Practical baby preparation

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It can be harrowing trying to figure out how to prepare for baby’s arrival. In Finland, everything you conceivably need for the entire first year arrives in one box. You can, of course, fluff it up with as many things as you need to help you feel comfortable, excited, and prepared, but accounting for the essentials is a good jumping off point.

Just bear in mind, there’s a tendency to think you need everything right away, but the truth is that for many weeks, all that baby needs is you (and some essentials). Once the baby is born, you’ll figure the rest out as you go along, so no need to stress yourself out ahead of time.

Personally, my approach to baby paraphernalia is minimalist, so I’ve only included the bare essentials on this list.

Bare essentials priority checklist for baby

  • Somewhere for baby to sleep and a mattress with a bottom sheet (If you are planning to co-sleep with your baby, look into co-sleeping options for baby’s safety.)
  • 1-2 blankets for wrapping or swaddling
  • Onesies (You’ll probably change them multiple times a day, so having a week’s worth will minimize constant laundry.)
  • Lots of burp cloths (You can use cloth diapers for extra absorbency.)
  • 3 large boxes of newborn diapers or the equivalent of cloth
  • 2 diaper covers if using cloth diapers
  • Diaper cream
  • Unscented baby wipes
  • Changing pad and cover
  • Socks or booties, pajamas, hat, and mittens
  • Infant car seat, installed
  • Baby thermometer
  • If you’re breastfeeding: pump, milk storage bags
  • If you’re not breastfeeding: eight containers of formula and glass or BPA-free 4-ounce plastic bottles with slow flow nipples
  • Unscented, perfume/dye-free laundry detergent
  • Humidifier (optional but recommended—especially if you live in a dry climate or your baby will be born during the winter)

Bare essentials priority checklist for you

  • Nursing bra
  • 2 washable bra pads
  • Do advance research on buying or renting a breast pump in case you need it
  • Sitz bath supplies, if vaginal birth (see recipe below)
  • Have a plan for contraception after baby

Postpartum sitz bath recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Epsom salts
  • 2 ounces witch hazel
  • 2 ounces dried calendula
  • 2 ounces dried chamomile
  • 2 ounces dried comfrey
  • 2 ounces dried lavender blossoms
  • 2 ounces dried lemon balm leaf
  • 2 ounces dried plantain leaf
  • 2 ounces dried yarrow

 

Directions

Combine all ingredients (you can order the dried herbs online if you don’t have a local herb shop) and fill several muslin bags with a handful of the concoction in each bag. To use, fill sitz bath tub (a plastic bin that fits on the toilet seat) with hot water and place one muslin bag into the bath to steep. When the water temperature is tolerable for you, soak for fifteen to twenty minutes.

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