By Regular Mummy Contributor Tarah McShea (@harrisonandwillow)

You all know those hospital bag checklists  you see online or in baby books (like the one to the right) - with a million things you'll need to pack all perfectly itemised? Well, they kind of remind me of those lists from Grade Five school camp and make me sweat a little. Actually, they make me sweat a lot (or maybe that's just still my hormones?!). A pen - like really?? I'm going to need to pack a pen?!

Soooo, we've created a real (istic) girls guide to help you decide what you'll really need when it comes to your baby's nursery and that over-analysed hospital bag that everyone keeps nagging you to pack (that you then pack, check, pack and repack 1,000 times before the baby arrives!) 

Here are our top five tips

1. Shop on Gumtree - The rich man's second hand store. This place is a goldmine! Buy as many of your big ticket items (cot, bassinet, etc) on here as possible. They are always immaculately cleaned and are always upfront about what condition they are in. Many people list products that are near-new or have never used. Even better!

2. Get your baby shower gift registry organised early to help you purchase those other big tickets items like prams, breast pump, play gym and baby monitor. It can be a big saving and a lot of mums and families would rather help you get the practical things you need than to buy you something that gets stuffed away in a draw and never used.

3. Make sure you are ready for those first 6 weeks at home where you pretty much sit on the couch feeding for hours on end! A few good nursing bras and nursing tops that you can easily get your boobs out of if you have decided and are able to breast feed. Plus, for baby lots and lots of onsies (with zips!). Little outfits are cute for going out but when you're at home feeding and changing constantly in those early weeks onesies with feet and with zips are a blessing! 

4. With hospital bag items - think comfort. If you are lucky enough (unlike Princess Catherine) not to have the whole world waiting at the hospital doorstep to photograph you after you've just given birth to your baby, then a comfy pair of yoga pants, lots of oversized undies, a beautiful robe (easy to throw over light clothing, looks good in photos and easy access for feeding), a few oversized shirts, a good face moisturiser/mist spray and Chapstick/lipgloss will be just fine. 

Also, if you are breastfeeding for the first time (or second or more!) and it's starting to hurt when you feed, buy a packet of nursing shields and stash them in your bag. As your milk comes in, you can pop them over your nipples until they calm down a little. I have used these both times with my boys as my large boobs always get engorged and they have made breastfeeding soooo much easier and less painful in that first week. Nothing else helped me including expressing before a feed to soften the nipple, so I highly recommend these. 

5. And lastly, two things you probably won't need are nappy bins and change tables. You may find you are changing baby in multiple places and racing back to a nappy bin in the nursery is a little inconvenient.  You can also get away with putting a change mat on top of the dressing table (if you have one), instead of buying an expensive change mat table! You can also use one of the draws to store all your nappies, wipes and creams. It's quite a saving. 

Dressers or cabinets make great change tables

Dressers or cabinets make great change tables

We hope you've found these tips helpful and hopefully they'll help to save you a few dollars along the way!

Tarah x

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