When I was expecting and went Googling for a list of baby “stuff” I should acquire I found list upon list. . .Some were super lean. Others were so freaking long, it was a hassle to sort it all out. . .
And I definitely made a few miscalculations.
But here are a few things I discovered. . .which may or may not care to consider:
1. Adorable factor aside, the “bedding package” is worthless. Babies do not need “bed in a bag.” Bumpers are practically illegal these days. They were on our crib for the two months prior to Mac’s arrival and now they are in a trash bag in my sister’s attic, likely never to be seen again. The quilt, while cute, isn’t really necessary either. Babies get swaddled and toddlers pick their own favorite blanket, which is likely softer and lighter than a quilt. The dust ruffle is good in theory, until you have to drop the crib. Then you either have to hem the thing to a ridiculously short length. . .or it gets ditched. And of course pillows are a big no-no. Purchase cool cute toss pillows for the nursery floor and chair from any old place. They are likely cheaper that way too! Plus, you have infinite options that way.
2. Crib Sheets and Waterproof Mattress Covers: I read somewhere you only needed two of each. So I had 4 crib sheets and 2 covers. Two days after Mac got home from the hospital, I was buying more. Those first few weeks, he must have been a tad skinny for his diapers (or more likely, we had no idea what the hell we were doing) and he would wake up EVERY TIME wet. EVERY TIME! So we were going through bedding like crazy – even with laundering. You might want to consider 6 sheets and 3 covers. Of course, these days, we don’t have this problem. . .I rotate everything so it gets the same amount of “wear.” Crib sheets are kinda’ a bummer since they are often in a basic solid color yet that’s really all the crib contains when it’s being used on a daily basis. You might want to spend your money on cute printed sheets if you are skipping the whole “bed in a bag” idea.
3. Aden + Anais swaddle blankets. . .These blankets are magic. Get yourself LOTS. Like maybe 10! We still use them. On the other hand, what we never used? All those little velcro swaddle/baby straight jackets commercially available – of which we must have had 8. It’s simple enough to swaddle with a lightweight, soft blanket and you can use them later to put on the floor, cover the baby in a stroller, car seat, etc.
4. You do NOT need 4 strollers. Sure they sell jogging strollers, and strollers for city streets and every other damned terrain and situation you might encounter. A good stroller is an investment. Get a good one if you plan to use it a lot. Look for quality and versatility. We also purchased a “sun shade” type shield for our stroller. It’s not the weird plastic kind – it’s a nice canvas/mesh. It’s great for sun, light rain, potentially buggy environs. Plus, it hinders Mac from throwing a bunch of junk out of his stroller as we walk.
5. Bibs – HA! We must have had 25 but I found them to be a complete waste. When the baby is nursing, you can just put a burp cloth under her chin. When she starts eating, the mess will likely be large enough you need a freaking painter’s drop cloth to contain it. Do yourself a favor, strip the kid down to her diaper before dinner. . .And when you’re in public, try to help her eat so there’s less mess everywhere (clothes, table, floor).
6. Speaking of burp cloths. . .I purchased a couple packs of microfiber dusting cloths (you can find them in great colors in the automotive detailing section of a Target or similar store). They are cheap, hold up well, absorbent, and super soft. They are Mac’s favorite thing.
7. The car seat is necessary. Get a good one. If you have multiple cars, buy a base for each car so you don’t continually have to re-install it.
8. Wipe warmer? That’s up to you, but the concept cracks me up.
9. Unless your child has special health concerns, I don’t believe you really need to “sterilize” bottles. We just put ours through the dishwasher. It’s been fine but obviously when in doubt, ask your physician.
10. If you are breast feeding/pumping, be sure you have EXTRA tubing for the pump. Once you get fluid in that tubing, it’s toast. Keep some extra around.
11. Special detergent for cloth diapers? I haven’t bothered. They are still working perfectly.
12. Something to make white noise? We found it absolutely necessary. We had an iPhone app. Later we used the static on the radio and now we use a fan.
13. Bottles in general: We purchased a few Dr. Brown’s type bottles and a good many of the glass ones with the silicone sleeves. I was highly disappointed to discover Mac preferred the way less aesthetically appealing (but ultimately less expensive) Dr. Brown’s brand. You might want to just purchase a few to start to see what your baby actually prefers.
14. Ditto for grooming products. Mac got a rash from nearly any baby bath potion or lotion (still does). I had scads of the stuff (gifts, etc.) which I gave away. Complete waste of resources.
15. Pacifiers? The hospital should send you home with a few. You might not want to buy many until you know if the kid actually likes them.
16. You are going to get scads of baby clothes. But use caution when gleefully ripping off tags and laundering everything prior to baby’s arrival. You don’t know what size he’ll be. If he’s a big boy, you might never need the super teensy stuff. . .and it can be returned for more goodies (um. . .like diapers and formula. . .)
17. And speaking of diapers. If you are using disposable, perhaps you shouldn’t stock upon a 6 month supply for the same reason you should use caution with the clothes. The hospital will send you home with diapers and you can purchase the appropriate size in a few days following the birth.
18. If you’re short of space, I’d say reconsider a traditional changing table. I seldom ever used the “changing area” we had set up and I quickly decided it was a waste of space and dismantled it completely. You can flop a kid on any surface to change her so long as you have a little fold up changing mat (good for the diaper bag too).
19. You might as well just do some baby-proofing now. If you have time, go ahead and install all the latches and locks on your cabinet doors and drawers. You’ll be surprised how quickly you actually need them. And everything is harder to accomplish with a little one who needs attending to. You probably think I’m nuts, but do it early!
20. You don’t have to get all crazy with other baby gear (swings, pack n plays, etc). You do need to think about where you spend most of your time in the home. Will you want to be in your family room most? Then perhaps a swing or pack and play is a good option for that room. If you love to be in the kitchen, maybe you place a bassinet or swing in the kitchen so you have a safe place for baby while you pull those freshly baked muffins out of the oven (as if. . .)
21. Two words: Video. Monitor. It’s a nursery NOT a high crime area. Although, I have heard they are fun so if you have the resources and desire, go for it.
22. Baby-wearing: If you plan to wear your baby. Go to a boutique or independently owned store where you will get some personal attention so you can choose a wrap or sling you are truly comfortable using. It might be a tad more expensive but it’s worth it.
23. Something I wish I had done sooner: Purchase a LOT of rechargeable batteries. They will be handy for kids toys later and great for your camera(s) early on. It’s a pain to keep buying batteries.
24. When you are organizing your nursery, save some room in a closet or on a shelf for a couple large empty bins or baskets. You are going to have tons of cards and memorabilia that you’ll want to someday organize (like when you retire). To keep everything corralled and manageable, designate a spot for it early. Also, when we receive items, I write the items gifted on the back of the corresponding card. It makes writing thank you’s a snap.
25. And finally, this isn’t exactly baby gear. . .but you might want to consider doing some cooking and freezing ahead of time. It will ensure you don’t have to think much about planning healthful meals in the first days home. And frankly, you might not want a ton of visitors – so saying you already have food is a polite way to decline too many premature visits.