What baby stuff do you actually need? …And when do you need it?

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Split personality We are unexpectedly expecting a baby, and have become very comfortable in our offbeat home. As we work on changing our house around, we are looking for some advice.

We’re definitely a little trepidatious about what an impending baby means for our lives — it’s all new to us!

First question: What baby items should we get before our baby is born, and what can we wait on?

Second question: We have an extra room for our baby, but are torn on what to do with it: should we convert the room right away, or wait and see if we actually need the space for a baby once he or she is here? -Elizabeth

Comments on What baby stuff do you actually need? …And when do you need it?

  1. There is A LOT you can wait on. And you can keep all of your old stuff, just put it up higher, on shelves where baby can’t get to it! I completely shifted and changed my home when my son was in the making and now I kind of regret it. I mean, I actually MOVED so that I would have more room – and recently (he’s 8 months old) I’ve moved AGAIN, because all that room I thought that I needed turned out to be a bigger hassle to clean. (And we got goldfish syndrome, and just start collecting more crap). My son, I thought, just HAD to have his own room… but he’s never slept a night anywhere but beside me. His crib -used maybe 7 times for naps. I do recommend a changing table in your bathroom if you can fit it… perfect for shelving and getting baby in/out of bath (for a while).
    Basically, I guess my advice is to just wait. You’ll find that most of the stuff you need to have is never used and then you scramble to sell it for less than it’s worth or just bite the cost. All you need for a baby, especially the first few months is: some clothes, some cloth diapers (if you choose to CD), a pair of boobs, some baby blankets, and a wrap. Everything else will fall into place. You’ll move stuff as it needs to be moved, and you’ll figure out what works best for you and yours.

    • Also don’t forget that gifts come pouring in from baby showers, grandparents, aunts & uncles, and your extended tribe of friends in your last trimester/first month of baby’s life.

  2. Honestly, we didn’t get much for our little one right off. The two things we did buy were a change table and a co-sleeper bassinet.

    We re-purposed a bookshelf for storage space, and used some wicker baskets I had hanging around in storage.

    As she’s grown we bought a playpen, a playmat and a little vibrating rocking chair for her.

    We didn’t buy a glider, rocker, special chair, crib, etc. To be honest, we don’t even have a nursery. We have a guest bedroom that also contains her change table and bookshelf.

    You really don’t need much at all to start off, and as the baby grows you will buy some new things and get rid of some old things.

  3. We didn’t put our son in his own room until he was 6 months old. He had a bassinet in our room and went in his own room with a cot after that. Since we moved house quite far away when he was 2 weeks old, I worried I wasn’t ready for him. Turns out little ones dont need much! We havent used his change table yet and hes 19 months, just change him on the bed, its more convenient for us.
    Really all we needed for Phoenix until he got to about 6 months, was a bassinet, pram, swaddling blankets, clothes, nappies, baby swing, bottles, formula and dummies and a little storage for his clothes and simple toys. After that we added and accommodated as needed.

    I think you learn as you go what you really needed and what you didn’t! It’s hard to say what will be essential for one family and it might be something different for another. Goodluck!

  4. I had the nursery set up and ready to go…and then barely set foot in it for over a month. I just popped in to grab diapers and clothes when they were needed. Ruby slept in our bedroom in a pack n’ play and then a swing for 11 weeks. It wasn’t until I went back to work that we moved her into the crib in her room. If I was going to feed her I fed her on the couch in the living room.

    Honestly, I think borrowing/buying what you need as you go along is the way to go. It prevents you from buying stuff that you don’t really need, which is great when you don’t have a lot of space to begin with.

    Do borrow/buy a swing or bouncer though. They’re great!

    • I’d vote for a bouncer before a swing. Bouncers are smaller, light weight, can be moved from room to room or even thrown in the backseat of a car to bring to a friend’s house. You can’t do all that with a swing. And if a baby really needs some rocking, do you want a mechanical thing to rock him or do you want him to get used to a set of loving arms?

  5. child proof now. put all unfriendly baby things in storage for the next four years (most important!). find out what you are having at 20 weeks and set the room up before the baby is born. you need it all. buy it all before the baby is born. you will need it right after the baby is born. you won’t have any time to shop or clean or set any thing up or get regular sleep for the first 8 weeks plus your body will be healing so you will need to take it super easy. you will need a lot. talk to other mothers. take a birthing class. read a book on what to expect when you are expecting. walk through the baby isle. ask some random mothers that just had babies. but yes, your baby will need their own room. if anything baby stuff takes up A LOT of room (picture invasion of the baby stuff… every where baby!!) and you need a place to put it. plus your ideas might change after the baby is born… or your baby’s ideas might differ from your ideas and you need to be prepared for that.

    you have nine months to prepare. a baby changes everything. i had six!

    • I think this might be a little extreme. “Baby proofing” only needs to be done when they get mobile. Mine is almost 7 months and we have yet to baby-proof a thing. We did set up a whole nursery, but the only things we bought new were crib/changing table, and now I wish I had just borrowed or gotten one second hand. It was only $120 for the set, but still…I have a pink wingback in my son’s room, no rocker/glider. worked out fine for us. I would say, pick a happy medium. Don’t change your lifestyle completely, or your house. But give the baby his own space (even if it’s a closet! still love that…) and buy a few things that you absolutely love. everything else will, as said, fall into place. Although, ^^ she is right about setting everything up before LO is here. You will not have any will to set anything up after.

      • Whoever said something about sleeping on a sectional for a month…here here! we had an extra matress (i really don’t know why we’ve kept it) that fits perfectly between our couch and our loveseat (aka, takes up the enitre LR floor) that we slept on for a couple weeks, and even since then, I sleep on the couch AT LEAST 2 nights a week, and he is almost 7 months. Our bedroom is upstairs and his is down, and co sleeping was not for us. He slept…well…anywhere he fell asleep (mostly my chest) for the first 2 1/2 months, we went through a two week “i’m not comfortable anywhere” phase, and since he turned 3 months, he’s been in his crib all night, and during naps. his decision…they make the rules, in my opinion. you’re going to do whatever gets both of you the most sleep. good luck!

      • Whoever said something about sleeping on a sectional for a month…here here! we had an extra matress (i really don’t know why we’ve kept it) that fits perfectly between our couch and our loveseat (aka, takes up the enitre LR floor) that we slept on for a couple weeks, and even since then, I sleep on the couch AT LEAST 2 nights a week, and he is almost 7 months. Our bedroom is upstairs and his is down, and co sleeping was not for us. He slept…well…anywhere he fell asleep (mostly my chest) for the first 2 1/2 months, we went through a two week “i’m not comfortable anywhere” phase, and since he turned 3 months, he’s been in his crib all night, and during naps. his decision…they make the rules, in my opinion. you’re going to do whatever gets both of you the most sleep. good luck!

    • Was this comment meant to be sarcastic?

      Anyway, I’d say wait on most things. a newborn doesn’t need very much anyway. Diapers, a safe place to sleep, something to swaddle them in, breasts and lots of love. Babies don’t need much as long as they are safe, clean, fed and loved!

  6. This is coming from someone with an almost-8-week-old baby. We didn’t change anything about our common living space, including the baby-unfriendly stuff placed precariously on wobbly shelves. They can’t crawl or walk for many months, so no worries there. Co-sleeping didn’t work for us (although we planned to do it), so the crib has been a HUGE help. I’m so glad we had that before she was born. The only other things I highly recommend having on hand before the baby comes (because you won’t feel like going to the store or picking up from Craigslisters for a looooong time) are: diapers, blankets, any cloths that can be used to clean up spit up (they are FOUNTAINS), onesies, and a breast pump if you plan to nurse. That last one was a big surprise necessity. I used the pump to get my milk supply up because it was low low low even though I was nursing her every minute she was awake.

  7. Just a small point: I actually found the diaper changing table very helpful. I think if one has any back issues that make it hard to bend down repeatedly, having the baby elevated a bit more than on a mattress is really helpful. We put a changing pad on top of a tall dresser. We also have a shelf above the dresser where we kept supplies. It had round pegs hanging off it, and we got a diaper stacker and put the diapers in it — so no bending down — and we have the wipes, cream, etc, on the shelf. Toys hang off the other pegs. We also used this as a massage table for the baby. So, I do agree that much is not needed, and I know that “changing table” is often at the top of many people’s not-needed list, as is “diaper stacker,” but I found both very useful for my own comfort level!

    • I too used a tall dresser, I am 6 feet tall and my husband is 6’3 so it saved my back and my sanity! The dresser was a really good idea for us; all the stuff was right there, tucked away! Multi Purpose rocks!

  8. Honestly, for the first 3 months all you REALLY need are diapers, some clothes, and a blanket or two. 4 months, you will need a clean floor space, 5-6 months they begin to crawl and thats when you need to do the real baby proofing and designate baby areas. Its fine to do things piecemeal.

  9. I don’t think a changing table is necessary at all. With our first born we kept a clean blanket on the floor for changes (we didnt have pets then). With our son we just use a bed or the ottoman, since there is a four year old running around and a handfull of animals.

    • I agree that for many people this is true. I posted above some benefits of a changing table, though, particularly if excessive bending isn’t something you comfortably do. Both changing on the bed and on the floor require a lot of bending. Most people are probably like you, though — the changing table is definitely something many people say they didn’t need!

    • For me, the changing table was the most important thing we used. We didn’t have a nursery, but a corner of the office had a changing table and of all of her clothing in the shelves underneath. It kept the curious pets out of the way. The baby was (is) also a super-star pooper, so it was nice to keep the diaper changing mishaps, and there were tons, all contained in one space, more or less.

  10. So many things can be acquired second hand. A changing table has been nice b/c its hard getting up an down to the floor all the time, it has shelves and squrim likes checking us out. I feel like we have too much for our son b/c of the generousity of family and friends. I returned stuff like crazy. We decided to make over a room for him now b/c it was fun for us to make a nice kid space, that room was blank anyway. How much you want to get may be detrimined mainly on how often you want to do lanudry.

    • The only thing we didn’t get second hand was the stroller. Charlie’s Dad wanted to buy something that first christmas for her (even though she wasn’t born for another month). πŸ™‚
      And I bought a 6 pack of bottles.

      The bassinet was my brother’s. The swing was a Craig’s list find for $5. The changing table and crib came from a yard sale for $30. (I painted it). The carseat was given to us. I bought a rocking chair from goodwill for $10. (That was a MUST for me). Her “new” toy box was built by our roommate from left over wood he had for making guitars.

      Charlie’s 15 months old and we still have not bought any clothes for her. We use craigslist and freecycle A lot!

      I’m a big advocate of second-hand in general, but especially baby stuff. They just grow so quickly that it seems wasteful to buy everything brand new.

  11. We were ALL about hand me downs. We had an extra room, but it was an office/recording room and the baby shared it with her Dad. We didn’t actually change anything about our house until she started crawling.

    We did four things to baby “proof”. We covered all the outlets, put child latches on the cabinets, use a baby gate in front of the book shelf, and put velcro around our nightstand drawers. We call Charlie our free-range baby. She’s got access to pretty much everything that won’t hurt her. (Even in the kitchen… the cabinets with the pots and pans is Not locked) It makes for more clean up, but gives her more opportunity to explore.

    As for baby stuff: We were very fortunate to be given way more than we needed. My recommendations:

    – a swing (I picked one up on craigslist for $5. It didn’t have all the hanging stuff on it, but I personally think that’s too much stimulation for a baby).

    – a bassinet. (Our bassinet was used by both my nephews, a cousin, and is now being used by my best friend).

    – lots of clothes (onesies, nightgowns, etc. You will go through TONS of this stuff at first and not feel like doing laundry every day).

    – bottles. I bought a 6 pack of glass bottles at my mom’s urging. I had no intention of bottle feeding at all. But a month after Charlie was born, I was very glad to not have to go to the store with engorged, aching breasts that my daughter refused to take.

    Everything else is optional. Even the bassinet is optional. Some parents are all about everything baby and that’s fine. You can tell a toddler lives in our house… but it is not Her house. She’s 15 months now and the only thing that’s changed since she started walking 6 months ago is we added a toy box in the living room and there’s a cardboard box fort in front of the fireplace. (Keeps her out of the fireplace AND keeps her occupied).

    I’d wait to pack up anything that you love that isn’t kid-friendly. There are quite a few things in our house that aren’t kid friendly, but rather than pack them up or get rid of them, we’ve made them work with the kid. There are quite a few guitars that are not okay for her to play with. So, Charlie’s Dad bought a little “beater” guitar that he plays on and leaves around for Charlie to play on- she knows that one is okay for her.

    The reason I’d wait is you have time. It’ll go quickly, but the baby won’t be moving around and into stuff for a while. You can figure out as the baby grows what needs to change and what doesn’t.

    • I will second having bottles. I fully intended on not needing a bottle at all ever, but I registered for a small set anyway. I ended up being very glad I had them, as well as a small canister of formula, because my milk didn’t come in for a full 7 days no matter what I did to induce production, and baby was losing weight fast. I was sooo glad to have the emergency bottles and formula on hand for the 2 days that I ended up supplementing. It was really the one thing on the “stuff you’ll need” lists that I scoffed at, so I should have known I would end up using it! (Breastfeeding is going fabulously now, thank goodness).

      • I second this! This was my experience exactly. We had to supplement for a week and a half while my milk slooooowly came in. In other words: if the formula companies send you free samples,don’t be so quick to throw them out even if you fully intend to exclusively breastfeed (which I do now but wasn’t able to for a little while!).

  12. I have an 8-week-old, and we opted not to get a crib (yet?). We have a small house, so instead we got the Arms Reach Cosleeper Clear-Vue. It’s narrower than their standard sizes, and it works as both a cosleeper and a bassinet. Oz sleeps in bed with us, so the cosleeper lives in the living room as a bassinet and he often naps there. If he gets to a point where cosleeping doesn’t work, and he’s too big for the bassinet (around 5 months, or when they pull up), we’ll make space for a crib.

    The changing table and his clothes are in a spare bedroom that will probably be his one day. They really don’t take up much space. The stroller has never been used. In the city, it’s easier to use the Moby wrap or a baby carrier. No giant stroller taking up space in the restaurant!

    Our friends with older babies say it’s relatively easy to baby proof as you go. I mean, Oz can’t even grab anything intentionally yet, or move his body from one place to another, so we haven’t bothered yet.

    Oh, and seriously: you don’t need to buy very many things new. A car seat and a breast pump. Everything else you can get second hand for MUCH cheaper.

  13. You can most def. wait on most things. For the first 6 months of our son’s life he slept in our room (we coslept but if you don’t plan to then you would need a small bassinet) and then we moved to a 1 bedroom apartment and since then he has a crib, one dresser for clothes (the top is used as a changing table) and a laundry basket (swings and walkers are nice but honestly not needed. I would get the essentials (clothes, diapers etc.) and leave the rest until you have the desire to introduce more items (or not). If you have a whole room for your child then you’re fine with leaving things you love in there, honestly your baby won’t know if their room is decorated one way or another so make it have things that you need for your child/make you happy the rest is optional

  14. I just had a baby 3 weeks ago, we had just moved 3 weeks before that, and let me tell you, I was not ready at all in the “stuff” department. Baby has his own room but it’s STILL not ready right now. So far, all we’ve really needed: small stockpile of diapers, small stockpile of wipes, clean baby clothes and blankets, boobies (food), and somewhere for baby to sleep (we use a handed down bassinet, but seriously, he doesn’t care where he’s sleeping, it could be a cardboard box with a towel in it as long as it’s warm and near mom and dad). OH, and the carseat, if you have a car and/or are planning on taking a car home from some sort of birth place.

  15. We just have a dresser (with soft bath mat on top for changing him) and a bassinet. I have a large plastic bin in the garage where I put clothes that I buy for him on sale a season beforehand. I put some shelves that I already had on the wall to hold diapers and blankets. I hung a wet bag w/ two of those command hooks. I also have a small laundry basket. Everything fits into a corner of our bedroom (which is good because the older two boys have the 2nd bedroom). Just wait until he outgrows his bassinet and we plan to move him into a crib in the boys’ room closet area. 2 boys, a baby and a lizard in one small room! Can’t wait until it’s done to show pics!

    For a car seat, we have a 2 door Honda Civic, so we got a convertable car seat, knowing that it would be impractial to keep taking an infant seat out of the car.

    We bought almost everything else after he was born. We’d just carry him into the store in arms. Now, we have a lightweight stroller and wrap.

    Oh, and I did spend some money on a BVG bag, brown with regent skulls. πŸ™‚

  16. I made sure I had a swing before my daughter was born, as my mother had assured me that it would be a lifesaver – but she hated it! Screamed like crazy and never did like it. I found it on craigslist though, and it was a swing that converted to a highchair. So i stored it in the back of a closet and took it out again when she was about 6 months old. It was her highchair until she was 14 months old when her brother came along, and he absolutely LOVED the swing. So she got a booster seat on a kitchen chair and the highchair was a swing once more. That thing was a godsend with my son, as I couldn’t leave him anywhere unprotected (a blanket on the floor, the middle of my bed, even surrounded by pillows, or in his bassinet) without his sister trying to touch him. But the swing would go for hours and she learned very quickly to give it a wide berth after getting smucked by it a few times, so he was safe while I made dinner, ran her bath, etc.

    She refused to sleep with us after she was about 2 weeks old, unless she was really sick, so I was very glad that I had found a convertible crib off craigslist before she was born. We didn’t have a vehicle at that point, so the carseat that clips into the stroller was essential. I don’t know if you’re planning on a hospital birth or not, but they won’t let you leave the hospital without a carseat, and with us, it was wonderful. We just unclipped it from the stroller whenever we came home and carried it in with grocery bags and such. Much easier to carry, and much easier to keep her bundled up in when it got cold (Ottawa winters+no car+infant=LOTS of layers and blankets when we had to go somewhere)

    I used the changetable for her, but my son hated getting his diaper changed and would scream whenever we did, which would make his sister scream, I think because she couldn’t see what was wrong with him. Being as she also insisted on pulling everything off of it and climbing on it, we ditched it and I changed them both on the floor/couch/bed/wherever with a change pad. I still do (my son is 18 months) and whenever we go for #3 I’m not bothering with a change table again.

    Really, you just need a TON of clothes – they’ll spit up and poop up their backs way more than you ever thought possible – but for us, that meant a pile of onesies and sleepers from consignment stores, which I promptly sold once they grew out of them, and a sprinkling of long sleeves and pants, depending on the season.

    Basically, my checklist for any more kids we happen to have:
    receiving blankets/spit-up cloths
    baby tub (Ariel’s post about the pink baby tub was true with us too)
    bassinet or crib
    carseat and stroller
    a ton of diapers/cream/baby wash/wipes/etc

    Things that serve more than one purpose, like the swing/highchair combo (I believe it was a fisher price “swing-n-meals”) and convertible cribs are the ones we’ve gotten the most use out of. I’d look into an exersaucer or jolly jumper once they’re about 6 months or so, but those are certainly not needed right away. I agree with the general consensus on here – you can get most of what you’ll need as you go along.

    • hey I also live in Ottawa! Winter is brutal. We’re expecting #2 late Nov and the first was a spring baby.. I am so not looking forward to the winter and the bundling this time around!! EEK!
      send me a note on my blog if you want to chat! I love me some offbeat moms!

  17. Most of the comments so far have focused on the stuff you need for Baby. I agree with the other Offbeat Mamas: you don’t need much, especially at first.

    But here’s the other side of that coin, after your baby is born, the amount of stuff you have for her will multiply. And then multiply again. Declutter now. Get rid of everything you can stand to get of. Otherwise it will feel like the walls are closing in after your baby is born.

    • YES! This is exactly what my husband and I did before Natalie was born. We went through the house and cleaned out closets and cabinets because I knew that we were about to be inundated with tons of stuff for the baby.

  18. I think what you need really depends on how you think you are gonna raise your baby. My partner and I made a lot of decisions before the baby was born, about the things we’d be doing. Like co-sleeping. Now, the baby is 4 months old and last weekend we made a trip to Ikea to get a crib… because well, our little guy is one uncomfortable baby to sleep with. He kicks, scratches, and nurses the whole time he’s in bed… so I get less than quality sleep… less so than if I had to get up every few hours just to change or feed him. So, we made a change, but not for a bit. He didn’t have a room in the beginning, but we moved recently so now he does. Over time, we’ve collected enough stuff that he definitely needed a room of his own…. just to put stuff.
    What I would take advantage of however is: Summer Garage Sales! Anything second hand! Thrift stores! Do it up now why you have a chance… we got tons of clothes. I packed everything for future use in boxes marked 0-3, 3-6, and so on. We got a baby bath at Goodwill… it was marked as $2.00 but had a blue sticker… and it was blue sticker day! So I got it for a $1! Right off the bat, he screamed when I put him in it, so we bathed together. Now, though, he bathes in that thing every night! He loves it. He can be screaming his head off and we got into the bathroom and he stops right away. He knows: It’s bath time.
    Having a baby is fun… but he definitely has a touchy personality. I’m glad I got a lot of the stuff I got for free, very cheap or borrowed from friends, because half of the stuff he doesn’t care for. And so in the case here, where I got it for super cheap, I don’t feel bad about eventually taking it to goodwill or selling for a buck or two in a garage sale.
    I will say some of it I’ve very much appreciated having. Like the bath… he didn’t love it right away, but does now. The changing table has been nice… A place to put his grooming stuff: diapers, wipes, soaps, combs, I put the thermometors there, and I organized it with baskets and one of those Ikea dresser drawer organizers (a set of cloth covered, multi-sized boxes). They’ve been nice for putting small stuff in, nail clippers and diaper rash ointment. It’s also nice for changing him on, because now that he’s learned to roll over, he tries to when we change him. The table does not allow this very easily, and the strap holds him in very well. The changing table we also got at Goodwill… marked $14 but was again 1/2 sticker day. We didn’t like the color, so we just spent the whole summer repainting it. Another was a bouncy chair (a hand-me-down), because for the last 4 months, he has loved it. He would make himself bounce, and get it super-bouncing. We would always laugh about it. Now he’s almost sitting up, so we’ve moved onto the bumbo chair, another hand-me-down. But, he loves it because he likes sitting up and being able to look around now. Also, toys. I would get them now… and I would start with an assortment or rattles and shakey toys with lights and sounds. If you you scour garage sales, you’ll find loads of them. We only had 3 toys for him, and suddenly he’s putting them in his mouth and being super entertained by them completely unexpectedly. And then, just as suddenly, he’s bored and wants more toys, different toys and we have none. We had to go out and spend some money on toys, because we didn’t prepare ahead of time. I wish now I had… because getting stuff ahead of time at a cheaply discounted price or free… has been awesome for us. I would attempt to do the same, especially if you don’t want to spend a lot of money.

  19. We did the works for our daughter ; huge baby shower, mile long registry with gender appropriate clothes and gifts…everything. I do love her matching furniture, and those items (change table/dresser combo, and crib) her clothes, and her diapers and wipes, were really all we needed for the first four months of her life. If it turns out you desperately need other things you can always go get them, but if you do like I did and stockpile everything your first little one could ever need, you will find that : 1. You dont really need it all and may end up returning it unused anyway, and 2. Baby gear can take over your home leaving you and your little one almost no room to relax.
    Do yourself a favor and buy things as you need them. You may end up saving money and space.
    Also, a word on babyproofing: my daughter is eight months old and we have not babyproofed anything. I am a stay at home mom and am with her all day. If I am busy cooking or cleaning, she spends some time in her playpen. When I have down time, she likes to drag toys and stuffed animals out of her toy basket that we leave in the living room, and if she attempts to crawl over to the bookshelf and drag books out or make her way to the kitchen cabinets, I simply say in a firm voice, “Raia, no.”, and her attention is redirected, and she moves on to something else. I would rather her know that she has limits than let her do as she likes and have to sacrifice the design of my home.

  20. clothes (onesies, pants, sleepers, socks)
    lots of burp rags, or cheap receiving blankets
    a safe place to put the baby down (co-sleeper, crib, or swing)
    blankets or swaddler
    wrap or carrier
    feeding supplies for nursing or formula
    changing pad for couch, bed or floor (i sewed 2 pieces of flannel together for absorbancy)
    diapers and wipes (stock up!)
    a simple item for baby to interact with or stare at
    a place to ask baby related questions
    old clothes that can get stained
    a comfortable place to sit

    i’ve also found baskets and containers quite useful

  21. Having had a C-section, the changing table turned out to be VITAL. I had just planned on changing the baby on the floor, but that was not possible for quite a while. We actually have the changing table attachment on the pack ‘n’ play which is a downstairs sleep area/playpen (it’s in an odd, otherwise-useless corner where I can see it from the kitchen, living room, or office, but it’s out of the way); upstairs, there was a built-in child’s desk in a dormer window and we just plopped a changing pad on top of that to make a really lovely changing table. (With a cute basket to hold supplies.) So no need for an “official” changing table, but a waist-high space you can change is a good idea. I seriously would have had to put a blanket on the kitchen counter otherwise, which isn’t the end of the world, but wouldn’t have been very convenient.

    What we actually stocked up on before the baby arrived, which was a REALLY GOOD IDEA, was personal toiletries for the two of us (spare deodorant, shampoo, etc.), household supplies (toilet paper, trash bags, detergent), and pet supplies. I just kept an eye out for when my stuff was on sale and then tried to stock up with a year’s worth or so. (A few months for the pets.) I just guessed, I didn’t calculate. But it meant that nobody was having to go running out at 6 a.m. when we were out of cat food, or finding no deodorant when they’d been up all night with a fussy 3-month-old. It also gave us more wiggle room in our budget, so diapers and baby supplies weren’t such a shock to the system. It was really nice not to have to worry about being low on shampoo or cat litter for the first six months. πŸ™‚

    In addition to diapers, clothes, burp cloths, etc., we did arrange the baby’s nursery, which was then the guest room, though we didn’t move the guest bed out until much later, and we mostly just repurposed dressers, shelves, etc., we already had for that room. He was in with us for the first four months at night (in a sidecar), but we had him napping in his room at least sometimes from about a month old, and it made the transition easy and casual and gave us a place to toss baby stuff. Otherwise as long as there’s a Target nearby or you have Amazon Prime, there’s nothing necessary that you can’t get within two days. πŸ™‚

  22. Right off you need three things for baby:
    1. A safe place to sleep.
    2. A place to change and put dirty diapers.
    3. A comfortable place to nurse or feed.

    My son is turning 10 months old this week and we didn’t really get things set up for him until he started moving about 2 months ago. Just in the nick of time. At this point, we now need a safe place for him to move and explore. But mostly the list is still the same. πŸ™‚

  23. I’m pregnant with my first. I agree with the minimalist moms who add and subtract as they go, based on what my friends have done.
    One wonderful piece of advice I got was what Mom needs! My friend hadn’t considered this until it was too late:
    nursing bras, nursing pads.
    Sounds simple, but she had to have her husband go out and get them the day after the birth. She had an unexpected C-section, so she was certainly not mobile, and I can imagine even if she’d had a natural birth as she’d planned, she wouldn’t be going too far too soon.
    Her hubby had to guess her bra size!
    Any other post-partum mommy advise gladly welcome!

    • Stock up your freezer with pre-made meals. Cooking isn’t really possible for mom for at least the first week (plan on spending a week in bed recovering-although it took me 3-4 weeks, due to a 3rd degree tear). My honey was super exhausted too, and neither of us was capable of making food. His parents brought us a lot of meals, as did a few friends.

      A meal register (www.mealbaby.com) is awesome, if your friends get it. Our friends don’t have kids yet, and don’t understand.

      I always recommend nursing tank tops (the ones from Target are cheap and awesome!), rather than nursing bras, at least until a couple weeks after birth. Your breasts will change a lot, and you won’t know what size you are until then.

      Also, regarding sleep: advice I wish I had listened to is to stay in bed until you’ve gotten at least 8 hours of sleep (added up, not consecutive). Even if it is 4 in the afternoon.

      • I LOL’d at the needing nursing bras…I got 1 nursing bra beforehand, and I had read online in several places that I would need 1 cup size bigger and 1 band size bigger than my end of pregnancy size…NOT SO. I put it on at the hospital to go home in and I literally could fit about half my breast in the cup and the band was loose. It’s a month later and my breasts are actually bigger now than when I left the hospital, not smaller, and my band size is down 4 inches because I’ve lost weight. I am glad I didn’t go out and buy 6 nursing bras or something. I wore the heck out of my Target nursing tank top for the first week or so though, not a ton of support, but enough to be comfortable and the sizing and fit are great.

        I also really, really wish I had frozen some meals. It’s the one thing I regret not doing before the baby was born. I just ran out of time! I was able to cook the day I came home, but I sure didn’t want to. My husband made us a lot of grilled cheeses and spaghetti.

  24. I’m in the process now of getting stuff together, and I’m making the assumption that finding what I want used takes time. In addition, that time will be more valuable once the baby is born. I’m looking for a dresser, found a bookcase, going to ikea for a crib, checking craigslist for a bassinet/changing table/play yard, a two way swing, and other small stuff. Daddy is buying the car seat and the intercom system as he has firm opinions on what’s safe.

    I hit the thrift store one to twice a week looking for twenty-five cent clothing, have signed us up for all sorts of freebie programs, gotten in touch with la leche league.

  25. Spit up towel thingies!!!! Maybe my baby was just a spit up monster, but after like a week, I went and bout about a hundred of those little square towels.! We probably used 20 a day! Haha! They were handy. I also needed more swaddling blankets then i expected. I hadn’t realized I’d be keeping her wrapped up so much in the beginning but she liked it!

    Oh! and a vibrating chair (or swing or whatever) for me that was absolute! If i didn’t have her little chair to put her in so I could run to the bathroom, (you can bring baby in the chair with you, especially if you need to take a long poop!) I would have exploded!

    But other then the obvious clothes, diaper stuff, it’s all good.

    Oh lastly, some type of nightlight! In the beginning there’s not a difference between night and day, so it’s good to have some non-evasive light! We still use a string of christmas style lights that have flowers on them that we got as a hand-me-down. I’m actually typing in it’s light right now : )

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