Thursday, February 17, 2011

Consumer Reports’ Newborn Necessities

With this little baby expected to make his appearance in a mere five weeks, we’re furiously tying up loose ends and putting finishing touches on the nursery. There are a ton of items left on our registry, and the sensible part of me knows that we won’t need most of them. I scoured the Internet to find a good checklist of what we really need to have on-hand when the little one arrives.
Consumer Reports put together this seemingly-fantastic checklist (we’ll find out how fantastic it really is once the baby gets here) intended to prevent new parents from buying-out Babies “R” Us and filling their house with a ton of unnecessary “stuff.”

I am the first to admit that I’m a list fanatic and compulsive planner, so this instantly provided me with a tremendous sense of calm. I also have a lot of faith in Consumer Reports, which we heavily relied on when car shopping a few years ago. They have a well-earned reputation for steering their readers in the right direction and have provided our family with some great advice.

If you’re a parent, take a look and leave a comment sharing your thoughts about their suggested inventory. Anything missing? Anything unnecessary?

Consumer Reports’ Newborn Necessities

Tooling around

_____Car seat.


Beds and linens


_____Crib mattress.

_____Bassinet/cradle (if you don't want to put your baby in a crib right away).

_____Two to three fitted crib sheets.

_____Four or more waffle-weave cotton receiving blankets for swaddling baby

_____Two mattress pads.

_____One to two waterproof liners (for crib or bassinet).

Diaper duty

_____Diapers. Disposables: One 40-count package of newborn (birth weight under 8 pounds) or of size 1 (birth weight over 8 pounds). Cloth: Two to three dozen, plus six to 10 snap-on, waterproof outer pants, and two to three sets of diaper pins, eight to 10 all-in-ones or diaper system covers; two to three dozen diaper system inserts.

_____Diaper pail (with refills or bags as needed).

_____Diaper bag.

Dressing baby

_____Four sleeping outfits or one-piece sleepers with attached feet.

_____Six side-snap T-shirts.

_____Four to six one-piece undershirts that snap around the crotch.

_____A small baby cap (although the hospital will probably give you one).

_____Six pairs socks/booties.

_____Two to three soft, comfortable daytime outfits. Get only a few items in newborn size. Then, go for clothing in the 6-month size--your baby will grow into it quickly. But don't buy baby sleepwear that's too big--it's a safety hazard.

_____Cotton sweater or light jacket.

Summer babies

_____Brimmed hat.

Winter babies

_____Snowsuit with attached mittens or fold-over cuffs, or heavy bunting.

_____Heavy stroller blanket.

_____Warm knit hat.

Feeding time (Breastfeeding)

_____Three to five nursing bras.

_____A box of washable or disposable breast pads.

_____Breast pump if you expect to use one (manual or electric).

_____Four small baby bottles with newborn nipples for storing expressed breast milk.

_____Bottle-drying tree.

_____Bottle brush.

_____Insulated bottle holder for diaper bag (the hospital may give you one).

_____Three packs of cloth diapers or burp cloths.


_____Plastic infant bathtub.

_____Three soft hooded towels.

_____Two packs of baby washcloths.

_____Baby body wash that doubles as shampoo.

_____Pair of blunt-tip scissors or baby-sized nail clippers.

_____Zinc-oxide-based diaper rash ointment.

_____Soft brush and comb.

_____Mild laundry detergent.

Medicine chest essentials

_____A pain-and-fever reducer recommended by your baby's doctor, such as Infant's Tylenol.

_____Cotton pads/swabs.

_____Nasal aspirator.

_____Digital rectal thermometer.

_____Rubbing alcohol.

_____Petroleum jelly.

Keeping baby happy


Extras: Nice but optional

_____Baby monitor.

_____Changing table.

_____A rocker or glider.

_____Sling or strap-on soft carrier.

_____Boppy, a doughnut-shape pillow designed to make holding baby during breastfeeding or bottlefeeding easier.

_____Nursing coverup. Attaches at your neck and allows for private breastfeeding when you and your baby are in public.

_____Infant swing.

_____Bouncy seat.



Jolie Lucero said...

This is a great list! Best one I've seen yet.
I'd skip the baby swing if you want my opinion. Little babies like to be held anyway...

jenny goodman said...

I'd say definitely get a baby front pack in case he won't let you put him down you can still carry him and have your arms free (bjorn?)
My guess is you'll need more than one pack of diapers :)

The Nielsens said...

I agree - great list.

A few comments: you can skip the changing table. You can change the diaper on the floor, the bed, the couch, the crib, etc. I would also skip the side snap shirts and just go with onesies. The others pull up all the time and get all messed up, the onsies stay put. If you have Vaseline at home anyway, get a tub of Aquaphor for the nursery. The best on diaper rash and so much more.

I disagree about the comment concerning the swing. Skip the big swing and just go with the small portable one. You don't want to always hold the baby. It gets to be too much to have them all the time, and then they do get to the point where they don't want you to put them down.

And here's one last little tip: if you have the same breast pump as your hospital uses [like Medela], make sure to use theirs while you are there because they will open up a pack of accessories and send it home with you. If you don't use it while you are there, they don't send the pack home.

The Nielsens said...

One more thing I just noticed: a rectal thermometer. I know that is supposed to be the most accurate temp, but I can't even imagine trying to take their temp that way. Baby poopers are way too temperamental and wiggly for that! => We use our Braun Thermoscan ear thermometer and it has always been accurate enough!

The Baloghs said...

You don't have to get a stroller right away if you have a baby carrier. (This way, if you want an umbrella or lightweight stroller, you can use the carrier until they are able to hold their head up and use those kinds of strollers.) I liked the Ergo or Moby Wrap for a newborn (although with the wrap you kind of end up looking like a Star Wars character) over the Bjorn. The Bjorn hurt my back because it didn't have very good back support, and I also felt like I was dangling Baxter by his crotch when he was in it. (There have been studies about this crotch-dangling and baby hips growing misaligned if you want to Google that.) I have an orange Baby Bjorn, an orange Moby Wrap, a galaxy grey Ergo (but no newborn insert) and a Beco Butterfly II (with newborn insert) that we're not using much with Bax since he can walk now. If you want to try them out, just e-mail me your address and I can loan them to you so you can see if you're a baby wearin' mama or not. You can see if you like them before investing in the cost of one, which I wish I did before Bax was born.

For blankets, I highly suggest the aden + anais brand ones. Yes, they're a little pricey, but so worth it. They're bigger than most other flannel blankets and stretchy and thin and wonderful. I found most of our other blankets were outgrown for swaddling around 3 months. These blankets are also thin and lightweight, but you can also fold them over for extra warmth.

I also wouldn't suggest a rectal thermometer. I'd be afraid I'd poke through something with one of those.

I would also suggest cloth diapering if you want to save $$, takes a little more effort and time but worth it for us in terms of cost, environment, and no diaper rash. But we're crunchy granola heads like that. :)

So excited to see Baby O!

Jenny said...

I LOVED having a baby swing for both kids. It was the only way I could put Olivia down. Both my kids hated their bouncy chair. They loved the Baby jumperoo. The bumbo chair is also great. I like the Ergo better than the bjorn but liked the bjorn when the kids were between 1-4 months. We use the rectal thermometer and it works just fine.

Brooke S. said...

You don't need Tylenol yet or a diaper pail. In time yes, but not now. I agree with an earlier post on blankets. Anais and Aiden swaddled blankets are the best, especially if you end up with a long baby. We didn't use our crib with either baby for many months. We had a cosleeper that worked until around 4 months. I had a baby in mid-April, ams end of September. I didn't dress either in anything other than a sleeper for the first two months. If you have diapers, wipes/wash clothes for wiping, a few sleepers, and a bed for baby you are set for the beginning.

Christie L said...

Oh I love being asked for baby advice! First advice... all babies like different things so don't buy too much of anything just yet. (Sorry... I know that doesn't appeal to your planning side.)

Along those lines I'd hold off on an expensive stroller (the "snap & go" type is great for using with the baby car seat and not too expensive). First off, your kid might hate it (Jake still does), and second the "big" ones are so very heavy to lift in and out of your car and to store in the back all of the time.

I agree with everyone on baby carries, but babies (and mommies) like different things so borrow from others to try them out (I have a Moby you can borrow for the first few months and a Bjorn if you want to give it a try first before buying).

You can use the Pack n Play as the bassinet if you want the baby in your room.

You can buy waterproof mattress pads and skip the liner.

I was a swaddling idot and couldn't do it with a receiving blanket. Get either the big swaddlers (I think you got some for your shower) or the swaddling wrap things.

I agree with Brooke that sleepers are the best for the first few months and definitely no t-shirts. They get all bunched up and irritating to both of you. I don't think Jake wore anything that didn't button at the crotch until he started walking.

Get only 1 or 2 nursing bras now. Then head to the Evergreen Breastfeeding Center (take along a helper for the baby) and buy some that fit your "new boobs". The staff there is really helpful and I was totally doing the nursing bra thing all wrong and was so much more comfortable after being fitted for the proper ones once my milk had come in.

Don't buy too many bottles now. Your baby may have a preference and you may have to get new ones (has happened to many people I know!)

I loved my nursing cover... again I was a total uncoordinated zoo for about 6 months after Jake was born and I couldn't figure out how to use just a blanket. The ones that go around your neck were great. :-)

And just remember... Amazon delivers everything! So don't stress too much... if you don't have it you can get it when you need it.

charitybreidenbach said...

This is a great list! I don't think I could have lived without a swing, or the little bouncer that we had. It was sometimes the only way I could get a nap in, or I'd drag it into the bathroom so I could take a shower and Roman could sleep while the bouncer did it's magic. We use a temperal thermometer that reads the temp on the forehead. It's what Jay uses at the fire department, and we use it for our whole family, so it's a great option too! Don't let the list overwhelm you! Remember that there are so many people around you who are willing to lend you stuff, so don't be afraid to borrow!! Also, if there's anything you 'discover' that you could really use after the baby is born, family and friends are more than ready to get it for you so that they have an excuse to bring it over and snuggle your new little one! :) Happy shopping!

Barbie said...

Ditto everything Christie said, word for word. Plus, I'm also one who thinks a swing is a lifesaver, especially for my kids who slept better with motion (you seriously can't always hold or wear them), and they really like the side-to-side rocking better than front-to-back so go for a papasan style one. Plus, when they weren't sleeping well at night or would wake early in the morning before I was ready to get up, the swing allowed me to get a few more hours of sleep. And because my kids usually slept in it in the early morning hours from a young age, I swear that's why they sleep in relatively late now (meaning after 7:30am, which doesn't sound that late but alot of kids get up at 6am or earlier. Mine still stir around that time, but then go back to sleep on their own). I would say to wait on getting alot of gear, borrow what you can to try it out, then get stuff from friends who are done having kids (like me) or off Craigslist. You just blow through the stuff too fast to pay full price for alot of it. Good luck! It will be fun trying to figure out what Baby O likes!

Leslie said...

Really good list and really great advice already posted!I think sticking to the basics is the way to go. There were four "extras" that we spent money on that really made things easier:
1. Lilly Pads instead of nursing pads. They are quick washing and worked well in the early months of constant leaking.
2. Itzbeen timer- seriously saved my sanity in the weeks then I didn't know what day it was let alone when I last fed the baby.
3. White noise maker- we bought the sleep sheep and used it until Owen was 2. He was a pretty light sleeper and it seemed to help
4. If you are going to spend money on a stroller, the BOB is the way to go. Depending on the infant car seat you bought, you can snap it onto the BOB with an attachment bar. It then works well for kids of older ages later on. Folds down well and maneuvers wonderfully. Well worth the money.
Whatever you buy or don't buy, you will have one lucky babe and he will have outgrown all this baby "stuff" before you know it anyway!

Leslie said...

Oh, and we were completely incompetent at swaddling. Used the swaddle me velcro blankets until he rolled over at three months. Thank God for those blankets! Whichever blanket you use, extras are a must for when they get puke/pooped/peed on and all end up in the wash at the same time.

Emily said...

Love this list and all the feedback... I'm going to come back here as a reference when it's my turn! Speaking of the nursery, do you have updated pictures? I'd love to see your alphabet wall on the wall. :)

Missy said...

My Boppy pillow was a must all the way up to 7 months. Some days J would just just lounge and sleep on it in my lap, then it helped him as a supported sitter. Otherwise, pretty good list. The bottle tree not necessary, in fact, you can have ours that never went used if you want it. We also doubled receiving blankets as burp cloths but we're ghetto like that. You need to come with me one afternoon consignment shopping. I swear you will be amazed at the nice, like-new items (all the items on your list) you can get for a fraction of the cost. I have three places in mind right near my house. J never gets anything new any more unless it's a gift from someone else! ;)

The Baloghs said...

Oh, and one more item we could absolutely love -- the nosefrida nasal aspirator aka "snot sucker". The bulb aspirator that the hospital gives is nice, but this thing just works so much more quickly and efficiently. I found mine at Milagros in Portland, OR (you can get them off their website). They're great for little runny noses!