This one is for the first-time mom or moms who are having kids after a huge gap and have forgotten the drill. I put these two lists together by drawing from my own experience of having the two different feeding experiences. Both my babies are so different in personality and I could tell from day one! I have derived this list from their common needs, and also by drawing from the experience of my lovely mom friends.
I won’t talk about the big items though – like pram, baby car seats, cots, bassinets etc. This is more about the smaller items that companies may have you believing you need to be prepared for childbirth.
I have divided items into two lists – the essentials which I believe need to be organised prior to birth, and the Phase 2 list which can be organised after birth. This will help you budget accordingly and spreading your costs out over time.
The Essentials list
- Change Table – depending on your birth experience it may be difficult for you to bend too much and too often. The change table serves well as you are able to stand upright and change the baby’s nappies and clothes. Most change table also come with one or two shelves under it where you can keep nappies, wipes etc.
- Nappy bin – I tried using the disposable little tie bags but kept reverting to this. It is such a time saver and ensures the room does not stink. I keep mine in the laundry but really you can keep it in any room. The only downside you might find is that the cassettes can get expensive. However I think the pros outweigh the cons here.
- Small newborn nappy pack – I stress on “small” here because if the baby is on the bigger side, you may end up wasting the remaining pack. It’s hard to tell how long nappy sizes last so for a start, it may be a good idea to buy small and then you can judge from there on.
- Wipes – you need lots of these from the start. The water-based ones are pricier but so much gentler on the baby!
- Swaddles – Swaddles make babies feel safe and secure as if they are in the womb. It helps them sleep better too (read helps YOU sleep better too). I suggest swaddling with a normal cotton muslin first, and if that doesn’t work then there are sleeping bag-like swaddles available that should do the trick. They do not come very cheap however, so I would suggest using a normal swaddle first.
- Onesies – Compared to pants, I find onesies to be the easiest for babies and parents. They generally come with zips or push-in buttons, and you can open just the nappy part of the baby for changing the nappy. I stress on making it easier for the parent as well, as I remember the difficulty in standing for periods after having a c-section and doing this.
- Burp cloths and bibs – I suggest going for the softer cotton burp cloths so that they are not abrasive to baby’s soft skin. You will need many burp cloths as the baby might spit milk out etc. Bibs are good to have at this stage only if you plan on formula feeding. Otherwise they can be purchased in the next stage.
- Nipple balm – I would certainly recommend packing this in your hospital bag if you are planning to breastfeed. You would most likely need this to keep the skin from cracking or to provide relief if it does.
- Formula feeding items – If you plan to formula feed, it is good to keep a stock of 5 bottles, small tin of Formula, bottle brush & sterilizer. A brush and 5 bottles means do you not need to wash each bottle straight after use giving you some time in between. I would recommend a small tin of formula only so that you can change to another formula brand if your baby does not take to that brand. The hospital usually provides formula while you are there, but check this with the hospital prior to admission. Rules keep changing with the Medical Associations in countries. When my first was born, it was recommended that each bottle be sterilized before use, however when my second was born I was told NOT to sterilize! Ultimately it is your choice on what you choose to do, however if you wish to sterilize, keep a sterilizer ready.
- A whole lot of patience – this is the MOST IMPORTANT one. I wish someone had told me this earlier! 😊
The following list of items are ones that you can buy if you need later on once you are home from the hospital. They aren’t necessary or needed just yet, but good to have.
Phase 2 list
- Nappy rash cream – you will probably need this at some point of their nappy-wearing time.
- Baby powder – moms in some countries use this, particularly humid ones.
- Breast pads – you would have to try different brands of this product as some can be itchy.
- Reusable nappies – not for everyone. Great for the environment but you may want to start on disposable nappies as you get used to your baby and rather use your time getting some rest.
- Wedge to put under bassinet – great solution to babies who are not able to keep the milk down. This worked on my first baby but not the second, so you will have to see if it works for yours.
- Baby carrier – different babies prefer different carriers. I say let the baby choose! Try them on with your baby so that you will have a good idea on which is suitable.
- Toys – my suggestion is one or two toys are good enough. Newborn babies need only their moms (and dads) to feed, cuddle and put to sleep. They are too young to need or understand toys so you do not need to buy these.
- Portable change pad – This is a super must have for when you take baby outside, you will keep to put something soft between your precious and the change table.
- Breastfeeding items: Breast pump & bottles are great to have once you get home. You might have used the breast pump at the hospital so you have an idea of how they generally work. There are so many options in the market at different price points, so you can make this decision once you are home and rested.
I will put a hospital bag list together in a couple of weeks which you can use together with this. Just remember – do not go overboard with items for a newborn. Having children is costly enough so only buy the essentials and go easy on your pocket!