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Have no fear — I’ll be writing another post about creating your baby registry (something I get asked about ALL THE TIME). But I figured it would be good to start simple and small… and thus this post was born. Now that I’ve been through this – birth, infant and baby thing – once already, I thought it would be useful to cut through all the crap. And talk about…
The top 15 things you really need before you have a baby.
It might surprise you that the things you think you’re going to see here – aren’t. For example – baby swings, rockers, gliders, cribs, highchairs <<< you don’t need any of those at first… not even close. Cute framed animal photos, grasscloth papered walls, sheepskin rugs <<< yeah that’s all well and good, but none of that is going to keep your baby alive, or help you in the long run.
Can you tell I made some mistakes my first time around?
So… there are a couple of reasons for this post. First, it’s just me being honest – something that I know you guys appreciate. Second, I’m hoping to help any first time moms that might be struggling with all the things and checkmarks on the “baby to do list”.
Let me do you a favor and cut that list in half.
Third, it’s a great place to look for a truly useful gift if you have a friend that is about to be a first time mom. And last – if none of those things apply to you – hopefully you’ll have a good laugh at how neurotic and crazy I was the first time around.
So here we go…
1.) A good bassinet.
With William, I was terrified of not having his nursery absolutely perfect by the time he arrived. But… the second time around, I’m a little more realistic. We didn’t put William in his nursery – to spend the night – until he was 4-5months old, because keeping him in a bassinet by our bed was easiest – especially when I was breastfeeding every two hours in the middle of the night. Plus – the American Association of Pediatrics recommends that a baby should sleep in the same room as their parents for at least the first 6 months of life… ideally 12. >>> See more here. Every family is different, and do what you’re going to do, but with all that ^^^ said, the Baby Bjorn bassinet you see in the middle below is my life. It’s simple, clean, and I love how safe it is.
2.) A breast pump and the pumping essentials
Now this isn’t to scare you — but my breast pump was my life the first time around. My days went like this – feed the baby, pump, clean the pump, store the milk… half an hour later… get ready to do it all over again. Feeding a baby takes time – a lot of it. More time than anybody thinks. *** I would always laugh when people asked what I did all day on maternity leave… “I fed my baby… WTF do you think I did?” ***
So if you plan on breastfeeding, and you want to pump (which in my opinion – helps keep your supply steady, and can help prevent against mastitis) get yourself a nice breast pump, lots of extra parts, milk storage bags, and a hands free bra so you can do something else while you pump. All my favorites are below.
3.) A plethora of onesies
I know it’s tempting to buy all the cutest little cashmere sweaters and frilly dresses in every children’s store out there… but don’t. Those things aren’t comfortable for your baby, they’re a pain for you, and to be entirely honest, they will get ruined. Spend your hard earned money on some comfy onesies for your little one – and something you can easily throw in the washer/dryer. With William, we bought him one or two nice, monogrammed, outfits for every new size he would be – so this ensured we had a couple of options when we needed to take his photos, head to church, or go to a family gathering… but around the house, it was all white onesies (he lived in these), kickee pants, and kissy kissy. See below.
4.) Halo sleep sacks
Now – every baby is different – but swaddling was not for William. He has slept in Halo sleep sacks from the very beginning, and he still sleeps in them today. I am a huge fan of this company and I know you will be too!
5.) Dr. Brown’s bottles/Bottle brush
I tried every bottle under the sun the last time around… and these were my favorites – bar none. Joe’s cousin who has worked in childcare for years recommended them to us, and they really were the best.
6.)Dark colored robes, pajamas, and undergarments
I’m gonna be real honest here. After you give birth – you’re bleeding – and you have a constant stream of people trying to visit you. Wear whatever you want, but I found it easiest to dress head to toe in black just in case there was an accident – and believe me, there were, are will be be accidents. Your boobs will leak, you’ll be bleeding, there will be spit up – it is what it is. It also found that it helps if whatever you’re wearing is super comfy. So look no further. This robe set, this nursing tank, these undies, this dress and this one too. I mean they were my saving graces the first time around, and I know they will be again this time.
7.) Trusty diapers
We’re Huggies Little Snugglers people in this family – but many of my friends use Pampers. Really – it doesn’t matter – it’s whatever works for you and your baby. But just be sure to have newborns and size one on hand!
8.) A toilet kit
My girlfriends who had already had babies prepared me for this – and thank goodness they did. After giving birth, you will need some things on the back of your toilet to help you heal… the full kit is below. Let me warn you – after having William, I bled for six weeks. <<< This is entirely normal and happens to a lot of women. It’s just best to be prepared and to have everything you need on hand as soon as you get home from the hospital.
9.) A baby toiletry essential kit
One of my dear friends compiled me one of these at my first shower, and I swear, every time we were having a “baby panic attack” we just went straight to this kit. It had everything in it that you might need – the best part is that none of these things are expensive – at all.. but as a first time parent, you just have no idea you’re going to need them.
10.) A baby bathtub
For the first few months of their lives, it’s really easiest to bathe your baby in the sink. Plus William was OBSESSED with the water from an early age – so a good sink bathtub was essential. We also eventually put it in the big bathtub to transition him slowly.
11.) The boppy
The boppy is really more for everyone else than it is for you. You will have inlaws, friends, and sometimes even strangers coming over to see and hold your new baby. Crazy… I know. But anyhow — the boppy is amazing because it makes “holding” a baby SO incredibly easy. Anyone that would come over to our house to hold William got the boppy – I just explained how he really liked it – and how much easier it would be on them. Heck – my mother in law even started asking for it. And you know what? Good! It makes it easier on them, which makes it easier on your baby… and yes, it makes it easier on you.
I didn’t leave the house a whole ton when William was born (I know… I know… I’m really a homebody) – so I kind of thought twice about putting this on my list — but seeing as how they won’t let you leave the hospital without one… it’s kind of important. Let’s talk about something hilarious… when we had William, we thought we could just waltz out of the hospital with him. You should’ve seen our faces when the nurse demanded that we take the carseat out of the car, bring it up to the room, and actually put him in it, so that she could check to be sure that we knew what we were doing. Yes, they do this. And thank God they do – because sure enough, we had NO idea what we were doing. So yes… a carseat makes the list. We used/will use the Chicco keyfit. It’s linked below, and we LOVE it.
Now while I wasn’t taking many car outings when William was first born, I was taking lots of outings by walking. Looking back, I really think getting some exercise and breathing in the fresh mountain air was so good for me after giving birth – and I totally credit it as one of the reasons I never dealt with any postpartum depression. That being said – your stroller will be your lifeline for the next year of your child’s life… and then some. We are OBSESSED with our bugaboo. Obsessed in the sense of – WE WILL NEVER CHANGE BRANDS. It has, and continues to come on every trip with us, it went all over Italy, and we use it weekly to go on family walks. That being said… you definitely need a good stroller.
This was another one that I hesitated on putting on this list – but I can just imagine if I left it off. I’m not a monitor person – at all. Never have been, never will be. They totally freak me out, they interfere with my sleep, and I never felt the need to be able to watch my baby sleep for hours on end. What’s more – my husband wasn’t sleeping AT ALL because every time William moved, it would wake him. There were multiple nights when I’d wake up to Joe just staring at the monitor – and in short, we became a “no monitor” family. That being said, I know many mommas who love having a monitor and the safety and security it brings them – so for that reason it made my list. I do like the one we have, it works great, it’s transportable, and it has a million cool functions… we have just decided that monitors aren’t for us.
15.) A tribe of women who will keep you sane and bring you food
This might be the most important thing of all on the list. If your husband can do it all for you – great. But mine can’t… and I don’t know any husbands (personally) that can.
Accordingly, my mom, mother-in-law, and sister are all flying in at different times to lend a helping hand. My doula is coming over a couple days after I give birth to deliver my placenta pills and to check in. My girlfriends always find time to stop by, get their cuddles in, and to bring food. Giving birth and the hormonal changes you’ll experience afterward aren’t easy. I think it’s super important that everyone know that – and that you need to give yourself a break. You don’t need to cook, and clean, and keep a baby alive. Lean on your tribe – and you won’t feel alone.
I wish I could let you “shop a tribe”, but it’s just not possible. The best I can do is show you a couple of sites (here and here) that allow friends – near and far to set up food delivery. Believe me… it will make all the difference.
SO – I know there are more than 15 things here – really I guess it should be called “15 categories” – but pick and choose what you want. I’m not here to tell you how to raise your child, I’m just here to tell you what helped most in raising mine, and hope that in some way it will help you.
Lots of love to all of you! XooX
This is so helpful for this first time momma to be, thank you!
This post is the best!! Wish I had this list back when my two girls were babies. Totally would have helped!