My Baby List Must-Haves
I’ve spent a lot of time contemplating how I am prepping for Baby #5 vs how I prepped for Baby #1.
I have come to the conclusion that overall we need far less stuff for baby than we think we do previous to welcoming to Baby #1. Baby “stuff” doesn’t need to drown us. We really just need a few basics.
BUT, having said that, every baby is so different and will need different variations on these things as a result.
(For example: Carter is the only baby I needed a baby swing for. Addison is the only baby I needed special face creams for her nasal cannula tape. Eli is the only baby I needed a nipple shield for. Morgan is the only baby I needed special curly hair conditioner for.)
My motto: Stay flexible! Amazon Prime will deliver whatever you need right to your door as you get to know your baby better. So no need to go crazy stocking up on every baby item ever invented ahead of time. You just don’t need to. (And adding Amazon gift cards on your baby registry is a great way to prep for this!)
Less is more.
To explain what I consider my “basics”, I have compiled a list of things that I find necessary for baby #5, based on what has worked for me for babies #1-4. Feel free to use whatever you want from this list and discard the rest. As moms we all will have our own “systems”, but as I have enjoyed learning from other’s systems along the way, here is my best attempt at sharing mine.
So here we go. My “Baby List Must-Haves”:
A place for the baby to sleep.
I use two of these and put one right next to my bed for nighttime sleeping and one in the kitchen for naps. I discovered these for baby #3 and 4 and I SO WISH I had had them for the first two babies. When the baby can start rolling over, I switch the sleepers out for pack ‘n ‘plays. I don’t move the baby into sharing a room with the older kids until the baby is at least a year old. Sometimes longer.
Linked is the diaper brand that I like best for my newborns. For some reason the Huggie ones leaked terribly down my babies’ legs every time.
And not a crazy amount of them. I stock up on just enough sleepers to get through a few days. Wash and repeat! And then add in only maybe 2 or 3 “real” outfits. Spoiler alert, you do NOT need to put your newborn in a matching, fancy, hand-stitched, ruffled outfit every minute of every single day. Yes, I know, they are ADORABLE. But chances are, you’ll end up doing a dozen blowout changes before you actually walk out the front door anyway. Keep it simple. A full on sleeper eliminates the need to keep track of socks and shoes. And it’s easy to switch out when blowouts occur. BUT, fun outfits for an occasional photo shoot or special occasion are still very nice! I just cut down on my need for 1,000 of them for the first week. Just not necessary and creates more work/more pieces to launder and keep track of.
(Oh, and FYI, the Carters sleepers are THE BEST. Absolutely can’t beat them for fit and durability.)
Can’t leave the hospital without one. Btw, carseats expire. So buying a new one for each baby, especially for babies far apart in age, is a good idea. (And be careful buying a used one!) I like to buy a super lightweight infant seat because I carry the baby in this everywhere for the first several months.
A feeding plan
I’ve done this both ways. No shame in the game! I am looking to bf this new baby, and am purchasing a new pump, so I’ll have to report back on that brand. My old one was Medela, but I hear Spectra is where it’s at now!
Bottles can be tricky to buy ahead of time because different babies will take different types of nipples/flow. I would try several different things before committing in bulk to any specific brand. (My last two babies have been exclusively bf so I admit I’m a bit out of the bottle game.)
I SWEAR by swaddles for night time sleeping. And the light receiving blankets work as “sheets” in the rock ‘n play that I can lay down in layers and then remove as necessary. They can also double as burp cloths if needed.
A plan for outings
In addition to needing a carry method for errand running, I also have found the babywrap is the only way to keep a brand new baby out of arm reach of curious toddlers at the house for that first bit. I couldn’t switch over a load of laundry and safely leave baby #3 in any part of the house, so wearing him on me was the only way to keep him from having a toddler sit on his face in the 30 seconds I was selfishly taking the time to switch over their clothes to dry.
A bath plan
My fav has always been the stand alone tub that I use on the kitchen counter. I don’t have to bend over weirdly to get to it, and I don’t have to wash all the dishes first to access the sink. The last baby I used to bathe right as the older kids were eating their dinner. Could watch them all at the same time!
Oh, and p.s., you don’t need special baby towels. A regular towel ends up drying just the same. And probably keeps them warmer because they are thicker.
(both for feeding support but also for baby’s floor blanket time)
I know there are a million variations on this, but this basic has been my fav for years. I just keep going back to it.
It’s a no-no to dress the baby in a jacket or snowsuit in the carseat. With the fleece-lined cover, you simply dress the baby in the daily sleeper, add a warm hat, cover with a blanket, and place the cover over top of the whole seat. THESE ARE A LIFESAVER with a winter baby. Bonus, it keeps people from touching or getting too close to your baby while out and about. Be careful of the carseat covers that go under the straps. I like the one I’ve linked because it works just like a shower-cap cover, fitting over the car seat, but not messing with anything strap/thickness related.
p.s. if you notice the startling lack of a changing station mentioned, you should know that around baby #2 I abandoned this completely and started just using the floor and a small receiving blanket. (Cheap receiving blankets —linked under my #6—are worth their weight in gold). Much easier to throw in the wash and just keep rollin’. And I’ve tried every version of the Diaper Genie and HATED them all. Diapers here go right into the kitchen trash (which is emptied at least once a day) and heavily soiled diapers get bagged separately and taken straight out to the outside trash.
So there ya go. My 10 Must-Haves.
I remember STRESSING out before baby #2 was born that his nursery wasn’t finished. The art wasn’t hung! The changing station wasn’t organized! He didn’t have enough coordinated outfits! I didn’t have ALL THE THINGS.
And someone commented that all I really needed was a laundry basket for them to sleep in, some diapers, and a sleeper or two and I would be fine.
Now, prepping for Baby #5, I’m convinced she’s right. (Although, I have never had a baby sleep in a laundry basket, I could see how this could be a great emergency backup!)
And honestly, I’m sure someone could go through my list and cut it down even further. Some of the items on my list are for things that I’ve found useful or convenient but are by no means necessary.
For example, for my last two babies, I SWEAR by the full belly, plus tight swaddle, plus rock ‘n play, plus white noise (You can download a free ap on your phone) combo for good sleep. This would NEVER have worked for my #2 baby (he still doesn’t sleep at 7), but when it worked for the others it worked great! (Once again…every baby so different). BUT, for sure you can put a baby down to sleep without a swaddle. I just think it helps the baby sleep better, so it’s on my must-have baby list.
For my first baby, my entire house was overtaken by the stuff. Now looking forward to meeting baby #5, my thought is to use as LITTLE as possible.
I don’t need a gimmicky wipe warmer. (5th babies get cold wipes, sorry, toots.) I don’t need a million variations in the swing/bouncer family (These take up SO MUCH ROOM. And I always found that my babies that spent time swinging were my WORST sleepers because they learned to rely on the motion). Like I mentioned, I’m really cutting down in the clothing department. AND I sold most of my strollers. I don’t need a half dozen combinations to get the kids out of the door anymore. I don’t need an entire nursery dedicated just to baby (Let’s face it, my entire house is now dedicated to childcare lol) I don’t need baskets and baskets of JUST baby toys. They ignore 99% of the toys anyway.
Less is More.
Clean baby, full belly, safe transportation, safe place to sleep, clean sleepers, clean bum….basics.
A few other random tips:
Check with your insurance provider on their new mom benefits. I have Blue Cross Blue Shield and their Better Beginnings program is purchasing me a brand new breast pump and infant carseat (in addition to an infant CPR/first aide class). Very helpful benefits you don’t want to miss! Before you run out to buy, check to see if they will cover it for free!
Instead of doing a big freezer meal day, occasionally double your nightly dinner and throw the extra in the freezer! You can get a nice new baby meal stash this way with zero extra effort (and clean up mess!)
Buy yourself a couple pairs of comfy new PJs before the baby comes (I like nice, thick pj pants combined with the nursing tanks I linked above). Such a worthwhile splurge. So nice to have at the hospital and at home during your weeks of recovery!
So there you have it. Five babies, ten years later. So much more I could say, but that seems like a good place to start (and end lol).
Newborn life isn’t as scary as it sounds if you have a good plan!