From the moment that you saw that positive pregnancy test, all you can think about are all of the ways that you need to prepare for this new baby. Your shopping list is likely lengthy, but you also don’t want to fall into the trap of buying a ton of baby stuff before you know what you really need or even what your baby will actually like.
Here are a few must-have essentials that you actually need.
Infant Car Seat
A sturdy car seat is a non-negotiable to get your baby around town safely. It’s likely the first piece of baby gear that you’ll use, so be sure to get it well in advance of your due date and learn how to install it properly. There are a head-spinning number of options available in a wide range of prices. While the higher-end models may seem unnecessarily expensive, they are often easier to install and have key features like breathable fabric, a built-in canopy or an oversized sun shade. It’s worth considering what kind of stroller you plan to use too, as compatibility and versatility can also help guide your infant car seat decision. Here are some popular options:
- Doona: Featuring integrated wheels, this car seat/stroller combo is ideal for frequent travelers and city dwellers alike.
- Nuna Pipa: One of the lightest seats on the market, it features high-end fabric and can be used with a variety of stroller systems.
- Uppababy Mesa: A top-selling option, this seat is compatible with Uppababy’s line of strollers that have a variety of configuration options to seat up to three kids, making it ideal for those with multiples and older kids.
On average, newborns sleep around 16 hours a day, according to Stanford Children’s Health, so having a safe sleep space for your baby is important. Since all of that sleep is mixed in with frequent wake-ups for feedings, you’ll want to keep your baby close to your bed in a bassinet for the first few months. Not only can this help your baby sleep better, but it can also help you get more sleep too, which any new parent will tell you is a high priority. You’ll need every minute of rest that you can get.
Instead of moving the baby’s crib into your room from the nursery, get a bassinet. The small footprint will be less cumbersome and it’s sized just right for a newborn. Opt for a bassinet model that is designed to nestle right up against your bed for the ultimate ease of tending to the baby in the middle of the night. The HALO Bassinet is a sleek option with an adjustable height for ease of use.
SwaddlesHelp ease your little one’s transition into the world during the fourth trimester by swaddling him. This age-old technique of tightly wrapping a baby in a light blanket mimics the secure feeling of protection of mother’s womb. One of the most common ways to do this is with a swaddle blanket, a large square of muslin fabric. But an even easier way to accomplish the same feeling of safety and security is to use a swaddle suit. Featuring zip, snaps or Velcro closure, swaddle suits offer a more secure fit with minimal effort. The Swaddle UP by Love to Dream, Woombie, Miracle Blanket or the Ollie Swaddle are all great options to start with.
After spending nine months on the inside, it’s tough for a newborn baby to be out of mama’s arms for long. But the world doesn’t stop because you have a baby and there is still dinner to make, laundry to do and errands to run, so a baby carrier that you and baby are both comfortable wearing is key. Start with a stretchy wrap like one by Solly Baby or Baby K’Tan or try a soft-structured carrier by Tula or Ergobaby. It can take a few tries for both you and baby to be comfortable with babywearing but practice for short increments and watch YouTube tutorials until you get the positioning just right.
Don’t let the vast sea of baby products overwhelm you, babies really don’t need that much. Start with a car seat, a bassinet, a few swaddles and a baby carrier and you address any other needs as they arise.