When you’re about to have a baby or are simply talking about potentially having a child, everyone you know seems to bombard you with the same four sentences. One of these sentences involves how expensive it is to have a baby.

This conversation can often come accompanied by forwarding a link, sharing a book, or rambling off for an hour about all the specific things you need to have before the baby arrives. This dreaded list is frighteningly long (nine to fifteen pages in some cases), detailing every possible item that you will need for your new family member. It can be overwhelming, to say the least, and quite suspicious at times.

If you find yourself questioning an item or two, trust your gut because these lists are often created by authors or magazine writers who can, at times, be paid to include brand name items that you don’t actually need. That’s right. Oftentimes these lists are exaggerated marketing tools.

And soon to be parents who are already on edge because they’re consistently told that they’re never going to sleep again, have sex again, or do anything they want to do ever again are stressed and end up buying everything on “the list” and finding out later that they didn’t need half (or more) of the items.

The following will explore the things you actually need if you’re welcoming a child into this world. This list is very short. Of course, you’re welcome to buy more items if you feel drawn to one thing or another; that’s completely fine. Just don’t let anyone pressure you into buying something expensive and trendy that isn’t going to actually make your life any easier.

And remember, it’s completely okay to wait until the baby is born to see if you want or need something. People with infants do go to the store; they order stuff online for delivery. It happens.

Something for Them to Wear

Before we begin, a large chunk of items on the above-mentioned list will be clothing. You can, if you’re strapped for time or cash or energy, ignore these items. You’re going to get a ton of clothes as gifts. Way more than you realize. Comically more clothing than is needed (because buying baby clothes is fun). Especially if you have a baby shower, as well, once you or your partner is showing, people will be offering their grown baby’s old clothes up left, right, and center because no one likes to throw away things of such sentimental value.

Something for Carrying

Depending on your preferences, there are countless options for carrying your baby. You can get a sling, a front-facing baby carrier, a back-facing baby carrier, or a stroller. Browse through Babys-Mart, and you’ll see that whatever carrying position is most comfortable for you, there’s a carrier that exists for that. Again, it’s fine to wait until the baby arrives if you don’t know what holding position works for you and your little one just yet.

Something for Sleeping

The most common sleeping option is a crib, but don’t think you have to get that. There are side-sleepers that attach to the side of your bed for a half cosleeping option. There are giant pillow protector things that protect the baby while he or she sleeps next to you in bed. There are Moses baskets that turn anyplace into a sleeping spot for babies and even boxes.

That’s right, in some places in the world, babies don’t sleep in giant cribs. In Finland, every expecting parent is sent a box full of items that, once empty, becomes the sleeping space. You can also ditch all of the sleeping options mentioned above and keep the baby in your bed with you.

Something for Their Bottoms

You might call these diapers or nappies, but you need something to cover up the baby’s bottom that isn’t going to let messes get any messier than they need to. There are both disposable options and reusable options available. Though reusable diapers can seem pricey initially, they often drastically save money in the long run. Hybrid diapering is totally okay too! You can have disposable ones for when you go out and reusable ones for home.

Something for Traveling

Unless you live somewhere where you never, ever get in a vehicle, you’re going to want a car seat. This is the item you should be most comfortable splurging on. Car seats also often double as a carrier or rocking seat.

Something to Protect

This is one of those points that you might want to pass on, but for other parents is essential, so it’s included. There are hats and baby blankets with special material on the inside that protect your child from electromagnetic frequencies. The World Health Organization has released an article about the possible harm EMFs can cause. Of course, the verdict is still out on electromagnetic frequencies, but many parents don’t want to take the risk and find out later that EMFs were causing health problems.

The above list is pretty short but covers all your baby needs. Of course, feel free to seek out more than what was discussed; just know that you don’t have to.

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