Ten things you really need for your new baby (and ten you don’t – necessarily)

10 Jul

Are you about to give birth to a baby and plan on raising it? Having seen yet another list of baby must-haves that contains stuff I’ve never even seen in real life, I’m writing a blog that’s been brewing in my head for a while: what you really need for a new baby, and how to get it all for under a grand – or nothing.

What you need

Here’s my list of essentials. It’s not to say there’ll definitely be nothing else you need, but you can order pretty much anything online and have it with you the next day. Order stuff you need as you find need it – or pick it up for cheap if you spot it in a charity shop.

1. Boobs

Breastfeeding baby

Delicious, nutritious and free

Baby’s gotta eat. Unless something’s wrong somewhere (which does happen, don’t get me wrong – it’s just not as common as many expectant mothers fear), breastfeeding is the easiest option by a country mile.

Even if you haven’t given birth to your child, you may still be able to breastfeed (whether you’re a cis woman, cis man, or transgender)  – worth looking at because it’s so much easier.

Cost: Free with purchase.

Additional: You might want to consider getting membership of La Leche League.  (£30 a year, or £18 for unwaged.) They have stuff like 24 hour mother-to-mother support. (It’s limited to women, which is shame in a sense, but they are welcoming of all women, and aim to provide a safe space.) If you can’t even stretch to that though, other nursing parents are basically really ace and will happily provide a fountain of advice.

2.     A breast pump

Slightly controversial to have on the essentials list, but could be handy in an emergency. I did have an emergency and had to leave my baby unexpectedly, so am biased when I say it’s a good thing to have on hand – I’d even recommend regularly expressing and freezing some so there’s a wee stash in the freezer just in case. If you’re trying to get a flow going when you’re not a birth parent, they’re particularly handy.

Cost: I picked the whole set up at a Jack and Jill market for a fiver.

3. Warm soft things

Baby wrapped in a shawl

My two-day-old baby, wrapped in her Mummy’s shawl

You’ll need to dress your kid in something that isn’t scratchy. We dressed ours in just onesies and old fashioned baby gowns, and wrapped her in blankets and whatever else we acquired that was good and cosy. Remember some of those soft things will be needed to catch/mop up various baby excretions, too.

Cost: Look out on Freegle, where you can get or give away stuff for free. You can also post up requests to see if anyone has things to pass on (just don’t be too cheeky). If you do want to buy, get eBay bundles, or check out Jack and Jill markets; I’d say £60 would easily see you right for the first year.

4. A bottle of Calpol

This is one where waiting until the next day won’t do – the transformation from a sick baby to a sleeping one is magical. Although it’s recommended for 2 months up, those 2 months will fly by, so grab a bottle as early as you can so you have it on hand when the time comes.

Cost: £3 a bottle

5. Something that will carry both your baby and your stuff

Baby being carried in a sling (back carry)

Have baby, will travel.

Personally, I find slings to be way easier than buggies. You can go anywhere hands free. High street carriers aren’t the comfiest, so I’d recommend visiting Facebook to find a cosier wrap. There are loads of groups where you can get advice and buy, and often borrow, slings.  We team our sling with an old-lady-style shopping trolley when we’ve got a lot to carry – they handle way better than a buggy and you can drop them down a flight of stairs with minimal injury.

Cost: Slings can go for a lot, but are available reasonably cheap, and you can borrow them from sling libraries to work out your best fit. Facebook groups are super helpful. If you know what you’re doing you can make your own with a long, strong, piece of cloth. I got one I loved for £50, but I’ve seen them for less. They’re definitely cheaper than buggies – especially as if you do get a buggy it’s worth getting a decent one, so can cost an eye-watering amount.

6. A car seat

If you’re planning on transporting your baby anywhere by car, you will need a car seat. If you’re not, then you don’t. It’s not against the law to not use one in a licensed taxi, or in an emergency (in the UK), but it’s still somewhat dangerous.

Cost: This is one you may want to get new. We got ours second hand from a trusted friend, but car seats that have been in accidents are bad car seats, so you might not want to risk secondhand elsewhere. Shop around and you should be able to get one for under £30.

Additional:If you’re a cyclist, think about a child bike seat, too.

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