This is a list of items that I found essential in those first few crazy months with our baby boy. Some are obvious and some you may not have thought of yet.
- Infant Car Seat: You are required to have a correctly installed car seat when you leave the hospital with your little bundle of joy. I would suggest getting your car seat installed well before your due date so that you aren’t scrambling in the middle of the night when you go into labor! The first step is purchasing your car seat. Research different brands online before you go to purchase the car seat and check for any safety recalls. If you decide to purchase a used car seat looking up safety recall information is especially important! We ended up getting the Eddie Bauer travel system, which came with a car seat and stroller. When you are in the store don’t get distracted by cute colors and patterns but check to see if the seat works well for you. Most stores have them out on display so you can see how it is made and how heavy it is, etc. If you are getting a travel system check to see how easy it is to take the car seat on and off of the stroller. Also, check to see that the stroller can collapse easily with one hand and that it will fit in your backseat/trunk. I would definitely recommend taking your new car seat to a fitting station where they will install your car seat correctly in your car for you. It is not that complicated, but its better to be safe than sorry! To find a fitting station near you visit www.nhtsa.gov. You can also visit your local AAA or fire station.
- Health and Grooming Kit: One of the first things I needed to do when I got home from the hospital was clip my baby’s fingernails! It may not be something you are thinking about, but baby’s can be born with long and sharp fingernails! Have some baby nail clippers on hand to keep your little one from scratching their face. I would suggest clipping their nails after they have eaten and are asleep. The first time I did it I had my husband hold our baby while he was asleep so I could easily trim his nails. (It gets harder when they get older and are squirming!!) Also, be sure the kit comes with a thermometer. Most pediatricians will want you to use a rectal thermometer for at least the first 2 months, so be sure you have one handy and are aware of how to use it. After the first few months we switched to a temporal thermometer, which you run across the forehead. There are all kinds of kits, big and small, but I would be sure that you have one with nail clippers, a nasal aspirator, a baby brush, and a thermometer. (Or get your own separately.)
- A Glider or Rocking Chair: I received a glider rocker with an ottoman as a gift and it is one of my most used baby items! I love it! I used it from day one and am still using it with my 9 month old son. It is handy for breastfeeding or bottle feeding and is great for putting your little one to sleep. They usually go from about $150 on up, depending on how fancy you want to go! I would look for one that is easy to clean, because it will most likely get all kinds of spit up and food on it. I would suggest not getting the absolute cheapest, because going up in price just a little can get you a much better product. Again, check the reviews to see how it lasts and wears. I spent a little more thinking of it as an investment knowing I could use it if/when we have another baby. Make sure you get a comfy one because you may end up spending a lot of hours there when your little guy or gal is hungry at 3AM or needs some extra rocking to get them back to sleep after a feeding!
- I would also get a Boppy with at least one cover, pacifiers (everyone says they aren’t going to use them until that first sleepless night!), LOTS of swaddle blankets (I call them barf rags), diapers and sensitive wipes, and bathing supplies.
Have fun shopping and buy them ahead of time so you can relax and have as little stress as possible when your baby comes!