Stuff! How much "stuff" does your newborn need?

So much bloody stuff is needed for a baby? Really? Do you really need all this stuff?? Seriously, no you don’t!! There has been an explosion of baby paraphernalia in the last 15-20yrs.

The baby market is a multi BILLION dollar industry! The more “stuff” we think we need for our babies, the less we trust our instincts and rely on "us" to give our babies what they need.

So what do you actually need to buy? The below is based on my own opinions and experience, working with thousands of parents postnatally and my own three children.

Well firstly, remember most of us live within a 20min drive of a 24hrs superstore, these sell pretty much everything!

Nappies – just buy a pack for hospital, many brands and sizes will come up differently, if you go buy 200 nappies and they don’t fit well – money wasted.

Vests – again a pack or two of these, newborn or 0-3, depends whether you give birth to a bigger or smaller baby, maybe long, maybe chubby, you wont know till they appear.

Baby Grows – Yep, pack or two. Same applies as above, again those superstores are open 24hrs, you can always send someone out for more…

Feeding/maternity bras - YES

Car Seat – Yes absolutely!

Pushchair – This is one that drives me a bit nuts…honestly, if you really want to spend £8-900 plus on a travel system you can, but you really really don’t need it…In my opinion a lightweight stroller or jogger (I bought a second hand mini city with my third, and LOVED it, cost me £80 and lasted 3yrs, I then sold on for £10!)…many of these have attachments for a car seat. Tiny babies often don’t like laying flat in a big pushchair, plus these flash all singing all dancing travel systems take up a LOT of room! My entire boot and front seat was taken over by one I borrowed!!

Sling – YES YES YES! A baby bjorn type, more structured carrier, may suit some babies and older babies, but a good stretchy, fabric sling will be a life saver for a tiny baby that likes to be carried…there is no point trying to fight that in the early days and weeks, so invest in one and your hands will be free for dinner, drinking, or snoozing on the sofa! There are sling libraries dotted around that will help you fit one, or you can hire and try before you buy…

Swaddles – Again a life saver for some babies, either giant muzzys, or just a large cotton sheet will do it!!

Monitor – you don’t need this, especially at first, your baby will be with you for at least first few weeks and months. Even when baby moves into their own room, I would argue the need for a monitor. I personally wouldn’t recommend a video one…if your baby needs you, you will hear them, many babies/toddlers will wake, and happily lay and play/chat..going in and checking or standing at the door you will hear if you need to get them up.

Room thermometer -  You know if you walk into a room whether it is warm enough…the more gadgets and bits you have that “tell” you, the less you trust your instinct…my opinion you DON’T need one of these…same goes for bath thermometer, stick your hand in it, that will tell you if bath is warm enough!

Dummy – YES these are a life saver, if you have a “sucky” baby (some babies suffer with headaches from birth trauma or position they were in womb or birth canal, sucking can help relieve). My experience is if they are going to suck something long term, if it isn’t a dummy it will be a finger/thumb, which although this is much easier for them to administer themselves it can never been removed lol

Baby Bath – Mmmm well not at first, a baby doesn’t need a bath for first few weeks, unless you really feel the need. Cotton wool and water will suffice…then long term…bathing in your big bath with them is lovely, or just a cheap plastic bath that sits on a surface or the sink!

Lotions and potions – No, you don’t need soaps, shampoos, lotions and potions, certainly not at first. Cotton wool and water will be a good enough cleanser. Marketers will tell you lavender bath washes, or massage lotions will help your baby sleep, your smell will help your baby sleep..read ingredients list in a lot of these products, even the more natural looking ones have a lot of stuff in…My 4yr old has never had soap on his skin and has his hair washed maybe once a month max, and we didn’t wash his hair until he was well over 2.

Bouncer or Chair – Some babies love rocking/vibrating chairs so these can be good, but again I wouldn’t buy until baby is here, some shapes and styles wont suit all babies…bean bags work well at first.

Play Mats – Tiny babies are stimulated by colour, contrast and faces at first, so they don’t need play mats, mobiles, or hanging toys..laying on your floor will be stimulation enough..when they hit 3-4m a play mat is nice, but again not necessary at first.

Moses basket/cot – You don’t need both at first, a baby will sleep in one or other, whichever you can fit in your room, Sleepy heads/cocoons seem to be popular, as do co-sleepers, but again you just need one at first, a cot can wait until baby is ready to be moved..

In my opinion there are plenty of good things to spend your money on when you are pregnant. A good birth preparation class when pregnant, then breastfeeding and postnatal support when baby is here, or just save your cash. Babies aren’t expensive, kids are!!