I am currently pregnant with my 6th child. With my first child, I had 2 baby showers and got a ton of stuff…especially clothes. My second pregnancy, we were expecting triplets so we had 3 baby showers. We got even more stuff. After the triplets, we assumed we were done with children and I sold or gave away every baby item we owned. Then surprise baby 5 arrived and we had to start the supply gathering all over. With 6, I’m going to need to re-buy some items, however, I’m becoming wise to what are essential for new babies and what items should be left on the shelf.
- Feeding supplies. I’m a sole breastfeeder, so I stock up on breast pads (I have a favorite), nipple cream and good bras. If I bottle fed, I would make sure to have bottles I love and bottle cleaners. A “comfortable” pump is also important.
- Muslin blankets. Unfortunately the amazingness of this product was not appreciated until our fifth child. This type of blanket originated in Australia and is designed for multiple uses: spit up rag, booger wiper, swaddles, lovie, diaper changing blanket. You name it, the blanket is there for it.
- A place to sleep. Eventually you will need a crib. A pack and play for the home if you have multiple levels or for travel is nice. A special bassinet is a luxury. This isn’t the item to buy the best of the best or most expensive. Save the money for your own bed. And avoid the cute matching bedding set. More often then not this won’t be utilized. Spend your money on NB gowns and sleep sacks instead.
- Diapering supplies. This may sound crazy but you don’t NEED a changing table and the fancy covers. I’ve been there, done that. It was more common for me to use the couch or floor then the fancy (and expensive) changing station. A nice basket with diapers, wipes and diaper cream stashed in your common areas are enough. In the early weeks when baby pees on themselves or you, a burp cloth or muslin blanket nearby will work well enough. A changing station doesn’t stop, prevent or keep pee from hitting everything in sight.
- Clothes. My first child is a girl and because of this I got more clothes than anyone could ever wear, period. This seems to be an area where people over buy, especially noting that kids outgrow these items so quickly. For my large family, clothes became my laundry nightmare. Instead of buying every cute item, keep a list of what you want and what you have. Logistically, I will likely wash my new infants clothes twice a week (more if they are a super pooper). That means we need 7-9 days worth of clothes. If I have 4 outfits, and 7 sleepers…we are good with day clothes. Don’t feel the need to overrun their closet with clothes OR ask gifters to buy older clothes for when your child is a toddler.
- Cloth diapers. This is not for what you think. The generic, white, sold everywhere cloth diapers make the best burp clothes. They are big, thick and absorb a lot. They might not be as cute as the “burp clothes” that are sold but they are much more practical.
- Pacifier. This is a necessity but sometimes its not. 1/5 of my children took a pacifier. There is no perfect pacifier and every mom likes something different. Even with my poor ratio, we are still going to try a pacifier on baby #6. Babies need to suck and I’d rather use a pacifier than me.
- Car seat. This is one area to shop around and get a good one. However, this comes with a word of caution. Some babies (2 of mine included) hate the infant car seats. We ended up switching almost right away to convertible seats so we spent more money and research time on this item, which will last 2-4 years. If you can, borrow the infant carseat from a reliable friend (i.e. someone who knows the history of it). ALL carseats are safety tested so expensive does not mean better. And remember that they expire in 5 years.
- Stroller. If you plan to take walks or go to events of any type a good stroller is a must. I’ve had a simple single stroller and a quad stroller. Both were good strollers for my needs. This time around, because I will have a newborn and a 3 year old, we researched a nice double stroller and found one at a good deal second hand.
- Carrier. I’ve used a Baby Bjorn and a Moby wrap in the past. I’m borrowing an Ergo this go around. This is another area to research and figure out what will fit your needs the best.
In the same vein, here are the things to leave off the registry and on the shelves:
- Bottle or wipe warmer. Wipe warmers can be a fire hazard if not properly maintained and a cold wipe will not injure a baby. Bottle warmers seem like a great idea but a glass of hot water works just as well. In addition, both of these items are not portable. I’d hate for my baby to reject their bottle because it wasn’t as warm as normal.
- Changing table and the accessories. See above. This includes a diaper pail. The kitchen garbage works just as well and gets changed more frequently.
- Lots of baby toys. Babies will find a few favorites and the rest will represent wasted money.
- Diaper bags. You don’t need a specific “diaper bag.” They are obviously cute and have a million useful pockets but what you really need is a bag of some type to hold stuff. Some moms love/prefer a backpack. I use my purse, which is already a bit bigger, and some pouches to carry anything I need for baby. Carrying a big bag can get a little painful and annoying.
- Kitschy items like pee-pee teepees. They are cute and all the rage but usually unnecessary. Avoid if possible.
My best advice to new moms is to take inventory of your family’s lifestyle and your space before making your registry and purchases. Also, utilize your mom friends. Do you have enough room for all the baby gear or can you utilize one item for several uses? Go for less because if you find that you need it it is easy to get almost immediately. Buy secondhand or borrow from a friend, especially if it has a short use life span such as floor mats or play centers.
Do you agree with my list? What would you add or change?