Pregnancy & Birth

Here's what baby equipment you should rent, hire and buy

What do you really need to buy?

By Eva Wintersberger, founder of Tree Hut Village

There's nothing more exciting than having those two lines show up on your pregnancy test. Telling your partner and family is one of the most beautiful things you'll ever do.

This phase is closely followed by a bit of a panic about how much has to be organised and how many decisions have to be made, including those around all the equipment you'll need in your life now.

The days are long but the years are short (it's true)

I spent hours researching nursery designs. I needed it to feel ready for a baby, but as it turned out my son couldn't care less about it. He actually never even slept there.

But oh how I loved shopping for all the little socks, mittens, beanies and onesies. I adored the bassinets and marvelled at all the different things that had entered my life: change tables, cots, mattresses.

Everyone told me that my baby would outgrow everything before I could blink twice. I didn't really believe it, but I can now safely say that this is true.

It's so easy to get caught up in the hype though. Your own excitement combined with so many sources telling you about 'must haves' for baby, means that it's easy to buy a whole bunch of stuff that you really don't need.

Preparing for a new baby can cost a fortune, the average family spends between $4,700 - $12,600. So what is it that you really, most definitely with no compromises should buy before your little one arrives?

What should you consider buying for baby?

To be perfectly honest: not a lot! Very young babies need you most and foremost and most things you'll buy depend on what you experience with your baby (e.g. breastfeeding or bottle feeding).

You'll want a safe sleeping surface for them which means you might want to get a cot, rather than a basinet as you can use that for longer. Add some clothes, nappies, swaddles and blankets and you're pretty much set for your new arrival. You probably want to grab a few things for yourself like a good nappy bag and other things that make your life a little easier/more comfortable.

Here's what I would buy for my next baby:

Very young babies need you most and foremost, not equipment

What should you consider hiring for baby?

You might have noticed that my 'buying' list was pretty short. That's mainly because there are so many items that I bought that I wish I had hired.

Personally, my son didn't like lots of things that people recommended. I found myself with a whole bunch of products which ended up just taking up space in our apartment and being a big fat waste of money. I wish now that I'd hired them instead.

It is usually cheaper to hire baby equipment and the bonus is that you get to try things out before you buy them, which is great if you want to see if things fit your lifestyle. Plus you can see if your baby likes it and if it fits in your car boot, garage or hallway.

Hiring is a money saver and can make life easier - especially when it comes to items that are used during the early months which you often only use for a very short time plus items that you use predominantly for travelling, like travel strollers and port-a-cots.

Hiring is a great option, and with businesses like mine, Tree Hut Village you're hiring from parents like yourself.

Parents can hire, buy, lend and sell baby equipment amongst each other which enables them to save and/or earn money.

Hiring items from other parents also means that fewer items go to waste and ultimately to landfills. How great is that?