One of my friends is expecting a baby in July. At the weekend, we went round and saw some of the things they’ve got ready for the arrival of the baby, and it got me thinking. I found it difficult to choose things before Ben was born. I didn’t want to get too much set up, just in case (we also had building work going on at the time, and I didn’t want to get everything dusty). At times, even thinking about what to buy made me anxious.
However, since having the baby, I can look back on that process with a bit of perspective. We did some things right (for example, I didn’t buy any breastfeeding ‘kit’ before the birth because I didn’t know if I would be able to breastfeed), and I would do some things differently (we had a second hand pram; I wish we’d spent a bit extra on a new one of my choice).
I’m going to attempt to put together a list of the essentials and desirables for the first few months. I know many such lists exist, but hopefully this will be helpful for you, as well as for me, should we have another baby. I’ll also try to put links to examples where I can. Ben was a very sicky baby, so I had to do a lot of washing etc. Many babies aren’t like this, but some are, so the quantities of clothing are on the generous side!
We chose to dress Ben in coloured or patterned clothes during the day and white at night to help him to distinguish night from day.
- Vests – 10 x Newborn, 10 x 0-3 months. I would have 5 x white (for night time) and 5 x coloured/patterned (for day time) in each size. You might like to have some long-sleeved vests as well for colder days.
- Babygros – 10 x Newborn, 10 x 0-3 months. You will probably be given lots of these, but it’s nice to buy some yourself. Again, I would have half white (for night time) and half coloured/patterned. Make sure you get the ones with scratch mitts built in.
- 1 or 2 ‘outfits‘ – bearing in mind a baby spends a lot of time lying down, make sure these are comfortable.
- 2-3 hats – you need some for the hospital, but you will also need a hat for when the baby is outside, and a sun hat for summer babies.
- Snowsuit – Ben wore his snowsuit from October to March. Summer babies will still need a coat of some kind.
- 3-4 cardigans – These are hard to find without hoods, especially for boys! I found Gap was the best for jumpers and cardigans for Ben. Cardigans are easiest to start with, as they can be unbuttoned rather than pulled over the head.
- Bibs – I was given 12 bibs at my baby shower and they were the most useful gift I received.
- Muslin cloths – so, so useful. Plain white is fine (and can be washed hot), but coloured ones make a nice gift.
For Moses Basket or Crib:
When the baby moves into a cot, most people choose to use sleeping bags.
- Fitted sheets x 4
- Sleeping bags x 2 – 2.5 tog for winter; 1 tog for summer
- Cellular blankets x 2 – I often had to tuck a blanket over Ben in the winter as he was cold
Furniture and Toys
- Crib/moses basket/cot
- Change mat
- Baby Monitor
- Baby Gym
- Bouncy chair
- Nappy Bin
- Bottles and Steriliser – you will still use these even if you breastfeed. You may also like to think about a breast pump.
- Baby bath – I found this really useful as I wouldn’t have been confident bathing Ben in the big bath until he was a lot bigger.
- Hooded towels – they don’t last long, but they’re so cute! Again, this is a lovely gift.
Out and About
- Pram or Travel System. This is a huge decision to make, but I’ve heard very good things about this one. It’s also much better value than some.
- Car Seat – if you get one that is compatible with your car seat, you won’t regret it. Then you can transfer the baby straight to the ‘wheels’ without any disturbance. Now Ben is in a forward-facing car seat and a pushchair, I miss this!
- Isofix Base – this allows you to clip the car seat in and out of the car quickly and easily.
- Change bag – I have a Cath Kidston one, and am really happy with it, but I think this depends on your style – after all, it’s pretty much your handbag once the baby is born.
One thing I’ve learned is that babies go through clothes incredibly fast. If you see something you like on offer, don’t be afraid to buy it in a bigger size – he or she will grow in to it! I also take advantage of 25% off offers and sales all the time. Shopping for children is so easy, it’s hard to know when to stop!
What do you think I’ve missed? Let me know!