Diary of a Dad : Week 24 - Baby Essentialsby Adam Riches
It's been nearly a year since our second baby was born, and oh boy, did he have a different first year to his brother!
It’s a daunting prospect when you’re having a baby and you’re inundated with advice and advertising regarding what you should buy. You’re torn between not buying things for the sake of it and not being underprepared. Even when it is your second, the consumerist in you starts to listen to the adverts and you think more and more and end up feeling like you need so much.
Now the fog has lifted and (although heavy with sleep deprivation) our eyes are reverted to reality, there are some things you are definitely going to need for a baby. This is what I figured should be on your baby shopping list:
You’re going to need somewhere for the baby to sleep. It’s essential you get something for them to kip in that’s safe and also makes them feel protected. There are vast amounts of products, but popular ones include Moses baskets and next-to-the-bed cribs. Both of these allow you to have your little one in the room with you during the first six months which is really handy for feeding and comforting.
Also remember it’s advised you have your baby in the same room for the first six months. We did with our first, but our second wasn't;t having any of it - it's totally down to your preference and what you are comfortable with.
A car seat
It’s a legal requirement to have a car seat if you’re transporting your baby in the car, so if you’re planning on doing it, you’re going to need to get one. Seats come in all shapes and sizes. Detachable newborn seats often are often compatible with buggies (called travel systems if they’re part of a set that fit together), whereas bigger more fixed base seats offer more growing space.
You need to shop around and think about what suits you best before going ahead and buying a car seat – but make a decision as you will need one straight from the hospital if you’re driving home!
A baby bag or changing bag
I never really actually considered the practicalities of having a baby-specific bag. For too long, I told my wife it was a waste of money and baby bags were just normal bags…I was wrong. Baby bags are full of useful little things that help day to day parenting and stop you from losing your mind. Many boast thermal pockets (to keep things hot/cold), changing mats, and pockets for dirty nappies as well as a plethora of other features. I’d definitely get a decent bag.
Getting something to transport your baby in is pretty essential too. You can’t carry them everywhere; it’s both tiring and not that safe.
Most people go for a buggy, but a baby carrier you strap on to your body and pop your baby in can be equally as useful, especially when the baby is tiny and needs the extra comfort. Buggies can be really helpful for sleeping out and about too so both can be a good investment.
A baby should be in a flat pram for sleeping if they’ll be in it for more than two hours though, and you shouldn’t use an umbrella fold, sit up pushchair before they’re six months.
We’ve found it’s been handy to have some bottles and an expressing pump (of some description) regardless of whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding. Even if you’re exclusively breastfeeding, it may be useful to be able to pump or express milk and then feed your baby with a bottle.
Babies need special bottles for drinking their milk so make sure you’ve got some bottles that allow the correct flow for newborns (which is surprisingly minimal). We also bought bottles so it meant we were prepared if we needed them – which we did. We had a couple of instances where we were really glad to have had them.
You can go wild on baby gimmicks, but you don’t need much more than the above. Other bits can be helpful and make your life easier, but if you’re thinking about keeping it simple, you can get by with just a few bits. Having a baby doesn’t need to break the bank!