Parental tools of trade

Before you read this, take note: this is not ‘Essential baby things’. Its more about the things I/we thought we needed when building our overgrown and unkempt nest for our little ones. Its not an endorsement of any company’s products nor is it Choice magazine’s best products on the market. 

Caveat emptor: if there was a gadget for testing the IQ of your unborn baby – I would buy it.

1. Nappies

Without doubt, one of the most resource-intensive aspect of having a baby. In the old days, it would have been terry nappies, which would turn the poshest of houses into a San Franciso backstreet Chinese laundry. These days its disposables that are supposedly so easy to put on that any idiot can do it (provided you figure out which is the back and which is the front). The question then is: “what do I do with poo-filled nappy, when i have one hand on my baby’s privates and the other with something that resembles green rice pudding?”

Well it may not be a single-handed operational gadget (get used to the references about being able to use one hand to operate), but Tommee Tippee have a nappy bin that is great for getting rid of multiple smelly nappies and saves countless trips to the rubbish bin (which is probably already full of other shit – so to speak). How it works is that it creates a sausage dog of dirty nappies all neatly tied off individually, so that takes care of the smell emanating from the baby room, and because it can hold around 20 nappies you dont have to empty it until its full. It has a long bin liner that can be tied off by turning the handle and then when you put the next one in, repeat the process. Once its full tie the end of the liner and turn the handle again and it makes a not-so-neat cut which allows you to remove the liner and throw in the bin. Simple but effective.

2. Monitors

Video or audio we have about 3 in the house – 2 video and 1 audio. Great for paranoid parents and when there is nothing on TV (so about 95% of the time). There are quite a few on the market, but expensive in Australia so I would recommend buying them overseas as its usually about $50-100 cheaper. 

Popular brands: Summer Infant, Lindam, Luvion, Phillips (Avent), Angelcare, Oricom (Aus), Motorola and Samsung.

I bought the Luvion, Lindam and Motorola models which are all great. You might want to invest in video monitors as they also have audio mode which saves on battery life.

3. Bathing

Not really my area of expertise but one thing I would say – use the kitchen sink! Although make sure to take out all the dirty dishes and pans before you bathe them.

If you have a large porn star bath like we do – get a bathing seat or baby bath to put in – and then get in the tub yourself (your back will thank you when you’re 50).

Baby baths are great to put on tables and counters but remember that when its filled it can be quite cumbersome to empty unless you are right by the sink and it has a hose that you can pull out to empty it. The first time I tried to empty one I managed to spill half of the bath water on the floor and the other half on me. And you look like a drunk tramp when you try and stagger 10 metres carrying it to the sink. Alternatively, get a bucket and empty it from wherever you are.

All the other stuff you will learn from the midwives or pick up as you go along.

4. Transport
You can really go to town on this – honestly, I can fill my car with all the equipment needed just to get the baby a short distance. Buggies, strollers, scooters, baby carriers and thats just for me.

Gerry Harvey wont like me for saying this, but try before you buy (online). Baby stuff is like wedding stuff, as soon as you mention babies or weddings, the markup goes through the roof. So shop around, if you can get the same buggy online or overseas cheaper, then try it out in a shop and then go somewhere else to buy it. Sounds like common sense, but you would be surprised how many people are still paying through the nose for products in Australia.

Best brands: Mountain Buggy, Maclaren, Bugaboo, Phil and Ted (or is it Bill and Ted?), Stokke (if you like having your baby up high and resembling a shopping trolley, go for it – although that being said, they are very manoeuvrable). We have Maclaren stroller and Mountain Buggy. Both solid and reliable brands.

Baby carrier – only really one brand for me: Baby Bjorn – so cool and comfy I would still have Frankie in there if she didnt weigh 15kg and was a metre tall. Slings can be dangerous, especially if you catapult your kids (only joking) – I did read somewhere that you cant tell if they are breathing very easily and there was a story more recently that a newborn died in one so I wouldn’t buy anything that obscures your view of bub.

Car seats and capsules – if you can rent a capsule do so, otherwise its money down the drain in 6 months’ time (mind you get used to that too). Car seats for toddlers are pretty much Safe and Sound; you cant really buy car seats abroad as safety requirements are different here (more lax if you ask me).

5. Clothing
Again, not my area, but buy in bulk and in different sizes, blink and they are a size 00 before you know it. Avoid the Bonds all-in-one jumpsuits – its like watching Houdini escape from a straight jacket getting Sybella out of them – supposedly easier and more comfortable without buttons but imagine yourself trying to get into a jumpsuit with only a slit for an opening around the bum area (actually I might try that later on).

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