Disclaimer: I write this post based on my experience. Every baby is unique. Every mom is unique. So please take this as my recommendation.
When I was probably in the 5th month of pregnancy I started panicking: “There is no way I could get ready all of these things for my baby”. I usually have a hard time buying a pair of pants for myself and now I had to buy a million things and I had no idea what to buy, where to start, basically what to even want.
I don’t want to share a plain “to buy list” . There are dozens of those and they drove me crazy as they never explained why you need it.
I want to share a list of things based on my experience with an explanation why the certain item was useful or not.
It is a long list but after you read it you might know little bit better what to aim for.
- You put the baby to bed
- You dress the baby
- You feed the baby
- You stroll the baby
- You change the baby’s diapers
- You wash the baby
- You go by car with the baby
- You put the baby down on floor/couch
- You play with the baby
- You wipe the baby’s mouth/bum/….
- You calm the baby
- You take care of their skin/eyes/look
- You keep track of the baby
You put the baby to bed
I wouldn’t go without these:
- A baby crib – I don’t sleep with my daughter in one bed. I know I would not be able to sleep. I have the crib right next to my bed positioned at the top level. My plan was to have the crib positioned low at the bottom level attached to my bed so I could be in contact with my daughter. Eventually I had to change the plans cause I realized that after a S-section it is not easy to bend down first months and pick the baby up.
- A bed sheet – You can survive with 1 piece. 🙂 There are washing machines and dryers 🙂
- A swaddling blanket – The best thing ever. I basically used the old school type of swaddling blanket with 3 strings. My mom used this when I was a baby. They still use it in maternity hospitals. I think it is the best thing for newborn. Originally I used the swaddling blanket only when I wanted to put my daughter to bed so she can sleep, but later after reading a great book “The Happiest Baby on the Block” by Harvey Karp I found out that you can use this type of blanket to calm down a crying baby with quite a success. When my daughter got bigger I had to start using a bigger swaddling blanket, simple modern one with velcro, easy to fasten.
- A blanket – A thin and a thick soft fluffy blanket are must. I used it as an extra cover over the swaddling blanket when it got colder
I found these nice to have, but you can survive without it:
- A baby nest – Apparently babies like it as it creates a little safe and cozy place to sleep.
- A sleeping sack – I used it later after the 1st month. It is basically a long sleeping gown with a zipper you put on a baby easily.
- A baby comforter – A small blanket usually with a toy attached to it. My daughter started using it later after 2nd month or so when she was able to grab things. If you don’t have money an old fashioned cloth diaper works as well.
- A crib bumper – I think it is important especially when your baby gets bigger and moves around more. When the baby is tiny it basically stays at one place. I used some patchwork blankets, rolled them up and put them in a crib as a replacement.
Things I don’t have yet
- Travel bed – I didn’t have a chance to travel yet. I only go to a cottage where we have a regular IKEA baby bed.
You dress the baby
My daughter was born in June and had roughly 6 pounds (2700 grams) so she was smaller but has long legs. 😀 Definitely not after me. So some clothes didn’t fit at all. They were rather short and too wide.
I found this table useful. I saw it at Marks and Spencer’s clothing box for babies.
Baby size chart
|46 cm / 17 in
|2.3 kg / 5 lb
|48 cm / 19 in
|2.9 kg / 6 lb 6 oz
|50 cm / 19½ in
|3.2 kg / 7 lb 6 oz
|Up to 1 month
|54 cm / 21 in
|4.5 kg / 9 lb 14 oz
|Up to 3 months
|62 cm / 24½ in
|6 kg / 15 lb 4 oz
|69 cm / 27 in
|8 kg / 17 lb 10 oz
|72 cm / 28 ½ in
|9 kg / 19 lb 13 oz
|76 cm / 30 in
|10 kg / 22 lb
I got lot of clothes from friends, relatives, colleagues. Some of them are useful, some of them are not. For example a winter jacket that you cannot use in summer 🙂 So if you want to receive useful things do some research so at least there is a slight chance your baby fits in the given/bought clothes.
I found these important for the first months.
- A cap for newborn
- One piece wrap bodysuits – footed and with a special thingies for the hands so the baby doesn’t scratch its face – at least 5
- Wrap long sleeves bodysuits – at least 5
- Wrap short sleeves bodysuits – at least 5
- Socks – 2 pairs are enough unless your baby is faster than you and likes to soak its feet in the diaper full of ?.
When it got really really hot I basically undressed the baby and put only a diaper on and a light cloth over as a cover.
I found these lovely but I used it rarely:
- Bodysuits that you have to put over the baby’s head – the reason is that the baby cannot hold its head until about 3rd or 4th month. Some babies can take it probably, but my daughter disliked it. Then it is like putting clothes on a bag of potatoes 😀 I basically used these only when I want to give a picture to my grandma to say “Look, she is wearing the stuff you bought me” 😀 so grandma wouldn’t get sad she bought something useless. Sorry, mom! Supposedly when the babies start moving around more these bodysuits over head get more practical than the wrapping ones.
I found these useless:
- Dresses – I didn’t find it practical as all dresses had to be put on over the baby’s head.
- Shoes – unless you want to show off 🙂 and persuade others your baby can walk in 2 months.
- Headbands – Can you imagine that somebody is putting something like that onto your head? You would kill him/her. Buy a doll instead! 🙂
You feed the baby
If you breastfeed you are lucky and the only thing you need is your breasts :). The “instant” milk is the best if it works the way it should. If it doesn’t the list below might will help out.
Are you (not) breastfeeding? See the list of things that don’t suck about not breastfeeding to cheer you up a little 🙂
- Formula – You can definitely buy it later. No rush. Every pharmacy has it.
- Bottle – there are many products. I fell for Philips Avent products. I went through about 6 different kinds of bottles and I ended up using Avent. I don’t think there is one great bottle. You gotta test it and see what the baby likes.
I found very useful from the first month:
- A bottle warmer – easy to use, you put the bottle with formula & water inside, you put a tiny amount of water based on how much formula you are warming up. The food is ready at the right temperature. You have no troubles with mixing the right amount of hot water and cold water.
- A microwave sterilizer – you put all the bottle parts into a plastic box, you pour some water in it and put it in microwave for 3-4 minutes. Ta-daaa. All done. Sterilizing in boiling water would be a nightmare for me. Plus, it can ruin your bottles.
- A bottle brush – one tiny for cleaning the teat part that the baby suck on and one larger for the actual bottle.
- A burp cloth – I had an old fashioned cloth diaper – to protect your baby’s clothes 🙂 and to wipe your baby’s mouth
I found useful later
- Formula containers – you measure the right amount of formula in advance and have it in a small container. I bought it so I have it when I go out but I found it useful at home. The quicker you feed your baby, the better! 🙂
- A bib – with the hook & loop thingie or velcro at the side, not at the back, because when the baby is too small you don’t want to mess with its head too much.
- A bottle warmer for outside – my friend Julia recommended it to me and it is great. Simple. Plastic container + thermos for hot water. You heat the bottle up easily.
I needed it but I didn’t have it
- A flexible spoon for infants – even though the baby doesn’t eat yet, it was the only way how I could give my daughter liquid vitamin D or any type of drops preventing stomachache.
Please, how do you say “farts” in baby English? 🙂
You stroll the baby
- Pram/Stroller – This was a nightmare to solve :D. Everybody was saying something different and everybody kept saying their version of the best thing. My friend helped out a lot: “First thing, write down what your life might look like with the baby. Will you need to go grocery shopping with the baby? Will you go on walks every day? What does the terrain look like? Will you use car often?”
- A pram sheet – Yes, strollers like beds have sheets. 🙂
- A piece of cloth to protect the baby against sun – the little guys first three months shouldn’t be in direct sun. I used the cloth diaper.
I found useful probably like 5 times in summer:
- An insect cover – to protect your baby against creatures like mosquito, wasp and also bumble bees 🙂
You carry the baby
- Your arms 🙂 – I have to mention this. Yes, you will need them. Your arms, your shoulders, your wrist, your back… If someone told me in advance I would have trained at least little. You feed the baby, you carry it around, you pick it up, you lay it down, baby is getting bigger from 3 kilos to 4, 5… more. There is a lot your body has to take and is not used to it. If you are the lucky girl like me you might end up with some serious pain in your wrist. I have an inflammation in left hand and it is not going away.
I have this and definitely wanna use it:
- A baby carrier – I definitely want to use when my daughter is able to hold her head straight for longer time. I think carrying her this way might help my posture.
I had this but never used it:
- A baby wrap – I borrowed it from my friend. I eventually never tried it. I wanted it but totally gave up. Three main reasons for me: 1. I was worried that I drop my daughter 2. I was worried that I would squish her 3. I was worried I would get entangled when I saw how long that thing was 😀
A baby sling would be probably a better choice for me. I never tried it either.
You change the baby’s diapers
- A changing table – You can change diapers basically on a floor but I am glad I bought mine in advance. It saves my back. It also helps you to organize stuff like diapers, cosmetics, clothes etc.
- Diapers – I had no idea, 1, 2, 3, what? Every producers has it differently. I had diapers for the tiny babies and we had them for almost 3 weeks 🙂 And how many? Supposedly it should be 6-7 diapers per day but if there are many accidents at the beginning you might need more 😀
- Wipes – This one is tricky to explain. This product is probably sold only in the Czech republic. It is a type of very thin cloth and it is used in hospitals for example as bed sheets. Its texture is very much like the wipes you buy but it is fabric. So it is the best thing for your baby’s bum. It is plain and you moist it only in water, no scents. You can add some baby oil. It doesn’t seem practical but since the birth my daughter had absolutely no bum rash.
- Baby oil – There are tons of products. My friend once told me a nice thing: “For your baby buy products only that you would be able to eat”. I could say now that I could definitely fry some pancakes on this oil 😀 I use Weleda baby oil.
- Baby cream for bum
- An old fashioned cloth diaper – to dry the bum
I found useful:
- A cloth for changing diapers – a piece of cloth that has a rubbery bottom. You can change diapers outdoor in a pram just by putting this cloth underneath the baby.
- Portable changing pad – Simple cushioned pad from IKEA. It is light so you can put it on a table, on a bed, on a washing machine and change the diaper.
You wash the baby
My daughter hated bathing from the beginning. She cried until maybe the 10th bathing. 🙂 Well, her parents were sh***** their pants when they had to bath her. So I guess the stress was mutual 😀 Now it seems she likes it.
- A bath tub – we have one from IKEA
- A Baby oil after the bath
- A hoodie towel for babies
- A washcloth
I found useful after the 1st month:
- A baby bath support – It looks like a little seat and you can lay the baby on. It seemed that when we put our daughter on it she was calmer than when she was floating around. Every baby is unique though.
I didn’t get until 3rd month 🙂
- Soap – A great soap is water 🙂 And your baby will thank you.
- Shampoo – Water works too.
My friend recommended to me:
- A baby bucket – I haven’t tried it, but I believe the babies like it.
You go by car with the baby
- An infant car seat
I found really useful:
- ISO FIX in your car (in Europe) – a special thing that allows you install an infant car seat easily onto your car’s seat and don’t have to fasten a seat belt over the infant car seat.
You put the baby on floor/couch/rocker
- A patchwork pad – to put the baby on a floor, on a couch
I found this useful later:
- Infant-to-Toddler Napper – I found this useful around 2nd month, especially when I realized that my wrists couldn’t take holding my daughter anymore. I still have an inflammation in my left wrist. Initially I fed my daughter in my arms, later I had to lay her aside sometimes. The napper worked well. The tiny baby shouldn’t stay in it for too long because of its back.,
You “play” with the baby
My pediatrician’s nurse told me to not go crazy with toys in the first weeks. I listened. The best thing was I think to walk around the apartment and talk to the baby and show things that has a nice contrast, for example black photo frames. My daughter smiled the first time when she was staring at family photos in black frames 🙂
Now after 3 months we have all kinds of toys, but for the first month we stayed off this mania that baby needs lot of toys.
As I read some smart articles toys often have “0 months+” written on them but the baby’s motor skills are not yet developed for that. So no rush.
I found useful around 1st month:
- Black and white cards with different pictures on it
- A hanging toy for a stroller
I found useful after 2nd month:
- A blanket with the activity arch – You can hang up different toys and the baby plays with it. First, it just stares :D, then it tries to hit it, and then it tries to tear down the whole arch thing. 😀
Some moms recommend:
- Carousel over the crib – I don’t have any experience besides this one 😀
I am not a big fan of things that make noise 😀 So decide if the tune is something you wanna listen often.
You wipe the baby’s mouth/bum/…..
- An old fashioned cloth diapers – I have 30 of those! 🙂 The best thing you can have. It is handy. You
You calm the baby down
I wrote this one here separately, on purpose. First month the babies cry and something the baby cries only because it cries or because it got scared by its own fart, or burp. Then you are here for the baby to calm it down.
- A swaddler – I highly recommend this. I read it in book, okay? I am not being a smart ass. It did work for me :). Take your baby, put her/him into the swaddler and tie it. Tight so the baby can’t move too much. Don’t leave the arms out even though the baby looks like it doesn’t like it. 🙂 Then hold her/him in your arms and swing, do a loud Shhh. Try it. If the baby cries so you don’t hear your Shhh, you gotta do a louder Shh 😉 You can read these tricks in the book I mentioned earlier, The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp.
- An app like Sound Sleeper – A sound of a vacuum cleaner works the best 😀
I had it and haven’t used it yet
- A pacifier/a dummy – My daughter seems to be happy without it so she doesn’t use it yet. Well, I actually didn’t introduce them yet 😀 so maybe they would like each other.
I am learning new words in English. Yay 🙂
You take care of the baby’s body
I had these from beginning
- A pair of scissors for their nails
- An alcohol for the umbilical cord care
- Eye drops
- Baby oil
- A diaper rash cream
I didn’t use these until 3rd month
- A hair brush – I brush her hair now every day since I was gently informed that she has 3 dreads on the back of her head 2 weeks ago 😀
A good to know:
- Orthopedic abduction pants for the baby’s hips – You will be told by the baby’s orthopedist in case there is a need to get those. The pants keep the baby’s hips in the right position. They are used as a preventive orthopedic aid for the right development of hip joints.
You keep track of your baby
- A baby breathing monitor – I have one. Some moms told me that they didn’t have it. I usually hear stories that it doesn’t work or it had a false alarm due to the position of the baby on the mattress. I am glad I have it and I see my baby is all right. But I agree that sometimes it brings more stress than a good feeling. What is your experience?
- An audio baby monitor – I hadn’t had one until about the beginning of 4th month. I live in a small flat so basically you hear the baby crying right away 😀 At the very beginning the baby doesn’t care if you are loud so I had doors opened so I could hear her. Now I see that every little sound can wake her up so I shut the door and turn on this monitor.
Quite exhausting, right? 🙂
Are you a fresh mom? I would be happy if you write in comments below any experience you had. It might help some expecting moms.
Are you an expecting mom? Hope it helps you.
PS: I want to thank my friend Jana for taking the time and comment on my initial TO DO list. It helped me a lot. Hopefully now my experience will help others. 🙂