By now you've probably read What to Expect When You're Expecting back to front (if not twice already).
You've probably already dug through the bottom of your fridge, picking through fruits and vegetables to compare against the size of your growing bub.
(Husband: "Is he a carrot yet, honey?"
Wife: "No, I think he's still an apple.")
And you probably started scrolling through the first 10 pages of Google results for "baby gear" and got absolutely overwhelmed. (Who knew babies needed so much STUFF?).
But don't worry. We've boiled it down to the absolute basics here. No fluffing about recommending imported Tibetan yak-fur stroller inserts over simple 100% cotton ones. Or eco-friendly glass bottles, hand-blown by Amazon-dwelling orangutans, versus...you get the picture.
So here's your ultimate new-baby checklist - this will for sure get you through at least the first 3 months without repeat trips to the baby supply store (except for diapers, diapers, and diapers....).
1. A (very, VERY good) stroller
Head into a baby warehouse and try out a few different types. Don't just go for the fancy brand-name one, or the same one that your cousins/sister/brother-in-law/BFF has. Will it fit in your trunk? Your apartment building's elevator? Is it easy to fold (if it does at all)?
Also think about its components and parts - are they built to last, or are just made of cheap plastic? Make sure you're actually getting your money's worth.
2. Car seat - or capsule?
This goes hand-in-hand with your choice of stroller. There are parents who prefer a car seat that is permanent in the car, and those who prefer a capsule that can be fitted to their stroller (so, you know, you don't have to wake your sleeping baby when taking them out of the car).
Both have their pluses and their minuses - but make sure you and your partner both agree on what's best for your situation.
(Did you know we have a detailed guide about getting your car ready for your new baby? You can check it out here.)
3. Burp cloths
Doubling as a light summer wrap for baby, burp cloths are essential for protecting any and all of the following:
- your clothes
- your sofa
- your bed
- your car
- your carpets and rugs
- your family's clothes
Why? Because babies spit up at random. Placing one of these over your shoulder when you burp them - or underneath them when you lie them down on any surface, will help catch any drips.
It's always easier to toss a load of used burp cloths into the washing machine than your entire sofa's upholstery (or a mattress).
Likewise for towels. You'll need some good baby towels - probably 5 or 6 is a good start. No, not the fancy-shmancy kind of towels. Good, thick cotton towels that will stand up through repeated washing. (See Item #3, above.)
5. Bathtub or bath seat
Whether you're planning on bathing them in your tub, your sink, or a special baby bath, make your decision before baby makes his or her appearance. Nowadays there is a great range of options available.
No built-in tub? There are stand-up tubs that can be drained easily. Have a tub? Try a comfortable silicon or plastic tub insert, or a mini tub that you can place inside so you don't have to fill an adult-sized tub all the way.
6. Diapers and wet wipes
Have to state the obvious here, but make sure you have at least 1 bulk box of these.
Two boxes of Newborn diapers aren't necessary for two reasons -
(1.) Baby might grow faster than you think and will be into Size 1 before you know it. Don't overbuy Newborn size or you'll be left with a closet full of them in just a few short weeks.
(2.) Post-birth, you'll want a reason to get out of the house for some fresh air - and going for a short trip to the supermarket to get diapers is perfect for this.
Baby isn't going to sleep in the stroller all day. They need something for those long nights.
But be aware: though you might plan a lot, your plans may change post-baby. Suddenly, parents who were set on sleeping their babies in their separate rooms from day 1 find themselves pining for a co-sleeper bassinet. Or vice-versa.
8. (Appropriate) baby clothes
And last but not least - appropriately-sized clothes. Let's make one thing clear: baby will grow FAST. Don't buy everything size 0-3 months - buy some items up to 6 months (especially the basics - long sleeved cotton onesies and footed pants - come to mind).
Not every baby will use them. Even if you buy every single brand and try them out. Some babies just don't like them and are happy to fall asleep without them. You could always get one to try out, but you don't have to force your baby if it's not up their alley.
What do you think of our list? Is there anything you would add? Anything you'd change? Share your thoughts with us below!