I love making lists. My to do list is often how I start my day when I’m working; it’s as helpful for me to make the list as it is cathartic to cross things off as done. When I was preparing for Harley’s arrival, I really wanted a list of what I would need. Plenty of sites and magazines had lists, but they often included things that other moms had told me were unnecessary. So here is my list of what I’ve found essential in the first month and a bit of having Harley home.
There are plenty of other things that have been useful but aren’t essential; I love my adorable hooded towel for bath time, but I could just as easily use a normal one. The same goes for the vibrating chair – it’s awesome when she likes it, but it just hasn’t been a guaranteed success with her. So here are the bare bones that every first time parent should ensure they have for the little one.
Obviously, you need a place for your little one to sleep. I have a wonderful camping cot that didn’t cost a fortune, that Harley almost never sleeps in. Instead, she prefers the cozy comfort of reclining in her car seat (when not sleeping in my arms). So, while you definitely need a nice place for your little one to sleep, I don’t recommend breaking the bank on a cot, especially until you know if your little one will even sleep in one – plenty of people co-sleep, making a cot even less necessary (I don’t, but you might).
Thankfully, my cot also has a built in changing table. I love that thing – I keep all my nappies, wipes and creams there, ready to sort out Harley’s dirty diapers quickly and easily. However, you can just as easily use a changing mat on any flat surface. I don’t think there’s a need to buy a specific item of furniture just for changing, but if it comes as part of something else, go for it.
I used to use a breast pump, electric steam sterilizer and bottles. However, since getting Harley to breastfeed, life has been a whole lot easier and requires no gear. If you’re planning on going for bottles, be prepared for the extra admin/cleaning. If you’re planning on nursing, be prepared to lose out on a lot of independence and freedom (not that you have much of either once the baby arrives anyway).
Harley’s travel system was a wonderful investment for us. She prefers her car seat to just about any other place, sleeping in it at night and generally enjoying outings where she gets to be in it. The pram has worked out well for me, mainly because once she falls asleep in her car seat, I don’t need to unclip her in order to take her shopping, walking or whatever else. However, I also have a sling that I highly recommend – wearing your baby is comfy and great for bonding while still letting you get things done.
I seem to spend the majority of my day nursing, burping or otherwise cuddling Harley. I knew babies were messy, but I had no idea just how much they spit, puke and drool. So, burp cloths and towels are a must. The same goes for baby blankets – thanks to the puking she often will get them wet in her sleep. Try to have at least 3-4 blankets of varying weights available (babies still like the feeling of being wrapped up but it can get too hot with a fleece blanket during summer) so that you can still swaddle or cover the little one, even after a bit of a messy experience.
- Place to sleep
- Place to change
- Means for feeding
- Car seat (if applicable), pram/sling
- Baby blankets (a variety at different weights)
- Towels/burp cloths (minimum five)
- And obviously plenty of nappies, wipes and bum cream