When you find out you are expecting a baby, one of the first things that runs through your mind might be how to prepare for this baby. After your initial doctor visits to make sure everything is working properly, you might find yourself down an isle in Babies R Us pulling out your hair because you aren’t sure what size diapers you need or which car seat really is the safest. After speaking with many moms, I found out that I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling. There are so many options these days, and it can become so overwhelming at times. I thought I was prepared for my newborn when I brought her home, but I quickly found out her clothes didn’t fit and she needed a smaller size. I also didn’t have enough onesies for her- she spit up, A LOT. Now that I look back, I know where I went wrong and exactly what I will need next time around.
Diapers -but not too many of one size. Yes, they give you some in the hospital, but they are usually a size 1. My 8 pounder needed a newborn size for about two weeks. When I ordered her newborn diapers, I made the mistake of ordering two CASES (you know, those big ones from Diapers.com?) and it was way too many. One case of newborn diapers would have been sufficient. Babies grow at different rates, and it is hard to gauge how big your baby will be or how many of one size diapers you will need, but I suggest not buying too many size N or 1 diapers at first. Does the decision of Pampers or Huggies have you confused? Every baby is shaped differently. Just because Pampers worked for your friend, doesn’t mean they will work for you. You can check out diaper manufacturer’s websites and request samples so that you can test them out on your baby before you buy in bulk. If you are thinking of cloth diapering, keep in mind that one size diapers may be too big at first. Also, merconium (that thick poop baby has for the first few days) will stain cloth diapers. Wait until merconium clears up before using cloth, or be sure to use diaper liners to protect your cloth.
Wipes – I buy these by the case ALWAYS. Not only are they good for diaper changes, but they are great for cleaning up spit up too! The hospital generally tells you to use a cloth with warm water to clean your baby and I think that is definitely the best. Not everyone listens to this advice, however, and start using wipes early on. I would definitely suggest using sensitive wipes if you are going to use wipes right from the start.
A good car seat – Whether you are looking to spend $300 or $100, car seats have to abide by certain standards. The hospital will not even let you leave the hospital without a car seat installed properly (yes, they check!) Did you know that car seats expire? No, they don’t spoil or smell funky, but normal wear and tear can make a car seat unsafe. Be sure to check out American Academy of Pediatrics and Car-Safety.Org Vehicle and Carseat Safety Information to view the latest standards and compare seats.
Clothes – what season are you having your baby? Use this to determine exactly what you will need for your little one. I didn’t have nearly enough onesies, nor did I have clothes that actually fit my baby. I thought she would already be in a 0-3 when I brought her home, but she was still in newborn sized clothing for about a month. I didn’t have ANY newborn clothing because everyone told me I wouldn’t get enough use out of them. Thankfully my sister in law had a bag of hand me downs ready for me! This was a life saver, because after having a c-section, I was not ready to go out and pick up new clothes and wash them. Don’t forget a package of socks! I found that the cheap Walmart socks stayed on and fit my newborn better than the name brand socks! For easy night time changing, get a few gowns for baby, this way you don’t have to fuss with zippers and buttons!
Receiving Blankets – These were great! Whether you are changing baby on the go, covering her up in her car seat, or shielding yourself while nursing, receiving blankets are so versatile, you can’t have too many. (Don’t forget the burp cloths too!)
A good breast pump – If you plan on nursing, and pumping once you return to work, invest in a really good pump. I highly recommend an double electric pump such as Medela. It saves you a ton of time and works in a way to get the most milk out in the shortest amount of time.
Nursing Pads – Whether you are nursing or not, you will definitely want a few nursing pads just in case! I didn’t leak at all while I was in the hospital, then once I arrived home I woke up to a mess! My shirt was completely soaked, and so were my sheets. I leaked EVERYWHERE. My favorite nursing pads were Lansinoh- they were very slim and super absorbent. You will probably need more to start off with then you will once engorgement eases up.
A decent stroller – You want one to last you a while. Think of this – where will you be taking baby? Do you need a heavy duty stroller or maybe you prefer a light weight stroller. Not all strollers can accommodate a newborn, so keep this in mind when you are purchasing. I loved having a frame stroller that I could use with my car seat. This worked out best to keep my little one bundled and sleeping.
Bottles, but not too many of one kind – you aren’t sure which bottles your baby will take. Yes, they have preferences! This goes for pacifiers too!
A bath tub for a newborn. Bath time always made me nervous with a super slippery, squirmy newborn. Having a good bathtub that can support your newborn’s body is a definite MUST HAVE!
There are so many more “little” things you will need with your newborn, but I don’t want to overwhelm you! Just take your time choosing items, stick with the basics, and be flexible. Once your baby arrives, you may realize what you thought you wanted or needed is totally different than what you thought in the first place!