Seeing the results of a pregnancy test can leave you feeling shocked, overwhelmed, excited, and anxious. But those feelings pale in comparison to how you’ll feel after taking your first trip down to your nearest “baby” store.
After losing yourself (and possibly your mind) for hours and hours in aisles filled from top to bottom with all things baby related, it’s likely you might leave the store questioning if you’re fit to be a parent. After all, don’t good parents buy things like wipe warmers and ergonomically designed pacifiers for their babies? And if you don’t or can’t, what does that make you?
A complete and utter parental failure. The baby hasn’t even arrived yet and you’re already letting it down. Way to go mom and dad.
The truth is most of the thousands upon thousands of items in those baby stores are not necessary for raising a thriving, healthy baby. Sure, there are lots of products that will help you in your quest to become the parent you’ve always wanted to be, but in general, there are just a handful of “must-haves” when it comes to taking your first baby home.
#1-A Good Crib Mattress
You don’t need the latest, greatest, state-of-the-art crib, but the crib mattress? Well, that’s another thing altogether. Pinching pennies on a crib mattress may very well result in a saggy, unsupportive mattress in just a few months’ time and you’ll find yourself once again spending cash on another mattress. Save yourself the second trip and just get a better quality mattress to start with. You’ll sleep better and hopefully, so will your baby.
#2- A Video Monitor
The first few months of parenthood? You might find yourself going a little insane. You’re tired and constantly worried about this tiny little person you’ve just brought in to the world. You might be so anxious about SIDS that you actually find yourself sleeping on the floor next to your baby’s crib as if you’d be able to fend it off. Some parents get a monitor that lets them hear their baby’s cries and later, baby’s babbles. I’d suggest taking it a step further and getting a video monitor so you can actually see what’s going on. I can’t tell you how many times I heard a few sounds, ran into my son’s room to see what was wrong, only to find out he was making sounds in his sleep and my running into his room in panic mode only resulted in waking him. A video monitor lets you see and hear your sleeping angel—giving you much needed reassurance.
It’s no secret that babies like to be held. Some of them will make you hold them forever. And if you’re lucky enough to get one of those babies, it’s highly unlikely you’re going to have dinner/a clean house/a chance to do laundry for a few months. Get a swaddle, wrap, or sling, bundle your little guy or gal up in it and enjoy hands’-free parenting at its finest.
#4- A Quality Stroller
Your baby will spend quite a bit of time in his or her stroller in the first year or two of life, but make sure it’s one you really like too. There are so many options out there, it really just depends on your lifestyle and what you plan on using the stroller for. My go-to was the City Mini. Everything about this bad boy was easy—and it made traveling a snap with its quick release fold handle. My favorite trick was when we’d be in the security line at the airport. No one likes to get behind a family with a kid and stroller, right? Well, they’d be shocked when I’d just yank the handle up on the stroller and the whole thing just collapsed like a house of cards. Mic drop.
For you, not for baby. Sure, it’s kind of a joke, but also kind of not. Shrill baby cries got you down? Earplugs. Is it your shift to sleep, but every whimper or sniffle wakes you up? Earplugs. Has your spouse’s voice inexplicably become extra annoying (this will return to normal in a few months. Maybe.) Earplugs. Take the edge off and be that super-parent you’ve always dreamed of becoming.
Don’t buy into the hype. Babies are simple little creatures that don’t need much—it’s us parents that over-complicate the situation by thinking we need it all in order to be a gold star parent.