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The ESSENTIALS List For New Parents
Simplicity parenting, baby registry must-haves & Don't Gets!!
It’s exciting to be a new parent! You get A LOT of stuff! CONGRATULATIONS!! “Do you have a registry?”...was a part of the first batch of questions we got when we announced our pregnancy to our friends. We said, “No…should we?” And then realized that a Baby Registry is really there to lessen the confusion for your friends who want to get you stuff, and for you to not be completely buried in excessive baby crap. Speaking of excessive, you will want to minimize the damage that welcoming a newborn makes to your space. After repeating this a few times in conversations, I’m just going to write down the essentials that got us through the first year-ish…including all the things we wish we had known NOT to get.
Of course, it’s tempting to just shlep a bunch of the most expensive baby items on the registry, but you’ll have to live with the clutter, and it’s not the most eco-friendly. After having gone through the motions once, and confirming it again with a second child 20 months later, we realized there were many things we could have lived without. In case any new parents are looking for ways to minimize the damage that welcoming a newborn makes on your space, here are the essentials that either got us through the first year-ish, or we wish we had known to/not to get...in no particular order, because they are equally important for various stages:
- pregnancy pillow / boppy for the baby (this one transcends time! hug between legs during pregnancy, hold baby while nursing and sleeping)
- stroller + car seat (car seat clicks into stroller for the newborn days, and when they fall asleep in the car, you don’t have to wake them up when you want to transfer them to the stroller)
- pack n play (this IS the bed/crib, and also used for travels. Once they start crawling, it’s also used to keep them contained. By the time they outgrow this, they’re probably ready for a twin mattress on the floor w/ bumpers)
- wipes (of course, but these were my favorite for sensitive skin. We use these to wipe all body parts, not just butts)
- swaddle blankets (aden + anais is our most frequently used ones because of the size and breathable fabric; also used as a blanket, to mop up spit, cover strollers, block the sun, etc. stock up on these!)
- Moby wrap (use as soon as you can to free up your hands and get a little bit of freedom back, and the warm snuggles is great confidence builder for newborns), then baby carrier (when your kid has enough neck control and wants to start looking around. By then they'll be a strain on your back, so this one for support and storage!)
- portable changing pad (if we want to stay out for longer than 30 minutes, we don't leave the house without it)
- bottle brush (not just for bottles, but cleans everything else very thoroughly too!...ask for several of these if you have multiple sinks)
- bathtub (infants can’t slip down if the tub is short enough, and as they get bigger, they can sit up in it, and you’re not wasting water) and duck bath (for easy travel after baby can sit up, and to play with)
- electronic nail filer (don't bother w/ the clippers...after drawing blood the first go, my hands were too shakey to clip baby nails ever again)
- humidifier (just in general for dry climates, and especially to decongest noses during colds)
- rocker for baby (so they can learn to fall asleep on their own)
- rocker for you (to nurse and probably fall asleep in, doesn't have to be too pricey because it will get gross. Try to find something you can easily wash, rather than some expensive rocking chair you’ll get heartbroken over when your kid spits up in it), and preferably with storage ottomans (for footrest & to store diapers, wipes, and extra changes of clothes - keep reading)
- baby bouncer (another place to put them in, so they can entertain themselves)
- yoga mat (in place of changing station - keep reading, any kind will do as long as you will use it for exercising after baby’s done w/ it)
- Roomba (for when you don’t have time to sweep, especially the mess underneath your kid’s high chair)
- baby books (“in lieu of greeting cards,” put that in your baby shower invitation!)
Okay, if you have room to indulge a little:
- play tent/station (something that has kept both kids distracted so far, giving us 10-minute spurts to do chores)
- piano mat (something else to keep them distracted, learning, and listening)
And what did we ask for the second time around?
Diapers, wipes, and butt cream; or contribution to our Diaper fund; or gift cards to get those on our own. Done!
Equally important, DO NOT WASTE MONEY ON:
Breast pump: Your insurance company should have that covered. Ask the nurses at your next OBGYN appointment and they should be able to point you in the right direction. As a sidekick, simply get some lactation collection shells to catch all the excess breast milk that will be squirting out the other breast when your baby is latched on to one side.
Baby Clothes: Get the hand-me-downs from all your other parent friends, they all need to get rid of them eventually, and it’s more eco-friendly to share. Babies get really disgusting anyway, why spend money on nice clothes for them that they’ll outgrow in a week. Heck, lots of clothes I gave away were brand new because we couldn’t get to them in time before baby has outgrown them.
Maternity Clothes: Rather than spend money on clothes that will not be reused in a year, I opted for regular clothes that will accommodate my belly (all sorts of dresses and skirts were the best), or that allows me to nurse easily (low/lose necklines, strappy tops, etc.). That way, I still got a wardrobe update, and a sustainable one at that. Also, I’m sure you can get plenty of hand-me-downs as well. If you do plan to nurse though, I would invest in some quality bralettes and nursing tanks (which is also very comfy during pregnancy as well. Just remember to get them at least 2 sizes bigger than before!
Changing Station: After hearing a few stories about the split second it took for baby to fall off the station and end up in the ER, we opted for a yoga mat on the floor instead. Easy to clean, inexpensive, encourages baby to roll over or do tummy time, and it’s a yoga mat…on the floor...and easy to store. The diapers and storage items are inside the storage ottomans next to where you’d like your changing station to be. We have one in the living room and one in our room where my rocking chair is.
Toys and stuffed animals: They will find their way into your life someway, somehow, but your baby doesn’t really even care for 90% of them. It’s amazing how interested they are in the household items they see you using though: spatulas, mixing bowls, all sorts of brushes, Roombas…
Diaper bag/backpack: If you’ve got a giant purse or beach bag with many compartments, that’ll do.
A few disclaimers:
Please no need to get any of these on Amazon (the bad bf you can’t live with, yet somehow keep going back to), nor am I recommending their Baby Registry page (though we did use it). It’s just an easy one-stop-shop to pull from.
I don’t particularly enjoy shopping. Also, I like things that are multifunctional and compact, things that I can make disappear - or do something else - if it irritates me or clutters up our space. So if you’re an expert shopaholic, this list might be too basic for you.
Like most artists, keeping a studio organized is already a chore. In order to avoid living in an explosion of our kids' stuff - on top of the paints and brushes - I have to get creative with things we can reuse around the house (like yoga mats), so if that’s not your jam, no judgment whatsoever. At the end of the day, you do you.
Happy shopping! Hope that helped.