It seems like everyone I know is pregnant, so baby gear has been on my mind. If you’ve ever tried to put together a baby registry, you understand the overwhelming array of baby products being peddled as “necessary.” (Wipe warmers? really?!) The truth is, the list of things your newborn really needs is a short one: Milk and Snuggles.
Because every baby is different, there’s no way to know what’s going to be “essential” for you and your baby until he/she arrives. My advice is to get versatile items that you truly need: a place for baby to sleep, something to carry baby in (other than your arms, of course), a car seat, diapers, a few items of clothing, and, if you will need to pump, a breast pump and bottles. Seriously, that’s it.
1. A place for baby to sleep: If you plan to co-sleep, this will be your bed. Even if co-sleeping sounds dreadful to you now, it may be more appealing once baby is here (especially if it’s the only way to get your newborn to sleep). But, it’s nice to have a place for baby to sleep for daytime naps. This could be as simple as a blankie on the floor, but if you want to get fancy, I recommend a pack n’ play because it’s such a versatile item. If you don’t want to go the pack n’ play route, another good option is a co-sleeper bassinet that attaches to the side of your bed.
2. Something to carry baby in: You don’t need a stroller right away (or maybe at all). My 9 month old hasn’t used one yet. But please, please buy yourself a baby sling! I love the Moby wrap for tiny babies and the Maya wrap for later. Most babies love being close to mama in the sling and you won’t be dragging a cumbersome stroller all over creation. Your baby can also breastfeed and nap in a sling which makes it super versatile!
3. Car Seat. Essential. And if you have a hospital birth, you can’t take baby home without one. After trying it both ways, I recommend getting a car seat carrier that clicks into a base rather than making do with a convertible car seat for newborn through toddler. There were so many times when taking my son out of the convertible car seat woke him up and so many times when my daughter has slept through multiple errands in the carrier while I’ve said a little prayer of thankfulness for its inventors.
4. Diapers. You don’t have to make the decision to use cloth or disposables right away. I know parents dead set on disposables become cloth diaper fanatics and friends who stocked up on cloth and then realized it wasn’t for them. But you will need something for the first few days (unless you practice EC). And no, you don’t need to buy any sort of special changing table. Some drawers or shelves to stock diapers in will do just fine.
5. Clothing: Don’t stock up on tiny newborn clothes! I’ve had too many friends birth babies that have outgrown newborn sizes in utero. And even if your baby does fit into newborn onesies on day one, he/she will graduate to 0-3 month size shockingly fast. All you need is a few onesies, because let’s be honest, baby is just going to throw up and poop all over them. Also, it’s likely that you will receive plenty of teensy clothes as gifts. (I haven’t bought one clothing item for our baby girl thanks to the generosity of friends who have passed on the clothes their babies have outgrown.)
Nursing gear: I didn’t include nursing items in the five essentials because what products you need and whether you need any will differ according to your situation. It’s difficult to tell until you begin this journey with your baby. With my firstborn, I was working full-time so a breast pump and bottles were essential. The second time around, I’m practicing ecological breastfeeding which emphasizes no separation of mama and baby. So, I haven’t even needed to bust out the bottles (which is a mercy, because if there’s one thing I hate, it’s cleaning those pesky bottles). My advice: wait and see. Your lactation consultant will be able to recommend items if you need them.
Add a few blankies to that list (they can double as burp clothes) and you’re set! For a detailed breakdown of baby gear, here’s a great post!
What did you purchase for your baby that ended up being unnecessary? What items did you find to be essential? Anything I should have added to the list?