Selwyn & Christchurch

You don’t need to buy…

As you may have picked up on, I have decided to stop being so polite about the crazy consumerism that swamps families when a baby is on the way. There are no must haves! There are a few basic things that help keep babies safe, warm, fed, and will stop poo from going everywhere.

No amount of expensive snacks, gimmicks, or lotions and potions are going to increase your milk production, fix your cracked or bleeding nipples, magically make breastfeeding easier, or change your infant’s behaviour and/or sleep.

You don’t need:

  • Lactation cookies (there’s research to show they don’t do anything – see the link below)*
  • Lactation drinks/teas (probably ditto)
  • Recipes for either of the above (ditto again)
  • Lactation herbs or supplements (these are regulated just like the muesli bars you buy, as in, they aren’t regulated in any way – who knows what you’re buying)
  • Breastfeeding pillows (you are the pillow – slouch in the couch and get comfy)
  • Silicone vacuum devices (mastitis anyone?)
  • Wearable milk collectors of any sort (potentially ditto)
  • Breast pumps (see below)
  • Nipple creams (these may be irritating and they ain’t going to fix sore nipples on their own)
  • Nipple protectors (may also cause additional issues)
  • Nipple shields (many are not fit for purpose, and if required, they are free from your postnatal stay venue)

And, you don’t need to buy a breast pump before you have your baby. You may not even need one, and if you do, knowing why you need the pump can help you choose the right one for your situation. They can be hired from the hospitals if required in the short term. We will discuss this and much more on the breastfeeding night of your antenatal classes or in a one-off Breastfeeding Class in Halswell.

As always, there may be a time and a place for some things, and evidence-based care providers can help you with the right stuff at the right time, for the right reasons.

You also do not need shushers, rockers, blackout curtains, soft pods or nests, sleep positioners, fancy swaddles or sleeping bags, and some of these items listed can also be unsafe.

See here for safe sleep information in all settings, and here for information about how babies sleep.

Things to think about buying:

You may not need as much as you think for your newborn baby, and will likely acquire some items as gifts or may be able to borrow them. Remember, you are a marketer’s dream and they want your money! The algorithm knows you are pregnant before you have told anyone else – have a look at the pop-up ads and suggestions appearing on your devices now. Much of the world’s population gets on just fine caring for their babies without tons of stuff.

Here are my thoughts on the basics:

  • Nappies
  • Clothes
  • A bed
  • A car seat
  • A buggy (optional)
  • Baby bath (optional)

We will discuss a lot of this when we cover Baby Wrangling 101 on Night 5 of antenatal classes.

You can buy a range of sizes when nappies are on special if you are using disposables. Baby will not fit newborn nappies forever. Work on having about a four-week supply of newborn size = 300 nappies. You can always buy more. If using reusable nappies, you will need at least 24 and will probably need to wash every day in the first few months. Small thin reusable cloths can be moistened and used to clean your baby when changing them.

Clothing should ideally be natural fibres, such as cotton or wool, with 4 to 6 bodysuits and onesies, 2 to 3 woolly singlets, and a couple of woolly cardigans, hats, and pairs of socks. Your baby can sleep in a bodysuit, woolly singlet, and onesie, so you don’t need separate pajamas.

Cot-sized flannelette sheets can be used in a bassinet and they cost way less than bassinet linen. Bumpers and pillows are not safe. One or two cot-sized woolen blankets (thermacell style are an option) are breathable, will keep baby warm, and allow for layering. A firm new mattress that fits well in the bed is recommended for each baby and a protector of some sort to make it easy to keep it clean and dry.

Flat white cloth nappies or large muslin cloths (4 to 6) are useful in many situations, including changing and providing shade. A baby towel can be more practical for drying them rather than dealing with the masses of fabric from your own towels.

Practical baby shower ideas include: starting a meal train, an oven or window cleaning voucher, a house cleaner or gardener, a pamper voucher for mum, a family photo session voucher, or an invite over for dinner. I know some of these sound a bit boring, but they will create TIME or the opportunity to do something else for yourself.

*https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/36921902/ Effectiveness of Lactation Cookies on Human Milk Production Rates: A Randomized Controlled Trial