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Thursday, March 20, 2008

What Does A New Baby Need?

Every new parent has a list of what they need to buy for their new baby. There are many lists available in books and on websites that indicate what a new parent should provide for their new baby. Many of these lists are unrealistic or impractical. Product companies market to the uncertainty of new parents by telling you that you absolutely "NEED" this new product, when in reality the new product is neither useful nor necessary. I hope this article will help new parents understand that babies do not require everything that the product companies say they need.

Below is my list for what a new parent absolutely must have for their new baby, along with a few luxuries that are almost essential to the sanity of any new parent:

-A car seat--You absolutely must have a car seat. The hospital will not allow you to leave without a properly installed car seat. The infant car seat that also doubles as a carrier is the best option. It provides the most comfort for your child and will be used for multiple purposes. It is a carrier, a car seat, a place for baby to sit up and watch you, a good napping spot when you are out and about. You do not need to get the most expensive car seat. I do not advise using a used car seat unless it is less than 4 years old AND you know without a doubt that the seat has NEVER been involved in any kind of accident. As a seat ages, the plastic begins to break down and may not hold together in a collision. Also, if the car seat was involved in a collision, there may have been hairline cracks and another collision might possibly cause the seat to break - leaving your child unprotected.

-A bed--Your baby needs a bed of some kind. Even if you plan to co-sleep, you will need somewhere to lay your baby safely when you are not sleeping. A crib is typically considered to be the ideal bed for a baby. You can purchase a new crib, or you can save money by finding a used crib at a yard sale or thrift store. Many new cribs are priced as low as $100.00 for a crib without a mattress. However, cribs can be found for thousands of dollars. If you have money to spare, go ahead and buy an expensive crib if that is your desire. However, it is not necessary to spend top dollar for a crib. The less expensive crib is just as sturdy and safe as the other cribs. Your child will not care either way.

You can also opt to purchase a pack-n-play instead of a crib. If you purchase one that has a built in bassinet then it becomes a convenient spot to lay a baby. This is a good option for co-sleepers or for apartment dwellers with minimal space for their new baby's necessities. A pack-n-play is also a good idea if you live in a multi-level home because you can have the baby nearby during the day instead of in a crib on a different level of the home. Pack-n-plays are great for travelling with a baby, too, because they are easily relocated.

-Bedding--You will need some type of bedding for your baby's bed. One or two crib sheets is sufficient. You can get by with one, but having a second sheet makes laundry a little easier to deal with. It is not necessary to have crib blankets or bumpers. These are little decorating touches that are nice, but if money is an issue they can be left off the list. Thrift stores or EBay is a good option for buying bedding at a low price.

-Diapers--Every baby needs something to cover their bottom. This will be your most expensive purchase because you will be buying diapers for at least two years. If you or any of your friends are a member of a warehouse club, buy your diapers there. It is far less expensive to buy the name brand diapers in bulk instead of buying off brand diapers.

If buying in bulk is not an option, then there are many off-brand diapers that are just as good as Pampers or Huggies. I have tried just about every diaper on the market. I have found that Target Brand diapers are really good. I am not fond of the White Cloud diapers, though. They have a distinct odor that aggravates my Asthma. Never be afraid to try the off-brand diapers. If you like them, then you have found a good way to save money. If you do not like them, then you did not really waste a lot of money and you can still use them until they are gone.

If people ask you what you need for the baby, this is your number one request. Ask for Sizes 1 and 2, as those will be what you need in the beginning. Be sure to have one or two packs of Newborn diapers because the larger sizes may not fit a new baby. Do not open the packs, though, until you need to. Stores will allow returns of diapers if the packs are unopened.

-Wipes---Just like diapers, you will probably need plenty of diaper wipes. Yes, you can opt for using a wash cloth and just rinsing it out and throwing it in the washing machine. However, the convenience that diaper wipes offer is well worth the expense. This is another product that you can save money on by trying the off-brand wipes. If you find that you do not like a product, simply mark it off as experience.

Add this to your wish list if people are asking what you need. You will go through millions of diaper wipes throughout your baby's younger years.

I would like to note here that you DO NOT NEED a wipe warmer. This is one item that companies market to new parents as if it is a necessity. However, it is something that you will probably not even use after a few days. Your hand will warm a wipe just fine.

- Clothing---Yes, you actually need clothes for your baby. Even I have to admit that there is no way to have a baby and not spend money on clothing. What you do NOT NEED is FIVE of everything, or even one of everything that those other lists indicate.

Here is what you need for your baby to be suitably dressed. For the first few months, you should have 15 to 20 complete outfits. The reason for having so many clothes is because babies often spit up and require a change of clothing several times a day. Unless you plan to wash your baby's clothes every day, you will want to have several outfits. I recommend sleepers and infant gowns for young babies. The sleepers have footies in them to keep a baby's feet warm and gowns are just easy to navigate. Creepers, onsie type outfits with snaps across the crotch and all the way up the front, are also nice to have. They are easy to get a squirmy baby in and out of.

If you live in a cold area, then you will also need to have a hat and a jacket or snowsuit for your baby.

-Blankets---I recommend that you have two or three light-weight blankets. Receiving blankets are good for swaddling your new baby and they are light enough to prevent overheating. As your child gets older, you can purchase heavier blankets.

-Sleeper Blanket---The sleeper blanket that you wrap your baby in and zip up is a good option for keeping your child warm at night without having to be concerned about your baby suffocating in a pile of blankets.

-Bottles---You will need bottles. Even if you intend to breast feed, you will need one or two bottles. For new babies, you can keep the glass bottles and nipples that you used while you were in the hospital. Your baby will probably not eat more than one of those full bottles for a few weeks, so these are the perfect size. They are yours to keep, too, because the hospital will not reuse them. Just wash them in the dishwasher (or sterilize them in boiling water) and you need not spend money on bottles for a while. As your child gets older, you will need to get bigger bottles. I recommend that you start with the less expensive bottles. I have known many people who purchased the more expensive bottle systems only to have their child reject the bottle in favor of a less expensive style.


Now that I have covered the absolute essentials, I am going to list a few luxuries that I feel are absolutely worth buying. Some items just make your life easier.

-A rocking chair---Babies love to be rocked. A good, comfortable rocking chair will make you more comfortable while you are catering to your child.

-A baby swing---The one item that is absolutely the most important luxury for the sanity of new parents is a swing. You need not purchase a fancy, expensive swing in order to get the benefits. Babies love to swing. If your child is fussy and you need a moment of sanity, a swing will offer you some much needed quiet and your child will probably be asleep in just a few minutes. If you can only afford ONE luxury or someone offers to provide you with ONE big item - THIS is what you want.

-A bottle warmer---You do not really need a bottle warmer. For the most part, you can warm a bottle in the microwave for 10 seconds and then shake it and test it before giving it to your baby. What you might want to add to your luxuries list is a bottle warmer that will plug into your car. After months of telling my husband how nobody ever needed a bottle warmer, I was blessed with a child that refused to drink anything that was even a little bit cool no matter how hungry she was. I had to go order a bottle warmer for my car. I had no choice because we were often out when she decided she was hungry.

-An infant carrier or sling---A sling or carrier will make it easier for you to get you shopping or chores done. Your baby will sleep soundly while you walk around the store or do laundry at home. Be prepared for people to stop you and ask what you have inside your pouch, though. And the occasional store employee may treat you as if you are trying to steal something. I found it to be very amusing, though, when cashiers would demand to see what I was "hiding" in my sling.


Here is a list of the items that you really do not need. If you have them, it is okay. But if your budget is limited, you can fore go these purchases without even an ounce of guilt.

-A changing table---The bed, sofa, or floor will do just fine.

-A baby bath tub---Use the sink or the big bath tub. I found that running a bath for me and taking my baby into the warm water was much easier than trying to bathe a squirmy baby in the sink or a baby bath. As long as you maintain a firm grip on your baby at all times, being in the big bath is safe and enjoyable. Babies love being submersed in warm water. You can also opt for running just a few inches of water and laying the baby on a towel in the bath while you sit in the tub with him. For the busy mom, this also gives you an opportunity to relax in a warm bath, especially if Daddy comes to get the baby out and dressed while you stay in the bath for a little longer.

-Baby towels---Your bath towels are perfectly fine to use with your baby.

-Baby toys---Your newborn baby does not need toys. He won't be able to play with them, so you need not waste money on them. Even as your child gets older, you can entertain him with things that you have around your house such as measuring spoons or by making your own toys such as the Shaky Bottle listed on one of my other posts.


Pinay Jade said...

Hi Mom,
Thanks for dropping by my blog.
I enjoyed browsing through your blog too and I'm definitely gonna put this in my blogroll so I could easily visit you.I am a mom wannabe... hopefully in the near future I would be able to use all the info you have here.