You're having a baby
! It's your first?
Then there are some essential
things that you absolutely
before baby comes home and some that you don't.
Hopefully, this writeup will help you determine
what you should go out and buy, what to tell others to buy for
you, what to wish for from baby showers, and what to
- Crib; necessary. The baby has to sleep
somewhere. Get a good mattress too.
- Bumper pad; not necessary.
- Bassinet/cradle; not necessary. But borrow
one, because it can be very useful during the first few
months if the baby's crib is in another room. After being
awakened for the third time in the middle of the night by
a hungry baby, you're going to walk into a wall or a
door jamb or something. Keeping the baby in the same room
as you in a bassinet will prevent accidents. Ours had a
weight limit of fifteen pounds, which is another
reason to borrow one. Babies can hit fifteen pounds in no
- Dresser; necessary. Stuffed full with
receiving blankets and washcloths (q.v.).
- Change table; not necessary. Get a pad and use
the top of the dresser.
- Rocking chair/glider rocker; necessary. Mainly
because I like ours. A rocking chair isn't really a must,
but sometimes the baby isn't going to be comforted with
one-dimensional rocking. Soothing a baby while sitting in a rocking chair
allows you to bounce him or her up and down, or rock
him or her from side to side, while rocking back and
- A table to put things on; necessary. This is just
common sense. A shelf would work too.
- Baby swing; not necessary. Handy, though -- I
know someone who boasted that she didn't know why she
needed a crib when her son would sleep through the night
in his baby swing. (Sounds like a future trip to the
chiropractor to me.) Note that baby is not supposed to be
left in it unattended.
- Everything else, including but not limited to:
baby exerciser things, playmats, high
chairs, and the like; not necessary, or too old for the
newborn. However, keep in mind that you
will need a place to put the baby for a moment, if you
are using a sharp knife, carrying something hot,
or doing something where you need both hands.
Clothes and linens
Consumables and things that get used up
Note, finally, that some family members may disagree
with some of the items on this list. For instance,
regarding a bassinet, someone may say to you, "A dresser
drawer is fine. The baby doesn't know that he doesn't have
a bassinet." Either these people are being coy, and have
already bought baby something fancy and it's going to be a
pleasant surprise, or they're being serious. If you
suspect it's the latter, you might do well to avoid
them. That sort of thing isn't necessary. Babies are too precious for games like that. You
want to introduce your new baby to people who are going
to want to splurge on them.