No matter how much you plan, one can never be fully prepared for a baby. There are a hundred things to learn, read and buy before the baby is even born.
To make it a teeny weeny bit easier for a first time mom, here’s a list of things you need to buy (or consider buying depending on your parenting choices):
- Baby cot/ crib, sheet and bedding : If you plan to give baby his own sleeping space you need to buy a crib. A bassinet works well too but is outgrown within a few months only so is not an economical purchase. If you plan to co-sleep you may choose to not buy a crib. We co-sleep with both our kids (and absolutely love it!) but we still bought a cot both times (we had moved countries when baby2 was only 3 months so had to buy it again rather than using the one from baby 1). Our objective was to have a safe place for baby to sleep during the day, and to put baby for a while as I attend to household chores where I can’t have him near or even to go to the bathroom. If you don’t buy a crib, please do buy a separate bedding for the baby. You get mattress and bolster sets for babies and these help babies recognize and feel comfortable in their own space.
- Changing table: Very helpful, made diaper changes and sponge bathes convenient for us. Best bought as an attachment to chest of drawers.
- Chest of drawers: To keep baby clothes in. The tiny clothes get lost in grown up cupboards very easily. We bought one with a changing table at the top and it was the best baby purchase we made. This is what we had, and absolutely loved.
- Baby Monitor
- Baby Sling/ Wrap: Very handy for carrying baby close, and frees both your hands to work around house or grocery shopping.
- Stroller: Buy a sturdy pram with thick wheels to give baby a comfortable ride. Comes with or without car seat attachment.
- Car seat: It is not mandatory to have a baby in car seat in some countries like India but it’s a very useful purchase. It not only keeps the baby more comfortable and safe, it’s convenient for the parents as well. If you are driving alone with the baby the car seat comes in handy, even if you are not, you don’t have to hold the baby in your lap throughout the ride. When it’s not mandatory one may feel uncomfortable putting a new born in a car seat but don’t worry it won’t harm the baby. If you plan to buy when your child is older the child may not adapt to it at all. This can be bought as an attachment to the pram or separately.
- Baby bouncer: It’s like a baby easy chair. Highly recommended for times when baby doesn’t want to lie down and every one needs a breather. Comes with vibration and music options. We had both Fischer Price and Mother-care bouncers but both our kids preferred Mothercare.
- Baby bather: I was gifted a baby bather by a friend and it was the best gift ever. It is so convenient to give baby a bath while he is comfortably lying on the bather. No worries of holding him properly, no fear for having him slip from your soapy hands… Just joyful bath time!
- Blankets: Even if you deliver in summer, you need a blanket to lightly cover the baby for a few days at least. If it’s cold then of course you need more than one. Try not to buy wool blankets as they may cause allergy in a newborn.
- Swaddle sheets: Square sheets of soft cotton material to wrap the baby for first couple of months. 4-5 would be good.
- Hooded towels: To snuggle in after bath. 3 is a good number to have.
- Hand towels: To clean spit-ups. You can never have enough hand towels and burp cloths.
- Macintosh/Quick dry mats: To keep under baby while changing nappies or even during massage times. Buy at least 4 if you plan on using diapers and about 10-12 if you plan on using cloth nappies. They are available at most chemist and baby shops and come in many sizes. Don’t buy too many of small sized ones as you would need these until your child is toilet trained.
- Cloth nappies / newborn size diapers: Get a big stock as newborns soil nappies really really fast, about 8-10 diapers a day, but they also outgrow this size fairly quickly.
- Baby wipes: Try getting unscented alcohol free ones.
- Weather appropriate clothing: Buy comfortable soft clothes for the baby. Try and avoid clothes that are too complicated to put on and take off. Front open ones work best. Pick the ones that are easy to open and close, onesies with buttons instead of snaps are a big NO irrespective of how cute they look. Avoid any fancy laces, buttons and bows that are too stiff and can poke the baby. Avoid buying too many outfits because babies do outgrow them very very fast.
- Caps, socks, mittens: Soft cotton ones. Color coordinate is possible 😊
- A spare dustbin: With a tight lid and a pack of trash bags for the baby’s dirty diapers.
- Baby bag: When you take baby out you want all essentials in one place so buying a bag of right size is very important. The side pockets and zippers on the outside are very useful.
- Toiletries – baby body wash, cream etc: Buy unscented toiletries if possible. Johnson products are not recommended by doctors anymore because they tend to cause allergic reactions in some kids. Use of talcum powder is not recommended either. The best diaper rash cream is coconut oil and baby Vaseline. You can use either of these with each diaper change, or mix the 2 in equal parts and store in a jar. This magic potion will keep rashes at bay.
- Oil for massage: Coconut oil, Almond oil or Olive oil can be used. You will also need an old sheet to massage baby on.
- Baby grooming kit: Comb/ brush, baby nail cutter, ear buds etc.
- Baby toys: Cot mobile, rattles, toys with music, play gym
- Baby detergent: You get special detergent in the market for baby clothes. Buy any known brand.
- Dettol, Savlon or any other antiseptic liquid: To wash baby nappies, quick dry sheets and soiled clothes.
- First aid kit: Thermometer, cotton balls, alcohol swabs, nasal aspirator and some simple medicines like Nasoclear, Himalaya Bonnisan, Baby Tylenol or Crocin drops etc.
- Hand sanitizer
- Bottles: If you plan on introducing bottles to your baby whether with formula milk or expressed breast milk you will need good quality bottles. There are several good brands available in the market. Pick one with anti colic teats. You will also need a bottle brush and bottle cleaning detergent for cleaning.
- Bottle Sterilizer: there are many available in the market, but if you want to avoid the expense and save precious kitchen space you can choose to boil your baby bottles and accessories for 10-15 minutes, or can use a microwave steamer (idli maker would work perfectly) for the purpose. I’m too lazy to boil so I use my microwave idli maker. pour some water in the base tray and instead of the idli trays keep the things that need to be sterilized. Cover and microwave for 2 minutes. Make sure the bottles/accessories/ toys are microwave safe. Most branded bottles like Avent, Pigeon, Chicco and Medela are microwave safe.
What the mother needs (besides some sleep and rest that is ):
- Nursing bras: Buy this before you deliver, preferably in the last month. I tried Triumph but didn’t like them too much but loved Mothercare brand bras.
- Breast pads: A must have to avoid embarrassing wet-chest moments. Both disposable and washable ones are available in the market. I was happy with Pigeon brand disposable pads.
- Nipple cream: Again the market has many options but you can either use virgin coconut oil or just squeeze out a bit of breast milk, rub all over the nipple and let air dry for a minute to avoid cracked nipples.
- Breast pump: Even if you don’t plan on expressing breast milk to feed the baby, you sometimes need to buy a breast pump to give relief to engorged breasts in the early days. A manual pump worked well for me but you may explore electric one if you think you’ll be using it more than a couple of times everyday. However in case you are not too sure try not to spend on an expensive one.
- Post delivery belt: Get it from a chemist shop rather than buying online. The cotton dupattas open up so quickly.
- Feeding pillow: I never needed one but have friends who swear by it.
- Sanitary pads: The overnight ones work great. Remember to change often.
Try and buy more expensive items and items that will last a while in person, toiletries and diapers are best bought online.
I have added everything that I needed or considered buying. In case you bought something useful which is not in the list please let me know.
Goodluck with the shopping and the delivery. 😊