[Note: this is part one of a five-part answer. You can find links to the other parts at the end of this post]

Ask Design Mom Question:
I’m due with my first baby this summer. How do you prepare for a new baby? Any specific gear you like? Thanks so much. — Michelle

Design Mom Answer:
Michelle. Congrats on your baby and perfect timing on this question! Because I went into serious nesting mode this weekend. Seriously serious. I could not stop with the list making. It was a little bit ridiculous. And while there’s a part of me that absolutely realizes people have been making and having babies for eons and that essentially all you need is a piece of cloth (or animal skin? maybe a large leaf?) to wrap this little being in and the human race will survive just fine, the other part of me is a total boy scout and wants to be prepared with all my favorite baby stuff.

The lists I came up with covered: Sleeping, Feeding, Bathing/Diapering, Mom and Clothing. So I thought we could cover one topic every day this week. And maybe by the weekend, I’ll feel prepared to meet this wee one. How does that sound? Let’s start with sleeping.

In the sleeping category, this is what I like to have for a new baby:

-A bassinet (or cradle or moses basket or baby hammock).
You could use a crib right from the beginning, but for the first few months I like to have the baby sleep in my bedroom. And I like the smaller footprint of something like a bassinet. Note: since bassinets are used for such a short time, this is a great item to borrow from a friend or find on Craigs List.

-Sheets for the bassinet. At least three.
If I can’t find the right size for the bassinet I’m using, I buy some fabric and hire a more-competent-seamtress-than-I to whip some up for me.

-A crib.
There are a million great choices for cribs. And the prices vary hugely. We’ve owned a variety of cribs, but our favorite was a wooden hotel-size one we found on the street in New York. (Yay for free!) We had a new mattress cut for it. Scrubbed it up and it was good to go.

-Crib bedding.
Depending on our house and the crib and my mood and whatever else, sometimes I’ve used the full set of crib bedding and sometimes I’ve just used a sheet. If we’re going for full bedding, I like to have a bumper, a bedskirt, at least 3 crib sheets, at least 3 mattress covers, and a blanket. I’m also fine to skip the bumper and bedskirt.

-Blankets. Lots of blankets.
I love to have a good-size stack of receiving blankets and swaddlers at the ready. Ten or more. I especially like having an assortment. Some sweet little felt ones I sewed for my first baby that are soft as can be. An heirloom one from Grandma Lucille that looks pretty in photos. Some fleece for outdoor walks. Oversize cotton ones for swaddling.

So there it is — my “Sleeping” list. People have such strong opinions on baby gear that I’m sure many of you would make a very different list. Feel free to share. What are your preferences? Do you use a bassinet or go straight to a crib? Do you like crib bumpers? Have you ever tried a baby hammock? (I haven’t but I want to. In fact, if you have one for sale — especially the Leander or Kanoe, please let me know…) What works for you?

Here’s a link to answer part two: Feeding.
And here’s part three: Bathing/Diapering.
Part four: Mom’s Needs.
And here’s part five: Layette (or clothing).