Preparing for a new baby can be a daunting task. There are so many products out there, it can be overwhelming knowing what you really need. When I was making a registry for my son, I wanted to focus on items that were functional, multi-purpose, and that could be used immediately and down the road. I did not want a house covered in “baby.”
I have had many people ask for recommendations recently, so in the spirit of David Letterman, here is my “Top 10 List For Bringing Home Baby.”
1. Somewhere To Sleep
You will most likely get a crib for your baby. However, after 9+ months in your uterus, they like being cozy. I recommend getting a travel crib with a bassinet for the first few weeks to months. These also are great if you plan to have your baby in your room because they are easy to break down and set up. You can also use them when you travel (many even have bags that allow you to check them) and as a playpen later on.
2. Somewhere For Baby To “Go”
It may come as a shock to you as it did to me, but eventually you will want to put your baby down. Once the grandparents have gone home and you have to actually accomplish things again, it is nice to have a safe place for baby to go. Thankfully, we had a neighbor loan us a Rock’n Play, or I am not sure how I would have ever taken a shower. Another great option is a baby swing.
I recommend borrowing from a friend if possible to see if your baby likes it before buying.
3. Some Way To Eat
You may plan to breastfeed, you may plan for formula, but the truth is, you never know what feeding your baby is going to entail. Have some bottles and reserve formula on hand in case. Sometimes it takes a few days to weeks for milk to come in and you may have to supplement. It’s much easier to buy before rather than have to run out for it later. If you don’t end up using it, you can always donate it to a women’s shelter.
4. Something To “Pump” It Up
If you are planning to breastfeed at all, I cannot recommend enough the need to get a breast pump. Many insurance policies (including Tricare for military) cover the cost.
Along with the pump, I also recommend getting a hands-free pumping bra.
I initially scoffed at the idea because the packaging looks slightly ridiculous. However, it has been worth every penny as I am able to make much better use of my time while pumping. Also invest in a good nursing cover. I like the ones that can be used for nursing, as a car seat cover, and later as a grocery cart seat cover.
5. Something To Contain The Mess
Babies (especially newborns) poop and pee A LOT. Have more diapers on hand than you think you need. Again, running errands will not be high on the list of things you feel like doing when you get home. Have newborn and size 1 because you won’t know how big your baby will be until he or she gets here. If you have a boy, pee will literally go everywhere. I know you will be tempted to get the cute changing pad with the adorable cloth cover but let me tell you that is a fight you will lose.
Pony up the extra money and get a hard-sided plastic changing “peanut” (there are several brands out there) that you can easily wipe down any time you need to.
6. Something To Contain The Baby
There will come a day much sooner than you think where your baby will not know what he/she wants but it will NOT include being put down. I highly recommend investing in a baby carrier and stroller. As for carriers, there are many options out there. Many people enjoy the wrap or sling carriers, particularly if they have other small children to corral because they are fairly easy to get on and off. I have a convertible carrier that I use for hiking, walks, and the times when I need to vacuum and my son wants to “help.”
I also encourage people to get a quality stroller. You will use it often and for a long period of time. Make sure it’s maneuverable, compatible or convertible for a car seat, and easy to fold up and down. If you are a runner, investing in a jogging stroller is definitely worth it. This is an easy way to get in exercise with your baby, and, for me, it’s my daily dose of mental health.
7. Something To Wear
Again, you won’t know how big your baby will be until he or she arrives, so it’s a good idea to have both newborn and 0-3 month clothes on hand. Your baby will have razor sharp talons for a while (its one of the great unsolved medical mysteries of our time as to why), and the nails will be terrifying/impossible to cut.
Having clothes with built in hand-covers is a lifesaver. These stay on much better than baby mittens. Don’t even get me started on baby socks. Just get the onesies with built in “footies” or spend your life fighting a losing battle. You may also want to swaddle your baby at night or for naps. You may even have an engineering degree like my husband. However your child will still somehow Houdini his way out of a swaddle. Get the sleep sacks. They are like swaddles for dummies.
8. Somewhere To Sit
However childbirth happens for you, I can promise you that you will return home sore. Getting in and out of bed or off the couch for nursing/tending to your baby can be difficult. I highly suggest getting a rocker or glider that you can keep in whatever room your baby sleeps. It is by far the most comfortable place to feed my baby and easier to get up and down from. I recommend buying a decent one that you can use elsewhere in your home later on. You will get your money’s worth (and super strong calf muscles!) from all the rocking you will do.
9. Some Suggestions For Grooming Your Baby
As I mentioned before, your baby will have small daggers for nails that have to be cut ALL.THE.TIME. Find nail clippers that are comfortable for you to use and that come with a file that can prevent your child from gauging his/her eyes out. You also will be issued a snot-sucking bulb (definitely the technical term) when you leave the hospital. Perhaps the nuances of this device are beyond me, but it never worked in getting even one booger out of my son. I finally broke down and bough the Nose Frida, a handy device that allows you to suck snot out of your babies nose via a tube and straw.
People, I fought this one. I did not want any part of it, but it truly works. You will be amazed at how much mucous you are able to get out (new resume skill?)! Another fun fact about your baby is that he or she will be ridiculously slippery when getting a bath. If you buy an infant bathtub, find one that includes an infant sling. This will make bath time much less stressful to you and enjoyable for baby.
10. Some Miscellaneous Multi-Purpose Items
As we have already mentioned several times, babies can be gross. They tend to spit up all over themselves (and you). Keep a lot of burp cloths on hand. They make some awesome ones now that can be used as bibs as well. If your kids are anything like my son, it also will be their favorite teething toy. I also suggest getting some muslin swaddling blankets. They are lightweight, easy to pack, and can be used for swaddling, as a blanket, a play mat, or a cover for you or baby.
That’s it! You are set! Sit back, relax, and enjoy your baby!