For the first year of my daughter's life, my husband and I lived in a small, top-floor, two-bedroom apartment in Melbourne's inner west. There wasn't a lot of storage space, and navigating two flights of stairs with a newborn, pram and oversize nappy bag was no mean feat, but we loved our cozy little abode. Despite the lack of space, we managed to make it work, and throughout the year picked up some great tips for surviving in apartments while juggling parenthood.
Here's what to do and what not to do when living in an apartment with a baby.
Do: Invest in a compact, lightweight pram
After trawling the market, I purchased a Baby Jogger City Mini GT. As well as a small apartment, I also owned a small car and needed something I could easily carry up and down the stairs and fit in the boot. The City Mini ticked all the boxes, and one year on, I can still lug the pram, all nine kilos of it, and my sleeping baby up the stairs without waking her.
Don't: Buy baby items such as a change table and moses basket or bassinet
When space is at a premium, put a change mat on top of a chest of drawers instead of buying a separate change table. This is a great, space-saving storage solution. I also saved on buying a moses basket by using the bassinet attachment on the pram. This way I could wheel the baby into a different room, and didn't have to fit another piece of furniture they would soon outgrow, into the apartment.
Do: Buy a baby carrier
I used a Hugabub baby wrap before my daughter graduated to an Ergo 360. The carriers were ideal for chores which required a trip down stairs such as hanging out the washing and collecting the mail.
Don't: Be a hoarder
As soon as your baby outgrows something, pack it up in a vacuum-sealed bag and store it away. Alternatively, hand it down to an expectant friend or charity shop. This goes for your maternity wear, too.
Do: Join your local libraries
Keep your baby's bookshelf fresh and avoid overcrowding by joining your local library. Most libraries also run free story and rhyming sessions for babies, which is another great perk. Babies often lose interest in toys quickly, so joining a toy library as well is a great way to save space and money.
Don't: Stay cooped up in the apartment
Keeping a baby amused in a small apartment is challenging, and once your baby is on the move, a small apartment can suddenly feel even smaller. Visit your local parks and cafes, attend your parents' group sessions and join the council-run fitness classes. Venturing out and about, even when the weather was miserable, helped keep me sane and my baby entertained.
Do: Your grocery shopping online
Order bulky items such nappies and toilet paper online to save carrying them up and down stairs. The flexibility of online shopping is also welcome relief from the hassle of timing a trip to the supermarket between feeds and naps then getting your baby in and out of the car.