I’ve already had a few pregnant friends ask me which items are essential to have ready for a newborn, so I thought it might be helpful for future preggos (and for our own future reference) to post a handy little list here on the blog. This is my personal opinion of the basic, could-not-live-without items for our first few months with baby Liyam in Northern California (i.e., maybe not as useful for a super skinny, non-wiggly, formula-fed child in Newfoundland), so don’t get upset if you’re a huge fan of diaper wipes warmers. I’m going to leave out most clothing items, and I’m also going to skip cribs and bedding-type things because they are so dependent on the couple, the child, the size of your bed, and the size of your apartment. Ready? Let’s go!
THE HELLO PERSINGS MUST-HAVE BABY REGISTRY:
1. Car seat – Required, obvi.
2. Stroller – If it doesn’t come with one, get a clip-in car seat adapter thingamabob so you can use the stroller all the way through from wee babe to lanky toddler.
3. Baby carrier – The Moby Wrap is really nice for newborns, but we eventually transitioned to the Ergo, for ease of getting on…not counting that devilish back clip that requires dislocating your shoulders (wtf). Get the infant insert for the Ergo if you want to use it with a new baby. Save the $20 it costs for the organic “teething pads” that fit over the straps and go buy things that actually help your baby. Like hamburgers and milkshakes for Mom. Pre-baby, I thought those forward-facing baby carriers—the ones from which babies dangle like alien sea creatures—were kind of creepy, but now I actually think it might have been awesome to have one because Liyam loves to look around and because he also really likes to bang his head against our collarbones when he’s riding in the Ergo.
4. Bouncy seat – I don’t know what we would have done without our bouncy seat. It is quite possibly the most important thing on this list. For bouncing baby to sleep and for those times when you just need to put him somewhere so you can cook/do work/make out/watch television with a beer in your hand, a bouncy chair is a must-have. We have and adore the Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance because it’s streamlined and portable and, even though you have to physically bounce it, doesn’t look like a nursery threw up in your living room.
5. Changing pad and (2) covers – Due to our small space, we wanted something that would sit on top of the bureau instead of a whole separate diaper changing cart/station. Lest his royal bum be forced to rest on regular fabrics, we bought two of these Carters Super Soft changing pad covers, and when they arrived, Oren said something like, “And why exactly does our poop-covered child need to have his bottom wiped in luxury?” And also something like, “But, hey, good for him!” Our cousins have a cover with a super cute monkey on the top, which, apparently, their son cannot stop hugging and cuddling, making diaper changes a wee bit challenging. But how adorable is that? Worth it.
6 Diapers and wipes… and a place to toss them – I have but two pieces of advice. 1.) Don’t feel guilty if you really, really badly wanted to use cloth diapers but couldn’t for convenience/financial/laundrical reasons. I’m still working on this one. 2.) As far as I can tell, our 13-gallon plain-o trash can from Tarjay does the job just as well as the Diaper Dekkor Genie Plus with Special Smell Abatement Cartridges. And it was $19. OK, maybe the solid food smells are just now starting to be an issue, but I shall stand my ground.
7. Diaper bag/portable changing pad – We have the Skip Hop Pronto, which is awesome for those times when you don’t want to carry around a whole diaper bag. But, we also got a free diaper bag from the hospital, including a changing pad, which holds everything and we use all the time. Official “diaper bags” are way too expensive, so I suggest finding a regular bag that’s big enough and just sticking a portable changing pad in it. Plus, that way, you can choose a design that both parents will feel OK carrying around.
8. Prefold diapers – Cotton prefolds make the best burp cloths of all time. A six-pack was perfect for us.
9. Swaddle blankets – We use the Aden + Anais blankets for ev-er-y-thing. They’re amazing and adorable, large, warm but breathable (especially important for little ones that will only sleep with blankets over their faces), and get softer with every washing. Honestly, everything that Aden + Anais makes is lovely and high quality.
10. Velcro swaddles – Liyam was like a little Houdini, and the sleep sacks with velcro were the only thing that would keep his arms in at night. Not all kiddos need the straight-jacket treatment, so maybe you wait to buy these, but boy, did they come in handy!
11. Basic onesies and sleep sacks – It is true: People love to buy baby clothes. Luckily, this means that you don’t have to purchase very many items yourself. However, I recommend having a set of all-purpose, good-for layering, I-don’t-care-if-these-get-ruined, easy for diaper changes onesies. The Disney Cuddly Bodysuits are the best, softest, cheapest that I’ve found. I wish they made them in huge-baby size. And maybe also in adult size. Although we swaddled Liyam at night for a while, we eventually transitioned to sleep sacks, which are wonderful because he can’t kick them off! Halo even makes one with velcro (see above)—so two birds, one sleep sack.
12. Infant/toddler tub – Whichever floats your boat. And your baby. The hooded baby towels are also pretty wonderful, but not totally necessary. For baby soap, we use Weleda Baby. It is all-natural, gentle and smells nice, too.
13. Nursing bra – You won’t really know your size until after the baby is born, but it’s nice to have just one comfortable nursing bra ready to go, especially for sleeping. I had one that was a full size (band and cup) above my pregnancy size, and that was great for when my milk came in. You’ll probably want to wait until your late 3rd trimester to guess on the sizing.
14. Nursing pads – If you are anything like me, you will probably spend a few days covered in milk anyway, but these are life (and clothing) savers. I use the disposable Lansinoh pads and they’re amazing. They hold ounces and ounces!
15. Baby nail scissors – Baby nails grow SO fast—like tiny talons—and these are really easy to use. As far as other health and body care stuff, we got a bulb syringe and digital thermometer from the hospital and haven’t yet needed either. It’s good to have some infant acetaminophen around, and they recommend daily vitamin D drops for exclusively breastfed babies (I mostly remember to give this to Liyam). I use Angel Baby Bottom Balm for diaper rash and either light lotion or Vaseline for dry skin.
16. Washer and dryer! I never thought there would be so much laundry.
OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT LIKE TO HAVE: Nursing cover, sound machine (I recommend the Cloud B Gentle Giraffe), baby monitor (didn’t need one in our one-bedroom apartment), baby towels, picnic blanket
THINGS YOU CAN WAIT ON: Breast pump and bottles, nipple cream (you might not need it, and we got a sample from the hospital anyway), baby sunscreen, pacifiers, bibs and other feeding supplies, teething toys, more advanced jumping chairs or activity stations, rocking chair