The other day I accidentally locked myself inside the room that is now our nursery-to-be. We have those old-fashioned glass doorknobs and the inside knob just fell off as I closed the door behind me. Despite a valiant effort on my part, there was no getting it back on. Luckily, I had a bottle of water and my phone with me—the essentials—so I called my husband and begged him to leave work to rescue me. He agreed.
So I leaned back and waited for help to arrive, sipping on my water and taking in the piles of baby junk that surrounded me. One thing nobody tells you before you get pregnant is just how much stuff babies need these days. Naturally, you’ll need at least a crib and a changing table, perhaps a nursing chair if you plan on breastfeeding. Then there’s the car seat—if you intend on bringing your baby home from the hospital—and a stroller. Probably a carrier or a sling—I hear those are really helpful if you like to be able to use your hands for anything other than baby holding in those first few weeks after she is born.
And babies apparently love linens! You are going to need sheets galore, and changing pad covers, and, of course, liners for both. And towels. Did you know that babies require special hooded towels? You’ll also need a plethora of blankets: stroller blankets, and regular blanket blankets (in smaller, baby-appropriate sizes). But don’t ever use them to cover the baby in the crib. They’re not supposed to sleep with them—just lie around on them while giggling under your watchful eye. Such is my understanding, anyway.
When my mother-in-law gifted me some cute footed baby pajamas early on in my pregnancy, I gushed with joy. I’m ashamed to admit that in those early days, the tiny clothes made me more excited than anything else at the prospect of having a baby. Slowly, the clothes have multiplied exponentially, and I’m afraid that soon my husband I are going to have to exchange dressers with our yet-to-be-born baby. Tucked away somewhere in that overcrowded baby dresser are several pairs of mittens—not for the cold, but because babies are experts at gauging their eyes out (or so we’ve been told). Somebody even convinced me to put swaddles on my baby shower registry. (Considering that I can’t even roll a burrito I’m pretty sure swaddling the baby is out of the question.)
Oh, and the amount of diapers I’ve acquired is just unreal. If you are going to be changing that many diapers, you’ll also need a healthy helping of wipes and an over-sized tub of diaper rash cream. Some other essential baby grooming tools: A thermometer and a snot sucker—yes, unfortunately, that’s the technical term.
As a first-time mom-to-be, I have no clue as to what among my mountains of baby things is truly necessary, and what is purely an indulgence. If I were to judge merely by the survival of our species, I’d dare say we don’t need any of it. You’ll just have to wait for my report from the other side, I suppose.
This post originally appeared on Baltimore’s Child, STYLE’s sister publication.