This post was originally going to be an email for my best friend Emily, who is currently pregnant with her first baby. Whilst Em is totally on my page in terms of sensible spending at the best of times; her current work situation means she is a little more short of cash than she had expected to be at this time.
When I was pregnant I did a lot of research into what I actually needed for a newborn, and i’ve been thinking about this again recently whilst having my current minimalism/decluttering phase!
So, here is my list of what you need for the first few months of having a newborn (I will do a follow-up post of what you don’t need and also what is helpful later on):
So what do you actually need?
Not much is the simple answer! Take a look at this; the Finnish baby box that they’re soon to introduce in Scotland. Proves the point that you need so few things.
- Somewhere to sleep
For the first few months your baby is going to be in your room, so you do not need to purchase a large cot yet. There are many fancy cribs that you can buy, but they’re totally unnecessary and some have even come out as being dangerous.
We used a Moses basket that we borrowed from a friend. You can pick these (or other simple cribs) up for very little/free secondhand. In the daytime I used to bring this downstairs in the daytime. It is a good idea to buy a new mattress for it, but these aren’t expenses.
- Something to sleep in
A swaddle (can easily use a large muslin or thin blanket), a couple of sheets (although you don’t have to buy special Moses basket ones – use a pillowcase!), and a couple of blankets.
- A few things to wear
By this, I DO NOT MEAN CLOTHES! Newborns do not need clothes! All you need is a hat (for leaving hospital), some sleep suits and some vests. If you buy neutral colours you can keep them for any further babies.
- Ideally, something to put its clothes in
But it doesn’t have fancy ‘nursery’ furniture. These sets look lovely in all the catalogues, but they are totally unnecessary and not something that you’ll use long term. Once they’re 18 months or so, you’ll be looking at getting them a bed etc anyway! You wouldn’t buy a furniture suite for your own room, new, to only use for 18 months would you?! We got a plain and simple chest of drawers that we’re still using now. Baby clothes do not need a wardrobe..!
- A carseat
If you have a car. This is the one and only thing to buy new and carefully, for obvious reasons (e.g. you will never know if a secondhand one has been in a crash)
- A ‘baby trolley’ (term courtesy of my dad!)
Ok, this is the big one. By that I mean that this is the big one that people get ridiculous about! The current trend it to treat your buggy like it is a small sports car for your child. Ironically, the more fancy the pram, the more of a pain it is to manoeuvre, put in your car etc! I am amazed the number of posh prams that I see on selling sites that people want to get rid of after a couple of months. Once they’re nearly walking, most people tend to switch to a cheap fold-up stroller anyway! A secondhand one is perfectly adequate if you do want something more substantial to start with. The ‘carrycot’ attachments that come with a lot of them are a total waste – they grow out of them in a matter of weeks!
- A changing mat
I mean a bog standard padded changing mat (something like this), not a fancy changing table. These can be dangerous and do not last. You can, and will, change a nappy anywhere!
Lots!/own brand (Aldi’s are particularly good)
- A bag of cotton wool/some baby wipes for later
For cleaning little newborn bottoms! A tub of Sudocrem is useful too.
- Lots of cheap flannels/muslins – for everything!
I’ll follow this post up with some ideas of things that are nice/helpful but not what I believe to be essential.