Just. say. no.

Baby wraps. Cots. Prams. Bassinets. Bouncers. Nappies—fitted cloth or disposable? Nappy creams. Lotions. Mobiles to go above the cot. Clothing—zips or press studs or buttons? (Haha! Actually, that one is easy. Go the zips!) Baby monitors. Thermometers. Baby bottles. Teats. Formula. High chairs. Car seats. Five-point harnesses. Baby wipes. Bibs. Yoga classes. Baby massage. Music lessons. Art classes. Baby gymnastics.

Oh. My. Goodness! The list is endless. Walk into a baby store or one of those Expos and you’ll find a lot of very “helpful” people making you feel that you would be an inadequate parent if you don’t buy x or sign baby and yourself up for y and, heaven help us, you can’t possibly bring baby home without z!

Now, it’s easy for me to suggest you “just say no”, but sometimes salespeople are very, very pushy, so if you need some ideas, feel free to borrow any of these lines:

  • Sorry, not interested

  • Thanks, but we’ve already ordered some

  • Wow, these look great. I’ll have to check what my partner/mother/sister/brother/friends/work have brought me

  • May I take a card? My baby shower is next week

  • Special offer only today? Hmm, I don’t respond well to high-pressure sales tactics, so it’s a no from me

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They don’t need much…

A full tum
A clean bum
Somewhere safe to sleep
Someone to care for them
Someone to care about them
Appropriate shelter and clothing

Sigh. The marketing is always ahead of the science. Pushy salespeople, annoying Facebook ads, friends and family, the supermarket or pharmacy: there always seems to be someone trying to sell you the latest cure-all. All too often, the evidence is thin on the ground. But never let science get in the way of a $ale!

Then there is the pressure to have that super special stuff. That amazing cot which will convert into a bed and then a piece of occasional furniture? If it brings you joy and is practical, sure, go ahead and buy it. But not if you’ll have to work double overtime for the first six weeks of baby’s life to afford it!

Baby needs you way more than baby needs stuff. Babies don’t care what label they are wearing or what car they travel in. They need to be fed, changed, washed, loved, talked to and played with. The best toy? You. Or their other parent/s. Siblings. Grandparents. Cousins. Friends. Sticks. Cardboard boxes. Books. Dirt. Mud. Nature. Time.

Make up a story. Borrow a book from the library. Put a piece of patterned paper with lots of contrast above where you change their nappy. (For a link to a checkers pattern, push the button below.) Go to the park. Let them watch, feel and hear the wind in the trees. Give your child (and each other) your undivided attention. This is what they will remember. Not whether you came home with the “best” cot, the “best” high chair (but please get safe ones) or the “best” clothing.

Finland offers mothers a box of essentials, which in 2019 has 63 individual items (most babies in Australia won’t need the snowsuit or balaclava hood...) and the box itself can be slept in! It can be as simple as that.

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Don’t succumb to the lie about having more stuff

Too much importance is placed on living up to those perfect Facebook or Instagram posts. These are not real! Good parenting is about spending time together and building lasting relationships

For good advice on safe, appropriate equipment for a newborn, it’s hard to go past the Choice, also known as the Australian Consumer Association’s (ACA) information. Some of the content is free, some you have to pay for, but the advice has no commercial bias, the products are tested and compared to the national guidelines and the information is practical and regularly updated.

Life with a newborn is tiring and can be complicated, but don’t make it more difficult than it needs to be by thinking you have to look good all the time or need to buy and do all that extra stuff.

Need ideas? Support? Mothers/fathers groups—perhaps you could start one with other local families. Library activities. Playgroups. Church or community activities and groups. Parentline. Mummy blogs and Facebook pages can be wonderful or terrible. If they make you feel bad about yourself or are mean to you, leave.

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Make time

to play with
to look at
to listen to your child
and share the joy