One of my sorority sisters is pregnant with her first child and recently asked a group of us what she needed for the baby. The answers started to roll in and they really got me thinking. Babies actually need very little. They need some stuff to wear, some stuff to eat and someone to love and care for them. All the other stuff? Cribs, strollers, baby monitors, bath tubs, swings, pack ‘n plays…all that junk – that’s for us parents. The baby doesn’t need any of it. Not even diapers.

(Me? I need diapers for my baby. Natural infant hygiene works for some. Diapers work for me.)

The way you parent really is the factor that determines what you’ll need to care for your baby. But how do you know how you’re going to parent before you start? Sure, we all have ideas of what motherhood looks like or what we want it to be beforehand. But after three kids, I’ve found the parent I am is a whole lot different from the one I thought I’d be. (I thought I’d be J.C. Wyatt.)

When I was pregnant with Julia, my baby registry was enormous. I thought I needed everything and NOW! BEFORE THE BABY COMES! Oh, you should have seen my 8 month pregnant meltdown when we didn’t have a baby tub, yet! (She cannot come without a baby tub! How will we bathe her without a tub? David, this is impossible. My kid has no tub! I’m a horrible mother!!!!)(Poor Dave.) But anxious meltdowns aside, getting ready for the baby is mostly fun, especially when you have help in the form of baby showers and gifts. Looking back, however, I see so much waste.

Pack ‘n play – never used.
Baby swing – did not use.
Crib – did not use until Lucy was born.
Baby tub – DID NOT USE. (And then Dave’s head exploded.)
Bottles and sundry accessories – did not use.

Instead, the baby slept in our bed, I carried her in a Moby Wrap, bathed her on a sponge in our tub and fed her from my breasts. That’s a lot of money we could have saved. But I had no idea I’d prefer to “wear my baby” or “co-sleep.” I’d never even heard of that stuff until I was already doing it. And the idea of waiting to see what we needed and buying as we went? That wouldn’t have worked. (See baby tub meltdown above.)

So, I never answered my sorority sister’s question.

Now, with baby number four waiting at the gate, I have my list for him and it’s pretty simple.

Onesies, sleepers, and socks (Dave has this thing with getting him not-girl clothes.)
Bassinet for the ground floor (I love this one!)
This new awesome monitor. (Remember the old one? It’s time to upgrade.)
Car Seat (Zoo animals!)

I think that’s it. I already have a bouncer and blankets. Anything else we can pick up as we need it. (See how different I am from my baby bath tub meltdown days!?)

Now parents, tell me, what items did you rely on most to take care of your baby? Did you turn out to be a different parent than you thought you’d be?

You may also like:



  1. German Girl on February 12, 2013 2:11 pm

    Oh yes, I had a huge list before my little one was born. And truthfully: we used almost everything at one point. And I couldn’t even say what the more important things were. Diapers still are among them,though…
    And as to the kind of parent I am. I find that changes all the time. According to the changes the kid goes through, the amount of stress that’s around and various other reasons. I wish I was more patient most of the time 🙁

  2. Teresa on February 12, 2013 8:56 pm

    Yep! Sure did! THought I needed all this amazing, fancy classic Winnie the pooh bedding, matching stroller, swing, etc. Had every toy under the sun and loved to buy lots of clothes, beanie babies, etc. I also thought I was going to be a rocking stay at home mom and run a day care out of my house! Hubby and I look back and realize we could have squirreled away enough for two decent college educations if we had chilled out. The kids never cared what was on their bedding much less their clothes! Oh, and that stay at home mom thing, I wasn’t good at it. I was a better mom when I found a work/home balance. It took me a long time and a lot of tears to admit that! Sure glad I figured it out! Congrats on #4!

  3. Amy on February 13, 2013 7:03 am

    First of all…LOVE the JC Wyatt reference. Fantastic movie!!!

    Anyway, of all of the baby gear that we received and/or bought the bath tub was by far the biggest waste of money. I think we used it once. Before their cords came off, we bathed them on a cushion on the dining room table. After that I just always got in with them because it is a well known fact that wet babies are by far the slipperiest creatures known to mankind, and I was terrified of dropping them. Our kids LOVED their swing, but by far the thing that we used the most was our excersaucer.

  4. Kathleen on February 13, 2013 7:32 am

    I guess I’m different, but I used the bath tub until they outgrew it! I placed it on the kitchen counter. It was so much easier than leaning over a regular tub. I also used the swing, both my sons loved it. I never had a desire for, or used, a baby monitor though. Unless they were at the complete opposite end of the house, or on another floor, I just listened for them!

  5. Jennifer Dawn on February 13, 2013 11:39 pm

    Two winners for us for BOTH kids were the swaddlers and the swing. Lifesavers. However, the infant carrier/sling that was NUMBER ONE on our registry is still in the box, never opened. I just carried my kids in my arms or used the stroller. Maybe if we have a third?

    It’s definitely interesting how “needs” become “never used”!

  6. Chris H on February 19, 2013 1:20 am

    The pram. Most important.
    Everything else is not so important.
    Nappies were top of the list too.

  7. April on February 19, 2013 9:24 pm

    My arms and breasts and lots of diapers. I also used boppy pillows with the twins. Did not use one with mason. All my children slept in a bassinet until 6 months old. Except for clothing, everything else just took up space and was pretty much unnecessary. Oh, and car seats because you can’t leave the hospital without them!

  8. All you need is love (and a supply of cross-matched blood, if you’re in need of a transfusion) : My Mommy's Place on March 13, 2013 7:43 pm

    […] may not need them, but I need them. (You know what I […]

Name (required)

Email (required)


Cool Kids Comment!