Published April 21, 2008
When I moved into my first apartment I remember feeling so overwhelmed because I was running out to the store to get important things for my new living space at least once a day. All the little things that your parents had that you took for granted like shower curtain liners, pots and pans, toasters, spatulas, whisks, condiments, clothes hamper, etc. I always needed one little thing to finish what I was doing and it was hard. I can only imagine what it will be like trying to buy what I need for a new baby and avoid running to the store for a small but important forgotten item.
I have often thought that while apartment shopping it would have been nice to have a checklist of things needed. It also would have been nice to know what I wouldn’t need as well. I found myself buying things I thought I needed but didn’t, like that orange juicer that I have never used. I am sure that even with preparation, having a baby will sweep me away into the never-ending ocean of "especially for baby" but necessary items. But even still, forward thinking, I have done a little research and prepared a list of things that every expecting Mother needs and a few that you could probably go without when deciding what to buy for your new baby.
So what CAN you live without?
- Baby bathtub - People seem to have trouble with these, either because they are hard to use, hard to store or the baby doesn’t like them. It seems just as easy to take the baby into the bath with you. Hooded baby towels are always good to have for after baths as well.
- Car bottle warmer - A good idea, but they don’t tend to warm up quickly enough on quick trips.
- Cradles/Bassinets/Cribs - It could be that the trend toward the family bed is giving people an alternative to cradles and bassinets, but many mothers said they took up too much space and babies were rarely, if ever, happy in them.
- Pillows are NOT RECOMMENDED, babies do not need them, and furthermore pillows are associated with crib death.
- Diaper Genie - most people find these frustrating to operate.
- Changing table - They take up a lot of space and don’t allow for the most versatile storage. Many parents find it just as easy to convert a bureau to a changing table or just change the baby on the floor.
So what CAN’T you live without?
- Car seats - are not items to skimp on. Unless you know the previous owner very well, car seats are not good items to get second-hand. Manufacturers advise that any car seat that has been in any kind of accident, no matter how minor, must be replaced. Car seats are carefully constructed to protect their precious cargo, and any compromise to the structure could limit its effectiveness.
- Stroller - Many infants do well in a sling, but if you’re talking about long walks or shopping, a stroller helps manage all your bundles.
- Carrier/Sling - Keeps baby close while keeping hands free.
- Floor gym/Playpen - Because sometimes you need to go to the bathroom.
- Onsies for summer babies and Jammies for winter babies - It is wise to resist the urge to buy "outfits" at this stage of the game. Babies spit up, drool, and wet themselves a lot so the best thing to have on hand is lots of onsies for summer babies and jammies for winter babies. Newborn infants must have their heads covered outside in all but the warmest summer months (when they should stay out of the sun, entirely) so be sure to have plenty of cozy stretchy hats on hand, too.
- Diapers, Medicine and General Care Items:
- Several packages of diapers in newborn and infant sizes.
- Several giant packages of wipes.
- A stash of small wash cloths - and a plastic dish for water for sponge baths on the changing table.
- Diaper rash creams.
- Infant ibuprofen and acetaminophen - (Tylenol and Motrin)
- Anti-gas drops.
- Nasal aspirator - (babies can’t blow their noses so the aspirator may be necessary to help clear congested nasal passages. There are different kinds out there and the hospital will give you one. They all work differently, so it’s nice to have the variety to experiment with.)
- Rubbing alcohol and cotton balls - to clean the belly button stump (and to help sterilize clippers, tweezers and nasal aspirators.)
- A grooming kit - with soft hair brush, comb, tweezers and infant nail clippers.
- A rectal thermometer - Fancy pacifier thermometers and under-arm patches, in-the-ear thermometers and forehead strips don’t do the job. The most reliable way to take a temperature is rectally. Have your health practitioner show you how to do this on your baby so you are confident that you can take his or her temperature in the middle of the night, if the need arises.
- Hand soap and anti-bacterial wash - (if you prefer it) for the bathroom for folks to wash their hands before touching the newborn. Hand wash in the diaper bag for the road.
Ask your friends what tools they couldn’t do without and plan the amount of space you have to devote to your baby’s gear. For gear the baby might reject, like swings, borrow one before buying one. Collecting hand-me-downs from relatives or friends is a great help. Another source is a baby shower. You will receive baby gifts from friends and relatives for you’re soon to be newborn. After all this is collected, you can sit down and take stock of what you have and don’t have. Make a complete listing of what you need before you go out and shop, otherwise you may go over budget and get things that you really don’t need. If you do forget something its ok it is good to buy what you need when you need it. It’s easier and cheaper than buying everything and then disposing of things that don’t work. The number one thing your baby will need is your love and attention; if it has that everything else is just a detail.