Shopping for your first bundle of joy can be fun and exciting and it is easy to get carried away. Online shopping lists on baby sites detail many 'must haves' and friends and relatives often chime in with the essentials required for your first baby. This can make things quite complicated, especially for a new parent. Here is a list of the basic items required for your baby; you can then look at any extra fun stuff to buy, without breaking the budget on non-essentials:
Clothing: Babies tend to grow quite quickly, so if possible, do not spend a fortune on baby clothes and ensure that you have a few items of the next size up as well so you don't have to rush out and buy more when you can't squeeze baby in to the newborn clothing anymore. Get yourself around 5 to 8 onesies (baby grows) for easy, daily wear and 2 or 3 fun outfits for dress up when you go out to go visiting. Look at purchasing 2 jackets or jerseys for warmth if the weather is a little chilly and at least 5 or 6 pairs of booties or socks to keep babies feet warm. You might want a beanie for cooler days as well.
Nappies and wipes: Work on an average of around 10 to 12 nappy changes every day. If you use disposables, stock up on these items before you bring baby home to ensure you get through the first while without a stress. If you are using cloth nappies, you will need to work on a quantity to see you through from laundry day to laundry day plus a few extras for emergencies. Purchase nappy liners and wipes in bulk or refillable containers where possible to save time and money.
Clean, comfortable changing area: Nappy changing becomes less of a chore if you have an area set up before bringing baby home. This area should be comfortable for you to work on, be easily cleanable and sterilized and not allow baby to squirm off too easily. Equip the area with a changing pad and purchase 2 to 4 covers for the changing pad for easy cleaning.
The crib: Whether you choose a bassinet or a crib, look for one that is secure and stable without too many moving parts or connections. If you are planning on more children, purchase a better quality crib that will stand up to years of wear and tear. Fit the crib or bassinet out with a tight fitting mattress and four fitted sheets that fit the mattress tightly.
Car seat: Safety when travelling is very important and in most places this is also governed by law. Your baby should have a car seat suitable to his size and age. Car seat sizes do change as the infant grows and you will need to replace the seat later as your toddler would also need to be securely fastened in a car seat when travelling.
Pram or stroller: It is possible to get a stroller that incorporates a car seat, giving you a two in one option. If you prefer separate options, look for a stroller that can strap baby in securely while being adjustable to allow baby to lie flat or sit up at an angle. A good quality pram will be of use for many years, so it is recommended to shop wisely as this is one of the more expensive items on the essentials list.
Nappy or travel bag: Travelling with baby means that you need to be able to take everything with you while you are out and about. Purchase a baby bag with compartments which is large enough for clothing, nappies, changing matt, cleaning materials, bottles and more. Find one that is comfortable for you to carry and is durable as you will use it for a number of years.
Baby bath: To start with, baby will only have sponge baths but will soon graduate to a proper baby bath. You will need sponges, a bath tub that provides support and is easy to use. You would need three or four small soft towels for drying baby after bath time.
Baby toiletries: Most soaps and lotions we use will not be suitable for baby’s delicate skin. Purchase baby safe items to use such as tears free baby shampoo, a gentle baby friendly soap for washing, baby lotions or aqueous creams, rash creams and powder is preferred.
Stimulating toys: When baby is little he will mostly be interested in eating and sleeping, so there is no need to purchase many toys. A mobile may be a good investment or any other musical toy as well as a rattle and a couple of soft toys that baby are able to clutch. As baby develops you can look at purchasing educational or stimulating toys to improve development.
There you have it! With the basic items above you should be able to settle baby in and manage for some time without having to rush off to the shops to buy anything. If you are not planning to breastfeed, you may also want to look at bottle feeding equipment and sterilizers before bringing baby home.
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