It all seems overwhelming and exciting the moment you are handed a scanner and told to go throughout the store and pick anything and everything you could ever need for your baby. I remember a sense of power and excitement as I was aimlessly scanning everything I thought I could ever need. Well of course I would need several bibs, a playpen, a swing, a lounger, a crib, and the list went on. Well a few months later my little boy was born and I quickly realized that half of what I wanted and received from my gracious guests, I would not need let alone actually use. Looking back now I wish someone would have broken down for me the essentials and then the splurges so that I would be better prepared for everything that would actually be needed versus things that seemed wonderful in theory but once put to use were either aggravating, more work than they were worth, or simply just not needed. What I failed to think about was that as a new mom to a newborn I would be tired constantly and always busy with no time to spare to go out and purchase items let alone run to several stores to exchange unnecessary purchases.
Here is a list of items that I personally feel are essentials and a must to have in preparation for the baby:
Baby diapers – I personally purchased a small box of newborn diapers and two boxes of the size 1 diapers (just in case my son was born on the bigger side I would only have to exchange one box of newborn diapers). I personally prefer Pampers Swaddlers especially for newborns as they are in my opinion absorbent and soft. Once my son was a couple of months old I tried out the Huggies Snug and Dry diapers which I also really like, especially for nighttime because they are the most absorbent diapers out of all of the ones I have purchased.
Baby Wipes– I prefer Huggies Natural Care baby wipes because they are free of most ingredients that I have seen in other baby wipes. They are hypoallergenic and natural. The Honest baby wipes are also great although I am not too fond of their scent.
Diaper Rash Cream– I have tried several diaper rash creams and out of them I have to say that the Honest Diaper Rash cream is my favorite because of the natural ingredients in it and it is effective. I have to say however, that for diaper rash prevention as well as overall hydration what has worked even better is the Honest healing balm (which can be used for rashes, dry skin, etc). My very favorite is the Babyganics Soothing Protective Ointment. It tops them all with flying colors. Not only does it prevent diaper rash and hydrates but it can be used all over the body without any concerns. I have not had any issues with it at all.
Baby shampoo, body wash, lotion– I love the Johnson and Johnson line of products for shampoo, body wash/bubble bath, and lotion. The sleepytime lotion and bath are my favorites.
Somewhere for the baby to sleep whether it be a crib, bassinet, or pack and play- When I went shopping I thought I would need all three. I was very wrong. I was set on a crib but now almost 6 months later, I have come to realize that although it would be great, it is not necessary. Being on a tight budget, I have learned to focus on what I think is necessary and not worry so much about the extras. My baby had a bassinet which worked great the first few months. A huge benefit was being able to have it right next to my bed so that I could watch him and quickly pick him up when needed. As for the pack and play, I must say that it has served the most benefit in my home. I purchased the Graco pack and play with the newborn sleeper. It has been wonderful. It comes with a diaper changing station, a newborn sleeper, it has vibration as well as sounds and music, and a decent storage space on the side. My biggest complaint about it would be that the storage shelving, I guess you would call it that, is flimsy and does move a little. I use it mostly for storing diapers and whatever I may need for changing his diapers.
Baby powder– Made with Cornstarch only. I have heard from numerous people to only purchase baby powder that is made from cornstarch because the regular one irritates the baby’s lungs. I didn’t begin using baby powder until he was 3 months old but I do find that it helps keep him dry. I like to sprinkle some over the Babyganics healing balm.
Nasal drops and suction bulb– These have been my life savers since my son was born. I purchased the Little Remedies pack that comes with both and I love it. My little guy is always getting boogers and not just little ones but boogers that take over his nostrils. The bulb works great at suctioning them out and the nasal drops are great for when there are stubborn ones to soft them up so that you can either suction or I like to also use a tissue to try to get them out since it does not bother him as much as the suctioning does.
Baby Clothes– Depending on when you are having your baby, will determine what you will need. My little guy was born in January so I needed socks and warm clothes that I was able to layer as well as hats. For warmer months I don’t feel socks are necessary and neither are the warm hats. Things that I think are a must would be onesies, bibs, some type of hat, pants, and whatever else may be needed depending on the season. It’s important to make sure you list when the baby will be a certain size approximately so that you get the appropriate clothes for the season in which he/she will be that size.
The Little Remedies Survival Kit– It contains fever reducer, nasal drops, gripe water and other items which come in very handy.
Diaper Bag– I picked a gorgeous bag that looks more like a purse and was expensive only to be disappointed by the lack of room it had for all the things I wanted to take with me. I ended up using a less expensive bag but it fit my needs much better. Make sure you pick a bag that has enough width to it so that you can easily find what you are looking for without having to take items out or digging in the bag.
Pacifiers– At least one pacifier is good to have on hand.
Thermometer and First Aid kit
Baby bottles and bottle drying rack– My go to bottles are the Dr. Brown’s bottles because they help prevent gassiness and colic.
Formula and/or Breast Pump– Formula if you are not breastfeeding or a breast pump if you are but may need to pump. I personally had some formula containers as back ups, just in case, although I have been breastfeeding for 6 months now.
Blankets– Breathable blankets are the best in my opinion. Aden and Anais makes some great breathable ones which get softer the more they are washed.
Toys/Books/Stuffed Animals– While these are not necessary, having at least one book and a sleep time stuffed animal will help the little one ease into his/her nighttime routine. A stuffed toy that plays sleep time music will definitely help as well. My son loves his Fisher Price Giraffe that is a stuffed giraffe that lights up and plays bedtime music.
While I’m sure most moms want more than just these items listed, they are in my opinion must have which in my experience are sometimes overlooked. I hope this list helps.