You’re having a baby, and you want to know exactly what you need. You proceed to your local baby store and ask them for suggestions, and they hand you a 3 page list of all the shit you “need” for having a baby. Well, I am here to say that you don’t need all that shit. You can actually get by on very little when you have a new baby.
Here is what I recommend definitely having ready for when baby is born.
- 4-5 onesies or sleeping gowns: Get onesies that are easy to access the diaper for changing in the middle of the night. Gowns are awesome for this. No, I do not care that your baby is a boy. Baby boys wear gowns, problem solved. If you love love love shopping, and want cute little outfits, that is fine, but the tiny jeans and wicked newborn chucks are not a necessity. Remember that when you’re trying to save money. 1 cute outfit is enough for the newborn stage. It doesn’t last long enough to justify more.
- 18-24 diapers: We all know that babies are going to make good use of these, so be prepared. I recommend cloth diapers if you’re looking to save money and reduce diaper rash, but disposables are of course an option. You’ll probably want 3 packages of newborn disposable diapers to start if that is the direction you roll. With cloth, prefolds and covers will be your most cost effective route, and they are not that hard. Because the newborn stage is really so short (about 2 months), I don’t recommend investing a large amount in your newborn diaper stash. That is, unless you are loaded, then you’ll probably want 18-24 newborn diapers. Gawd they are cute! Even if you decide to go with prefolds, make sure to get 1 newborn fitted or AIO diaper for pictures and the baby box. You will be glad you did later. Also though, not necessary.
- Car seat: You need a car seat. They will not let you leave the hospital without one, so plan on this purchase. However, if you’re having a home birth and you only take public transit, you really don’t even need to worry about this purchase. Well, for the meantime anyways.
- Basinet: Chances are that baby will sleep in the bed with you for at least the first few weeks (you know, the whole regulating temperature, heart rate and breathing thing), but it’s still nice to have somewhere for baby to sleep if not with you. A basinet is nice because you can have them in your room right by you at all times.
- Receiving blankets: You can’t have enough receiving blankets. The cotton or bamboo muslin blankets that are available are a nice size and are incredibly soft. They’re great for swaddling if you want to, to use in the car seat, to wipe spit up, or just for babe to be cozy with.
- Peri bottle: Believe me, this will save you. Chances are, you’ll be provided with one at the hospital or by your midwives, but if not, make sure to acquire one.
- Mesh panties: They are amazing… that is all.
- Big ass postpartum pads: You will need pads, for sure. You can get reusable or disposable, that is your call. You can also make frozen pads to help with healing, using witch hazel and calendula.
- Nipple butter: If you’re breastfeeding, take care of your nipples! You will likely regret it if you don’t, because as a trusted Midwife of mine once told me, “a newborn can turn your nipple into hamburger meat in 30 seconds.” Seriously, make sure to get baby latched good, and use an ointment afterwards.
- Vitamins/prenatals: Just because you are done being pregnant does not mean you can stop taking your vitamins. You lose so much during childbirth, you really need to replenish. If you’ve decided to encapsulate your placenta, you can use the pills to replenish your body. These things are important, look after yourself.
- Nursing tank: These can be incredibly useful during nursing, you can wear them all day and all night, and basically anytime. My only caution is make sure you find one you like. Nursing tanks come in a variety of styles, and depending on your breast size and preference, you will likely be drawn to a certain style.
Not necessary, but good add ons if you wanna shop:
- Nursing pillow: Of course you can just use pillows… but a nice nursing pillow can be amazing. I still have the one I used with my first baby over 15 years ago from Baby Buddy. Nursing pillows make breastfeeding so much more comfortable, and that is why they are number one on the “not necessary, but awesome” list.
- Baby carrier: I am a babywearing educator… I advocate for wearing your baby all the time. Yes, a carrier is still not necessary. You know why? Because all you need is a membership to your local babywearing group, and you can take advantage of all the carriers they have to offer. You’ll want to borrow a ring sling or a stretchy wrap for the first couple months, and ask for help with using either. Also, you can wear your baby with almost anything. If you have a sarong, you basically have a kanga.
- Frozen meals: This will save you. It’s not necessary of course, but believe me when I say they will save you. Ask your family and/or friends to pick a date and bring you a meal, or fill your freezer with frozen meals.
- Stroller: Strollers are nice to have, especially if you have one that your car seat can snap in to. Like almost everything else, it’s not necessary, but can be nice to have.
- Baby bath: A tiny contraption to hold your baby in water can make bath time much easier. The Tummy Tub is a nice concept, although I loved the Daphne I used. Either is good, but neither are necessary.
- WINE: Just have wine on hand, that is all.
I hope this article has helped relieve some of the stresses that you may have regarding your baby layette. Contrary to popular belief, babies don’t actually have to cost you an arm and a leg to take care of… most of what we purchase, as North American parents, are supplementary items and not necessary. It’s important to know the difference, and save money where you can. Also, if you’re really on a budget, source out hand me downs. You will likely have a local “Freecycle” or moms buy/swap where you can get items for way less or free.
If you have an item you’d like to see added to this list, please leave it in the comments! Cheers mamas!