As we very recently had the priviledge of becoming mom and dad of the cutest little girl on earth, I thought i deviate a little from the food theme of my blog and share our lessons learned about how to best prepare the arrival of your mini-me in a little mini-series on this blog. So while going through the prep motions for the nursery of our daughter Grace and now while having her with us in our home, I took stock of a couple of smart baby prep hacks we came across in the hope it might help others keep their cool in one of the most exciting times of their lives. So here are our recommendations (split into several blog posts) on the nursery/furniture (post 1); getting mobile – strollers and car seats (post 2); a few takeaways regarding baby care products (post 3); baby clothing (post 4) and helpful apps for moms (post 5).
A very common myth – that you encounter no matter where you’re from – is that having a newborn comes with approximately one million things you supposedly need to buy right away to make sure your baby is healthy and happy. Couple that with a billion (rough personal estimate) websites and checklists on the internet on all the supposed must-have items for the arrival of your brand new family member. All of this creates more confusion than clarity and leaves a couple in nesting mode with the uneasy feeling of having missed something essential. And I am certainly not excluding ourselves from that, as I guess every new parent kinda falls into this trap. One list will promote a certain item as an absolute essential for your newborn’s survival, while others do not even mention the aforementioned device/clothing piece/nursery accessory, etc.
Spend your money on things that last a long time in your child’s life (like a bed). Look for saving potential with products that you will need in abundance (like diapers) or items that your baby will only need within a limited timeframe (like a stroller). And always remember: we live in a world of online shopping and overnight delivery. Anything that you didn’t get before your newborn arrives can be ordered and on your doorstep in no time, so do not feel pressured to already have absolutely everything before the big day. In fact, with a lot of products, it makes sense to wait till your baby is actually there to determine if you even need it. Like a swing or a rocking chair for example – while some kids love sitting in them, others are completely indifferent or even become anxious. Since a rocking chair is NOT essential for your child’s survival, it makes sense to hold out till your little one is there and then to try your mini-me out in one to see if it is a worthwhile purchase for your family.
Let’s get real on furniture. In the beginning all you truly need is a place to sleep and a diaper-changing station on top of a chest of drawers for your baby’s clothing. Anything else is truly optional and more for the parents to enjoy looking at than for your infant to actually use.
Our baby, for instance, does not like sleeping in a crib by the bedside – she only slumbers into sweet dreams when she is placed in a little nest – this one – in her parents’ bed. So while those cute baby cribs might melt your heart when you see them in store, keep in mind that they would most likely only be in use for maybe six months, before your little one moves into his or her own bed. So that being said, before you sink serious money into a new crib, I highly recommend getting it second hand, as you will only need it for a limited amount of time and a remarkably high number of babies do not really like laying in a crib, plus it’s not like it will have to endure a lot of wear and tear, as a newborn baby isn’t exactly mobile or strong enough to accomplish that. Same goes for a baby bay option, a.k.a. a tiny bed that can be directly attached to the parents’ bed. Again: you will only use this for a very limited amount of time, so why not get it second hand and save yourself a few bucks. That being said, a lot of families – like mine – have a family crib that is passed down through the generations. Why not start such a family tradition yourself, if you do not have one yet. It is quite powerful to know to know that the crib your newborn lays in was your own when you were born and your mom or dad’s before you.
Sooner or later, however, your little one will need her own bed. A smart money-saving hack we discovered is baby beds that can be modified according to your child’s changing needs (this one is a great example). We got one that basically grows with the kid until the age of 11/12. It can be assembled as a baby bed, then reassembled to fit a toddler and then later be set up as a standard school kid bed. Thus, you basically get a 3-for-1 deal and so spare yourself the need to constantly buy new sleeping solutions for your mini-me. That being said, since this furniture piece can stay in your child’s life for a substantial time (i.e., a decade or so) of its upbringing, it is worth investing in one that is made from good, long-lasting materials.
Something that your kid will always need in her room is a chest of drawers for clothing, etc. Hence, it makes sense to invest in good quality, as the furniture piece may stay in your little one’s life for the majority of his upbringing. Therefore, it makes sense to get it new and make it fit the bed, as you will get many years of usage out of it. That being said, it is absolutely essential to get a strong, stable and sturdy furniture piece that can ideally even be fixed to the wall, as kids are adventurous and will climb on everything within reach and the last thing you want is a chest of drawers falling on your child while it tries to climb up it.
By getting a diaper-changing tabletop (like this one) that you can secure on top of a chest of drawers, you save space and make sure you do not end up with an extra piece of furniture that is “only” a diaper-changing table and so goes out of style as soon as your toddler moves on to using the bathroom like a grown-up. A great tip we got from friends of ours was to set up the diaper changing station in the bathroom. It might be less needed with a newborn, but sooner or later there might be accidents that make you glad that you are very close to a source of running water.