Funnily enough, 2010 seemed to be the year of the babies. I have so many friends who welcomed their bundles of joy last year and so many who got pregnant and are expecting this year. It really is beautiful to see the beginnings of a life, to see the joy in the parent’s faces, and to see all my new mommy-to-be girlfriends fret over all the baby things they think they need. This is especially true (and fun to watch) with my friends who are going to be first time mom’s.
I remember very well what I thought I needed when I was pregnant with my first child. I remember it was a few months in chaos listing all the things magazines and sites were telling me I needed. And, being the anal person that I am, I got MOST of these items. Only to find out later that I didn’t really need half of them. Good thing was I was able to use them for my second child. Wonderful how some baby things just don’t go out of style.
Anyway, I thought about doing a list of things you really need after you find out you are expecting and a basic time chart for when to get them. It might be helpful for all the first time mom’s out there.
6 months before D-Day:
By this time, I think it is OK to start getting the big stuff. This is because you will have had enough time to save up for them and because you will still have enough time to pay them off should you decide to get these on installment.
OK, you can choose whatever crib you want here but I personally think that if you have no baby cabinets yet, then get the ones with the drawers and the ones with the bed that can take the baby into the growing years. There are some cribs that are cute and may fit a little nook in your room, but for practicality and for budget’s sake, these are not the smartest choices.
2. Stroller/Car Seat/Bassinet
OK, there are sooo many choices in the market today and some ranging from the reasonably expensive to the outrageously expensive. The things I would say to look out for are the material of the stroller and car seat, the quality of the belt and the fasteners, the padding around the bars, the size and quality of the wheels and the shocks of the stroller. Any brand that presents above average standards for all these is a thumb’s up for me.
4. Bottles and sterilizer
Now, if there were many crib and stroller choices, there are even more bottle choices. And the manufacturers have made these bottles so complicated that it almost feels like you need a degree to choose the right one! The rules I followed were two things: that they were designed to produce a non-colicky baby, and that they were made from material that does not leach BPA or bisephenol, which is a harmful byproduct of plastic that can go onto the liquid in the bottle if it is heated above 175F. The thing is a lot of the really cute and popular bottles use Polycarbonate plastic despite this fact because it is lightweight to bring around and for the baby to hold and offers flexibility in design of nipples and bottle. But there are a lot of bottles made from safer and greener plastic that are just as pretty. It really is personal choice here.
3 months to go:
1. Bedsheets, clothes, blankets
I cannot stress how many of these you will think you need in the first two months after the baby is born. You will want sheet replacements in case you need to change the sheets, and change you will need to do often. You will want clothes that can come off and go on the baby as easily as possible and these usually are the ones that you tie up front. For tropical countries, it is important to have cotton clothes to keep the baby cool and it is essential to have changes of clothing to keep the baby clean and fresh. I has a set of 6 tops that you tie in front, 6 that you button on the shoulder, and 6 wide neck ones. I used them all. Blankets and towels are equally important as they cover the baby, keep the baby warm, and is what the baby will be wrapped in for chnks of hours over the day. I had 6 of these although I know of others who had a dozen to be safe.
2. Washing/changing station
If you are old fashioned like me, you will do with a regular tub with a dipper in the bathroom. If you are more mod, you may want to use a changing table that can convert into a washbasin. This is entirely a personal choice.
3. Breast pump
Now, if you do not intend to breastfeed, this is a moot point. But, if you do, finding a good pump will be a lifesaver. Like most things, a pump has a price range. I didn’t try all but I have tried a few to be able to make some kind of recommendation. I’ve also thrown in comments from friends for good measure.
- Medela- This range of breast pumps is, as far as I’ve heard, the Ferrari of breast pumps. It is strong but not painful and really gets the milk out. Plus it has some sort of suction imitation thing that keeps breast milk in production even if the baby is not breastfeeding from the breast all the time. This is pricey though.
- Avent- very very well known for quality bottles and pumps, I had the opportunity to use the manual breast pump. It was very good. No need for an electric pump at all. It was virtually painless to use, had good suction, and was easy enough to use for a few hours straight. The only thing I found a bit off putting was that it was rather large to use and hold (for me at least) but this really depends on the woman’s grip and hand size. I would recommend this breast pump if your budget allows as this is also a bit on the pricey side.
- Pigeon- this is the more budget friendly brand and I was able to use the manual and electric varieties. The manual one was great. It was small enough so it was not cumbersome, the pump was soft enough to use for a few hours straight, it was virtually painless as well. I would definitely recommend this pump. I used the electric one as well because i thought i could get a lot of milk minus the manual pumping. It was very painful. I stopped using it after two tries. I do not recommend this at all.
You will need to change the baby around eight times a day in the beginning and will only taper off when the baby is well withing the first year so stocking up early is not a bad idea. Diapers do not have an expiration date but they do have sizes so stock up on some newborn diapers and small ones first. Research on how often you need to change the baby and how fat they grow on average to get a rough computation of how many pieces you might need. If you want to use cloth diapers, you will need about 2-3 dozen of the small to medium ones first. You will need some baby friendly soap and a good washing machine and dryer as well. Have a basin with some water mixed with detergent handy so you can soak soiled diapers immediately. This makes them easier to wash and prevents staining.
5. Diaper bag
You can have two to three of these ion different sizes. You will need a variety as the amount of things you will bring around will change depending on where you are headed. make sure to have bottle holders, a changing mat, other dividers and an insulated area. It would be great to have an outside or other pocket for your personal things so you don’t have to carry a handbag but this is optional.
These are the most basic things you will need to have before you welcome your new baby. Of course, there is a whole novel full of other things you will want to have but those you can stress less about. Having these basics will at least get you through the first couple of weeks.
What are your favorite tools for caring for your baby?