Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What does a baby really NEED?

That's the million dollar question. Because if I purchase everything that some of these ridiculous "must-have" lists say I can't survive without, I will definately go broke. And anyone who wanted to give our new baby a welcome gift would be out of luck because the kid would need nothing.
So I am on a mission to find out what we need (or should I say, what the baby needs) to survive the first month. The following is an article that actually sounded sensible to me, but read and judge it for yourself:

Newborn Necessities

A New Baby Checklist of Essentials for Expectant Parents

by Lena Gott

Having a baby is stressful enough without having to worry about what to buy in preparation for his or her arrival. How does a first-time parent tell the difference between a newborn care necessity and a convenience item?

The best way is to ask another parent’s opinion. He or she will be able to indicate which items are necessities and which ones aren’t helpful in caring for a newborn. The checklist below is just that – it’s a compilation of several veteran parents’ opinions on what to buy before the newborn baby arrives. It consists of infant care items that, if they are not purchased before the baby arrives, new parents might have to run out at a very inconvenient time to purchase when they finally realize they need or want them. Some items parents will want to purchase themselves; others are perfect baby registry items.

A newborn’s material needs are few – this list includes the basics needed to help a newborn baby sleep and stay warm, fed, and clothed.

Newborn Baby Hygiene / Feeding Essentials

  • Diapers. At least fifty newborn diapers is a good starting point unless the baby is projected to be over ten pounds at birth, in which case a parent may want to buy size one diapers from the start. It’s not unheard of for a breastfed newborn to go through ten diapers a day, so a stash of fifty diapers may not even last a week, but would be a good start.
  • Wipes. These are invaluable and parents can never have enough of these.
  • Diaper rash cream or ointment. Not all babies develop diaper rash, but the treatment is nice to have on hand.
  • Burp cloths. These are helpful for when baby makes a mess.
  • Several bottles with storage lids and nipples. Even a breastfeeding mom will find this handy if the baby will be fed pumped breast milk.
  • Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs. These are for cleaning a newborn’s umbilical cord stump.
  • First aid kit. The contents may vary, but standard items should include baby nail clippers, baby acetaminophen, a medicine dropper, and a thermometer.
  • Baby formula. Skip this item if exclusively breastfeeding.

Baby’s Bath Time Essentials

  • Hair brush or comb
  • Lotion
  • Wash cloths
  • Baby shampoo. A tearless shampoo is a must.
  • Baby bath tub. A sink or an actual big-people tub will work once the baby is a little older, but both can be a little awkward to use in the beginning.

Newborn Sleeping Essentials

  • Crib. Don’t forget the mattress.
  • Two sets of bed linens. One is for use while the other is being washed.
  • Swaddling blankets. These are nice for keeping a newborn baby bundled and feeling secure.

Traveling with a Newborn / Essential Newborn Baby Clothing

  • Newborn and 0-3 month clothes. Onesies or gowns that offer easy access to diapers for changing are good choices. Most newborns will be able to wear 0-3 month clothing within a few weeks after birth.
  • Diaper bag. It should have ample room to hold diapers, wipes, creams, a burp cloth, extra clothing for baby, and possibly changing pads. It’s also nice if the diaper bag has an insulated section to keep prepared bottles cold until needed.
  • Pacifiers. Having more than one on hand is nice, especially in case one is dropped or lost when baby needs it most.
  • Car seat. One of the most important items a parent will purchase. This should be purchased new, as a used car seat cannot be trusted to withstand a car crash. Many hospitals won’t discharge mother and baby until they have checked the car seat installation.
  • Stroller. An economical option is to purchase a car seat / stroller combo.

New parents are inundated with advertisements for every "must-have" newborn baby item. The new baby checklist above can help them distinguish necessities from conveniences.

What conveniences are worth the money? What can a person live without?

Your opinions please. This is the best way I know to keep my spending under control.


A.L. said...

I believe everything on these lists to be absolutely essential. As a mother, aunt, sister and friend I have used all of these things at one time or another. Lucky for you, the baby shower and family will provide most of it so just hang on until after those events. If you want to stock up on anything let it be burp cloths, wipies and diapers....those you will need in abundance. In fact, I know someone who will probably provide you with all the "fashionable" burp cloths you need. Just put your order in to Aunt Frankie and you will be very happy you did.