Q&A: What you need to have a baby

Vanessa writes:

"Could you do something soliciting what things, both concrete and non, one needs to parent? I am thinking about trying to have a baby, but I'd be a single parent, and I am soliciting feedback in...every conceivable area!

Thanks!"

Simple answer: A baby needs diapers, clothes, a place to sleep, and something to eat.

Next level: You also need a car seat, some kind of carrier (stroller/sling/wrap/Ergo/whatever).

Seriously, though: You need that stuff. But you also need support. At the very least, you need a babysitter you pay who is rock solid, to relieve you when you need to do things without the baby, plus childcare for while you're at work (whether that's daycare or an individual babysitter).

Ideally, you'd also have personal support, in the form of family and friends, who can be with you while you're parenting your child, and who can be part of your child's life. We're really truly not meant to parent children alone, and the isolation can be horrible. The number one factor correlating with post-partum depression is lack of support, so I would take this part seriously. Make sure you have your support system lined up to be part of it.

What do you all think? I'd love to hear from parents who had or adopted babies on their own, from single parents of all ilks, and from parents in general about what you need. Everything from gear to larger-picture things.