Planning for a baby and their things is a mind-boggling task, especially if it’s your first child. Trust me, I know.
When I was pregnant last year, I looked around for lists of baby essentials so that I could plan my baby shopping and be well prepared before the baby came. But nothing prepared me for the gazillion baby shopping lists I found.
Some lists I found online, a couple of lists came through friends and friends’ friends, while some were just verbal advice, “Oh, you must have this…”
It was all too much. I got overwhelmed looking at the sheer number of things my tiny person would need. But I was also determined to be organised. So I printed them all out, made notes on them, compared them, googled almost each item on the lists and… you get the idea.
By the end of the second trimester, I was super stressed just thinking about baby shopping. So one fine day, I decided to discard those endless lists, and went with what I thought was necessary for the early days.
If I something for the baby, I could always ask someone to buy it from the baby store or I could order it online (thankfully, my baby wasn’t born during the lockdown).
Thanks to my meticulous planning (yes, that’s me being humble), once the baby came, I didn’t really need much.
Phew. Those lists were just scaring me to death for no reason. These things are the newborn essentials I’d recommend any new parent to keep stocked and ready. Of course, there are a dozen (or several dozen) more things you may want for your baby, but if you must have only a few things, I’d suggest you keep these ready.
Newborn baby clothing: Swaddles, rompers, sleepsuits
New babies come out from the comfort of the womb into the world at large and keeping them swaddled reminds them of when they were inside. It keeps them warm and cozy. Most babies younger than a month like to be wrapped up. There are some really cute swaddles in organic muslin and cotton you can buy. But remember, some babies start hating swaddles very early on, whereas some little ones would want to be wrapped for the rest of their life, if they could.
Rompers (also known as onesies) are the most popular form of baby clothing. They usually have snap buttons at the bottom for easy diaper changes. But many Indian families prefer jablas or loose kurta-like tops with strings or buttons. Go with whatever works for you.
Sleepsuits are a little different because they generally are of a thicker fabric and generally cover the baby completely, right up to their cute little feet and toes. Sleepsuits are also terribly cute.
Socks, mittens and hats, especially if it’s winter or it’s cold where you live or where the baby sleeps.
stuff: Nappies, diapers, changing mat
Nappies, disposables or cloth diapers? That’s one of the early choices you make as a parent and a possible bone of contention in many households. There are pros and cons of each type of baby “underwear”, but whatever you choose, make sure you’re stocked up.
Not all households or bedrooms have space for a changing station. So we go with the next best option- a changing mat. You can choose from the regular plastic ones with fun baby prints or “dry sheets” that are easily washable.
Diaper rash cream.
Some kids have extremely sensitive skin and can break out in rashes in their diaper area pretty early on. Keep a cream handy (many options and brands available), or apply coconut oil.
Baby cleaning stuff: Wipes, napkins, baby bath
Babies pee and poop multiple times a day and need to cleaned just as often. Even if you’re using cotton dipped in clean water, it’s best to have store-bought wipes ready for emergencies and for the diaper bag (for doctor visits etc).
Napkins are also used all the time—for a quick sponge bath, for cleaning up spills and spit-ups.
With their delicate skin, newborns need special skin products. With dozens of brands offering baby washes, soaps, creams, oils and lotions, you (and baby) will be spoilt for choice.
I’d never heard of a burp cloth till I saw it on one of those newborn essentials list. It’s basically a longish napkin that you place over your shoulder when you burp the baby. The idea is to keep your clothes clean if the baby spits up.
Coming soon: Essentials for new moms