In the first two parts of the “Oh baby, baby” series, I talked about furniture and items for the nursery as well as our key takeaways from setting that up and I shared our experience with regard to strollers/buggies and car seats. In this post (part 3), I would like to talk about baby care products. Check below for my list of must-have essentials (including links to my favorite products) and a list of do-NOT-need recommendations.
A remarkably high number of baby care products are one-use-only and can thus drain the family wallet, and it is obviously wasteful for the environment. A lot of times, the same products could just as easily be acquired as a non-disposable (washable) version, which might also be less stressful for your baby’s skin. And this makes sense, since there are only a few challenges with baby care that a washer and dryer combo can’t solve to your absolute satisfaction. Besides the most common example of washable diapers, this also goes for diaper-changing mats to lay on the changing pad so your baby is feeling nice, cozy and comfortable while lying there butt-naked, and also to absorb moisture. So make sure to stock up on a reasonable number of cotton mats that are robust enough to withstand millions of washing cycles. But don’t waste your money on the dispossable ones.
Speaking of pads, for whenever you leave your house with your baby, I strongly recommend a portable changing station, as you never know where you will be when you have to change your baby’s diapers nor how clean it will there. Even if there happens to be a changing table where you are in that moment, who really knows how hygenic it is. I wouldn’t want to be without ours. It’s a diaper changing bag that double functions as a pad and can hold all your baby care stuff while you are out and about.
If you opt for disposable diapers, I recommend the Amazon Prime diaper subscription (if available in your country). You will go through so many of them that it doesn’t make much sense to get only one or two packs every time you go to the grocery store. And Amazon kindly offers packages that last you half or even an entire month. Don’t forget, a baby, especially a newborn, gets through approximately eight diapers a day. That’s a whole lot of diapers… (240 in a month, hence why some opt for washables).
With wipes there are two general options: scented versus non-scented. While it might be enticing to buy something with a nice and fresh smell to it, keep in mind that this smell is usually an artificial addition and that there is actually no real need for a baby butt to smell like a field of spring flowers. Moreover, it might do your baby more harm than good, as its very sensitive skin might get irritated from the ingredients. As it will by using wet wipes by the way, so rather go for dry ones and a bowl of water to wet them. This approach is also what most midwives and hospitals will recommend to you as well, despite the abundance of wet wipes in stores. So rather opt for neutral, dry options and if your newborn’s skin does end up being red and irritated, add chamomile tea (or black tea for that matter) to the bowl of water and use a cotton cloth aka dry wipes to clean your baby with it. You do, however, want a good butt cream against the inevitable diaper rashes.
A last word on diaper changing: I strongly recommend investing in a high quality diaper disposal system to keep the odor as minimal as possible. Realistically no one carries a dirty diaper outside to the trash bin every time, especially not at night. A small poll amongst friends and family revealed the Angelcare diaper disposal system to be everyone’s absolute favorite. We also have the Angelcare Sound Monitor, as it is one with the lowest radio wave emissions available on the market. So overall a brand we have quickly learned to love.
Baby skin care
To save yourself an aching back and make sure you have a good handle of your latest family addition, get yourself a stand-up baby bathtub. Thereby you can bathe your baby without hunching down like you would if you were to use your normal bathtub. Plus, there are plenty of great options that have a newborn inlay to support you supporting your baby. When bathing your mini-me you do however not need any bath ingredients and do not need to soak your baby in baby cream afterwards. A newborn does not really get dirty (unless you purposefully throw him or her in the mud), at least not so badly that water alone and a washing cloth couldn’t solve the problem. Moreover, why tamper with your baby’s natural skin with cream and scents. You should, however, have a bit of baby oil handy in case he or she gets dry patches of skin. This can also double function as a bath ingredient if you really deem it essential to make your baby’s skin smoother. Always wash the face and head last and use a different wash cloth for that. It also pays to have baby towels with a small hoodie to keep your baby’s most vulnerable spot warm: the head. Plus you will need to cut your baby’s nails (which is frankly terrifying when you do it the first time, my tip: do it while the baby is deep asleep) as well as a baby thermometer to take the temperature (those are soft and bendable). Later down the road you want an extra soft brush to brush your munchkins hair. You can get all of this individually, I however recommend to get a beauty care kit which includes all those things at once as it makes it easy to store at home and to travel with as you end up with less single pieces laying around everywhere. Which is crucial as there will already be lots of single little pieces lying around all over your house (like tiny socks etc).
Recommended shopping list of baby care essentials:
- Diapers: either disposable or non-disposables. If you get the former, get an Amazon Prime subscription for regular resupply. We now tried several different brands and nothing, really nothing, beats Pampers
- Angelcare diaper disposal system (see here)
- Cushioned changing pad (make sure to get one with a plastic cover to be able to wipe it clean when necessary)
- 6-9 changing mats as a changing pad cover
- Disposable dry wipes
- Butt cream (without perfumes)
- Portable baby changing station (we got this one and I love it, it fits everything needed for changing the diapers, including your nursing scarf and a set of new baby clothing in case of an accident)
- Black tea bags or chamomile tea bags
- Nursing scarf for concealed breast-feeding in public (a truly amazing lifesaver when you are out and about with your mini-me, click here for a great example)
- Baby oil
- 4 washing cloths, 2 for the body, 2 for the face
- 2 baby towels with a hoodie
- Baby bathtub with newborn inlay and bathtub stand (click here for an example for a stand)
- Philips Avent Beauty Care Set (incl. finger attachment for dental care, nail clippers, scissors, files, thermometer, brush, comb, it also includes a boogie sucker. A really nifty thing for when your baby has a cold)
- Bile soap (to treat stains on baby clothing)
List of things you do NOT need:
- (Scented) wet wipes: if you do however get them, get dry once as well, as you otherwise constantly leave your baby with a wet butt, which causes irritation
- Baby powder, unless your baby always has a moist butt because of the aforementioned wet wipes
- Baby bath ingredients: at least not until the baby gets so dirty that they need a proper soap to get clean, water is really all that’s needed to wash your baby. We ended up buying lots of baby bath stuff and shampoo that we never used. Well at least we now already have it for later.
- Disposable diaper changing covers (that’s a true waste of money, simply get washable ones)
- Wipe warmer (unless you live in an ice block without heating)
- Baby bath thermometer (use your elebow and common sense, we got 2 thermometers for some bizarre reason and never used them)
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