How to Decide What to Buy When Having a Baby

So you find yourself expecting a brand new bundle of joy—congratulations! Parenthood is entering the world of the unknown, but the good news is that you can prepare yourself for much of the unexpected ahead of baby’s arrival. It can be tricky to decide where to begin, but these categories of baby gear can get you focused and ready to go; baby care, babywear, and baby’s room.

Baby Care Items to Buy:

Feeding

The baby will need to be fed one way or another and is one of the major jobs parents have in the first few weeks. If you plan to breastfeed, nursing pads and chafing creams are helpful; a breast pump is also great to have around so other caregivers can assist in feeding. If you bottle-feed baby, it’s prudent to try out multiple different styles of the bottle. Every baby will have different needs and preferences, so keep an open mind on which brand of bottle you choose. Keep in mind if you are bottle-feeding, there are varying nipple sizes based on the age of your child that moderate flow and volume, so be sure to get ones that are appropriate for your child’s age.

Diapering/Toiletries

Diapers. So many diapers. If you choose to use cloth diapers, make sure you have plenty on deck in case laundry doesn’t get done. There are also many chic options for cloth diaper covers to help catch what the cloth misses. Disposable diapers are convenient, but stinky-do yourself a favor and invest in a scent-reducing diaper disposal system; your nostrils will thank you. Much like with bottles, each baby will wear diapers differently, so feel free to experiment with brands and sizes to discover what works best for your child. Don’t forget the wipes! Or the diaper cream. Bath time essentials you’ll want before the baby comes home include:

  • a baby tub
  • baby safe shampoo
  • washcloths
  • cozy towels
  • unscented body wash

Sleeping Needs

There are so many items on the market designed to make like as parents easier. Fussy sleeper? Try a fluid-motion rocker or sound machine. Swings and activity chairs are great fun for when baby gets older, but many pediatricians recommend against so-called walker toys due to the risk of injury. Simple and soft toys are perfect for the first few months and beyond when your child is tempted to put everything under the sun into their mouth. Essential oil diffusers are growing in popularity with parents everywhere. However, there is no evidence this will do much more than making the room smell soothing and pleasant.

Baby Wear Items to Buy:

Clothes

So, a lot of clothes. Try to choose items that are comfortable and season-appropriate in multiple sizes. Kids will grow and grow, but the rate is far from predictable. Keeping a few items around in the next size up comes in handy when you discover your beloved offspring has grown 3 inches overnight! Swaddles and blankets of all weights and sizes will also be a must. Muslin is a popular fabric because it is lightweight. Fleece is also well-received due to its cozy, soft feel. Blankets and swaddles of any size can also be used in a pinch as a play mat for the floor.

Kid Carriers

A new addition doesn’t mean you stop doing the things you’ve always done; it just looks a little different. To start, a car seat is necessary for safe transportation for even the briefest trips with baby. There are a lot of options on the market for car seats, including stroller/car seat combination systems that easily transition from vehicle to stroller. Of course, there will be times you can’t or don’t want to keep your child in a stroller. Baby-wearing is a great way to bond with your baby and keep hands free to manage other tasks. Child carriers are similar to bottles and diapers-be willing to try different options until you find what works.

Baby’s Room Items to Buy:

A place to snooze

Children have an incredible ability to sleep anywhere, but you will still want a crib, a bassinet, or both. A bassinet is a great option for parents who would like to keep their infants close to them while sleeping. Cribs have the benefit of growing with your child; many options on the market have adjustable levels and panels that can be removed as your baby grows into a toddler. For frequent travelers, a pack and play is a convenient and portable crib system that can be quickly set-up for snoozes on-the-go.

A place to put your feet up

Parents will spend many nighttime hours in their child’s room. Late-night feeding, changing, and snuggling can leave any parent with enough reason to take a break. Invest in a nice glider, recliner, or rocking chair and make the most of those memories. A changing table is a great convenience for diapering (especially in the middle of the night). Surely, it’s fully stocked with diapers, wipes, diaper ointment/cream, baby powder, and any other of your favorite products.

A place to call home

Choose decorative items that create a space you enjoy being in. Pictures, wall hangings, mobiles, and plants all help create a calming atmosphere. Lighting also provides a calm ambiance; dim light bulbs, nightlights, and color-changing lamps are all popular options. Many parents report using a red-tinted light bulb in their lamp for nighttime changing and feeding helps ease their babies back to sleep. Air humidifiers placed in the baby’s room can ease their breathing, further ensuring a restful night of sleep.

There is a lot of new information for new parents to digest when expecting a baby, and wading through the ocean of the unknown can feel like a daunting task. Preparing ahead of the new arrival can make the transition easier for parents and baby. When it comes to buying baby gear, remember to have a plan, but be flexible, and think baby care, babywear, and baby’s room.