Updated: Sep 8, 2019
Parenting is overwhelming. And it starts the second you get the “+” on that little magic wand.
First, you’re excited. Then scared shitless. Then excited again. Then you start planning the nursery and putting together Pinterest boards. Then it hits.
THERE. ARE. SO. MANY. THINGS
WTF should I get? What do I really need? Can I just go cry in a corner and have someone else do this for me?
Take a deep breath.
Let me break it down for you. First, 3 rules of thumb:
1. You don’t need all the things. Target and Amazon will make you think you need all the things, but you don’t. The baby product market is a $73.86 BILLION dollar industry. Needless to say, there are a lot of saavy marketers competing for your dollar, and you could go broke and a little crazy if you tried to keep up with all the stuff you're "supposed" to have for your new baby.
Take it from me (a mom of 2) for what it's worth. You don't need all the things. Hopefully this post will help you decide what you actually need based on your situation, goals and values. (ps. You probably have other mom friends who can help you decide as well).
2. Stick to the basics of what babies need to eat, sleep, poop and be/feel safe. If you have those 4 things covered, you’re golden.
3. Make every decision based on YOUR goals, lifestyle and values. If you’re an avid runner who runs outside on a regular basis, then you’ll probably want to prioritize a good jogging stroller. If you *think* you might like to start running after this baby is born, but you haven’t actually ran since high school, then skip the fancy stroller investment and go for something used (just in case you decide you actually hate running and would rather take a zumba class or something). Trust me on this one.
HERE ARE THE THINGS YOU NEED FOR BABY (that you will want to register for):
Feeding supplies for bottles (if you’re using them).
You’ll need bottles, nipples, something to clean them with, and a bottle warmer (not totally necessary, but makes life easier)
EXPERT TIP: If you’re using bottles, don’t get a TON of any single brand of bottle until after baby arrives. Instead, get a just a few of different kinds as your baby may like one but not another.
-Nursing pads and/or Haakaa
-Pump and bags (if you plan to pump)
-Easy access clothing (doesn’t have to be “nursing” clothes, but does need to be stretchy enough to pull down and access the boob, keeping in mind your level of comfort to exposing your tatas)
-Nursing cover, depending on your level of comfort - I never used one, but you may prefer to be more modest.
-Boppy/nursing pillow. Your tired arms will thank you during the many hours you’ll spend feeding.
-Pack’n’play - It’s portable, can be put in your room for the first few months, and can be used as baby grows to nap/play. I know a lot of moms who completely nixed the crib in favor of a pack and play, and I can’t say I disagree.
-Swing and/or bouncer - because you’ll need to be able to put baby down without them screaming to take a shower once in a while. I used my swing all. the. time.
-Swaddle blanket + the book “Happiest Baby on the Block” - Thank me later.
-Noise machine - baby’s environment in the womb is LOUD. Even though it might be counter intuitive, for most babies it’s easier for them to sleep with noise than without. We used our noise machine often (and my 3 year old still does).
-These little nightgowns for baby. They make middle of the night changings SOOOO much easier
-Diapers - duh. They will grow out of newborn, 1 & 2 quickly, so get less of those sizes. Stock up on size 3 and 4.
-Butt cream. We liked Boudreaux's Butt Paste
-Nose Frida - The nose frida is a MUST - more effective and easier to use than the booger bulb. I don't know how I lived without it for baby #1.
- Something to bathe baby - we used an infant sling like this until he was old enough to sit in the sink. Don’t underestimate the goodness of an old fashioned kitchen sink bath.
-Baby carrier to wear baby - this is a MUST. Not only will it save your sanity because you’ll be able to hold baby AND have the use of both of your hands, but it also helps your baby feel safer and more connected to you than sitting in a swing, bouncer or playpen. I recommend Lollie Wrap - easy, comfy and local!
-Car seat - you can get the infant seat if you want it, but they grow out of it SO FAST. I wish I had just bought the Graco 4Ever carseat first instead of the infant seat, and wore my baby instead of carrying around the clunky infant seat. #liveandlearn
-Stroller - see discussion above. Don’t buy the expensive jogging stroller unless you’ll actually use it.
-Baby monitor - Doesn’t have to be fancy. They make ones with video and wifi and apps. Trust me, the good ‘ol fashioned one-way walkie talkie works great
-**Car seat cover if baby is born in the dead of a midwest winter
THINGS YOU’LL NEED, BUT DON’T ADD TO REGISTRY:
People LOVE to buy these things for new baby gifts. You’ll probably get waaay more than you need. Also, if you’re the rare person who doesn’t receive an abundance of these things, they are extremely cheap and easy to come by used if and when you need them.
-Breastpump - insurance will cover
THINGS YOU DON’T NEED:
-Fancy rocking chair
-Car seat accessories
-Older baby feeding tools (cups, plates, sippies, etc.). Save the room on your registry for things you’ll need right away. These are again easy and cheap to come by later on when you actually need them.
-Bath towels/robes - your regular towel will dry them just as well as the cute baby ones
-Crib bumpers - These are actually dangerous. So just don't...k?
-Baby laundry detergent - Here’s my two cents: if your regular laundry detergent is too harsh for baby clothes, then it’s too harsh period. Look for one that is free/clear that the entire family can use and doesn’t cost twice as much as “adult” laundry detergent. I’ve used Melaleuca, 7th generation, and ALL free and clear.
Long story short, stick to your values and what works best for you and your family, and keep it simple. Ask yourself if the investment is something that makes sense (ie: is it worth it to spend $1,000 on nursery furniture that will only be used for a few months?).
You might even consider using an app like Baby List. You can use this app to add things from any store. AND, what I love about this one the most is you can register for the things you will need that can't be bought from a store - like support from friends and family. Your friends and family can "gift" you services and support like house cleaning, dishes, meals, etc.
Did you know that you can even register for photography? If you've decided that capturing this fleeting season of life is totally worth the investment, you can ask your friends and family to pitch in on the cost! And if that doesn't cover it, check out these 15 creative ways to afford your dream birth photographer.