If you go on to the Internet or walk into any book store and you search for “what do I need to bring baby home?” you will find thousands of items that are recommended. The question is what should you have?
Unlike a lot of parents we know, our house is not over-flowing baby items. In fact, if you were to come into our house when everything is put in its place, you may not notice we have a baby until you get to the nursery room. Or until you see his smiling face (he is always smiling!). I am not saying we do not have a fair bit of stuff, because we do. The stuff we do have for him is useful items that I would say for the most part, we use almost every day. It is nice to be able to walk around our house without stepping on baby items every 10 steps! As a bonus, cleaning our house and keeping it safe for Parker becomes an easier task when we have less items to worry about.
It is amazing how many products are on the market for babies! Sometimes I find it hard to believe that people actual spend money on these items! Many parents just like us are led to believe that you must have items such as bottle warmers and wipe warmers, this is just not true. When I first saw a product that covers your baby boy’s genitals during a diaper change to prevent you from getting peed on, I had to laugh. Personally, I would not say that is a necessary item, as good timing and a wipe can accomplish the same task. Plus, a wipe can be disposed of whereas the pee guard would have to be washed. Not so convenient anymore! My Sister registered for this and received them and I highly doubt she has ever used them! Yet she felt compelled to register for them because she was lead to believe she “needed” them.
These items are merely a convenience item that many parents buy and never use. Marketing companies succeed at getting you to purchase these unnecessary items by making you believe you cannot raise a child without them.
Price can also be a deciding factor when selecting what items to purchase. A high price point is not always an indicator of high quality. For example, my Sister bought a pricey stroller and is not impressed with it. Based on the price point, she was expecting more. I bought my Wife the cheapest stroller I could find, so her expectations were low. Just kidding! I did buy a stroller for less than half of what my Sister paid for hers, and it performs just as well, if not better than her stroller.
I also looked at reviews of strollers at different price points to get a sense of the quality, safety and convenience. This also helped me deciding what features were important to us and what was unnecessary. Why pay for features you may not need. When choosing a stroller, some good advice would be to buy one that comes with the car seat and vehicle base stations. The three items click together so that you don’t need to wake the baby when switching between the car and the stroller. As I have come to learn a sleeping baby is a happy baby! Other items that come at various price points are: cribs, bassinets, high chairs and swings. Personally, I think bassinets are a waste of time and I refused to buy one. I also refused to buy an expensive crib because I have read that over the life of a crib infants are going to chew and scratch the cribs up. We purchased a crib from Ikea and Parker has slept in it since a month after we brought him home. He always has a huge smile on his face when we go and get him from his own room.
We also re-used a lot of our existing possessions when we assembled our nursery. For example, we upcycled an old dresser we had lying around. We painted the dresser to match the furniture in the room and secured a changing pad on the top. By doing this I managed to save space and money. Now I have the dresser for storing clothing and diapers, as well as a safe place to change Parker, bonus!
Some of the items you should have to bring your baby home may include: a car seat that isn’t expired, diapers, wipes, a diaper bag, blankets, a crib or bassinet, a place to change your baby, stroller, clothes, thermometer, diaper rash cream, bottles, formula (if you plan on or need to formula feed), grooming kit, baby wash, a bathing tub, changing mat or changing pad, pacifiers, bottle sterilizer and a play mat.
One of the item that my Wife and I have bought and have not used is our baby monitor. Some parents swear by them. Personally, I find them to be annoying and unnecessary. For my wife and I, Parker is close enough in the other room that we can hear him cry and his crib is open and safe enough that we are not overly concerned about SIDS. I am not saying that baby monitors are a bad idea, they are just not important to us. Not yet anyways.
I consider myself to be a worry wart and so I bought most of our baby stuff before Parker was even born. I got most of the baby stuff on sale. If you are patient, within the months leading up to your special day, you will have an opportunity to shop on sale, as eventually everything goes on sale. You can also find select items second hand. As an example, we bought a play pen second hand so that if it happened to get destroyed we didn’t care. Online communities such as Varage Sale or Kijiji exist for this purpose. As a note of caution, you should never buy a car seat or stroller second hand as these items have expiry dates.