So, you're having a baby! One of the most exciting but also intimidating things about a new baby is that there is so much stuff that you "need".... But what do you really need? As a doula and a mom of two, I can tell you that there are some definite must have items, but there are also a lot of items that are also unnecessary. Here is my No Nonsense Baby Wish List to help narrow down the "needs" from the "luxury items that will collect dust".
1. A place for your baby to sleep.
Most importantly, your baby needs a safe place to be set down to sleep and play. There are a lot of fancy bedding and positioners on the market, currently the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be laid down to sleep on their back, and without any fluffy pillows, blankets, or toys. My recommendation is either a crib, mini crib if you don't have a lot of space, or a Portable crib that has a bassinet, and fitted sheets. Your baby WILL spit up, poop, and pee on their sheets, so make sure you have enough for middle of the night changes! If you purchase a crib or a mini crib, you will also need to get a crib mattress. Look for a mattress that is firm, and I prefer one that is also water-proof. If you plan this purchase carefully, you can get a convertible crib that can turn into a toddler bed and even a full sized bed...That's right, your crib could potentially be a suitable bed for your child for the majority of their childhood. Swaddlers and muslin swaddling blankets are worth their weight in gold, I personally love Aden and Anais, and Mina Baie muslin swaddlers.
TIP: Muslin blankets are very versatile, they work great to offer your baby shade in the stroller, as nursing covers, to wipe up spit up, for setting your baby down on the floor, make sure you have several!
2. All The Diapers
Whether you are having a baby shower or have family asking how they can help, diapers are one of the largest expenses for most families. Whether you choose to cloth diaper or use disposable diapers, you are going to need to make sure that you have enough diapers to keep you from midnight runs to the store. Many babies outgrow newborn sized diapers fairly quickly, so be sure that you have larger sizes stocked up as well. If you use disposable diapers, keep any receipts you can and keep them in their original packaging until you need them: you may be able to exchange them for larger sizes later. If you DO open packages and are not able to use them up before your baby sizes out of them, you may wish to resell them. You will also need to stock up on baby wipes, either disposable or reusable. Baby wipes are a mom's best friend!
3. Supplies for however your baby eats
Babies generally do not start solids until around 6 months of age, so worrying about utensils and dishware might not be where you would benefit the most from investing at this time. If you intend to bottle feed, you will need bottle and brushes. If you are planning on pumping breastmilk at any time, you will need to consider what sort of breastpump works best for your needs (Future blog to come!), and what your insurance covers. If you intend to exclusively nurse, you may want to spend this portion of your budget on things like nursing pads (I like reusable nursing pads from Bamboobies!) and a protective nipple cream.
A seasonally appropriate layette, with lots of outfits because babies tend to dirty their clothes quickly! Your newborn baby will spend the majority of their time snuggling and sleeping; a lot of fancy clothes are not necessary. Onesies and footie pajamas are the most convenient and work great for keeping sleepy new babies cozy. A good key for choosing how to appropriately dress your baby for sleep is that they are most comfortable with about one more layer than an adult would wear. In the winter (or if you like your A/C very cold!), this might mean that they need several layers: a onesie, footie pajamas, socks, and a wearable blanket. In the summer, they might only need lightweight footie pajamas.
5. Transportation devices
It seems surprising that such a tiny person needs so much stuff to go places! Your baby will need a car seat, and also a stroller or a baby wearing device for when you want to leave the house. You may choose to purchase a Travel System that has a car seat as well as a stroller, or choose to forgo the stroller altogether.
Portable containers to safely set your baby down in
A swing, bouncer, Rock & Play, Mamaroo, etc., can be a lifesaver for a grumpy baby and a worn out mama. Look for one that offers self-moving features so that you can take a break (and go to the bathroom without your baby crying!)
Prefold cloth diapers or burp rags
Rags specifically for catching spit up, that you can stash in convenient places, can be a life saver. Prefold cloth diapers are inexpensive and super absorbent!
Every day it seems like there is a new "must have" baby product on the market. It can be fun to try out new products or have the latest gadgets, but if that is not in your budget or you are simply overwhelmed by all the choices, use this list to get you started. Most of all, remember, the most important thing your baby needs is you!