There is no doubt about it, welcoming a baby into your family is life-changing. Your day to day schedule will change, your priorities will change, your heart will grow, and the entire world will be different. There is a huge market for products designed to make this process easier… It is a bit overwhelming. For those of us who believe that less is more, this long list of stuff does anything but make life easier. If you are anything like me, all of those helpful tools look more like cluttered space and unnecessary stress.
Every baby is different, and every family has different needs. While there are endless lists online describing the hundreds of things you need to rush out and buy before your baby arrives, this list is meant to make things simpler. My goal is to save you some cash and time (as well as your sanity) as you prepare to welcome your precious little bundle. For the first several months of life, your baby’s needs are really quite simple. Here is my list of the few things you may need to stock up on:
You will need a way to transport your baby from place to place. In the first few weeks, the best place for you and your baby is home sweet home. As time goes on, you may find that you prefer a stroller for walks or trips to the store, but I personally find a stroller cumbersome and prefer the simplicity of wearing babe when we go out.
- Car Seat – For safety reasons, this is one thing to be sure to purchase new. A second-hand car seat may have been in a fender bender or suffered some other damage, making it unsafe for use. There are several types of car seats to choose from. For minimizing on stuff and cutting costs, purchasing a convertible seat makes the most sense as it can be used from birth through toddlerhood. The downside to this type of seat is that it cannot be removed from the car and used as a carrier.
- Carrier or Sling – A sturdy, wearable carrier is my #1 necessity for parenting. If baby is fussy, wear him. If baby wants to nurse and you need to do the dishes, wear him. Running errands, wear him. Going for a hike, wear him… You get the idea. There are many different types of carriers and slings, and I highly recommend you try a few styles to find what works best for you. For the safety of both you and your baby, it is important that you know how to use your carrier properly – you may be able to find a babywearing class in your community, or you may find that your doula is a good source of information on babywearing.
Feeding and Diapering
- Feeding – For meeting your baby’s nutritional needs, you will have to determine what works best for you and your family. If you plan to exclusively breastfeed, nature gave you all the equipment you need, and there is nothing to buy (Yay!). If you are planning to pump and store breastmilk, there are many different styles and models of pumps to choose from depending on your needs. Breastmilk storage bags are a conveinent way to measure and store milk in the fridge or freezer until you are ready to use it. And of course, if you plan to pump or to feed your baby formula, you will need several bottles and a bottle brush.
- Diapering – Whether you choose to use cloth or disposable diapers, this part of parenthood can also be kept simple. Choosing cloth? Cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and a wetbag or two for holding dirty diapers are all you need. (This option will save you some cash over time). Choosing disposable? A few packs of diapers and a few packs of wipes – that’s it. You may be told you need a changing table, a wipe warmer, a fancy diaper pail, a travel changing pad and a million other things in order to keep your little one’s bum comfy, but this is just not the case.
Choose things that are easy to put on and that make changing diapers simple. All of the adorable tiny newborn clothes will not fit your baby for very long at all, so it is wise to buy more items in larger sizes even if you may not be able to use them for the first couple of weeks. It’s easy to save some cash when clothing your little one by shopping thrift or consignment stores.
Also, people love shopping for new babies, so you are likely to receive many of the things you need as gifts from friends and family. My recommendations for the first couple of months:
- A dozen sleepers (for winter babies) or a dozen onesies (for summer babies)
- 6 – 8 pairs of socks
- Sweaters (1-3 depending on your location/season)
- A couple of caps for winter babies
Sleeping and Bathing
Your baby will need a safe place to sleep, whether it be a separate crib, a cosleeper that attaches to your bed, or a safe space in your own bed. You will have to do some research and decide what will work best for you and your family. Aside from a place to sleep, meeting your baby’s sleeping and bathing needs can be very easy:
- A dozen burp cloths
- 8 – 10 Receiving Blankets – This may seem like a lot, but you may find yourself using them for millions of things (swaddling, travel changing pad, catching spit-up, emergency diaper because you forgot to restock your diaper bag)
- Hooded Towel – this may not be an absolute necessity, but it can make bath time easier and a little more comfy.
This truly is a minimal list. Every family will have different needs, and only you will know what works best for you.
- Digital Thermometer
- Nail Clippers
- Coconut Oil – a natural, soothing alternative to baby lotions and diaper ointments
More important than spending time researching what to buy for your little one, it is extremely important to take some time to slow down. Spend this time focusing on the beautiful changes taking place. Spend some time with yourself. Go for a walk, enjoy a cup of tea, take a yoga class. Spend some time envisioning what your days will look like once your babe is in your arms. This will allow you to honestly evaluate your life and and give you a more realistic idea of what your needs will be. Spend some time planning for your needs as a new parent – line up help with the cleaning and cooking, make sure your own bed is particularly comfy and luxurious with all of your necessities within arm’s reach – this is where I recommend you spend as much time as possible once your baby arrives. Your newborn baby’s needs will be very simple, with your love being at the very top of the list.