Yeah yeah you need diapers and nipples cream but what most parenting lists of MUST-HAVES don’t tell you is the actual real stuff you need for a baby. The REAL must-haves. I’ve raised three kids. I’m not new to this parenting rodeo. You can have all the onesies and pacifiers in the world but I can pretty much promise you that your foray into parenthood will be pretty miserable without these things.
Cable Television Or A Netflix Subscription
Life with a newborn is waking up at all hours of the night, and you need something to entertain yourself while you are nursing or bottle feeding or rocking that baby back to sleep. You don’t believe in TV? Enjoy watching those cracks in your ceiling as you’re comforting a wailing baby at two a.m.
Find something you love wearing that is comfortable and looks somewhat decent but that you can also nap in. And then buy it in multiples. Get some super cute ballet flats, some ribbed tank tops, some yoga pants and some cute hoodies. Maria Guido also suggests a cute robe. You need things that are washable and that can be thrown on in case your doorbell rings. You can go back to your real wardrobe when you feel like it. There is no shame in convalescing in sweat pants or leggings after your body has gone through labor. It’s a lot of work. You will be sore, you may have cesarean stitches, your breasts may be leaking. Adopt a post-birth uniform for a few weeks or months or however long it takes.
A Crock Pot
You need a crockpot and you need to use one. The crockpot is your friend. You can make soups and curries and stews and chili and roasts and damn brownies in a crockpot, and the magic is that it usually involves throwing some different things into it and ignoring it all day. Also, get some of those crock pot liners because they work amazingly well and that way you don’t have to scrub whatever you make out of it for hours afterwards.
A Decent Coffee Maker
No, having a cup of coffee won’t jack up your breastmilk and cause your newborn to stay up for hours. You can have a cup of coffee or two, or a latte, or tea, or whatever you want to make you feel human in the morning. I have a Nespresso machine. It was a bit pricey but I am in love with it. It makes me a beautiful cappuccino and this makes me a better human. I swear.
A Good Vacuum Cleaner
Chances are, your vacuum cleaner sucks. And not in the way it should. I have no idea why people don’t give new parents a new vacuum cleaner as a baby gift. When you are sitting around, caring for your newborn, nothing will make you feel more desolate than having dirty floors. It’s pretty much the worst. I have a vacuum cleaner addiction. I own four at present. I have a Miele that was beyond expensive and possibly one of the fanciest things I own. I do love it. But MY BABY that I adore was a Shark vacuum that cost less than 200 bucks. It’s super lights, sucks like mad, works on both carpet and hardwoods and is sincerely one of the best vacuums I have ever owned. I rave so much about vacuums that people have suggested I start a blog devoted to them.
A Stockpile Of Books And Magazines
Same as with shows to watch and movies to see, you need a pile of things you enjoy reading to relax and escape for a bit. Start collecting before the baby comes.
A Sex Date With Your Partner
Eventually you will want to do it again. Fostering physical intimacy with your partner will allow you to reconnect and relax and thus make you better able to deal with the demands of a new baby. One day your kids will grow up and possibly hate you, so you need to keep your relationship with your other going.
A Box Of Thank You Cards, Pre-Stamped With Your Return Address Done
I know, this one is so NOT fun but people will give you gifts and you will need to thank them properly. If you have them stamped and self-addressed then it will save you time when it comes time to send thank-you cards. I know this is terribly mumsy of me but I do believe that a gift requires a short, hand-written thank you. I’m old school like that.
A Good Bottle Of Wine
Or a beer you love. Or prosecco. Or whatever. You just made a baby or adopted a baby or got a baby, but the point is you now have a baby and that’s a BIG deal. Share a toast. High five each other or yourself. I’m a firm believer in celebrating. If you don’t consume alcohol or are worried a glass of alcohol will harm your baby than make a nonalcoholic drink but for sure add fruit and a cocktail umbrella.
A Stockpile Of Snacks
Until you feel up to busting out your crockpot, you will need junk to eat. When you are in the nesting mood start baking. Stockpile all the delicious snacks you love to eat. Fill your pantry with popcorn. And give all your soon-to-be-parent friends gift certificates to places with great takeaway or buy them food baskets. I suggest Zingermans.
(Photo: Isomos vintage)