I will never claim to be an expert on pregnancy or parenting, simply because there are no such things. Everyone has their own way of doing it, I mean... I didn't attend any classes with my first pregnancy because I know how to breathe through pain and how to calm myself down (and that isn't with a large glass of red) and when it came down to giving birth, I didn't have to do much except lay there and not die (c-section... sorry, it's my dry sense of humour, I'm aware this isn't much use to you if you have a planned section awaiting you or are worried your pregnancy may result in a section... ignore me). With my anxiety through the roof now this time, I'll definitely be taking some kind of class (more on this soon).
One thing I know to be universally true though, is that you really don't need all the shit these 'new baby checklists' say you do. I guess it's a matter of finances / sanity / space amongst other things. So here is MY version of what you do and don't need, take it or leave it. Please do let me know if I've left anything important out...
A pram / travel system or whatever you like to call them
This doesn't need to be an £800 kit nor does it need to be Bugaboo (personally, I cannot stand the look of them). Your baby won't give two shits what it's balling around in, just that's it's comfy. And fuck those other mums with their Rolls Royce prams... if you like it and it's a good pram for your kid then buy it. Other mums judge you regardless of your buggy, let that be lesson one for you. Remember good old ebay? Well you can normally find the pram you're after for a fraction of the price, let's not be a snob about it. If you have £500+ to burn then go ahead but it really isn't necessary and some people are sensible and plan a budget for what they want to spend (that's me, this time). I've found the one I want selling on ebay for no more than £150 and full price it's well over £500, no guesses for which one I'll be going for.
A Car Seat
This is essential regardless of whether or not you have a car / drive. You will not be discharged from hospital unless your baby is strapped into one. Always buy it brand new. Find out more here.
Crib / moses basket
I have strong opinions about these. We had a moses basket and a crib for Lil and in total she was in them until about week 10? So we'd pissed money up the wall for just 10 weeks. This time I'll be buying a cot only and a Sleepyhead. Again, moses baskets and cribs (cots too) can be purchased second hand and it's recommended you buy the mattresses brand new (more here). And again, it's a personal choice.
I'm not sure how important it is that you have a monitor with a built in camera, I bought a standard one before because it had good reviews and I knew if I could see what she was doing (sleeping mainly) then I'd be checking constantly, driving myself mad. I guess the camera ones have their pros... personal choice etc (god, I'm getting bored of saying that now... just take everything as personal / financial choice from now on).
Didn't have one of these, didn't feel the need. I was neurotic enough without fucking about with the central heating.
You can buy these cheap enough and I even saw one in my charity shop window for £1 the other day. Some people don't bother, others buy things like the Bathing Bucket Tummy Tub which looks fun but has mixed reviews, or a bath seat thingy. I haven't thought that far ahead really, probs just bathe it in the sink.
Changing table / changing mat
Didn't bother with this either and won't bother this time due to space being an issue (IS IT TIME TO MOVE AWAY YET?). A changing mat on the bed worked fine for us although the table is handy if you've had a c-section (I just persevered, being the martyr that I am).
Baby changing bag
Don't be conned into thinking you need to pay a lot of money for one of these. I got bored of mine pretty quickly and ended up using a large bag I loved with small pouches for things like cotton wool, cloths, wipes, change of baby clothes etc. If I had all the money? I'd buy one from here.
We were given one, second hand. It did the job until she got too big and then we were bought a version that lasts until they are three. Again I'd say go second hand if you wanted to watch your pennies. The covers are washable so the job's a good'un.
We got one second hand but didn't use it for long. I bought a lovely patchwork blanket for when she could start rolling over and just littered it with the usual baby shit (toys and the like) so she'd roll over and grab stuff instead of attempting pull ups by dangling off some swinging toy.
This is where we went a bit mental (I say we, I mean family). Hold off on the toys, babies couldn't give less of a shit about them for the first few months. Then when they are interested, try not to go too mad. You'll end up loathing the fact your house looks like a toy bomb exploded inside and they just end up in every room. That is one thing I'll be strict on this time. NO FUCKING CUDDLY TOYS.
Bottle steriliser and bottles
If you're going to breastfeed then my guess is you wont need this unless you won't be whacking your boobs out all the time until they're weaned (because night out / weekend away / work) or will combine breast with bottle (hungry baby or whatever). We went with Tommee Tippee (I didn't breastfeed, for reasons that are none of anyones business) and I had zero complaints about their products. What I really didn't need to buy was the whole shabam, we never ended up using the bottle warmer or insulated bags, mainly because she would not drink warm milk.
Lil was having none of it when I put her in one but then it might have just been a shitty one from Mothercare, I can't remember. I might give it a whirl again and have seen lots of milfs trying this one out.
Things like cot sheets, muslin squares, wipes, nappies (cloth or disposable), flannels, cotton wool, breast pads (they leak like mother fuckers regardless of whether you breastfeed or not) rain cover, sunshade, blankets, scratch mittens, socks, babygro's, vests... all of that it pretty standard and stuff you do need. Gro-bags? Not for me. I tried swaddling and she hated it.
I hope this helps, it's certainly helped me. Think I've got it all wrong? Keep that opinion to yourself, it's best you don't pick a fight with me right now (just ask my husband).