When you're getting ready for a new baby, you will see all sorts of advertisements telling you what you need for your newborn baby. Make a list of everything you possibly want for baby. Then, go back and put a little star next to the items that seem like absolute essentials. Ask friends or research online to double check if your essentials are really needed. Anyone can easily go overboard in the excitement of things to prepare before delivery, but there is no need to stress yourself out by exceeding your budget or making a million preparations.
Here are some suggestions for the overwhelmed parents-to-be. We tried to focus on things to prepare before delivery that you really need (notice we aren't selling anything in this article!) but we definitely may have missed a few items. What did YOU find essential? Is there anything you could have done without?
Things to Prepare For Baby
- Get ahold of a baby bathtub, some soft wash clothes and some baby soap. Sterilized cotton balls worked well for swabbing the baby’s face and closed eyelids. Have a cute baby robe on hand for some adorable pictures.
- Try to arrange a crib/bassinet for each floor of your house. This may certainly not be a necessity. But in those early days, especially after a c-section, you will be too uncomfortable to go up and down stairs all day when your newborn needs a nap. An extra Pack & Play set that includes a bassinet and changing station works well for this purpose.
- Both a swing and a bouncer. It’s hard to know ahead of time which your baby will prefer. See if you can borrow these or get them second-hand. They can be big-ticket items.
- Some baby outfits including both short and long-sleeved onesies. A few easy zipper-up pajama sets. Some parents adore the sleep suits that have room for kicking feet to stay snuggly. Don't forget some cute outfits to wear in pictures!
- Receiving blankets, swaddling blankets and a few burp clothes.
- A warm blanket or car seat cover for cold days when you are taking baby out. Be very careful to read the latest guidelines on car seat covers. Some were taken off the market because they would up being unsafe. You don’t want anything that makes the baby too warm or restricts airflow around them.
- Baby mittens so that they don’t scratch their faces with their tiny nails. You can also use baby socks for this purpose.
- Mothers swear by the Nose Freida, which sucks boogies out of baby’s nose. You can also use the little syringe bulbs they have at the hospital and see which works better for you.
- Lots of extra outfits for the baby. You won't want to do much laundry while you are recovering. Full body suits that zipper up all the way, or onesies that wrap around the baby kimono-style, will be easiest for diaper changes.
Things to Prepare Before Delivery For Feeding
- Get a Boppy to help keep your arms from feeling like they are going to fall off while feeding your baby. Or borrow a friend’s because it seems everyone has one of these lying around.
- Breastfriend Pillow. You probably only need this OR a Boppy. Try them both out at the store. Some people prefer the Breastfriend because it is higher and rests above your incision if you have a c-section.
- Most health insurances provide a breast pump nowadays. Call them and inquire during your third trimester. Go ahead and research which one you want and how to get it. You'll also need breast milk storage bags and space for milk in the freezer.
- Decide beforehand if you want glass or plastic bottles. Get a couple different brand bottles to see which gives your baby the least gas. Wash one bottle at a time until you find one that your baby does well with. You can take the others back while they are still in their packaging.
- A bottle drying rack for all those bottles you will be going through. A bottle brush is pretty essential too, although you wouldn’t be the first mama to throw the bottles in the dishwasher. There are special bottle washing racks that are safe for the dishwasher.
- You'll really want a bottle warmer for formula feeding, especially for those middle-of-the-night feedings.
- An app, notebook or breastfeeding journal to note feeding times, dirty or wet diapers etc., so you can feel secure that the baby is eating enough. Your pediatrician will tell you how many wet diapers and how many BMs they would like to see in the first few days after birth. Nursing Mothers Companion Breastfeeding Diary is a journal we often see suggested. We also recommend a smartphone app with syncing capabilities. Both mom and dad can input when they do diaper changes, feedings, etc. Baby Connect or Baby Tracker get good reviews on the app stores.
- Different nipple creams to try. In the beginning, your nipples can become sore and cracked from constant moisture. Rub a little breast milk on them and let them air dry frequently. There are many over-the-counter products to try- nipple creams, gels, gel “Soothies” and butters. Lanolin works well, others swear by Earth Mama Nipple Butter. You can often get samples directly from the company. Some mothers prefer a lighter, easy to apply cream during the first few days but the thicker creams really help heal faster. Try to use something after every nursing session for prevention and healing between feedings.
- You can also have baby nurse through a nipple shield sometimes. They come in different sizes and are very affordable. Buy a couple different sizes and see what works best.
- Shirts that can be easily raised or unbuttoned for nursing. Some moms swear by wearing two tank tops- one that can be pulled down under your breast, while the other is pulled up.
- A breastfeeding cover or blanket, if you think you will feel more comfortable having these when nursing in public. These are also essential if your baby is easily distracted and pulls off frequently to look all around them.
- Plan on wearing nursing pads in your bra, all the time, for a while. These help prevent leaks from showing thru your clothes and also keep your nipples dry and healing.
- Silicone nursing pads help if you plan on going swimming during the time you are breastfeeding.
The best thing you can do for pre-baby nerves is to spend a little time learning about how to care for a newborn those first few days/weeks and what sorts of things to prepare before delivery. We hope this guide helps you feel more prepared and less overwhelmed!
More help for the newborn stage: