If you Google "baby essentials", you're apt to find lists like this:
They are helpful. And vast. If you're having your first kid and you're celebrated with a bunch of baby showers, go all in and register for it. ALL OF IT.
But you could be a minimalist. Or on your own in Alaska away from your gang. Or live in a tiny pad.
Here's what you really need:
- a baby - this is probably the most important part.
- a carseat - it is actually a law that your new human has to be transported away from the hospital in a car seat, and most hospitals want you to bring the carrying piece to your hospital room to buckle the baby into it and prove you have it.
- diapers - cloth, disposable, what have you, those things are definitely a necessity (I've done both and have no strong opinions either way, but look for sales)
- baby wipes - because you're gonna be wiping that butt for about two years (check out sales, or make your own)
- food - whether you breastfeed or bottle-feed, I'm pretty sure this is high on the list of essentials (again, with the sales if you're doing bottles, because that shit is expensive)
- clothes - the best thing for babies? White onesies. Cheap, cute, done.
- a bed - but maybe it's just a cardboard box? Like the Finnish do? And hell, if a box will do, why not a dresser drawer? If you ordered your diapers off Amazon, you just got a two-for-one!
- a baby toting contraption - I'm not a big fan of strollers, but one of those or a baby backpack of some kind is pretty necessary
- booger sucker - you know what I mean. The bulb syringe. 'Cause sometimes you have to get up in there. (But check it, you can get out of the hospital with at least two of them for "free".)
- swaddlers - Yes, your offspring needs a baby straitjacket. Or two. It will make your life will be better. Promise.
Now depending on the season and general weather of your region, you might need something more than onesies, but here's where I lay the smack down on the normal "baby necessities" lists:
- changing table - you probably have a couch, or a bed, but I'm sure you have a floor, and let's face it, after that baby, you can use a little exercise, so hunker down and put a blanket under the kid and get the job done without the extra furniture (although if you do buy a changing table, I hope you turn it into a bar cart when you're done with it)
- bottles, breast pump, milk bags, and breast pads - now these I'm on-board for, mostly. Bottles, duh, because you have to go out without the wee one sometime and someone else is going to feed it. Breast pump? Great, if it works for you. Milk bags? Yep, if you're a producer, store it up! Breast pads? Ugh. Probably not. Inconvenient, lumpy, and incompatible with my wardrobe.
- bouncy seat, play mat, and really anything labeled a toy - you know what kids really like? Your face. And pots and pans. And keys. And anything that they're not supposed to have. And wood blocks. You know who grew up before Baby Einstein toys? EINSTEIN.
- socks and mittens - fuck socks. Babies do not keep socks on. Baby socks are a ridiculous invention. And those mittens? You will lose one and feel terrible and will be sure your baby is going to claw its eyes out and then nothing will happen and you'll stop putting mittens on your baby.
- hats - GAH! Samesies for hats. I mean, they lay on their backs all day! How are you supposed to keep a hat on them?
- baby tub - you have a sink, right? VOILA!
- nursing pillow - I hear some people adore them, but you can't carry it around with you everywhere, so I just chalk up nursing as an arm workout
- nursing bras - I like these, but there's always unlined regular bras or sports bras that can work in a pinch.
- burp cloths and nursing covers - I just wore big scarves. It is both disgusting and discrete, respectively.
- baby shoes - see "socks and mittens"
- baby nail clippers - how exactly are they different than adult nail clippers?
- highchair - yeeeeeahhh, at some point... down the road... in about 6 months. But not right now.
Now for my goofy recommendation:
- a baby shusher - I rolled my eyes at the dear shopkeeper who recommended this three years ago. It is literally a little machine that says "sssssssshhhhhhhhhh" repeatedly. Then I was in the car a lot with baby #4 and baby #4 did not like the car and I remembered the shusher and I bought one out of desperation and I turned it on and five seconds later, baby #4 was OUT. It worked consistently enough where I've replaced that batteries twice and I buy them for all my new momma friends and I'll buy myself another one if I wear out the first one.
DISCLAIMER: Sure, if you're living the dream and have the money and the space and the constitution for it, a big flowery headband is TOTALLY NECESSARY for your little peanut. Buy 10 nursing bras and all the burp cloths in the land. Lord, if you are unaware that someone who writes a blog is writing their opinion and not facts, you should probably join the 21st century, but I'm just telling you as a mom of 4 (about to be 5, thankyouverymuch), the "essentials" are what I've really used, and all the other stuff I've not needed over the years.