As part of my quest to remove myself from the baby industrial complex, I spent a lot of time asking friends and family what things I actually needed with a new baby and what things were not as necessary. So, for all expecting parents out there, here’s my list of what you really don’t need for a baby (but also five things you do need!)
- Wipe warmer- Seriously. You don’t need this. It isn’t like a wipe is icy cold when it comes out of the container.
- Toys- Babies don’t actually need much in the way of toys. When F. was a newborn, she spent most of her time either watching the fan or staring at the pictures on the walls. Once she got a little older, her favorite “toys” were measuring cups, wooden spoons and the strainer.
- Video monitor- This might get some push-back, but we’ve never had a video monitor and I’ve never felt the need for one. However, I will say that F. is a very heavy sleeper, so we can open the door to check on her and she won’t wake up.
- Pants/shirts/dresses in sizes under 9 months- Buy sleepers. With zippers. Or onesies if you have a summer baby. That’s it. My mom tried to tell me that I didn’t need a lot of clothes for F. and I *ahem* didn’t listen. And then had to make an emergency (and expensive) Walmart run after she was born for sleepers with zippers because dear god, anything else was way too much work. F. wore only sleepers for at least the first six months of her life.
- White noise machine- Do you have an old cell phone? Download the white noise baby app, plug the phone in and put it in airplane mode. Voila! White noise, for free, no extra machine required.
- Baby towels/washcloths- Babies are perfectly happy being wrapped up in and washed with whatever towels you currently own. No special hooded towels needed!
- Baby shoes- Babies don’t need shoes until they really start walking on a regular basis. Since the average age when babies start walking well is 12-14 months, you don’t need ANY shoes the first year.
- Baby food blender- If you want to make your own baby food, a regular blender will work absolutely fine. Or, alternatively, steam fruits and veggies until they’re soft and mash them up with a fork. Freeze in ice cube trays or just put it all in the fridge for the week.
- Bottle warmer- I might get some push-back on this one too, but it seriously took us about 3 minutes to warm up a bottle in a cup of hot water. However, we also had a small house at the time, and the kitchen was only about 15 steps from the bedroom.
- Brand new swing/rocker/bassinet/bouncer- Seriously, find some mom friends if you can and borrow this stuff. Most babies only use each one for a very short period of time, so it’s very easy for family or friends to trade it all back and forth. We borrowed a bassinet from a friend and our swing and bouncer are both currently residing with my sister. We’ll need them again one day, but by that point, she won’t!
5 Things Worth the Money
- A travel system- A carrier that clicks into both the car and the stroller is essential. No need to remove a sleeping baby from the carrier- just move the carrier from car to stroller! This is a must-have.
- A boppy- If you’re planning on breastfeeding, this magical pillow will keep your arms from dying while you feed. If you’re not, it makes a great place for baby to rest and is also useful for bottle-feeding as well. These are absolutely worth the money.
- Sleepers with zippers- No buttons, no snaps, nothing that requires precision at 3 am. Sleepers with zippers are your new best friend. Onesises with snaps are a distant second. Everything else is superfluous.
- A really ridiculously long phone charger. You’re going to be spending a lot of time sitting around with a baby- you do NOT want your phone to die. Buy the 20 foot charger. You won’t regret it.
- Baby carrier- Spend some time trying the different carriers. Moby wrap too complicated? Get a front-pack. Baby like to look around? Get a back-pack. A good baby carrier is essential for those times when a stroller is too much work or when you need to do laundry and your baby doesn’t want to be put down.
So there you have it. The baby essentials and the baby extras! What did you think was essential? What wasn’t worth the money?