Preparing for a Newborn
When I would read different forum discussions between new moms, there would often be headings like this, "Not feeling ready!!!", "I'm SO unprepared!!!", and "I Don't have everything I need!!!". I've come to notice there seems to be this pressure new moms take on to have absolutely everything in order before the baby comes. You need to have the nursery put together (WITH a Pinterest worthy, flawlessly designed space). The closet or dresser stocked with the exact amount of sleepers, outfits, a "coming home from the hospital outfit", etc. The house must be organized and clean.
Ok… not going to lie to you though. I felt this pressure big time with my first and now nearing the end of my second pregnancy, I still catch myself feeling that weight and slight panic to have my house spick and span and perfectly organized before little baby #2 takes up residence in our home and hearts.
Before I go on I must address the thought that has probably popped up in your head by now. "Miranda…aren't you talking about NESTING? Isn't that a normal phenomenon women with child experience during pregnancy?". You are absolutely right and I think nesting is great. I want to clarify that nesting, organizing, and having clothes for your child are all obviously good and vital things to do! My goal here is to hopefully put to ease those of you who were (are) like me and fall into this stress mode of placing incredibly high and unnecessary expectations on yourself.
Below are two lists I've put together based on my own personal experience. There are some things I got that could've waited, and things that I did NOT get that I should have purchased beforehand. Hopefully, if you are a new mom reading this and may be feeling stressed, this can be of some help to you!
Newborn sized diapers and wipes. Here's a funny story for you. Believe it or not… I did not have newborn diapers when we brought our firstborn home. Somehow while at the store I missed those little boxes and assumed that "Size 1" meant, you know, the first size! Thankfully I had taken a bunch of NB sized diapers home from the hospital and that lasted until my dear husband could make a run to the store.
Sleepers. Funny story number two. If you don't feel better about yourself after seeing yet a second example of how totally uninformed and unprepared I was for my baby, I don't know what to say! I did not have any pajamas or sleepers for my son. I had everything else clothing-wise but somehow sleepers slipped through the cracks of my pregnancy brain. (Side Note: Pregnancy brain is real and should be milked as an excuse for all dumb moments. True fact.)
Bassinet. That little baby is going to need your attention (Milk!) a LOT in those first few weeks, therefore you will want them right there in the room with you. There's lots of different sleeping options like bassinets, play pens, baskets, etc. We have a Moses Basket and did a little bit of co-sleeping on particularly rough nights. Always remember that if you decide to co-sleep, to follow all recommended safety protocols. I will note that lots of parents do put their new baby in their own room right off the bat and that is great. Then a crib would be an essential item if you decide that's best for you.
Blankets/Swaddles. Most babies love to be swaddled and all babies need to be cozy and warm! The new world is a lot chillier than mama's snug and toasty womb.
Pacifiers. I contemplated whether or not to add this to the essentials list. Some babies take them and some don't. I decided to throw it on this list as they are nice to have around right away if it helps baby (and you!) out. My son never took to a soother and I've talked to mom's that don't know what they would've done without them!
Diaper Cream. I'd put this is on my essentials list because those sensitive little bums are very prone to diaper rash. In fact, it doesn't hurt to apply a little cream often to help prevent rashes from blooming up.
Breast Pump and Bottles. Even if you plan to EBF (Exclusively Breast Feed), it's very much a good idea to have a breast pump on hand. Even if it's just a little manual one. I did EBF with my babies and I always find pumping once in a while inevitably happens. (For a little more info see: Why Buy a Pump if I'm Going to Breastfeed?)
Nursing Bras. For breastfeeding mamas, stock up on a few comfortable nursing bras because you will be living in them for quite some time. I got a couple bras with cups and underwire and a couple soft fabric bras. The stretchy fabric ones are great for at home or even sleeping in.
Nipple cream and Breast pads. Again for those who are breastfeeding, these are a necessity. Those nipples take a bit to toughen up in the first few days so have cream ready to go in your hospital bag. For breast pads, it's good to have for milk leakage. Some women find they hardly leak and don't really need them, whereas others can't go without them. Better to have them on hand just in case!
Burp Cloths. There's always going to be some spit up and formula fed babies typically have more coming up than breastfed babies (Though of course BF babies aren't immune to some lovely projectile spit ups too). Having burp clothes or even just using extra little swaddles lying around will hopefully prevent you having to change your outfit 20 times a day.
Newborn Hats. I'd say just 1 or 2 hats are fine and if you feel like having more around later then you can add that to the shopping list.
Socks. These can have a double purpose. Not only do socks keep your little one's feet warm, but you can use them as scratch mittens as well. I never did by the mittens or get around to it so I just used socks or I had a few onesies that came with caps on the sleeves you could fold over their hands.
Snowsuit/Coat if born in winter. If you live up North like me where winters can feel like -40 degrees with wind chill, you definitely need some snow gear.
Car seat. Can't take your baby home without a car seat! Make sure whatever one you get is safety approved and not expired.
Change table. Newborns are teeny tiny and easy to change just about anywhere. I frequently changed my babies on my lap while sitting in our car in a parking lot. A change table or pad is most definitely something you can get later on.
Crib. Assuming you won't be putting your baby in the crib for the first few days/weeks/even months, then I'd say this is not an absolute essential to have before baby comes. (I know, I know. The nursery won't look complete without it, but I'm just saying that that's 100% OK if the crib comes later on!).
Rocking chair/Nursing Chair. Super nice to have, but you can survive without one. Due to our budget we just couldn't buy a lot of furniture items all at once and the rocking chair came later.
Shoes. In my opinion, newborn shoes are needless. I got one pair and after trying to get that little foot in one for so long, only to have it slide off while I wrestled with the other foot, I chucked 'em aside into the give away box. I just did socks and if my baby needed extra warmth, blankets and/or easy slip on booties were the way to go.
Highchair. No pressure to have the high chair already as your little baby won't be touching food until they are at least 6 months old.
Toys. Eat, sleep, poop, repeat. That's a newborn's life for the first couple weeks so toys don't need to be around yet. Even when newborns do start to notice objects more and eventually begin grasping items, you do not need a ton of toys.
Baby Monitor. If baby is not sleeping in their own space yet, you can wait on the monitor.
Did I miss anything on these lists that you'd add as essential or non-essential? Comment below!