Having a baby? Here are 4 things to skimp on and 4 that are worth their weight in gold.

I was a month out from my due date, I was moving house, and I had a grand total of one item ticked off the dreaded 'baby-stuff' list. 

Sound familiar? 

If so, welcome, you are my people. The kind that believes if you put a task off long enough, it will eventually pack up shop and leave you be.

Watch: Your questions about childbirth, answered by mums and non-mums. Post continues below. 

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I cannot overstate how overwhelming I found the baby-stuff list when I was pregnant. If you’re anything like I was in my third trimester, you’ve gone to make the list, panicked, become engulfed by the utter enormity of the task, closed your laptop, and poured yourself a glass of (crappy, non-alcoholic) wine. 

Firstly, don’t panic (like I did). I promise you will get your head around what you need and what you don’t. Secondly, and this is important from a cost perspective, repeat after me: Facebook Marketplace. 

Remember that cornucopia of weaponry and survival paraphernalia in The Hunger Games? That’s Facebook Marketplace, but for baby things.

We got most of our nursery furniture from there and every experience we had was a positive one. One dad even offered us a beer for the drive home after helping us strap his baby change table to our roof. 


Here’s a list of what’s worth the investment, and what you can afford to skimp on:

Pram (invest, but check out second hand options first).

Well hello there, if it isn’t the most expensive and confounding item on your baby list! 

It’s true, choosing a pram is basically like choosing a new car. And you’re likely to use it even more than your trusty vehicle in your first year of parenthood. But that’s not to say you must splurge for a brand-new model.

You’ll find a range of second-hand prams in great shape on marketplace or eBay and if the COVID era has you worried about hygiene, there are companies that come to your house and do a professional pram clean. 

Here are some of the most important things to look for in your new wheels: 

  • Adjustable handle height - if you and your partner/other carers have a height difference, you’ll want to be able to adjust the handle for everyone’s comfort.

  • A big canopy – Straya, am I right? That Aussie sun finds a way to get in even when you think you’re in a shady spot. Babies under 12 months shouldn’t be exposed to direct sun when the UV is over 3, so a pram with good adjustable shade will give you priceless peace of mind. 

  • Adjustable seat with multiple positions – when you change from bassinet to baby seat, you want it to have multiple positions, the ability to face both directions and lie back to almost flat so that your baby can nap on the go. 

  • Underneath storage – I initially got a pram with a tiny under basket and ended up selling it. I thought I’d be fine taking everything I needed in a backpack, but I was very wrong. 

Bassinet (skimp or borrow).

This is another good one to get second hand or borrow from a friend or family member. 

You will only use it for the first six months (max) and if used with a mattress protector, it should stay in really good shape. 

We got a fantastic bassinet second hand for about 30 per cent of the cost of it brand new. 

I recommend getting a bassinet with a side that fully drops down and adjustable legs so you can line it up with the height of your bed. It makes a huge difference at 3am to be able to roll over, drop the side and grab that little angel for the 16th time without dislocating your shoulder. 

Cot (invest, but not yet).

Worry about this one later. You don’t need the cot until bub is big enough to move out of the bassinet so don’t add more clutter to your space until the time comes. 


Change table (invest).

If you can, get one that attaches to the top of a chest of drawers with lots of storage.

My personal preference was also that the change table part was front facing rather than flush against the wall. I find the extra space easier for dodging rogue wees and face kicks now that my baby is a bit older. 

Breast pump (invest, but not yet).

You never know what your feeding journey will be like until you’re on it, so I recommend waiting to get a pump until you know what’s what.

If you do end up breastfeeding, a good pump will be a godsend. My recommendations are that it’s a double pump, hospital grade, and lightweight for pumping on the go. I pump each night before bed so that my husband can give the baby a bottle overnight and so I don’t wake up with two rocks attached to my chest.

If you borrow this one or purchase second hand, I recommend buying brand new pump parts and bottles to ensure everything is nice and sanitary for your newborn.

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Car seat (skimp by skipping the capsule).

If you’re going to go second hand here, just ensure you know exactly where it’s been. Borrowing from a close friend or family member is a safer bet than going online, as it’s important you know that it is in good condition.

My personal recommendation is that you skip the capsule and go straight to the 0-5 years car seat. This way you’re only buying one and not having to upgrade after six months. 

Baby bath (skimp).

If you have a bath in your house, then fantastic! You’re all sorted. If you’re purchasing a baby bath, you can’t go too wrong with the range that’s out there.


Cute baby shoes and fancy newborn outfits (skimp or skip all together!)

Newborn babies don’t need shoes. Yes, they are adorable and super fun for photos but it’s very likely you will put them on your kiddo a grand total of one time before they grow out of them. Leave these to the fun uncle or family friend to give you as a gift. 

On that note, newborns are also sleepy little creatures so in the early days, you’re mostly going to want a whole lot of good old, trusty zip up onesies. Plus, they grow at a mind-boggling rate in the early days so save the fun dresses, overalls, and chinos for when they’re a bit older. 

I know it feels daunting, and aside from the sheer volume of things you think you might need, the potential cost of all this loot might be enough to put you into premature labour. But thanks to second-hand marketplaces on the web, investing in the big-ticket items on your list doesn’t always have to mean going brand new. 

Try to remember that your baby’s arrival is not the deadline for you to have absolutely everything you need. Take advantage of anyone asking "do you need anything?" in those early days and send them off on a mission to pick up your new change table. They might even be treated to a beer for the road!

Hannah Vanderheide is a writer, actor, and voice artist with a beautiful new baby boy. She's also a body-neutral trainer, eating disorder survivor, and wellness industry sceptic who loves to write about the sensible side of health.

Feature Image: Supplied.