Getting ready for baby's arrival: what should we buy?

When you walk into any baby store for the first time—or even wander into the baby products parts in a store like Walmart—you can feel overwhelmed. You have a lot to take in, and it can be hard to figure out what you need and what your baby needs.

Before you venture out to fill your cart, learn what your baby needs and doesn't need.

Necessary baby items in life

Here is our list of "essentials" for your baby:

Feeding

  • Bottles, if you plan to bottle-feed (pumped breast milk or formula)
  • Formula, whether supplemental breastfeeding or dedicated use
  • Bottlebrush
  • Bottle warmer
  • Nursing pillow (helps with feeding baby, whether breastfeeding or bottle-feeding)
  • Breast pump
  • Breastfeeding accessories when breastfeeding: nursing pads, nursing bras, lanolin cream

When you start feeding your baby solid food, you will need a few extra items:

  • Baby spoon
  • Small bowl
  • High chair or seat strapped to the chairs
  • Bib

Changing diapers

  • Diapers (the hospital may send you home with free diapers - score!)
  • Wet wipes
  • Diaper rash cream

Nursery/Sleep

  • Crib (if space is an issue, check out the mini crib)
  • Mattress
  • Waterproof mattress
  • Baby Sheets/Bedding
  • Swaddling blanket
  • Maintain the status

Travel

  • Car seats (Learn about car seat ratings)
  • Stroller (Tip: buy a stroller or adapter that is compatible with your car seat so you can snap the car seat into the stroller for use before your baby can sit in the stroller)
  • Diaper bags, or bags designed to carry baby items such as diapers, wipes, clothing, etc

Clothing

  • Bodysuit (long or short sleeve, depending on season/weather)
  • Socks
  • 5-7 outfits
  • 4-6 pyjamas (hint: opt for zippy pyjamas, as you may find yourself fumbling for buttons or having trouble snapping when feeding in the middle of the night)
  • Season-appropriate outerwear like zip-up hoodies, mittens, winter coats, and more

Entertainment

  • Toys, such as rattles, musical toys, etc.
  • Writing on the blackboard
  • Playmat or play gym

Safety

  • Socket cover
  • Toilet lid lock
  • Blind cord cover/cover

Non-essential but welcome items

Essential items do vary depending on who you ask. Some items are absolute must-haves for one parent, while the other just uses "basics" and doesn't need.

Some other popular but essential items as you prepare for the new addition to your family include:

  • Baby carrier or wrap
  • Car seat cover
  • Changing mats and changing tables
  • Diaper bucket
  • Noisemaker or music player for kindergarten
  • Portable crib
  • Special laundry detergent
  • Wipe the heater

Tips for shopping for your baby

  • Not sure if you need an item? In my anticipation, I bought a lot before my baby arrived, only to find out later that I didn't end up using it. If you're hesitant to buy something, wait until your baby uses it (e.g., a high chair - your baby doesn't need it at birth and doesn't actually use it until your baby starts solids) and then make another decision. Alternatively, ask a friend if they can borrow their baby carrier or toy before buying to see if your baby likes it or will use it.
  • Knowing what you need is hard enough, but knowing which brand or model to buy is even hard. Check reviews, ratings, and research products online to see what others say. Also, survey your friends to see what they recommend.
  • Reading or viewing product images online is one thing, but seeing and testing them in person is an entirely different experience. Take the time to go to a brick-and-mortar store and try baby items such as strollers, portable cribs, and more. Even if you end up buying the items, the experience of knowing and testing the product online can have a big impact on your decision and your satisfaction with the items.

Remember, every parent and every child is different. You may find that your list of "needs" is more than what we shared above. Find out what works best for you and what will be the best to help you take care of your baby, and then do it. Good luck and congratulations to your new member!


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