By Brandi M. Seals
When you first find out your pregnant, most women want to run out and start preparing for the new baby. You make lists of what you must have - a crib, a height chair, etc. But when you get to the store, you see the endless possibilities. There are changing tables, playpens and even cribs that can be taken apart and maneuvered into a full sized bed.
What you really need to be prepared for your first baby is often really not that much. It may be nice to have all of those extras, but if money or space is tight it is time to look at just the essentials.
Cribs are vital. Clearly your baby needs somewhere to sleep, and it should not be in your bed. Sleeping in the same bed as your baby puts him or her at risk. You could roll over and inadvertently smother the child. To protect your baby, make sure he sleeps in his own crib. If you just can't live without him next to you, spring for one of those sleepers that attach to your bed. Now your baby can be next to you and in his own bed.
When looking for a crib you will notice there are lots of color and size choices. You can even opt to pay a little bit more and get a crib that can be turned into a regular bed later on. This is a great idea if you will want to save money later on by not having to buy a bed. The draw back is that if you have another baby, you will need to invest in another crib. So if you are planning on have more than one, it is probably best just to invest in a regular crib that suits your needs.
As much as you may love the idea of a brand new crib, you may want to hold off if money is a concern. Since kids grow so fast, there are always amble opportunities to find use children's accessories at garage sales or as hand me downs from relatives.
Face it; you cannot watch your kids all the time. You have to use the restroom or vacuum the floor. Give yourself a break by getting a playpen. Kids will be confined to an area (preferably within view of you) where they can play and you can keep your hands free.
You will need somewhere to store all those baby clothes you receive. I really caution against spending money on baby furniture. It is used for such a short time and can get costly. Why not just use an adult dresser that your child can use until he or she moves out. If you want to add a little more fun to the room, perhaps buy one that is designed for young children. At least that way you get a few more years of use out of it.
Baby Proofing Items
You may not need the 25 baby blankets you received at the baby shower, but you will need items to keep your baby safe. Think gates to block off stairs, plug covers for outlets, and guards that keep little ones out of cabinets that contain harmful chemicals or drugs.
Some people find it helpful to go through their home like a child would. Get down on hands and knees and see the place from a child's perspective. Are there sharp corners that could bump heads? Is there anything that might pose a danger to your child?
It is always better to baby proof before the baby comes. It can get put on the to do list and never get done otherwise. Keep your baby safe; make sure he or she cannot hurt themselves at home.
Clothing and Other Essentials
You will need lots of clothes. You will be amazed at how things get dirty. Food spills or the baby has an accident. You will need lots of clothes in lots of different sizes. Most babies quickly outgrow the 0-3 month sized outfits. Some never fit into them. Invest more in pieces sized 3-6 months than the smaller sizes.
Keep a never ending supply of diapers, baby wipes, and anything else you will be using on a daily basis. You may not be able to get to the store as often as you want once you have the baby, so always replace items when they are running low, not when they run out.