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The Must-Haves and the Completely Unnecessary: Tips for Expectant Mothers

As a first-time expectant mother the idea of registering is exciting ... yay stuff! Cute little baby stuff! Then you actually get to Babies R’ Us and you quickly go from excited and enthusiastic, to overwhelmed and confused. Your more experienced friend, who has agreed to show you the ropes and tell you what you “really really” need, drags you from aisle to aisle talking about bouncers, diaper pails, breast pumps, and wipe warmers. What you thought would be a fun hour spent zapping away with the scan gun, turns into a three hour ordeal and leaves you feeling even more unprepared for your coming bundle of joy. If I don’t even know what I need for this baby, how am I going to know what to do for it!?! You survive the registering adventure only to make daily changes to the registry online after reading countless reviews and customer ratings.

I will not claim to be the all-knowing expert on everything required to be “ready” for baby. However, in the nine months since my little man arrived, I have found that there are some baby products that you absolutely cannot live without when you first bring baby home and others that are completely unnecessary:

The Must-Haves:

  • Plenty of onesies and sleepers: Both newborn and one size up, because some babies come out a little bigger than others.
  • Diapers and wipes to get you started when you come home from the hospital: So your husband avoids a frantic rush to an all-night pharmacy.
  • Receiving blankets and burp cloths: Lots of them.
  • A comprehensive newborn / infant resource book: You will need something to turn to with middle of the night questions.
  • A soothing sound machine for baby to sleep to … aaahhh: The comforting sounds of the womb.
  • An odor minimizing diaper pail: Either the Genie or the Champ works, just have something.
  • A dual-motion swing: The side-to-side and back-and-forth option has helped soothe many a fussy baby (and saved the sanity of their parents).
  • A bouncer, ideally with vibration and music: You cannot possibly hold baby all the time in those first months.
  • A stroller that really is easy to open and close: Be sure to practice before bringing baby home and trying to open it with one hand, while holding baby in the other.
  • An infant car seat with easily adjustable straps: Again, practice before baby
  • Formula if you plan on bottle feeding.
  • Bottles and pacifiers (if you plan to use them).
  • A first-aid/grooming kit: Complete with nasal aspirator, thermometer and baby nail-clippers.
  • Pack n’ Play: With changing table that ideally can be set up in whatever room you will be spending the most time in.
  • An exersaucer or jumper: Once baby has good head control they will love being able to be upright to play. (Plus, it can give mom a few minutes to get something done.)

The Unnecessary:

  • A wipe warmer: Many a baby’s behinds have been wiped with un-warmed wipes, and they are just fine.
  • Shoes: If you do not yet walk, you do not need shoes.
  • Fancy outfits: Honestly, the simpler the better.
  • An overabundance of toys: For the first few months, you will be your baby’s favorite entertainment.

And for the Breast-Feeding Mamas:

  • Lansinoh nipple cream, trust me … if you are breast-feeding, you will need it.
  • Nursing bras at least one size larger than either you or the lady at the bra shop thinks you should get.
  • A couple of bottles and a small can of formula ... just in case.

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