With all the snazzy baby products out there, it’s easy for a first time parent to be overwhelmed and spend a lot of money and time on things that just complicate life—just when more simplicity is what you really need. Here’s a list I wish I’d had before our small apartment became cluttered with a ZILLION baby doodads. Truly, these few items are all one needs to be ready to roll.
1. His and Hers pre-packed diaper bags.
When on parent-at-large duty, one needs a diaper bag. Why a His and Hers? Well, just like I like to know that my toothpaste and shirts got into my overnight bag, I like to know that I have the essentials right where I want them when I’m in Mom mode. Same goes for Dad. When he has his own bag, he’ll know he’s ready with his essentials too.
2.A safe place for baby and for both parents to sleep.
No need for a fancy-shmancy crib – at least not until baby is quite a bit bigger and more mobile. What is essential is that you have some place (even, yes, the proverbial dresser drawer) that your baby can snooze safely alone. Equally important, you two need a plan for how you will make sure that both parents get some rest – even when baby is up every three hours!
3.A car seat.
You can’t take baby out of the hospital without an infant car seat – and there’s a reason for this. There is no safer place for a baby – when traveling and when in a room-full of bouncy siblings and their friends – then safely strapped into an infant car seat.
4. A comfortable sling or wrap-style baby holder.
For transporting baby around for the first few months, slings or wrap-style baby holders rock. These holders snuggle babies up just how they like to be – in a cozy little ball right by your heartbeat. Also, nothing is more soothing and does a better job of keeping all those admirers hands away from baby’s face. When picking out a carrier make sure it’s easy on-and-off, fits both of you, and is comfortable when carrying a 15 – 20 pound weight (a jug of water is a pretty good way to test this).
5. A fabulous set of marriage savvy parents.
This matters more than anything you can get in a store. There is truly no bigger blessing for a baby than parents who have put effort into learning how to make a relationship last happy and strong rather than into stressing out over which fancy stroller to buy.
Before the baby arrives is one of the best times to make sure you two are super skilled at communicating, maintaining a healthy emotional climate, making collaborative decisions and building positivity and support. Check out what you know and what there is still to learn at http://poweroftwomarriage.com/.
Abigail Hirsch, PhD is Resident Psychologist for Power of Two Marriage Online.