It is so easy to get caught up in all of the hoopla and stuff that engulfs a new baby. Teething rings, sleep positioners, car seats, swinging seats, bouncers, stationary play areas, onesies, rompers. But what does your baby really need? And how can you make sure that the products you buy to protect and care for your baby are the safest ones for her and her environment?

All you need is love
So many of the products produced for babies are marketed to parents by pulling at their utmost fears and concerns…the health and safety of their babies. If this is your first baby, it may be hard to imagine NOT using all of the products that claim you need to keep your child entertained for hours or increase her safety.

It is important to remember that the only things a baby truly needs are food, shelter, and love. Everything else is just a bonus. Keep that in mind the next time you feel overwhelmed by advertisements or product claims. Along those same lines, you should remember that items that are “essential” for one family may not be necessary for another. So keep the needs of your family in mind when putting together your baby essentials.

Is it essential?
Pretty colors and soft fabrics are nice, but they won’t help you decide if you really need any item or not. As you are evaluating products to add to your new baby wish list, check to make sure they meet the following requirements:

  • Utility: Before you purchase or borrow a new item for your nursery, ask yourself if you and your baby really need it. Does this item fill a need? Will it be a useful addition to your home or will it get in the way and become one more thing that collects dust in your closet or takes up space in a landfill?
  • Safety: First and foremost any baby item that comes into your home should be safe for your baby; and also for the planet. Has this product been tested for safety by an independent third party agency? How does its safety ratings compare to similar models? What materials and/or chemicals were used to make this product?
  • Cost: Does this item fit within your budget? If not, is there a way you could borrow or rent the item rather than purchase it new?
  • Ease of use: Are you able to operate the item easily? Remember, you may be required to use this in a sleep-deprived stupor. Is it easy to clean? Store? Take apart?
Baby's bare essentials
What does your baby really need?