- Car seat(s): A properly installed car seat is a must-have before leaving the hospital with your new bundle of joy. A bucket-type seat is ideal from birth until your baby is about 5 to 7 months old (depending on your baby’s size).
- Stroller(s): For infants, a snap-n-go stroller is a quick way to go from car seat to stroller – the seat easily fits right in the stroller frame.
- A place for baby to sleep: Whether baby sleeps with you or in her own room, there are many choices out there, including a crib, mini-crib, pack-n-play, bassinet, arms reach co-sleeper or your own bed! Think about your home set up and lifestyle before you make any sleeper purchases.
- Diaper bag: When purchasing a diaper bag, consider your lifestyle and budget, and who will be using it (i.e., something your husband/partner won’t be embarrassed to carry too!) Other options include a backpack or even a larger purse you already own.
- Baby bathtub: This really will make your life easier. You can put it in your kitchen sink or in your tub and it keeps your little one confined in a smaller space. You will probably be using your tub for six months, if not longer, until you feel comfortable with your baby sitting up in the big tub.
- Bottles and feeding supplies: Even if you are planning on exclusively breastfeeding, it's a good idea to have a few bottles and nipples sterilized and ready to use. You never know how breastfeeding will go and you may want your partner/family member to give the baby a bottle of expressed milk or formula at some point.
- Swing or bouncy seat: This is a great item to borrow from friends or purchase second hand, as they are usually gently used for a short period of time. Swings and bouncy seats are ideal for when you need to put your baby down so that you can take a shower, fix yourself lunch or take a break! If you go for a swing, look for the kind that swing from side-to-side as babies seem to like this motion best.
- 8 to 10 sleepers/outfits/onsies: It’s good to have a week’s worth of outfits on hand, washed and ready to go. The last thing you want as you are recovering from childbirth is to have to do multiple loads of laundry each day. Babies tend to spit up, poop, and leak out of their clothes so don’t be surprised if in the first weeks, your little one goes through two or three outfits per day.
Make sure you have these essentials on hand before you bring the baby home!