If you are eagerly awaiting the arrival of your new bundle of joy then this can be a pretty amazing, nerve-wracking time. There are lots of things to prepare and think about, beyond quality childbirth preparation. (Hint: be sure to take classes OUTSIDE of the ones your hospital provides for a more well-rounded approach to birth!) Did you know there is very little you actually NEED for a newborn? Their requirements are pretty simple. Here are the only five items you actually NEED for a newborn. The rest is extra!
While I’m sure you have all kinds of cute little onesies and shirts, you don’t NEED them. You will be swaddling and wrapping baby up in those first days. So be sure to have swaddling blankets around. If you’ve got a winter baby, please adjust with warmer blankets or layer them. Bonus item: baby gloves. Those little babies tend to flail their cute hands around and scratch themselves with fingernails.
If having a hospital birth, you will need a car seat to bring your child home from the hospital. It is now a legal requirement for hospitals to make sure your child is safe and sound in a car seat before you can leave. If you do buy a travel system buggy then you can use the car seat that comes with that. Otherwise, you will need to buy a separate car seat. A new and safe car seat is just a given these days – you can’t skimp on this!
You will spend HOURS feeding your baby! Babies’ stomachs are tiny and it is NORMAL to feed every two hours. As I had babies before the age of tablets, kindles and smart phones, I suggest setting up a little table with a pitcher of water or a water bottle, some books, a lamp and, I suppose, a phone charger! Consider a nursing pillow of some kind, though you could make due with other blankets and pillows to start. You want an inviting place to settle in with baby. Check out the vast array of nursery furniture online to find the perfect rocker or glider for you and your baby to spend many milk drunk hours together.
Breastfeeding does not come naturally to everyone. I had quite a go of it. It involved many tears and cabbage leaves! I would encourage you to add a consult with a lactation consultant to your registry. Or, at the very least, have your local breastfeeding support group’s phone number somewhere at your nursing station. Be proactive when it comes to support! If your consultant arrives and says you’re doing perfectly, you have peace of mind. If not, you have intervened early enough to nurture a long lasting and successful breastfeeding relationship.
Or SOMETHING to catch what passes through baby. As I mentioned, their bellies are tiny and they nurse a LOT, so expect lots of changes. But consider cloth diapers. It saves so much money! Even if you only used one cloth diaper a day, that’s 365 diapers a year not going into a landfill. I used disposable diapers the first few days as the baby’s poop was stickier meconium. And to adjust to having the new baby. Then I transitioned to cloth diapers. Check out your local diaper services or consider all of the new innovations in cloth diapering today. It’s changed a LOT since pins and plastic pants.
So there you have it – the only items you really NEED for a baby. Here’s one bonus item that you don’t really NEED but is certainly helpful to have….
BONUS ITEM: Sling or Carrier
Consider a baby-wearing lifestyle, where they carry the baby in a sling when you’re out and about. This encourages closeness and natural comfort for the baby. If you do decide to carry your baby then check out the variety of slings and carriers available online. There may even be a sling library in your area so you can try a variety out before you commit to buying one.
I rarely used a stroller. First, they are bulky and inconvenient. And how many times do I see people pushing the stroller around while someone is holding baby?! If you’re a jogger, you might want to consider a specialized stroller for your running time, but for every day life, consider taking baby OUT of the car seat and IN to your arms!