What do you really need to buy for your baby?
Ok. So you are having a baby and everyone is an expert. Telling you what you MUST buy. Lets take a step back and think about things a little before you spend thousands of dollars out of obligation and guilt. First things first, this is YOUR BABY you need to make your own decisions and remember a few things. Your parents most likely have not had a baby in 20+ years. Times have changed. Your friends may or may not have had babies. Advice is nice but you know what is best for you. Do you have to buy new or is second hand good enough? Well that depends on the item in question and your financial situation. If you don't have a lot of money food, shelter and warmth are far more important than Osh Kosh and Baby Gap.
Once upon a time a babies cot was just that. A cot with a mattress some nice warm bedding and perhaps a mobile hanging off the side. These days a monitor is considered to be a must and there are numerous devices such as wedges to keep baby slepping on their back. Lets break it down.
Cot: A new cot is a nice look but some babies are chewers and your nice shiny cot might not look so good after one or more babies have used it. If you are short of cash save yourself some money with a second hand cot.
Mattress: A new mattress is an essential purchase. Used matresses harbour mites and are a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) otherwise known as cot death.
Monitor: Personally I don't like monitors. They only seem to go off when you forget to switch them off prior to picking up baby. This is most likely to occur in the small hours of the morning adding additional stress for all involved. I however am in the minority with this opinion and most new parents gain re-assurance by having a monitor for their baby. Our monitor (yes we have one) also has temperature settings and portable handsets which allow you to go out in the garden whilst baby sleeps.
Wedge: All babies are different. Ours really benefitted from using a sleeping wedge in the initial months. Sleeping on the back is considered the safest from a SIDS perspective and a wedge is a great way to establish this.
Sleep sack: We swore by our sleep sacks and our now 2 year old still uses sleeping bags. Unless you are a world champion swaddler your baby is going to get arms and legs loose during the night. Sleep sacks keep those wandering limbs nice and warm and under control. They help prevent baby rolling over, at least in the early stages and they seemed to comfort our little man. When he is in his sleeping bag he knows it is time to sleep. Apart from which they look so cute in their suits. Our guy had a lime green one when he was a newborn which made him look like a cuddly caterpiller.
Bath: Babies get dirty OFTEN. The key to bathroom and cleaning is about saving mum and dads backs. A baby bath is a fantastic way of washing your baby whilst you stand up. We used a baby bath and migrated our boy to the shower quite early in the piece. He still likes an occaisional bath but he really enjoys a shower with mum or dad.
Change Table: Most people I know have change tables in the babies room. The choice is yours and will depend on which rooms have the most space. You can get baths that double as change tables. The key once again is parental comfort, you will not believe how much strain is on your back before they start walking. Wherever you set up your change table make sure that wipes, nappies and creams are all easily accessible with one hand. The other hand will be needed to hold babies legs away from dirty nappies etc. When they get older you will be amazed at how much they can wriggle. Every parent has at least one nappy change disaster story.
Some fairly obvious requirements here. You need a sturdy highchair that you can strap baby into. As they get older they love a climb. The last thing you want is baby falling out of the highchair onto the tile floor. There are hundreds of baby friendly utensils and cutlery out there and you will be amazed at how soon they are able to attempt to feed themselves. For obvious reasons you will need bibs of all shapes and sizes. Small cloth bibs for general use particularly when baby is teething and larger bibs for eating. The "catcher" bibs are great for controlling errant food. Lately we have found some final smock bibs which cover the arms and front.
You need to choose your pram/s carefully. Strollers are a good lightweight option if you are walking on flat, even ground. If there is any hint of bumpy ground in you daily walk I strongly recomend the larger three wheeled prams. You do not need to spend a fortune on your baby transport just make sure that the pram you buy is suitable for its intended use. Also remember your baby is going to grow at an amazing rate. Avoid the cute prams that baby will grow out of in a few months.
Well thats all I can think of for the time being. Parenthood is a wonderful journey and it is amazing watching young children develop on a daily basis. Enjoy your baby. Play with them, teach them and communicate with them constantly. Don't become obsessed with buying the most expensive products or clothes. Remember that you have friends and family who will shower your baby with toys and presents.
Give your baby love and they will respond a hundredfold.