Experiments In Domesticity

Marriage, Motherhood & Modern Housewifery

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You Have Everything You Need … Or Almost

My Ladybug turned one yesterday. It was a momentous occasion for so many reasons but chiefly because our little family survived the first year intact. So, hurray for us! Happy birthday, my lovely daughter!

The other day I was reminded of advice I got from my midwife, when I received a text asking about nursing covers (insert cute and gag-worthy brand name here) from a dear friend who has recently experienced the joy of childbirth and is proud mama to two beautiful twin boys. When I asked about what I should buy, in frenzied anticipation of my daughter’s arrival, my midwife said all I really needed was a car seat, a few outfits and some diapers. And, though I did buy many more receiving blankets than I needed and a used crib that is currently a gigantic laundry basket, I generally stuck to her advice.

Just because you can afford to doesn’t mean you should! There is a hugely wasteful, multibillion dollar industry out there designed to take new parents for everything they are worth. From the latest plastic doodad guaranteed to make your baby sleep sixteen hours straight to the organic cotton, designed in Canada, made in China layette that your little one definitely deserves, no new parent insecurity remains untouched. After a year with Ladybug, I can honestly say you do not need a tent engineered to hide your breast while you nurse. Use a receiving blanket, a swaddle, your sweater, the tablecloth or any other soft material lying nearby.

Which brings me to my bare necessities list for new parents (in colder climates): 5 sleepers, 5 onesies, a hat, a warm blanket, a car seat, 30 cotton or flannel rags for wipes, and 15 washable diapers. That’s it! If you have extra money to throw around, I suggest a wrap-style carrier, 2 swaddling blankets, and a medium size wetbag. Forget the fancy diaper bag, a backpack works just fine and is easier to carry. Don’t forget to check the classifieds – many people are unloading barely used or brand new items. Also, remember that friends and family are going to want to give you things. Lots and lots of things. Things you want and things you don’t. Plan accordingly!

In reality, you will likely not leave the house much in the first six weeks. What your baby needs at that time is you, your warmth, your milk, and lots of rest. What you need is lots of healthy food, lots of time in close contact with your new baby, and lots of rest.

You have everything you need. Trust yourself.