice! It’s also nice to share clothes around your circle of friends.


It can be wise to stock up on disposable nappies when  they’re on special especially in bulk. However, if your’e looking for an eco-friendly and much much much cheaper option you may want to consider modern cloth nappies. See setting up a MCN stash on a budget


If you are planning to co-sleep (more info on co-sleeping) then you need nothing except a few wraps! There are some fancy co-sleeper beds that attach to your bed that you can buy if you think it will be too squashy. There are also snuggle beds that you can pop in the middle of your bed to keep baby safe when you’re not there (e.g during the day). I actually got one of these this week for free from an op shop. It looked dirty (which is why it was free!) so I thought I’d take it home and see if it was salvageable. I took it apart and washed it and it looks like new!

BASSINETTE or CRADLE– If you want baby in your room but not in your bed

A COT – Even if you choose to co-sleep and wear your baby there may be times during the day when you will want to put your baby down to sleep during the day. If you have other children a baby may be safer contained in a cot if their siblings are likely to go looking for them!

These items have been essentials for me. I could also write an article about all the things I bought that I’ve never used or found useless but I’ll save that one for another day!

See our ethical shopping directory for online shopping options!

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