Since we’re in the home stretch now, I thought I’d share some of my to-do lists, because really…who doesn’t like lists?
Now, most first time moms get nice lists in the mail, or online, or from friends and family of all of the things that they should get before the baby comes. These lists usually include things like receiving blankets, diapers, coming home outfit, state-of-the-art diaper disposal system, bottle warmer, Boppy, Bumbo, Paci, etc. Those lists are all well and good, and you do actually need some things on those lists (not most of it, but some), but they never tell you about the shit you REALLY need.
Now, keep in mind that I did not have a C-Section with my first daughter, so I don’t know what you need for that recovery. Some of these items are particular to vaginal birth (pretty obvious which ones are and which ones aren’t).
Top Ten Things to Get Before Baby Comes
10. Huge, cheap undies to take to the hospital.
The consequence of forgetting to buy these is being stuck with gigantic, itchy, mesh shorts provided by the hospital. The key word is cheap though, because you really want them to be disposable.
9. A donut/butt pillow
So the bloody, achy chasm that used to be your baby maker doesn’t have to actually touch anything. Trust me, this is key. The hospital might give you one, but just make sure you know where to get them in case they don’t.
8. Tucks Pads
No one wants to buy these things. No one wants to stand in line at the checkout holding them. That’s why I’ve already ordered a huge tub/jar of them online. Home delivery baby! Seriously though, you will want these. You put several of them, slightly overlapping, in a cute little line in your drawers, and it feels like a nice, cool breeze for a good thirty minutes.
7. Milk Freezer Bags
If you are breastfeeding and plan to pump on a fairly regular basis, these are awesome. You pump, pour it in the bag, freeze it, and then just run warm/hot water over the bag when you need to thaw it out. This is also pretty awesome because you can actually see how much your little bugger is getting to eat, and you can take a break for a while and hand NOM duty over to Daddy. A small cooler bag is handy,too, so you can just throw the frozen milk bags (the actual bags…not your boobs) in the cooler with a bottle and jet.
6. Waterproof Crib Mattress Pads (and a few smaller sizes)
So, that sweet little bundle of joy that you’re bringing home…did you know that, not only is it going to be a champion at teaching you how to pull all-nighters again, but that its also going to be fairly successful at covering almost everything you own in pee, poop, and puke? Yes…it leaks from all kinds of places, and it usually chooses to do it when its directly over something that is difficult to clean or easily ruined by liquids and semi-solids that flow from baby orifices. So, the waterproof pads are great because *surprise* they protect your stuff! I put a waterproof pad under our daughter’s crib sheet for nighttime accidents, and I had some smaller waterproof pads that I would fold up and take with me to use as changing travel changing pads. Actually, when my daughter was having a lot of leaky diapers at night, we put a waterproof pad, then a sheet, then another pad, and another sheet on her bed so that when she had an accident at night, we could just pull off the top sheet and pad and we already had another one ready to go. Very helpful when you’re sleep deprived.
5. Cheap Baby Swing, Bouncer, or Other Baby Holder (to test drive)
Your kid may love their swing or bouncer…or they may absolutely hate it and cry and cry and cry every time you put them in it and scream until their little head looks like its going to fall off. My advice is to just borrow one from a friend of family member who has recently had a child, so you can try it out first. Really, there’s no reason to spend a ton of money on something the kid will hate. You could also try Craigslist or yard sales. In preparation for our first child, we got just about every baby holder we could find, and she only liked two of them. The rest were never used. Not all babies will like the same things, so the more you have available to you for test driving, the better.
4. Bumbo Seat
Now, I know I just said that every baby is different and that they may or may not like the crap you decide to buy to put them in…but I have yet to see a baby that wasn’t at least content in one of these things. Its just a simple little seat. You can also buy a simple little tray to go with it. But really, once that kids can hold its head up on its own, this thing is the greatest. Its pretty small and light, so its easy to travel with or move from room to room. And anytime you need to sit the kid down for a minute to do whatever, just plop ‘em down in the Bumbo and you’re good. Our daughter sat in it every time we fed her until she grew out of it, and it was so easy to take with us wherever we went. Its one of the few things that I’ve found that I think it totally deserving of all of the hype.
3. (TIE) A Good Bottle Brush
I don’t care if you have a dishwasher and you plan on never having to wash a baby bottle in the sink EVER. You WILL. You’ll wake up in the middle of the night and the kid will be screaming bloody murder for a bottle and you’ll frantically search the cabinets and the diaper bag and under the couch and you WILL NOT find a clean bottle anywhere. So you’ll need to wash one. And a regular dish brush/sponge/rag won’t get half of that tiny, curvy little bottle clean. There will be gross gunky gobs of dried milk in all of the little corners and cracks, and even in your sleep deprived state, you will be grossed out to the max. A good bottle brush is not near as much of a waste of money as it sounds like it is, I promise.
3. (TIE) Preemie/Just Born/Newborn Size Clothes
You only need maybe a pack or two of onesies in this size, but you should really have at least something tiny. Most 0-3 month baby clothes are made to fit a kid until they’re around 3 months old, and are often way too big for a newborn. Even a normal sized newborn is going to be tiny, and there’s always the chance that your baby might be a little small or come a little early. And even though they’re adorable, they look pretty funny wearing a onesie that fits like a baby muumuu. Oh, and pick up something long sleeved, even if you’re due in the summer. A sack gown would be fine. Many babies have a hard time regulating their body temperature when they’re first born, and they’ll need something a little warmer to wear, even in the nursery.
2. A Journal or Blog
This is a magical, wonderful time in your life…but you’ll also forget most of it because you’re going to be so tired and stressed and confused about how to take care of this little thing that popped out of you. You need to make time to write down what’s going on, and you need to make time to take photos and videos. You always hear people say “they grow up so fast” and “its gone before you know it”…they’re really not shitting you. You’ll wake up one morning and your kid will be 2 (or 6 or 16). Even if you just write letters or notes to your child and keep them in a folder…just write down what’s up every few weeks or so. You will treasure it more than anything.
And Finally, the most important thing to get before the baby gets here:
1. Another Place to Sleep
Unless you’re lucky and get a kid that sleeps straight through the night at 2 weeks old, this is seriously the most important thing you can do. You and your husband/partner/whatever will be spending a good bit of your available brain power for the next few months trying to figure out how to get at least two hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you have two different rooms with fairly comfortable places to sleep contained in their walls, then you’ll have a much better chance at achieving this. Even if you just pick up a cheap air mattress and put it under the dining room table, after two months of hardly any sleep, you will look at that thing like its a five star hotel. The key is that one person will need to have a comfortable place to sit up with the baby, and the other person needs a place where they can go to get away from all of the screaming and crying…and all of the noises coming from the baby. You’ll need a comfy pillow or two and some decent sheets, and maybe an extra alarm clock. If you have a comfortable couch or a spare bedroom, then you’re probably pretty well set, but just make sure (BEFORE the baby comes) that you have something comfortable.