Search the net and you’re sure to find list upon list of what you need for a new baby. Most of those lists go way overboard. Babies don’t usually need much at all. Here’s a list of what I found, through my own experiences, to be the most useful.
Plenty of t-shirts and sleepers. If you only want to do laundry every few days, figure around 4 tshirts, and 2 sleepers per day. This may be a bit more than necessary on most days, but there will always be the occasional day, or days, when baby is spitting up more than normal, or has messy blow-outs. You’ll appreciate the extra tees.
Diapers and Wipes
Disposables or Cloth. In todays internet world, you will find diapers and wipes in variety of styles, patterns and personalities. The options are even wider for cloth than they are for disposables, can you imagine? There are some really ingenious designs that make diapering a baby’s tush almost seem exciting! And the following within the cloth diaper community feels the same way. However, beware, you may end up needing to one day admit “My name is _. And I’m a cloth diaper addict. "
Can’t talk yourself into cloth? No worries, the disposable diapers have come along way and while they aren’t soft natural cotton and wool, they do keep your baby dry and don’t leak.
How much of each? Only keep a couple jumbo packs of disposables on hand at a time. Babies grow so fast you aren’t always able to guage how soon they’ll be into the next size. Planning on using cloth? A dozen or two dozen would probably be a good start. What I’ve seen is cloth diapers are an addictive thing and you may end up with wonderful cloth diapers coming out your ears! Wipes? I always buy by the package and sometimes by the box. Making your own? A yard of flannel or fleece would probably yeild a good start.
Receiving blanket. Those itty bitty blankets you wrap a newborn in, but after the first month aren’t good for much baby wrapping. But if you, like most women, end up with a few dozen of them, they make great lap pads, burp pads, and for mom, use them to wrap your hair when you get out of the shower - they are light-weight so they don’t fall over when you are tending to baby, or use them as a nursing pad when you are bra-less. They work just fine. They may also be used when baby is going bare - to catch any accidents.
On the other hand, a couple of really nice, kid-sized blankets are must have!
Sling or Carrier
The online mothering community has been inundated with every type of baby sling and carrier you could imagine, and then some! Padded to unpadded slings, pouches, wraps and carriers. These, like cloth diapers, may lead to addiction, tread with caution! But a good carrier is a must have. You even see mothers in the public eye touting their babes in slings nowadays. It’s no longer alternative, having paved a path into mainstream.
Structured carriers are great too. Do some research and where possible, give one a test run. Some communities offer baby wearing classes and have slings you can test. Some online shops will even send you a used sling to try, reserving cost on your credit card - then applied back when you return the carrier.
Co-sleeping has become more commonplace practice, but it isn’t always for everyone. Not to mention, some moms, even the attachment parenting mom would like a place to lay baby. Some ideas include a bassinet or cradle, a travel crib, a moses basket, or many others. This is something you may need to experiment with to find the best fit for you and the baby. Different stages of babyhood may require some changes.
Pad an out of the walk-way area of the floor with a couple receiving blankets and make a little nest for baby to lay. No extra expense.
Unless you live in a walking/biking community, chances are you’ll need a carseat. For safety’s sake, do your research on this one. An infant seat is nice when you can take it in and out of the car easily while baby sleeps, but any secure, up-to-date infant approved carseat is great, necessary! Also, take note that not all car seats fit all cars.
Most mothers who “wear" their babies say you don’t need a stroller. Strollers don’t have to recieve use directly from the baby to be useful. It comes in handy to carry coats and jackets, drinks, purse or diaper bag, extra diapers, change of clothes, not to mention any purchased items on your outing. As an added benefit, it leaves mom pretty hands free - you get really good at pushing a stroller with one hand! If you opt for a stroller, choose one that has drink carriers.
A bouncy seat comes in handy so often, that while I’d classify it as “optional", for myself, it was necessary. I loved our bouncy seat as much as baby enjoyed it. I carried it everywhere with me, to the bathroom for instance. It was a great baby holder while I took care of bathroom duties, did the dishes and cooked dinner. Baby and I would sing, talk and play while I got chores done.
Any bag with a couple pockets works well. The younger the baby, the bigger the bag needed. As baby grows and has less accidents (i. e. spit up, bottom blow-outs), you’ll get more efficient at packing just what you may need. Don’t go overboard on a diaper bag with all the frills. A nice canvas bag, decorated by you and siblings, works just as well. Toss in a couple gallon-sized baggies for messes, a couple of receiving blankets for padding and you’re good to go!
Judi Cox is a wife and mother of 4 children. Her hobbies include, but are ever growing, making handmade soap, gardening, crafts, web design, reading. . .