So you’re expecting a baby soon (or you just had one) and now you’re doing some research on what you need to buy to make your life easier. I’m certainly not an expert, but I want to share some of what I’ve learned through trial and error and hopefully provide some useful advice about what you’ll need.
There’s a number of obvious things you’ll need to buy in preparation for your newborn. A car seat and a pram are probably the two first things you should look into, and a good changing station and diaper bag are great investments. But in this post, I want to focus on things you may not have realized you needed.
So without further ado, here’s my list of six things I didn’t know I needed before I got them.
A nursery and a proper bed can wait. You’ll want your baby in the same room as you for the first few months, so you can keep an eye on him. Besides, you’ll be waking up to feed him a lot. So, initially we acquired a small crib that we also brought around the house with us for when he was asleep during the day.
After a month or so, a friend told me to look into getting a babynest, and it turned out to be one of the best purchases I’ve made. A babynest is basically a soft, little bed that you put in your own bed. It’s got a soft, pillowed wall. This wall makes the baby feel safe, and stops you from crushing him in your sleep.
When he wakes up in the middle of the night and I breastfeed him, he tends to fall asleep right after he’s done. But lifting him out of the bed and putting him back in his crib would often wake him back up again! However, being able to carefully lift him back into his babynest without getting out of bed seems to significantly reduce the risk of waking him. So if you plan to have your baby in bed with you at night, get one of these.
Reusable nursing pads
I breastfeed my child. I also bottle-feed him breast milk. This means that I have to live the next year or more with a bra glued to my body at all times, or I risk leaking milk everywhere. For someone with large breasts, this can be a nightmare. One of the best feelings in the world is getting to remove my bra at the end of the day before going to bed. This is no longer an option. Not only do I have to sleep with my bra on, but to avoid leaking into my bra I also have to wear something called nursing pads.
You’re probably familiar with nursing pads. You might have seen them at your local convenience store, especially those cheap disposable pads. Don’t buy those. Invest in some proper reusable nursing pads. You want them to be as big as your bra is, or even a tiny bit bigger than your bra. I have found some amazing bamboo pads, and bought 5 pairs of these. This will ensure that I always have a clean pair when I need it.
Before I found the bamboo pads I only had one pair of wool ones. The wool pads would leave tiny hairs on my nipples as the milk dried, which would then end up in my baby’s mouth – not ideal. The bamboo pads don’t leave any residue, and the ones I bought are leak-proof, which is amazing for when my breasts are bursting with milk. More than once I’ve woken up with both pads just completely soaked. Thank fuck for leak-proof pads.
Cotton and bamboo pads are both fine, as long as they are very absorbent. Don’t bother with fancy designs on your nursing pads. They’re going to be hidden in your bra, soaking up warm liquid. They don’t need to look good.
A metric ton of bodysuits
Your baby should probably wear clothes, but you don’t need fifty pairs of pants and a drawer full of jackets. A couple of each will suffice. What you do need, however, is a pile of bodysuits. If your baby is born during the winter, you want bodies with long arms and legs made out of wool or something else that both breathes and warms well. If he’s born during summer you may want to consider bamboo, which is a bit cooler and still breathes well. The most convenient bodysuits can be opened all the way down. Avoid bodysuits with narrow necks. You want to be able to thread your child’s feet through the neck of the body rather than pulling it down over his head. They hate it when you pull stuff down over their heads.
And when I say you need a lot of these, I mean you need a lot. This thing has to stay dry for your baby to be comfortable in it, but your baby will use every bodily fluid in his arsenal to ensure that it does not stay dry for more than a few hours at a time. I never leave the house without having at least two spares in my diaper bag, and some days I can go through three or four of these.
Electric breast pump
This is a must if you intend to only breastfeed your baby. It’ll allow for the father to feed the baby in the middle of the night so you can get some sleep, or for grandparents to watch the baby for a few hours whenever you have plans.
I don’t have any experience with manual breast pumps, but I hear they’re an awful, tedious chore. I have the Avent electric breast pump, and I’m very happy with it. Remember to also get at least 3 or 4 bottles in the same brand as the pump you choose, because they’re only made to fit their own respective pumps.
I have a big, fat stack of terry cloth wipes, maybe about 30. They’re about 30x30cm or 12×12″. These cloths are super handy and I use several of them a day. I use them for washing my baby’s face and neck creases each morning, and for cleaning his bottom after each diaper change. Using cloths like these exclusively (rather than wet wipes) is much better for the environment, and also for your wallet.
Any soft, small sized cloth will work well for this. They don’t take up a lot of room, they’re cheap, and they keep your baby clean.
Blankets, blankets, blankets. I have at least 10. Your baby will vomit on them, pee on them, and just generally do everything in their power to ruin them. They’re great for keeping your baby warm, so it’s important to have plenty of spares. I have blankets both made from wool and from cotton, and in a number of different thicknesses. I even crocheted a couple of them myself. At the very least you need a few that breathe extra well for warm days, and some heavy woolen ones for those cold winter days.
Well, those are my six things. Do you have any things you absolutely can’t live without today but never thought you’d be needing? Leave a comment!