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what is really essential?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

so some of you may have seen my previous post in this group.  I'm a first time mom, due in july, working on a registry.  I don't think I need half of the stuff people keep telling me I need, so I was hoping someone with experience could help me make a list?


I have typed out the following things, of through my research, it seems I do need or will eventually need within the first year (maybe not NEED but would make my life easier), and bolded the stuff I already have.


thank you for any help!!  is any of this stuff extraneous?  any suggestions on which stuff is safe to buy 2nd hand and which is better new?





diaper bag



baby soap (i can just use dr. bronners right?

jogging stroller



stuff for pumping (have the pump borrowed from sister, need accessories, not sure what that means)


burp cloths


sling or baby carrier

nursing cover

co sleeper

boppy pillow

high chair



some type of bathing apparatus?

pack n play . . .(have decided to return it and exchange for a co sleeper type of bassinet bc im pretty sure its not a necesity)


post #2 of 17

We never used a specific baby bathing thing.  I just took both kids in the tub or shower with me and handed them off to DH to dry.  I also just bought a huge purse instead of a diaper bag so I could keep using it after baby, but I really dislike most diaper bags.  If you end up with a ton of receiving blankets just use those as burp cloths.  We got an obscene amount of blankets with DD1 and never ended up buying burp rags.  What about adding a bouncy seat?  I know a lot of people here hate them, but we had a bouncy and swing despite both kids being held 90% of the time.  I loved them and there is no way I would ever tell someone they didn't need them, but I know it depends on the baby.

post #3 of 17
Thread Starter 

very helpful advice!!!!  thank you so much!!!!

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

and while we're at it, can someone tell me if the pack n play IS useful, because i already have one and don't want to get rid of it if i will actually use it.  i no longer want to use it as a bassinet bc i think something like an arm's reach co sleeper would be better.  thoughts?



post #5 of 17
Thread Starter 

is a swing the same thing as a bouncy seat?  im SO clueless!

post #6 of 17

What we do here may completely not work for you, but my thoughts with the things that are necessary for our lifestyle in bold:



-clothes -- naked babies in July!  But seriously, we had very few clothes for our October baby and it was totally OK


-diaper bag -- Just a big purse/bag...even a backpack


-cream -- breast milk works for pretty much everything you could use cream for

-baby soap (i can just use dr. bronners right?) -- we didn't use soap on DS until he started eating solids, and we do use Dr.B's

-jogging stroller -- if you run (we do) it's awesome, but if not you may end up preferring a carrier


-bottles -- I was given 3 and never used them, but this obviously depends on if you'll be away from the baby for work or something

-stuff for pumping (have the pump borrowed from sister, need accessories, not sure what that means)


-burp cloths -- cloth diapers double as the best burp cloths



-nursing cover

-co sleeper

-boppy pillow -- it was helpful when DS was tiny, but became obsolete quickly...might be another item to borrow

-high chair -- You may just want to wait and get a booster seat when the time comes.  High chairs generally just get in the way and are a pain to clean. 

-swing? -- another thing you may want to borrow before you commit to

-toys -- not for a while... and you will probably get them unsolicited

-some type of bathing apparatus? -- we never had one and have never missed it

-pack n play . . .(have decided to return it and exchange for a co sleeper type of bassinet bc im pretty sure its not a necesity)


The only other thing I love having is a wetbag...even if you're not cloth diapering you still may find it helpful to have for poop explosions that get all over clothes and if your child has horrible spit-up and therefore lots of wet shirts like DS had.  There is really very little you need at first...boobs, diapers, and a carseat if you have a car. 





post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 

lovely.  some of the things have already been given to me, and i don't mind borrowing them and using them for a little while.  I did not know that about breast milk.  Funnily enough, someone just me this article:




an interesting read, although it sounds like you may already know all of this.


i feel much more calm now knowing that i can get by without much, bc i really don't want much!  Thanks for your advice!

post #8 of 17


Here are what we've done and needed or not needed


Bed We haven't used a bed, co sleeper or pack in play, they all slept in our bed

Clothes 8-10 outfits, onesies, and socks, 1 hat

Diapers 1-2 dozen prefolds, 3 covers, two wet bags, 

Diaper Bag I just use a bag I had around and a travel sized wet bag

Wipes 1 dozen cloth

Cream I have a jar of Angel Baby Bottom Balm I bought for the two year old that I've used on the baby once or twice, if I didn't have it I wouldn't miss it

Soap If I use soap, it's Dr. Bronner's, but I don't usually use soap on the kids unless they are super dirty

Stroller I didn't like strollers, we just use a moby wrap or Ergo during the baby stage.  The big girls ride in a wagon.

Carseat I prefer convertible carseats that go from 5 lbs to booster seat

Bottles used them for 3 months with my first, occasionally with the second, and I don't even have any in the house with #3.  If you don't plan to leave baby, you don't need bottles

Pump same deal as above, accessories is usually flanges, tubing and bottles I believe

Sheet We've never needed them   

Burp Clothes I use cloth wipes or diapers for wiping up spit up

Blanket I like to have two, one to use and one to wash

Sling/Baby Carrier I like the Moby for the newborn stage and the Ergo after about 4 months old

Nursing Cover I have never had one

Cosleeper Never had one

Boppy Didn't have one with my first, liked it with my second, stored it until the third and realized it wasn't worth storing and consigned it two weeks ago

High Chair I like ours, it's just a basic wood one from Ikea that looks nice with our table.  Baby has to sit up unassisted before using it.

Swing I had one for a few months with my second, it was nice, but not nice enough for the amount of space it took up

Toys Right now dd3 has two wooden teething toys, one stuffed animal, and 6 board books.  It's way more then she needs.

Bathing I either fold a towel up in the bathroom sink, or just get in the tub with baby

Pack 'n Play Had one with my first, never used it so I consigned it before having our second


I also have a couple prefold belts, a potty bowl, and a baby bjorn little potty because they make EC easier, but I did EC with the first two with just a yogurt tub, so that's really not necessary at all.


post #9 of 17

It depends on the child IMO.  My first loved being in the pack and play and wanted to just chill in there even when I wanted to play with him on the floor.  With my second I only used it once she was older and we were on vacation and needed somewhere for her to sleep.  My youngest is 6 months and we haven't used his yet.

Originally Posted by octolars View Post

and while we're at it, can someone tell me if the pack n play IS useful, because i already have one and don't want to get rid of it if i will actually use it.  i no longer want to use it as a bassinet bc i think something like an arm's reach co sleeper would be better.  thoughts?




post #10 of 17

Some of this stuff also depends on how many kids you think you will want to have, how close, etc. Our kids will all be two years apart, plus we have been foster parents to three newborns, so the stuff we do have has seen A LOT of use, and some of it was already used, pretty good! Been cloth diapering this whole time, too, often w/ two in dipes. FOR US, we have always needed 3 dozen prefolds & 6-10 covers in whatever size the baby/child happens to be. This lets me do the wash every other day & be fine & it is okay if baby poops 6 times per day. Our stash is not at all fancy & has gotten tons of use, money well spent.


We only have a crib for fostering, totally useless to us w/ bio babies as they sleep in our bed. Same w/ bassinet & pack n play. The only time we actually used the pack & play was when travelling w/ a foster baby b/c she was used to being in her crib, & then it was great. I'm sure I could've borrowed one, though. I do like to have a baby tub & shampoo. It is much easier for me to bathe a baby and all that if I am not in the tub w/ them. Baby would use the same shampoo as our other kids. Love my diaper bag! It holds a ton and does exactly what I need it to. I never did carry a purse or bag, though, so ymmv. We have a large one and a small one. Stroller was more important when we had more than one kid & ours converts from a single to a double, thus saving time and space. If you just have one baby, I think it's loads easier to wear them, unless you also have a heavy bag to carry & are by yourself. Cream will depend on baby's skin. One needed it, one didn't. Having one tube on hand won't hurt. Unless you have a spitty baby, you will not need as many blankets or rags as you think. Someone said 2 blankets & I agree, 2 or 3. One is probably going to go on the floor to lay baby on, I would not want to use that one to wrap baby in. If you are doing cloth prefold or flat diapers, you can use those for burp rags AND use the flat ones for bibs. Think old westerns w/ the flat folded into a triangle and tied around baby's neck. The Boppy pillow is like my lifeline for nursing a newborn. Also useful for when baby is learning to sit up, you can prop them up a bit in it. Also good for a parent laying on the floor playing, it's pretty comfy :) I actually take mine out w/ me when baby is tiny, that's how much I love it. Skip the highchair, get a booster with a tray and seat belt, much more useful & easier to store. With how high-tech the new baby swings are, you don't actually need a swing and a bouncy. Swings now have vibrate and can go from side to side, not just back and forth. They even plug in, no need for batteries! If you are just getting one, get a swing w/ all the bells & whistles. Someone is probably dying to buy this for you :) I hate how much space a swing takes up, both in the room and in storage, but they can be really helpful. DH and I used to get 40 minutes of extra sleep when dd1 was a few months old b/c she would wake up before us and happily swing for that long. Some will even fall asleep in there :D I do pump when baby is born, many do not. Since you already have the pump, keep it, you never know. Did she send you any accessories, or just the pump & nothing else? The accessories are this plus tubing: http://www.amazon.com/Medela-Breast-Pump-Accessory-Set/dp/B00092A7E8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1333229057&sr=8-1 A lot of it stores in the pump bag.


To copy everyone else, I bolded what I think you need:





diaper bag



baby soap

jogging stroller



stuff for pumping


burp cloths


sling & baby carrier

nursing cover

co sleeper

boppy pillow

high chair



baby tub

pack n play

post #11 of 17

just my opinion from my experience with my 2 kids-


Bed - you mean your bed right?

clothes - yes

diapers - yes

diaper bag - or you can just use a backpack or other bah you already have

wipes - we have about 20 cloth wipes

cream - never used it, usually not compatible with cloth diapers- what we did use and like and will be buying again for this baby is this - http://www.homesteadcompany.com/product_p/bwcc.htm   It has healing oils in it that work amazingly fast on any rashes that come up.

baby soap (i can just use dr. bronners right?) - yes, or Basic H that shaklee makes, can be used as body wash for all members of the family, or any very natural "soap" like that.

jogging stroller - never used one

carseat - necessary only if you have a car.

bottles - never used it, only necessary if you plan on being away from the baby

stuff for pumping (have the pump borrowed from sister, need accessories, not sure what that means) - same as bottles

sheets - sheets for what?

burp cloths - we just used our prefolds and flat diapers for spit up messes. I don't think I ever used one for burping

blanket - yes a small one for swaddling in the beginning

sling or baby carrier - not necessary but very useful

nursing cover - no

co sleeper - not necessary but could be a place to set the baby down if you need to

boppy pillow - could use regular pillows, but the boppy works better

high chair - not necessary. we used a bumbo with a tray for a couple months, then switched to a booster in  an adult chair

swing? - not necessary

toys - not needed for at least a year

some type of bathing apparatus? - not necessary

pack n play . . .(have decided to return it and exchange for a co sleeper type of bassinet bc im pretty sure its not a necesity)

Edited by SomethingAnonymous - 4/8/12 at 5:10pm
post #12 of 17

I've got 3 kids under 5 and I can tell you that we've used less stuff each time!  With my first, we did the typical firt time parents thing and bought all the "must haves" (which looking back, was a ridiculous amount of stuff!) only to discover that we didn't use them or my daughter didn't like them (ie. the swing).  With my son, we used less but still kept some things thinking maybe he would like them (the swing again, lol).  When I was pregnant with my third, we took nearly everything to a consignment store, keeping only what we knew we would use!  Of course, all babies and families are different but I think there is very little that a baby actually needs! :)


Bed - we co-sleep so we just need our bed.  We also have a matress on the floor (sort of Montessori floor bed style) since the bed gets pretty crowded these days!

clothes - I always fell into the cute clothes trap until I wised up this time around.  Tiny skinny jeans, although adorable, are totally impractical and probably pretty uncomfortable.  We stick to mama made woolies, kimono tops and sleepers in the beginning. 

diapers - We had two in cloth so we have quite a few but I think 24 would be plenty.

diaper bag - We just use a back back.  I had a diaper bag but found it way too finicky.

wipes - We use baby wash cloths!

cream - We don't use cream. 

baby soap (i can just use dr. bronners right?) - We don't use soap in the beginning.  I don't think its really necessary!

jogging stroller - Not really necessary...my babies prefer being worn! ;)

carseat - Yes.

bottles - Only if you plan to leave the baby.

stuff for pumping (have the pump borrowed from sister, need accessories, not sure what that means) - same as bottles

sheets - Again, we co-sleep

burp cloths - I had no idea what burp cloths were until recently! lol  We never used them.  Receiving blankets can be used the same way (plus for a million other things)

blanket - A couple receiving blankets are all that's really necessary!

sling or baby carrier - This is a necessary thing for us.  I have a baby on my back pretty much constantly!  Its how I get things done and how I keep the baby happy! :)

nursing cover - I find it easier (or a lot more discrete) to go without.  But if you feel uncomfortable, you can always use a blanket instead!

co sleeper - Not necessary.

boppy pillow - Some people love them, some don't!  I could never get them to work for me! 

high chair - We have one so baby can sit with us at the table during meals!  Not necessary but definitely nice!

swing? - As I said, we don't use one.  I wouldn't buy one until you know your baby will even like it.  Maybe you could borrow one? 

toys - Not necessary...plus, my kids were always more interested in household items (wooden spoons, bowls, wash cloths, etc.) than in toys.

some type of bathing apparatus? - We just bring them in the tub with us.

pack n play . . .(have decided to return it and exchange for a co sleeper type of bassinet bc im pretty sure its not a necesity)

post #13 of 17

We had soooooo many hand-me-downs for our first that I was finding bags of clothes and accoutrements long after he had outgrown them.  We had a very small living space then and tried to pare down to the very essentials but (like you) didn't really know what that meant.  So, here is my list, a combination of what we did use and what we will have for the next one (due in Oct)...


Bed- ours, now with a sidecar bed attached for our 2yo DS

clothes- we had SO many, but really he spent most of his time naked or so bundled against the cold that it was all about practicality

diapers- 1-2 doz cloth per size plus a potty for EC

diaper bag- SO would just stick a diaper and a wipe in his pocket, I would throw a couple in whatever type of bag I had with me, and one in the glove box for good measure

wipes- we bought disposable ones to keep in the car, but they always dried out and got dirty (the sticky closure wouldn't stay), cloth worked best for us

cream- my Mama made us salves and powders, but really breast milk, sunshine and air seem to be the best remedies for irritated skin

baby soap- we also didn't use soap until DS was older and actually getting dirty, then it was a drop or two of Dr B's in the bath water

jogging stroller- we just got our first stroller yesterday b/c DS wanted it since he can't keep up on walks and I can only carry him for so long now

carseat- we got one from our friend that was under 5 years old and we knew the history of (no accidents) for the first stage, then got on that converts through the stages to a booster

bottles- someone gave us two, we had them just in case and then passed them onto a friend

stuff for pumping- we also had this just in case and I don't know where it went!

sheets- ours

burp cloths- I totally agree with the receiving blankets and prefolds burp cloths

blanket- we got several home made blankets as gifts even without having a shower and we still use them

sling or baby carrier- yes to both, I liked the Moby and still use the Ergo, SO has always preferred the sling

nursing cover- nope

co sleeper- just our bed

boppy pillow- we liked ours, it was also a hand-me-down

high chair- we used the Bumbo with a tray as previously mentioned for awhile, but DS really likes to stand or kneel in "his chair" to eat with us (it is just a chair that I know wont tip and has arms)

swing- DS seriously hated the swing, the bouncy chair, the vibrating thing... all of that

toys- a couple, but he preferred whatever WE were playing with

some type of bathing apparatus- the tub or sink exactly how everyone has described

pack n play- nope

**One thing not on your list that we could not have done without during the first few months was a Yoga ball.  There were times when swaddling our DS, holding him close, and bouncing on the Yoga ball was the only thing that would calm him down.  My legs were soooo sore, but sooo strong! 


I don't know if you have a Freecycle in your area (mine is through yahoo groups) or Craigslist but there is always TONS of baby stuff being given away there.  You could get stuff, try it out, and if it isn't for you, send it back out there into the world of Freecycle!  Another thing that I always tried to remember was that up until a very short time ago the tiny little being in your arms only had you around it.  (S)he didn't need anything except to be held, fed and kept clean.  A lot of the "stuff" is for you, and your partner and can be added as the need arises.  Nowadays it is super easy to run out to the store, or hop online, and pick up a nursing cover (for example) if you nursed at a park yesterday and felt totally exposed/uncomfortable.  Start small and then if you want to get something you will know it is because it will help you, then you wont just be using stuff because you happen to have it.


Good luck and have fun!


post #14 of 17

Yoga balls are great for birth too!

post #15 of 17

What a helpful thread! I'm currently pregnant with my first and a bit overwhelmed about all the "stuff" I'm potentially going to need. Thanks for the great advice!
post #16 of 17

I had forgotten about our yoga ball, I really like having one around.  I ended up buying a mini crib for my third daughter even though we never needed one with the first two.  This child is crazy mobile and I was terrified of her napping in the big bed. 

post #17 of 17

Thank you all for this treasure trove of tips! I'm going to love this group... 

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