What you do and don't need
Okay, so when you're pregnant, you've got a lot of time on your hands, right? I mean, it's growing away in there, but there's not much else you can do with it, except spend all your time thinking about it, and shopping for it. Right? Of course I'm right.
So, you see all these cute, pretty, itty bitty things that capture your eye and your heart, and make your ovaries squeal with delight, and, if you're anything like me, you find yourself building a little collection of baby things (and sometimes hiding things from your other half, shhh). Super fun!
But then, one day, baby arrives, and again, if you're anything like me, you'll suddenly discover that you have been both over and under-prepared for this tiny human. As in, smack yourself in the forehead, 'how could I have not thought of that' kind of moment. The practicality of having a baby can be vastly different to the romantic daydream of pregnancy!
So, I thought I'd run through a few of these. Some of them might lend you a laugh, but hopefully, if you're on the waiting end of the game, it might save you either money, or stress.
What you DO need.
- Turns out, despite knowing from day ONE that my baby was going to be a winter baby, somehow, after she arrived, I realised I didn't actually have practical everyday winter clothes for a newborn. I hadn't bought jumpers, or warm onesies, or winter hats for her!
- Singlets. For babies, singlets are their underwear. And not the open-ended ones, get the singlet suits that snap shut under their butt. And more than one (they poo a lot).
- Plain cloth nappies. The old-school white ones. Perfect as burp cloths, or to pop under them when changing somewhere that isn't the change table, or if you have a happy chucker (Tilly is a notorious spewer, it's so gross). Get at least twenty of them- you'll be washing a lot.
- Feeding pillow. If you're breastfeeding, this is actually really necessary. I fobbed it off when I was pregnant- how hard could it be to hold a baby for feeding?- but holy cow, they are heavy things! Your neck and back will thank you profusely for giving them the support they need for the endless feeding sessions.
- Basic onesies. Okay, so the bulk of my pregnancy spending was on cute little outfits. I was super excited to dress up my little 'doll' and take pretty photos and have her just be the cutest damn thing ever, from day one. But you know what? Babies don't much like having their clothes changed over and over again, and they don't like being squished into things, and if somehow neither of those things are a problem for your baby, the sheer exhaustion of attempting to dress them up every day will put you off. Oh, and did I mention babies are wet? It comes out both ends. Nice clothes don't survive. Get a bunch of soft, easy-to-do-up onesies. Those tiny, soft-skinned bodies don't need anything else in those first few weeks.
- Multiples of basically everything, in every place you can think of. Towels, sheets, nappies, wipes, changes of clothes. I set up replicas of all the things I needed in multiple places- in the lounge room, in the car, in the nappy bag. It's amazing how suddenly you can need something, and realise it's too far away to reach.
- Blankets. Again, with a winter baby, I don't know how I missed it, but we brought her home, and I suddenly realised I was supposed to keep her warm when she slept. And I didn't have any proper, safe blankets for her bed. I'm embarrassed to admit she most likely spent the first couple of nights at home cold at night, before it clicked and I fixed it. Babies can't regulate their body temperature, so they need to be kept warm. A swaddle or sleeping bag on its own is not enough!
- Baby bath. We bathed Tilly in the laundry tub for the first couple of weeks, but when she got too long to stretch out in it, we had to move her to the bath. Problem is, bath is down on the ground, which means you gotta get down there too. And it takes a lot more water. Really wish we had bought a baby bath- even if it was just one that you can sit on the bench. Oh, but if you do use the big person bath, get a knee cushion! Your knees will thank you for it!
- Practical, non-pretty things, such as a room thermometer, body thermometer, baby Panadol, hand sanitizer etc. I had to go back to the chemist more times than I care to admit.
What you DON'T need.
- Basically anything expensive. The temptation to buy all the fancy stuff is huge, like swanky rockers and swings and bassinets and clothes and toys etc. But babies are fickle things- just because you like something doesn’t mean they’re going to as well. Let’s just say our beautiful bassinet was used for a total of 5 days before Tilly was moved to her cot- she just didn’t sleep in it! And luckily the bouncy swing thing we have was donated to us by a friend, because she absolutely HATES it. Would have been a ridiculous waste of money if I’d bought the beautiful one I really wanted.
- Anything gimmicky. Baby stores, and even those sneaky Facebook ads that target you because you thought the word ‘baby’ can overwhelm you with all the things you ‘need’ for baby. But babies are also really simple. Don’t over complicate life by buying every gadget you see. Wait until you get used to life with bub, and if you find the need for something, then get it. And believe me, you don’t need a nappy disposal unit- get a bin. What a rip off.
- Clothes. Yeah, I know I keep mentioning clothes, but holy cow, it’s embarrassing how much I focused on her wardrobe. For starters, like I said, things get pooped and spewed on, so the pretty stuff is out. But people have a tendency to buy clothes for baby too, and babies grow so fast, you’ll actually find that a lot of what you buy never even sees the light of day. Unless you have great control over the well-meaning gift givers in your life, and you can ward off the clothes brigade, you’ll be looking for places to store stuff, and then discovering things that you never even got to use, because Baby is already too big.
- Too much information. This might seem counter-intuitive, but Google is not your friend at 3am, and reading ten different books on how to raise Baby will just confuse and strain you. Of course, learn about what’s to come, but trust your gut first and foremost, and if in doubt, ask someone who actually knows what they’re talking about (like your doctor/midwife etc).
- Oh, and hoods (sorry, clothes again!). Baby clothes do not need hoods! They're dangerous, and highly impractical on a newborn. Avoid them.
I’m stoked that some of the outfits I bought for tiny one while I was pregnant are finally starting to fit her. Even if she speed all over them the moment I put them on her, at least I can get a semi decent photo of them, to prove they existed, and justify their purpose ;)