Soooooooo Much Baby Stuff
Babies are cute, tiny humans that laugh and eat and cry and poop and are amazingly adorable doing all of it. As tiny and cute as babies are, they come with a lot of baggage. Even if you don't buy a lot of stuff for your baby you'll be amazed at how much baby crap will appear in your home. When you are expecting, especially your first child, you'll want to make a registry to guide your loved ones in their gift giving; especially if you don't want to end up with 15 of the same little boy's onsie. I am a proud Amazon Prime member so I prefer their registry. There is also an great Amazon Mom program that offers discounts on subscriptions to things like diapers and wipes. If you are like me and just don't plan that far in advance, a Costco membership is great option to stock up on those items as needed.
Let's get down to the nuts and bolts. I am a minimalist (although my mother and mother in law could never be accused of minimalism). There are so many things we've been told we need before baby comes and many are big ticket items. When being completely honest with ourselves there isn't a whole lot a newborn baby needs beyond some diapers (cloth or disposable), wipes, mamas chest, and milk. However, some baby gear is nice to have. I'll list my top ten items. Tell me, what do you think is a necessity?
1. Bassinet - Even if you plan on co-sleeping having a portable bassinet is nice so you can lay baby down somewhere safe while you shower or they nap. A Pack n Play is a more versatile option that will grow with your baby, but is not as compact and manageable. However, many give the option of a changing station, making it a truly multi-functional piece of furniture. Pick one or the other, unless your house is in excess of 3,000 sf you really don't need both.
2. Diaper Bag - As a minimalist, and as a mom who expected my partner to pull his weight, I preferred a plain, simple, functional, ergonomic bag. I especially like cross body bags when schlepping around an infant.
3. Car Seat - I want to tell you you only need to buy one, a nice convertible car seat that will grow with your child. But in reality an infant bucket seat is especially nice if you have a winter baby. However, I don't recommend using one much past 9-12 months. An excellent convertible car seat will fit in most vehicles rear facing to 40 lbs or more. For most children that will accommodate them rear facing to age three or four, which are the new recommendations. Beyond that the convertible seat can be configured as a booster and belt position-er. Many hospitals and fire departments have car seat technicians that will help you install your car seat appropriately.
4. Breast Pump - This is the most expensive item on my list, and for any mom who has to return to work or be away from her baby or needs to build her supply, it is a necessity. GREAT NEWS! Now most Insurance covers your breast pump! Call your Insurance provider and see which pump they carry and if you can order prior to baby's arrival. Some lactation consultants even suggest pumping in late term pregnancy to have some colostrum on hand for your newborn.
5. Baby Carrier -Holding your baby close to you and having hands free to function is an amazing thing. Wearing your baby ergonomically promotes good posture and health for the parent and the infant, parental/child bonding, and just simplifies life. A Ring Sling is a great option with a quick learning curve for newborns. Another option is a Soft Structure Carrier like an Ergo with infant insert, Lillebaby, infant Kinderpack, Becco, Baby K'tan, Boba, or Moby Go. For the more adventurous and beauty focused parent, a wrap is versatile, but there is a learning curve.
6. Burp Cloths - you can never have too many burp cloths. Keep one in every room and a few in the diaper bag every time you go out. I actually prefer the old fashioned Birdseye Cloth Diapers as burp cloths. They are super absorbent and are easy to clean.
7. Stroller - As much as I love baby wearing there are times when you need to lug your diaper bag and some shopping bags as well as your baby. A nice lightweight umbrella style stroller is a great option. Or a Travel System will meet the needs of a stroller and infant bucket seat.
8. Swing - a compact battery powered swing has saved many parent from a sleepless night or colicky baby. It is a great place to plop baby while you cook, clean, or rest. Another more affordable option is a Bouncer. Pick one, you really don't need both.
9. Sleeper - This is the one piece of baby clothing you can never have enough of. 10-20 in every size is really not overkill. I prefer the ones with zippers because I am simply too lazy to deal with 10+ snaps every time I have to change a newborn (10+ times a day).
10: Lovey - Every baby needs that one toy or blanket that is solely theirs. It becomes their best friend, soother, and cuddle dud. If you find one your baby loves buy 2 or three and stash the extras for the inevitable day when one get ruined or lost. Our kids liked the sensory blankets from almost birth.
I'll be honest, I was struggling to come up with 10. What a baby actually needs is pretty limited. If you are supplementing, bottle, or formula feeding a good set of bottles is needed. What do you think I left out? What was your most coveted or beloved piece of baby gear?