There is absolutely nothing more overwhelming than walking into Babies”R”Us for the first time and attempting to register for the baby you are absolutely clueless about. There’s so, so much you just don’t need and it’s hard to see clearly when everything is so foreign and unfamiliar. But, the truth is, you really don’t need all that much for a baby.
Below are the bare necessities, so you can spend less time stressing over what you need, and more time eating ice cream from the carton. Because, girlfriend, those days are numbered…
1. Diapers. As many diapers as you think you’ll need, you’ll end up needing more. And more than that. Most recommended disposable diapers: Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Diapers. Don’t ask me about cloth; what website do you think you’re on?
2. A baby bath tub. There’s nothing in the world better than a freshly bathed baby. Nothing. And once you get past the first panic inducing one, bath time is actually fun. The cheapest and best is from The First Year’s.
3. Some swaddlers. Because babies really do like to be swaddled and can you make origami out of fabric… on a moving creature? Me neither. My favorite was the Summer Infant Newborn SwaddlePod.
4. Laundry detergent. Much as I hate unnecessary laundry, it really is a must to wash clothes before putting them on your baby. (But don’t make the mistake of taking the tags off of every outfit and washing them all before the baby is even born. There’s a good chance the sizing will be off and once they’re washed, you can’t return them.) Dreft detergent costs a fortune, so most moms love All Free and Clear.
5. Wipes. Once you start buying baby wipes, you’ll wonder how on earth you ever lived without them, and will keep buying them long after your baby is out of diapers. Most recommended: Pampers Sensitive Wipes
6. Somewhere for them to sleep. If you can get your baby to sleep in the crib from night one, more power to you, but I never could. All of mine co-slept in the bed with me for the first six months or so, and I used a bassinet for naps or if I left the room. Eventually, you’ll need a crib and you’ll probably want a Pack ‘n Play, too, but at the beginning, all you need is a safe place to put them, whether it be a moses basket, bassinet or crib.
7. Sleepers. Outfits with buttons and snaps are cute and all, but when you’re seriously sleep deprived and your baby needs a diaper change every hour, quick and easy is the way to go. All of my babies lived in Gerber’s Shoulder Gowns for the first month. Life would be so much easier if they still did.
8. A baby carrier. You don’t have to be an attachment parent to wear your baby, you just have to want to get shit done. If your baby wants to be held constantly, you can either hold him or her and do nothing, or wear him or her and do everything. Obvious choice, huh? Even better, dad can wear it, too. My favorite was the Baby Bjorn, but try on a bunch to find what’s most comfortable for you.
9. A car seat. The nurses won’t ask if you know CPR or how many years of babysitting experience you have, but they will ask you if you have a carseat, and they won’t let you leave the hospital without one. When the baby is little, you’ll want an infant seat, and then you’ll need a convertible one once he or she outgrows it. A couple mom favorites are the Britax B-Safe and Graco SnugRide.
10. A stroller. You’ll want a stroller that you can use both with the infant seat and once the baby outgrows it. The most recommended was the Graco Modes Click Connect Travel System, which transitions from an infant car seat carrier to an infant stroller to a toddler stroller (up to 50 pounds.) That’s a lot of bang for your buck.
11. Feeding supplies. If you bottle feed, you’ll need bottles, obviously, and formula. No need to spend more on the pricey brands, the generics contain the exact same ingredients. If you breastfeed, you’ll want nursing bras, nursing pads and nipple cream. You also might want a breast pump or a nursing pillow. And either way, you’ll want a comfy seat to feed the baby in. And nap, of course.
12. A camera. Oh, how I wish my iPhone camera had been around back when I had little babies. Be sure to have a camera – any camera – around you as often as possible. It may not feel like it now, but time is going to fly and you’re going to want to remember it all. Same goes for video; I don’t have nearly enough footage of my babies and it kills me.
So there you go; everything you really need for a baby.
Changing table? Sure, they look nice in the nursery and make life easier, but the top of a dresser or the kitchen counter work fine, too. Wipe warmer? Puh-lease. You want to be warming up wipes for life? No, you don’t. You will probably want a baby swing or bouncy seat of some sort, and people are obsessed with that , but for the most part, you can go without too many extras. Stressing over everything you need to buy just isn’t worth it. The baby will be fine.
And so will you.