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What Do You Actually Need For Baby's Arrival?

I remember that overwhelming feeling with my first child. What do I need? What am I forgetting? What should I buy used? Then there are the 1000 sites with "newborn checklists". But what did I actually need to acquire? I am sure it is different for each mom and dad. It will vary if you are breastfeeding or not.




When I google "Newborn Checklist" on Google.. the top article is from Today's Parents at https://www.todaysparent.com/checklists/newborn-checklist/. I figured this would be a good list to go through the "needs" versus the "wants". (Please note: these are based on my experiences. I am sure that other parents do really appreciate some of the items that are noted on these lists).


Feeding:

Today's Parents list starts off with the following note:

"If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t really need any equipment."

All I have to say is... HAHAHA. A man must have wrote this list..

It does continue to explain that some parents may want the following items:

  • Lots of bibs

  • Burp cloths

  • Breast pump

  • Milk storage containers (here are some essential safety tips on storing breastmilk)

  • Nursing pillow

  • Nursing bras (if buying before baby is born, buy one cup size larger than your pregnant bra size)

  • Breast pads (disposable or washable)

  • Lotion for sore nipples

I would say these items are all must haves if you are planning to breastfeed (my experience with this was limited, but all of these items came in very helpful for the amount I had to pump where Layla was unable to latch). If you have to pump to give your little your milk due to latching issues.. don't forget some bottles!


Formula Feeding

Today's Parents continues to provide a list for bottle fed babies (this is where I shine). There list notes the following:

  • Lots of bibs

  • Burp cloths

  • Bottle and nipple brush

  • Formula (be sure to check expiry date and note the lot number in case of recalls)

  • Thermal bottle carrier

I would say this list would be sufficient for the new parents. However, a thermal bottle carrier is not necessary. Put boiled hot water in a thermos. You'll find during your new motherhood that a lot of recommended products are spin offs of of items you already own in your house.

Tips:

Bottles: I tried MANY different bottles. Your baby probably will go through the same to find the kind they like. I wish I would have spent the money to start and purchased more Tommee Tippee bottles. They sell a "Closure to Nature" product that is supposed to resemble the nipple.. sounds crazy, but Layla seriously took to these bottles. She ditched the rest after she used these ones (unfortunately, her choice not mine).

Formula: I had anxiety over which formula to use, and which was best. My doctor was reassuring that all the formula that is available at your grocery stores has been approved by Health Canada. MAJOR HINT: Costco sells Kirkland formula.. which is Similac. Save yourself some money!

Water: We boiled all of our water and let it cool for our little. So if you pick this route, ensure you own a kettle. Again, now I've done more research and I will be purchasing a Baby Brezza Formula Pro. This magical device allows you to warm your bottle to the desired termperature while mixing the formula at the same time. Bonus: You can pick how much to mix between 2oz-10oz.

Drying Rack: I do highly recommend a bottle drying rack. It kept all of our feeding items away from our sink while they dried.


Diapers:

I am not even going to pretend that I know anything about cloth diapers. I already hate laundry, so that was not a thought for our family. Not to mention, I could imagine hubby's face trying to clean feces off of cloth diapers.. it wasn't happening. I have friends and family that tackled cloth diapers and saved a lot in costs (yes, disposable diapers are expensive).


See Today's Parents list for cloth diapers:

  • Several dozen (4 or 5) cloth or re-usable diapers

  • 8 waterproof covers

  • Changing pad

  • Baby ointment or other barrier cream to prevent rash

  • Snaps, Velcro or safety pins to secure re-usable diapers

  • Disposable wipes or a couple dozen washcloths for cleaning baby’s bottom

However, I will tackle the disposable diaper list that Today's Parents provides:

  • Two boxes of newborn-size diapers (it’s better not to buy too many in advance in case your baby is large or grows quickly)

  • Changing pad

  • Baby ointment or other barrier cream to prevent rash

  • Disposable wipes or a couple dozen washcloths for cleaning baby’s bottom

Again, this list was quite accurate. I would add that parents should also buy a box of size 1 diapers in the event baby is large (I pray for your if baby comes out this big, but it happens!). Once you know the size, we bought one Costco size of diapers at a time. Baby grows quickly, so it saved us from wasting tons of money once the size changed.

Tips:

Change pads: In addition to your nursery change pad station, have a mobile one in your diaper bag. It was more comfortable for my little and saved quite a few messes. Keep some plastic bags nearby incase there isn't a garbage around.

Creams: I would use Penaten or Buttock's Paste (BP is bought OTC at your pharmacy) to prevent any redness. Once a rash breaks out, looks at Desitin. It is an extra strength cream that makes the rash disappear within a few days. (Obviously, if the rash looks infected or is not improving, please see your doctor).

Wipes: Go to Costco.. bulk size wipes for a fraction of the price.

Diaper Genie: I was unsure if this item was necessary. I thought, hey, we have a garbage. GET THE GENIE. There are many kinds you can purchase. Your house will quickly stink if you dedicate a garbage to the diapers. The genies keep the smell in the genie. Don't forget the refills (again, if compatible with your genie you can get these at Costco).


Clothing:

Clothing was a hard item to plan for. You are unsure of what size baby will come out. Today's Parents recommends:

  • 8 undershirts or onesies (mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve)

  • 5 nightgowns (for use until the cord falls off)

  • 8 one-piece stretchy sleepers (go for ones with zippers; new moms swear by them!)

  • 5 pairs of pants

  • 2 newborn hats

  • 8 pairs of socks or booties, to wear with nightgowns and outfits

  • 2 pairs of scratch mittens, to keep baby from scratching his face

  • 2 cardigans or jackets, more in winter

  • Bunting bag or snowsuit for winter baby

  • Laundry detergent for infants

  • 4 outfits for dressing up (optional)

This list threw me when I had my little. I had no idea what I needed to get, so I ensured I had these items on hand. What it doesn't specify was what size was recommended in these items. Moms, I am going to tell you now.. you get what you get and you don't get upset! Baby could come out small or large. So be prepared for both. Keep the tags on your newborn gear in case baby is large. Now, let me provide my own experience with this list.

Notes on list:

-"8 undershirts or onesies (mix of short-sleeve and long-sleeve)": Provide clothes for the season. My first was born in summer, and we did not need long-sleeves. My second is in spring and we have a mix.

-"5 nightgowns (for use until the cord falls off)": Our baby's cord fell off right away. We did not purchase nightgowns.. I imagine you can get these online, but we still have a hard time finding any type of nightgown for our daughter who loves them. If you have 0-3 month outfits they will be loose enough.

-"8 one-piece stretchy sleepers (go for ones with zippers; new moms swear by them!)" I majorly agree with the zippers comment. I HATE buttons. Don't buy them. They are a pain at 2am in the morning when you are exhausted. However, 8 newborn sleepers is excessive.. We had a few pair and then brought 0-3months.

-"5 pairs of pants": Accurate

-"2 newborn hats": I would actually recommend more of these if baby is born in the colder months, and 2 if baby is born in warmer months.

-"8 pairs of socks or booties, to wear with nightgowns and outfits": Botties were useless for use. They didn't stay on. I recommend socks personally.

-"2 pairs of scratch mittens, to keep baby from scratching his face": Another item that would not stay on for our sassy daughter. I am for mittens for your little in the cold months out in the car, but don't get caught up in "scratch mittens".

-"2 cardigans or jackets, more in winter": Yes, this is not needed in summer. One light cardigan or sweater would do. As far as jackets and cardigans in winter.. I would change that to sweaters. They are easier for walks and car seats.

-"Bunting bag or snowsuit for winter baby": I honestly don't know why you'd buy a snow suit for a baby. And a bunting bag is only going to be good if you go for walks outside. We walked on an inside track so it wasn't necessary. Be mindful that these items are not recommended while you are driving in the car (the short distance from the house to car is better served by sweaters and wrapped up in blankets).

-"Laundry detergent for infants": Please go to Costco and purchase this item. You will need lots.

-"4 outfits for dressing up (optional)": Agreed, optional. You likely have had friends gift you items that are adorable by the time you have completed this list.

Tip:

Shoes: An unnecessary item often associated with a large cost. Have you ever seen a baby walking? I don't think so.

Headbands: We loved these for our daughter while her hair was coming in. Be careful not to purchase any that are too tight or band is not made of soft material.


Blankets:

I love blankets. They are so comfy. Your little will appreciate soft blankets! See Today's Parents list:

  • 3 large cotton blankets

  • 8 receiving blankets (they also make handy burp cloths)

You really cannot go wrong with blankets. My only recommendation is not to bother purchasing a quilt for your nursery. It looks nice, but is awfully expensive to be used as a prop (remember, baby should not have blankets on at night).


Bath time:

Some kiddos will love bath time, and others will hate it. Our girl loved her bath time. Today's Parents list recommends the following items:

  • 1 plastic infant tub (or use a large dishpan in the sink, or take baby in the bath with you)

  • 12 washcloths, not used on baby’s bottom

  • Baby soap or cleanser

  • Baby soft-bristled hair brush

  • 3 soft-hooded towels

This list will cover all of your basics. The process is anxiety producing as a new mom where your babe is small and difficult to hang onto while wet. We bought a 4 in 1 tub that grows with your baby. That way they sit in the tub and you just need to have a hand on them instead of your having to worry about holding them tightly in slippery water.

Tip:

Lotion: Our girl loved to be massaged with lotion after her bath. It would help her relax and would help with any gas she was having.

Toys: You don't need these for baby's arrival, but they are fun to add once they can interact. You can get some fun bath toys that sing that our girl enjoyed from newborn. Again, not necessary, but a fun add in and great to help with development.


Bedtime:

If you are using a crib for bed time, you may want to read up on SIDS. It is best to have baby close by at bedtime. Of course, most parents add the crib to their nursery before baby comes. If we look at Today's Parents, their list if you plan to use a crib includes:


  • Approved crib and crib mattress

  • 3 waterproof mattress covers

  • 4 fitted crib sheets

  • 4 light blankets that fit in the crib

  • Sleep sack

If you are planning on moving baby to the crib earlier rather than later, this list is not far off. Again, please read up on SIDS and ensure you are aware of the risks. We had a bassinet for the first few months so baby could sleep beside us in the room.

Tips:

Crib Sheets: Our girl did not mess the bed, so 2-3 fitted sheets would be sufficient for the crib.

Mattress Covers: We did have one waterproof mattress cover (three seems excessive).

Light Blankets/Sleep Sacks: It is not recommended to keep loose blankets in your baby's bed while they are sleeping. I LOVED the sleep sacks. I underestimated how great these items are to help you keep baby comfy and warm at night. Swaddle blankets were a good alternative.


Recommendations from Today's Parents if you are co-sleeping:

  • Firm mattress (not a waterbed)

  • 4 fitted cribsheets

  • 3 waterproof pads to place under baby

  • Light comforter (keep away from baby’s head)

  • Sleep sack

I unfortunately cannot speak to co-sleeping, but have many friends that have had success. Your little usual decides where they'd like to sleep.. sorry, first lesson I learned as a new mom :)


Other necessities:

There are a few other items that you should be keeping an eye out. Some are big ticket times, so start looking early so you can wait until it goes on sale! (It will go on sale if you start looking far enough before baby arrives.) Today's Parents recommends:

  • Approved infant safety seat for car

  • Stroller that reclines so newborn can lie flat

  • Nail clippers or scissors

  • Bulb syringe for suctioning mucous

  • Baby thermometer

  • Eye dropper or medicine spoon

  • Medication in case of fever

  • Baby monitor

Again, this list is quite on point. You will absolutely need a car seat and stroller. (You do not need a stroller that lies flat. Ours clipped our car seat into the stroller and I would prefer that over laying flat. However, to each their own. A thermometer will help you monitor your baby when they are feeling unwell (not to mention if you are monitoring for COVID-19). However, some tips can be noted.

Tips:

Nail clippers or scissors: I will never use nail clippers on my infant again. You clip their tiny finger once, and that's it. I had the scissors, they don't work well. My friend has recommended searching Amazon to find the "nail buffers" or "electronic nail files". They are not sharp and are supposed to be a much better option.

Bulb Syringe: I tried buying the regular bulb and syringe, which didn't work. I also tried the recommended "SnotBuster" (yes, you literally suck the snot out of your little's nose through a devise". Neither were successful options for us. I had better luck with nasal spray when my daughter was really stuffed up. Also, a Vick's Humidifier saved us many times. Make sure you read the instructions, as you can only use if baby is a certain weight.

Eye dropper or medicine spoon: We didn't use this item. You can just obtain if needed. A medicine syringe will come with any medication you buy from the pharmacy.

Medication in case of fever: Tylenol and Ibuprofen saved us many times. Especially when baby was teething. However, again.. these items can only start to be used at a certain age and weight. Read the instructions carefully. Other medications we had on hand from the start were Benadryl (in case of any allergies), gripe water (it works wonders for teething), and Camilia (another item that is homeopathic for teething).

Baby monitor: We used from infant, but stopped using at about 6 months once baby was in a sleep routine. I would stare at the screen instead of sleeping myself.


Nice-to-have items:

There are soooo many items that are nice to have. I am a minimalist and had my daughter when I was 25. Money was a consideration. So here are the items that Today's Parents notes as "nice-to-have". You can see my comments below:

  • Change table (or just use change pad on top of dresser or bed)

  • Rocking chair for feeding and swaddling

  • Playpen

  • Sling or baby carrier

  • Diaper bag

  • 1 or 2 change pads

  • Plastic hangers for closet

  • Sun shade for car windows

  • 2 or 4 pacifiers (if you choose to use these)

  • Rattles and other baby toys

  • Mobiles

  • Night light

I did purchase all of these items for my daughter. The only one I would say is a waste of money is the sun shade for the car windows. It is a good thought, but I bought multiple kinds to try to keep the sun off my little's face.. and they all fell off halfway through the drive. Instead, buy your infant some sun glasses from Walmart.

Tips:

Change Table: If you can purchase a dresser that you can take off the "change table" portion, you will save yourself from purchasing another dresser at a future date. However, I did purchase a change table and loved it. It was a nice space to safely lay baby while changing.

Rocking Chair: This help a LOT with sleepless nights. Much comfier than sitting on the side of the bed. We bought in a neutral color to use for the second.

Playpen: We have two where our house has three levels. One for the main and one for downstairs/travel. It has allowed us to keep the playpen where it is instead of moving it all of the time. Our main level has the "fancier" playpen that has a bassinet and change table attachment. Well worth the cost.

Sling or baby carrier: We had a baby carrier. I bought a second hand one, and I wish I just bought a new one. You can buy responsibly priced ones from Walmart that grow with you and babe. Great for walks or wearing baby around the house while doing chores.

Diaper bag: Funny enough, I just had a black backpack for my girl. Looking back, I should have splurged and bought one. My sister geared me up for Christmas this year though before my second comes. The backpack was fine, but the way the diaper bags are designed just ensures that your items don't get "squished", like a backpack does. We got a gender neutral colors so hubby is comfortable (again, not necessary).

Change pads: We had a portable pad, and it was great for going out, or even for changing between levels of the house where the change table was not located.

Plastic hangers: Yes, get these! Your child's clothes won't fit on regular sized hangers. Ask to keep these when you are buying clothes at the store (they will just throw them away so are happy to give them to you - yes, I had to ask what they did with them if I didn't take them).

Sun shade: Useless. Get sun glasses.

Pacifiers: We always kept 6 on hand. A few in my diaper bag (I always forgot to pack this item). Some upstairs, and a few on our main level. There are different sizes. You need to throw these when they become damaged, so don't worry about getting the bigger sizes to start. Little may not even like them (or they may interfere with breastfeeding).

Rattles and other baby toys: Don't get too crazy. Put a focus on books.

Mobiles: We had a mobile that grew with baby. She could press it and make different lights reflect on the ceiling when she was older. Otherwise, this item didn't get used from newborn, so not necessary.

Night light: We ended up buying one for each room. I never used night lights, and it was so helpful in the middle of the night. We had a motion night light in our room when baby was in the bassinet. It was great to see when you got up instead of being on all night if you like the dark.


A few other notes:

I did a lot of reading before I had baby. To save you a headache, I do have a few other tips that may help you in acquiring your items.

  1. If you are planning on having more than one kid, get your large items gender neutral. (Again, not a huge deal, but it saved us with our second coming. Our daughter loves pink, and the items are "baby colored" so she is not associating them with "her" things.

  2. If you are unsure if you will use an items, keep the receipt (or buy from Walmart). You can get a store credit from Walmart if you lose the receipt. I was so excited I threw a lot of boxes away and didn't keep track of receipts. I have a few larger items that I would not have purchased and now cannot return.

  3. Remember, you can buy items AFTER baby comes. We prepared for breastfeeding and it didn't work out. Ensure you have enough items to ready yourself for breastfeeding, but remember you can buy in bulk AFTER baby comes (storage bags, extra pump bottles, etc).

  4. Ensure your baby prep includes preparing food. Freeze these items. You are highly underestimating how tired you will be. I forgot to eat some days. I should have done a better job preparing for myself in addition to baby.

  5. Don't buy a bunch of newborn diapers. They may not fit, or won't for long. Baby will go through diapers quickly. Prepare to have some newborn diapers on hand, some size 1, and wait until baby is born to see what their schedule is like before you start storing. Once you start having "explosions".. it's time for the next size up.

  6. Have some bottles and formula on hand, just in case. You can get free samples in the mail, or pick it up cheap from Walmart. Just be prepared if baby needs you to adapt (you will have a lactation consultant in the hospital who will help you navigate any breastfeeding issues). The hospital will provide you with formula and "bottles" (tops to put on the formula) in case you have issues and need to top baby up.

There are some other great items on the market that I will make another post regarding that are more "wants" than "needs". I'll make a shorter post about what you don't need and what you'll need to take to the hospital. Let me know if there are any items that you love, or thought were pointless.

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