Baby Gear: What Do You Really Need?

Congratulations!  Expecting a new baby in your home is cause for celebration and naturally, you’ll be wanting to gear up for the new addition.  No doubt you’ll soon be inundated with products that you never even knew you needed. Or, do you? Hint: Don’t forget the classic book Is Your Mama a Llama?  by Deborah Guarino.  Sometimes as a new parent, you can feel like a pack animal, given all the options available, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Read on to learn which tools you’ll really need in your parenting toolbox.

Let’s Go Home:  Infant Car Seat

You’ll need this sooner rather than later.  Do your research at home first.  It’s too easy to be swayed, once you get to the store, by elaborate packaging and endless features.  The federal government mandates all new infant car seats meet safety regulations, so it’s often a case of choosing the best rear-facing seat that works with your particular vehicle.  Many parents find that having an extra base makes it easier to switch between cars. Getting the right seat is only half the battle, installing the seat is equally important. Head on over to the National Child Passenger Safety website, and find a tech to help you out.

Sweet Dreams:  Bedding Down Baby

Just like infant car seats, baby cribs come with safety regulations as well.  While Grandma might still have your crib from way back when, it’s a good idea to check and see that the bed meets current safety standards.  Remember that babies sleep safe in a crib or bassinet free of blankets, pillows and quilts. #BareIsBest

Buttons and Buckles and Zippers, Oh My!

There’s no denying that anything tiny is adorable, and baby clothes are certainly no exception.  We all appreciate the micro-size versions of adult clothing for their wow factor, and we all have a few stashed away for photographs, but for real life, keep it simple.  Soft, stretchy outfits without complicated fasteners and fussy wash instructions are the rule of the day when there are so many diapers to be changed and outfits to be laundered.  Do yourself a favor and KISS your baby...keep it simple.

Bottoms Up:  Cloth or Disposable

You need to choose what’s right for you.  Period. Most important? Make sure you have enough.  Babies grow remarkably fast and go through diapers at an astounding rate.  Regardless of whether you choose cloth or disposable, get an extra pack or two of cloth diapers to use as burping cloths, a block for a cool breeze, or shade for too much sun.  There are endless uses for cloth diapers; they are an indispensable tool that should be in every diaper bag.

Let’s Go:  You Need to Take it With You

Always have a Go-Bag ready.  Diaper bag or backpack, call it whatever you like, but don’t leave home without it.  Essentials include: extra diapers, wipes, changing pad, plastic bag for soiled diapers/clothing, extra clothing, blanket, cloth diaper, socks and hat.  If you formula-feed, pack an extra serving or two as well. Keep a card tucked in the bag with your pediatrician’s name and number, as well as any special needs your baby may have.

There’s Time Enough:  Enjoy Your Baby

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of parenting.  We think we need to have All The Stuff for our baby to be happy, and for us to be good parents.   And your newborn does need the basics that we’ve outlined. Sure, there are lots of other things you could get, and we all have some of them.  But remember, the most important thing your baby needs is you. Time to get to know your voice, your touch and your face. These first few newborn months are the perfect chance to get to know one another.  Enjoy it, rest up and get ready for an entire life of firsts to share. There’s plenty of time for more gear later.