As an expecting parent it can be overwhelming trying to decide what your baby needs. Bassinets, bottles, burp clothes, oh my! The truth is your baby doesn’t need even half of the items the baby industry is trying to sell you. I aim to be fairly minimalistic. This was half planned and half because my first came 3 weeks early and I hadn’t bought much thinking I still had lots of time, oops!
So after 3 kids and much trial and error, here is my list of necessary baby items.
- Somewhere to sleep. This can be a bassinet, crib or co-sleeper. What you choose is entirely up to you and what works for your family.
- The important points being that there are no loose sheets, toys or pillows placed in the sleeping area.
- The mattress is firm with just a snug fitted sheet.
I used a bassinet for the first 3 months and then transitioned baby into the crib. I also chose to co-sleep, but didn’t have a co-sleeper. Safe sleep recommendations, such as how long baby should stay in your room, how to safely co-sleep, how to put baby to sleep can be found here.
2. A car seat. The likelihood is baby will travel in a vehicle at some point. Most like to start with an infant bucket seat. This type of seat usually comes with a base and can be easily clicked in and out for convenience. There are several types of car seats. In Canada, all car seats on the market must pass the same safety standards. Some seats are better suited for smaller babies, some seated better suited for certain vehicles, and so on. It’s important to read both your car seat manual and your car manual to ensure proper installation. To find the car seat that works for you, you can contact a certified child passenger safety technician. They can help you make the right decision for your family and vehicle as well as help with correct install. To find a tech, click here.
3. Somewhere safe to place baby. If you have a bassinet that can be easily moved from room to room then you might not need another item. If you have older children and there is consider over tipping the bassinet, then you may want to consider a playpen. Swings and bouncers are options as well, however any seated options should always be used with supervision and most are not approved safe sleep surfaces.
4. Baby carrier. Babies like to be held, I mean how could they not? They just spent their entire life being snuggled inside, listening to a constant heartbeat. It’s good for them and you! However, sometimes carrying them all day isn’t easy, especially if you have older children. A good baby carrier can be an absolute lifesaver. Baby stays snuggly and you can the use of your hands. There are different types of carriers and you and your baby might both have your own preference.
I preferred a baby wrap and was by far my favourite baby item I ever purchased. I wish I had it for all 3 kids! I also had soft structured carriers which worked well. Other carriers include, ring sling, and Mei Tai. Always read the instructions to ensure it is appropriate for a newborn baby. Weigh limits vary between designs and manufacturers.
5. Change table/Change station. Now, this isn’t probably necessary for some but it was necessary for me. I changed my kids all over the place, however having your kids poop or pee on your bed or floor kind of sucks in the middle of the night to be honest. While my kids were room sharing, I had a little station on top of the dresser. It just included waterproof change pad, diapers, creams and wipes. It was great in the beginning, especially after my cesarean to not have to get down on the floor to change a diaper.
Those are my top 5 necessary big items.
Now of course there are the smaller items as well.
- Diapers and wipes. There are cloth or disposable options.
- Receiving blankets. Great for burping, light covers, nursing cover, they’re pretty universal little blankets. I found it easier to have a bunch of receiving blankets and use for the above over having more stuff but do what works for you!
- Feeding necessities. If you are breastfeeding, you may not need much. Maybe a pump or a hakaa if you want to freeze some milk or pump for bottles. If you’re formula feeding, you will need bottles. There are items that make the process easier, like the baby breeza or sterilizer but whether you need these items is entirely up to you.
All in all, do your research and find what will work for your family. Everyone will have the items they deem necessary so maybe my list is far from your own experience. I do guarantee though, you will not need nearly the products the industry tries to sell you.
Save some money and some sanity from clutter!