Being pregnant

Baby essentials: Knowing what to buy

Blogger Tenille discovers that research only gets you so far when preparing your list of baby essentials.

baby essentials

Photo: iStockphoto

It was a moment of folly. The other day, after wading through baby books, websites and blogs, I compiled what I thought was a concise but comprehensive list of our “must buys” for the arrival of our twins. Finally, I thought, I was getting on top of things.

Such delusions! When I posted the list on my blog, the response was swift and unanimous. From family in Australia to friends around the corner, everyone responded with basically the same message: “The poop! You are nowhere near ready for the poop!”

What I had assumed were generous numbers (six sheets, 10 onesies, etc.) were grossly, horrifically, undeniably off target. I am, it seems, way out of my depth here. And thus, in the interests of moms-to-be everywhere, I offer to you the sage advice of those wiser in the ways of baby mess.

Jen had basically one word for me: More. More onesies, more blankets, more sheets “for that inevitable day that will come when the flu or various other bugs hit your house and you change the sheets a billionty times in 24 hours.” She recommends stacks of receiving blankets, too, as they can be great in cleaning up unexpected mess.

My best buddy emailed from Australia with her top tips, most of which revolved around dealing with vomit and poop. She even helped cross a few items off my list: Baby towels? No need. Just wrap them up in a normal one. Diaper bucket? Forget it. “I don’t think the technology to deal with this issue really exists yet,” she warns. A kitchen bin will do the job, and anything “truly breathtaking” can be taken direct to the trash or laundry (depending on whether we’re using disposables or cloth at the time.)

And regardless of what diapers you’re putting on the baby’s bottom, every newborn’s home should have at least 20 terrycloth, old-school diapers on hand for vomit emergencies. These “spew rags”, to use the Aussie slang, will be “the most useful thing you will buy,” my friend assures me. “You will want to keep one of these in your stroller and nappy bag, over your shoulder and handy in every room in the house for the first few months. Seriously. If you buy nothing else, be prepared with the spew rags.”

So my shopping list has had a makeover and, while I’m still just as clueless, at least I know lots of other moms will help steer me straight whenever I start to think “Maybe my babies will just need a couple of these…”

What gear do you feel is essential for the first few months of a baby’s life? And just how many spew rags does a house need?

Originally published in March 2013.