In July, 2013, the whole world had their attention on a little royal baby. At the time, I had just recently had a baby myself. So naturally, I started thinking about fresh little newborns. The photos of Will and Kate, gracefully showing off their (gasp) one day old newborn on the steps of the hospital where he was born made me a little sick at first (well, they weren’t exactly on parade, they did *actually* have to leave the hospital). At first I was a little bit like, ewww… whatever, royal baby, and Kate looks perfect the day after giving birth and with make up on, and perfect baby boy and she won’t have to lift a finger to do anything and everything is perfect, perfect, perfect… vomit in my throat. But, then I looked at a few more pictures and the vomit in my throat actually turned to compassion and familiarity. They had the same awkward first-time parent look that I had when I took my first born home from the hospital. My husband even has pictures of us taking her to the car to prove it.
The royal couple were total rookies, we’ve all been there. They didn’t even strap him in the carseat properly (you would think if they had the time to worry about Kate’s make-up to have her looking good for the paparazzi, they would have thought to tell her how to strap the baby in the carseat properly too, but anyway, first time parent blunders are easily forgiven). Although they were smiling and looking graceful in the public eye (as you do when you’re royalty), I started thinking, geez, they’ve got a little newborn on their hands. Kate’s dealing with all the post-partum lovelys that you do when you’ve just a baby. Bleeding, sore bottom, exhaustion, rock hard boobs, emotions, etc. The only difference between myself and them, of course, was that the entire world was watching as they brought their baby home from the hospital, while nobody, and I mean, NOBODY blinked an eye about what my husband and I did when we brought my first baby home.
But, what really caught my attention about the photos of them just leaving the hospital was the pure human-ness of the whole situation. In the pictures, there was nothing other than them holding the baby. Nothing. Just one very tiny, fresh little babe in their arms wrapped up in a blanket.
Does The Baby Need Any of This ‘Stuff’?
Now, this royal baby had just about every material thing in the world. A designer cot, fancy clothes, fancy stroller, toys, designer teddies, designer baby monitor (er… maybe designer nanny?), a million other things…. In fact, almost all babies in the western world have most of these things. Port-a-cribs, packs of diapers, bouncers, swings, baby baths, etc. But, who are all these ‘things’ for? The ‘must have’ list of baby things is actually for the parents. Because, I got to thinking..
The very very short list of the most important thing a new baby needs is… are you ready… is…. YOU!
Seriously, a new baby needs practically NOTHING BUT YOU! I don’t care if you’re the future King of England or a baby born in the poorest slum. The most important thing a baby needs is a soft place on a chest to rest their beautiful fresh little heads, and arms to hold them in.
Babies Don’t Even Need A Diaper (although they do come in handy)!
I couple years ago, I was in the staff room at work and a whole bunch of us were seeing off one of our colleagues who was about to have a baby. At the time, my older daughter was about 18 months old. All the woman were yapping about this and that and what baby device they couldn’t have lived without, etc. And, I opened my big blabber mouth and said, ‘You know, you really don’t have to worry, because babies actually don’t need a single thing when they’re born. They don’t even need a nappy!’. Note to self, keep mouth shut in all future staff room conversations about babies…. you should have seen the horror on their faces.
But, really, what does a new baby need? Imagine if you had your baby on a deserted island… what would you actually need for them? Food comes from the mother. You can wrap a baby in blankets or even a rag, they don’t even really need clothes. What about a cot (crib)? Well, babies have been sleeping with their parents since the beginning of time, could you imagine if a cave woman put their baby on the other side of the tree! No way! Diapers, you don’t even need, elimination communication (EC) is another practice that woman have been doing with their babies since the beginning of time. Imagine if your baby never wore a nappy, wouldn’t you be quick to figure out when they’re going to go… you betcha!
Ok, ok, so we don’t live on a deserted island. Certainly, a few things might be useful and even necessary. For starters, if you’re having your baby in a hospital, you need a car seat, that’s a safety issue. Another thing I would say is very very useful is some sort of baby wearing device, like a wrap or a sling, that way you at least have a chance to make yourself something to eat and maybe use the toilet. But, even a baby wrap could be a shawl or even bedsheet, doesn’t have to be fancy. Diapers do come in handy yes,,, especially at night and when out and about.. but they’re surprisingly NOT necessary! Diapers are a luxury that a lot of the world goes without. When my husband and I had our first, we only had just a few things that had been given to us either as hand-me-downs or as wedding gifts! The rest of the stuff we acquired as we felt we needed and most of it we realized that we just didn’t need at all, so we never ended up buying.
Anyway, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t collect things for a new baby. Have the baby shower, check out things you think you want, be educated about products that you might want to use for your baby, do the whole nine yards. Eventually, you may find a need for somethings. BUT, if you’re just about to have a baby, just remember, don’t stress about what things you need, the only thing a newborn baby needs is loving parents with arms to hold them! Once that baby is in your arms, you will figure out quickly what they need.