What do parents really need for a new baby? Are you overwhelmed with the thought of creating the perfect baby registry? Or setting up the dream nursery for your little one? Eight years ago, I found myself in the same boat when I was expecting my first child. I, too, went on an obsessive quest to research the best and safest baby products. We meticulously decorated a beautiful nursery and made sure we had everything ready to welcome our new little one. But when baby number two arrived four years later, I had an epiphany. I realized that all the pressure we put on ourselves to prepare for a baby is very unnecessary. And now here we are three kiddos later!

My own journey

During my second pregnancy, I was very ill, and circumstances forced us to leave everything behind in Florida. Our jobs, our new house, and a preschool we loved. We purchased a minivan and moved back to Minnesota for two months for healthcare. Keep in mind this was all in the midst of December. We are fortunate to have the family and financial support to make such a move, but it was still hard. When it came to preparing for our new baby, it didn’t matter how much money we had. I could only pack what would fit in that mini-van (which isn’t much!).

Our new home was a furnished 2-bedroom apartment located right across the street from the hospital. Below is what we brought for the baby, and it turned out to be everything we needed.

What parents really need for a new baby

  • Car Seat: Non-negotiable for safe travels with your little one.
  • Arms-Reach Co-Sleeper Bassinet: A convenient sleeping solution for the early days. Any bassinet will do!
  • Changing Pad with Cover and Waterproof Liners: For those inevitable diaper changes.
  • Diapers, Wipes, Aquaphor: Basic diapering essentials.
  • Gerber Prefold Diaper Inserts for Burp Cloths: Multi-purpose and highly absorbent.
  • Velcro Swaddle Blankets: A snug swaddle helps your baby sleep.
  • A Few Muslin Blankets: Versatile and practical for various purposes.
  • 4 Bottles: To ensure your baby is well-fed.
  • Pacifiers: A comforting option for your little one.
  • Woven Baby Wrap & Ring Sling: Carriers that allow you to keep your baby close. I loved baby wearing!
  • 1 Mesh Packing Cube Worth of Cute & Functional Baby Clothes: Think zipper sleepers, onesies, socks, mittens, and more.
  • Baby Wash & Washcloths: For keeping your baby fresh and clean.
  • Plastic Hospital Basin Lined with Rolled Towels: Makeshift baby bath setup.
  • An Old iPhone with a Downloaded White Noise Track: Helps soothe your baby to sleep.
  • Breastfeeding Pillow, Nipple Cream, Breast Pads, Nursing Tanks: Essentials for nursing mothers.
  • Hospital Provided Medela Rental Pump & Supplies: Vital for NICU babies.
  • Haakaa Silicone Pump: Useful for collecting breast milk.

Care Before Luxury

When my little one was seven weeks old, we made the journey back to our home in Florida. All our leftover baby luxuries from our first child were waiting. Our second never did get a pretty nursery. He spent his first eight months in our room, in a new Snoo, and the following year in a crib in the office. And you know what? He was perfectly fine. There’s no guilt or shame in not having a picture-perfect nursery. There’s no guilt or shame in having one, either!

The Bottom Line

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t decorate a gorgeous nursery or indulge in beautiful baby things if it brings you joy. What I’m emphasizing is that the baby needs none of it. All those nursery decorations and fancy baby gear are for us, the parents. So, by all means, enjoy the process because it’s a particular time in your life. But don’t let the pressure to have it all consume you.

In the end, it’s the love, care, and attention you provide to your little one that truly matters. Those are the things that make all the difference in the world. Not the material possessions that may temporarily delight us as parents. So, as you prepare for your new baby, remember that less can indeed be more when it comes to what your baby really needs.

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