Before your little has even baked into a tiny little berry (since it’s fruit they always compare their size to), as a first time parent you’re likely holding on to a copy of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting,” or other books. Or like me, you’re reading countless blogs, pinning things on Pinterest and just absorbing every morsel of knowledge about this foreign land called Parenthood as you possibly can.
Registries, gear and things you’ve never even heard of (the Nose Frieda Snot Sucker?!?) – your head can start to spin.
But I’m here to break it down for you. It’s really very simple. You only need FIVE, yes five things to have a baby.
1.) A place for them to sleep – crib or bassinet ideally. AAP safe sleep recommendations (read more about what these are and why they’re important here) are for the baby to be on their back, flat, in their own sleeping space with no loose bedding or sheets, and for them to be in room with mom for the first 6 months. For me, the easiest thing to do was just use the bassinet feature on my Graco Pack N Play and have it right next to my bed.
2.) Car Seat – this is one of my hills to die on, car seat safety. But the basic thing you need to know is that in order to bring that baby home from the hospital you have to have a car seat to put them in. If your hospital offers a car seat class, I highly recommend you take it. I start with an infant seat and move to a convertible seat on or around 6months. It’s all preference and fit of your baby, I know many people start with just the convertible. The important thing to know is that ALL CAR SEATS sold in the US have passed the same safety test. Therefore no one seat is better than another from just a general safety aspect. I only say that so you know you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a car seat. You can, but you don’t have to. What does affect safety is being able to safely and securely install it in your vehicle (which can vary as all vehicles are different) and securing your baby in it (for example premies – not every seat will take a 4lb premie) … but more on the details of car seat safety here (and feel free to ask me, I’m not a certified car seat tech but I know people who are and I can point you in their direction).
3.) A way to feed them – boob, bottle whatever just feed them! Boob is cheapest and “easiest” from a “I don’t have to wash bottles and prepare them and I can literally feed them anywhere” perspective, but not easiest in that it can be a challenge and doesn’t always come easy and especially the first 2-3mo can be challenging as you establish supply. If you know you want to breastfeed or at least try, I HIGHLY recommend taking a class and taking your spouse or significant other with you. I took the one at the hospital and I attribute that class and my husband attending to a lot of my breastfeeding success. I’m on #3 now so I’m happy to answer any questions about it. But I know it isn’t for everyone and doesn’t work for everyone so that’s why formula is available. Bottles – you’ll likely just have to try several to figure out which ones your baby likes.
4.) Diapers – well, I mean, just peeing and pooping anywhere isn’t exactly socially acceptable so we need a way to contain that shit (pun intended). Most people choose disposables but you can also do cloth too (not my jam but plenty of resources out there if it’s yours). Everyone’s babies and preferences are different here so get a few different brands at least to start to try and see what works best if you’d like. We only ever did Pampers because that’s what the hospital used and they worked, so if it ain’t broke….
5.) Clothes – for warmth and just to not be literally in your birthday suit all the time they do need *some* clothes. Now no one can resist buying little clothes for some reason, even myself, so definitely don’t feel like you need to register for them. You’ll get way more than you need and will ever be able to use most likely so take it easy if you can, especially on the early small sizes. If your kids are anything like mine they don’t stay in those early sizes long (mine are in newborn for about a month and 3mo size for about a month). My newest baby had many outfits and pieces of clothes he never even wore because he had so many.
That’s it! Anything else is just nice to have. And trust me some of it is very nice to have and can make life easier. But when you’re overwhelmed with so many things as a first time mom, it was hard to know what was needed and what wasn’t, and just to even know what some of these things were!
So these are the basics. The only things you REALLY need.
But as a baby gear lover I’d be remiss to not tell you about all the cool products out there. But baby steps. (Ha, see what I did there…) ….. I’ll save that for another post.