The baby survival gear they didn’t tell you about
First off, let me just say that baby showers are awesome.
You get lots of free baby stuff. Yeah, it’s not stuff for you or your partner, but if you’re lucky it might involve beer. Or free snacks. So if your partner is one of those people who doesn’t want to impose, or is too shy, or whatever, please — for the love of consumerism as well as not adding to the pile of debt that you already have from your wedding — please take matters into your own hands and make it happen. Hire someone to organize it if you have to. Just do it.
I know, the ONE thing you really wanted (it was that baby mobile featuring Dolly Parton singing ‘9 to 5’, right?) somehow didn’t get bought.
Before you rush out and buy that mobile along with the other 100 things you might (but probably won’t) need someday, I want you to go ahead and do one thing for me, OK?
Put all everything up on eBay, and sell it.
Whatever cash you get, stow it in a rainy-day fund for when you are about to totally lose your shit but can’t afford to fly grandma out to take over so you can just go check into a hotel down the street for a few days, but wait! you just realized that you have a rainy day fund for exactly this reason, so you won’t have to follow through on the mutual suicide pact after all. Not this time, anyway.
(You can keep the diaper cake, though. That will come in handy.)
Point is, you don’t need ANY of that crap. It will either be useless, or baby will hate it, or you’ll only need it for a week.
Now, I suppose you should probably buy a crib. Unless you are going to have kiddo sleep in your bed, or you have an extra drawer in your dresser, or you have an appropriately sized cardboard box (which is totally a thing in Finland). But if you don’t have any of those things, a crib is totally OK.
Oh, and a car seat. I mean, when you and I were rug rats back in the early 20th century it was ok for us to ride shotgun on daddy’s lap with our heads sticking out the window, but times have changed and we have the Internet now. Just look up ‘orphan car seat’ and you’ll see what I mean.
(The good news is kid in a rear facing car seat in the center back of a car will probably survive even if you get crushed and decapitated by a semi. The bad news is, you’re dead. It might not protect little dude from the zombie apocalypse, but this is just sound parenting, man. For the zombies, you might want to invest in an underground bunker filled with canned Spam and automatic rifles.)
So go ahead and keep the crib and the car seat, and if you didn’t get either of those at the shower, guilt grandma and grandpa into springing for them. All that other cute baby shit can go.
What you REALLY need falls into two simple categories:
1) survival gear for you
2) survival gear for baby.
Let’s break it down …
Survival gear for you
- Hand sanitizer
- Vinyl gloves (because you’re going to be cleaning up all the shit, and it will get everywhere)
- Waterproof mattress cover
- Extra bedsheets (because … stuff happens)
- Bleach based cleaner
- Rags … lots of rags
- Exercise ball (you’ll need it when your knees start to buckle from bouncing the shit out of the baby)
- Breast pump and associated accoutrements (for all you dads out there, just don’t observe the act, as it will haunt you for the rest of your days)
- A bottle drying rack 
- A really comfortable bed (when you do get sleep, you’ll want to 10x it)
- White noise machine (the mechanical Marpac Dohm is easily the best, but the electronic LectroFan is a good alternative if you need something more portable)
- Ear plugs (for when it’s not your turn to put baby down)
- Eye mask (so you can sleep anywhere, anytime, like a boss)
- Extra vacation days
- A meditation book or app
- Condoms 
Survival gear for baby
To be fair, some of these things you will get at the baby shower. And if you get them all, you definitely win something. (Hopefully it’s extra vacation days, or an XL pack of condoms.)
All of the items below should fit into a small duffel bag, and are literally everything you need to take care of baby in the first 3 months, aside from a food source, a place to sleep, a method to wash bottles (if you are using formula), a baby bath, and a cargo container full of nappies  and wipes.
Here’s what I recommend:
- Swaddle blanket
- Footie pajamas
- Beanie or knit hat
- Hooded bath towel
- Baby-friendly soap
- Baby nail clippers
- Thermometer — forehead or rectal (plus some petroleum jelly to complete the experience)
- Butt cream
- Bottle sanitizing bags 
- I like the grass style drying racks
- I’d highly recommend protection unless you want to be like these people. And no, your partner can still get pregnant even if she hasn’t had her period, or is breastfeeding.
- British for diapers.
- Just drop your bottles and nipples into these bags, add some water, and microwave.
Originally published at PENNED>.