So about all this baby stuff… send help.

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Last week I called my insurance to tell them I was pregnant and try to figure out how much birthing a baby costs. It went like this:

Me: Hi- I’m pregnant.

Insurance lady: Congratulations!

AWKWARD SILENCE, during which I start reverting to the linguistic skills of a middle school girl.

Me: Um, I wasn’t sure if I should like, call and tell an adult or something.

Insurance lady: Ma’am, do you need help? Are you an adult?

Me: No- I mean, yes, technically, but like, I’ve never done this, so I thought maybe I should report in or something so that you all, like, KNOW, that I’m having a baby or whatever.

Insurance lady: Well, we can see that you have been making regular visits to an OBGYN and having ultrasounds, so I think we figured it out.

And so on it went, until I kind of just declared, “Do I need to like DO anything?”

Because that is my question, always my question, at every doctor’s appointment or official anything – should I be doing something? And lately it occurred to me that maybe we should think about starting to get some baby stuff and register, as we have showers coming up before too long, and even though 18 weeks left feels like forever, it isn’t, and I hear that it isn’t socially acceptable to just stick my baby in a cardboard box-Finnish style. But the thing is, I keep on waiting around for someone to walk up and hand me a list of what we actuallyย need, whatย babies need, what we should be registering and shopping for. Left to my own devices, I just keep stockpiling woodland creature-themed outerwear, but baby cannot live by fleece bear suits alone. And so, dear Opinionated Masses of the Internet —


Here are our limiting factors:

We live in a small city apartment. This means we can’t have multiples of things (ie, kid gets a crib or a bassinet- not both, a regular stroller or a jogger – not both, etc.). We also can’t really indulge in anything that is hyper age specific, like just for those newborn weeks/months, unless it is genuinely a NECESSITY. Luckily, some people have stepped up to loan us those things and they are my favorite people. Anything that goes in our “nursery” (“Wasteland of Boxes”), has to be pretty gender neutral and multi-use too, as future babies will also share that space and those belongings. And finally, we are city parents, which means lotttttsssss of walking and hauling on the worst cobblestone sidewalks ever, thus we plan to invest more in baby-carting-mechanisms than any sort of baby-containment-structures that will clog up the precious space around our apartment. On Sunday James and I plan to go strolling into a baby store… and I am seriously hoping to outsource my research to you fine people beforehand, as a quick Google search of things like “what do I need for a baby” had me curled in the fetal position, overwhelmed and preemptively broke.

Best stroller for walking long distances over sidewalks and still light enough for me to carry it easily up a flight of stairs?

Ergo? Bjorn? Wrap?

Convertible high chair that is still compact? Car seats?

Noise machines? Monitors? (Are these gadgets even necessary?)

The magic powder that makes your baby sleep through the night from day one and stop blowouts before they happen?


ย UPDATE: You all are for real the best. I just finished reading through every last word in all the comments, Facebook messages, emails, and texts that I have gotten from you all- well over a hundred of them. It helped me make a “common denominator” list of what we are wanting to look at. I wasn’t able to comment back to most people, but please know that I read and appreciated every last word. I also really loved that, even though many people disagreed, both here and over on Facebook, no one got catty or petty. Too often those two words typify mom exchanges because everyone has ALL THE EMOTIONS about child rearing. Anyways, thank you!!!

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63 Responses to So about all this baby stuff… send help.

  1. mindygroff says:

    You will be asking “Do I need to like DO anything?” for the rest of your child’s life. We recently got a list of everything our 14 months old son should have been doing at 12 months, and realized that we had never ATTEMPTED giving him a fork or spoon, so of course he didn’t know how to use one! Ah, the joys of parenting.

    But really – when you go to register the store will give you a ridiculously long list of things you “need.” You don’t. That list was made by people whose job it is to sell you things. My very frugal, wise, mother-of-three friend made a list of her ideal baby registry, and it is amazingly helpful.

    Also, keep in mind that you are never more than 2 days away from an Amazon box, or probably 30 minutes from a store where they sell everything you do actually need. I have sent Brian, more than once, on late-night runs for Baby Tylenol or a replacement pacifier or something that is actually necessary, in that moment, for our children to eat and sleep. As long as they are doing those 2 things you will survive!

  2. kmkersting says:

    Hannah! This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I just sent a very similar plea to one of my veteran-mommy closest friends yesterday, and today she sent me THE most helpful email I have read in ages. She included all sorts of things to register for (and even has links!), what not to register for, and the things that were “lifesavers” when they had their babygirl! If it’s not too weird (since you don’t really know my friend or myself :)) I’d be more than happy to share her insights with you! I can claim no credit, and I will not. But, I found her little novella email super helpful and think all new moms should hear this info at one point or another.

  3. abby hummel says:

    Carrier: I have used the Ergo at least 4x/week since last September. (And I also LOVE my Maya sling if you are getting 2.)
    Crib: Annie was in a pack and play for 12 months. She is now in a crib while Thomas is in the pack-n-play. You could totes just start with the PnP and see if a crib is a necessity.
    Clothes: If you have laundry in your apartment you only need like 5-6 outfits per size. I bet I have only used 1/3 of Annie’s clothes ever. (EXCEPT HER PARISIAN DRESSES, OF COURSE.)
    We also love our boppy (get a cooler cover though, what is UP with the ridiculous options at the store!?!)
    Aden/Anais swaddler blankets… a 4-pack is not enough.
    And just get a booster seat or a camp-chair that attaches to your table instead of a high chair!
    We liked our Amazon registry, but whatever is easiest for your friends & family is best.

    You REALLY do not need very much, and while it’s nice to register for stuff while people are buying it for showers, anything YOU are going to buy can be ordered anytime. You can always wait and see what he needs!

    • abby hummel says:

      Also, I am apparently a savage… I just change diapers on the floor.

      • Tami VanOpstal says:

        I’m a savage, too, Abby ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Emily W says:

        I had a changing table and never used it! The floor is the way to go! I just keep a basket with diapers and wipes in each area of the house, ready for a diaper change whenever it’s needed. For the early months when they’re messy, I just keep a changing mat (receiving blanket, dish towel, whatever) in there too, to catch anything that escapes. Oh and word to the wise!!: This boy will pee on you!!! Haha! Or all over his own face! I always put a wipe over the top of them the moment I open the diaper. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Jessy K says:

      Yes Yes Yes Yes. I was about to write all of the above. Abby beat me!
      Pay the ridiculous amount for the Ergo. It is worth it.
      Pack and Play all the way! They have a bassinet insert so you don’t have to bend all the way down when they are little and a changing table that folds away. We never bothered with a crib.
      Everyone will try to give you clothes. SO MANY clothes. You will use 0.0001% of them. You will tell people not to get you clothes. They will not listen. Do not wash them. Leave the tags on so you can at least attempt to return/exchange the thousands of onesies you will end up with. My daughter wore a diaper and was wrapped in a Aden&Anais swaddle blanket for the first 2 months of her life (it was summer time). She literally never wore any of the clothes she was given.
      Get the Aden&Anais swaddles. The knock offs are not as soft.
      You won’t need a boppy/booster seat/high chair for the first few months so you can always wait and see what you will want later.
      We do end up using an actual changing table multiple times a day. I store all the clothes, diapers, toys, puppy pads (yes!), wipes, etc that my baby needs on the shelves. No need for any other dresser or storage. It saves us a lot of space.
      The bad news: you don’t know what bouncy seat, swing, vibrating doodad your baby will like until they are here! We were fortunate to borrow many of these miracle devices from friends, try them, and then return them if not needed.
      Yay babies!

    • themortiers says:

      Go with the floor!

  4. Amber says:

    I’m also expecting #1 this spring and there is SO much stuff that babies “need.” I have no real advice to give, just info on research and tips I’ve found useful.

    1.) Research a few items before going to the baby store. It is huge and overwhelming. If you research a few things in advance then you can really inspect those items in person to make sure it is up to the quality you are looking for!

    2.) Space savers I’ve found include: Rock ‘n play over bassinet (RnP folds up and parents swear by it). High chair that attaches to a dining room chair. Playmats that fold up. Changing pad on top of dresser. We went with Britax traveling system and seems to fold up pretty small but I know there are more compact stroller systems out there. We’re also doing the Moby wrap and the Ergo 360 for when baby is bigger.

    3.) Borrow all the things!

    Good luck!

  5. Hey i know you love to read…. here is a great book our family has loved & Shared and there is a series to it as well after the birth, but it’s a great informative book ” What to Expect When you Expecting” .

  6. besuess says:

    My brain is a little too foggy at the moment to give you a “complete” list, but here are a few of our favorites/most needed. We had our daughter in our 500 sq ft apartment and now have two children under two (oh my!) in a 650 sq ft apartment (with no kitchen…but that’s another story and not recommended with babies).
    Baby carrier: Ergo 360 or Beco Gemini – highly recommend one that the babe can be outward facing in the front because they love it! We have the Beco and it’s great for the infant seat width adjustment (but no pocket in the front which I wish it had).
    Clothes: 5 pack of white onesies in each size, 5 pairs of pajamas (with zippers – so much easier than a million snaps) in each size (less as they move out of the spit up phase), 5 drool bibs (recruit a crafty friend to make some of those cute ones!), no more than 3 cute outfits in the small sizes as they are often super comfy kickin’ around in jammers, a couple of hats, and we LOVED the Zutano cozy booties (I wouldn’t get smaller than 6 month size – these things stay on SO well and keep their icicle toes cozy) – borrow, secondhand, etc. Old Navy is pretty good for those fleece full bodies suits to keep them warm when out on walks.
    Pack of 10-12 prefold diapers for burp cloths.
    Inglesina fast table chair. LOVE. We take this thing everywhere with us and it makes our meals at home and out enjoyable.
    A few spoons and forks (we like the RePlay ones).
    I just used little mason jars for baby food for fresh or frozen.
    An immersion hand blender in a quart size mason jar was wonderful for baby food making.
    2 bottles with low flow nipples.
    Lansinoh lanolin and soothie gel pads.
    2-3 nursing bras – I have hated all of them so I’m no help here.
    2-3 nighttime nursing bras and/or tank tops like the Majama easy bra/Target Gilligan & Oโ€™Malley nursing cami
    Reusable breast pads.
    Your insurance should cover a breast pump 100% – you can call to find out what they offer.
    Milk storage bags (if you plan to pump).
    We got the Bloom Alma crib (spendy! but found it secondhand – our daughter started in there from day one and is 20 months and just making the switch to the toddler bed so baby brother can move into the crib out of the borrowed mini arms reach co-sleeper) + 2 sets of sheets + mattress protector
    We have the Herschel Supply Little America backpack for a diaper bag and have been big fans. Each person has their own “capsule” within and we stay organized and hands free + the JJ Cole changing clutch.
    Changing pad with 2 covers (also nice to have a couple of changing pad liners that saves having to change the cover – prefold diapers work reasonably well too, but are not waterproof like the liners).
    Someone lent us the Puj tub insert that stores flat, but honestly I just used a folded up towel in the sink and it was less slippery and one less thing to keep around.
    HoMedics sound spa for a sound machine – those babies are noisy so for your sake and theirs. We like that this one has battery backup so we can take it with us easily if napping at someone else’s place.
    Video monitor – I know. Excessive. But we’ve found it so helpful for determining whether we need to go in and for sleep training.
    We used the MIracle Blanket for swaddling (and just didn’t tuck the feet in the pouch when they got a little bigger) with an Aden and Anais light swaddle blanket over top.
    Sleepsacks (one or two in each size – depends on how stressed you be if one got thrown up or pooed on and they had to go sackless).
    Nursing cover (or not! It’s a protected right to nurse anywhere uncovered) – Uddercovers has a million promos for free ones (as in $15 shipping and handling) or I use an Aden and Anais light swaddle blanket or a scarf tucked into my bra strap and draped to provide a little cover.
    Jogging stroller if your sidewalks suck or just the baby carrier. We also now have a tiny umbrella stroller (old school TINY one with a fanny pack around the handles for storing keys and such – we keep it in our tiny car).
    Toys – Lamaze Mortimer the Moose was an early favorite toy for both of our kids. They love that thing. The baby links (like Bright Startโ€™s) are great in and of themselves and for hooking on other toys. I also eventually caved and got the Ikea โ€œbaby gymโ€ and itโ€™s been a hit for both of our kids. Some kind of teether thing is good too, but a wooden spoon works too.
    We honestly donโ€™t have much else besides this stuff.
    (Plus a carseat – We have the Diono Radian convertible seat which is awesome and fits 3 across in a midsize car, but itโ€™s super heavy so great safety ratings, but not great for switching between cars and air travel).
    Good luck and I love the comment that Amazon can get you just about anything in a few days. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. themortiers says:

    So exciting!!! You don’t need everything they say you do, but a lot of it is preference. Basically what Abby said… we love our Ergo and I used it all the time, even while pregnant with the next. I don’t use it as much now but it’s still comfortable with my my 2 and 3 year old (Ev not so much ;)). We got a $20 booster seat that strap to a chair and it has worked great. I also loved our bumbo but that only works for 3-4 months. Someone gave us a bassinet but we never used it. Crib or rock’n play worked much better for us (or pack n play). I did like having a bouncy seat or something besides their bed that I could move around… in the kitchen, bathroom, etc. but the car seat could also work. Since we don’t live in a city so we didn’t invest quite as much in strollers. I know Kjer loved having a good one (phil & ted) when they were in Baltimore.
    Oh and depending on how big your apartment is and where the bedrooms are, you may not need a monitor. I stopped using ours quite a few years ago – if they need me I can hear them and I don’t want to hear every other noise. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have often wished for a video monitor though bc babies are just so cute (esp when they don’t know you’re watching)!!!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Have fun!

  8. Janna says:

    Long time reader and I really reaaaallllly emotionally connect with your plea. My husband and I were living in the city (SF) when we found out we were pregnant. ALL of my other new mom friends had these huge registering and (enormous) houses to put it all in. We had a 950sq ft apt. and walked most places.

    I brought my baby home from the hospital with the following already purchased. Everything was washed/ready to be used immediately when we may need to try it:
    1.) breast pump ordered for free from insurance company (I planned to breast feed). Boppy breast feeding pillow.
    2.) 4 pack of bottles. Later bought more in another brand to try- every baby prefers something different when it comes to bottles.
    3.) about 12 footed long sleeve pjs in 0-3 month and 2 in newborn sizes
    4.) a cradle that was made by a family member (he refused to sleep in it so we stored baby stuff in it)
    5.) modest pack of newborn diapers, wipes and 2 water proof changing pads that could be used on the carpet or on the couch. We never bought a proper changing pad, no need.
    6.) ergo – he was 2 weeks old when I ordered a sling off amazon prime. Ergo seems more fit for the 3m old+. While a sling worked from 0-12m. Whoever else mentioned that is right, order what you need as you figure out what you’re “missing”.
    7.) a smaller reclining “bouncer” bought on Craigslist for $20 -where he slept besides my arms until he was 12 weeks old and we splurged on a crib.
    8.) pacifiers! Even if you think “I’ll run out for it if we need one”. The second you decide you want to try a pacifier for a baby who won’t stop screaming unless they are nursing, you need it that SECOND! We were on the whole ” wait 4 weeks to establish breast feeding” but ran out of that camp 12 hrs home from the hospital.
    9.) swaddle blankets (4 pack was plenty) and a 4 pack of old fashion pre fold clothe diapers – excellent for burp rags!
    10.) a car seat/stroller that easily connected together. The brands all come out with new models all the time but we specifically looked for a model with pump up tires, not plastic. Plastic tires are super bumpy and loud on city streets.our model was heavy ๐Ÿ˜ฆ but we lived on the first floor.

    Everything else I waited to buy until I figured out what we needed. Bought a clip on high chair when he was 6m old and ready to try eating solids. Bought an activity mat and toys when he was a few weeks old.

    Try out everything in the store! Assembly and disassembly before you buy! Have fun!

  9. Tami VanOpstal says:

    I second, third, or seventh the Ergo recommendation. I have a bad back, and the Ergo gives great support! Otherwise, I agree with the other comments about just how little babies need, especially at first. So much of it is preference and your family life-style, so it’s wise to be taking into consideration the amount of walking you do/don’t do, whether you’ll want to carry baby all day or have a bouncer so you can have free hands and they can watch you, etc. Space-consuming things like swings or bouncy-chairs can be awesome if baby likes them or irrelevant clutter if they don’t, so if you can borrow them to try them out, that’s helpful. Swaddles are wonderful! I use them instead of burp-cloths, nursing covers, car seat covers and light blankets.

    • Tami VanOpstal says:

      In the “what I wish someone had told me” is to be ready for post-partum care for you. I really thought you just felt back to normal the next day because that’s the way the older women in my life always talked – or didn’t talk – about postpartum. Not so, especially after my first. Search for “padsicles.” Not to venture into TMI territory, but they are wonderful. Anyway, if taking baby to church the next Sunday or being out and about with people within days is something that will help you feel sane and human, by all means, do it . . . but give yourself the space and grace to retreat from activity and rest and recover quietly.

  10. Heidi says:

    Wow, so many good recommends…here are my basics, though (and I’ve gotten pretty basic with a second little one):
    1) a pack ‘n play is probably fine; you definitely want one anyway for traveling, unless family members want to keep one at their house
    2) car seat, obvs
    3) swaddle blankets are great for swaddling, but also burp cloths…those small pieces of fabric are unecessary
    4) you don’t need lots of clothes, but you do want to have easy options like sleepers and onesies for those first few months. I recommend getting into the habit of throwing a load of laundry in every morning, first thing. It keeps the huge pile down and makes the need for lots of clothes not as great.
    5) I recommend a comfy wrap for time at home and a more sturdy carrier (like Ergo or Beco Gemini, what I have) for lots of errands around the city. I also recommend borrowing these until you actually know if your baby likes to be worn in a carrier; my boys didn’t like it after the first couple of months
    6) something like a swing, rock ‘n play, or bouncy seat is useful, but not a necessity (unless the baby ends up being more fussy, like Sean; then it becomes a necessity)
    7) while you can run and walk with a jogger, you can’t run with a regular stroller, so I recommend a jogger
    8) if you’re in an apartment and a light sleeper, you probably don’t need a monitor.
    9) we actually have a small kitchen island on wheels that we use for a changing table; diapers and changing accessories go on the shelf and in the cupboard, and then we have a simple changing pad that sits on top. Depending on where you’re looking, this could be a) cheaper and b) take up less space than a traditional changing table. People told me I’d change my kids all over the house, but I’ve found that I’m just a happier person if I use a changing table.
    That’s all I can think of for now…you have so much information, I’m going to stop

  11. Heidi says:

    Oh, lastly, ask for diapers and wipes for your showers, not even joking. Both my boys had enough diapers and wipes for the first three months before I had to buy any, and then cost hit me like a ton of bricks. Diapers as gifts is the best ever.

  12. Amy says:

    First of all, congratulations! Babies are so fun. ๐Ÿ™‚
    1) An Ergo with an infant insert….you will not regret it. Also, buy it on Ebay. I’m not joking. You’ll pay $50-70 rather than $120-150.
    2) A highchair that attaches to your table. Like this one.
    3) A jogging stroller that your carseat can click into until Baby is big enough to sit up in the actual stroller.
    4) I don’t know of magic sleeping dust, but apparently the Ollie swaddle is basically the same thing.
    5) You can download a white noise app if you don’t want to buy a specific machine.
    6) The app The Wonder Weeks. It helps soooo much with understanding Baby’s developments and gives ideas of age-appropriate activities.
    7) The book “Parenting with Love and Logic”
    8) Changing tables can be pretty but are unnecessary.
    9) Ikea sells a crib for like $70 that can be adjusted to be a co-sleeper (to replace the bassinet) and then used as a normal crib. I don’t think they advertise it as a co-sleeper, but I know several people who just left off one of the side rails, pushed it up against their bed, and VOILA! Co-sleeper. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Nicole says:

      FWIW- we got the infant Ergo insert for Lucy who was born in mid-April and the thing was a hot, heavy, suffocating cocoon, both for her and us. We sold it on Craigslist. It may be good for winter babes but you will probs hate it in spring/summer. We found it better to use the sling (or whatev newborn/small baby carrier you want) and then move up to the Ergo when she actually fit into it.

  13. Faina says:

    So my sister and her husband just had a baby and they live in a tiny apartment in DC and may be very comparable as you and your husband in terms of budget/living situation! Living in DC is all about conserving space–I’m assuming the case won’t be different for you. The following are just some random notes I wanted to drop by about my sister’s journey and how it could help you out:

    1) You’re a milennial and may want to delve into the cloth diapers thing. My sister is doing it and LOVING it. But if you do it, stock up on regular diapers for the first 3-4 months, as gross acidic stuff comes out with the poop as the baby’s digestive track is developing. (PS doing cloth diapers saves you about 1500 bucks per kid PER YEAR, they’re sustainable, and the diapers are good for 5-7 years if cleaned properly, but they are a bit more upkeep.)

    2) My sister bought a crib that also doubles as a bassonet and a changing table. She and her hubby have a one bedroom apartment and, as I understand it, you all have a nursery for the babe, but if you’re short on space, that three-fold crib is amazing.

    3) This may seem excessive but get one of those battery-operated rocking swing things. The cheapest nice one we could find was unfortunately $80 at Target, but it is a LIFESAVER. Everytime my sister was so tired from rocking my nephew her arms were about to fall off, we would put him in the swing and he would fall right asleep and give her an hour or two for a nap.

    4) REGISTER FOR BATTERIES! All your toys, all your sets, all your swings are going to need them. And more often than not, they’re pricey.

    5) Register for washclothes! Babies burp everytime you feed them and that’s a lot of washing if you only have 7 washcloths.

    6) Buy an eye mask or black out curtains. You will definitely be taking desperate one hour long mid-afternoon naps with your babe.

    7) Before the baby comes, stockpile your freezer with prepared food. My 2nd sister and I came to DC when our nephew was born and cooked for two days straight to prepare about a month’s worth of food for our sister and brother in-law. Food is going to be something you NEED but have no time to make. (If you need some recipes that freeze really well, feel free to email me. We did everything from quiche to jambalaya to pilaf to lasagna). If you have a larger network of friends in DC (my sister didn’t), feel free to ask for people to volunteer to bring you a weeks’ worth of food instead of a gift from the registry throughout the first month or two of having your baby. It’s 100% worth it.

    8) If you register with certain stores, you get a 10% off all remaining items on the registry when everyone’s bought all they want off of it. Which is nice. I think my sister did Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

    9) Kids’ clothes in DC is hella expensive. Any time you come back to KY or Indiana, hit up a Once Upon a Child and buy 20-30 outfits. I’m not joking. It will probably cost a FRACTION of what you’d be paying in DC.

    Hope these tips helped!!

  14. Jennette says:

    so, I obviously don’t have a baby, but it’s the internet so i’m going to comment anyways. plus, i read way too many blogs and like to share my favorites.

    There is a blog called the frugalwoods, they pride themselves on being “frugal weirdos” and they just had a baby so a bunch of their articles are about not spending all the money on a baby. my summary of their advice: babies need a lot less stuff than you’d think, let all your friends know you want hand-me-downs (if you do), and look into birth discounts at hospitals that allow you to pre-pay.

    The other blog that might be helpful is called Reading my Tea Leaves, written by a woman who lives with her husband and baby in a 600 sq. ft apt. They got one of those adorable moses baskets (more socially acceptable than a box) and then eventually an $90 crib from ikea (they ship now).

  15. Kara says:

    As many others have said, what you consider “essentials” will depend so much on your parenting and family lifestyle. We do minimal stuffs and camp in the relaxed, attachment parenting set. Basic beginning essentials:
    Somewhere for baby to sleep. For us, that was a crib that we converted to a co-sleeper.
    Something for baby to wear. Footies were our favorite for those first couple of months. 5-6 pairs per size. Baby tended to overheat in synthetic fabrics so we stuck to cotton.
    Someplace for baby to be when you can’t hold them. We used a second hand bjorn bouncy seat and bumbo chair.
    Bathing. I or hubby just brought baby in the shower when needed (baby loves it) or just cleaned with a warm washcloth.
    Transporting baby. I use my baby carriers way, way more than the stroller. Love the Beco Gemini. The stroller is nice on occasion. We’ve enjoyed the City Mini Jogger GT. Lightweight. Jogger. Good suspension and tires for uneven terrain. Car seats are heavy and bulky, so ours stays in the car.

    For you: A highly recommended lactation consultant if you have nursing troubles (most women do). There’s is nothing more stressful than struggling to feed your crying and hungry newborn. A good IBCLC is worth her weight in gold.
    A huge box of disposable breast pads and a few pairs of mom underwear (aka depends).
    Food. You will have no time to prepare food. Have already-made foods on hand, as well as energy bars or breakfast bars.

    Also, everyone says this, but it is so essential. Sleep. Every chance you have. Do not do the dishes. Do not do the laundry. Do not clean the bathroom. Eat, maybe shower, sleep.

  16. Emily W says:

    In the first months, the baby will sleep through everything, in the months that follow, the baby will wake up to everything. This noise machine is the greatest ever invented. We have two, and take one with us any time any of the kids will have to sleep somewhere else. Incredible, full sound, fills up the room. 20 different frequencies–Keep pushing the button till you don’t hear the sounds around you anymore. It will blot out anything! It’s about double the cost of most other noise machines, but it’s worth every penny.

    • Rebekah says:

      I love sound machines! Honestly, I use them for me more than for the girls– they each have one, but when they were small and we’d just transitioned them out of our room/bed into their own rooms… I needed some white noise so I wouldn’t hear any of their tiny grunts and wiggles. I always woke up when they actually cried. ๐Ÿ˜›

  17. Natalie says:

    Not an extensive list, but a few things offhand that were useful for us:
    1. Swaddlers with the little velcro wings are so much easier than a blanket when it’s 3am and your groggy self can’t manage a perfect baby burrito. Get a couple for the first few months as there were SO many accidents. We were changing bedding at least 4-5 times a week, sometimes several times a day.
    2. Our daughter slept in a bassinet, then a pack-n-play (with a mattress) for a while while we were in our 1 bedroom apartment. She was perfectly comfortable and honestly, I think the pack-n-play is safer than the crib (no bumping heads on hard slats or worrying about bumpers smothering your baby, or limbs getting stuck in the holes… etc.) We have a crib now that we have a second bedroom.
    3. People think wipe warmers are extraneous, but I find it totally necessary. Diaper changing just became way more pleasant for everyone when we started using one that we were given. Those wipes get really cold on their own and a cold wipe is like torture on their little sleepy bums!
    4. Ditto to what someone said earlier– ask for diapers and wipes! Lots and lots of them! We use pampers swaddlers for day, pampers baby dry for night. Tried huggies for about a week and they were so bad, she might as well have been naked for all the good they did. But that’s just us.
    5. If you’re breastfeeding, go ahead and buy a pump (we used the medela and have heard good things about the freemie). Your insurance will reimburse you if you send in the receipt. Easy peasy. Also, don’t buy the hands-free bra that’s made for the pump. Buy a 2-pack of cheap sports bras at walmart (the kind that open in the front) and just cut a little hole where the nipple goes. Oh! and make sure to get yourself acquainted with the pump before it’s day 1 at home and you actually need to use it and your boobs are bursting and your running on no sleep. And have formula on hand, even if you’re not planning on using it. (We had a breach and c-section, and struggled with nursing.)
    6. A fold up baby gym will delight your baby and give you a chance to cook dinner.
    7. We had a bouncy seat which is pretty compact and was good for naps and soothing. I think she probably would have enjoyed a swing, but we didn’t have any space.
    8. Now that we’re in separate rooms, we do use a monitor, but not a video one.
    9. Our window AC unit served as a noise machine for us, and it was super helpful in covering up little noises that would wake her up.
    10. Lastly, (sorry for the novel!) I used thredup a TON for maternity clothes and baby clothes. Here’s a link– if you use it and find something, we’ll both get $20.


  18. E.H says:

    My experience has shown me this: you don’t need much. Start out small – you can always build as you go along. But then again, I’m a minimalist by default. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I have zero experience in carrying newborns around daily, so I can’t vouch for the wrap (but I plan to buy one or register for one when I have a baby). I CAN, however, vouch for the Ergo360. It is the best thing ever. Very comfortable. I used to walk my nanny baby on the Greenway here in Charlotte when he was just 3-4 months old (they usually can’t use an Ergo until this age). If I wore him close to his nap time, he would fall asleep. I would listen to an audio book and get my “me” time and some exercise while he had his nap. Plus, he loved being close to me as he slept. Wearing babies is awesome for the city! The ergo is more comfortable than any other carrier I have tried for my nanny kids.

    Can’t vouch for a stroller… still working on that one. To be honest, I have hated most of my employers’ strollers so far… not encouraging, I know. Sorry!

    Noise machine is great! You don’t have to worry about noisy neighbors during naptime, etc.

    Monitors – Honestly, there is no need for a monitor, in my opinion, especially in a smallish apartment. You can sneak a peek through the crack of the door just as easily. It’s much cheaper, too. I found myself hardly using the monitors when I was nannying.

    Magic Powder for sleeping through the night: Babywise. I have witnessed its magic in multiple families/kids. Your baby will be sleeping through the night by 8ish weeks if you follow their simple, straight-forward, logical regimen. It’s basically telling us modern women what we’ve lost in the last 100 years – the ability to make a schedule and stick to it. I love Babywise because it’s nothing weird, fancy, and doesn’t require bizarre contraptions. It simply provides information on how a baby’s day should be scheduled for optimum feeding, napping, playing, sleeping, etc. Babies need that and so do parents. Life is much sweeter when you’re all on a consistent schedule. As a result, baby will sleep through the night at a very young age.

    It has been interesting to witness different parenting styles over the years as a nanny. One time, I found myself awakened every two hours by a baby who was eight months old.. it was terrible. Another time more recently, I found myself with a four month old baby overnight who had been on a Babywise schedule and he slept from 8 pm – 7 am (I had to wake him actually to keep him on schedule). It was incredible to witness the difference myself in the two different overnight experiences.

    Try not to stress about all the “stuff.” A place for the baby to sleep, diapers, wipes, and some clothes are really all you’ll need for that first month anyhow. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Longest comment I’ve ever left for you… yikes. I hope this has been somewhat helpful.

  19. E.H says:

    Oh! And a swaddle! You’ll need a swaddle in those first months!

  20. akernaghan says:

    I was actually going to comment as after having 5 of these little people I felt like I could contribute but it seems you are well covered. You quite literally need half of what you think and help is never far away if you run out of anything. Best wishes.

  21. singingselah says:

    My sister in law always said she wished she had more zipper up onsies in the early months. She said that they mostly sell button up ones at the store, but the zipper up ones were WAY better when learning to quickly/efficiently change a diaper on a squirming baby.

    • singingselah says:

      She also bought a lot of cheap flannel/other soft fabric at a discount fabric store and made swaddle blankets from big squares of them. It was a super cheap way to have a new blanket every time the baby spits up or has a blow out all over the blanket. Plus, if it gets stained, you dont loose out on much money if you want to just get rid of it.

    • singingselah says:

      They also bought a video monitor that makes it really easy to travel with the baby (in addition to using it at home). We even went on a cruise with a 1 year old and we able to play board games in the next room when the baby slept because we could keep an eye on her that way. We also use it at my in-laws where they don’t have a spare crib. The video lets us see if the baby starts to roll when sleeping on a bed.

    • Nicole says:

      Oh yes, meant to say this too! Zipper up footed jammies are SO MUCH better than snaps! Learned that the hard way!

    • E.H says:

      Oh my gosh I totally agree with you on that one! I HATE the button up onsies! Zippers rock!

  22. Johanna says:

    First of all, CONGRATULATIONS! I rarely comment but I’ve read your blog since I was pregnant myself and your blog kept me company during waking nights and lonely days of maternity leave. It’s really exciting to read about your pregnancy and your life now, and I wish you all the best!

    I think it’s hard to say what you will need, since every child and every family situation is different. We had so much use of the Bumbo chair from about three months to nine months, but my nephew couldn’t stand it. I also love the babybjรถrn “rocking chair” (found here:, but my son didn’t.

    One thing I loved was having lots and lots of blankets, just cotton fabric and flannels. It’s great to have around and can be used for shade, warmth, general coziness and emergency cleaning. I found the baby blankets we were given to be too small, so don’t buy too many of those (but I hope you get some because they’re the cutest).

    Another thing I would say is a sitter, even from the get go. I’m NOT saying to leave your child with a stranger from an early age, but just like asking a friend to be there for like an hour a week or something, to give you time to take a shower, sleep, drink a cup of coffee, go outside… I know I really appreciated that so much and I was so afraid to ask for it.

    Blessings and lots of cheers from your (hopefully non-creepy) swedish stalker!

  23. Ellen Johnson says:

    If you plan on having another baby within the next few years, I highly recommend getting a stroller that can convert to a double down the road. Double strollers are so unwieldy, but if you have a single that just requires an attachment to become a double, it’s much more compact! We got the Britax B Ready; it’s okay, it’s lasted us 4 years and two kids, but I don’t know if it could handle city hoofing but I think the Uppa baby vista converts too. Just a thought. ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s only so much preparing and stuff to buy in advance. What happens is you have the baby and you realize you really need x thing to help him sleep, stop crying, etc., and then you get it. But you don’t know until it happens. Also, that’s just the first few months, things settle down after that. ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. CathyHW says:

    I have SO MUCH I could say about all of this ๐Ÿ™‚ I live near Nats Park/Navy Yard in a tiny two bedroom with two kids and so totally get wanting a stroller that can handle Hill sidewalks. We have LOVED our bumbleride Indie. But, if you know you’ll be having more kids soon, I would choose a stroller that can convert later to a double (like a city select, which we also have had, but that would be a pain to carry upstairs). Are you on the Moms on the Hill listserv yet? It is a great resource to ask Hill-specific questions and to borrow/buy/pass on baby items. I’m happy to connect you if you aren’t already on it. Also, if you google amalah pregnancy smackdown, she has a fantastic blog series that I read while pregnant both time. And I totally agree with asking for diapers and wipes. It’s good to have a variety of sizes on hand. Unless you go with cloth, which I also could talk about for days. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Nicole says:

    Wow, looks like you’ve got lots of advice to sort through!! Having gone through two experiences now, including living in a one-bedroom and then another one-bedroom that was also my parents’ home, I’ve learned a lot lol.

    I second Ellen on the stroller thing: if you hope for another baby in the next couple years, it’s a GREAT idea to invest in a really good stroller that will accommodate a second/jump seat (City Select, Britax B-Ready, uppaBaby, or something similar). I really wish we’d done this!! They’re expensive but maybe a couple friends or fam members could go in, OR do Craigslist as they’re often on there for sale.

    As for ALL OTHER GEAR (swing, bouncer, high chair, etc), I would say less is more. I would also say get on the Facebook buy/trade/sell groups in your area, AND try out the local consignment sales ( Hands down, you will get THE best prices for gear (and clothes) at these places and they’re sort of a wild, chaotic fun too. That way you can kinda try stuff out for really cheap without feeling terrible if you don’t love it. Lucy refused to be put down for her first 3 months, so all our borrowed swings/bouncers/seats ended up taking up valuable tiny apartment space. If anything, borrow just one that can also be folded up flat and put under a bed/closet if baby hates it or you need floor space. We got a flat-folding tub that hangs on the shower head and it was good for the first, but not totally necessary; let’s just say the second baby ends up getting mainly sponge baths till they can go in the big tub with older sibling. ๐Ÿ™‚

    For the baby carriers (which you will 100% want and need esp living in the city) I highly recommend borrowing or trying several before you shell out money for one. I”ve loved a ring sling for the first 10-12 weeks, but there is a learning curve (not impossible, just takes some perseverance to get right). You should also check out one of these baby-wearing groups ( and so you can physically try them on and even rent them to see if you like, and get experienced moms to help you figure out if you’re wearing baby safely and comfortably. I’ve heard good things about Solly Baby too. An Ergo is so great from about 3-4 moths onward, and is a great option for dads too as they’re really easy to adjust and put baby in (no wrapping, etc). We’ve used ours a ton and it really can take the place of a stroller for most outings.

    You’ll discover quickly if your baby is high maintenance or not, but it’s a good idea to have those green Avent soothie pacis on hand (I think most hospitals use them?). All the other kinds are really hard for most newborns to suck on, and there will prob be a time when your boobs just need a break. ๐Ÿ™‚ Speaking of YOU, I can’t recommend enough being prepared in the self-care postpartum recovery arena. I REALLY wish I’d known about padsicles with my first birth. If you have a vaginal birth you will really love/need these. Here’s the recipe I used last time and just made and stashed in the freezer for this time too- A tub of Tucks pads for after the first week, a good/gentle nipple cream (I loved Earth Mama Angel Baby bc it’s not greasy like Lansinoh), and gel Soothie nursing pads, a huge water bottle with a straw, and maybe most importantly, find a lactation consultant BEFORE you give birth with her number on speed dial so you can call her right away if nursing is tough. Another big regret of mine! Many will even participate with your insurance, but truly, first-time nursing can be brutal and the more help you have set up ahead of time (including watching Youtube vids of good latch, going to a couple free breastfeeding classes- I did one at this one in DC-… or La Leche meetings) the more success you’ll have. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. CSL says:

    I remember walking in to Babies R Us for the first time when I was pregnant with my first child and started experiencing a FULL BLOWN panic attack. It was overwhelming and ugly. You don’t need much (which you know from above posts) but you DEFINITELY do NOT need a wipes warmer. And BOB strollers (single, then double when needed) were our best baby investments. Have fun!

  27. Jackie says:

    Hey Hannah!
    This was me not too long ago so to prevent me from getting too caught up in it and wasting money on frivolous things I started my focus on what I needed to have ready for me and the baby from day zero:
    A place for baby to sleep โ€“ we did a moses basket and it was right next to our bed for the first handful of months. We “inherited” a crib from friends who were moving back to the States which is where he sleeps now from when he was six months old. We also moved the basket into whatever room we were hanging out during the day. I recommend blackout curtains to give the baby a sense of “day and night”.
    Clothes for baby โ€“ you don’t need as much as you think you do as a little bit of spit up isn’t enough to warrant an outfit change. They also grow really fast so get clothes second-hand or on sale.
    Food for baby โ€“ either breastmilk or formula; whichever suits as both are good options.
    Extras for baby โ€“ swaddle blankets are a must but you can easily make your own instead of paying a lot of the A&A ones ( or get a friend to make them – my MIL made mine). Also, learn how to swaddle; youtube is great for this! Diaper bag. We have a small backpack as ours bc it’s easier on my back and it’s something both of us would not be embarrassed to carry around. Nasal aspirator.
    Diapers โ€“ Even if you’re gonna go with cloth, you’re gonna start off with paper diapers anyway bc no new mom wants to bother with cloth in those first weeks/months. So, have diapers and wipes.
    A way to carry/transport baby โ€“ stroller vs carrier. This is something you’ll learn after the baby gets here but will need early on. You will def need a car seat if your mode of transport is primarily by car so I’d go with maybe an “all-in-one” type stroller. We got one, second-hand, that has a car seat, and a pram insert, and he can sit up in it now that he’s bigger. BUT, I knew I’d want the option to carry Liam as well so we got a Moby wrap. When he turned four months we got the Ergo 360 and it’s amazing! For the next one I’d still have a wrap (the Moby feels great once he’s inside all wrapped up but it’s too much of a learning curve and takes too long to “set up”) but maybe get a simpler one. We walk/take public transport around here so I just put Liam in the Ergo and walk out the door: I love it!
    Ok, so that’s all I can think of at the moment.
    This is such an exciting time but remember there will ALWAYS be stuff to get.
    I’m so happy for you and James! Yaaaaaaaaayyy!!!!

  28. I have zero recommendations, having never had a baby around. BUT, my bff’s first child is now 10 months old, and the one thing they have said repeatedly is they were so glad they didn’t buy anything until after they KNEW they needed it. I mean, they showed up at the hospital with a car seat and such, but as far as toys or appliances or the ten million other things “babies need” they didn’t even consider buying anything until AFTER they felt they needed it. They said they saved a lot of money doing that. And space. And sanity. (They are also city-dwelling, walking/biking parents in a 1.5 bdrm condo.)


  29. Rebekah says:

    This is my favorite kind of post and I’m going to have a ball reading all the comments.

    Personally… I LOVE my Ergo. It’s the first Baby Thing I recommend. My girls loved to be held– it made them happy, it made me happy, but then your arms feel like they’re going to fall off– so I would have gone insane without it for the first six months. And I still use it while going on walks. I put Ellie in the stroller, and Zoe on my back in the Ergo. It’s an item you can use for a very long time: at home and at the grocery store, at the beach and in the mountains, and then you just throw it in the washing machine.

    There are a lot of other structured carriers out there, but the Ergo is on the cheaper side and I’ve been very happy with it. I wouldn’t buy the infant insert, either. It’s bulky and hot, and if you have a truly tiny baby you can just put a rolled-up blanket in the bottom ๐Ÿ™‚

    My other top recommendations are velcro swaddle blankets (babies seem to like being cocooned and I swaddled mine as tight as I could every night), Trumpette socks (they stay on!) and a big stack of thick flannel burp cloths (because babies are gross).

    I loudly second Nicole in her advice to prepare for what YOU’LL need, not just the baby– make sure you have a lot of food around for yourself, because you’ll be starving. Oh, and you should totally wear Depends for the first week after giving birth. Not kidding. It’s probably the least glamorous thing you will ever do in your life, but who cares?

    p.s. I won’t write a novel on schedule vs. no schedule, but my opinion is, your baby’s needs should come first. The schedule doesn’t come first. I’ve seen a lot of moms stress themselves out, or beat themselves up because they just “had” to let their three-month-old cry, or lose their milk supply altogether, because they were so devoted to the Babywise schtick. Make sure your child is well fed and comforted, and follow your instincts. If you can follow a routine and “make” your baby sleep through the night while still giving them the nutrition and nurturing they need, hey, that’s great! I know plenty of families for whom that worked out well. But don’t sacrifice everything on the altar of A Respectable Schedule.

    Each child is different. Ellie practically scheduled herself and was always a great sleeper. Meanwhile, Zoe only started sleeping through the night two weeks ago (and “through the night” means “until 4 or 5 AM,” at which point I nurse her and pop her back into bed). We were happy and healthy with both. So you do you, and as long as you’re loving that kid, don’t feel guilty about what you choose.

  30. Tami VanOpstal says:

    I’ll also echo the comments about the value of having the contact information of a well-recommended IBCLC lactation consultant – just in case. My firstborn was a pro at nursing, and it all went super smoothly, so you may never need to make the call ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll just add that it’s even better if the IBCLC is known to be able to recognize tongue-tie. Myself and more women/babies of my acquaintance than I would have imagined had painful or inefficient nursing troubles, “colic”/gas troubles, baby weight gain troubles, even torticollis troubles that were completely resolved by taking care of a tongue-tie, and my experience with the IBCLC I worked with when my third and I were having trouble was the best experience I’ve ever had with a medical professional in my life, and I only wish I had sought out help when my second was having trouble – it would have saved six months of sanity!

  31. You certainly have wise friends, Hannah! I will just echo and say that a Pack’n’Play is wonderful, especially when you find yourself traveling to spend time with family. That’s always where the babies sleep when they visit this grandma. A couple of our grandchildren used one exclusively instead of a crib at home.

    Since you are out walking a lot, be sure to have a good baby sunscreen–and being able to have baby in shade/shadow is a consideration when you’re choosing that mobile travel equipment. I’ll never forget how mortified I was the first time we took our firstborn out walking in the city for a fairly long stretch of time, only to discover his little legs that had been sticking out had gotten sunburned!

  32. lifeasanomad says:

    This post seriously had me shaking with laughter while waiting in a clinic waiting room for clients. I can’t really give any solid baby stuff advice but I can give you a story that will de-stress a little. A couple of months ago I was meeting with an African client about to deliver her honeymoon baby sans husband (stuck in Africa) and I asked her when she was due. She told me she was due 10 days from then. I asked if she had anything for her baby and she awkwardly laughed and said no. I went into freak out mode and gathered whatever I could.

    A few days later I delivered a bunch of second hand stuff and some really sweet new things. Honestly I think she got about 1/3 of what any American would consider “essential” and she was overwhelmed with happiness and confusion. As I explained how tummy play time works and what a bouncer is she couldn’t stop laughing. Then I remembered that scene from the movie “Babies” where the African woman wipes her babie’s butt on her leg and realized that that was probably her framework of understanding. In the end she had a great delivery and the baby is happy, healthy and more than equipped for survival ๐Ÿ™‚

    You’ve got this

  33. Rebekah Rae says:

    ***A post-partum Doula for at least the first 2 weeks. This person will be sure that your needs, baby’s needs, and James’s needs are met; she will be a confidant, a gatekeeper, a laundry-doer or dishwasher if needed, someone to tell you “yes, that is normal” (in reference to your body or your baby’s actions). She will look out for you emotionally. She will be able to refer you to other specialists you may need (and tell you, based on “what’s normal,” if you really do need to call that specialist). She may have some knowledge on breastfeeding (finding a good IBCLC is also a good idea though, for the “just in case.”) Yes, as you know, I haven’t gone through this yet, and you and I will be learning at similar times, but as someone who just recently went through the birth and post-partum Doula training, I am CONVINCED that a post-partum Doula is the most essential person you can invited into your family of three for the first little while.***

    I will say YES to what another Rebekah said a few comments up about “schedule vs no schedule,” and baby’s needs coming first.

    In my nannying experiences, I have loved the Moby wrap for the littlest ones (one time a policeman drove up to me and questioned what I had under my shirt (ie Moby wrap); he legitimately thought I was trying to steal a baby. It was in Lexington, not LA or DC so I think you and I are both safe now.) And a structured carrier for when they get bigger was always nice. I can’t remember brand names, but I used one that could hold baby in front of me or on my back- and once they get bigger it is so much easier to have them on your back.) I also really like the BOB jogging stroller- someone a lot of comments up mentioned how you can walk or run with a jogging stroller, but can’t run without a jogging stroller. I went on some runs with the BOB and have no complaints. And you can get a carseat attachment for it so if you don’t want to use a carrier on any given day, you can use the carseat with it until your little guy is big enough for the stroller itself.

    Don’t buy/register for expensive burp cloths. Those swaddle blankets that everyone will be gifting you are for sure adorable, and great to have on hand for everything but swaddling. They ARE great for burping and cleaning up messes and covering the stroller if the sun shade isn’t sufficient, and I recommend getting two packs of these to use as burp cloths as well:

    Baby needs a place to sleep, something to eat, and some clothes to wear (sometimes). Keep your apartment warm those first few months and baby, you, and James will all be hanging out in minimal clothing, and it will probably be better that way. (Have you yet learned that nursing will take up 80-90% of your 24-hour days the first few weeks? Just leave those clothes off!)

    I used this post (plus my nannying experiences) to help me decide what to register for:

    And here’s my registry if you’d like to have some comparison (yes it absolutely has a few non-essentials, and too many blankets considering how many we were gifted that aren’t on the registry, but for the most part Jer and I tried to keep things simple and realistic. We’re remaining in our one-bedroom apartment for an unknown amount of time): Time will tell how many non-essentials we have and what we really should have gotten ahead of time. I’ll let you know in May ๐Ÿ™‚

    Oh and for James if he wants to have a detailed understanding of how he might be able to help you during labor (and for you if you want a detailed understanding of how labor typically progresses, and then some), my favorite book from doula training and one that I recommend to all my first-time pregnant friends: The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin

    And also I just wish we lived somewhere close to each other so that I could be your doula during and after labor. Why do we all live so far away from each other?

    I hope you like my book ๐Ÿ™‚ Love you guys!

  34. You’ve gotten so many great tips here! I’m sure all of my favorite things have already been mentioned, but these are what we’ve found really useful. We love the Rock n Play Sleeper. It is what Ava has slept in from the second night at home (the first night we put her in the bassinet part of the pack and play and she didn’t sleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time all night. It was the longest night ever and come morning, Kevin and I were both interested in the return policy on babies. Fortunately she has slept like a champ in the R N P since then.) The pack and play has been great for the changing table part. We have it in our room. I think a sound machine is a must, but that may just be because K and I sleep with one on anyway. Zip up sleep and play outfits are the BEST because they’re so easy to get the baby in and out of in the beginning. Ava hated having onsies pulled over her head for the first 8 weeks of her life. The Nose Frieda has come in very handy for when the little nose is stuffy. Button up shirts are my FAVORITE for nursing – keeps my belly covered but easily accessible at the top. I love my little Medela hand pump for quick pumping, but definitely get the free electric pump through your insurance too (I have the Medela Pump In Style – nothing stylish about it – and I really like it). I have the Simple Wishes hands free pumping bra and it’s very convenient. The Lansinoh nipple cream was a necessity for me in the beginning. I put it on after each nursing session and I really think it helped. I love my Boba baby wrap and Kevin loves the Ergo with the infant insert. Those will be great for city walking. We got the Britex/BOB traveling system and really like it. I wouldn’t say the stroller is light, but it’s carriable (not a word but should be) and it’s a good middle ground between a jogger and a regular stroller, I think. Those Aden and Anais swaddle blankets are awesome for everything – swaddling, nursing covers, impromptu changing station, spit up cloths, stroller/carseat covers.

    Really, I think less is more sometimes. Try not to be overwhelmed by ALL THE THINGS. There are so few things that you need immediately after the baby is born.

    • Rebekah says:

      OH YEAH I forgot Lansinoh. Get a tube of that stuff right quick. My girls were great nursers, but even so, your body still has to get used to it! (Not to freak you out or anything. I’m all about breastfeeding. I really think it’s great. But that doesn’t mean it won’t entail hard work!)

  35. Priscilla says:

    If you are planning to nurse:
    Get your breast pump in the mail (call your insurance company), and also get a handy dandy manual pump for those instances when it’s just easier, and ABOVE ALL ELSE find out where you can physically go to get help when you are desperate and crying because this nursing thing is HARD. The single most important advice I can give you, as a mom who ended up exclusively pumping for 10 months, is that you are going to need a support group at some point in time if you really want to avoid using formula (and I’m not judging if you plan on using formula, btw). Or maybe you will be one of those women with one of those babies that just click and breeze on through, but if not, you will want to be prepared.

  36. Patricia says:

    Wow. Ask for feedback and you get it! I hope it doesn’t make you feel MORE overwhelmed.! I have 4 boys and a few things I’ve seen as essential:
    1)investing in a good stoller is important and also think about more babies when you do. I got pregnant with #2 when the first was 7mo. So had to get a new a stroller and went for the Phil & Teds. We loved worked great in the city/shopping(very narrow and easy to navigate small space) and great when out in the country…we also traveled overseas with it. It was brilliant with two babies and also equally brilliant with two toddlers. And ERGO with baby insert was great! 2) our boys spit up A LOT so we needed super handy, absorbent cloths…we used cheap cloth diapers(we lived in Australia and could get a big pack of terry cloth ones for very cheap)
    3) get a diaper bag that you love and don’t mind having with you ALL OF THE TIME with lots of storage capacity.
    4)we have used a teddy/stuffed animal for each of our boys from the beginning that has been a great sleep association tool and friend/our 1yr old loves cuddling his at naptime…and we never needed a monitor until we moved into a two story me, you will hear them! and sometimes you may react too quickly if you hear every noise and they miss out on learning to resettle themselves
    5) we did babywise and our kids slept through the night ranging from 5wks-12wks…it was super handy having it as a guideline in what to expect and how to navigate through the beginning…BUT I was WAY too rigid the first time around!! It is a great tool/guideline, but should never take over common sense and maternal instincts…with #2,3,4 I relaxed more and more and still saw great results with #4 sleeping through at 5wks and me being WAY more relaxed with the schedule, etc.. And the dreamfeed I found was a BIG key! Just before I would go to bed(around 10) I would pick up baby and feed him..he would generally continue sleeping while eating and then I would put him back down after burping him…this would start to get him to get through the night hours..I kept the dream feed for the first 3months or so…until it wasn’t needed anymore
    6) even if breastfeeding, it’s great to train baby to take a bottle around the 6 wk won’t affect breastfeeding and you will be SO grateful when hubby can help out by giving a bottle every now and again or if the baby will take a bottle so you and husband can go on a date…I started too late with #4 and it took a lot longer to get him to like the bottle

    Hahaha…I suppose you knew what you were going to get when you put the question out there..๐Ÿ˜‚. Every mom is an expert and usually willing to give their 2 cents worth..๐Ÿ˜œ. Don’t let it all stress will find your rhythm and what works for you..๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Patricia says:

      And it’s usually possible to buy great things secondhand..that have only been used for one baby/child…ergo, bugaboo, high chairs, it’s worth a look..

  37. nevrnear says:

    Want a plan for sleeping through the night (eventually)? Read babywise! Eat, play, sleep – 3 hour cycles! It works!

  38. Kristin says:

    Love my Ergo. Look into the City Select strolder thar can later convert to a double. Get an actual mattress for your baby, even if that means one that fits in a pack n play. Skip the bathtub and bulky hard-to-clean high chair (we used a Bumbo chair and then a simple booster). Sound machine worked wonders with my kids. Get a quick read thermometer, a nose frida, and baby nail scissors (way easier than baby clippers). Not a complete list, but it looks like you have a lot of responses already. Take care!

  39. joannie6535 says:

    Wow. Something I haven’t thought about in 40 years. And just reading the comments is exhausting me….so can’t imagine what all that information is doing for you. But lots of things to think about and lots of lists to make. What advice can I add to all this? The baby will be wonderful and fragile but not so much so that you cannot make a few mistakes along the way without serious consequences. Throw away most of those baby books and listen to your mom…she got you here and you’re pretty tough. But most important……Stop, breathe, try to enjoy the journey… just two blinks of an eye, you’ll be seeing your baby marry and he’ll be starting his family, and so on and so on. It all goes by so quickly.

  40. WomanLoved says:

    You need somewhere for the baby to sleep, so either a cot (crib? (Don’t know the different lingo across the pond) – a baby bed with 4sides up and one which drops down), or a three sided cot which you can attach to your bed so they sleep with you but in their own space – newborns like to be close to you for ages (after nine months growing in a womb, the outside world is SCARY). You may well co-sleep for ages,but will definitely want to in the beginning and every child is different. My three all slept on my or Pete’s chest for the first few weeks, and then went into their own rooms and beds with various levels of success, the youngest still spends most nights in with us at 14months, the other eldest was in after a month -so be prepared to change your plans.

    You want a comfy chair with a high arms to feed in and those U-shaped pillows help too.

    Nipple cream – lansinoh (pure lanolin) works wonders and coconut oil is great too, because breastfeeding is a learned skill which is totally worth the effort of mastering, and you will take a bit of time to get used to it.

    Also an electric breast pump is a great investment as it will enable James to share the feeds with you and have some extra bonding time. Pick bottle teets which look like your own nipples,(weird though it sounds) as that will help your baby to move more easily between the two ways of feeding.

    I have tried about five different slings with ours and I really like the Moby wrap when they are very small (if you are getting a couple), but we finally got the Ergo Baby 360 (second hand on ebay and genuine for half the price)and it is the best we have ever had or borrowed – TOTALLY WORTH IT. You’ll need a newborn insert too,for the first couple months. ALSO so helpful when you need to do stuff and they won’t be put down or cant sleep.

    Get a lightweight stroller that fits in YOUR car and one that you can adjust to suit the age of your baby (we have the Petit Star Zia (also like the Quinny), but see what suits you.

    You need a car seat.

    Changing mat which can rest on something like a chest of drawers, the changing stations are often bulky and have a lot of wasted space. And a changing bag for when you go out and about.

    If you have your own washing machine, then I can recommend washable wipes (they have saved us AN ABSOLUTE FORTUNE)- are brilliant and and easy to use.

    Clothes and vests. General rule for dressing babies is however you are dressed plus one extra layer, no more needed.

    Get loads of this second hand and or free from other parents who are chucking their stuff out, you just need clean stuff which works well, and so not need to spend a fortune. Hope this all helps. Xx

    • WomanLoved says:

      Oh and to echo a lot of the above advice – be super gentle with yourself, rest, rest,rest. Eat what you want. Accept help all over the place. Parenting is a marathon not a sprint, and the first month or so feels like a huge outlay, but you grow into it. Also babies are way more robust than we first fear and mistakes are not the end of the world. Lean on God’s grace and breathe! Having a rhythm is helpful, getting your heart set on a schedule is usually not, and often a recipe for failure. You will very quickly become the experts on YOUR baby, and listen to your instincts,if it doesn’t feel right,regardless of how many others insist it is ‘just what you have to do’, don’t give in, do what gives you peace in your spirit, or to put it another way, don’t do what robs your spirit of peace. The Holy Spirit is the best, kindest and most gentle teacher, listen to him and hand over your fears. I made a decision that I wouldn’t worry about my first when she was sleeping etc. but just asked that God would grab my attention if there was anything wrong, and he has done. I was able to let him watch her 24/7 because I could not, and I had so much peace.
      Everyone finds their own way, there is advice, but you are the only ones doing parenting with your child and you will be wonderful parents. Plus we are all working it out as we go along.

  41. angie stone says:

    It will be precious fun to hold that little woodland creature………”over the snow and threw the woods to Grandmother’s house we go…..” I may just put my little grand-creature in the woods. As far as what the baby needs….a happy mom and dad. And that doesn’t even require spending money.

  42. Hannah G. says:


    As a fellow Hillsdalian, I’ve stumbled across your blog various places and am so glad I did! My husband and I are also having a baby boy sometime in early June, and I’ve enjoyed your baby-themed posts quite a lot. I am currently slogging through the registry slough. Would you consider devoting a post to the helpful registry advice you’ve received? As someone who also lives in an apartment in the city, I share similar limiting factors and am encouraged to see that there are others in the same boat.

    Many thanks!

    ~ Another Hannah from Hillsdale

  43. Katie says:

    Sorry if this is a repeat, but this post somehow just made its way into my feed. Do you ever read Erin Boyle’s posts on life in a tiny apartment on Reading My Tea Leaves? She also wrote about registries and all those other things. Worth a glance!

  44. Pingback: Early essentials | The Art in Life

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