Often my doula clients ask me advice regarding what to buy or not to buy in preparation of their baby’s arrival.
Baby products are such a huge business and it might be quite overwhelming for first time parents to figure out what will they need in order to take care of their bundle of joy.
As parents we might also feel compelled to buy more rather then less because advertising is teaching us well that in order to make your child happy, you must buy every single gadget baby stores spit out at every given season.
I am not even talking about toys, I am referring to the ever changing bassinet or chair, potties, highchairs, swings, hammocks (free standing and not), bath tubs, strollers, car seats, cribs, etc etc
I am going to tell you a little secret: for the first year of her/his life your baby will need mainly one thing and it’s YOU!
Yes, the love of a family is what babies need in order to thrive the first year of their life (and beyond).
But really, what do babies need when they are newborn?
When my first baby was born, I had the luck to attend a RIE class that not only saved my life by keeping me mentally sane, but also taught me so much about identifying my baby’s needs.
We did have a crib, but I soon realized that if properly set up, co-sleeping was not only safe but also easier on me and my baby for nigh time breastfeeding because I didn’t have to wake up, get up, cross the hallway, find my baby in the dark (possibly turn on the light) and then find a comfortable position to nurse her for two hours and then put her back down to then try to fall asleep again.
Instead, I simply turned, pulled her closer to me, lifted my shirt and dozed off again.
I am not saying co-sleeping is for everyone, but did I really need a crib for my baby or an extra room even, for the first year of her life? No, I didn’t because she could have pretty much slept anywhere quiet and safe in our apartment and not even cared.
As for swings or bouncers or baby chairs, I have learned that they are not the best option for your baby’s back and although it might sounds delicious to think that something else is rocking your baby while you can take a 25 minutes shower, you are not really teaching your baby how to self sooth. Plus, normally at this age, if they cry is probably because they are hungry, tired, or need a change of diaper. In other words, they are not questioning any philosophical doctrine just yet!
So please, if you need to put your baby down, the safest place is most likely a clean blanket on the floor of your living room.
I admit that we used a baby carrier quite a lot when my daughter was born. We opted for one that both my husband and I could wear with a snap and that didn’t require any intricate training. We used it for walks, for carrying our baby in crowded places or simply to be able to have free hands around the house, when she needed to be close to us.
If you like walking, the stroller will be a nice investment and I say investment because strollers are becoming more and more ingenious and complicated and therefore expensive. My suggestion is that you find one that can be used for your baby to lie flat on her/his back and sleep at first and that later on somehow converts into a seat when your baby is older and doesn’t sleep as much and is ready to look at the world; but again keep it simple: find one that is sturdy, possibly washable and that can fold in the trunk of your car.
Also, if you wish to embark on a RIE journey you won’t need a highchair because when your baby is ready for experimenting with solid food, you can sit on the floor together and snack pic-nick style (then when she/he is napping/sleeping, you and your partner can have a quiet meal together) and be at her level not only in height but also developmentally .
When they are so little, we tend to lift our babies, constantly putting them at our height, whether we are changing their diaper, bathing them, feeding them in a highchair….imagine if a giant were to constantly reach down and grab you to carry you here and there and constantly tell you what to do and how. Instead, try to see your children as little people who often need to be met where they are.
I don’t wish to deny any pregnant mom reading this the pleasure of nesting; if decorating your baby nursery makes your heart sing, please go ahead. I do love creating space for my own children myself!
All I am saying is, babies do not need much in their first year and all they really care is you being happy around them, so keep it simple, make it a DIY project, make it cozy and do not stress about they things you might not have because all you really need to have is love for your baby and your family.
If you wish to set up a consultation to prepare your home for the arrival of your baby, please contact me here.