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When I was pregnant with my first three children, I bought every baby item possible, ahead of time. The crib, the changing table, a bassinet, car seat, swing, bouncy seat, pack 'n play, bottle warmer, wipe warmer, swaddle blankets, baby carrier, pacifiers, washcloths, towels, baby bath, bedding, toys, books, diaper pail, teething rings, stroller, play mat. EVERYTHING.
And then 99 percent of the stuff sat there for months, unused. Because a newborn baby actually requires so much less than you think.
The baby sleeps in your room for weeks or months. I rarely even went into the nursery until my little ones were several months old. I changed them on a blanket on the floor or bed. As for that stuff I'd seen in baby stores and thought, "Oh, we'll so need that!" Yeah, I didn't.
A wipe warmer? Superfluous in my experience. When you're dealing with a diaper explosion, who has time to do anything other than furiously grab the nearest wipes and go to work?
A diaper pail? If a diaper is super stinky, I wanted it OUT of the house, in the garage, ASAP.
So, with this pregnancy, I've bought only six things, and that is all I'm purchasing until after our baby arrives. I've learned we have tons of time to figure out what we need, and get it later, over time. Now, to be fair, I already have a bassinet and a car seat. But we have since gotten rid of our crib and all other baby items.
Here are the only things I'm buying before the birth:
Baby carrier. I know I'll want to keep my baby as close to me as possible at first, so this is a must-have.
Towels. I bought new hooded towels for the baby because he'll get lost in bigger towels I use for my older kids, and I'm afraid I wouldn't have a good, firm grip on him.
Swaddle blanket/wearable swaddle. These have been indispensable in the past, and helped my babies sleep longer and more comfortably.
Onesies and newborn pajamas. I figure, where is my baby going that he needs anything else to wear other than these basics?
Bottles. I have had trouble breastfeeding in the past, so I want to be prepared. If you know you plan to breastfeed, swap this baby item out for a breast pump or nursing bra, or another feeding essential that will best serve you.
Diapers and wipes. Duh. Can't live without.
As for bathing, I'm skipping the baby bath, because I've always found them awkward and cumbersome. Using our kitchen sink has worked best, since I'm standing, and I feel like I have more control over slippery little people.
My slimmed-down approach to buying baby gear has taken a lot of stress out of this pregnancy. Because let's face it: baby stuff is crazy expensive! Planning to purchase baby essentials over time feels so much less overwhelming, and allows us to focus on what's truly important: this pregnancy, and enjoying our new baby in the very near future!
Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.