Becoming a parent for the first time can be a vulnerable state. Most first time parents are nervous about getting it right and not missing anything crucial, which extends into the baby gear territory. The only problem is that since you have never done this before, you have no idea what you actually need. This is exactly what the marketers of the latest, greatest baby products are counting on! Step into any baby store and you may leave under the impression that only people with a trust fund can afford to have a baby. Cruise the aisles and you will find legions of glassy eyed expectant parents with heavily laden carts anguishing over such monumental decisions as choosing between a floor gym and a bouncy seat. If you’ve never done this before it can feel like a big deal! Plus, let’s be honest, it’s fun. It is fun to get ready for parenthood, and everything is a million times cuter when it is tiny.
However, since most of us aren’t working with unlimited funds, we are going to have to make some decisions about what makes the cut and what doesn’t. The good news is that most of it is for us, anyway. Barring special needs, newborn babies actually need very little. The bare bones essentials are a carseat, diapers, weather appropriate clothing and blankets, and a pair of lactating breasts. Everything else is just icing on the adorable little cupcake you are baking.
I was lucky that my Grandma was still alive when I was expecting my first baby. She had done it all eight times over with my mother and her siblings. In other words, Grandma knew babies. When she bought things for mine, she never went wrong. Sure, I could have lived without most of it, but I’m glad I didn’t have to. Of all of things she bought, these were the three I probably would have overlooked and was grateful to have:
I don’t care if they never make it onto your baby’s butt, trust me when I say that you want to have a dozen on hand. You don’t need anything fancy, just the good old fashioned cotton prefolds. They are multi-purpose and can fill in for all sorts of more expensive items. You will use them as burp cloths, makeshift changing pads, to press against your leaking breasts, shield your baby’s eyes from the sun, and hundreds of rounds of peek-a-boo.
A Baby Carrier That Allows You To Wear Your Baby
There are a multitude of brands and styles to choose from, but I won’t argue for one over the other. Ring sling or wrap, the ability to carry your baby hands free is the critical component. Anyone who argues that they are inconvenient has selective memory about what it is really like to lug a heavy and unwieldy carseat containing a baby everywhere they go, or trying to navigate narrow and crowded store aisles with a giant stroller system. Plus, babies like the comfort of a warm body. Outings will be much more pleasant for both of you, along with everyone else in earshot.
I will admit that this sounds like a total fluff purchase, but nothing puts a content baby in a foul mood more quickly than a cold, wet bum. Their brand new skin is incredibly sensitive to sensation, and that aside, would you like it if you had to wipe with a wad of toilet paper dipped in ice water? It would certainly harsh my mellow!
Try not to let the shopping for baby experience stress you out. Relax and enjoy it. Chances are high that you won’t forget anything critical. Even if you do miss something, I have a hunch that baby stores aren’t going anywhere. They have our number. They know we’ll be back.