When we were expecting our first baby we were in Singapore where buying $1000 strollers and cots is a norm. We didn’t want to give in that easily. We wanted to see what was essential and what wasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I did buy a very expensive stroller but that was because of the convenience it offered. But I did hold off on a lot of things. Before you read on I must tell you this is based on my personal experience and it is a list for very very practical people who do not care about the “magical nurseries” experience (I would have loved to but it didn’t seem practical in our situation).
Here is a guide to some of the things you need and what you don’t need when the baby arrives.
Ok what I am about to say may make people go crazy and say ‘what is this woman going about!’ but here it goes. You DO NOT need a bassinet or moses baskets. A baby will sleep anywhere and the safest place to put a baby is in a box. Yes I said the word ‘BOX’. Did you know that in Finland every child no matter what background they come from sleeps in a cardboard box? It is because when the government provides new parents with an essentials box (yes it is an amazing government! They send new parents this amazing box that contains bodysuits, a sleeping bag, outdoor gear, bathing products, nappies, bedding and a small mattress etc. since 1930s!) They recommend putting the child to sleep safely in the same box. This also decreased Finland’s mortality rate ridiculously.
Who could have thought of that!
Verdict: Not essential
A cot is obviously needed one the baby grows out of the box, unless you buy a smart Port-a-cot. Now days your regular playpens come with a bassinet and some even have 3-tiered settings. If you want the flexibility of taking your child’s bed everywhere you go, or live in a small place where it would be great not to have a heavy wooden piece of furniture taking up half your room and would not want to spend a fortune, the Port-a-Cot may be your best choice. I myself bought 2 of these (one for grandparents house and one for ours) and both my children have slept in it from day 1.
A baby carrier is one of the most fantastic things I have ever used! I have got 2 carriers, completely different style. One for newborn stage and 1 for 3 months onwards and I absolutely Love it! The carriers made my life so much easier. I could be completely hands-free when I went for my grocery shopping, cleaning the house, making food (the baby is carried on the back in this situation), going for a walk, etc. It is amazing how much help a carrier can be if your baby wants to be held all the time or is colic and needs to be upright most of the time. If my son weren’t so tall and heavy I would have bought another one right now to carry my baby and my son at the same time! But as about everything you need to make sure you buy a good carrier that is comfortable and ergonomic. Some big names in the carrier market are not good for your baby’s development so please be vary of that.
Buying a stroller was one of the most stressful decisions I had to face at the time my bub was born. It was like I was deciding if I want a Mercedes or an Audi. There are so many strollers out there that you want them all. Every one of them would have this one amazing thing that would make you want to buy one of each! Ok I sounded like a woman who wants the same pair of shoes in very color… Any ways yes buying a stroller is a tough one but after I bought one I realized that I actually didn’t need it in the beginning, at all. As I had bought a carrier I felt pretty comfortable going about my business without the stroller. It was only when I first went out on a dinner date with hubby and the baby slept in the carrier that I felt ok.. I want to put the baby in the stroller so I can just relax and enjoy without dropping this amazingly cheesy quesadillas on his head and otherwise it would be a total waste that I brought it all the way in the restaurant. And yes once we had baby #2 we absolutely needed it all the time.
Verdict: Not Essential at the time of birth
You do not need this till your baby is 4 months old at least. But you also do not need to spend hundreds of dollars on it. Yes it would be nice to have a baby chair that matches your furniture but it would also be great to have a chair that you can carry in the bathroom to out under the shower once your child has covered it completely in sweet potato and broccoli mash along with the child! A $25 Ikea chair worked perfectly fine.
A newborn till the age of 3 months is pretty tricky to bathe. That is why a lot of people prefer to use the sink. All you need is a safe sink-bathing tub and you should be fine. We put both our kids in the shower with us after they were able to sit.
There has been a lot of discrepancy over these. Some people love it some have had horror stories with people hacking into theirs. I never needed one and I was fine with it. This purchase depends on your house and also if you are planning on hiring a nanny/baby sitter. To me the thought of checking up on my child constantly made me very anxious.
Bottle & Sterilizer
It is best to buy ahead as you never know at the time of the baby what might happen. I ended up in an emergency C-Section with my first child and could not feed him. It also got very hard for me to feed him later because of the scar pain, so we had to give him the bottle with expressed milk. And if I had not bought the bottles before it might have become pretty tough to go and buy them at 6 am. And when you use bottles you need to sterilize them at least for the first 6 months, hence the sterilizer comes along (you can also just boil the bottles in water but that takes much longer).
As mentioned earlier, I could not breast feed my baby I had a point when I became pretty engorged. The breast pump had helped a lot. Buying a pump is a difficult decision, and my recommendation is to speak to a lactation consultant and understand what you need for your body. You would be surprised at how much difference can little differences make.
This one I held off buying and expensive one for the longest time…2.5 years. I though we grew up with those normal liquid ones than why can’t my kids. Well yes they can. But you can’t do anything when your child start running, kicking and just doesn’t have the patience to sit for a minute and half so that you can stick them with this funny looking cold thing. And since I spent the money to buy an expensive digital ear thermometer one of my worries of taking temperature of an impatient sick child has gone.
Bouncer is one of those things that you put a child in and hope that he will go to sleep. It sometimes happens and sometimes nothing happens. Both my kids were put in a bouncer, one loved and one hated it. Best this that could happen is that one of your friends offers you their old one because that thing is just going to sit there for ages and you will keep bumping into it.
A friend had suggested buying clothes in advance online and buying them in quarters of 0-3, 3-6, 6-9 and 9-12. She was so right. We bought 10 pieces for the 2 initial groups and 20 each for the last two quarters. It was exactly how much we needed and no more than that was required.
I’ll go straight to verdict for these: Not Essential
I do hope this helps you parents to be and new parents. And if you have any questions you can always get in touch with me.