Preparing for a new baby can be overwhelming – especially when it is your first.
But when it comes to buying baby gear and setting up a nursery you really don’t have to stress! You might be happy to hear that there are really only a few ‘essential’ items you’ll need to have ready before your baby arrives.
Most things can be bought afterwards – when you know more about your baby (like the gender and the size) and your own style of parenting.
So, this is a list of what we – with the help of our forum members – think are essential items to buy BEFORE your baby is born.
You’ll need somewhere safe for your baby to sleep. Unless you’re planning to co-sleep you’ll need a cot (cost-effective as they’ll be able to use until they’re 2+) or a bassinet (which they’ll grow out of sooner – meaning you’ll need a cot down the track – but is more convenient while they are young).
You don’t absolutely need a baby bath or change table. You can bath a baby in the regular bath tub (or even the sink) and you can change a baby’s nappy on the floor or a bed. But both items are useful and will make things a bit easier on your back!
GOING OUT WITH A NEWBORN
Your newborn is required by law to be in a baby capsule or rear-facing car seat while travelling in a car. It’s a good idea to have one professionally installed a few weeks before your due date. Make sure you are familiar with your state’s car child restraint laws.
You might also want to invest in a good quality pram. Look for one that reclines flat for a newborn but can be converted into a stroller for a toddler. See our checklist for buying a pram to ensure you don’t make an expensive mistake. Many families however prefer to use a baby carrier for new babies and perhaps a cheaper stroller for older babies and toddlers.
DRESSING AND BABY CLOTHES
There is no need to buy many clothes before baby arrives. Just have a few necessities on hand, then go shopping once you know what size and sex your baby is. Otherwise you could end up with a heap of cute 0000 outfits that never see the light of day.
Also, it pays to be practical. Sure little baby jeans and T-shirts are cute but they aren’t comfortable and you won’t get much use out of them, especially in the smaller sizes. Keep in mind that people may buy clothes as gifts too.
Also check to see if your maternity hospital has a list of what they’d like you to bring in for your baby – this is often a good guide as well. We’ve said 5 of most items here so you’re prepared for baby messes and to have a few in the wash.
FEEDING YOUR NEWBORN BABY
If you’re planning on breastfeeding, you won’t need much in the way of equipment. If things don’t go as planned then you’ll be able to easily buy formula and feeding equipment in most towns and cities. If you want to have just-in-case formula you can buy packets with individual sachets – as tins of formula need to be used within a certain time period once opened.
USEFUL BABY ITEMS (BUT NOT ESSENTIAL)
There are many more items that we could have included on our lists – some people might consider the following items as essential while others don’t. The thing is you can’t know for sure until your baby is born.
The following baby items are useful – they’d make great baby shower gifts!
Thanks to the members who helped compile this list: shabbychook, Kimnus, Atizmum, JesseBear, NikkiTapscott, zultbear, SpunkyMonkeyandSupermansMum, swimmingupstream and SorensMum.