Newborn Baby Essentials List – Gearing Up for Arrival
Aside from attempting to contain your nervous excitement, the last few months before your baby arrives usually consist of a whirlwind of things to do to ensure you are ready for when he or she (or both!) shows up.
As you begin prepping, your to-do list will probably be getting increasingly long with thinking about setting up the nursery and gathering supplies for eating, sleeping and diapering. Don’t stress – part of prepping is breaking down the steps to get to where you need to be. There will certainly be must-haves but there are always optional extras – separating out the essential from the rest becomes incredibly important as just understanding the magnitude of the must-haves can take most parents-to-be by surprise.
So to help you along with the prep – we’re breaking down at least the gear which you will need for arrival.
Whether you decide to breastfeed or not, there are certain products that you will need to have on hand. With a newborn you should be prepared to feed them round the clock – to enable this you’ll need several things at mealtimes. Below is a list of things you’ll need:
Baby Bottles – 8-10 bottles, a mix of both 4 & 8 ounce sizes, should be enough.
Bottle Steriliser – this could be considered optional but you should be aware that it is incredibly important to keep baby bottles clean and safe. Should you choose not to purchase a steriliser, there is significantly more effort required in keeping bottles in a condition safe for the baby to use.
Bottle Brush – this is one of the items that just makes sense to buy as it is much harder to get a bottle to be clean enough to be used with a baby otherwise. That being said, if you are strapped for cash, you could choose to not buy this but I then suggest researching methods to clean bottles without one.
Drying Rack – using your normal drying rack is not really going to work as you need to keep the washed bottles sterilised.
A Breast Pump – depending on how you plan to nurse, this will differ in importance. If you are breastfeeding, a breast pump can be used to stimulate milk supply or to express and collect your milk for your baby to have when you’re not around. If neither of these is an issue, a breast pump is not essential when breastfeeding. If you are feeding your baby with formula, a breast pump might be used to reduce discomfort from engorged breasts.
Bottle warmers – this is an optional buy. Microwaves will do the job but it requires close monitoring as a microwave might create hot spots within the liquid which could scald your baby’s mouth. Bottle warmers, on the other hand, heat the liquid uniformly.
Thermal Bottle Carrier – only required if you plan to formula feed in any capacity. When formula feeding you need to keep water warm for mixing purposes when traveling with your baby.
Kitting out the nursery can be really fun as the tangible furniture that is needed begins to make your future baby more present in your everyday existence. While making the room your baby will come home to as adorable and comfortable as possible, you will need to kit it out with the following:
Rocking chair or glider – seating within a nursery is non-negotiable. You will need somewhere to sit when feeding, rocking them to sleep or even just to dose off while watching your baby fall asleep.
Diaper change table or a dresser with a changing pad – pretty obvious why you need this! There is a significant difference in price though depending on what you want vs need in a changing area. You can hold off on a changing table for a while but in that instance, a changing mat is required.
Diaper Pail – this might be considered optional as its just a receptacle for your baby’s soiled diapers which could be thrown in the rubbish bin. Consider however that your baby is likely to go through 10 or more diapers in a day and diapers need to be disposed of while keeping a hold of a wriggly baby. Diaper pails also trap odors which you’ll appreciate as your baby grows and diaper situations become more serious(!).
Bed & Bath Time
Bed and bath time can be a great time to be close to your baby. The moving from clothed to ready for bed requires a place for him or her to bathe and then sleep.
Baby Bath Tub – you can bathe a baby in the sink, a bathtub or even have your baby bathe with you. Ensuring that these areas are sanitary is quite difficult and baby bath time tends to be quite stressful for new parents as it is. A baby bathtub can be a great purchase to reduce the difficulty of this task and in most cases can be used till the baby is 24 months.
Crib, cradle or bassinet – your baby is going to need somewhere to sleep. Should you be planning to share your bed with your baby initially, you can wait on buying this but as they grow this will become more of a necessity. Many parents use a bassinet in the first couple of months so that the baby can sleep next to their bed.
Baby Monitors – this is an incredibly wide category and can definitely be considered optional. The market extends from monitors monitoring sound, to those with video capabilities. There are even monitors that will track movement and breathing.
Mobiles (optional) – a mobile provides visual stimulation and promotes brain development. There are different types of mobiles, some providing soothing sounds to put a baby to sleep while others are meant to stimulate the brain. Be careful to use the correct type at the correct time.
Health and Wellness
Every parent is concerned about keeping their baby safe and healthy. Their health is of the utmost importance and the following gear can help make an uncomfortable baby feel better or assist the parents in coming to their baby’s aid.
Baby Nail Clippers – cutting your baby’s nails is an incredibly intimidating and tricky task. Luckily numerous manufacturers have taken pity on new parents to create baby specific nail clippers.
4-6 Pacifiers – sucking on a pacifier during sleep may reduce the risk of SIDS. If you are breastfeeding, however, you should probably wait 3-4 weeks before introducing it.
Baby Thermometer – having a thermometer makes all the difference between guessing and knowing when you should be concerned. The alternative is having your doctor on call 24/7 or running up and down to the hospital – yikes!
Nasal aspirator – babies don’t know how to blow their nose. When a baby is congested, they need assistance in clearing out the mucus to eat, breathe and sleep. A nasal aspirator is a specific piece of equipment that will assist with this.
Humidifier – this is completely optional. It does, however, assist in keeping the mucous membranes moist when your baby has a cold.
Nebuliser – these are useful for treating respiratory conditions as they allow babies to take medication while breathing as they normally would. Since babies tend to contract respiratory infections quite often, having one of these can help at the starting stage of an infection. The medication (bronchodilator) required for the nebuliser does, however, need to be prescribed by a doctor, so you could wait on the purchase of this. Otherwise you can use saline solution instead with the nebuliser which will still assist in your baby’s breathing, if to a lesser extent.
At some point you will need the use of your arms., Some gear is incredibly useful when you’re taking the baby out or just need a place to put them while you do something else around the house.
Stroller – there is no real need to buy a full-sized stroller until your baby can sit up on their own but many parents choose to purchase this item prior to their baby coming home. Additionally, these days most full-size strollers accommodate infant car seats in an all-in-one solution. If you choose not to invest in a stroller, a baby carrier is a good alternative.
Infant Car Seat – most hospitals will not let you leave without an infant car seat as it is legally required if you are putting the infant in a car to take them home.
Baby Swing or bouncer – this may be essential. These can generally be used until a baby is six months old or until they can sit up on their own. A swing recreates the rocking motion of being in the womb which can be especially helpful in calming newborns. For particularly fussy babies, this can be a needed accessory at night.
Importance of Preparation
The saying goes that it is always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it – this definitely holds true for newborns. The flip side of this is that if you prepare and understand what you need, you won’t have to buy a whole lot of unnecessary goods.
The above is a pretty solid list of gear that you will need. There are however a number of other things that you should ensure you have though before your baby shows up – clothes, diapers, formula, towels, shampoo, linen, etc. Make sure you combine this list with a list of products for the everyday needs that your baby will have.