It seems like everybody has an opinion or two about what you absolutely must get for your new baby- and all of these options are different! So here are some helpful tips on the must-have baby items you need, and everything else. Bottom line: less is more.
- Baby Item Basics
- Baby Items – Beware Of The Lists
- The Agony Of Choice When It Comes To Baby Equipment
- Baby Items: Less Is More
- How Do I Pay For All The Baby Essentials?
- Don’t Forget: Mommy Essentials
- Baby Essentials – Our Must-Have List
Baby Item Basics
You can break baby items into two general categories- layette and baby gear. Layette refers to all the cloth baby items your kid needs from the very beginning. This includes onesies and footed sleepers, but also cloth diapers and blankets.
Baby gear, on the other hand, refers to all the major purchases. These include a stroller and a safe car seat. but the necessary layette and baby gear vary depending on when your kid is born. For a child born in winter, a snowsuit and bunting are part of the basic baby items. For a June birth, you will more likely need clothing with sun protection.
Baby Items – Beware Of The Lists
You will find countless internet checklists that tell you what you should absolutely get for the baby. But beware: most of these lists are published by manufacturers of baby gear. Of course, they want to sell their goods. So these lists often contain unnecessary gear or a large number of items. Such a list can be a helpful starting point. But you should discuss it with your midwife, doula or an experienced mom. These lists of baby items are often incomplete or do not explain your different options.
The Agony Of Choice When It Comes To Baby Equipment
Most baby items you have several variations. Let’s take onesies as an example. You can get them with snaps or with envelope folds on the shoulder. However, most babies don’t like it when you put clothes over their head during the first year of life. It is said that this reminds them of the narrowness in the birth canal. So many mothers prefer to dress their kids in wrap-around onesies. These are similar to a jacket. There are plenty of patterns on the web if you want to sew one of them yourself.
Unfortunately, you can’t know such special preferences of your child beforehand. Let’s just say that the topic of baby items and gear for a newborn child works according to the “trial and error” principle.
Baby Items: Less Is More
That’s why we advise you not to buy too many baby items at first. Some mothers might buy too many sweet dresses for their daughter in a hormone frenzy. Or they might receive too many from well-meaning grandparents. But then the little one never wears them because the dressing is too complicated.
Or perhaps you have bought countless bodysuits in Newborn size because your OBGYN estimated your child to be small and petite. But then at birth, your child is around 22 inches and 7.8 lb – in that case, you bought all the small clothes for nothing. So it’s better to have only a handful of clothes ready at the birth date. Send the baby’s dad or grandma out in the first days of life to buy more then. Many parents get upset that they spent so much money on layette or baby gear that ends up being useless.
How Do I Pay For All The Baby Essentials?
Equipping a baby with basic items can be expensive. For families with a small budget, this can be a real burden. So we have some tips for you:
- Buy second-hand baby items.
- Borrow clothing.
- Have a baby shower and make a wish list for it.
- Apply for financial support.
Buy Second-Hand Baby Items
It is no secret that you can get pre-owned children’s clothes, baby carriers and slings, baby’s changing units and even toys for a good price. Your nearby thrift store is always worth visiting. A good consignment store is also fantastic since it has higher-quality items at lower prices. There are also often bazaar-like meetings of parents groups where you can buy children’s clothes and other items. The appointments are often posted at churches or daycare centers. The internet, on the other hand, is also a true treasure trove. Social media with its flea market groups or special apps – the possibilities are nearly endless.
There you can often get new baby items for a fraction of the shop price. If you buy used stuff, you won’t get upset when you or your baby hardly use them at all. In addition, buying second-hand baby items saves not only money but also resources and the environment. But you should always take a close look at quality, condition and the date of production. There is also some baby gear you should never buy second-hand due to safety reasons, like cribs and expired car seats. New items are also absolutely necessary when the offered gear is way too old, for example.
Borrowing Or Receiving Baby Items As A Present
Maybe you are lucky and there are already children in your family or circle of friends. Most parents are surely happy to borrow you their baby items for some time. Especially when it comes to clothes, it makes more sense to borrow the layette set from a friend. Your baby will often need the next size after only a few weeks. So it would be a shame to buy everything new every time.
As with second-hand baby equipment, you should also pay attention to hand-me-downs. Many safety regulations have changed in recent years. If parents want to lend you some baby gear and their only child is not a toddler anymore, keep a close look at the production date. You can also check most items on the internet to find out, whether they still fit the safety regulations.
You want to play it safe and go for new baby gear only? Throw a baby shower and make a wish list. Add clothing and other baby items you selected carefully yourself there. Coupons for your favorite supermarket or wholesale club are also a good idea. Many relatives and friends are happy about such a hint. They know that they are giving something useful that is really needed.
Financial Aid For Initial Baby Equipment
For expectant parents with little income, there are some options for financial support. But you have to apply for those Family and Children Services.
It is important that you take care of such support at an early stage of your pregnancy, as there are certain deadlines. It may also take some time to process your application.
In most states, the Early Head Start program helps families with infants and babies, for example. There are also many Local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R)organizations throughout the US. Furthermore, the Child Care and Development Fund provides financial aid to low-income families. When you need child care due to work, work-related training or attending school, go to this website for further information.
Don’t Forget: Mommy Essentials
Last but not least, a topic that is very close to our hearts: The basic equipment for the mom-to-be. We have collected a few things that we found useful during childbed and our babies’ first few months. That way you can enjoy your babymoon in peace.
Nursing Your Baby And Hygiene
In addition to a good and comfortable nursing bra, we also recommend a nursing pillow, like a Boppy. This way you can safely store your baby and it will relieve your arms and back when breastfeeding. You can also buy nursing pads, nipple cream, and shields in advance. If you have problems with your breasts, contact your doula or even better a trained lactation consultant. If you cannot or do not want to breastfeed, you should get some bottles and a sterilizer. A breastfeeding pillow will also help you to adopt a healthy and gentle posture when feeding.
Pads for the postpartum bleeding are always part of the essentials for young mothers. You will find what you are looking for in the medical supply area of your supermarket or a nearby drugstore. Most hospitals send you home with plenty of these, too.
Do’s And Don’ts For New Moms
Have some comfortable clothes and shoes. Many women prefer nursing clothes in the first few months. As your feet might still be swollen, high heels are not the ideal choice for a walk with the stroller. In addition, many mothers swear by a diaper bag. There you can store everything neatly when going outside. But if you’re more of a backpack type, you could use that instead.
A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of low-sugar drinks and much sleep is an absolute must for new moms. So your body can recover from the exhausting birth. You should also focus on your newborn. Don’t hesitate to seek support from your family, friends, or even from your church group. Most women who already have had a baby will understand your lack of sleep and need for help.
Baby Essentials – Our Must-Have List
Every checklist for baby items will vary from person-to-person, but here are our Must-Haves for you:
Layette (each in sizes Newborn and 0-3 months)
- 6 onesies
- 4 shirts
- 4 romper suits
- 2 cotton hats for indoors
- 4 pairs of cotton and wool socks
- a cardigan
- a winter suit if necessary
- 2 small baby blankets
- 3 sleep sacks
In general, long sleeves apply to winter babies for bodysuits and tops, short sleeves apply to summer children.
Baby Items For Out And About
- footmuff if necessary
- awning (also in winter) and rain cover
- baby wrap, sling or carrier
- babywearing jacket
- diaper bag or backpack
- car seat
Grooming And Home Gear
- baby monitor
- a good breast pump
- 5 to 6 baby bottles and sterilizer
- 2 pacifiers, preferably in a cherry shape
- breastfeeding pillow
- baby bathtub
- gauze diapers
- co-sleeping bassinet
- changing table or changing mat
- approx. 15 cloth diapers or a pack of Newborn diapers
- a newborn kit for grooming
Equipment for Mommy
- 2 well-fitting nursing bras
- nursing clothes
- nipple cream
- nipple shield
- nursing pads
- pads for postpartum bleeding
- nursing tea
- pre-cooked meals