Bringing a baby into the world is made out to be this wonderful and exciting thing. Everyone around you is so happy for you and you’re being showered in gifts and advice. But you’re nervous and you’re wondering if you can actually, you know, DO this. Do you have all the newborn essentials? Have you written your baby checklist? Baby, check.
Let’s cut through all that, shall we? Here is, hand on heart, the actual baby essentials that you’ll need. No confusing advice, just straight-up truth.
Newborn essentials in the hospital and at home
There are countless pregnancy and baby lists filled with product after product that if we’re being honest, you won’t ever use. EVER. Here’s a refined list.
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Most hospitals will supply you with nappies while you’re actually in there so (unless by some gross twist of fate that’s not the case for you) you don’t need to worry about that for a while. Take note of the type of nappies that they use and try to mirror that once you get home as you’ll know what to do.
You WILL need some wipes, so best to invest in something hypoallergenic and non-scented. Baby wipes have a million and one uses so celebrate them coming into your life like the little cloth angels they are.
Some choose to use a baby dummy and some don’t. If you’d like to be prepared, you could get a couple of different newborn ones from the chemist and see which one baby takes to. Don’t invest a whole lot of money in anything yet before your child reveals their own personal opinion on products.
Bottles, Formula and a Feeding System
One word here for the new parent – caution. Experiment with different baby bottles first before committing to purchase something you’re not going to end up using. There is absolutely no harm in buying a bottle or two but try not to go bananas. Children are notorious for rejecting certain baby bottles and bottle teats and favouring others so take it slow.
You can buy breast pumps from baby stores or you can hire them from chemists. Maybe investigate via hiring first before you put your hard-earned cash on the table – these machines are expensive and can be difficult to sell-on second hand, even if you’ve barely used them. It’s important to read reviews from trusted sources to determine whether you think it’s right for your family.
In terms of pre-purchasing formula, again it might be best to wait to see what your child can tolerate. Some children have more sensitive stomachs and some have allergies – you just don’t know what you’re getting into yet. The hospital will have some formula varieties on hand should you choose to formula feed so you might want to wait to see what that’s like first.
Breastfeeding – nipple shields and cream
It’s such a beautiful and natural thing. But it can also be hard. And painful. Each baby is different and if their latch isn’t right, it can cause your nipples to crack. In those early days both you and your baby are learning so don’t be scared to ask the nurses and midwives for help. They can help you get the right attachment.
If your nipples are hurting, nipple shields are a must. Buy some good ones to throw in your hospital bag along with some nipple cream, just in case. You might not need it but at least if you do you are prepared.
You are going to need a surprising amount of rags and cloths. They can be used for everything – snuggling a baby with, hand puppets, pram liners, and burp rags. A handy solution is to buy some cloth nappies and use them as little multi-tasking wonders. Throw them over your shoulder and away you go!
You can buy cloth nappies basically anywhere – from your department stores to your specialist baby stores. If cloth is your thing, you can then further investigate the world of cloth nappies. There are a lot of support and advice groups on Facebook and it’s a great way to push towards a more neutral carbon footprint.
Another baby essential is a great wrap. You may have learned how to wrap / swaddle babies in your pre-natal classes but it’s okay if you’ve forgotten. Ask nurses and midwives once you’re in there to show you. Invest in a number of good quality wraps or swaddle suits that aren’t going to fall apart in the first wash and you can get some practice in before bub gets here. Why not try wrapping the dog? Maybe not…
This is an absolute newborn essential. Having a baby is hard and you can feel very isolated. You might be a single parent, be far away from family and friends or have a partner who works a lot. Or you might have none of those things and still find it difficult.
It’s important to surround yourself with a support network who you can turn to in times of trouble (and times of fun as well). This might be your maternal health nurse and some people you’ve clicked with on a Facebook mums group. This might be your neighbour or the friendly faces you greet you when you stumble into the local corner store.
You don’t have to be smothered in friends but you do need to ensure you’ve got some sort of social outlet. Parenting can be isolating, tough and really test us to the core of our entire beings. Make sure that you KNOW who you’ve got in your corner and if you don’t have many people there, try to find them. Before you have your baby, add to your checklist ‘Facebook groups’. Mum Talk – Uncut and Whine Baby Whine are Australia-wide examples and there would be heaps more that are closer to your local area. It’s worth it and it’s one of the most essential things on this list.
Running Through That Baby Checklist
You’ve got this. You really do. You’re going to make some mistakes, and we’ve all been there, but now that you’ve got the baby essentials in place everything else will come together. Somewhere to eat and somewhere to sleep for the first couple of months is all you really need (for both you and baby!).
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