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Shopping For Baby: What do you Really Need?

I mean really. Babies are simple creatures. They eat, they look around, they kick their legs and suck their fists (so cute!), they poop, and they sleep. Oh, and they cry. But you wouldn't know that by going to Babies R Us. There is so. Much. Stuff. How do you know what to buy? Well, here it is. My guide to super simple baby preparation. Here's what you need:
  • Diapers.
  • A vessel to contain the messy diapers (read- trash can. No fancy diaper pail required).
  • Wipes, cloth or disposable (or homemade disposable)
  • 4-8 Seasonally Appropriate outfits (sleep and plays are best) in size 0-3 months, NOT newborn. If baby is born super small, then is the time to go buy newborn or preemie clothes.
  • 4-8 onesies or t-shirts (I suggest t-shirts if you use cloth diapers. Onsies get all up in the cloth diapers and wick out fluid).
  • A place for baby to sleep (crib, co-sleeper, parents' bed...)
  • A large, lightweight blanket for swaddling, shading, nursing cover, and other purposes.
  • If you live in a cold climate, warm stuff, like a heavier blanket, a baby bunting, a carrier cover, socks and mittens, etc. Not really an expert in this area- my babies were all born in SoCal.
  • Boobies :)
  • A carseat.
  • A binky or two and Dr. Harvey Karp's book The Happiest Baby on the Block. Okay, these aren't necessities in the sense of the word. But regardless of parenting style, belief, or baby's temperament they are two things I would recommend any and all parents buy before their baby is born. Some babies need to suck more, and some don't, and unless you're willing to be your baby's binky (and some moms are, and that's fine, but I never was) having a binky on hand if you find this out is helpful. And EVERY parent should read Dr. Karp's book just before or just after they give birth to their first child. Seriously, I feel so strongly about this I think the government should issue a copy to each new mom. The thing with most "miracle cures" in parenting is that none of them work for all kids... except this one. Because it is simple and plays on a baby's physiological needs and instincts. And while the levels of need very, all babies will benefit from the methods in the book. Plus, they don't go against any particular parenting philosophy, so any parent will find it useful.
Obviously most moms are going to buy more than that. But it is nice to know you don't have to spend a small fortune if you can't or don't want to or don't have the time to. There are a number of things I would actively advise against- most "gear" like exosaucers, bouncy seats, bumbos, etc, a full sized high chair (there are so many great compact models that either strap to a chair or scoot up to the table, there's no reason to have such a big piece taking up space!), sleep positioners, bedding sets (especially bumpers!), Baby Bjorn or Snugli type carriers... But you may be thinking "what other things do you recommend, besides the basics?" Well, here's THAT list:
  • SwaddleMe swaddling blankets- I had several for each child. They have a little pouch for the feet and two flaps with velcro that cross over your baby's torso and keep them securely swaddled, preventing them from waking themselves up at night any more than necessary. While we swaddled our kids using many other methods (straight up wrap and tuck as well as wrapping tightly with a jersey blanket and securing with a snappi), but the SwaddleMe blankets are the easiest to use.
  • A GOOD carrier. Or 5.
  • A few simple wooden or cloth toys.
  • Medela pump and bottles.
  • A lovey. You can't really plan this- my kids both picked their own. But I feel they are important.
  • Mommy stuff; breast pads, lanolin, nursing bras and tanks.
  • A foam pad for the bathtub. Baby washcloths and towels, though, are kind of a waste of space.
  • Basic baby care products.
That's just about all I needed, especially in the first few months. Of course, as they get older new needs and problems arise, and you learn to address them. Just don't feel like you need to buy EVERYTHING before the baby is born.

1 comment:

I am. . . - Bloggy McBloggerstein! said...

Great post! Had I read this 2 1/2 years ago, I could have saved THOUSANDS of dollars on items that I rarely, if ever, used: Bumbo sitter, giant swing, portable swing, jumperoo, way-too-short booster, clip on seat for restaurants - and that's not even getting into the bazillions of blankets, towels, washcloths, etc. I never read Dr. Karp's book, but I swear by his techniques! My son never would take a pacifier though and is a thumb addict. . .darn it!

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