Baby Needs, Part 1

Shopping for your new baby before it comes is lots of fun. There are so many things out there that you could get, some important and necessary, others that are nice to have, and yet others that are perfectly useless yet are sold as something you just “have to have”. How do you this important job of preparing for your newborn without ending up with a lot of clutter and an empty wallet?
The secret lies in having a list and a plan.

Before you enter that shop with all those adorable baby items that call to you, take some time to plan. Are you setting up a whole nursery, or just a corner of your own bedroom? Are you expecting one or two or more babies? Do you know the baby’s sex? What is your budget? Sit down and make a list with these questions, plus any more you may have, then make your list.

But if this is your first baby, you may be clueless about what you really need right away, what can wait until later, and what you won’t need at all. Below I’ve written some lists of things you will want to get before your baby comes, based on my personal experience.

Equipment: Immediate
– Crib – Even if you plan on having your baby sleep with you, get a crib from the beginning. That way, you can put your baby there during nap times. Especially as they get older, it is safer for them to sleep in a crib to avoid falls off your bed.
– Car seat – try to get one that you can use past the newborn stage so that it will last longer.
– Stroller – very useful if you plan on lots of outings. Some have detachable carry seats for newborns. When you get it, think about how you plan on using it. Strollers come in varying qualities and strengths, so think about if you will use it for long walks, carrying groceries (like I do), exercising, or just short strolls.

Equipment: Later
– Highchair – You won’t need this until your baby is able to sit up, somewhere around 6 months or so. With Logan and Lila I used a booster seat that has a detachable tray and it ties on to a regular chair. Lila is still using it now and Scarlett has a regular highchair.
– Walker – I’ve writen what I think about walkers here.

Equipment: Optional
– Carrier – this is very useful and practical when your baby is small and light. You can use it indoors or out. There are many styles to choose from.
– Bouncer – a bouncer is nice for the first few months when you need a place to put your baby and they can rock in it.
– Changing table – this can be useful if you have back problems and bending is difficult. Some also have a bath attachment. I never used one. Instead, I changed the baby on my bed and gave them sponge baths on the bed until I was able to bend.
– Bath tub – I used one once I was able to bend post-delivery and hold the baby up. It is also useful for when baby is able to sit up alone and play, especially if you only have a shower stall. Of course, you could also use a regular tub and a bath seat instead.

Babies grow rapidly in the first six months of life, so if you are able to get used items instead of new ones, you will save a lot of money. Don’t turn down offers from friends and relatives. Buy on discount if you can. Baby clothes cost as much as adult clothes, but will use them for less time than you would, so only buy new what you absolutely must. Also, buy unisex unless you already know the baby’s sex.
With all my kids I had people give me clothes. When Logan was born I had nothing, but within the first week, bags started showing up from all over the place. Lila was the most well dressed. She had so many clothes that she outgrew many of them before she had a chance to wear them. I’ve had to buy the most new things for Scarlett, but I also saved whatever was still nice of what Lila had outgrown. Do hang on to things if you plan on more kids. It will save you money in the long run.
Some of my personal favorite clothing items for babies are one-piece items, jumpsuits, pajamas, etc. They are comfortable, easy to wear, and practical. Always think practical when buying baby clothes. Think comfort.

For your newborn you will need:
– Onesies – in hot weather they are a complete outfit and in cold weather they are a layer of warmth. Buy cotton cause it breathes better than polyester. You will need a good amount on hand, especially if you are using cloth diapers.
– Pajamas – get the ones that snap up with the covered feet. Newborn ones often have an extra piece at the wrist to cover the hands, or else they come with mittens.
– Mittens – a few pairs. They are not just for warmth, but to keep baby from scratching himself in those early weeks when the nails are still fused to the finger and you can’t clip them.
– Warm hat – needed for newborns and those born in winter.
– Socks
– Booties – for extra warmth

These are the best items for newborns. Save outfits with tops and bottoms for when they are older.

To be continued… click here for part 2

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