ALL YOU REALLY NEED
Recently, I was at Target, buying a new sippy cup for my baby when I spied a woman who was looking at bottle warmers. In her hands was the 3 page list of baby stuff that her friend had registered for. "Is this your friend's first?" I asked."Yes, it is.""I can tell." I said. "I'm on my third baby, and all that stuff in the parenting magazine lists that we are told we're supposed to have is a complete waste of space." The lady nodded in agreement, but was still filling her cart with many baby items that would gather dust in coming years.
The typical list of items you need for baby generally is written by the bottle/crib/baby clothes makers, as a way to be mildly helpful while convincing you to make them money by cluttering up your house and filling your closets. My approach will not cost you anything much but time and attention to baby, benefiting both you and her for years to come.
Here is my list:A few swaddling blankets,Diapers & wipes,Baby sling,Car seat,You,
Pretty short, isn't it? Let me explain: This list assumes you are going to do what is best for your baby, and follow your mothering instincts (trust them with your child's life).
A few swaddling blankets: The swaddling blankets are great for swaddling baby, tossing over baby's car seat, and lying on the floor so he can practice rolling. They can often serve as a newborn's only clothing, but once he starts to wiggle out of the blankets it is probably time to dress him in simple creepers or Ts. Since all my babies were born in the dead of Minnesota winter, I always used a t layered under a fuzzy creeper for warmth. The most for newborn clothing I would recommend would be: 9 newborn Ts, 9 creepers, 9 pairs of socks (for really cold days or footless creepers), and 2 dressy creepers for special occasions, and maybe a hat or two.
Diapers and wipes are obvious, for baby's messes and spit ups. Cloth or disposable doesn't matter much, whichever one you wish to deal with.
Baby Sling: Babies love to snuggle, and something inside of you wants to snuggle baby too! A sling allow you to snuggle baby everywhere you go, with your arms mostly free. Most babies are never happier then being next to their mommy. The baby sling will end that every pressing battle of putting the baby down, and letting him cry, to do laundry.
A car seat! If your baby rides in a car he will need a car seat. This is the only time you technically have to separate yourself from your child, the law mandates it. If this truly makes you cringe, you can always sit next to your baby and hold her little hand.
You! You breast feed your baby (for that I'd recommend a nursing bra or two, and perhaps breast pads), provide warmth for your baby, pay attention to baby, snuggle baby and teach him how wonderful this world can be.
Other last thing I would recommend to a new mother would be a nice rocking chair. The spacious old fashioned variety work well for midnight criers, and overly tired toddlers.
What, no place to sleep? Well, your baby is certainly happy sleeping with you, but if you are like me and sleep more soundly when the babe is not in bed, then I would recommend a bassinet for bedside use (or a box with a blanket, or a dresser drawer. I used a new dog bed with my first baby because we had no space to put a bassinet). And I find a crib handy when they outgrow the bassinet, or have a tendency to crawl out of or off of anything.
And that's it! Here's the new list:
A few swaddling blanket (3-5),Ts (9),Creepers (9),Dressy Creepers (9),Sock (9),Hats (1-2),Diapers and wipes (many, but not all the same size),Baby Sling,Car seat,You,Nursing Bras,Breast Pads,Breast Feeding Book (Optional, but very useful. I recommend "the Womanly Art of Breast Feeding" by La Leche League),Rocking Chair,A place for baby to sleep,
So it's definitely longer than it was. But it is still pretty short. Now let me tell you why some of the other stuff is not useful.
Bottles/bottle warmers/ formula: Why bottle feed, mix formula, warm bottles, wash bottles, sterilize bottles when you could just breast feed? Mother Nature sure makes it easier on us then formula companies.
Baby Swing: Baby swings are nothing more then a machine rocking your baby to sleep. You can accomplish just as much with your baby in a sling then you could with him in the swing. Also, babies tend to outgrow them pretty fast and toddlers are destined to break them.
Play Pen: Another space consuming item that is no longer in vogue or considered safe. Play pens restrict the play area of a mobile child. A few well placed baby gates can create a much wider play area and a much happier child.
Baby Walker: not safe or effective. My children always preferred rolling around on the floor then in a walker.
High Chair: Useful for a solid eating child (about 8-9 months-2 years old), but he will also be happy on your lap.
Toys: Newborns can't play with them, and once the child can hold a toy, they can also hold keys, and everything else in their path. Pots and pans, cardboard boxes, and junk mail all make great toys. Besides, if your parents and friends are anything like mine you may never have to buy your child anything at all.
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