Diapers and Wipes - This one might go without saying, but you’re going to need diapers and wipes! Jami Conn, Senior Doula, says “Don’t stock up on the newborn size; they outgrow those in days, or even sometimes before they’re home from the hospital!” Even if you are cloth diapering, you might want to use disposables for the first week or so, especially if they have the cut-out for the healing umbilical cord.
Burp Cloths, Bibs, old-style Cloth Diapers – Ellen said, “My first baby taught me -bibs and wipes! He was a spitter!” Doula Erin Bignell added, “And get Amazon Prime for the free 2-day delivery of whatever you need! Especially burp cloths!” You’ll be using them to clean the baby, you, your furniture; whenever there’s a baby around, there is probably something that needs to be wiped!
Carrier/Wrap – Several of our doulas mentioned a carrier of some kind. Everyone is different, so you might find that a sling works best for you, or you might prefer a wrap or a mei tai. In any event, something to keep the baby close and content while freeing up your hands. If you have a child at home already, baby-wearing can be a life-saver. Doula Jackie Shaffer said, “A wrap or carrier were a must-have for my kids!”
Car Seat - You’ll need one to take the baby home in, so that’s definitely one item from your registry that can’t wait. We don’t recommend any specific brands, but remember that PA law now requires babies to be rear facing up to age 2, so pick one that seems sturdy enough to last. Have a professional install it or inspect it.
Somewhere to Sleep – Of course, babies prefer to sleep in arms, but that isn’t practical or all the time. The latest report from the AAP suggests that “rooming in” (sharing the same room, but not necessarily the bed itself) may cut down on SIDS risk. We like co-sleepers that “side car” to the bed, bassinets and moses baskets. Mamaroos are also getting very popular for their ability to keep little ones in a comfy position (Not totally flat on a hard mattress) and soothe them to sleep.
A mat and blankets – Doula Sara Garside said “A small, washable mat, mine was quilted and a gift, for baby time on the floor while out and about and for avoiding unknown floor gunk.” A blanket is the multi-tool of new mommying – they can be a floor mat, used for warmth, a cover up for feeding those who prefer that, they can wipe up messes, protect surfaces from the baby and vice-versa.
Diaper bag - You’ll need something to carry around those diapers and wipes! Jackie tells us “I enjoyed using a backpack instead of a diaper bag. It was more convenient”, and Jami adds, “My diaper bag was actually a backpack-style diaper bag – with tons of pockets and a padded strap. I loved it so much, it’s now my birth bag!”
Other suggestions were crinkly-sound toys/books, amber teething necklaces, and a white noise machine, but you can get by without those things for awhile. Remember that you don’t need babyproofing until the baby is mobile and that a baby’s first month is mostly sleeping, eating and making dirty diapers, so as long as you have the equipment to deal with that, the rest of it can wait.
And if you need an extra pair of hands, a reassuring voice, and an experienced helper, consider a postpartum doula!