The Ultimate, No-BS, New Mommy, Prep Guide.
Updated: Aug 7, 2020
This post is based solely on my own experiences with two children and a third on the way. Use it / don’t use it, as they say.
Right, let's just dive right in and start with:
Things you absolutely don’t need:
· Nappy bin: just buy the scented nappy packets and use a regular waste paper basket.
· Bath thermometer.
· Baby bath: any basin is perfect until they can sit, then put in normal bath. A nice trick is to put baby on a wet towel/toweling nappy inside the basin, in the warm water.
· Wipes dispenser – if you want one, though, just buy your first set of wipes with a dispenser and you’re done. I had the Bennett’s one. I eventually chucked it and hid the wipes in a drawer.
· Baby food processor.
· Bum cream - at all. Use SudoCream/natural alternative; but only when there is a rash – or make your own!
· Feeding pillow (use any scatter pillow or cushion).
· Bottle Sterilizer: would you sterilize your nipples?
· Emergency bottle and formula supply – if anything goes wrong you can literally buy from the quick-shop at any hour of the day or night – NUK and NAN easiest.
· Electric breast pump- you might want a silicone pump, in time, but whatever you do, don’t start pumping right after birth - it confuses up your supply terribly. Get into a rhythm first.
· Fancy bottles (e.g. Medela) and / breast milk storage bags.
· White noise machine.
· Baby books (think ‘What to expect when…’).
· A Nappy Bag. This may be the biggest scam in the history of parenting. When I take my babies out, I pack two nappies, two disposal baggies, and a pack of wet-wipes in my handbag. Revolutionary I know. (If, however, you insist on buying such a thing I can only recommend a backpack version in conscious).
· A Night Nurse. This is not a judgement against hired help, at all. I had a nurse for five months with Judah (my first), however once she left I had to completely readjust (again) to motherhood, but now at night. So it’s just delaying the inevitable in my opinion. You may as well adjust from day one and get it over with. That was my experience anyway. With my second I co-slept and breastfed from day one and it changed my life.
Things you don’t need but will very likely receive as a gift so do not buy:
· Special pajamas (use what you have that’s comfy).
· Play mat – a blanket or towel work perfectly. Someone advised me about creating a “yes” space for your baby. Google this for more. Place baby, unrestricted, on his back and allow free movement. Obviously not on any surface he could fall from. Tummy time is becoming increasingly frowned upon. Baby will roll over just as soon as he’s ready.
· Baby gym / changing mobile – let them suck their toes!
· Stimulation book.
· Crib mobile.
· Fleece/Plush baby “bear” suit. These can be used as a gown for baby in winter though but is definitely season-dependent.
Things I have mixed feelings about:
· Nurture One Pillow. I definitely would not call this a need. I had visions of my baby self-soothing into a four hour nap because he was on a cloud. Never happened. But it is very cosy. Also, another woman suggested using this as a breastfeeding pillow and then baby doesn’t notice when you move him into his cot because he’s still on his cloud..er..nurture one. My babies just suck at sleep so I can’t comment on anything that truly “works”.
· ‘Baby Sense’ by Meg Faure. There are woman who swear by this book and there are woman who blame this book for their 3-week-PND stay in AKESO, and every type of woman in between. Personally, I believe each mother has the exact right instinct, within her, for each child she gives birth to, and any outside advice just clouds that with noise. The one thing that I did love, though, was learning about awake-times. My personal recommendation would be not to read Baby Sense, and rather just download a sleep cycle schedule image from Google - so you can watch awake-times and know when to “put baby to sleep” (a phrase deserving of an article all its own).
Things that are amazing… unless they’re not:
‘The Breastfeeding, Co-Sleeping mom gets the most sleep, of all new mothers’ (wish I could remember where I read this…)
· Breast feeding.
· Cloth nappies.
· Essential oil diffuser for nursery.
· Silicone breast pump and bulk zip locks.
· Elimination Communication.
· Child-Led weaning.
Nice Extras and Ideas worth considering:
· Nappy Clutch/Pouch: ironically I actually am a fan of this for going out. Gets thrown into the handbag and unfolds into a portable changing mat.
· Carry a damp facecloth in a ziplock instead of wipes for taking baby out. Cheaper, softer, and more sustainable for constant mouth and hand wiping.
What you do need (buy all of this second hand!):
Feeding chair: it’s just a game changer and a life saver. For breast or bottle feeding. Any comfortable wingback will do. (For twins you may consider two so dad can bottle feed while mom breastfeeds).
Chest of drawers: in lei of a compactum. This will give you more surface area for a cheaper price. Compactums have this weird lip around the edge which is just silly and ugly.
Set toweling nappies: to use for everything and anything. you literally just carry one around the house with you.
Wipe-able changing wedge: for onto of compactum. And on bed. And on the floor. And and and. You will use this until they are out of nappies. (For twins buy two).
Baby Monitor: simplest! No video, no apnoea mat. Don’t be fooled by the discovery vitality rebate; scam.
Cot: / somewhere for baby to sleep: the IKEA cot is the dream and works as a perfect co-sleeper for the beginning too. It’s fully convertible and has two levels. You will also need the appropriately sized mattress and 2 X fitted sheets. NB: you do NOT need a new mattress per child for the same cot! (For twins buy two).
Car-Seat: this is essential. Many people will recommend the Doona but I don’t. It’s not good for baby to be in the car seat for long. Rather get a “Hail-Mary” car seat that is certified from birth until age 4/5 and that’s fixed in the car. Then when you transport baby you will put him/her in the carrier or into the pram. It’s much safer for their spine and to learn to sleep being transferred. (For twins buy two, obv).
Pram: I have genuinely owned every single pram on the market. Except a Stokke because it’s the dumbest pram ever; unless you’re really tall and take baby for walks every day. The only pram that I can recommend in good conscious is the Citi Mini GT. Must be the GT coz the wheels are magic. There’s just so much to say about why this pram is the answer to everything I can’t even type it out. (For twins buy a double).
I do also need to say this: if I had it all to do again, from the beginning, and could read this document as a first time pregnant person, I would appreciate it if it said this:
The truth is you don’t actually need a pram; you genuinely only need a stroller (ideally a single Maclaren with biggest wheels, double for twins). And I say this as a Frum woman who (pre-corona) walks my children to Shul every Shabbos. The truth is these bulky prams (even the Citi Mini - which is certainly the easiest and least hassle) are such a mission. The Maclarens are so easy and light and they fold like an umbrella and they adjust and they are magic.
If, like me, you are going to wear your baby like an accessory for the first few months anyway, then, by the time he or she can sit, the Maclaren is just so perfect. When you go to the shops they will sit in the trolley balcony. I stopped using a pram (other than for walks to Shul) when my first was about four months old. That’s well over five years ago, now.
Also Maclarens are pretty, they have the smartest accessories I’ve ever seen (including a newborn insert if you want to go full tilt), and you can even get a bassinet!
[Very tempting to drop a: forget everything and get a Maclaren. Shall resist.]
Carrier / Sling: I’ve also tried every single sling available. Your back is going to be sore regardless because you have a baby now so don’t be fooled that the back support ones are better. You will also likely wear the baby around the house so the sling needs to be soft and easy. The baby will invariably vomit into the sling so it needs to be washable. Plus toddlers also insist in being held ALL the time so you need a sling that will last you into toddler hood when you have to carry a 2 year old around pick pay. All things considered just buy a Pure Linen Sling only. They are local and magnificent and organic linen. The dream. (For twins this is the best sling because you can strap two babies to yourself. Buy two).
Things you might need but don’t buy when pregnant (these may also arrive as gifts):
· Feeding / high chair – if you do buy then the IKEA is the only option, or a replica. (For twins i concede you will need two).
· Bouncing chair.
· BUMBO: which is what I use, instead of a feeding chair, BUT is really only for short bursts at a time, and is not recommended for spine-health of baby.
· Mirror for the car so you can see baby when he’s in his car seat, behind you. I did use this but I’m not sure it was a help because all it did was show me my screaming child in the mirror. I could already hear him screaming. Did I mention my babies suck at sleep?
· Baby gate for top and bottom of stairs (when they start crawling).
· Humidifier if baby is due in winter or if baby is particularly snotty (note: essential oil diffuser can, sort of, fill this role so wait and see).
· Breast pads: (highly recommend reusable cotton. The disposable are HELL).
· Feeding bra: I’ve put this here because in the beginning you need to ease into feeding and the bras are so helpful and easy. But they are very expensive so only buy one. Eventually you’ll go back to your normal bra with breast pads.
· Mesh panties for mom. Carriwell. They really are amazing. Only for hospital.
· Maternity pads for hospital (Carriwell). You’ll move to normal Always when home.
· Essential Oil for hospital (I suggest ‘SLEEP’ by Soil for mom and baby).
· Nipple Cream: pure lanolin. Keep it on your nipples all the time, don’t wait for a crack. If its pure lanolin (Lansinoh or Medela) then you won’t need to worry about cleaning it off before each feed.
· Snacks: healthy, nutritious, and easily accessible. New-Momming is taxing. It helps to have these on hand so you don’t starve for five hours and then binge on toast and butter.
· Good Coffee: again Momming is tiring. Caffeine is life.
· Meditation App: so that you can have a successful 20 minute power nap during the day when baby sleeps (and Google: caffeine nap – GENIUS).
· Decent TV content: I found following a cosy series (such as Gossip Girl on Netflix) made me so excited for feeds in the early days.
· Nappies: One pack size 0 nappies, 2 packs size 1 nappies – if you going disposable then pampers premium is the only option. Everything else can cause a rash. Once the first week is over you will buy as and when you need, and ideally on special.
· 1 Pack scented nappy disposal baggies.
· Baby grows: this is a big deal. Your baby will likely go through 3 every 24 hours. Sometimes more and sometimes less. Do. Not. But. Anything. Without. A. Zip! Also the sizes here are bizarre. I recommend buying 8-10 ‘premature’ / ‘newborn’ sized baby grows with the zip. Cotton On is the best quality for the best price. Buy online for 20-30% off! Fancy clothes (or, even, non-onesie clothes) before they can walk, is just an utter waste of time and money in my opinion.
· Then you also need the same amount of vests for under. Get cheap and sleeveless. Then for warmth you will use blankets etc.
· Swaddles: Zip swaddles only. I use the ‘love to dream’. They are very expensive so I buy second hand. I don’t find they need to be swaddled past the “fourth trimester”. Don’t start swaddling in blankets it’s a nightmare. I also want to say that a lot of moms swear by letting their babies sleep on their tummies (with no swaddle). This is very controversial because of the on-going SIDS debate and research. Unfortunately the jury is still out on a definite conclusion.
· 2 X special blankets which will go over baby, over the zip swaddle, at night. We’ve had the same one since Judah it’s very sentimental and the hospital gives you a Discovery one which we used to death so I recommend buying one magnificent blanket.
· 1 X dummy. If your baby takes a dummy it really can be a savior - but not essential. The hospital will give u one also in the Discovery / Netcare bag so don’t buy.
· Coconut oil: do not use a single product on your child. Ever. Coconut oil is sufficient for everything. Judah still doesn’t use a single product other than natural shampoo on the rare occasion (Google: no poo method).
· Wet-Wipes: cheapest across the board is Cherubs from Dischem. Buy a lot. Wipes are life.
· Saline Nose Spray. Babies don’t know how to breathe through their mouth so a simple blocked nose can wreak absolute havoc. They don’t feed or sleep or take a dummy. Not worth it. My kids get such severe sinusitis that the only thing that opens their noses is paediatric Iliadin nose-spray. Also worth keeping in case of emergency.
· Bottle of Calpol and Syringe. Fevers happen. They are not safe. Don’t mess around with a hot baby.
Top 10 pieces of parenting advice ever received by real moms (courtesy of SP and JJM):
1. Trust your gut.
2. Do not warm bottles.