Essentials for a baby's first week
August 11, 2016 5:18 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to put together a shopping list of essentials for a baby's first week. Special snowflake details apply...

The longer explanation is that we are from a culture with a very strong superstition against buying anything at all before the baby is born. I have a few formula samples from the maternity store, a whack of hand-me-down outfits most of which start at six months old and go to two years, and a room we are almost finished de-cluttering to use for baby. That's it.

We also as a consequence do not do baby showers. However, there will be a naming ceremony when baby is about a week old, and people usually do bring presents to that. We are registered, so we are hoping they will bring useful presents. But we want to wait to do a big shopping trip ourselves until we see how that plays out.

Standard procedure for this is generally that as soon as the grandparents get the word it's happening, they go out and get the car seat and whatever else we tell them. Which will be what, exactly? I don't want to over-buy given that a week later we'll get all sorts of baby gifts. But baby will obviously need some stuff right away.

Due at the end of October, so there is time here. I just want to get a list together. Thanks!
posted by ficbot to Shopping (37 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Diaper genie or other trash can for diapers. A changing table or pad with a lot of rubber or cheap sheets to swap out. The first week of a babies life they pee and poop a lot and will try to pee or poop when you take the diaper off to change them and it will go everywhere.

One kind of every pacifier to try.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:27 AM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Diapers. Wipes. Baby Blankets (blanket wearing can make it easier for newborn diaper changes). Nursing pillow. Netflix. That's it.
posted by Kalmya at 5:29 AM on August 11, 2016 [9 favorites]

You'll want 9 - 10 basic onesies in a newborn size. (Yes more than a week's worth. It's not unusual for a newborn to need a change of clothes three times a day. They spit. And you're going to be exhausted, so do yourselves a favor and don't make yourselves do laundry daily.)

Baby sleep sacks are like, the best thing ever and I highly recommend getting two or three of those (and asking your friends for a few more).

A couple of soft stretchy hats and some baby socks might also be a good idea.

It's good to have someplace safe and comfortable to set the baby down (while you go to the bathroom or answer the door or take a shower) other than a crib. Something that can go in your main living space. A bouncy seat or a folding pack-and-play / portable crib is awesome for this. I think my favorite thing when my son was a newborn was our pack-and-play with a built-in bassinet. Of course, with a week-old newborn, their mobility is so low that really you could just set the baby on a play pad on the floor, or in a cardboard box with a blanket in the bottom, so this might not be something you NEED in the first week, but I sure got a heck of a lot of use out of ours.

If you are breastfeeding at all then some sort of nursing pillow like a Boppy will really come in handy during that first week. I think Boppy-style pillows are useful even when bottle feeding but they're especially helpful for breastfeeding moms.

Get twice as many diapers as you think you're going to need.

Get at least 4 or 5 of those thin cotton baby blankets (the ones called "receiving blankets"), even if you're not going to swaddle-- they come in handy in all sorts of ways. You can toss one over your shoulder to protect your clothes from spit-up, put one over the front of the car seat or stroller to shield the baby from the sun, toss one down on the floor for a quick diaper change, etc.

Get a diaper bag you can use to carry baby stuff while you are out.
posted by BlueJae at 5:36 AM on August 11, 2016 [4 favorites]

A bunch (double what you think you need) of newborn onesies. You may use one a day, you may need three some days. A few thin blankets for swaddling. Some burp cloths or just some thin towels.

You'll want somewhere to set the baby down while you attend to other things. A blanket on the floor might be fine, but if you have curious pets it might be easier to have a rock-and-play or some kind of reclined seat. Certainly you'll get one, but even in the first week you might want this sometimes.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:37 AM on August 11, 2016

Get twice as many diapers as you think you're going to need.

And get size 1 diapers as well as N! My huge son was out of N after like 72 hours of eating.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:41 AM on August 11, 2016 [7 favorites]

I'm going to add easy-to-eat meals and snacks for the adults in the home to the list. Can you prep or buy individual or 2-person meals for you and freeze them? Or make and freeze a lasagna or meatloaf to have on hand for dinner? I'd suggest lots of easy breakfast items that you like (frozen microwave sandwiches, bagels) and healthier versions of energy bars (like Clif bars or Quest bars). A week's worth of easy to prep food for the adults at home would be ideal.
posted by shortyJBot at 6:08 AM on August 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

How are you going to carry baby about? A Stroller and a sling? Get them both (or at least decide on what you want and make sure it's available and you don't have to wait two months for it to be delivered...) now now now. You'll feel so much better if you can go out for walks and not stay cooped up at home.
posted by Omnomnom at 6:15 AM on August 11, 2016

One thing I haven’t seen listed are mittens to keep newborns from scratching themselves. We needed those for the first few weeks (and you don’t want the baby to have a big scratch on its face for your party).

Aside from that, everything I’d suggest is a repeat:
- a dozen or so onsies or little shirts
-a diaper pail
-a pack of N and a pack of size 1 diapers
-flannel receiving blankets: we used them for everything from swaddling to burp cloths (we didn’t have dedicated burp cloths)
-a nursing pillow like a boppy
-somewhere for the baby to sleep. A Rock n Play sleeper or a portable bassinet would be great and can be found for under $50. I’m sure it would be probably be fine, but I’d be nervous personally about using a folded blanket as a mattress (even the famous Finish Baby Boxes do have actual mattress pads).

I loved having my infant car seat be part of a travel system with the stroller. Since you’ll be buying the car seat separately, select a car seat for your parents to pick up that’s compatible with the stroller you have on the registry, or make sure that there’s an adaptor for them.

Get an Amazon Prime subscription and set it up with Amazon Parent! Then you don’t have to worry about having everything! That subscription payed for itself many times over during my daughter’s first year.
posted by Kriesa at 6:24 AM on August 11, 2016

Orthodox Jewish here, all we had when our baby was born was a car seat and a gender-neutral onesie -- and we actually did just fine. One thing we did was make a registry with Babies R Us (I think, one of the baby stores), so that after he came out and all was healthy, my husband could just print out the list and get things without any hassle. We didn't share it or use it to ask for gifts; it was just a handy way to keep a list.

And the truth is - a lot of what we would have bought wouldn't have worked for our baby, because you don't know how big the baby will be (so the onesie only fit for a week, for example) or what must-haves they will reject. Also a brand new baby doesn't need that much in the way of stuff -- a place to sleep, a way to get around (stroller plus some sort of carrier - we used the snap n go base under a car seat and it worked perfectly), diapers, wipes, a carrier bag for them (a lot of this you will get at the hospital if you do a hospital birth), a swaddling blanket (ditto) and clothing. I highly recommend a Boppy for nursing. And we really liked having a bath seat we could put in the tub. A lot of people like having a diaper genie for getting rid of diapers. A white noise machine can be a godsend.

It feels really daunting arriving at the hospital / birthing center with nothing, but we didn't have a lot of the frustrations some of my friends had with buying things again when the first ones didn't work for whatever reason. Plus I could ask friends with similar-aged babies what they liked and had a better perspective on what would work for us than when I walked through the online aisles looking at all the stuff and not really being able to separate the needs from the wants. I was also able to take my baby to the sling shop and try on a few different ones with my actual baby to see what was comfortable and worked with him.
posted by Mchelly at 6:30 AM on August 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Stuff for your nipples. The first week of nursing can be tough on the boobs. Nursing pads to catch the leakage (there are reusable ones or disposable ones) and I recommend something like these gel pads for when it hurts, plus some lanolin.

Also, you don't need mittens for the baby... just cut their nails. You can really just rip them (they're so thin) or get some baby nail clippers like these (magnifying glass is probably unnecessary... but the small size is key), plus we just filed them with one of my less-serious nail files. Baby nails tend to grow fast - we had to trim them a lot.

Seconding thinking about food. We ate nothing but frozen dinners and Munchery for the first few weeks. And comfy clothes for you that will fit in that post-partumy-tummy's-still-weird phase. You may have an easy-peasy delivery, but for me by a week post-delivery I was juuust about able to walk up and down the stairs unaided.
posted by brainmouse at 6:33 AM on August 11, 2016

When my twins were born we had: one hand me down car seat, one bin of assorted old clothes, one hand me down crib with no mattress. My mother and mother in law had a frantic time buying everything, but the were amazing. When my cousin was expecting recently, my aunt said there are services where you go and pick out your stuff, it's on hold, then when baby is born someone calls in and it goes out for delivery. They live in a big city with a large Jewish population.
Oh, and I got less practical gifts at the baby naming. More adorable matching outfits, less change pads. Also, gifts of cash and babies r us gift cards.

If I had to do it again: 10 onesies and sleepers. A few hats. 4 or so of those change pad cheers that are flannel on one side, rubber on the bottom. The crib and mattress. A car seat. A safe put down spot (bouncy chair), several crib sheets. Receiving blankets and swaddles. A treat for me for when I got overwhelmed!!
posted by Valancy Rachel at 6:42 AM on August 11, 2016

Oh - And I cannot recommend the DVD of The Happiest Baby on the Block enough -- we had the book and it was fine, but watching how to swaddle and their soothing tips were useful almost immediately.
posted by Mchelly at 6:43 AM on August 11, 2016

Don't forget mom! Breastfeeding stuff: a head of cabbage. Lanolin. Also: Adult diapers can be super helpful for bleeding (or rather, for Not bleeding all over the bed). Or at least some giant overnight Maxipads. Some hospitals supply these to take home with you, but ours didn't. Old towels/blankets for the bed are super helpful, too, for the first few days of heavy bleeding.
posted by The Toad at 6:43 AM on August 11, 2016

When you go into labor, *then* send someone to buy diapers. A good friend just had a baby; she's 5'9", her husband is 6'2", and nobody bought newborn-size stuff for them, on the theory that any baby they created was going to be 9-10lb at birth. However, she went into labor 3+ weeks early, and produced a perfectly healthy newborn-sized 6.5lb newborn, so some of us dashed out to the store and acquired tiny diapers and a pack of tiny onesies for them to come home from the hospital to. But there was no point in buying that stuff in advance, because she never would have fit into them if she'd been born as originally scheduled.
posted by aimedwander at 6:43 AM on August 11, 2016

Oh! Those huge pads for after giving birth. The hospital may give you a few, but a lot is good.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 6:43 AM on August 11, 2016

The first week? All you REALLY need is a car seat (so you can take baby home!), diapers, and some shirts. And a crib or bassinet if you don't plan to co-sleep. If you have a c-section you probably won't even leave the hospital for 4-5 days. Maybe a carrier although that can wait too. Your hospital or birthing center will likely give you a little package with a receiving blanket, a hat, some essential baby supplies. If you plan on breastfeeding, many people suggest waiting several weeks before offering a bottle or pacifier to reduce nipple confusion. Oh and easy to eat food for you!!! Strollers can be a little personal so you might want to test which one you want, but you don't need one yet.

You can throw diapers in the regular trash. If you end up needing formula, the hospital will give you some and there are plenty of places to buy it. You may well not want to put the baby down for even a second (like, if you're showering, someone else will hold baby), but if you need to and you're alone, the floor works just fine. You can put diapers in any old tote bag.

posted by john_snow at 6:45 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

My favorite gift i ever got after having Baby Kitty was a large exercise ball. Baby Kitty had some rough fussy time witching hour in the first few weeks of life, and sitting on an exercise ball and lightly bouncing him put him to sleep instantly and was a life saver for my sanity.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:45 AM on August 11, 2016

You're going to get a ton of suggestions, and I am only adding my own in case you take a tally and choose based on what's most frequently suggested, ha.

For the first week: Diapers. Footie pajamas (get the zipper kind if you can, snaps are a pain with a wiggly baby). Car seat. Nursing pillow if you're nursing. Your formula samples may be enough if you are planning on nursing, but it sure as hell doesn't hurt to have formula around if it's going poorly and/or you need to supplement. A swaddler or a blanket to swaddle with, if you're doing that.

I agree on the "somewhere to put the baby in the living room." There are a million styles of these little bouncy seats, and we got a lot of mileage out of ours, which was similar to this one. But, frankly, that can probably wait a week as long as you don't have dogs or cats who are going to mess with the baby, and you can put the baby on a blanket or towel on the living room floor.

Possibly also a bra that is good to nurse with, but that depends on how much you expect to be around other people and your comfort level, because it is totally okay to just spend that first week in your bathrobe while you nurse the baby all the time. I highly recommend what are called "nursing sleep bras" for wearing around the house.

But really, almost everything can wait a week outside of diapers, a car seat to get the baby home, clothes for the baby to wear, a place for the baby to sleep, and a way for you to nurse comfortably/make sure the baby eats (because nursing can be challenging and you need to get what you need to make it happen if you want it to happen).
posted by hought20 at 6:58 AM on August 11, 2016

A comfy rocking chair was the best thing. Baby and I pretty much only moved between bed, bathroom, and rocking chair the first week.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 6:58 AM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Congratulations! I just had a baby six weeks ago. Everyone's given great suggestions so far for the baby. The stuff I needed immediately, that I hadn't thought about before she was born, was nursing stuff. I think I had bought two bras from Target figuring that would be enough to start. Cut to, my milk coming in almost immediately when I got home, leaking all over the bed, all over my robe, all over the floor, sore nipples, couldn't get comfortable to breastfeed, the bras I bought were too small, etc etc. I ended up going on Amazon and getting loads of sleep bras, clip-down bras, tank tops, pads (I like the Lansinoh ones), lanolin. Thank god for one-day shipping because I just bought a few sizes and returned what didn't fit. Oh and I had a "My Brest Friend" breastfeeding pillow which was a lifesaver.
posted by cpatterson at 7:06 AM on August 11, 2016

We're Jewish and didn't bring things into our house before the baby arrived.
We did prepare an Amazon list with some basics (wipes, pacis, diapers, pack and play and some onesies), so when the baby was born, we just clicked "purchase" I was in the hospital overnight and the items arrived at the house before we did.

If you deliver in a hospital, you can most likely take a bunch of stuff (we got diapers, wipes, tons of little white kimono style shirts, nipple cream, diaper cream, vaseline, paper undies for mum, etc.) Though YMMV, so try to talk to someone who is delivered at the same place.

As my MIL said when I was freaking out about being unprepared, "all a baby needs is a diaper, boob and blanket"

I would only add car seat to that, but your inlaws can pick it up once the baby arrives. It wasn't as if we could have installed a car seat before bebe was born, since I rode to the hospital splayed out over the entire back seat.

Hopefully at the naming, people bring you a crib, stroller, etc. It's only a few days between the birth and naming. You'll be fine without until then.

posted by avocado_of_merriment at 7:30 AM on August 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

There is so much you don't know about what's going to work for you. Don't pre-optimize.

My bare minimum list would be

- a diaper pail + diapers. A box of NB size but you may go to size 1 very fast.
- a changing station somewhere, even if it's just a towel on the floor
- baby bath - these are like $12 at Target type stores
- a sleeping spot for baby, even if it's just a porta-crib for now - with a fitted sheet
- good maxi-pads (the kind with wings and relatively thin) to deal with postpartum bleeding
- a few little footie jammies, with snaps up the front - much easier than the pullover/pull-up kind. A couple in size NB, but honestly you may wind up needing "3 month" very fast. Wait and see.
- a nursing tank top from Target for wearing at home those first few days
- a stroller that you can take baby out for a walk in (I wouldn't worry about getting a carrier yet)
- lots of food in the house
- Maybe some cold gel rings for your breasts.

Good luck!!
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:32 AM on August 11, 2016

Our daughter was 3.5 weeks early, so we had a bunch of unwashed clothes from the baby shower, a car seat, and that's about it... After my water broke, we actually delayed going to the hospital so that I could a) eat some take-out breakfast sandwiches before I checked into the maternity ward b) ordered a whole crapload of stuff from that would be delivered by the time I got back from the hospital..

So I highly recommend Amazon Prime and it's 2 day delivery... it's also the cheapest place to order diapers and wipes, with the plus that they're delivered straight to your house.

if you're planning to breastfeed, I recommend you buy a pump now and familiarize yourself with it, so you can be all set to go when the time arrives... if you have trouble with supply, you're probably going to be on a pumping regime to get things going... plus pumping enables someone else being able to feed the baby. We called our daughter Clockwork Baby... every 1.5 hours, waaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!! She wanted to be fed...

Nipple confusion, blah blah blah. I had a supply problem and our daughter was bottle fed in the NICU for a few days, but she switched back and forth no problem...

Definitely recommend some kind of velcro swaddling blanket... I was way too sleep deprived to be able to swaddle consistently. We used a lightweight one in the summer and a fleece one in the winter...

Also highly recommend a swing... newborns love movement, and although all are different swings really calm some of them down and soothe them to sleep... we had this space-shippy one, which I don't recommend... doesn't move fast enough!!! The ones at daycare that swung really fast were much better at soothing our munchkin...

And a baby bathtub... you'll have to give them a bath eventually, and I found it pretty daunting... you can use your own towels and washcloths, but having a baby tub with that sling insert made it a little less scary for me...
posted by starbuck43 at 7:36 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Baby will leak a lot. Or at least my three did, copiously and constantly. Mostly it was smelly liquid yellow cheesy stuff which stained.

I found leak proof pads essential so I could nurse them on the bed without destroying the mattress and lots and lots of flat cotton diapers to use as barriers between them and what they were leaking on. You need a mild scent free, dye free, hypoallergenic detergent, and if you can put everything through a second rinse cycle.

You can pick up the laundry detergent in advance as it doesn't count as baby supplies. Any kind of very clean, very easy to clean cotton cloth works in place of the diapers, so a big supply of used t-shirts or bar mops or hand towels would be fine and could be gotten in advance and not break any prohibitions about before the baby is born.

Also get a good sized flat bottomed laundry basket which can be used for baby laundry, or for the carry cot for the first week or three.

A baby thermometer and Tempra, or whatever they use to reduce a baby's fever is something to buy soon after the kid is born. I always gave it as a shower give which made the parents frown because it wasn't cheery and optimistic, but as I pointed out, receiving it guaranteed the baby would not get sick and they would never have to use it. You will be very happy when you get to throw the Tempra out unused on the expiry date, or relieved when you don't have to shoot out of the house at 3 AM on a February night to go buy some.

You will likely be spending much time sitting there not able to do very much while the baby nurses so a subscription to netflix or a lot of restful videos might prove to keep you from being bored.
posted by Jane the Brown at 7:42 AM on August 11, 2016

I second all of mchelly's advice, particularly the swaddling blankets, white noise machine or app and watching The Happiest Baby on the Block. One other thing I don't see mentioned is just making sure you have a bedroom with very dark window shades and curtains. Get the room as dark as you can, swaddle that baby and turn on some white noise and hopefully you and baby will be pretty content.
I also really recommend a comfortable rocking chair or glider, but that can probably wait until after the baby is here. Oh and since you mention having formula on hand, I suggest having a few bottles just in case. Because if you need them, you really need them!
All the best to you and congratulations!!
posted by areaperson at 7:57 AM on August 11, 2016

Definitely do not pump 'to get things going' without talking to a lactation consultant first. This can lead to huge problems (like massive oversupply, nipple confusion...). In general, you don't need a pump unless you're planning to leave baby with somebody else for 2+ hours. Many insurance companies cover breastpumps. I would research this but not buy one yet.
posted by The Toad at 8:14 AM on August 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Keep in mind that anything you get for an infant you are going to be getting rid of (or putting into storage) in less than a year. They outgrow things, including all of the gear, so fast. Both of my kids outgrew their infant car seat before their first birthday. And there is so much used gear and baby stuff out there that it's really hard to sell things, sometimes even difficult to just give things away. So don't get too much, and try to borrow things from friends before you consider buying. People are usually happy to lend out their gear and will usually try to give it to you.

I live two blocks from a Target store. I needed something for my 4mo last year and I kept thinking "I'll just pop into Target when I have a chance", and finally I realized it had been over two weeks and I still hadn't had time to stop at Target. I signed up for Amazon Prime that day. Amazon is super duper helpful when you've got a newborn, especially as winter approaches.

You should be good with just diapers, a swaddling gown, and plenty of extra food for yourselves in the house. If you will breastfeed you may not begin pumping right away, and if you do you can rent a pump from the hospital. If you are able to stay at home with the baby you may never end up pumping anyway, so don't get a bunch of stuff for that. A way to wear the baby (sling, wrap, carrier) is super helpful and can usually be borrowed (especially until you find one you really like; not all carriers are comfortable for all people). A bouncy seat can be helpful but this is one of those items that everyone has so borrow one. You may end up co-sleeping for a little while so you may not even need a crib in the beginning.
posted by vignettist at 8:22 AM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Nursing bras & nursing pads for mom.

Underwear for mom that can accommodate a big pad. There is a lot of bleeding after the birth. Have lots of clean pairs.

Lots of clean clothes for mom AND baby. Babies spit up and blow out diapers, and they sometimes get you, too. Anyone who will be holding the baby regularly should have a change of clothes, just in case.

A box of wipes from Costco. The Kirkland ones are the best wipes I've found.

Spit up cloths. I've found that unbleached flat cloth diapers make the best spit up cloths.

Extra clean sheets for mom's bed and baby's bed.

Waterproof mattress covers for mom's and baby's beds. Put the one on mom's bed now. My water broke with my first child when I was in bed.

Pacifiers, if you're OK with using them.

I like the Summer Infant swaddle blankets with the Velcro tabs on them.

You DON'T need toys for the baby. Newborns are too young to play with toys. The baby doesn't need shoes until he or she is mobile.
posted by Anne Neville at 9:21 AM on August 11, 2016

When my kid came home all I needed was a blanket, clothes for him, dipes & wipes, formula, and a place to put him down. But my kid is not your kid, so don't feel bad/weird/doingitwrong if you need different stuff.

If you're not planning on breastfeeding - I didn't - get some more formula. It will keep in the fridge, and better to have more than you need, than need more than you have.

Other than that everyone else is right on. Get more onesies than you think you'll need, and/or sleep sacks.
posted by lyssabee at 10:39 AM on August 11, 2016

Get lots of towels. The cheap kind they sell at Target for back-to-school for college students would do nicely. Quantity, not quality, is what you want here. Washcloths, too.

Have the towels, extra sheets, and extra clothes in a place where you can easily get them at all hours of the night with minimum disruption. If you're swaddling, have lots of whatever you're using, and have them there, too. Spit up and diaper blows can and do happen at all hours.

Don't invite anyone to stay at your house during the first couple months unless they have experience with babies and won't expect you to do the normal host stuff. You won't have the time or energy for that. You don't need anybody around who is going to complain if the baby wakes them up. There are lots of hotels with baby-free rooms for people who can't deal with a noisy baby. There are restaurants where they can get the food they want when they want it. There are cabs, Uber, Lyft, rental cars, and public transportation to shuttle them around. There are guidebooks and Google to help them find things to do. Guests who have experience with babies and who help with chores are, of course, a different matter. Make sure that the new dad understands that the needs and wants of the mom and baby come before the needs and wants of any guests.

If you have a DVR, record some shows that you enjoy that are not too intellectually demanding. Have some books like that around, too. You can watch or read them while feeding the baby, especially at night.

If there's any chance you're going to co-sleep or nurse in bed, get waterproof pillow protectors. Put away any bed linens that are not machine washable, or that you'd be devastated to have ruined by a poop explosion. Non-machine-washable clothes and new babies don't mix well, either. Non-machine-washable clothes FOR babies are a WTF were they thinking.

If mom's going to nurse, be sure mom has a nursing dress that is nice enough to wear to the naming ceremony. Nursing in a dress that isn't designed for it is a pain. I had to run out and get nice shoes that I didn't have to use my hands to get them on for my son's bris. I had a C-section, and getting my hands down to my feet was not happening a week after. Make sure mom has some everyday shoes that don't require hands to get them on, too. If mom's going to nurse, be sure she has several pairs of pajamas that will allow that.
posted by Anne Neville at 11:36 AM on August 11, 2016

Everyone has covered baby stuff pretty well, but for you I'd suggest adult diapers (so much easier than dealing with giant pads and ruined panties) and nipple gel pads (breastfeeding can HURT the first while).
posted by exquisite_deluxe at 12:25 PM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Waterproof mattress pad on parents' bed -- even if you don't cosleep, you will probably change some diapers on there, and sometimes baby will pee and poop (and, hey, spit up too) while you are changing them. Projectile for all three. (Ask me how I know.)

iPad mini has been a godsend -- in fact, I'm writing this now on mine after lying down nursing my baby to sleep. Much easier on the eyes than my phone, much more manipulatable and prop-able than the laptop. I got mine I think week two with this baby, but I would have used it a ton the first week.

Cosleeper if you are considering it? Can be easier than a crib to get baby in and out if, especially if you are in pain after the birth.
posted by wyzewoman at 1:12 PM on August 11, 2016

Even better than pads are the underwear version. That way when you're sliding around in your hospital bed, or nursing in bed or on the couch etc you really don't have to worry *at all*.

Really good soft black underpants in every size between large and what you usually are. Something "boy leg" or which promise to cover your whole rear. Best bought right after baby is born so you know if the waistband needs to accommodate c-sec stitches.

The phone number of a company that rents baby equipment, if available. That way you can test out different wraps and stuff as needed, or fill in gaps or figure out what baby likes or what you like.

The phone number of a lactation consultant.

Someone willing to run out and get stuff or make phone calls!

Really you just don't know, and the last minute things I needed won't be what you end up needing.

A cozy shrug for mom, so she can have a blanket around *her* without it accidentally covering the baby. Very useful when you're up nursing or cuddling baby in the middle of the night and you can't not doze off!
posted by jrobin276 at 3:37 PM on August 11, 2016

Just coming in here to say that has free overnight delivery. I recommend getting a wish list going on the site and then hit purchase the second you are ready. Other sites like Target can take up to two weeks (as I learned).
posted by Toddles at 9:57 PM on August 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Someone told me to get a box of diapers in sizes 1, 2 and 3; that way you will be ready for the next size and not have to think about going out to the store at the last minute. It was good advice for us.

The advice to have back up for feeding (i.e. Formula, bottles and a pump) is good. Even if you're planning on exclusively breastfeeding, it doesn't always work out perfectly. Boobs don't always perform well, babies don't always interface with boobs well and there's nothing harder on a sleep-deprived parent of a newborn than trying and trying but not being able to get enough into the baby. If you end up using formula, an insulated lunch bag and freezer packs is your friend - you can keep a pre-made bottle at bedside and not have to run out to the kitchen.

Onesies in NB, and the next size up. Baby clothing sizes are very much not standardized so be sure you're getting things that cover from tiny to a big newborn. Get 1-3 in each size and then after the kid is born you can get additional appropriately sized items.

Nursing tops: the ones marketed for this tend to be awful. My sister suggested using t-shirts from target's Merona line - look for the ones where you can stretch the neck hole down to reveal a breast easily. Get a couple for the first week and then reassess. Nursing bras: people have wide ranges of what they like. You can get a few kinds and find out . also note that you may not be able to predict the size of your boobs ahead of time.

Car seat: I'd get ahead of time and have installed ahead of time. They're mostly fairly easy but exhausted and on the way from the hospital is not a great time to be wrestling with straps and seatbelts.

Swaddles and happiest baby on the block worked for us. The exercise ball advice above was also good for us.

Having a cosleeper installed before we left for the hospital was helpful - again setting things up while not totally exhausted is far far easier.

One general bit of advice: you're going to get a lot of advice about a lot of stuff. All pregnancies are different, all births are different and all babies are different. For this reason almost all advice is good advice but it is good advice for some babies and not for others. So when someone tells you that a wipes warmer was the best thing ever and you get one and your kid doesn't need it, the advice isn't bad advice per se, it is perfectly good advice just not for your kid. Framing it like this has kept me from being annoyed a bunch.

Also: there's totally a conspiracy out there among the populace where you'll get criticized if your newborn isn't wearing a hat at all times.
posted by sciencegeek at 1:57 AM on August 12, 2016

I am the father of a, like, two and a half week old baby, so things we liked:

Gerber long sleeved shirts with mittens built in. These are shirts with side snap fasteners that I insist on calling 'Mirror Universe Captain Kirk shirts'. Our hospital used these, and honestly, they're so much easier than pulling onesies over the kid's giant head.

Pack and Play Bassinet/Playard. This might depend on you; we had a crib in a nursery, but spent our first few weeks sleeping with her near/close to us.

Graco ClickConnect 35 carseat/stroller system. There are a lot of good things about this, but also the stroller base is kind of huge. (When I was a kid, strollers were tiny, etc.). I do like being able to put the baby in the carseat int he house and then just drop it into the base in the car. It's also nice takign the car seat and clicking it into the stroller.

Swaddleme Infant wraps They showed us how to swaddle at the hospital, but we weren't able to swaddle our little escape artist as tightly as the nurses, so the velcro swaddle wraps came in handy. We also got the Halo Sleep Sack, which is pretty good as well. (Our copy of Happiest Baby shows a way of swaddling which the hospital told us not to do because of the baby's hips). Our newborn will not/would not sleep unless she is either swaddled or being held by one of us.

You might want one or two pacifiers.

Diaper genie was a good idea, but I guess it's not 100% necessary; her early poops weren't that stinky. They got stinkier.

We found Costco to be cheaper than Amazon for diapers, wipes, and formula, but Amazon Prime was great because we were too frenzied/sleep deprived to leave the house. In some areas some items are same day delivery. Costco's Kirkland formula, for example, is $.50/oz, and the brand name formulas are something like $.92/oz; it's a little over a dollar/oz on Amazon.
posted by Comrade_robot at 5:15 AM on August 12, 2016

If you will be breastfeeding, I would lay the footwork for getting a pump. They are covered under Obamacare so call your insurance and find out how the process works for you to obtain one. When I did it, it took about a week and a half for them to get the pump to me.

I would also find a lactation consultant clinic that is open seven days a week, if you can. You may never need them, but if you do need them it can be urgent, and you want to have that knowledge before you need it. I always thought the whole idea was comical until the day my milk came in and neither the baby nor the pump could get it out...

On the topic of which, when I left the hospital I was wearing a bra that fit, and three hours later when I took it off it had gotten so tight it was leaving huge red marks on my flesh. The day your milk comes in is a very intense day and it might be good to have a soft bra in a larger than usual size ready for that day (whether you plan to breastfeed or not).

Other than that, in the first week all I think you need is the carseat, a way for the baby to eat, a place for the baby to sleep (some would favor your bed -- in Finland they famously send expecting families a cardboard box for the baby to sleep in), diapers, and something to keep the kid warm.
posted by hungrytiger at 1:08 AM on August 14, 2016

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