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Thread: What Do New Mums REALLY need?

  1. #1

    What Do New Mums REALLY need?

    Hey ladies,

    I am not sure if this is the right forum for this question but I was hoping you could help me out. I am a young, single mum in my late second trimester. I am going to be doing this almost completely on my own. Though my parents have accepted my pregnancy, they still are not really going to help out much. For one thing, I have five younger siblings that they are trying to provide for, another is that they do not have a lot themselves, and lastly they have made it clear that I will be responsible for this baby.

    I want to parent my baby as naturally as possible. I am currently still living with my parents, sharing a room with my younger sister, though I have started the search for affordable apartments. I work full-time so I have a bit of money, but my budget is extremely tight. I wanted to know, from experienced mums, what the essentials are for a newborn? What could just not live without?


  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Hi Addy,

    What a great question - what essentials are needed for a newborn - things you just can't live without!

    Well, I actually wrote a book entitled "Great Bargains & Freebies for You and Your Baby", and in this book I talk about how to care for baby on a "shoe string budget".

    When I was expecting my first baby, my husband and I were both working. But we planned for me to stop working as soon as baby arrived, which meant that we were going from 2 incomes down to 1.

    So I started early, planning what I would need... and what I wouldn't need.

    First of all I talked to a breastfeeding consultant who told me that babies who sleep with their mother pattern their breathing after their mother, so the incidence of SIDS in babies who sleep with their mother was very, very low.

    That convinced me that I wanted to sleep with my baby, so I didn't need a crib or a bassinet. I slept with all 5 of my babies, and never used a bassinet or a crib. When baby got older (like around 18 months) and I started transitioning them out of my bed, I just used a playpen. Again, I didn't need a crib because the playpen worked just fine. I could also take that the park or to a friend's house, and when baby needed to go down for a nap, or when baby needed an area to play, the playpen worked well. I had one that collapsed down small and was not hard to carry around. If you decide to get one later, look on Just do a search for "Australia" or whatever area you are from and you'll find a group in your area. I see baby items come up on freecycle all the time. I've even given away a car seat and a stroller, plus I got a stroller for free on freecycle. Oh - just this week I saw a nearly new crib that was offered. Only used a few months and like new.

    The items you will most definitely need are nappies. Here's a great little blog by my friend, Kymberly on cloth nappies. She welcomes questions and will help you with any questions you may have about nappies.

    If you're going to use disposable nappies, then I found the best way to get started with those was one of two ways.

    1. If your church, family or work throws you a baby shower, ask for disposable diapers in all sizes (you can always exchange the larger sizes for the smaller ones if you need to).

    2. Each time you go to the store, buy a package of diapers. If you plan to use disposable wipes, then buy a package of diapers one week and a package of wipes the next week. This helps to stretch the cost out over time, rather than having a large cost all at one time, when baby arrives.

    Clothing - Again, try for this. Lots of baby clothes come up on freecycle. You can also find some good quality used clothing at second hand stores. I don't think I bought a single item of clothing for my first baby that was new. I loved shopping at second hand stores and coming up with some great buys! Oh - babies don't need shoes until they are walking well, so don't be tempted to buy them just because they're cute. Save your money for when they really need them.

    Car Seat - This one is a necessity, so if I had to say that there is one piece of equipment you would need for your baby it would be a car seat. Usually family is really great about buying this. Grandma or mom or Auntie. If this is not something you will be given, then, again, look at freecycle or a second hand baby store. I've found that the second hand baby stores in my area don't take car seats which are more than 2 years old, so you'll often find one that's in great condition and fairly new. I was given a car seat for my first baby, and it was used. But I used it for her until she needed a larger car seat. I do like an infant car seat for the first few months because it makes it very easy to move baby in and out of the car, and if baby is sleeping, you won't disturb him/her.

    Stroller - this would probably be my #2 necessity. It's not truly a necessity, but it does make going out with baby much easier. If possible you'll want one that will allow you to put the infant car seat in it - again, just makes it easier to move baby from one place to another without waking.

    Baby blankets - I found these at second hand stores too, and they didn't cost much. Always good to have on hand.

    Newborn hats - I had a couple of these on hand. 100% cotton. Got them from the second hand store. Will help to keep baby warm during the first few weeks and is the first thing the midwife will place on your baby (a blanket and a hat).

    Socks - I put these on baby's hands so baby doesn't scratch himself for the first few weeks. Works great on the feet too (keeping baby warm).

    And probably the last thing I would say is really important would be some cloth nappies - either new or used. Some nappy services will sell a large bag of used nappies for a good price and you can use those for burp rags, for breastfeeding (cleaning up when my baby would pull off the breast and my milk would get us both wet) and for laying over a little boy's penis while you're changing him (to avoid a "water fountain" which little boys are notorious for doing during nappy changes.

    I would also lay these cloth nappies over my chest at night because I didn't like sleeping with a bra on. Oh - and I would place one under my baby's head at night when we would sleep together. Anytime he was hungry, I would turn over and breast feed, and any dribbles or little bits of spit up would be caught by the cloth nappy under his head. If it got wet, I would easily change it out and put a fresh one down. They are SO handy.

    And one last thing I just thought of us a little pair of baby nail clippers. I think that's about all. A swing can be very helpful for putting bub to sleep, but it's not a necessity. You really don't need much to care for a newborn. As long as they are warm, dry, fed and well rested - that's all they need.

    Anyone else have some ideas of things that are necessities for an infant?

    Warm regards,


  3. #3
    Hey Addy,

    What a good question!

    I see you have had a really great reply from Kate.

    I've not much to add to this apart from I agree that you don't need tonnes of stuff for a new baby. It's good if you can borrow items from friends or relatives as some baby products are only used for so short a period of time (e.g. if you want to use a Moses Basket - your baby will probably only be in it for a couple of months).

    The only thing I can think to add which I found invaluable is a baby carrier. We used a Kari Me carrier from 0-12 months of age and now use a Mei Tei. I found wearing my baby helped to settle him, he loved to sleep in it and it was an excellent way to bond with my son. It also gives you your hands free so you can (attempt to) get some jobs done.

    I also found my nursing bras invaluable (I had 2 to start with and then got a couple extra after a few months) as well as breast pads - and I'm going to use LilyPadz with my next baby because mums on here rave about them (instead of disposable breast pads)! These are different to other breast pads because they work to stop your milk leaking. I also found a manual breast pump useful.

    I look forward to sharing in your pregnancy journey with you - I'm 22 weeks pregnant with my second baby.

    Best wishes,


  4. #4
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Those were more great suggestions by LJ. The baby carrier isn't a "necessity" (per se) but it surely does help to settle baby and also helps to give your arms a break. I used a front pack until about 6 months, and then switched to a back-pack when I needed to do dishes, ironing, vacuuming, food prep, etc.

    I found a backpack at a garage sale so it was very inexpensive, so you could save up for that and buy a used one at a great price. The backpack also came in very handy when we were at the grocery store. I preferred one that had a "kick stand" so that I could set the backpack up easily to put bub in and take bub out.

    Nursing bras were important for me, and something I never thought of until my mother-in-law suggested that she take me to the store to buy a couple. Always nice to have at least two so when one gets wet with milk, you can easily put another on while that one is being washed.

    And nursing pads... I used both disposable and washable. The washable ones are a good investment because you buy them once and don't need to continually be buying nursing pads. You will need something, though, to help keep your bras dry. You could even make some yourself. Just use cloth diaper fabric (cut it up) or some soft flannel. Here are some great instructions for making homemade nursing pads.

    I'm going to make another post showing you how you can make your own menstrual pads because this is something else that will be an absolute necessity.

    Warm regards,


  5. #5
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jan 2012

    Making Homemade Menstrual Pads / Sanitary Napkins

    Menstrual pads are something you'll definitely need after baby arrives because you will be bleeding for a few weeks. I've used both disposable and homemade flannel, and I used them at different times, for different things.

    Here are some videos showing you how to make homemade sanitary napkins and how to wash them.

    Hope this helps as you prepare to mother on a "shoe string budget". You really don't need lots of things. Your baby will appreciate so much the love he or she received from mum.

    Warm regards,


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