Preparing for a new baby in this age can feel a little overwhelming. Just walking the baby aisles at Target or opening your social media can result in a flood of messages about all of the “things” you need to keep your baby healthy and happy.
As a little counter to this culture of excess, we wanted to reassure you that, while this is, of course, not an exhaustive list of all of the things you will need as your baby grows, the actual needs of a newborn are pretty small in number:
Bringing infant feeding back to its simplest level (yes, it can be this simple!), a baby needs a pair of breasts (or even just one) from which to eat. This is a great place to start, and many babies don’t need anything more than the soft warmth of the mother’s breast, ever ready with milk that has been tailor-made just for them. We often say to new moms that you “just need a boob and a diaper” – which brings us to the next necessary item:
Your baby will need diapers, and it doesn’t need to be complicated. We are fans of cloth diapering for many reasons, and this can be as easy and inexpensive as using flour sack towels, or as fun and fashionable as putting together a collection of super adorable all-in-ones. There may be reasons to opt for disposables for a time (meconium in those first few days can be really hard to clean!), or cloth diapering just might not be for you. Luckily, there are great options out there for biodegradable diapers that are better for the environment, and more natural for your baby’s skin. Remember, a newborn can go through 12 or more diapers in a day, so plan accordingly.
wrap or sling
High on the list of baby needs is human contact, and so, our third item is a carrier of some kind. There are so many good ones! From wraps to slings to packs, you are sure to find something that is comfortable and secure. While it may seem like you can get away with carrying your baby in your arms, a carrier is a must when you consider that it can be impractical to expect one of your arms to hold the baby and the other one to do all of the stuff you need to do! A carrier will address the baby’s neurological need to be in close contact, while allowing you to do other things you need to do in your life.
This one you can’t do without – a good car seat. Do your research on safety and brands, and make sure you get it installed correctly. There are certified car seat technicians in many cities, and often you can make an appointment at your local fire station to check your car seat installation.
This one is not a “thing”, but it is among the most important. We were not meant to parent our babies alone, and sometimes it is not easy, especially if there are breastfeeding challenges, lack of sleep, etc. If you don’t already have a community, please join ours! We have Breastfeeding Cafe every Monday morning, where we gather with moms and babies and talk about anything and everything. It’s free, and it’s fun – we’d love to see you there.