There was a request for a more complete list of what you REALLY end up using with a new baby. I think the best way to think about it is to walk through your day with a baby.
I’ve covered diapers and baby carriers, but there are some other things that get frequent use depending on your child and lifestyle. I will walk you through what a day looks like at my house with a new baby to give you some things to think about as well as add in some more things I love at the end.
First thing in the morning we like to get dressed. It’s a nice way to help you feel awake even when you feel more like a zombie from being up every couple hours all night long with a new baby. Dress your baby in something super comfy! There are a lot of adorable outfits out there, but they do not look comfortable at all to sleep in. Usually they are hard to clean as well. Look for natural fibers and stretch. If you wouldn’t want to sleep in it, don’t put it on a baby.
Breakfast – I like to have a bouncy seat for while I cook/eat breakfast. I usually wear my babies instead of setting them in things all the time, but it’s not safe to have a baby on your front while you cook. A simple, inexpensive bouncy seat can be a life-saver. It doesn’t have to vibrate, or light up, or make noise. It just has to keep them safe for a few moments while you speed cook and eat.
Morning nap – Some babies prefer to sleep in a wrap or carrier, some prefer to sleep laying down. There’s no real way to know which one your baby will be. I’ve had one of each. I like a crib in a nursery for this reason. This is also why I love a video monitor. I can see them while they snooze, but still have some time to do something crazy like take a shower.
Get out – It’s nice to get out of the house at least a few times a week. It will help you maintain your sanity. Don’t try to stop at more than 1-2 stores or places in any one outing though. You will wear yourself out and will most likely have a cranky babe on your hands. For getting out of the house I like a cute and stylish diaper bag. It doesn’t have to be gender specific! It’s your accessory, not your baby’s. So find something you really like since you will be toting it around for years to come. Ideally it is cute enough that when you no longer need a diaper bag it can become just another bag to use for travel or everyday use.
Prepare to nurse in public – I also like to have a nursing cover to go out. Not everyone likes to use one or needs to use one, but it is my personal preference.
Wet Bag – You will also need a wet bag if you are cloth diapering and on the go. It just needs to be big enough to fit a couple diapers. Again, get one you really like because you will use it long after you are done cloth diapering. They become great bags for wet swim clothes or to store wet clothes after a potty accident in the toddler years.
Plan Ahead – While your babe takes an afternoon nap I recommend getting dinner started. It is so much easier to have everything prepped while you baby is calmly sleeping than to do it during the evening hours when babies seem to be at their crankiest.
Swing – Some babies will do well in a swing for a little while if you need free hands to cook dinner, some won’t. Neither of my girls liked them, so I’m glad I didn’t invest any money in one.
Other Items I’m Glad I Have
Glider/Rocker – We have one in the nursery that I use every day before naps and bedtime to rock and nurse my baby.
Noise Machine – Our house is really noisy. It squeaks with every step, the neighbors can be loud, and my 2-year-old is far from silent. The white noise machine helps block some of that out while the baby sleeps.
Waterproof pads – They are great to put under the sheet, but on top of the mattress pad. It makes changing the crib bedding (especially if it’s being done in the middle of the night) much easier and less involved.
Pack and Play – I love this for travel. I hate the big bulky ones though and love my Baby Bjorn brand one. It pops up quickly and easily, is light-weight, and folds up quickly.
3 Crib Sheets – I’ve never needed more than this through 2 children.
2 Changing Pad Covers – If you use a changing pad, have at least 2 covers, they will get poop on them.
Wipes – I love my Thirsties wipes, but there are a lot of cloth wipes option available. Skip the pricey wipes solutions though and go low tech and simple. Save your peri bottle that you will use post-birth. Will it with water and a couple drops of castille soap and spray down a wipe when needed. Easy peasy.
Baby Gate – I must have for the top of the stairs. We don’t put one at the bottom, but feel it’s necessary for the top.
Gowns – These are the best for overnight. They are nice and long to cover baby’s legs, but make nighttime diaper changes quick and easy.
Nursing Pillow – Get a really nice one, it will get used a lot especially in the beginning.
Nursing Pads – There are some great cloth ones available!
Digital Thermometer – Don’t send your husband to the store at 2 a.m., have one ready to go before you need it.
Hopefully this helps. Remember that you don’t need to have a ton of the typical baby stuff. Start simple. You can always borrow a swing, or a jumper, or and exersaucer if you think you might like one before you spend a lot of money on something your baby might not like.