When I was around 6 months pregnant it hit me that we were having babies (the fact that I was the size of a whale was my first clue) and that we should probably start preparing for it somehow (as long I could still leave the house). What do you need to get for a baby? I was reading the John Lewis Baby Catalogue, all 68 pages full of products that you must have. “Can this really be true?” I asked the husband in horror. First time parents are a huge market as you can sell pretty much anything to well meaning parents-to-be, I mean who wouldn’t want the best for their child?
As we had to get two of everything I decided that we should (try to) see through all the nonsense and get just the essentials to get started. We could get more stuff later. So what is it that a newborn baby needs?
Actually at the beginning it is pretty simple. The baby needs somewhere to sleep, something to eat, to be warm and clean. Oh and he has to be transported home from the hospital.
A baby needs a cot to sleep in. The baby market suggests an additional sleeping solution for the first couple of weeks: a moses basket or a crib, but basically it is just a smaller version of the cot. Do you really need anything else apart from the cot? That is up to each parent to decide, but we decided that we didn’t. The boys started sleeping in their cot from the very beginning, first sharing one and then moving on to their own cots. Swaddling is a great way to calm the baby and make him feel safe and warm.
You also need to get a mattress, a mattress protector, a couple of fitted sheets and a cot bumper if you like. Cot bumpers are a funny business. Some sources claim that they are extremely dangerous and should never be used as the baby could potentially suffocate and the babies could overheat as the air can’t circle through the bed. Others say that it protects the baby from hitting its head or arms at the sides of of cot. My question is; if they really are so dangerous, why does every single retailer sell them? Anyhoo, we got all the cot related items from Ikea, a lot cheaper than other retailers and boys have been happy.
If you are breastfeeding you don’t need much gear, but a breast pump (I used this and was happy with it although with pumping you can’t help but feeling a bit like a farm animal) and a couple of bottles is good to have. And if and when you move on to formula, there is one miracle device that I really recommend. On our first visit to Baby Gap we bumped into a couple with twins and they told us to get this. We call it the “Milkpresso machine”. It basically makes preparing a bottle super quick and accurate. When your baby starts screaming for food, you know that in 30 seconds you will have a bottle ready that is just the right temperature (no microwaving or cooling down needed) and just the right consistency (right amount of milk and powder).
3. Keeping warm
Newborn babies really don’t need a lot of clothes or let’s say different types of clothing. Our boys were born in the middle of summer and spent the first couple of months wearing a little bodysuit with short sleeves, that was it. If your baby is born in winter they can wear a bodysuit with long sleeves and leggings or thighs. If you have a baby girl, try to resist buying dresses until they are about 6 months old.
For sleeping they will wear a sleepsuit and a sleeping bag is great for calming the baby down and making sure that the baby doesn’t move or turn around when sleeping.
A changing table is great at the beginning as the baby doesn’t move around yet and if like me you have a sore back, with a changing table you don’t have to bend down which is great. And for bathing you need a little baby bath. Apart from getting your your baby clean and relaxed, an evening bathing routine helps with setting up with the routine in general and making the baby understand the difference between daytime and nighttime. Nighttime starts with bath, the changing into jammies, then evening bottle and then to bed. And nights are for sleeping, days are for playing.
5. Getting home
The hospital folks will not let you leave if you don’t have a car seat (fair enough!). We chose the Maxi-Cosi Pebbles and the bases. The base is really great, it is attached to the seat of the car and you simply put the car seat with the baby in it on top of the base and it automatically slides in place and makes a little sound to let you know that the car seat is correctly installed and your baby is safe to travel. This saves you a lot of time and hassle as you don’t have to attach a seat belt around the car seat. The base is compatible with both the infant car seat (Pebble) as well as with the toddler car seat.
And last of all you need…