10 Things You Absolutely Need When Bringing Home a Newborn Juxtaposed With Images of Things You Will Probably Not Need

One of the most overwhelming things about having a baby is not having any idea what it is going to need.  And everyone is different so, on some level, everyone will feel like they need different things. As someone who has gone through this whole ordeal fairly recently, there are some things that are totally non-negotiable when bringing home a baby.  You MUST HAVE these things.  There are also tons of things that you totally don’t need.  Here are a few of both.*

hello my name is the ugly volvo
These stickers are adorable (and super helpful if your 9-month-old is in Pharma sales but otherwise you can live without them.)

10 Things you ABSOLUTELY Need Before Bringing Home a Newborn Baby Juxtaposed With Photos of Things You Will Probably Not Need

 

1.

Thing you will probably not need:

diaper ointment applicator
This is a spatula you can use to put ointment on your child’s bottom.  From my experience, this can also be done using your hands.

 

Thing You Will Need: Patience

Sorry I didn’t list something you can buy at a Babies R Us for 7.99 that “would make your life 1000% easier with just the touch of a button!” but that thing does not yet exist. But you will absolutely need patience.  You will need it when he is crying and you cannot figure out why he is crying, and you will need it when he cannot figure out how to latch (if you are trying to breastfeed him) and you will need it when he is older and telling you a boring, incredibly confusing story (something about a snail in a boat???) in which you are pretending to be interested.  You will need to have patience with a significant other, if you have one, and with your in-laws and your parents and yourself.  This is a big one.

2.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

"Hi, I'm looking to buy a stroller and wanted to know if the $700-$1500 dollar ones will bring me more everlasting happiness than this one I got for $30 at a garage sale?"
Super Fancy Strollers: “Hi, I’m looking to buy a stroller and wanted to know if these $700-$1500 dollar ones I see everywhere will bring me everlasting happiness and a more complete sense of self than one I got for $30 at a garage sale?”

 

Thing You Will Need: Confidence

If you’re having a kid you’re going to be making tons of decisions on things that you know virtually nothing about.

Before having a kid I was completely terrified to the point of paralysis that I was buying the wrong stroller.  Once I had the baby I lost hours of sleep (in addition to the hours you lose just by having a baby in general) worrying about how to sleep train him because I was terrified that I’d pick the wrong sleep training method and emotionally scar him for eternity.  Raising a child means making a million choices and it is so hard to be confident when you have literally no idea what you’re doing, but do the best you can.  There isn’t really a right or wrong way to raise a child, so just have your child’s best interests in mind and be confident that what you are choosing to do is the best thing.

3.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

belly casting kit
This is a “belly casting kit,” which I feel like nobody needs unless you’re casting my belly in the next season of American Horror Story.

 

Thing You Will Need: Humility

Ok, remember how I just one paragraph ago said there isn’t really a right or wrong way to raise a child?  So that was mostly true.  Because there isn’t, really.  A right way or a wrong way.  But that is not to say that you won’t make mistakes.  Because you will.  Tons of them.  You are going to be wrong about things, so it is helpful to get used to accepting that you will be wrong about things.  There is nothing shameful in it.  Be confident in your choices but when you make a mistake, accept it gracefully, learn from it, and move on.

4.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

I don't have one so maybe there's a lot more to this but this appeared to just be a small blender with a smiley face on it, sold alongside a couple of containers?  If I already have a blender can I just draw a smiley face on it with magic marker and save the money?
Not denying that this is adorable but it appeared to just be a small blender with a smiley face on it and is there a reason you can’t just draw a face on the blender you already have at home?

 

Thing You Will Need: Creativity

Creativity is important because once you have a child, you are going to need “think outside of the box” solutions to things.  You will have to figure out how to get your phone out of your pocket without waking up the sleeping newborn on your shoulder.  You’ll need to figure out how to get her to eat something she flatly refuses to eat under any circumstances and you’ll need to figure out how to diffuse an argument with a three-year-old who is crying because “there are water droplets on his raspberry.*”

You will learn to get really creative.  I once had a sobbing baby that insisted on being held and a growling stomach that insisted on being fed and I somehow made myself a peanut butter and banana sandwich with one hand, something which I have numerous times considered listing on resumes under “special skills.”

*DIRECT QUOTE

5.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

Buying something to save half a banana seems sort of silly, although I'd be super excited to use this in a puppet show about jaundiced bottle-nosed dolphins.
Buying something to save half a banana seems sort of silly, although I’d be super excited to use this in a puppet show about jaundiced bottle-nosed dolphins.

 

Thing You Will Need: Tenacity

Mama, can I have cake?  Mama, can I have cake?  Mama, can I have cake? (Repeat indefinitely until given cake)

Do you see what your child did right there?  Tenacity is having a goal and working tirelessly toward that goal without giving up.  Your child will have it.  And so you must have it too so that when your child goes, “Mama, can I have cake?  Mama, can I have cake?” you can go, “No, I said no cake.  No, I said no cake.  No, I said no cake,” and repeat it indefinitely until you collapse from exhaustion, at which point your child will enthusiastically use your collapsed body as a stepstool to reach the cake.

6.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

Industrial-style earmuffs.  A total must-have if your 4-month-old mows lawns for a living.
Industrial-style earmuffs are a total must-have if your 4-month-old mows lawns for a living.

 

Thing You Will NeedPerspective

I don’t know if this is something you need when you have a child so much as something you will get from having one but still, having perspective is important.  Here is a list of shoes I have recently walked in, allowing me to gain perspective and better understand other people:

The shoes of a parent:  I now am one!  I understand the deep and primal desire to put photos of your child on Facebook and Instagram because your child is SO WONDERFUL AND SWEET YOUR HEART IS EXPLODING AND YOU MUST SHARE THIS INTENSE AND BEAUTIFUL JOY.

The shoes of a non-parent:  I recently was one!  I still remember/understand that having a newsfeed full of babies can be boring if you do not like babies or is conflicting if you do sort of want a baby someday but are being bombarded with reminders that you do not have one.  Also, not liking photos of my friends’ cute babies always seemed sort of heartless but when I liked them too often the Facebook algorithm would show me nothing but photos of people’s babies because it thought that was all I wanted to see. 

The shoes of your child:  This one takes work.  You will not understand at first why the water droplets on the raspberry thing is worth nine minutes of hysterical crying but I feel like maybe if you go through it enough times you start to figure it out.  This is possibly just me being hopeful.

 

7.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

An (admittedly beautiful) high chair whose selling point is that even as your child grows into a full-sized adult man, he will still be able to come home and sit in the high chair he used when he was an infant.  Because as we all know, that's what guys want.
This is the packaging on an (admittedly beautiful) high chair whose selling point is that even as your child grows into a full-sized adult man, he will still be able to come home and sit in the high chair he used when he was an infant.

 

Thing You Will Need: Sense of Humor

Don’t have a sense of humor?  You’re in for a fun ride.  Good luck raising something that will eventually vomit into your mouth while you’re yawning.

8.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

This is an electronic hand-held formula mixer in case you're still bummed that you had to leave your kickass barista job to stay home and take care of this newborn you decided to have.
This is an electronic hand-held formula mixer in case you’re still bummed that you had to leave your barista job/don’t understand how to mix a bottle of formula by hand.

 

Thing You Will Need: Compassion

Compassion is important.  Yes, a lot of parenting is about setting rules and being stern and teaching lessons (I SAID NO CAKE, IF YOU ASK ME ONE MORE TIME FOR CAKE I AM SENDING YOU TO A SPOOKY BOARDING SCHOOL DEEP IN THE WILDERNESS), but it is also about understanding where other people are coming from and why they are hurting and how you can help.  Being compassionate doesn’t always mean giving in and letting them eat the cake when they ask, it means taking the time to help them understand why they can’t eat nothing but cake, three meals a day for eternity.

9.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

Photo Credit: Dana Lane It's a wipe warmer.  Look, they're great.  Yes, the wipes will be warm.  I do understand how all these things are helpful, they're just not crucial.
Photo Credit: Dana Lane
It’s a wipe warmer. Look, they’re great. Yes, the wipes will be warm. I do understand how all these things are helpful, you just don’t need it so if you’re looking to have less stuff, this is something you can probably skip.

 

Thing You Will NeedA Strong Stomach

I just got a Facebook message from a mother who had to cut her son’s onesie off him with a scissors because it was so completely full of feces it could neither be salvaged nor hygienically pulled over his head.  My own son’s nose regularly produces enough snot to fill a mid-size above ground pool.  I am keeping this paragraph mercifully brief because obviously it can be much, much worse.  Having a child is disgusting.  If you really want a list of “things you should buy before having a newborn,” my top choice is always “stock in a paper towel company.”

10.

Thing You Will Probably Not Need:

I have no idea what this even does (something to do with formula) but when I start my first space colony we will obviously purchase three.
I have no idea what this even does (something to do with formula??) but when I start my first space colony we will obviously purchase at least five.

Thing You Will Need: Help

You are going to need help with the baby.  You will need help possibly more than you will need anything else.  Right after the baby arrives you are going to need people who will watch the baby so you can sleep.  You are going to need people to bring you food so that there will be things to eat in your house.  You are going to need people to talk to because you are going to feel like you are going insane and you will want people to gently say, “No, you are not going insane,” or “Yes, you are totally going insane, but not like the really bad, violent sort of insane, so don’t sweat it.”

It takes a village to raise a child.   More than anything on any baby registry you need friends or family members to whom you can say, “Hey, do you think you could watch the baby for a few hours this Sunday so I can sit in a public park and hysterically cry?” and who, in response, will put a firm hand on your shoulder and look you in the eyes as they say, “For you?  Anything.”

 

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Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming

Thanks for reading and good luck.  If you want to follow me on Facebook or Twitter, please do those things!  I also have a book being released in September called Welcome to the Club: 100 Parenting Milestones You Never Saw Coming.  If you understand how to work a computer, you can pre-order it on Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Indiebound.  If it’s one of my parents reading this, don’t sweat it, come September you’ll be able to walk into a regular bookstore and buy it just like you did in the olden days when a loaf of bread was a nickel.

18 CommentsComment

  1. Went to the dentist with my 6 year old son… and my ~2 month old newborn. The receptionist was in her third trimester with her 1st, and understandably anxious and seeking advice. I wanted to reassure her, and I asked me older son, “Is there anything special she needs for her new baby?” and the 6yearold boy replied, “Hugs.” That’s all.

  2. What an awesome list… I have never seen the nana saver before. It is definitely a must have:-)

  3. Isn’t this a humor site? Where is the snark? This is a great list and completely sincere and useful! But seriously, I could use the banana preserver. I always have a few rotting halves sitting in my fridge getting black because the baby doesn’t finish them and I do not eat fruit.

  4. This is hands down the best new parent advice post I’ve ever read. I already sent it to my pregnant friend and wish I’d had it 6 years ago when I was three weeks away from birthing my first. Big ups mama.

  5. Avatar

    Sarah Ressler

    Brilliant in every way. Especially the wipe warmer. I often made snarky comments at my sister-in-law’s house to my baby reminding him not to get too comfortable with the fancy warm wipes as we were headed back to our house-land of the cold! Also, tenacity is one of my very favorite vocab words, and I reiterate the need to have tenacity to my kids all the time. Yup, I need it too! Thanks-totally buying your book from my local bookstore!

  6. This was hilarious…I am still giggling about those water droplets on the raspberry…would love to know how you diffused that situation.

    I’m heading home to put a smiley on my blender!

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