Why Do Such Small People Need So Much Stuff?!
When I was preparing for my new baby to arrive I was inundated with people telling me “you know what you need…?” Then they’d start listing off things until my brain would shut down with the overwhelmingness of it all. Did we really need a five-point transportation system or a bottle tree? Since when do bottles grow on trees anyway? My husband and I decided not to have a baby shower, and wanted to keep our baby gear as minimal as possible due to space and cost. Which most people told us was nuts, but we thought the idea of a actually making a human was even crazier so felt okay about not overdoing it on the stuff. So, for the first months we only had a few crucial items and guess what? Our baby didn’t even know the difference! He survived with only the few things we had for him, and we felt so much calmer without the clutter. Here’s a basic little list of the stuff we had that felt important to getting through those early days…
The Mini List of Gear:
A Puj Tub: This tub is fantastic! It folds flat so is easy to store and you can hang it in the shower to let it drip-dry. It’s also fits into a sink, so if you can’t bend over or kneel down during those first six weeks, this is totally necessary.
A Boppy Lounger: Different from a Boppy pillow, this lounger is where I would lay down our baby when he was awake but I needed some time to go to the bathroom, clean something, or eat a tub of coconut ice cream and didn’t want to spill any on my babe’s face yet again. He loved this thing, and still rests on it from time to time even though he is way, way too giant for it now. It’s also wonderful if you have a spitter-upper as it keeps their heads slightly elevated.
A Baby Sling: I loved our Baby K’Tan and used it until my kiddo literally was able to climb out of it, but any sling will do and is so helpful because guess what? Your baby can’t get around on their own and you’ll need to carry them everywhere all the time, and sometimes you even need to hold them while you eat, wash dishes, go to the bathroom, or stare out the window and daydream about what sleep felt like. You can rent different baby carriers until you find the one that’s right for you through the Baby Wearing International program. I wish I had known that before buying four different ones that I didn’t like at all. Whoops!
A Bassinet Stroller: Any brand will do, but a bassinet stroller is so handy! If I didn’t get out to walk each day, my brain would’ve melted completely, and my back would’ve snapped in many pieces if I only used a carrier. Besides, the kid slept in his more than I care to admit so pretty much a win-win.
Sleep Sacks: If you don’t care about being covered in spit-up and/or other baby goo (which you’ll probably grow immune to after awhile) then you won’t need lots of changes for yourself, but your baby might feel otherwise. Sleep Sacks are great so you don’t have to worry about swaddling all the time, are cozy for your babe, and you don’t need to put clothes on them if they’re wearing one. Which will minimize the amount of laundry that will pile up in your house…because it will pile up to roughly the size of Mount Everest and you probably won’t care about washing any of it because exhaustion and baby snuggles.
Diapers: To cloth diaper or not to cloth, that is the question you will be judged upon harshly by other parents during playgroups. We decided to go cloth before our bundle of poop was born, but then quickly found out he was allergic to them. So we had to buy new ones, and wound up using a mix of disposable and cloth for quite awhile, so we were able to be harshly judged by both cloth and non-cloth families equally, hooray for us! You do what’s best for you, but just a few notes here on the cloth diaper variety: *Wet/Dry Bags: you might want to invest in a few of these so to hold wet diapers while they are waiting for the washing machine. (You can also use a diaper pail, but I found the bags easier and way less smelly. If you do use a pail, you can leave the lid off so it doesn’t get too icky in there, but that is a risky move once your baby starts crawling!) *Diaper Material: IF sensitive skin runs in your family, as it does in mine and my husbands, it’s a good idea to check the diaper material before purchasing. I assumed they all had cotton or bamboo inserts and linings, but some are polyester and that’s what caused my newborns very sensitive skin to rash up instantly. *AIO and Pocket: AIO means All-In-One, so there is no insert. A pocket diaper has a thin lining and you can add an insert. I used both AIO and pocket diapers and found them to be equally effective and easy, but I thought pocket diapers were slightly easier to launder just because they tended to dry faster if you put off laundry until you were down to zero diapers and needed a diaper cover like, right now. But whether you use pocket, AIO, or disposable, I promise to never judge you!
A Place To Sleep At Night: A crib, a co-sleeper, a pile of spit-up covered blankets, your bed, whatever works for your family. We used a co-sleeper (and then our bed) until he was big enough to sleep on a cozy mattress on the floor of his room, which he loved. We tried a crib and he hated it, but everything else worked out pretty well once he realized sleep is pretty great after all. Sleep at night will happen again even if it doesn’t feel like it, I promise!
Really, all your newborn needs is to be fed, sleep, and snuggles and I’m sure you’ve got all that fully covered! We were so tired and overjoyed during the first few months, I couldn’t even remember what else we had and it mostly didn’t matter. Whatever gear you have or not, you’ll make the best of it and do great! Yay, you!