The Minimalist Parent: The only 10 things you NEED between 0-6 months
The arrival of a new baby often translates to frantic purchasing sprees, buying what every other mother seems to have. Basically everything looks life-alteringly important, we agree that hormones might have something to do here. Ok, we may also be buying more things because we are unsure about how to handle a baby, so we may be overcompensating with things..just a teeny bit.
We spoke to a bunch of experienced moms to put together this list that includes everything you need to have from birth until 6 months. We emphasize on need-to have, and NOT wants/desires.
Assumptions: We have not accounted for any medical conditions related requirements and weather appropriate clothes. We also recommend exclusively breastfeeding for the first six months or formula due to unavoidable circumstances. We also assume that you have bedding and a comfortable couch/recliner/chair to facilitate breastfeeding/bonding.
Diapers & Wipes (Dipes & Wipes): The average newborn baby is quite the poop/pee machine. In the first six weeks, expect to change their diaper at least 8 times in a day. This relents to a slightly manageable 6 times until the baby turns 6 months. That is a whopping 924 diapers in the first six months. We recommend the more eco-friendly, sustainable, non-landfill hogging alternative; cloth diapers. We recommend reusable cloth wipes or commercial non-scented, 100% water wipes as against perfumed, mildly soapy/alcohol based wipes that are harsh on the baby's skin.
Diaper Bag: A good diaper bag is a little bit of an art and science. It needs to have enough compartments to keep everything well...compartmentalized. Easily accessible but not easy enough for little hands to explore. Easy to clean for the inevitable food/liquids messes. Mindfully designed for efficient weight distribution while juggling a baby and a bag. While almost any bag can be used as a diaper bag, there is value in making an one time investment on this item.
Car Seat: Car seats are highly overlooked in India. In fact, this would be at the top of our list for the things to buy for a baby. A safety certified infant car seat or an extended rear facing convertible car seat is recommended from the day the child comes home from the hospital. No! Your arms are not safer than an impersonal car seat.
Baby Carriers: Those infant days are scary and we feel tentative about every move we make around the child. If there is one thing that will make you feel like a superhero instantly, it is an ergonomically designed baby carrier. There is a baby carrier for every person. Stretchy wrap, Woven wrap, Ring slings, Meh-dai, Full buckle, Half buckle, Onbuhimo etc. The carriers with the least learning curve and the most versatile are stretchy wraps, ring slings and full buckles. Stretchy wraps and ring slings can be worn from the get-go. Some variants of full buckles are specially designed for carrying infants from the beginning.
Wonder Weeks App: So, your baby is suddenly demanding milk all the time. Suddenly the baby that was the most breeziest baby has become super fussy. You many think that there is no explanation for this and that you just have to ride it out. This app is like a ready-reckoner based on 35 years of sound science and research that tells you why your baby is behaving a certain way during a particular week. The science says that babies undertake developmental leaps/growth spurts that leads to stormy weeks. Worry not! at the end of each stormy period the baby comes out of it having learned/developed a new skill/brain connection. This is the one app we wish people had told us about in the early days of parenting.
Sleep Sacks: In the first few months, we constantly second guess ourselves. Something as innocuous as temperature setting of the room. We constantly worry about the room being too hot, too cold, baby suffocating under blankets. We also find out that babies hate blankets and will kick them away the minute you turn around. The solution is sleep sacks, they are wearable blankets that ensure that there is no risk of suffocating. There are different weather appropriate sleep sacks available in the market. Knowing of this would have saved us hours of constantly worrying about overheating or suffocation.
Coconut Oil: The one oil that rules them all. Cold pressed coconut oil is the answer to almost everything from massages, moisturizer, diaper rash, cradle cap, sore nipples etc. This is an absolute must-have in the new parent arsenal. The best thing is that it is all natural and is absolutely safe on new-born skin.
Accessories: Nail scissors not clippers and snot suckers are very useful in the first six months when your hands are shaking violently while having to perform any activity on the child that involves fine motor skills.
Quick Dry sheets or Mattress Protectors: These are invaluable to give the child some diaper free time and to contain any accidents.
You will notice some conspicuously absent items such as soap, pacifier, shampoo, strollers and most importantly toys etc. Like we said, you NEED these things.