Becoming a mom for the first time will be an experience that is filled with adventure, uncertainty and outright panic, as well as love, laughter and incredible satisfaction. While there are numerous baby manuals out there, nothing can quite prepare you for how much your life changes when a little person arrives – and it’s all for the best, I promise. However, one thing that no new mom is ever quite ready for is the unending list of products that they’re expected to buy for a baby that’s yet to make an appearance. Chances are you’ve never heard of half of the items on many baby to-do lists, let alone set aside money in your budget to pay for them. From bassinets and bibs, to diaper pails and rocking cribs, that catalogue of products can be incredibly overwhelming for experienced mothers, let alone first time mommies and daddies to be. So, how do you pick the wheat from the chaff and ensure that your baby has the very best start in life? What are the essentials that you really cannot live without?
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On Your Marks, Get Set, Go Shopping!
As you dive into motherhood, one thing is going to become very apparent; people love to give their opinions, product recommendations and reviews, and they’re going to proffer them whether you ask or not. While you may be fed up with hearing such comments, stick with them; mom communities, family and friends, and forums can be great sources of information when it comes to choosing the items that will work best for your family, as well as deciding what your must-have list really includes. The Internet is a wonderful tool when it comes to stocking your newborn’s nursery, and you will do well to keep an eye out for reviews of the products you have been considering. Now is also the time to find yourself a one-stop shop; that is, an online store stocking all of the baby products you’re likely to need. Places such as the Skip Hop website are fantastic when it comes to providing nursery inspiration, as well as reasonably priced goods that you’ll turn to again and again. While some items, such as car seats, bed linens, diapers and cribs are going to be essentials, others may be considered frivolities; it’s up to you to decide what you really need, and to prepare your space for that new arrival.
The Baby Basics
Experts and parents have very different views when it comes to baby essentials, however, few could argue that you’re going to need diapers, whether those are cloth or disposable, a stash of wipes or cotton balls, a changing table or mat, diaper cream, a changing bag and a disposal system or laundry basket for those less glamorous moments. You will also discover that a suitable car seat, a pram or pushchair, a warm blanket or all-in-one suit for heading outside, and a seasonal wardrobe are much needed. Ensure your baby is kitted out with a number of vests, onesies and romper suits, as well as pairs of socks, items of clothing such as T-shirts or pants, a sun hat, cardigan, and a hat and mittens. Finally, think carefully about your baby’s health; stock up on medicines that are safe to use from birth or a few months old – think infant Tylenol – as well as a digital thermometer, baby lotion or petroleum jelly, rash cream, teething treatments, a nasal aspirator and Band-Aids.
Whether you breast or bottle-feed, it’s important to be prepared. New moms will need a feeding pillow, bibs and burp cloths, nipple cream and a breast pump if they plan on breastfeeding, while bottle-feeding mommas will need to buy formula, bottles and teats, a sterilizer and sterilizing tablets, and an insulated carrier for heading out and about. As your baby grows up, his or her needs will change; a high chair, plastic bibs, an infant bowl and cutlery, and age-appropriate meals will then become a necessity.
Bedtime and Beyond
It may feel as though your baby never sleeps, but you’ll still need to be prepared for that bath and bedtime routine. For your baby’s first few weeks and months you’ll need a basket, crib or co-sleeper, appropriate linen and a new mattress, warm blankets and mattress protectors, while your child will upgrade to a cot or cot bed once they outgrow their first bed. For your own peace of mind, you may wish to get a baby monitor, while some new moms also like to add a soother or mobile to help their baby sleep. For bath time, make sure you’re prepared with hooded towels for added warmth, baby toiletries, washcloths, nail scissors or clippers, and an infant tub, as well as an infant bath seat once your little one is sitting up.
Toys and Games
The toys that you buy for your child will depend upon personal preference, although most new moms love to source stimulating items for their child; play mats, activity centers and sensory toys are incredibly popular, while you may also wish to buy your child a few special soft toys, a comforter and rattles to keep them occupied and soothed. When it comes to toys, think bold and bright, noisy and engaging; sites such as Skip Hop offer these aplenty.
As your pregnancy progresses and your baby grows up, the products that you find most useful are bound to change; indeed, every mom’s needs and desires are different, and you may find this post is lacking an item you’d really like, or has included things you’d not even considered. When it comes to motherhood, the most important thing is to be prepared.