1 – Car Seat
It’s the law! But, even if a car seat wasn’t legally mandatory, you’d want one anyway because they’re safe and your number one job as a parent will be to keep your child out of harm’s way.
Tragically, each year there are over 1.2 million people killed in car accidents worldwide. Injuries occurring on the road are the leading culprit of accidental child deaths in the United States.
The good news is that by using a car seat correctly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reviewed fatal car accident data and saw fatality risk is reduced by an estimated 71 percent. THAT’s why you not only need, but want, a car seat.
You will be required to have a car seat when you bring your baby home. Most likely, you will be shown how to properly strap your newborn into the seat, but it’s a good idea to know before you go all the same.
The exact specifications of car seat requirements are set by state law so it’s a good idea to check with your state online or in person to see what your state’s standards are. Many police departments offer training on installing the car seat properly so you are ready before you go to the hospital.
(It’s also good to be on the safe side and ask what the hospital you are going to requires as well as hospitals vary as well.)
In the event that you can’t afford a car seat or have your baby early and don’t have one yet, some hospitals will work something out with you.
Some let you buy one of theirs. Some hospitals may give you a discounted price and others give them at no charge to those who meet certain qualifications. There’s never a good reason to not have a car seat.
2 – Diapers and Wipers
One thing is for sure and for certain, you’ll need diapers for your baby. And plenty of them! Most newborns go through 10-15 diapers per day.
When it comes to what kind of diaper to use, there are pros and cons to each. Choices include disposable and cloth.
Pretty easy, right? Wrong. There are a myriad to choose from in both types.
Let’s take a look in this overview.
- Disposable Diapers
Disposables are the most popular pick. They are quick and convenient. But drawbacks on disposables are that they are expensive and can be harsh on your baby’s sensitive skin (though there are special types for sensitive skin).
You can catch sales and use coupons and incentives to help combat the expense, or buy in bulk at large “big box” stores. Disposables are also not eco-friendly. There are also organic brands and “green diapers” available in some locations, like Bamboo Nature and Earth’s Best Tender Care.
- Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are another option. Some moms use them for economic or ecological reasons while others choose them because they are easier on their baby’s sensitive skin.
Cloth diapers must be washed (on the sterilize cycle), folded and the process is repeated over and over. You can use disposable diaper liners to help with the clean-up and can also opt for a diaper service (where available) that will come to your home, pick up the dirty diapers and deliver fresh sets all clean and folded.
The downside to that is the service does have an additional expense so if you are using cloth diapers in order to save money, doing so might defeat the purpose.
In either disposables or cloth, you need to evaluate which brand is best for your family’s needs. Although you can read reviews and ask other mothers for their opinions, trial and error will most likely be the only way to find out for sure.
Babies are all built differently. While one diaper may fit one baby snug and securely, it may be too tight or loose for the next infant.
If you have more than one child, you may see that the diaper you swore by for your first baby was a terrible choice for your second. Just keep “trying them on for size” and it will (eventually) all work out in the end.
As far as diaper wipes and creams are concerned, again, some mothers choose saving money and Mother Earth over convenience. Baby wash cloths for changing time can be purchased for next to nothing but they can be quite a mess, too.
Disposable wipes are much more convenient but the cost of them can certainly add up; also, some babies’ skin cannot tolerate them. There are still solutions for so many different issues, because you aren’t the first parent to experience the issue!
For example, if your baby has a reaction to wipes, you might try the hypo-allergenic ones. You can also find wipes in organic and eco-friendly versions, too.
In addition, if you want warm baby wipes then a baby wipe warmer is the best way to get them.
3 – Coming Home Outfit
This one is just for you! Your baby will not care how she is dressed to come home from the hospital unless you dress her in something that is really uncomfortable.
But, if you’re like most mothers, dolling your baby up for that memorable moment of welcoming her to her new home IS a big deal for you and a nicety you deserve. And, it does make for great pictures.
Traditionally, babies wore a formal or frilly outfit home from the hospital, but times are changing. A cute and comfy onesie or warm-up suit is a more popular choice these days.
If you are set on a really fancy but uncomfortable outfit, you can always dress your baby in it long enough to snap some photos and then change her into something more appropriate. Hospitals have baby t-shirts or onesies so if you didn’t get around to buying special duds, don’t despair — and someone will surely visit you at the hospital and may bring you the perfect outfit, too.
The fact that you are bringing your baby home is the main thing to be celebrated. The clothes are just icing on the cake.
4 – Breast Pump
Even if you don’t plan to leave your baby early in your home stay, you will want to have a breast pump just in case. Should an emergency arrive, you’ll be set.
A pump can also come in useful if your breasts become engorged or your milk supply is not adequate during a feeding. You can find one fairly inexpensive or opt for a hospital-grade one.
Oftentimes, pumps are covered by medical insurance and some hospitals rent them out so you ask before your due date.
5 – Bottles and Formula
Just as with a breast pump, even if you have no plans to bottle feed your baby, you will want to have a bottle or two on hand.
You never know. Life with a baby can be very unpredictable and you don’t want to be caught off guard.
It’s a good idea to go with BPA-free bottles (which includes glass versions). You can find breast-mimicking nipples or opt for traditional ones.
Babies are all different so you may need to experiment around before finding one that she likes. You can also choose to use bottles with liners which eliminates the need of sterilizing them.
There’s another trick with bottle feeding that frustrates new parents until they figure it out (but usually are told about this point).
Know that the hole in the nipples come in various sizes. That means a hungry child may eat for twenty minutes, but only sleep thirty and be hungry again because it can’t suckle enough milk through the tiny hole in the nipple.
Likewise, a slower eater may find a nipple hole too big and get air in her tummy, causing her to spit up more. This is a case of trying different ones and noting which your baby prefers.
There are also soy options that reduce the risk of reflux. And, there are the mainstay, regular formulas. There is a variation to the cost, and your doctor may recommend a brand depending on your particular situation.
When you are on the go, putting the correct amount of the powder into the bottle before you leave and taking a water bottle will make it much quicker if your baby is hungry when you didn’t expect.
If you have a refrigerated pre-mixed solution, just like when you take your lunch someplace, there are “cooler sleeves” (like for a cold drink) that will help keep your formula at the correct temperature until your little one needs to eat.
6 – Pacifier
Get one. Even if you swear you won’t be needing one, you might.
There are a ton to choose from in many shapes, some that are shaped like a nipple while others are designed like a flat spoon. A pacifier can help when nothing else does and you can discontinue using it at any time should you decide to do so.
7 – Diaper Bag
You will want to get something to carry baby supplies when you go out. It can be a traditional diaper bag, a backpack diaper bag or even a plain canvas bag.
Lots of things are required – diapers, whips, bottles, formula, pacifiers, a change of clothes (you’d be surprised), a rattle or colorful soft book they can hold and more – when taking your baby, so be prepared.
8 – Co-Sleeper or Bassinet
Some moms opt to use a bassinet rather than a crib for the first month or two. It’s more compact so it can fit in your room if you plan to co-sleep with your little one.
It has a smaller sleeping area, too, which tends to make babies feel more secure. Plus, most are portable so you can take it with you when you take baby to visit family, friends or wherever else you may wander.
You can find co-sleepers and bassinets with some really great features. Some vibrate and others have toy mobiles or sound built into them.
Then there are the really basic, even old-fashioned set ups like straw baskets. These types are adorable but are often really flimsy so if you use one, don’t let other children or animal around while your baby is in it.
9 – Crib
Your baby will most likely spend a lot of time in her crib. A crib should last for several years. It should also be a good, safe and comfortable place that your little one will have plenty of sweet dreams.
Having a crib before you have your baby is a good idea, mostly because life will be much busier after the arrival. As far as having it set up, that can wait (though it’s easier before baby comes home) and if you can’t get one yet, that’s fine, too.
Lots of mothers want the crib set up simply to complete the look of the nursery which is understandable but not imperative. Oftentimes babies sleep in bassinets, cradles or even little sleepers before graduating to a crib.
You’ll have oodles and gobs of options where cribs are concerned. In fact, so much so, if can be overwhelming. You might like some of the features available like space saving options where the bed is smaller and often folds or collapses.
Convertible cribs are great too because they transition into toddler beds as your child grows. Cribs that allow for the mattress height to be adjusted are optimal because when they are small and not able to roll over, the mattress can be higher to make it less strenuous on your back.
Some features are not optional, however, such as crib slat width. This is to increase the safety (and small kids don’t get their head stuck in between the bars). Safety is top priority, so check the crib for an updated certification; never use or buy an older crib that doesn’t meet current safety standards.
10 – Dresser
It’s a good idea to have a place to store your baby’s clothes. You can get one that is made specifically for the nursery or use an adult one.
You can even restore an old one to fit your baby’s room décor. If you do use one that’s not nursery-specified, especially if you go with an older one, do be sure there is no lead based paint on it.
Paint chips and babies put everything in their mouths so it could pose a real hazard.
11 – Changing Table
Keeping baby safe and comfortable is the object of a changing table. It will also be more convenient for you.
Although you can certainly make your own, changing tables that are designated for baby’s use are equipped with guard features (to help discourage rolling over) and safety buckle-ins (because as they get older they get wiggly) so you will want to incorporate the same features on yours if make your own.
12 – Rocking Chair
You may not think that a rocking chair is a must, but just wait until you’ve been up all night with a fussy little one. Rocking motions help lull babies to sleep and help soothe colicky bouts as well.
You can find rocking chairs in all shapes and sizes and in all price ranges, too. Old wooden rockers are a traditional favorite but may not be quite as comfy as the new and improved kinds.
Gliders are another option. You may even want a rocker in the family room and the nursery.
13 – Baby Monitor
Baby monitors take guess work out of it all.
- Is baby asleep?
- Is she fussing or is she entertaining herself?
- Has she spun herself from the top of the crib to the bottom?
You don’t have to wonder when you have a baby monitoring system in place.
A monitor is a device that acts as an intercom from baby’s room to your room or wherever you choose to take the receiver.
You can get really fancy (and expensive) ones that reach far distances so you can do yard work and still listen in on your little one.
You can also get less expensive models that may suit your needs just as well.
Whichever you use, it’s advisable to get one. It’s an amazing way to keep an ear on baby.
Most monitors now are promoted that you can have a camera and remote device (some even connecting to your smart phone) to see the baby. This eliminates disturbing their sleep by opening the door just to check on them.
You can see how the baby is sleeping, hands thrown above his head or even sucking her thumb and self-soothing. The price of these monitors has really dropped in recent years, and is a good investment.
Some monitors now are devices that sit in the crib with your infant and monitor breathing habits, so you know if something changes with your child almost instantly.
As infants don’t “compensate” when something is wrong like the adult body does, things can happen very quickly. These devices can be expensive, but can provide the added sense of security that there’s another set of “eyes” helping to watch your child.
14 – Thermostat
It’s important to keep your baby’s room comfortable. She can’t tell you if she’s hot or cold so rather than having you guess, simply get a thermostat that you can place in her room.
It’s common to keep the nursery too extreme, too cold in the summer or too warm in the winter. Nothing could be more miserable for a little one who can’t let you know so, a thermostat is definitely a cool choice.
(Note that some of the fancy monitors also have this capability, so you may spend a little more for the visual monitor, but get more features, too.)
15 – Nightlight
You’ll want to weigh whether you want a nightlight or not. They are nice to have when you come at night to collect your fussing baby.
But then again, baby’s natural sleep rhythm is set up to sleep when it’s dark.
It’s called the circadian rhythm and that is something you don’t want to disturb. So, just like everything else is that concerns your child, it’s your call.
You may find that a night light outside the door to the baby’s room provides enough ambient light into the doorway – so it’s a matter of placement, too.
16 – Humidifier/Vaporizer
When your baby gets stuffy, you’ll want to have a humidifier or vaporizer handy. What’s the difference?
A humidifier creates a cool mist by using a fan while a vaporizer heats the water until hot steam is produced. Both mist the air so babies breathe better.
Humidifiers are preferred by most because they don’t get hot. It also depends on your climate as if you reside in a more humid, tropical climate, you likely won’t need to consider this option like you would in areas that have dry or cold seasons.
17 – Digital Ear Thermometers
Gone are the days when you had to take baby’s temperature with a thermometer under an arm pit or in a very uncomfortable way for the baby.
By simply placing the newer digital devices at the opening of her ear, you’ll be able to squeeze the lever and her temperature will digitally display.
Ask your doctor if there’s a brand he or she prefers, as some devices may be more accurate than others or take better readings faster — both of which are important on a fussy uncomfortable little one.
18 – Baby Carriers
Infant seats allow you to take you little one around. They can often be used for the baby to sit for her feeding once she starts eating solids if you aren’t into using a highchair.
Some babies love their carriers so much, they prefer to sleep in them (which is fantastic at a fussy nap time), That’s really not suggested, but it shows how comfy they can be.
19 – Baby Strollers
If you are going to take your little one out where you’ll be doing much walking, you’ll certainly want to have a baby stroller where she can sit or even lay while you are walking. Strollers come in all shapes and sizes as well as prices.
You can get very simple, inexpensive, fold-up types for short trips (but know they are sometimes difficult to steer and not all that comfortable).
There are strollers designed for handling rough terrain with ease (while you jog or walk fast, for instance) and are luxurious for baby as well. There are even strollers designed to help you while shopping, with compartments for your keys and phone, purses or purchases.
20 – Baby Portable Plays paces
Pack-and-play options let you take a little break (like your own run to the potty). They “contain” your baby as well as her toys and can be used for naps, too.
They are especially great for trips. You can also get baby fences and baby gates to block off areas of your house, thus creating a play space, but know that once he starts walking, these may not be as secure as a space designed for a small child and toddler.
21 – Bathtub
When it comes to bath time for baby, it can be a slippery task. A plastic baby tub makes bathing your baby much easier and safer, too.
You can also use a large “baby sponge” that goes into the bathtub on which she can lay or you can opt to just use a wet cloth while she’s on the changing table. Once baby gets bigger and can somewhat sit, there are devices that will help hold her in place in the home’s bathtub.
But remember, baby’s have sensitive skin and don’t necessarily need a bath every day – that dries their skin. Talk to your doctor about how often to give your baby a bath.
No matter which you choose, never ever leave your baby unattended.
22 – Baby Nail Clippers
Most moms are scared to death to clip their baby’s finger and toe nails at first but after a few rounds of hang-nail or baby scratching herself (and Mommy), the hesitation is over.
Be sure to use one specifically designed for an infant as it doesn’t need to be as sharp as an adult’s clippers and has rounded ends so you don’t accidentally poke your baby if she moves.
23 – Toiletries
There will be a number of toiletries you’ll want to have, like bath soap, shampoo and lotion. Be sure to get the baby-safe ones and don’t use your own or even those designed for older children.
Many parents are opting for organic blends because even though the baby brands are approved, they still may contain unwanted substances. Cotton swabs, diaper rash remedies and baby wash cloths are also on this list.
24 – Bibs
Bibs are a must, even before baby is eating solid foods as they help protect her clothes from bottle overflow and spit-up.
For catching that dripping milk, usually cloth bibs are best so it doesn’t just roll onto your lap or clothing. When she is old enough to eat, you might consider the wipe-off ones that are made from vinyl.
25 – Blankets
Babies need plenty of blankets. You will probably want to get at least one in light, medium and heavy weights. Remember to look for soft ones that don’t scratch her sensitive skin.
Also, remember that having these laying the baby’s crib isn’t always the best choice. If you use them to bundle him while holding or swaddling, that’s different than a blanket laying next to a sleeping child, where it can get tangled or cause discomfort or something worse to happen.
Other Innovative Solutions
The baby market is huge. It is estimated that the baby industry should rise to all all-time $66.8 billion dollar high by 2017. Diapers make up about 66% of the sales, but what constitutes for the rest of it? Baby stuff!
Sure, there are lots of things you need for your baby. Some are imperative. Then there are things that you don’t need, you just want. But the clincher comes down to the things we purchase and don’t even want or use.
Slap a cute little chubby cheek baby photo on a product, and sales increase. New mothers are the worst at buying stuff.
You simply must have any gadget that promises to make your life easier and who can really blame you? But, just heed the warning and know that buyer’s remorse runs thick among new moms.
That having been said, there are some really awesome new innovative products out and even more expected soon.
- Breeza 4-in-1 Baby Bottle Washer
For about $250, you can get this hot machine that cleans and sterilizes bottles, binkies and more. The best thing about it is that you no longer have to scald your hands to wash bottles nor do you have to put them in the dishwasher with your pots and pans.
- Vibrating Infant Seats
These are a must for most moms. They have a dial where you can vary the degree of vibration and usually come with a mobile and music, too.
Some even bounce. Great to have in a secure spot while you are making a meal or cleaning a room (and helps encourage napping, too).
- Diaper Genies
This device keeps dirty and wet used diapers in an airtight container so they don’t stink up the changing area. There are a wide variety of options and features, but the airtight feature is the best!
If you are planning on having other children, so this baby will be a toddler when you have the next child, invest in one with a “locking" lid… just a tip that it is money well spent for future exploration prevention.
- Pregnancy Pillows & Body Pillows
These best body pillows or best pregnancy pillows are perfect to hold your baby in snugly while she nurses. They also can be used as she learns to sit up or he takes some tummy time once he’s old enough to hold up his head.
- Baby Sling
How did mothers ever get along without these? Simply slide the sling over your head for hands-free carrying. They are available in a myriad of styles and price ranges.
There was a concern about some brands that tend to cuddle the baby in a compromising position that could lead to suffocation. The main thing is to always be aware of your baby and to realize the sling is not a babysitter, just a helping hand.
- Baby Swing
Again, how did parents live without baby swings? Actually, not many have.
Way back in the day, mothers found ways to tie cradles to trees in order to swing them. You’ll find basic models, electric styles, battery operated ones, ones that play music (do make sure it can be turned off or down as a few models can’t be) and ones that do all sorts of fancy thing.
Some even have different speed features that are useful as your child grows and may need a more noticeable rock as they get older.
- 4Moms High Chair
This highchair features a magnetic tray that pops right on and off. The dinnerware has magnetic bases so they stick to the tray.
- EPZP Happy Mat
This one will be of more interest as your baby gets a little older and begins that ever-so-sloppy stage of learning to feed herself. It’s a silicone mat with a plate and bowl built right in. It’s no slip and no slide…genius.