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Last year when I found out I was going to have a baby, I honestly had no idea how many people would want to express their happiness by showering the expected parents with gifts for their soon to be bundle of joy.
I assumed like many first time parents, the best thing to do was to have a baby shower. That way you can be given the gifts for baby all at once and whatever you don’t get after that can be bought later on if needed. I was asked by so many what did I need for a shower gift and I always said “diapers and wipes”. Truthfully that’s what I knew was going to be the most costly and obviously the most used. But it got me thinking what else was really essential when it came to a baby.
What other items would be used daily did I need to make sure were on the checklist before she got here? So I put together a list of things and narrowed it down to categories. These are my top five basic baby essentials.
1. Diapers/ Wipes
This is probably the most obvious item on the list since many Americans aren’t practicing infant potty training or “elimination communication”, like many eastern cultures do. Therefore having a baby entails changing diapers and lots of them if you think about how long your little one will be in these diapers. So I knew my top baby essential would be diapers and wipes because the two really go hand in hand.
Now comes the time on decided whether or not you want to used chemical free cloth diapers, all natural disposable diapers, or just any kind of disposable diaper that will get the job done. There is no right choice because whatever works best for mom and baby is the right way to go. What I did was asked everyone to get me a variety of brands when it came to diapers because I did not know for sure what would work best for baby. I am glad I did this because I got a feel for a lot different diapers within the first two months of my daughter’s life.
I found that what works best for her are the Honest diapers and once I ran out of those I started using the Pampers Swaddlers. Since you’re going to be changing soiled diapers, you’re going to need to use something to wipe your baby’s bottom with. Yes you can wet a wash cloth, and honestly that’s probably a lot chemically safer than commercial wipes. But just like cloth diapers, not everyone wants to spend time cleaning wash cloths.
So finding a brand of wipes that works best for mom and baby is just as important as diapers. And just like diapers, I asked for all types of wipes so I could get a feel for each kind. Recently I have been using Huggies Natural Care baby wipes because they are fragrance free and they are thick enough that I can use less to get the job done quicker, if you catch my drift.
2. Car Seat
This baby essential should be just as obvious as the first one but surprisingly it’s not because not every culture requires a car seat when taking your baby home from the hospital. Now because every culture is different, and not everyone drives or has a vehicle, they do not all require a car seat for baby.
Let’s just say where you are does require, or at least recommends, having a car seat before the big arrival of baby. You are going to want to plan ahead and save enough up so that one can be purchased before heading to the hospital. If you do not bring it with you, make sure you have someone that can bring it to you to the hospital before you and baby leave because you are going to need it.
While I was pregnant, I quickly found out that the maternity ward will not let you leave the hospital with your baby unless you have an approved infant rear facing car seat. And with so many different styles and brands to chose from, first time parents have a lot to select from. Luckily I did not get the chance to chose a car seat for my daughter, we received one as a baby shower gift.
Unless you prefer a certain brand or may be on a budget just remember, as far as safety goes, any infant rear facing seat will work as long as it is newer than six years the manufacture date and has not been used in a car accident. I have been told that after six years of use and in the event of an extreme accident, the car seat is then void. However, keep in mind that many insurance companies will replace any car seat after an accident if notified of the event. So unless you plan to walk and carry your baby everywhere, you are going to need to look into some time of safety seat for babies.
3. Sleeping Cot
This next baby essential is not associated with everyone for the simple fact that everyone’s sleeping arrangements are different. Crib, pack and play, bassinet, side sleeper, co sleeping with you, no matter what type of sleeping method you decide to use, your baby is going to need somewhere safe to rest their head at bed time.
When the time came for us to decide what we were going to use for our daughter, my husband decided he wanted to build an arms reach bedside co-sleeper. As I like to call it, the side sleeper, fit perfectly on my side of the bed with baby’s mattress at about a two inch drop from our mattress. Making her safely in complete arms reach without being directly in our bed. It made night feeds extremely effortless because all I had to do was scoop her up and slip her beside me to eat, all while not leaving the comfort of my own bed.
Now take note that just because I had the side sleeper, it did not always mean my daughter stayed in it all night. To be honest, most nights she ended up in bed beside me because I would fall asleep feeding her, only to wake up to her asleep cuddled up so sweetly beside me.
A lot of baby brands also make pack and plays with an infant attachment designed to sit beside the bed so baby is still in the room beside you but not in the bed with you. They also make beautiful bassinets for newborns and infants but from the experiences of my mom friends, their babies grew out of the bassinet quit quickly.
You can always get a standard crib and even take one side off to put it on the side of the bed then once your baby is no longer in the room with you, put the side back on. Or if you decided your baby is going to sleep in their own room from the beginning, a crib itself is perfectly ideal for a safe sleeping spot.
If you decide to cosleep, that means you are keeping your baby with you in bed at night when you both are sleeping. Even though the AAP does not recommend bed sharing, I say every family’s circumstances are different. You know what’s best for your baby, yourself and your family so do what makes you all happy. As the mother, you should do whatever feels right to you.
4. Bottles or Breast Pump
This next essential is actually two different items but can go hand and hand. It also depends on how you decide to feed your baby. For example, some mothers decide to skip breastfeeding altogether and go straight to formula. They find that formula is the best option for them and their baby therefore bottles are a pretty big essential when it comes to bringing home your little bundle of joy.
Keep in mind every baby is different, so when you go to decide on the type of bottle he or she will use, look with an open mind. Your baby may not take just any bottle or she could be the complete opposite and take anything with a nipple and milk in it. There are plenty of options to chose from so don’t worry when it comes to finding the perfect bottle for baby.
Since I chose to exclusively breast feed my daughter, formula was not on my list. But I can assure you a breast pump was. There are many brands to chose from but I decided to go with the Ameda Purely Yours Ultra . It honestly was a life saver those first few weeks of trying to get breastfeeding established. Honestly before she was born, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have to constantly express milk. It wasn’t until my second night home that my milk really came in and I was completely engorged! It was so painful I had no choice but to pump. After all, the last thing I wanted was plugged ducts or mastitis.
Expressing was extremely uncomfortable the first few times but it beat the feeling of engorged breast by a million. I was lucky enough that I did not have to go back to work right away like so many mothers do after having a baby so I wasn’t forced to pump. But it was nice to have it as an option and to build up a supply in the mean time. That is why I say a breast pump is a top of the list essential because you may have to go back to work and you’re going to have to build up a supply of milk for baby. Or you may just want some relief for when your little one is already full but so are your breast! Trust me you will be grateful for it in the end.
5. Bath Wash
When I say bath wash, I am referring to shampoo, soap, bubble baths, and lotions specifically designed for babies and their soft, delicate skin. Nothing beats that fresh out of the bath, soft skin, clean baby smell! I love giving my little one a bath and watching her splash her hand and feet in the water. I’ve also noticed when she’s had a nightly bath, she seems to sleep more soundly than the nights she hasn’t.
It is important for me to note that some parents opt out of washing their baby with any type of soaps for the first few weeks or even months of life and just decide to rinse their babies in water. This is perfectly fine because babies can have such sensitive skin to any type of harsh chemicals that may be found in the soaps and it may end up irritating their skin more so than cleaning them.
However it may be good idea to have some form of hygienic material for when you do decide to bathe your little one with soaps. Again there are so many brands of baby bath wash to chose from and with organic and natural living on the rise, many of these brands are turning to chemical free ingredients.
Since I was a first time mother, I was trying not to be picky when it came to what I was given for my baby. Just as I was with many other baby products I received, I asked for a range of brands so I could try them all out and see what I liked and what worked best for my baby. Then when the time came to purchase my own, I would already know what I wanted.
With so many chemicals in our soaps and lotions I knew I wanted to use something natural that wouldn’t be harsh on my baby’s skin. After reading the labels on about six different brands of baby soaps, I decided to go with the fragrance free Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash. It’s plant based with 99.9% natural ingredients. Not to mention it leaves my little one smelling like a dream. I also purchased the Burt’s Bees Baby Nourishing Calming Lotion with lavender and vanilla scent, mainly for my own joy because I love all things that smell like lavender. We use the lotion sparingly because I honestly prefer to use all natural coconut oil as a moisturizer for my baby.
Either one leave my little one smelling amazing and keep her delicate skin soft and moisturized, which is what you want after all. Just shop around and find what works best for both you and your baby but remember every child is different, so what works for one may not work the same for another.
Well there you have it, those are my top five very basic, but very essential baby items that are, my opinion of, must haves when bringing home baby. Nothing too fancy or extremely costly, but nothing not worth going without either. Let me know what you think is any other top baby essential you found that you needed for your little one. I would love to hear what items worked best for your babies so maybe I can try them myself on little miss Mia.