I showed up to my “Guess the Gender” themed baby shower with a two-week-old. That’s how early my son decided to arrive.
It was a strange day.
And the strangest part? I realized I barely needed any of the gifts I received. Gifts I had chosen myself with agonizing care and added to my baby registry. Gifts that seemed downright crucial when I was pregnant. Gifts that were advertised on mommy blogs as must-haves and life-savers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m eternally grateful for each and every gift I received that day.
I also made sure to put each one to good use. You better believe that extra Boppy cover came in handy. We took many, many walks with the fancy stroller because my kid only slept if he was in motion. I credit the swing and a bouncer as the only reasons I was able to shower in those first few months. The white noise machine was a game changer when we finally evicted our son from our bedroom. And the Nose Frida? What a freaking magical, albeit kind of gross, contraption.
When I went into preterm labor, and I had to quickly pack my hospital bag, a crushing reality set in: I didn’t have anything for my baby. Not. One. Thing.
It turns out, newborns really don’t need a whole lot.
Here’s a very short list of things a newborn needs after being born:
1. Something to eat
Whether you choose to breastfeed, formula feed, and/or pump and bottle feed, just make sure you have what you need to feed your hungry little infant every few hours. The hospital where I gave birth was incredibly accommodating. They provided a breast pump until mine arrived, they gave me a generous supply of bottles and nipples, and a bunch of different formula samples in case of emergencies. Problem solved.
2. Something to wear
Diapers, diapers, and more diapers. And clothes – but not nearly as many clothes as you think. My husband and I decided to keep the gender of our baby a surprise and that decision kept me from buying any clothes ahead of time. Again, the hospital pulled through for me and provided a few plain white preemie onesies and swaddle blankets while my son took an all-inclusive vacation in the NICU. When it was time to bring him home, we sent my mother to Target for a few footed pajamas since that was all he ended up wearing whether it was day or night. (Side note – I also found myself wearing my pajamas at all hours of the day. Turns out it’s a new mom rite of passage.)
3. Somewhere to sleep
I was freaking out because my son’s crib was still in its box in a bajillion pieces when he was born. At that point, his nursery was just a pipe dream of Pinterest pins and Etsy decorations on backorder. Instead of stressing out my husband even more than he already was with a hysterical wife and a premature baby and making him leave the hospital and put the crib together, I gave my best friend a call and asked to borrow her bassinet for a few weeks. Her toddler was screaming in the background during our phone call and her response still makes me smile, “Keep it. Keep it forever.”
4. A car seat
With one grandma in charge of the clothes, we put the other grandma in charge of the car seat. She FaceTimed with us from BuyBuy Baby and, with the help of an overly eager sales associate, we figured out which one could hold a baby who weighed less than five pounds. Then we watched as the NICU nurses stuffed rolled up baby blankets on either side of our son and strapped him in as tightly as they could. Then they confidently sent us on our way with tears streaming down their faces because they had fallen in love with the tiny little boy who nearly gave his mama a heart attack.
Oh and, of course…
No purchase required.