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As you prepare for your first trip away with your baby or toddler, you'll quickly learn from other seasoned parents that a travel stroller can make travelling with a small child so much easier.

As you start looking at different options, you will quickly see that there can be a considerable financial outlay for a good travel stroller - Especially given in many cases, this won't be replacing your everyday pram.

As your search continues to find a more budget friendly travel stroller that ticks all the boxes, it's easy to see how many unsuspecting parents may be swayed by the ultra-cheap counterfeit travel strollers popping up on various websites such as ebay and AliExpress.

You only need it to last the length of your holiday though, so a cheap knock-off should work, right?

Well. Not exactly.

Even though the more budget friendly dupe of the brand name stroller you love may look the same, there are some very significant differences.

Fake baby gear. A very real problem.

Whilst appearing to have a very similar frame, construction and fabric, that dupe of the travel stroller you love might have some visual differences. That's not where the differences end.

Knock off bay gear more likely that not won't comply with the very strict safety standards that are in place to keep everyone safe.

The Genuine products that pass Australia Standards and meet these stringent tests, have had to cover a significant financial outlay to have their products tested against the standard to ensure in complies.

Some of these tests ensure that their are no pince hazards when folding or unfolding the frame, no strangulation hazards - all Australian Standard prams and strollers under the latest standard must have a harness that can separate to prevent accidental strangulation. Then of course there is testing for harmful substances. You wouldn't want your child to be exposed to lead, formaldehyde or anything else that may be harmful to their health.

Hire the baby gear only used briefly

Hiring isn't for everyone, however it's a budget friendly and environmentally sustainable option ideal for accessing items that might otherwise be considered a luxury given how quickly some items are outgrown.

Items such as bassinets, baby bouncers, baby swings including the popular 4moms Mamaroo can be incredibly useful in the easily days, however are quickly outgrown. The cost of purchasing these items can very quickly add up (not to mention the task of storing such bulky items).

As an added bonus when hiring baby gear, if your baby isn't a fan of a particular item, a substitute can often be arranged for the duration of your hire (Plus, you won't have the heartbreak of having spent $400+ on an item your baby may not like).

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Avoid buying bottles and dummies in bulk...for now

Babies can be extremely fussy when it comes to bottles and dummies. Purchasing one or two bottles or dummies can be a great way to see if your baby likes the brand and style you've chosen before your commit to purchasing a bulk lot of bottles and dummies.  Similarly, It is best to not purchase too many dummies or bottle teats in the same size. Both dummies and bottle teats need to be replaced and sized up and checked for wear on a regular basis.

Dummies have specified age ranges to ensure that they do not become a choking hazard. The shield will often increase in size as the recommended age range increases.

Bottle teats are sold in various sizes and/or flow rates. A newborn will need a much a slower rate of flow than a 6 month old, whilst a 6 month old might start to fuss if their milk is too slow or difficult to drink.

Once your baby has indicated that they're happy with a specific style of bottle or dummy, those multipacks are a great way to stock up. For increased longevity, try to look for multi-packs that include larger bottles,rather than small newborn sized bottles.

Bottles that only fit newborn quantities of milk will often need to be replaced within a few months. You may prefer to purchase medium or large sized bottles that your baby can continue using as their feed sizes increase.

 

 

Hire a baby capsule, but make sure it fits!

The convenience of a baby capsule cannot be overstated - especially if you have older children to drop off and pick up from school, daycare and a multitude of other activities. There are also car capsules available that are specifically tested to accommodate premature and low birth weight infants.

The downside to using a baby capsule is that they're typically outgrown by 6-12 months (sometimes earlier if your baby is big). Baby capsules can often cost as much (if not more) as purchasing a good convertible car seat.

Hiring a baby capsule is a more budget friendly alternative to ownership. When hiring a baby capsule, you'll also be given the run-down on how to use it adjust it and complimentary professional installation, so you can be sure your bundle of joy is traveling safely.

Better yet, you won't have to find the space to store the baby capsule between babies or worry about it going mouldy in the cupboard.

You can also hire a extra capsule base for your second car or grandma's car, along with capsule adapters to to turn your pram into a travel system.

As with all car seats and baby capsule, it is an absolute must to ensure that the baby capsule fits your car and the needs of your family (does it fit your pram, allow for other passengers in the car, suit your babies size?).
It's an excellent idea to book in for a car seat consultation well in advance. This will allow you to be fully informed of the best options to suit your needs, so you can be fully informed when you book your capsule hire.

 

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Create a 'Capsule Wardrobe' for your Newborn

It can be very easy to get caught up in the cute newborn outfits, shoes and accessories - all in newborn sizes (because everything is so damn cute when it's so tiny!).

The reality is most average sized babies outgrow newborn clothing in about 5 minutes (figuratively of course...mostly).

Newborns sleep a lot, and really only need clothing that is comfortable and temperature appropriate.

Consider a 'Capsule Wardrobe' as a more cost effective and sustainable alternative.

What is a capsule wardrobe? 

A capsule wardrobe is a collection of clothing composed of thoughtfully curated, easily interchangeable items designed to maximize the number of outfits that you can create.

Basically, a capsule wardrobe allows you to create a variety of different outfits with a small selection of clothing items. This will be especially useful when the time comes for outfit changes when out and about - Everything will match!

A capsule wardrobe for a newborn will likely include several jumpsuits, a variety or short and long sleeved bodysuits, some leggings or pants, a couple of tops, cardigans and jumpers and of course the essentials such as singlets, baby hats, bibs and socks.

The exact items you include will be dependent on the season when you baby is born, the temperature your home is kept at and as well as other factors.

If your baby has reflux you may find that you need a few more outfits to get you by. The same basic concept can be adapted to suit your needs, the temperature and outfit preferences.

A capsule wardrobe could be repeated when you baby goes up a size, adapting the available options as the season changes along with your baby's needs.

Set up a recurring subscription for baby formula!

If your baby (or babies) have moved onto formula, the cost can quickly add up on top of all of the other expenses that accompany babies and toddlers.

When you setup a recurring formula subscription, you can have tins of your preferred formula delivered to your door (at weekly, fortnightly, monthly or whichever frequency works best for your family.

One of the main advantages to setting up a recurring subscription is the ongoing discounted price. Of course there is the option to cancel your subscription at any time.

As an added bonus, with a recurring subscription you won't need to go on a formula hunt everytime the last tin is getting low.

Setup your recurring subscription here.

Use cloth nappies

Cloth nappies have come a long way since disposable nappies were introduced. You could even use cloth nappies part time or only whilst at home, if full time use isn't your thing.

Yes, there is more of an upfront outlay, and much like using disposables it is difficult to know exactly which brand and style of nappy is going to work best for you and your baby before they arrive.

Cloth nappy hire is an excellent way to try a variety of cloth nappies before investing money into an endeavour that may potentially not work out. Many cloth nappy hire services provide a range of styles and brands.

Check with your local council as well. Some councils offer a rebate toward the cost of using cloth nappies.

Many Cloth nappy hire businesses offer a short term trial pack for hire to allow you to see what your like best before purchase. Similarly, some people choose to hire cloth nappies for the duration that they're needed. This has increased flexibility as it means you can simply hire a new bundle when your baby goes up a size, or their needs change.

Before hiring, ask how the service sanitises the nappies and inserts between uses. If the service does not sanitise as per Australian Laundering Standards (AS/NZS 4146-2000),  (ie. using heat or chemicals to sanitise) between hires, choose an alternative hire service that does.

If you choose to buy cloth nappies for long term use, you can learn all about the cleaning procedures from Clean Cloth Nappies.

Many people assume that because their SUV looks large from the outside that space is not an issue. Unfortunately, whilst they look large from the outside and there might be more room in the boot, many SUV's and 4x4's lack back seat space. In fact it's not uncommon for SUV's to have less space for car seats than some hatchbacks.

For this reason it is always best to make arrangements to try the car seat you're considering in your car. When you do, make sure the child car seat headrest is extended to the maximum rearward facing height. Far too many people are turning their children forward facing early because of a lack of front seat leg room.

Also consider that many capsules are often larger in rearward facing mode than convertible car seats, with some 0-6 month capsules actually taking up more space than 0-12 month options.

You're probably wondering how on earth you're supposed to find the right option for your car, when both vehicle and car seat sizes are so confusing.

The number of families that end up with the wrong car seat for their vehicle size and needs is astounding. This can be a very fast way to empty your bank account without the right planning and advice.

Book in with a professional. A car seat consultation with a car seat installer is absolutely worth the expense. Retail staff may be able to tell you all about the features offered by each model, but no-one will be able to tell you exactly what will suit your car best like a car seat installer that deals with these challenges everyday.

Considerations like additional passengers, current or future children and tall adult passengers should all be taken into consideration, as should your budget and the size of your vehicle.

If you are not planning on exclusively formula feeding, or even offering it a reasonably regular basis, formula sachets are likely going to be an option that results in less waste. This is often a less wasteful and economical way to try a new brand of type of formula without wasting an entire tin if it doesn't work for your baby.

Most baby formula brands recommend that an open tin of formula should be discarded after a month (some brands may have a shorter expiry date). If you're only using formula on the odd occasion or to have on hand for 'just in case', formula sachets will be far more economical and less wasteful alternative to throwing out tins of formula.

Formula sachets are normally sold as a multipack of 4 or 5 individual pre-measured sachets. The age of your baby and the quantity of formula they drink during a single feeding will determine how many sachets you will need to mix up for a single feed.

Skip the unsafe nursery trends

There are many unsafe items available for sale that are often marketed at unsuspecting parents who only want the best for their child.

Whilst staying clear of unsafe nursery items will help your bank balance look a little healthier, most important it will help keep your precious bundle of joy safe.

Unsafe items and trends to avoid:

  • Baby sleep nests, snuggle beds, sleep pods or sleep positioners
  • Inclined sleep surfaces
  • Cot bumpers (even mesh bumpers)
  • Baby walkers
  • Cot pillows and blankets (Choose wearable sleeping bags instead)
  • Amber teething necklaces
  • Lambswool mattress toppers (baby's sleep space should be firm)
  • Soft toys and comfort items marketed as safe for sleep (Baby's sleep space should be bare)
  • Additional portacot mattresses (only use the one provided)
  • Cot canopies, fairy lights, garlands or bunting (these all present a strangulation risk)
  • Any item containing a button battery
  • Wicker bassinets/moses baskets
  • Picture frames/ hanging wall decorations above the cot or bassinet
  • Hacks or DIY modifications to any baby product
  • Any product that has been recalled

It's important to remember that not all items available for sale are safe.

 

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Unsafe sleeping arrangements are shown in this image.

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