When it comes to prepping everything before baby’s arrival, one the best pieces of info that I received was “you will need less than you think”. Perhaps a generation ago, when the marketplace for baby products wasn’t as varied, it was less overwhelming. You simply made a list based on what your parents and other mommies had to say was useful. More so, there simply were fewer options to select from, and there was no need to find out the opinion of 200+ other people on an item via internet forums and ratings. But now with so many different products and brands that promise to be the next “must have” item or to solve the most specific of dilemmas, how does a first-time parent know what is an essential versus a “nice-to-have”, or even a “don’t-even-bother” item?
Currently I’m really liking the newborn checklist on Today’s Parent magazine. It gives a good rundown of the essentials that are generally required, and I particularly like how they split the items into lifestyle too, like “If you are formula feeding” vs breast feeding, and splitting diapering under re-usable vs disposable. The specific number of items that are suggested are a great help as well since new mommies, like myself, are not well versed in knowing, for example, how many crib sheets, change of outfits or bottles are considered “enough” to stock up on. I certainly would not want to be caught short on something and having to send hubby out in the middle of the night for last minute purchases, but yet it would be a waste to over purchase items that do not get to be put into good use. For those of you located in colder climates, taking a look at the the government issued maternity package that is issued to all parents in Finland upon their request also gives a good guide to what sorts of basics that baby will need for the initial first month too.
It’s interesting to see that items like fancy bedding sets, decorative pillows, designer outfits, Moses baskets and even things like a baby wipe warmer are not on the list of must-haves. Shoes and an overload of toys are also products that many would advise as being completely non-essential for the first few months. While all these things may add the extra touch to a nursery or look cute on baby, your baby certainly will not miss these items, and if not, it sure doesn’t hurt to divert the funds that would have been spent into something more useful.
So far, my husband and I have focused on allocating our resources mostly into items that have to do with safety and help with ease of transportation. These include an approved crib and firm mattress for a safe sleep environment (Read more on safe sleeping here. You may be surprised at the items that you will not be needing because they are not recommended!), car seat and ergonomic stroller. As for the cute clothing and toys, these have shown up as gifts. Baby bathtubs and bassinets are things that generous friends have either given or loaned us because they also fall into the category of items that have limited use and can be quickly passed down from one family to another. All in all, I have yet to test out everything that we have purchased and also the items that have been so lovingly gifted to us, but it certainly is comforting to know that it is not necessary to purchase every last product that you see in a store or advertisement. It is good to be assured that the safest and healthiest care for your baby during those first few months at home can be done in a practical and smart way.