When you’re preparing to bring home your baby, the list of to-do’s can feel pretty overwhelming. But honestly? Not everything is as much of a necessity as it may seem.
All that a baby really needs, at the end of the day, is you. So whatever you do, don’t stress.
But beyond that most important basic, (you!), these are the essentials that will make life so much easier to have ready ahead of your birthing time:
Have your breastfeeding basics on hand
Even though my son was my second born, the breastfeeding journey was still challenging. From the beginning, his latch wasn’t great and as we worked to improve it, the pain was relentless. I remember trying to make the three block trek to the store to grab something (anything!) to alleviate the pain.
Did I mention I had a toddler, a three-day-old, and a pair of burning nipples with me on this slow-moving postpartum walk? It’s an experience that I 10/10 do not recommend. If you’re planning to breastfeed or chestfeed, then gathering the items you’ll need – ahead of time – will make the journey so much more comfortable.
A great staple item we highly recommend picking up is a good nursing bra. Bravado is the brand we swear by. This seamless, wireless nursing bra style is a versatile favourite, and this style is so comfortable I even gave birth in it – twice!
You’ll also want to have nursing pads on hand, we recommend having some reusable and disposable pads on hand for the first few weeks as you adjust to your milk coming in. A great nipple cream is also critical in the early days as latch pain (see above!) can be an issue. The Nursing Bundle is a great breastfeeding starter kit that has everything you need.
Stock up on formula if that’s your feeding plan
If formula is your plan, then you will definitely need to have it readily available before your baby makes their debut. Whether you are birthing at home or returning from the hospital, it’s better to not have to make a last minute store run for an exclusively formula fed baby – especially if it’s late at night and you’re exhausted. You don’t need that stress!
The first thing you’ll need to do is choose the formula that is right for your family (I used this brand for my slightly older baby second time around, but you may prefer something else). Keep in mind that it is recommended newborns have the ready made or concentrate liquid formula in the beginning for sterile reasons.
That said, the goal post can change. There is NO shame in that (mine did, it happens). But just know that health care providers are excellent at letting us know if baby needs supplementing, and even as brand new parents, nothing beats our own intuition.
And last, some good news: once your baby is older they can transition to powder, which is (mercifully) cheaper!
You can never have too many burp cloths and receiving blankets with a newborn
I remember getting so many receiving blankets and burp cloths at my baby shower that I thought everyone had lost their minds. Who in the world could use this many tiny little cloths, I thought.
Well, it turns out my tiny glass doll of a newborn baby, that’s who. Not all babies will necessarily spit up a ton, but those that do, well, IYKYK. We ended up whipping through these blankets and cloths and doing more laundry than I ever thought possible.
While I did use both receiving blankets and burp cloths, if you go with just one, we recommend receiving blankets since they double as swaddles for small newborns (here’s a great video on swaddle technique). Stock up on these well-priced unisex clothes made entirely from cotton.
It may seem obvious, but stock up on diapers
Whether you’re going with cloth or disposable, make sure you have diapers on hand and ready to go for when you return home from the hospital (or if you’re planning on birthing at home).
But don’t stock up on too many newborn sized diapers. Why? Well, you don’t yet know how big your baby is going to be! They may not stay in newborn sized diapers for long. It’s best to have a mix of newborn and size one diapers ready to go.