First baby? Don’t go overboard with your purchases
YOUR first pregnancy is, understandably, a super exciting time. It may seem a great idea to paint, decorate, and buy lots of furniture and all the toys and accessories the stores seem to suggest are necessary, but take a moment to think about what you're going to need first.
Ask around friends or family members who have babies or older children to think back and get some hints on what they bought or borrowed and which items worked for them.
There are lots of ways to save money and still have everything you need for your new baby's arrival and homecoming.
Babies don't care where you bought their crib, how well set up their change table is or whether or not you bothered to fold their onesies into the newly sanded and painted chest of drawers.
You don't need to go to extremes painting - keep your walls as they are, make them neutral and add easy-to-remove stickers or pictures.
It's recommended that babies "room in" with parents for at least the first six months of their life.
Whether you choose a bassinette, cot or safe co-sleeping, it's well worth considering this before you spend big bucks decking out a room that may not be used very much in the first year.
Accept all offers of hand-me-downs or loans. Hit the sales whenever you can for heavily reduced items, look for easy access clothes and remember to buy for the season your baby is born in.
Car seats can cost so much that it's a good idea to research the ones you might be interested in, then stalk them, and when the one you want goes on sale - pounce on it!
You can save money over time by buying a seat that will last from birth to eight years.
If you do buy second hand or accept a a free seat, be sure it has no damage, hasn't been in a car accident and still complies with Australian Safety Standards.
Pram or carrier
Whichever suits you, make sure you have test runs in the store or with a friend's. These can be expensive items, and you need one that really suits you and your baby.
It's worth waiting until your baby is born if you aren't absolutely sure of which carrier you want.
A sleepy wrap will be perfect for newbie (a little secret - they come with sleepy dust, and babies love them) and free your hands up without sending you broke.
Jody Allen is the founder of Stay At Home Mum: http://www.stayathomemum.com.au