What To Buy Before Baby Comes
Truly, as long as you have a safe place for the baby to sleep, a few outfits, a blanket, some diapers, and a car seat, you have all the essentials. But there are certainly a few things that can make your life easier. These were the things that I can recommend, from my own personal experience and from my clients.
Out And About
Ring Sling – I found a ring sling to be the easiest and most comfortable quick way to get my baby up and snuggled close when he was tiny. It was great for short walks, and for doing things around the house. I didn’t find it as comfortable on my back for long walks, especially as he got heavier, but it was a lifesaver in the first couple of months.
Ergo – Once my son was big enough not to need the infant insert, the Ergo became my favorite quick and comfortable carrier. We took some long walks when he still needed the insert, but the process of getting him into the insert and then into the Ergo was complicated enough that I didn’t usually do it unless I planned to wear him for at least 30 minutes. It wasn’t quick enough for a brief jaunt into a store, or to take the dog out for a quick putt break until my son got bigger. I still use it occasionally now that he’s a toddler, although he prefers to be on the go!
Skip Hop Backpack Diaper Bag – I love this diaper bag! Having a backpack instead of a shoulder bag frees up the hands and eases the strain on your shoulders. When you don’t want to wear it as a backpack, it works great slung over one shoulder. With a little bottle cooler and lots of pockets, it has everything you need. I kept my wallet in one pocket and ditched my purse for about 6 months.
Water Wipes – For sensitive baby skin, these are the ultimate in simple and gentle. Nothing but water and grapefruit oil, they clean your baby’s most sensitive parts without any chemicals that could irritate their delicate skin. This is what we stock in our studio.
California Baby Diaper Area Wash – If you need a little more power than the Water Wipes, a spritz or two of this helps clean up even the stickiest messes. This is such a nice thing to have for the sticky meconium poops, and then again when your baby starts to digest solid foods.
Arm’s Reach Concepts Bassinet – I loved having my son right in arm’s reach at night. This bassinet connects to the bed, and the side folds down so that it’s easy to reach out and soothe your baby without having to move. The first night we were home, I slept at the very edge of my bed with my hand against his cheek. When he was older and would stir at night, I was often able to just reach out and pat him and shhh him and he would fall back asleep, comforted by being close, and I would only be awake for a few moments. I was so sad when he outgrew this! It does make getting in and out of the bed a little more awkward than the ones that swivel, but it’s well worth it. My friends who had those kinds reported that theirs would sag over time until their baby would roll or slide towards the edge overnight.
Primo Eurobath – If you don’t have a big sink, or want the flexibility of bathing your baby anywhere, these are great. Make sure to get the Summer Infant Comfy Bath Sponge to go with it, as it gives your baby a soft and secure place to lay while you bathe them.
Summer Infant Folding Bather – After about 2 months, we switched to this and I loved it. It folds flat when not in use, and I could set my son in it in the bathtub while I showered, and then just bend down to give him his bath, too. It’s a great solution for multitasking, and for a mom who feels anxious leaving her baby sleeping while she showers. You do have to be careful once they start to get mobile, since they can roll off of it. About that time, I started taking a bath instead of a shower, so I could keep a hand close in case he started to roll over or sit up.
Dr. Brown’s Bottles – These were recommended to me by the pediatrician who helped with my son’s tongue tie and they worked great for us. We never had issues with gas, either because my son wasn’t prone to it, or because of the design of the bottles. But either way, they worked great. We used the glass ones, but the plastic ones are just as good.
Dr. Brown’s Preemie Nipples – These were specifically recommended by the pediatrician who helped with my son’s tongue tie as the best shape and flow to encourage a healthy suck in a new baby, so they wouldn’t come to prefer the bottle to the breast.
Breast Therapy Gel Bead Ice Packs – These were amazing. I actually got two sets so I could keep one pair in the freezer at all times. They can also be heated to help with engorgement, clogged dicts and mastitis.
Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads – Another amazing thing. I got two sets as well for the same reason, and wore them on my nipples constantly during the first few weeks.
Pumpin’ Pals – A great alternative to the flanges that come with the breast pump, these have three sizes included so it’s easy to figure out which works best for your shape, and the angle is much more comfortable than the traditional cone shape!
Rumina’s Pumping/Nursing Bra – If you end up needing to pump a lot, like I did, these bras are life-savers. They’re comfortable enough to wear at all times, but the lower pocket gives your hands-free pumping so you can do other things while you pump – like give your baby a bottle, or just read a book (or doze!)
Milkies Milk-Saver – For anyone with supply issues, every drop of breastmilk is precious, and these help you waste none of it. When you nurse, there is often a let-down in both breasts. This little cup catches that flow so you can save it… or just keep it from making a mess of your bra and your shirt!
Earth Mama Nipple Butter – Heaven for sore or cracked nipples! This glides on easier than pure lanolin, and is so soothing and comforting. I love it so much, it’s one of the products we carry in our little studio store. So if you visit us for a session or a consult or anything at all, you can buy directly from us!
Tripp Trapp Chair – I grew up with this chair, myself, and now my son has one of his own, plus my old one is still at Grandma’s house. I love these because they grow with your your baby – from 5 months to 5 years and beyond, they go from high chair to booster seat, to regular chair, and the solid wood construction means they’re going to last to be used by your children’s children some day.
Baby Bjorn High Chair – While not as versatile in the long run as the Tripp Trapp chair, the Baby Bjorn chair has a small footprint and he back legs fold in or even come out completely to make it a reasonably portable chair for family trips or visits to relatives. Some chubby babies may find the fit between seat and tray a little tight by the time they’re one. Slenderer children can easily use it to their second birthday and beyond.
Breast Friend – I found this to be far more comfortable and useful than many of the other pillows I tried. I liked that it fastened securely, and that it had a firm, flat surface. I particularly appreciated that I could prop an iPad mini or iPhone on the edge during the many hours my son was nursing, and be able to read or browse the web or stay connected to my friends and family.
Gumdrop Pacifiers – Another recommendation from our specialist pediatrician, these pacifiers and similarly-shaped ones like Soothies, can actually help your baby learn to suck better and more efficiently. The shape of the nipple requires more strength of suck, and more work with the tongue (specifically curling around the shape of the nipple) versus the easier, flatter shape of the orthodontic ones. Consequently, these will fall out of your baby’s mouth much easier. Your baby may get tired of sucking before long, as well, but in the long run it will help them build suck strength.
Organic Muslin Washcloths – I started out with half a dozen of these, then I ordered more, and then more. My son was a dribble-mouth when he’d drink and so I always fed him with one of these tucked under his chin and it often ended up soaked in milk so we went through them like crazy. They’re wonderfully soft and absorbent and perfect for spit-up messes as well. Now I use them as general washcloths.
Earth Mama Bottom Spray – A little spritz of coolness is an astounding relief when you’re sore from giving birth. The herbs in this pray help with healing the tissues as well. This is another product that we also carry in studio to offer to tender mamas who visit us post-partum.
Earth Mama Postpartum Bath Herbs – Whether you prepare a proper sitz bath, or just steep the bags and tuck them into your underwear, the herbs in this mix bring relief and promote perineal healing. I tried to get my hands on these when my midwife recommended them, but shipping was too slow and by the time they arrived, weeks later, I was recovered, so this is another product I offer in studio.
The Honey Pot Post-Partum Pads – While you can get away with Poise pads, these are especially designed for bleeding and will be more comfortable than a pad designed for incontinence.
Tucks Pads – Infused with witch hazel, these are just as wonderfully cooling on the perineum as they are for hemorrhoids. I recommend placing three on your post-partum pad, and topping it with the Nuper-Cainal mentioned below.
Nupercainal – With numbing agents in the gel, this is the magic ingredient for a tender perineum after giving birth. Use it on top of the Tucks pads for an extra dose of relief!
Heather Glude is an award-winning photographer and mom, who specializes in newborn, maternity and baby photography in her studio in the Greenwood neighborhood of Seattle. You can read about her newborn sessions, view her portfolio or get in touch!