Recently, I was at a baby shower for a young friend of mine who is expecting her first child. Most of the attendees were college friends of ours, and almost no one in the room has had a child yet. Needless to say, some of the gifts took some explaining. For many young mothers, some necessities may come as a surprise. In fact many may not know what the phrase “baby layette” means. For those, and for those who just feel like a checklist would make them feel more prepared, here are the basic things that an expectant mother and father should have waiting for the new bundle of joy.
It is important to have between four and six of all of your baby’s basic daily needs. Things like undershirts, sleeping gowns, onesies, footsie pajamas, receiving blankets, hooded towels, socks, washcloths, and daily clothing will be key, since your laundry needs are going to multiply exponentially. You don’t want to be caught in the middle of a load of laundry with a baby who has just spit up his or her lunch on her last clean shirt.
A going home outfit is of great importance, since it is the first time a lot of relatives and friends will see your baby. Not only will there be lots of photos, but there is a lot of sentimentality attached to this particular item. Other individual items to have on hand in the new baby’s nursery are a crib with adjustable settings that can change to meet the needs of your growing (and ever the more clever) baby. You will, for the baby’s bedding need a crib or bassinette with at least two to four crib or bassinette sheets, a crib bumper, and two to three crib blankets. You may want to consider adding a dust ruffle and some waterproof pads for the crib. These are not necessary at first, but you will need them later. A playpen for bringing the new family member along to friend’s houses, family gatherings, or even just to the park or in another room of the house is a convenience that is great for keeping just a little bit of me time in those early months.
While with baby clothes, you should stock up on sizes three to six months (in case the baby is larger than the average newborn, or grows rather quickly), you want to have at least one large box of newborn sized diapers on hand when the baby arrives home. You may want to stock up in the event of a sale, but you don’t want to buy too many, in case the baby is too large for them.
You also want to keep some other essentials in mind for changing/bathing. Two to three bottles of baby shampoo will get you off to a good start, along with a bottle of baby oil, a bottle of baby lotion, baby powder (corn starch is a great bulk alternative), and one tube of zinc oxide for diaper rash. Even if you are breastfeeding, you want to have 6-12 bottles with nipples and collars (and some extra nipples on hand if you are not breastfeeding). These are the absolute basics. It may seem like a lot, but being prepared with these necessities will make your transition into parenting much easier.