• Simone Penn

Minimalist baby prep - for less than R6 000, total!


Baruch HaShem we are expecting baby number 3 👏🏻


I’ve always held principles of “less-but-better”, and attachment-parenting, simultaneously; but I must say I think I’ve peaked.


After each of my two children grew out of something I either sold it or donated it. So as we stand now, besides for a few well concealed toys (and MESS), if you come to my home there is very little evidence that children live here. It goes without saying that I don’t have boxes of saved baby clothes and/or a camp-cot packed away in a deep dark cupboard.


Furthermore I’m super into buying second-hand: best quality products, at far more reasonable prices, whilst neutralizing the carbon footprint. Excellent.


So now, for round three KAH, I’m genuinely excited to start from scratch, on the one hand, whilst preparing like an absolute pro on the other. Knowing exactly what does and does not work for us as a family, and for me as a mother, is giving me life (and confidence) right now.


Herewith; the honest-to-goodness list of baby items I have prepared for Baby Penn Numero Trés (all bought secondhand and/or local, natch):


1. Citi Mini Double Pram - R0 (new: between R6 500 and R10 000).


By the time our son is born KAH my first born will be nearly six years old (excuse me while I go sob hysterically in the bathroom). I, therefore, feel he does not need a seat in the pram for shabbos walks to shul and back. As such the double Pram we have been using for number 1 and 2 will now be for toddler #2 and baby #3.


We 100% only use a Pram on shabbos to get to shul.


In the interests of full disclosure I should note that we’ve actually been using an old double Maclaren stroller that I bought second hand a few years ago, but it is legitimately Frot. A very wonderful and generous friend offered to give me her double Citi Mini. Two days later we went into lockdown so it’s happily waiting for a shul-journey-debut.


2. Co-Sleeper Pillow - R1000 (new: R1 500).


It’s no secret how obsessed I am with the family bed. For my second child I bought a Chicco-Next-2-Me co-sleeper bassinet off Gumtree which I loved, but I still found it a lot of work with linen and moving it up and down and left and right etc. And, after three months my daughter was in my bed anyway. So this time I decided I just want a CoSleeper cushion to keep baby separate and safe, yet still in the bed. No fuss with linens etc. and I can shove it in the washing machine after the inevitable 3am poonami/vomit-fest.


I bought a Nula Baby from a friend on Facebook. She had used it once. Great success.


3. Pure Linen Sling - R450 (retail: R900).


This might be the most important item on my list. I did but buy it second hand.


I’ve always worn my babies and toddlers and I’ve preferred this to using a Pram. When both my kids were infants I always wore them to shul too. They hated being in a Pram. From about 4 months old they could sit so I would place them in the trolley balcony if we went on a grocery run. I’ve always maintained that if it wasn’t for shul on shabbos I wouldn’t need a Pram at all.


I’ve used every type of sling and carrier: Stokke, NooNoo Pie, Baba Sling etc. But since my first I’ve coveted a linen ring sling - I just couldn’t find a local supplier. Then one day I bumped into a friend at clicks and she had her four year old up in a Pure Linen Sling - the rest is history.


I knew for my next babe I would be going straight to their website and investing. The fact that these slings are local and made from sustainable and natural linen makes me positively giddy. The absolute cherry on top is that I managed to buy mine on a massive online sale!


4. Infant car seat / “picolo” - R1000 (new: R2 800).


If my babies hate the Pram it is NOTHING to how they feel about a Carseat. It’s also really not good for them to be in the seat for long periods of time so I’ve decided that the car seat will be strictly and only for essential car journeys - regardless of disturbing a nap.


Upon any arrival baby will be transferred to the sling.


I used to try lug a sleeping-baby-in-car-seat into the shops but they always woke up, miserable, and then I was stuck in Pick n’ Pay with a screaming infant, an empty Maxi Cosi Pebble, and a useless trolley. Never again!


I should also mention that when my second child was a few months old I sold my Maxi Cosi/Citi Mini travel system in place of a Doona car seat/stroller hybrid. The concept is sensational but not for my highly dramatic infants. My Doona became a very expensive, very small, trolley. I would just wished I had a sling handy on those charming days.


Also, I don’t have a seven seater car.


You might have read about my long standing love affair with Bobba’s Ferrari of blessed memory.


I only plunged into a mom car when my son was four and my daughter was 18 months old. It’s a five seater and I am not even remotely ready to move on. So.. I went for a consultation with an extremely efficient and qualified Carseat specialist (and OT) who helped me find the safest solution for fitting three car seats in a five seater car. The conclusion: infant comes to front passenger seat, rear facing, and airbag is disabled.


I’ve decided not to buy a car seat base because, space.


Finally, I feel satisfied buying a second hand Carseat because I genuinely believe (read: know) that the only security we need when driving is from Above.


5. Cloth Nappies - R1800 + R0 (new: I suspect close to R8 000, maybe R10 000).


I started using cloth nappies when my second child was around a year old. At that stage she was wearing a cloth nappy at night and then one disposable to school (I didn’t think it was fair to inflict my cloth nappy obsession onto the play school staff). In any event the reason I managed to use cloth successfully (after a few miserably failed attempts with my son) is because I got brilliant advise from a friend, whom I promptly bought the cloth nappies off of, second hand.


I mainly used the cloth for my daughter because of the health benefits. I never liked the idea of all that plastic and chemical input near her reproductive organs. The benefits to pocket and planet are just a big bonus.


Then, someone on my Mothers’ Nature whatsapp group offered up her entire cloth nappy stash, for free!


Obviously I jumped at that opportunity. So now I have the world’s biggest and best cloth nappy stash - part second hand and part third hand!


I will buy an emergency supply of disposables for the hospital, and certain other instances, but I’m super excited not to have to worry about running out of nappies. I also want to use the elimination communication method with this little Penn so hoping to get out of nappies altogether sooner than I did with my other two.


6. Nespresso machine - R0 (new: R5 000).


About 18 months ago my darling friend GAVE me her state of the art Nespresso machine. I’m not one for keeping things “in-case” but I made an exception. My babies DO. NOT. SLEEP. I need strong coffee. I’m super excited to have this little backup weapon for hairy mornings, and afternoons, and evenings.


7. Zip babygrows - roughly R1000.


I cannot stress this enough: do not buy clip-up baby grows. Oh my goodness.


I like to buy my children capsule wardrobes so we never really have much clothing that’s “saveable”. They wear their clothes to death, by the time they’ve outgrown an item it’s generally destroyed, stained and torn. I’ve had a few designer items over the years which I’ve preserved and passed on to friends but I’m not into it. I hate following my kids around trying to prevent stains. They must make a mess and learn in the process.


So I’m happy to buy new when necessary based on how hard we wear our clothes out.


I’ve bought Baby P 8 zip babygrows and 8 vests. My Aydi was in size ‘prem’ for three months so I’m not too worried about outgrowing. I will wash like a demon.


8. Breast milk - R0.


I’m hoping for the best here but I was able to feed my other two so for now I’m not buying any bottles. I also HATE expressing more than anything so I’m not investing in a pump. If it gets to that point I’ll use one from the gammach (to which I’ve previously donated my entire Medela stash). I will also give baby a dummy ASAP. I intend to get this free with the Netcare baby kit at birth, along with a beanie.


9. Zip swaddles X 4 - R600 (new: R1 480).


I do like to swaddle my babies, especially at night. It makes breastfeeding easier for one thing. Plus I know they’re warm enough and the swaddle also helps keep additional blankets on and in place. Wrapping a linen swaddle is way too much fuss for me and it kills me how it comes undone and loosens. Also, late night diaper changes.


I’ve only bought the smallest size and suspect we will be over swaddling by the time these are outgrown. I like them to be as tight as possible for obvious reasons.


10. Semi-essential miscellaneous items - R0.


I’ve grouped these together because I think they are very helpful but definitely not as absolutely essential as items 1-9. These will be borrowed from friends if and when the need arises.


They are:


⁃ Bath insert - You can always just bath baby in the basin until they’re capable of sitting alone in a very shallow bath.

⁃ Changing wedge for nappy runs - I usually land up changing on the bed, on a spare towel, anyway and I can always use a cushion on the compactum (read: chest of drawers in my bedroom containing the kids’ clothes).

⁃ High-chair/rocker/hands-free kit; IE BUMBO - Having something like this just helps but really isn’t essential. I usually land up carrying my kids around the house until they can sit or crawl and I like to feed them on my lap anyway.

⁃ Feeding chair - this is a beautiful luxury I must admit. But if my friend and neighbor hadn’t volunteered her magical, rocking chair to me, I wouldn’t specifically go looking for one. My couch is firm enough for day feeds and at night we co-sleep and dream-feed anyway. The co-sleeping, breastfeeding, new mother gets the most sleep of all examined.

⁃ Pure Beginnings wet wipes - you cannot get around parenting (or life) without wet wipes. It’s just impossible and madness simultaneously to go without. In the interests of the planet I like to buy biodegradable wipes, and flush them. These are always well stocked in the Penn home so I don’t see them as a baby-specific/prep purchase.


And that folks, as they say, is all.


I’m genuinely not getting anything else in preparation for baby P.


I’m a more experienced mom now, but I genuinely feel that with a bit of calm, this list can work for brand new mamas too.


Good luck out there!












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