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You might think you know what to put on your baby registry. Cushy car seat. Check! Odor-eating diaper pail. Check! But what about the less obvious new-mom essentials? The stuff you might end up sending your partner out for at 2 a.m., or ordering online and paying for overnight shipping because you need it fast! These items aren't a no-brainer like that sweet stroller in the garage, but when it comes to making life with your baby roll along more smoothly, you won't want to forget these nine new-mom must-haves.
Stock up on everything you might need to make nursing go more smoothly, including absorbent breast pads, soothing gel packs, lanolin cream for sore nipples, flanges (in a few sizes), nipple shields (in case your baby has trouble latching on), and a hugely helpful (although not especially cute!) hands-free pumping bra. While you may not end up needing every single item, having these lifesavers nearby will save you a frazzled trip to the store. (Keep your receipts, so if you end up not needing the nipple shields, for example, you can take them back.)
After-birth recovery kit
No one tells you that after you give birth (whether vaginally or by c-section) you'll want to keep your nice, skimpy undies in the drawer while you rock out in some big "granny panties" with a giant maxi pad tucked inside. Rather than make a shopping trip on the way home from the hospital, have these intimate items on hand to get you through those first few days or weeks of recovery. You'll also want a bottle of stool softener pills; a package of flushable wipes for cleaning delicate, healing areas; comfy but not-too-fancy underwear; and a squirt bottle, also helpful for cleaning your most tender areas.
While no one's saying you should be back in your skinny jeans within months (or even this year!), many new moms swear by a roster of hardworking shapewear to disguise leftover bulges and new-mom bumps and to feel a bit slimmer overall. Having a few tummy-taming, thigh-slimming underpinnings on hand can help you hold it all together – literally.
It's amazing how many things require batteries in those first few months: the swing with the magic sleep-inducing sway; the musical, vibrating bouncy seat; the beloved little crib-side sheep that emits white noise. Having an ample selection of battery sizes on hand allows you to try things out right out of the box – no trip to the store required. Tip: Lots of baby stuff requires C or D batteries, so be sure to stock up on those.
Newborns are notorious for mid-change sneak attacks of pee or poop – but the last thing you want to have to do after changing your baby is clean a dirty changing pad. That's why it's vital to add a layer of waterproof protection to your plush changing pad cover. A simple, inexpensive plastic-backed pad (not so different from the pads you'd use for a puppy) will do the trick. Even if your little one gets something past you, the extra layer will stop leaks and keep you from having a mess on your hands.
Perhaps you've never noticed how dark your stairs are in the middle of the night, or how the cat likes to hide out around the doorway to the nursery. Well, when you're up at all hours you'll notice – and you'll want to be able to see these little hazards and avoid a fall. Plug in a few well-placed nightlights so that when you're stumbling around for night feedings, you aren't actually stumbling.
A well-stocked medical kit makes a perfect baby shower gift. Avoid frantic trips to the drugstore by having these first-year necessities on hand: infant pain reliever, thermometer, nose suction device, saline nose drops, antibiotic ointment, and other medical supplies.
You'll never be thirstier than after you have a baby. For one thing, breastfeeding can make you want to guzzle water more than ever (and in fact, to keep up a good supply, hydration is key). You'll also be shedding the water weight you may have put on during pregnancy. Make sure you have a few easy-to-clean, reusable bottles on hand wherever you'll be spending a lot of time so you can drink up.
It's amazing how fast you can go through basic new-baby items. And it's not always easy to run to the store when there's a newborn in the house. You don't have to designate an entire closet to the stuff, but having a reserve of everyday essentials like diapers, wipes, diaper pail liners, steam-cleaning bags for bottles and breast pump accessories, and diaper cream will put your mind at ease.