A sweet friend, pregnant with her first, posted a cry for help of sorts on Facebook this week. She wanted to know what baby gear she should register for. And if you’ve been in a Babies”R'”Us recently, you should understand her plight. What do babies need? And how can you prepare for one without making your home look like a Babies”R”Us store?
First off, take every piece of advice you get with a smile and a little bit of thought. Every parent is different just like every baby is different. Your best friend might swear that you need a wipes warmer for your little one, while your cousin insists that a baby swing is the best baby item money can buy. Listen to what your friends, family (and random strangers in the baby aisle at Target) say, but then make your own decisions about what you need for your baby and your life style!
Here are the basic necessities you will (most likely) want for your baby:
A crib, a pack’n’play, a bassinet, a Moses Basket, a Peapod tent, a travel bed, a co-sleeper bed attachment… it doesn’t really matter what kind of bed you choose, but you do need to prepare a place for your baby to sleep. If your family is often on the go, a regular crib might not be the best bang for your buck– look into more portable options.
- A Car seat
There are about as many car seat options as there are bed options for babies. Some people like to carry around the infant car seat (I personally think it gets a little too heavy to be hoisting around), and like that it can attach to a stroller while others go for a car seat that can transition with your child. Whichever one you choose, it’s a good idea to take the car seat to a seat check location to have it installed properly! Check here for a seat check location near you!
- A Basic Layette
Your newborn does not need a ton of clothes. A few onesies, sleepers, bibs, socks, pants, and hats in each size along with a few big swaddling blankets will get you a long way.
- Basic Grooming and Toiletry Items
Nail clippers, hooded towels, wash clothes, baby shampoo, alcohol wipes, diaper rash cream, thermometer, nasal aspirator, baby Tylenol, gas drops, and lanolin cream (for you!) will help keep your baby healthy and clean!
- Diapers and Wipes
You might choose cloth, you might choose disposable. You might want to do a mix of both. Have a few on hand before baby arrives, but don’t stock up too much– you might find out you hate how Pampers leak, or how complicated pocket diapers are. Wait until you figure out what you (and baby) like to buy more diapers!
- Burp Cloths
Neither of my first two babies were spitters, so I had burp clothes but rarely used them. Doodlebug is a different story, I never have enough burp cloths around to protect my clothes with this baby! Cute burp cloths are fine, but really any soft, cotton material will do– a lot of people use cloth diaper prefolds as burp cloths since they come in big packs and are relatively inexpensive.
Truly this is a baby item I cannot live without. A comfy, portable bouncer seat allows baby to be with the family wherever they are. The seat can be picked up and moved from room to room (I even put it in the bathroom when I need a shower!), and sometimes the chairs rock, or vibrate, or play music. I love that baby can sit in the kitchen with us when we eat dinner, or sit in his room with his siblings and watch them play (or sit and watch me type like he’s doing now!)
- Feeding Essentials
Breastfeeding mothers need breast pads, nursing bras, and a small pump with bottles. (I also adore my nursing cover from Bebe Au Lait.) When baby is old enough for solids you’ll need some spoons, bowls, cups, big bibs, and a place for baby to sit to eat.
- A Sling or Carrier
I told you I don’t like carting an infant seat around, so I prefer to have a sling or carrier for my baby when we go out. My favorite hands down is the Ergo Baby Carrier. (If you plan to use the Ergo Baby Carrier with a baby younger than four months, you’ll need to purchase the newborn insert with the carrier.)
I love to wear my babies, but I also like to stroll my bugs. Especially when they become more “toddler” than “baby”, a good stroller helps a good mom! With my first baby I had the humongous stroller that a car seat can strap into, but these days I prefer to push around a basic umbrella stroller. (We like the Maclaren Triumph because it’s tall enough for Hubby, it’s not flimsy, it comes with a rain cover, and it’s a dependable brand.)