So now that we have all that nasty business out of the way the question still remains what does baby actually need? This is every single thing, and a few extras, that I find we use with our little ones... say 6 months and younger. And truly there are still items on this list you could do without if you are tight on cash.
Don't forget to check out Good Will, eBay and other second hand outlets for used items. Even after 9 kids many of our baby items still have lots of life in them. You can find almost new items for a fraction of the retail cost by searching thrift stores.
Also, ask your friends who have little ones slightly older than your baby. An infant car seat can set you back as much as $200. Most children only use them for 1 year. Federal law prohibits car seats to be sold second hand so you can't save on the purchase. Most children use them for only 1 year before they move to a forward facing car seat. They can run up $300 or even more. The infant car seat gets stored. In Maryland, I don't know if this is federal regulation or not, infant car seats must be replaced every 5 years. So for most people they would have to buy a new infant seat if and when they have another baby. I am sure your friends would be happy not to have an unused car seat sitting around taking up space in their garage and you can save some cash for that trip to Disney World. Can you tell what's on our minds these days?
Diapers: cloth or disposable. Only buy one or two packages of the newborn size and have a package of size 1 on hand as well. Many babies will never fit newborn diapers at all. Those who do will very quickly outgrow them. Even our preemies fit newborn diapers only for a month or so. If someone is throwing a diaper shower, which is quite a popular trend these days, opt for size 2 diapers which babies use for much longer. With our last two babies we joined Amazon Moms and when combined with our Prime membership we save a lot on diapers and they are delivered right to our front door.
Wipes: I use these for little faces, hands, cleaning the high chair tray and even diaper changes. You can stock up because you will find lots of uses as well... say when you are on an 18 hour road trip and an overwhelming urge hits to clean the dashboard. There are some good generic brands out there which will save you lots of money but not all are created equal. I love the Sam's Club brand (Member's Mark) but never liked the Walmart Equate brand.
Diaper ointment: Balmex is my all time favorite. It really protects but does not require a lot of strenuous rubbing to clean it off baby's bottom. Some brands are so difficult to clean it causes pain to already tender skin. Usually one application knocks out diaper rash.
Baby powder: This is really not necessary but purely because I love the finishing touch of powder on a fresh bum... and it smells so sweet when you scoop your little one of of bed. Don't use Balmex and Powder at the same time... yikes! It's like papier mache.
Baby nail clippers
Baby wash clothes (1 or 2)
Baby wash clothes: The small size is really best for getting at those little eyes and hands. A regular washrag is very bulky to manage on a little person.
Crib/bassinet/cradle and mattress
Crib sheets (3-5)
Quilted mattress cover (2)
Recieving blankets (7-10)
Crib sheets: You will be glad to have an ample stock of these when you have a midnight diaper blow out or a stomach bug hits your little one. Trust me on this one.
Bumper: I know these are very controversial items these days but... When Carmella was about a year old I took hers out to wash. It was not quite dry at nap time so I put her to bed without it. She woke up screaming like something crazy, which was very unusual for her. When I got to her room her little leg was stuck in the crib rail and was marked and bruised. Furthermore, I figure all my kids used both quilts and bumpers and seemed to be no worse for wear. But I have always lived on the edge like that so proceed at your own risk.
Quilted mattress cover: Most, if not all, crib mattresses are made of plastic these days. This makes it not only uncomfortable but can cause baby to sweat. Which causes baby acne and a plethora of skin irritations. A quilted mattress cover makes it more comfortable for baby and prevents these irritations. Have extras for those unfortunate accidents which happen with little ones.
Recieving blankets: Holy Cow! What don't you use these for??? Swaddling... burping... nursing... roll them up and tuck one in front and behind baby to keep him supported on his side in bed... tuck them around baby to help him keep his head up in the car seat... wipe up spit up... toss over your shoulder so baby doesn't get something on your dress before church... seriously, I think you can scarcely have too many receiving blankets. Look for the nice large size if you will be using them to swaddle.
For The Nursing Mama
Lanolin: I swear by Lansinoh brand to prevent chapping and pain when you first start nursing. This product came on the market when Emma was a newborn and I was quite devastated to know I didn't have to suffer all that discomfort I did with my first two babies. Buy it. Use it. After every single feeding. And only the Lansinoh brand, please. It is taken from sheep raised exclusively for their lanolin for nursing moms. That means it is pure and free of the toxins typically found in lanolin. No need to wash it off and no risk to baby. Also, I want to mention, I have a very high sensitivity to wool. I can not even knit with wool yarn without an itching like crazy and launching into an asthma attack. I have no allergic issues with this product. One tube will last you through the early days of nursing when skin is tender and sensitive. This is also great for chapped lips, dry elbows and calloused heels.
Nursing pads: Oh my word.... Bamboobies are the best of all nursing pads. They seem pricey but after years of many lesser quality, not nearly as protective, and uncomfortable mishaps with both reusable and disposable nursing pads, I will vouch that these are worth every penny. Buy a dozen. You do go through them quickly at first. Two sets for nighttime is adequate. They call for more delicate washing but truth be known I tossed them in with whatever wash load I was doing and they held up use after use through two babies. This is for sure one of those products I so wish they had when my first was born.
For Sick Days
Gripe Water: Amazing for colic or a baby with gas pain.
Baby Advil: Don't waste your time on Tylenol which, in my experience, doesn't work and is more concerning for the liver.
Bulb Syringe: Keep the blue one they give you in the hospital. It is far better than any you can buy in the drug store.
Out and About
Stroller or Baby Sling
Travel wipe container
Car Seat: Research Consumer Reports to find which ones meet the current safety standards and try to borrow one if you can.
Stroller or baby sling: Which you choose really depends on how you will use it. If you will be mostly using it for shopping and crowded situations the sling is my preference. If you will be taking afternoon walks go for the buggy... its much easier on the back. This may be one of those rare items where it is best to have both if you will really be out and about often with your little one. There are many places you can not take a buggy and a sling will be your best ally. Emma had severe colic and the sling was a wonderful way to comfort her. I even wore the sling when I went to my tap dance classes. Please note: I do not recommend making it a habit to carry your baby around in a sling 24/7. This can cause baby to take cat naps that will in the long run interfere with her sleep and nap schedule. It also prevents baby from getting necessary time on her tummy and back to play and explore and strengthen her little body. I am very partial to Peg Perego when it comes to buggies but really it is a matter of preference.
Diaper bag: You can go with a traditional diaper bag and carry your purse separately. I had three babies in diapers at one time and three older kids. I wanted as little to carry as possible. And diaper bags aren't particularly stylish. I prefer a nice large handbag which suits my style and can carry my purse items as well as baby's gear. Allen gave me weekend bag from Coach years ago which, with all its pockets, made the absolute best diaper bag/purse ever. It has seen me through lots of kiddos and lots of day trips and lots of shopping and errand days and lots of church days and even a few weekend getaways. It was a far better investment than the 9 infant car seats we've purchased over the years. Really if you are breastfeeding all you need for most outings is a diaper or two, baby wipes and a receiving blanket. If you are bottle feeding or baby is prone to leaky diapers (some seem to be more than others) you will also need feeding supplies and a change of clothes. Don't forget a receiving blanket or two for nursing and laying on those public changing tables.
Travel Wipe Container: I keep an extra wipe container in each car along with an emergency diaper. These have saved us a number of times.
To Keep That Mind stimulated
1 or 2 at most dangle toys for car seat or buggy
Grow with toys (see separate post)
UV swim shirt
Cloth swim diaper
Onesies: These are right up there with receiving blankets on the usefulness scale. In summer they are a cool comfortable way to dress baby for both play and sleep. In winter they are excellent for layering to add extra warmth to any outfit. Start with 7-10 but you may need to add more if baby is the leaky diaper sort we talked about earlier.
Outfits: When talking clothes, the season will dictate what you need. Baby really needs very little in the clothing line. They outgrow clothes every month or two at this age so its best to get just a few things you love and use them as much as possible and then use your savings to invest in a few more things you love when baby grows into the next size.
UV swim shirt: If you swim at all or will be on the beach invest in this. Get a long sleeve one if possible, please.
Cloth swim diaper: Buy 2 if you will be in the pool any two days in a row. These are $5-10 each compared to $15 for 24 disposable ones. It is a huge savings to invest in the reusable ones if you will be in the pool on a regular basis. Please note: Swim diapers will leak. They are made to contain pooh not urine, which is sterile and of no concern in the pool.
Coat, bunting or Winter Car Seat Cover
Footed sleepers (3-5)
Socks: really don't get dirty so just 3-5 pairs is more than enough.
Footed sleepers: fabulous for little ones who won't stay under the covers. And once they start to move they won't stay under the covers until they are 10.
"It sometimes happens, even in the best of families, that a baby is born. This is not necessarily cause for alarm. The important thing is to keep your wits about you and borrow some money." ~Elinor Goulding Smith