Holy shit, that’s a lot of stuff.
Look, we all have our own needs, but for new parents who are panicking over the size of that list, here’s a little secret: Babies don’t need most of that stuff. Nice to have? Yes. Convenient? Hell, yes. Necessary? Nuh-uh.
We learned this through the adoption process, which doesn’t allow for a lot of prep (our agency actively discouraged the purchase of anything baby-related until the reversal period - three weeks - was complete). Here’s what we learned about what a baby needs (at least initially):
- Somewhere to sleep (crib, bassinet, cardboard box, your bed if you’re cosleeping…) and a couple of sheets
- A carseat
- Bottles if you’re formula feeding; boobs if you’re not
- Diapers & related paraphernalia
- Baby soap/shampoo
That’s it. I’m not kidding.
We get into this whole “babies need stuff!” mentality, and it makes a lot of new parents really anxious. We survived just fine for three whole weeks with only the things I’ve listed above, plus a stroller (which, honestly, we didn’t use that frequently once we bought a wrap - the stroller ultimately became a place to toss the diaper bag and shopping bags while we carried Dictator). And we survived Dictator’s entire babyhood with not much more than this list.
We changed the Dictator on the floor. We typically bathed her with us, or in the kitchen sink using *gasp!* regular facecloths and towels that were already in our linen closet. We never rocked her - we only held her in a stationary chair we already owned (when she needed movement, we got up and walked around.) We were fortunate enough that the layout of our house didn’t require a baby monitor (although I can understand wanting to have one if your home requires it). We threw her diapers out in the kitchen trash (or straight to the outdoor bin, in certain cases) and changed the bag as often as required to keep the stink down.
tl;dr: Your babies don’t need all this stuff. A lot of it’s for your convenience, which is totally cool, but if it’s not within your budget or storage capacity to acquire all kinds of stuff, don’t sweat it. You (and your baby) will be totally fine.
Consumer culture at it’s best. I have a hard time holding my tongue with new parents but do try to encourage them that less is more. That $250 bouncer? Your kid may hate it.