Babies are a multi-gazillion dollar industry. So, as you’re battling morning sickness, hormonal ebbs and flows, and learning to embrace an ever-expanding belly, figuring out what you need for your nursery can make you want to punch someone in the face. Or cry.
A great place to start is “Baby Bargains” by Denise and Alan Fields. This book breaks down all baby gear with a blurb about company history, manufacturing origins, and an overall grading system. It was the best recommendation we received, saved our sanity and our bank account. It is our bible.
1. Bassinet or Moses Basket – Newborns might be in this for two months tops. Traditional bassinets can be expensive and lack mobility and versatility after the baby outgrows them. Serena & Lilly canvas Moses Basket, though expensive, is sturdy, mobile, and versatile. Also, consider a Jolly Jumper Deluxe Moses Basket stand.
2. Crib, Mattress & Breathable Bumper – Our philosophy with baby furniture: Quality (especially if more than one baby is a long-term goal). It’s an investment. The Colgate Classica I mattress has long-term durability. Bumpers are no longer recommended for safety reasons, but if you’re desperate to use one, Breathable Bumpers are a safer option. Add fitted sheets and two waterproof mattress pads to the list.
3. Dresser, Hutch & Changing Pad – Again, quality. Larger dressers can last babies through middle school. A dresser hutch option can store baskets of diapers, burp cloths, ointments, etc. within easy reach. It’s also a space saver. Changing pad: go long!
4. Diapers & Wipes – Newborn sizes and Size 1s. Only the “tush” will tell, but wipes with the least amount of chemicals will minimize skin reactions.
5. Clothes – Kimono-cross over style long-sleeve shirts with one or two snaps (Gerber, Kissy Kissy, and Le Petit Bateau have good options) and any Onesie with a zipper. These options avoid the anxiety-inducing task of pulling anything over a newborn’s head. Most Onesies can have anywhere from 14-21 snaps. I avoid these like the plague. Trust me, you don’t want to deal with that craziness in the middle of the night, in the dark, sleep-deprived. Anarchy!
6. Hats & socks – Hospital baby hats: not cute, but seem to be the only hats that actually stay on. Ask the hospital nurses if you can snag a few. Your insurance is paying for them. Baby Gap hats are a solid second. Best socks: Trumpette. Well-made, thick, and stay on!
7. Swaddle blankets – Swaddle Design, Aden and Anais, and The Miracle Blanket (online instructional video!) are faves.
8. Blankets – What’s with all the blankets?! Only one or two because a dozen might arrive as gifts. I naively complained about this to a mama friend. She wisely said, “You can never have too many blankets.” She was right.
9. Burp cloths – BIG ONES. Gerber cloth diaper options comes in a 12-pack, are no-nonsense and have a little extra padding in the middle for more robust spit-ups.
10. 4,000 Bibs – Okay, not really 4,000, but you probably need, like, 30 unless you want to do laundry 24/7.
11. Video Monitor – Get on the Big Brother bandwagon! Consider the talkback option for when kids get older and wilier. When they hear the voice of “God” they’ll stop in their tracks.
12. Humidifier – Cool mist is safest for babies. Humidifiers are also great for ambient noise during sleep and sleep training.
13. Bathtub – Fisher Price Precious Planet Whale Tub is genius!
14. Hooded Towels & Wash Cloths – No rocket science to this, but more washcloths than you think. Go for a dozen.
15. Bottles & Formula – Even if breastfeeding is the goal, have a back up plan, and don’t be afraid of glass bottles.
16. Breast Pump – Watch breast pump videos online to see how they work, and check if your insurance plan covers a portion of this cost. Pumps are expensive and can’t be returned once the package seal is broken.
17. Rocking Chair/Glider – Consider seat depth, back height, and if your head is resting comfortably. Grab a footrest, too. Comfort is key, especially if most of the breastfeeding is happening here.
18. Boppy & My Brest Friend Deluxe BF Pillow – Boppy on your lap + My Brest Friend on top = a winning combo for breastfeeding comfort.
19. Swing – Everyone we know wishes the Fisher Price My Little Lamb Swing was available in adult size. It’s magical.
20. Bouncer – Fisher Price Rainforest Bouncer is light, can easily move around the house with you, and is a good active yet restful option for the babe.
21. Blackout Curtains – Foolishly, I said I didn’t need these. People laughed. I learned.
22. Car Seat – Technically not Nursery, it’s mandatory for bringing baby home from the hospital. A Graco seat and the Snap-n-Go stroller are a reasonably priced option while figuring out true long-term stroller needs (city v. suburb living).
23. Others: Mustela newborn products, A&D, Aquafor, Vaseline, Thermometer & Snot-Sucker (both from the hospital), Burt’s Bees baby massage oil, Boiron’s Camilla teething drops, Little Noses Saline, pacifiers (Soothies for newborns and MAMs for 2 months+ are contenders), Boogie Wipes (Fresh Scent smells divine), hand sanitizer, and Q-tips.
Of course, my husband said a newborn only needs a crib, changing pad, diapers, wipes, and poopy bags. Men.
Happy shopping! – Tera Benoit