There are millions of new baby checklists across Pinterest and the internet. If you've been pregnant for five minutes, someone has probably sent you one. You may think you need that automatic nappy bagging bin, a crib that will jiggle baby up and down and a whole lot else. But, as most parents will tell you, you probably don't need all those things. Sure, some of them might be helpful but if you're looking at the lists and wondering if babies come with their own money trees to afford all that, don't stress. There are only a few things you really need, and the rest can be nice to have.
If you drive, or are driven, in a car, you need a car seat. Get the safest one you can afford. Whether you use an Isofix car seat - that clips directly onto the car frame through the seat cushions - or one secured with the seatbelt, ensure that it is always properly and safely secured. If you walk or take public transport like trains and buses, the best option is a baby carrier secured to the front of your body (so that you can sit comfortably). Baby carriers, especially the soft wraps, are also incredibly helpful when baby is tiny and you need to do things and can't put our baby down.
Deciding where your baby will sleep is personal and different for every parent. What you do need is a safe place for them to sleep, whether that's a moses basket, a co-sleeper, or a crib. What does safe entail:
It should be versatile enough to last from newborn to 2 or 3, as that is when kids usually transition to a more grown up bed. But what you choose is up to you. Many parents like to keep their babies close in the first few months, and a bed that is easy to move from room to room can be useful. Others prefer the structure and built in routine of an immovable crib. You might be prefer a combination or something completely different.
Also, whereas most baby monitors are either attached to the bed or placed beneath the mattress, leaving them open to frequent false alarms, the Snuza breathing monitor attaches directly to your baby's nappy. This gives you the freedom to sleep when your baby is sleeping, safe in the knowledge that if there is any issue with their breathing, you will be woken immediately.
There are 1000s of checklists telling you how many outfits to have, how many bibs, onesies, blankets and nappies to stock up on. But basically, you need enough to get you from laundry to laundry, and that will look different to everyone.
Babies frequently soil their clothes and bedding, often requiring multiple changes per day (both of clothes and bedding). Babies should wear on average, one layer of clothes more than a grown up. Obviously this will look different in winter than in summer. And they grow out of nappies quickly. Stock up on a few different sizes and brands before baby is born, but don't stockpile. You might end up with thousands of newborn size nappies that your baby grew out of in two weeks. And don't forget the bum cream! You'll need to use it with every nappy change for at least the first few years.
You'll also need a comfortable and safe place to change nappies. Whether that's a beautiful compactum with Pinterest-worthy storage, or a conveniently sized table, it doesn't matter. As long as it is comfortable for you (you'll be doing many, many changes there over the next few years, make sure it doesn't kill your back!) and your baby can't easily roll off it, it's great. Oh, and get some cheap cloth nappies. Even if you use disposables, these thin towels make excellent multi-purpose cloths, for everything from spit up to nappy leaks, and they dry quickly.
Here are a few other things that are really nice to have
Of course, there are hundreds of other things that are nice. Those automatic nappy bins are great, and swirling mobiles that sing soothing lullabies are wonderful. But if you're feeling stressed because you can't possibly afford everything, we hope that this list calms your fears. Once you can transport your child, and they are warm, dry and have a safe place to sleep, the rest is nice to have. What your baby needs the very most is two calm, confident parents who know that they will figure it out. You've got this, guys.