What could a tiny, helpless newborn need in terms of material things? I mean, these tiny, helpless creatures just need food, clothes, and love, right? Well, I was totally amazed at all the baby items needed. More stuff than anyone else in the household it seemed.
Probably the most important thing you will need to get your baby home is a car seat. The hospital will not let you leave with the baby unless you have a proper car seat in your vehicle. These cost anywhere from $25 to several hundred and come in a variety of styles and colors.
The baby will need a variety of clothing. I’m sure you’ve read in magazines that a baby needs so many shirts, buntings, etc. But in actuality, it depends on what time of the year the baby is born. You’ll want several unisex “onesies,” as well as several footed “pajamas” and/or gowns. These will certainly get you through the first few weeks, and depending on which sex you are having, you’ll want cute little outfits to accommodate the season. A lot of times, conventional clothing swallows newborns, which is why the onesies and pajamas are so nice at first. Have on hand several pairs of socks, and be forewarned—these little socks have a way of disappearing or losing a mate. It’s best to buy them in bulk packages. And if it’s cold out, a knit hat or two is necessary.
The next important thing for a baby is a place to sleep. Whether you decide to co-sleep (allow the baby to sleep in your bed) or not, I think it’s important to have a safe place to put the baby to bed otherwise—for naps and such—especially when the baby is old enough to start rolling over. A crib is something you can put a baby in from the very beginning, and it’s the safest place for a baby to sleep. A bassinet is nice, and a baby can sleep in it up to about 3 months of age. A bassinet is nice because of its mobility, and at night the bassinet can be pulled right up to your bedside. Be sure to stock up on about 5 or 6 receiving blankets; these work well to swaddle babies in those first days.
The “little” things that a baby needs are many. If you plan on bottle-feeding, be sure to have several bottles with appropriate infant nipples. If you plan on breastfeeding, have a breast pump and a couple of bottles. Don’t forget the burp rag. A clean cloth diaper, wash rag, small towel, or receiving blanket will do for this—and they make “burp cloths” too! For bath time, the baby will need a baby bathtub; unless you want to bathe your baby in the kitchen sink, the bathtub is too big right now. There are baby washcloths and towels out there; you may also use regular ones. The only difference is the size and softness of the baby towels and clothes. A bottle of baby bath will do. It’s not necessary to have separate baby shampoo (unless you want it), as the baby bath will clean both the body and the hair. Powders, lotions, and oils are strictly up to you, and they are not a necessity for babies.
For first aid purposes, you may want to have on hand some infant acetaminophen (Tylenol) for fevers and simethicone drops for gas. These are safe to give to an infant. Be sure to also have a good baby thermometer and a nasal aspirator. Many hospitals send these home with the newborn.
A high chair is an important item that a baby will eventually need. Though you probably won’t put the baby in a high chair until he/she is about 6 months old, it is a necessity at that time. You may want to consider what type you will want and keep in mind traveling. Some high chairs fold up for easy travel, or you can buy little booster/portable high chairs that work well under traveling circumstances.
These next items I’m going to talk about are not necessarily a “have to have” but are more or less a luxury item, and many go a long way in helping make life a little easier with a baby. Bouncy seats—seats that are cloth and have toys that can be attached are nice. Some babies will not care for them, but they serve as a nice place to put the baby other than a crib or bassinet. A baby swing—and I prefer the battery-operated swing—can be a godsend for some parents. Then you have your “jumping johnnies” (seats that attach to doorways and bounce), playpens or yards, exersaucers, changing tables, and walkers. All these things serve to help with babies, but if you never have one, you probably won’t know what you’re missing.
One more important thing—last but certainly not least, diapers!!! Whether you choose to cloth or disposable diaper your baby, be sure to have a good supply on hand. A newborn will go through 6 to 10 disposables and more clothes a day. And don’t forget the wipes. Whether you buy the disposable wipes (which come in a variety of formulas) or use wet wash clothes, you’ll have a good stack of them on hand. A newborn also soils several times a day, and a breastfed newborn will have a bowel movement just about at every feeding.
The market is chocked full of “baby things” for parents to buy. You’ll probably find an item for every possible situation you’ll encounter with your little one. Companies know that new parents will just about buy anything for their new addition, and rightly so; we all want what’s best for the baby, right? Happy shopping!