When I first found out I was pregnant, I waited until we found out the gender and went on a crazy shopping spree. Looking back at it now I have purchased so many things that I could have just used the cash on something else. There are thousands of lists of things to buy for your baby that will make motherhood a breeze. Surprisingly babies don’t really need a lot of these fancy things (wet wipes warmer… really!!!).
If anyone expecting a new bundle of joy asks me now to narrow down what they will need the first few months of their baby’s life without breaking the bank here is my list.
There is no way around this, hahaha. Babies go through so many nappies a day that you will end up spending a tiny fortune on diapers before they are potty trained. If you choose to use disposable nappies I would recommend the newborn size for the first 2 weeks but don’t stock up because they outgrow it very quickly and you will need to move a size up. If you are using reusable cloth nappies you are the real MVP. Honestly I used and still use disposable nappies on my little one.
These are essential during diaper changing unless you will use water and cotton. I feel like wipes are more convenient however, when the first few days I didn’t feel comfortable using regular baby wipes because it might be harsh on a newborn. Try to use unscented baby wipes there is no point spending more on scents. I also feel that unscented wipes don’t irritate the baby’s sensitive skin.
When baby E was a newborn I used Water Wipes for the first month because it is 99% water and I felt it was the closest thing to cleaning him with water and cotton. Later on we switched to regular wipes because they were more economical because one packet was around $8 and it lasted us less than a week. You’ll end up using so many packets of wipes even after your baby gets older. My advice is find wipes that are not very expensive and don’t irritate your baby then stick with them. We used Huggies wipes that I wasn’t fond of then ended up switching to Pampers.
In Australia it is the law that you have a car seat suitable for a newborn to leave the hospital with your baby. My advice is to get a convertible car seat that you can use from birth until 4 years old. These convertible car seats can be rear facing and forward facing. The legal requirement is for the newborn to be rear facing until he reaches the recommended height and weight then the parent can turn the seat to the front facing position.
It is recommended to keep your child’s in the rear facing position as long as possible. However, as soon as my son hit the height and weight recommended on his seat we turned it to front facing because he was always crying and seemed to hate car rides. Since we turned his seat he really enjoys his seat now.
A lot of people purchase a capsule instead of a convertible car seat for the first 6 months because there are travel systems whereby you can simply clip the capsule into your pram. This seemed like a great idea at first and I was thinking of buying a capsule however, I found them to be a bit heavy. I’m glad I didn’t make that purchase because my son was also heavy so I have no idea how I could have managed to carry him inside a capsule.
In my opinion the convertible car seat is really worth your investment. Do some research and get the one that suits your current budget. Most car seats in the market have to follow safety regulations and standards but look at some reviews online.
Baby E is 9 months old and we use around 5 bibs a day because of drooling (teething sucks) and also eating solids gets messy. When he was a newborn we also used a lot of bibs daily because of reflux or puking. It was the easiest way instead of changing his outfits 10 times a day or after every feed. Stock up on bibs because you will use and wash them daily.
Onesies / Babygros (size 0-3)
You will need sleeveless onesies to put under outfits and to wear on hot days and long sleeves and long legs onesies to sleep in and during cold weather. There is a large variety. My advice the get ones with zips rather than buttons because when you’re an exhausted new mom buttons will drive you insane.
A play mat
This is a good investment because the baby can use it in his early days when doing tummy time and the baby can use it when he/ she is older for playing by just laying down and grabbing the toys.
I use these all the time since my baby was born. I use it as a burp cloth and to wipe away milk or spit up. Some muslin cloths are large and can be used to swaddle your baby as well.
Baby E didn’t really enjoy swaddling. I only swaddle him for the 3 days that we were in the hospital after he was born and it was the midwives who were swaddling him. My swaddling skills weren’t impressive and he kept unwrapping himself so I stopped because I really fear SIDS*.
*SIDS is Sudden infant death syndrome when babies under one die in their cribs during their sleep for unexplained reason.
A baby carrier
Most people rush to buy a pram, I didn’t even buy a pram for my son until he was 3 months old. I love babywearing especially when my son was much younger (and lighter… lol) because I found out that he slept while I was carrying him and he cried less. I also felt a great bond when I was holding him close to me. When he was a newborn during the wonder weeks * he will be extremely fussy so I would carry him using the carrier around the house and he would immediately calm down and fall a sleep. You can carry your baby while you do chores this way have both your hands free.
I use the baby Bjorn carrier and I have no issues with it. It was gifted to us and I know they can be a bit expensive. There is other brands that are a little cheaper and that are also good such as the Ergo carriers. The good thing about investing in a carrier is you can use it for a very long time. You can also use wraps (I wish I knew all these baby wrapping techniques).
*“Wonder weeks” is a term that became very familiar to all new mothers. It is weeks that your baby will be more fussy and clingy more than usual. These weeks are 5,8,12,19,26, 37, 46, 55, 64 and75.
There is an App for the wonder weeks that was suggested to me when my baby was really small because it does explain and predict the baby’s behavior. There is also the book that inspired the app and if you are a book lover I would suggest that you read it and use it as a reference point. Book title: The Wonder Weeks: How to Stimulate Your Baby’s Mental Development and Help Him Turn His 10 Predictable, Great, Fussy Phases into Magical Leaps Forward (2013) by Van de Rijit & Plooji
Some babies refuse a pacifier and some love it. A pacifier is a big essential for our baby. Sucking is one of the 5 S’s*; it helps babies calm down and relax. Some babies prefer sucking their thumbs or hands than a dummy mine luckily never had issues with a pacifier. If you decide to use a pacifier it is important to sterilize them regularly and keep them clean.
* The 5 S’s are swaddle, side stomach position, shhhing, swinging and sucking. These are methods to calm a crying baby suggested by Dr. Harvey Karp the author of “the happiest baby on the block”.
Now that I’m wiser I’m a big believer that you shouldn’t purchase something that you won’t use for a long period but this is an exception along with baby clothes. Bassinets have wheels and you can easily have your baby wherever you are in the house and not to mention you can pull it so close to your side of the bed and it feels like you’re almost bed sharing with out the risk of actually having a newborn in bed with you as a first time parents. Baby E used his bassinet for 2 months and he quickly outgrew it but I don’t regret buying it.
However, I don’t suggest spending more than $150 on a bassinet because they outgrow them quickly and unless you are planning to have a baby every year and get more use out of it.
Baby bouncer or rocker or swing
Something you can put your baby in while you are doing other things. Baby E used a swing when he was for the first few months and now he still uses a rocker but now it is more like a mini seat for him.
Formula and bottle
This is not as essential as other things on my list because many mothers exclusively breastfeed and never need to supplement with formula. This is TMI however; sometimes your milk might not come in the first few days. Even though some lactation consultants recommend that you don’t introduce formula until it is necessary and your baby is loosing a lot of weight or refusing to breastfeed for one reason or another.
I was one of those mothers who didn’t even look into formula before delivering baby E. I didn’t have a single tin at home when we came home from the hospital. My milk didn’t come in until day 4 however, I was so stubborn to let my baby have formula. Long story short he was hungry and lost a lot of weight in those 4 days (poor baby) luckily we had some Avent bottles at home that was gifted to me before the baby was born. My mother is the one who actually went out and got the first tin of formula and now that I look back at it I have no regrets to actually giving it to him and supplementing with formula when needed.
However, there is so many different types of formulas in the market the only regret I have is not doing more research on the types of formula out there while I was pregnant. We used organic formula for 5 months then switched to NAN because it was available in both Australia and Kenya.
In my opinion listen to your midwife and doctor’s advice if they recommend to you to top up with formula there is no need to stress about it. Most importantly listen to your motherly instinct. A fed baby is a happy baby regardless if you are exclusively breastfeeding, formula feeding or mix feeding your baby.
I hope this list helps all pregnant mummies out there preparing for the arrival of their little ones.