Open a registry with any of the major baby gear retailers, and you'll be flooded with a barrage of STUFF. Here's the thing: Babies don't really need a ton of stuff. I know, I know. It really seems like you might need all of that stuff even though I said you don't. Go ahead and build an epic registry anyway simply because it's so fun and special to dream of all the ways you'll care for your sweet little baby. If you receive everything on your wish list: great! If not, don't fret. Check out this reasonable, smart list of newborn essentials I've curated with you and your baby in mind:
In this doula's opinion, cotton zipper sleepers are king the first three months of baby's life. They're comfortable, quick, easy to launder, and just the right temperature regardless of season. They don't press on a newborn's umbilical stump like separates do. My favorite brand is Target's Cloud Island because they have a reverse zipper. Instead of zipping from bottom to top, these zip from top to bottom. This is helpful for those middle of the night diaper changes; just unzip baby's feet and bottom, leaving their torso and arms snuggly warm. Whatever type of clothing you prefer for your baby, plan on 10-14 outfits total. This gives you plenty of options in the early days when baby spits up everywhere and/or has multiple blow outs.
Baby's gotta eat! There are so, so many feeding products out there. Honestly, most of the them are a waste of money, resources, and space in your home.
If you plan to breastfeed or chestfeed, skip the pillows, creams, milk catchers, covers, freezer bags, supplements, etc, and instead scope out an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) near you. A skilled IBCLC is way more important and less expensive than all of that other stuff combined. According to this study, "women regularly counseled by IBCLCs with instruction and support for breastfeeding were more than four times as likely to exclusively breastfeed their infant at one month and nearly three times more likely to do so at three months, compared with the control group." Can a Boppy pillow do that? No it cannot. If you're located in Kansas City, please check out Liz Levy or Kay Miller. Both are experts in lactation and can support you in reaching your feeding goals, and they even take insurance. You may not end up needing their help, which would be fantastic! But if you do need support, you'll already have arranged for help, which significantly eases your stress and boosts success rates.
If you plan to bottle feed, I recommend starting with a small variety of bottles. Every baby is unique, and you may be surprised to learn they have preferences about their bottle! Choosing a variety box like the Babylist Bottle Box takes the guesswork out of finding your baby's favorite bottle. Once baby is here and you've identified the favorite, then you can buy 6 or 7 more of those and then sell the ones baby didn't prefer.
In the world of poop-catchers, there are 3 basic choices: cloth diapers, disposable diapers, or elimination communication.
If this is your first time cloth diapering a baby, consider signing up for a cloth diaper trial program like this one. There are a ton of various cloth diaper options, and everyone has their own favorite. It can be overwhelming trying to wade through the various terminology, types of cloth diapers, and people's opinions about them all. Take the guesswork out, and try out several different types of diapers until you find the kind you like that meets your family's unique diapering need.
If disposable diapers are more your style, I recommend jumping on the subscription train. Not only are diapers delivered to your door, but the subscription service typically discounts the diapers. Score! I like Amazon's Subscribe & Save program for diapers.
If EC interests you, you may prefer to have a handful of cloth prefolds on hand for messes and diapering on-the-go. I like Green Mountain Diapers for this.
Sleep. Every new family needs sleep. Trying to choose a baby bed may have you wondering: Where do babies sleep the best? What's safest for my baby? What sleeping arrangement is best for my family?
The AAP recommends baby sleep in your room for the first six months of life, in a crib or bassinet, on their back, with no blankets or pillows or cute nursery accessories in the bed with baby.
My clients have been raving about the SNOO, and it's not hard to see why. It's beautiful and highly effective at soothing baby back to sleep when they wake up or feel upset. The purchase price is hefty, but the rental fee feels more reasonable and is worth the excellent sleep for many families. Whether or not SNOO complies with the AAP's safe sleep guidelines is up in the air, though. The HALO bassinet is also a client favorite because unlike other bedside bassinets, this one can swivel over the edge of your adult bed, making accessing baby in the middle of the night quick and easy. And unlike the SNOO, it is definitely AAP-compliant.
If your family plans on bed sharing, check out the Safe Sleep 7 to reduce risk of SIDS and suffocation. (Sorry, heavy topic, I know. It's important.) Some families also prefer to use a bed rail like this one to keep baby safe from falling. When in doubt, discuss safe sleep with your baby's healthcare provider.
Last but not least, your newborn most likely needs a car seat, unless you live in a metro where you rarely utilize cars. All car seats sold in the United States meet high levels of safety standards, and therefore I don't have one specific seat to recommend. There's a great seat for every budget! However, I DO recommend checking out Car Seats for the Littles for comprehensive information on choosing a car seat, how to install and use car seats, why to use car seats, etc. It's an amazing, free resource to keep your newest little human the safest they can be.
That's really it! Are there other gadgets out there that are awesome and helpful? Yes. (I'm looking at you Sakura Bloom, Hatch, Elvie, BabyBrezza and Ollie). Are they necessary for baby's survival? Not really. Prioritize these 4ish items, and you'll have everything you need to welcome your baby into the world.