Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shopping for a baby

Since finding out I was pregnant I've spent a lot of time perusing different shops looking for baby furniture, linen, clothes etc. I thought I'd share some of the places I have found good quality items at good prices and hopefully it will help someone else out there!

Furniture

I was really fortunate to find the bassinet, cot and change table I admired but thought was completely out of  the question financially at a heavily discounted price for the floor model. I always thought of smaller baby shops as being more expensive than large chains and department stores but the lesson I learned is that perusing all kinds/sizes of shops definitely pays off. I purchased the bassinet, cot, change table, mattresses and canopy as a package for less than the normal retail on the bassinet alone (which is normally converted into a cot with the addition of extra pieces). 
I chose to buy Stokke because I liked the design, I liked that it could convert to toddler bed and the change table to a desk and most importantly I had confidence that the brand represented quality. My husband sat in a Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair as a baby and we still have his chair today (after many more babies sat in it!) which we're happy to pass down to our child. 

To make the Tripp Trapp a bit more safe and comfortable for the baby I purchased a safety harness from a baby shop (approx. $40), plastic back support and fabric cushion from Ebay. I bought these items (which carry insane RRPs) second hand at very low prices and was really happy with them. 

Linen

One APPARENT downside to the Stokke bassinet and cot is that the mattress is the oval shape which means if you want a snug fitting mattress protector or fitted sheet you apparently need to buy Stokke linen. Stokke linen, in my experience here in Brisbane Australia, is outrageously expensive. 

HOWEVER I said earlier that the shape of the mattress was an APPARENT downside because I've found that every regular fitted cot sheet I've purchased has had elastic that was tight enough that a snug fit for the fitted sheet was achieved. So my advice is don't feel you HAVE to buy Stokke linen. 

I have found an Ebay seller who makes mattress protectors and fitted sheets to fit Stokke mattresses and I purchased a cotton mattress protector off her for the bassinet which I'm happy with and I'll most likely purchase a cot mattress protector too. I've also found Stokke brand linen for sale on Ebay second hand which is another more cost effective option if you want the genuine article and you're comfortable with second hand linen. And of course if you're good at sewing it would be easy to make some of your own linen! However I'm time and sewing skills poor and so didn't venture down that path... or yet anyway! 

One thing that did shock me about children's linen was the price many brands were asking for what I thought wasn't particularly good quality and often attractive prints were a polyester cotton blend which I wasn't happy with. In the end I found soft, plain dyed, 100% cotton percale sheets and cotton flannelette sheets at  Target (half price on sale), I bought some discounted printed sets and lovely cotton blankets from David Jones during their sale and Trade Secret and Peters of Kensington were also an economical place to find 100% cotton sheets (including department store brands like Bubba Blue) for half the normal retail. I should add that these places all had inexpensive cotton wraps/swaddling available at reasonable prices. 


In short my advice: Visit Target and if you see anything you like use the price check scanner - I have been pleasantly surprised by unmarked discounts on SO many occasions now! Check out Peters of Kensington because they also have good prices on 100% Cotton Bubba Blue brand linen. 

Clothes

Check out sales! David Jones and Myer frequently have discounts on baby clothes. Trade Secret had some amazing prices on baby clothes (including popular brands like Bonds and Marquise) and Target had great basics in organic cotton for less than I spent on morning tea. My mum bought the classic Bonds 'Wondersuits' for about $5 each from Woolworths supermarket which was a great price that only seemed to be available at her Supermarket - not at my local so be sure to pop down that aisle regularly in case there are discounts.


Beanies, booties, scratching mittens, bibs etc are ALWAYS going cheaply in the baby sections of department stores and chain stores so no need to pay full price!


Bathing 


Now baby baths vary in price dramatically! I've seen everything from a miniature version of our freestanding bath tub for over $100 to novelty shaped bath tubs, tubs on stands, tubs decorated with licensed cartoon characters etc etc. In the end I purchased the simplest, cheapest bath I could find because I felt it was sturdy, easy to clean and good quality. I purchased my bath for $5 from Ikea. The particular bath I purchased was blue but these days Ikea stock the same bath in white for $15. Obviously blue was a discontinued colour. 
At Target I found a set of 3 really soft organic cotton baby washers for only $1.88 and I purchased a few 100% cotton hooded towels from a linen shop in DFO... again heavily discounted. 


Baby Decor... the little extras 


I could have probably called this the 'Ikea' section because a lot of the decoration I've put in the baby's nursery was sourced at Ikea. 


I was given a couple of animal tapestries made by a relative that would be nice to hang to add a bit of colour to the white walls. I framed the tapestries using Ikea Ribba frames in a couple of different sizes. I think these are lovely frames and look very professional at a much cheaper price than professional framing. 



I bought a mosquito net to hang from the ceiling also from Ikea. I loved the bunting detail around the top and again thought it brightened up the room a bit... not to mention I'll be using it as an extra protection against mosquitoes in summer! We'll hang this over the cot but we'll probably remove it when the baby is more mobile so that it can't be tugged on etc. 



I also bought this cute Ikea lamp which is lightweight and gives off just the right amount of light that it won't shock the baby if I need to turn it on in the night. 
Mobile wise I plan to hang this brightly coloured Flensted mobile in the room (not directly over the cot though because it's fairly large)
Image from http://www.flensted-mobiles.com 
And finally our big splurge was this Eames 'Hang it all'. We really hope that this is something our baby can use throughout its entire life and may even come to appreciate the classic design as an adult! 


Image from http://modernfindings.com


Phew that's just about all the shopping I've done. In summary the best places I found for shopping for a baby were:

  • Target (who are actually starting a big baby sale tomorrow)
  • Peters of Kensington
  • Trade Secret
  • Ikea 
  • Myer and David Jones (during sale time) 

Other places worth a look are:

  • Ebay
  • Kmart
  • Big W
  • Best & Less 
  • Woolworths supermarket