Here are some of the websites I found useful when researching baby stuff. I hope you find them useful too!
Other People’s Blogs
Eco Parents Australia: A blog by Brisbane couple including reviews of eco friendly products useful to parents.
Scary Mommy: An enjoyable, frank blog with lots of no-holds-barred pregnancy and parenting advice. Read this mostly when preggers. Haven’t had time since.
My Lovely Little Lunch Box: Lots of yummy recipes on this blog with a focus on baby-led weaning (fancy speak for letting your baby feed themselves from the get go).
Product Reviews & Guides
Product Review: A consumer website containing reviews of pretty much anything you can think of.
Choice: Consumer advocacy group with reviews and guidelines on what to buy. Some content requires membership for access.
Child Car Seats: This is the place where you can find info on car seat safety. Although all seats sold in Australia meet minimum standards, they are not all created equal. We ended up hiring a PegPerego Primo Viaggio capsule as it was safe and compatible with our Mountain Buggy Cosmopolitan pram. Bought a Safe N Sound Compaq Mk II once W outgrew the capsule. Mostly because it scores well on safety ratings and is narrow enough to fit in our surprisingly small SUV.
Australian Made Baby Gear
Surprisingly (or rather depressingly perhaps it’s not so surprising) it is very very hard to find Australian made baby stuff. After much hunting around (and unfortunately much flexing of the credit card) I’ve found and loved these online stores.
Fourzero: Organic cotton newborn baby stuff. Very nice. Very pricey. Bought the settling nightie which fit W until he was about 5kg. Makes night nappy changes easy.
Tuffys & Tuffetts: Australian made underwear. W lives in their baby singlets. Love ’em.
Joni Pony Baby Boutique: The actual t-shirts and body suits are not made in Australia, but a local Adelaide Hills lady puts the very cute little designs on and sells them on Etsy. What I’ve lost in Australian made, I’ve made up in supporting local small business.
Ewenique: Gorgeous though pricey newborn clothes in merino wool. The hat was so small (or rather W’s head was so big) we never got any use out of it. The suit was pretty cute and cuddly though.
Bamboozl: Were given a long-sleeve onsie from here. Delicious. Will definitely be buying some more as W gets bigger.
Little Wren Designs Australia: Were given some bibs by a friend. Very cute and beautifully made.
Cheeky Chickadee: Bought two very cute long sleeve onsies from here. Unfortunately, they had very short bodies so when I pulled them out thinking they were 000 size, they were already nearly too short. They’re made from a cotton with very little stretch so the smallish size was unforgiving. The press studs also pulled off the fabric after a couple of washes. So cute, but a little disappointing. (Addit: I finally got around to contacting the lady who makes them about the press studs and she’s fixing them for me!)
Fable Baby: Beautiful dribble bibs from this lady. Coveting the outfits too, but have so many hand-me-downs from friends and family it’s a little hard to justify the expense.
Haven’t bought anything from these yet, but they all stock Australian made and therefore bookmarked for when my bank account recovers:
- Master & Miss
- Purely 4 Kids
- Rosie Pose
- Bean & Me
- Down That Little Lane
- My Heart Beats Green
- Otto & Spike (I put this here as their stuff looks beautiful, though I’ll be unlikely to buy it… I’d rather knit it myself!)
- Shorties: Toys, clothes and ability to search by ‘Australian Made’.
Modern Cloth Nappy Stuff
Itti Bitti: I’ve bought all my Itti Bitti nappies direct from them online. They’ve been pretty good with the customer service. On occasion the ‘value packs’ have been shown as out of stock online, so I’ve ordered the number I need and then emailed to ask for a discount to the value pack price (e.g. order 24 soaker sets as individual items and then request the price be the same as 4 x value 6 packs) and they have always refunded me the difference! They respond to troubleshooting emails pretty quickly too.
Eco Bums: These people do a cloth nappy library service. I never used it as a friend lent me a sample of her stash, but this would be a great way to try the different nappy styles and see what suits you and bub before investing in a full stash.
Bambooty: Bought my Easy Nights nappy from here. Review to come. Australian company.
Bumgenius: Was gifted some nappies from here by a fellow MCN friend. Review to come. Based in USA.
Baby Instruction Manuals
It’s really amazed me how much about looking after a baby is not intuitive. Babies are not necessarily born knowing how to eat or sleep. We had some trouble with the first and have an ongoing battle with the second. My key advice is to relax one’s shoulders and breathe deeply whenever things are taking somewhat longer or are more difficult than anticipated. Stressing about feeding or sleeping is the worst possible approach. My second piece of advice is to do some research. Other people have had the same problem. Let them help you.
However, there is such a thing as too much research. I quickly became stressed by tables of how much sleep W was ‘supposed’ to be getting in a 24 hour period. Best advice ever was “If he’s happy, he’s getting enough sleep”. Also, each source of advice you read will be different (and even completely contradictory) to the next one. Choose one that suits your style and ignore everything else. No really. Do.
With those caveats in mind, here are some of the places I found helpful to turn when things got a bit wild in the early days.
Raising Children Network: This is a government sponsored website that is phenomenally useful and quite well set out. Everything from how to bathe a baby to nursery rhyme karaoke (I was a little embarrassed to find much of my singing to W went something like this “Go to sleep, go to sleep, da da da-da da da-da…go to sleep, go to sleep, da da da-da da…to sleep.”).
Essential Baby: This website has stacks of pregnancy and baby info, though I must admit I rarely returned to it except for one thing. I joined a ‘Due In July‘ group when I was about 5 weeks pregnant and I have never looked back! This group initially was on the forum section of the Essential Baby website, but after a few weeks moved to Facebook as a private group (none of your FB friends see anything that goes on in your Due In group). This group of women have been invaluable to me throughout pregnancy and these early days of parenthood. A mix of first timers like myself and wise women who have been there before. We share everything. It has gotten to the point where when a problem arises, my husband’s first suggestion is “What do the DIJuly girls say about it?”. Cannot recommend joining one of these forums highly enough.
The Sleep Store: As well as being an online store for sleep-related bits and bobs, there is an information section with some nice practical articles on newborn sleep and troubleshooting.
The No-Cry Sleep Solution: This is a book which speaks to anyone who doesn’t want to be a martyr but also isn’t into leaving a baby to cry. I love this book. Sensible. Practical. Gentle. I read this before W was born, got myself slightly flustered trying to implement things way to early (next time round, I’m not starting to practice this stuff with any sort of vague concern until the 8 week mark and not seriously until 10-12 weeks), but refer to it often and am still hoping I will thereby avoid the development of seriously exhausting sleep issues that have befallen close (highly intelligent and loving) friends of mine.
SIDS and Kids: While it is possible to get yourself into a state of SIDS paranoia (she says checking the video baby monitor for the umpteenth time this nap), it is sensible to know what you can do to minimise the risks of SIDS and fatal sleep accidents.
Australian Breastfeeding Association: If you are lucky enough to have the immediate and early support to get you started (I got this in hospital from some amazing midwives and a kick-ass lactation consultant) and you are blessed with a body that plays ball, then breastfeeding can be a pretty rewarding experience. This website has a stack of stuff that can help you along the way. Remember of course that if you’re not breastfeeding or you’re mixed feeding (bit of boob, bit of formula), then you are not a failure or a lesser woman/mother. Ignore anyone who even so much as implies that you are.
Medela: As a Virgo, there’s something about having everything matching that appeals to me. This makes me a marketer’s dream as once I like something of a particular brand, I will often blindly assume that they are the best at everything they make. I have a Medela breast pump, bottles, teats, nursing pads, freezer bags, steriliser bags and a rather frightening thing called an ‘easy expression bustier’ (if you’re yet to give birth and want to scare yourself silly, look here). That being said, it’s been all good, I’ve had no issues and given I’m planning on returning to work in a few weeks, a simple, efficient system for expressing, storing and feeding with breast milk was high on my list of must haves. Will get around to doing detailed reviews on all this gear eventually.
The Fun Stuff
Swistle Baby Names Blog: A blog where you can send in your naming conundrum and either the blogger (self-proclaimed baby name expert) or her readers give you their thoughts and suggestions. Quite fun.
Nameberry: Quite American but still good. Lots of name meanings, stats on name popularity, name of the day, collections of names, if-you-like-blah-you-might-like-blah suggestions. Hours of my pregnancy wasted here.
Buying Baby Gear
Danish By Design: Expensive baby furniture to lust after. After months of indecision we eventually splurged on the Leander Cot. W is still in his bassinet so I’m yet to review it. But it’s very pretty!
Hire For Baby: To make up for spending too much on W’s cot, we hired a car capsule (6 months hire is half to cost of buying one and he’ll only be in it for that long at most). They have loads of stuff. If we hadn’t been given a bassinet by a friend, it was going to come from here too. Anything you’re only going to use for a few months, consider hiring. Saves wastage, money, and trying to sell stuff on Gumtree when you run out of room to store it all.
Ergobaby: My husband’s solution to all grizzling baby moments is this carrier. It works well. I find it a bit uncomfortable compared to the Hana Baby Wrap, but it will certainly come in handy as W gets heavier. We bought ours in store at Baby Bunnings – I mean, Baby Bunting.
Love To Dream: These swaddles are the bomb. Will review properly one of these days. Got one as a hand-me-down… promptly bought several. Have at least two so there’s one when the other is in the wash.
Maternity & Nursing Clothes
Empty your wardrobes ladies, you’ll need a new rack for your tummy accommodating clothing. All pregnancy I looked forward to the days when I could put the five tops I had on high rotation away and get back to wearing my normal clothes… I completely failed to account for the fact that I would need instant access to my boobs at a moment’s notice. Not surprisingly, normal clothes aren’t made that way. Fortunately, there are some vaguely nice nursing tops out there. Unfortunately, finding nice Australian made nursing tops proved to be in my too-hard basket.
Queen Bee: Got some nice nursing tops here. Returned some I didn’t like without fuss.
Mamaway: Bought a few long-sleeved hoodie type things for pregnancy and nursing here. Always washed everything a few times before wearing as they arrived with a strange smell (or was it my overly sensitive pregnancy nose). Customer service a bit hit and miss with emails going missing and replies in sketchy English, but managed to return some things without too much drama.
Milk & Love: Anything with the word ‘milk’ in it kind of grosses me out (the lingerie line ‘Hot Milk‘ being a particular culprit). Despite that I got some really nice tops for breastfeeding from this website. So nice I went back and bought them all twice.