When I was pregnant with Y, I read about how you need to have a bouncer, a swing, a jumperoo contraption, a pack and play, and a bunch of other objects that you can put your baby in. I have to admit, I was 24, living in the Netherlands, and felt so overwhelmed by all of the conflicting advice I found on Dutch sites, American sites, and all of these huge shopping lists.
Follow your instincts. You’ll be fine.
When it came to preparing for Y to arrive, I didn’t want to fill our home with contraptions, swings, and a bunch of toys. This was before we knew about Montessori, before I started a major journey into minimalism (and may or may not have gotten rid of about half or more of our belongings). Before he arrived, we really avoided buying a lot of those items for convenience and storage.
After Y was born, we ended up getting a swing and used what the Dutch call a ‘box’.
Dutch babies spend a lot of time in these types of play pens. Parents can then go to the bathroom, and clean while baby is safe. Y didn’t spend too much time in his, but it was very convenient for diaper changes.
With this baby, our situation is of course different because I use a wheelchair now. My husband will be modifying ours for me. It looks very similar to the one above, and he will be making doors on one side. I will be able to open them and drive underneath with my wheelchair. Then, I can place a diaper changing mat on there and change the baby easily instead of using something like the floor (a pain for me to get onto), on my lap (not convenient in case of explosions and accidents during changing), or on the dinning room table because of both of the above.
Now, shall we get onto the fun stuff? What do you need for baby? I tried to make this list concise and focus on what my family is actually going to be using, what we really need, and not the little extras.
I left out things like toys, and the clothing you should use discretion on. We live in the Netherlands which means we have so much rain, wind, and very little snow or sun. When you are buying clothing for your baby, obviously, that is very important to take into consideration.
Baby essentials: what do you really need?
- Somewhere to sleep (floor bed, crib, cosleeper, etc, but somewhere safe where the baby can sleep)
- Bedding: 2-3 crib sheets
- Video monitor(we will be buying one that allows us to watch on our cellphones. We have a large backyard and normal monitors don’t have a strong enough signal to reach in our backyard.)
- Sleep sacks such as the halo sleep sack (these are nice as you have the option to wrap the arms for a swaddle effect but the hips are free to prevent problems with baby’s development.)
- Wash cloths
- Something to keep nails short with (nail file, clippers)
- Optional: tub (you can also shower with baby, or use a clean kitchen sink)
- Nasal aspirator
- Baby safe/gentle laundry detergent (we use a scent free one and never use a fabric softener on baby’s laundry)
- A changing mat
- Covers for changing mat (2-3)
- A diaper rash cream
- Diaper bag or purse or backpack or just somewhere convenient to put diapers on the go
- Nursing pillow (such as a boppy). We love this not just for nursing, but to allow the arms to relax in a comfortable or natural position for feedings and cuddles. We never use it for sitting baby up or positioning him or her.
- 2-3 nursing pillow covers
- Bottle feeding: Bottles and formula
- Nursing: nursing pads, nipple cream, and nursing bras
- 8 Muslin cloths/sheets (we use these as matress protectors. they’re very inexpensive here, especially in comparison to the Aiden and Anais brand I keep seeing in the US. We can get 3 for 4 euro here. These muslin blanketsseem more reasonably priced).
- Stroller with a pram setting for new babies
- Car seat
- Baby carrier such as a ring sling or moby
- Pack and play*
- 2 blankets
*The wooden Dutch one I mentioned above.
- Dresser and/or closet
- Seasonal items (coat, swimsuit, etc depending on when baby will be born)
- 2-3 hats
- 6-8 pajamas
- 8 onsies (long sleeved if born in winter, or short sleeved for summer)
- 6 short sleeved onsies
- 6 pairs of pants
- Some socks (newborns don’t need shoes)
- A soft sweater or warmer shirt
- 2-3 side snap shirts
- Optional: A few gowns if you find that convenient or sleep sacks, etc.
For us, that’s the basic list of items we want to have on hand for baby. Realistically, we’ll have more clothes. Between gifts, hand me downs, and cute pieces I’ll just buy for fun, we’ll end up with more. Also, things like blankets tend to accumulate.
This list is really intended for newborns. As babies grow, of course, they will need somewhere to eat, toys, etc. We tend to keep toys minimal for the first year, and go for good quality toys from sturdy materials. We’ll be sharing more on that later though!
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