So, you’ve planned your whole nursery on Pinterest and maybe you’ve already put it all together perfectly. But what newborn essentials do you actually need when you bring your baby home?
There is so much marketed for new parents and babies and it is all SO CUTE and hard to resist. I’m not saying don’t buy that stuff because I would be a hypocrite if I told you that. I am a sucker for targeted ads of the cute, perfect stuff for my long awaited baby. That being said, I ended up with way too much of some stuff that I never used and overlooked some newborn essential items and was stuffing my online shopping cart.
The first few months of your newborn’s life is a whirlwind – you’re utterly in love and sleep deprived like you wouldn’t believe. The fourth trimester is such a blur! There’s truly no way to be completely prepared for such a life changing event but when your eyes are crusted halfway shut and you have spit up running down the front of you (and maybe even the back! Ha!), there are certainly some items that can make life a whole heck of a lot easier when you have them within arms reach.
This list of 15 newborn essentials will get you started and take some stress away in those early, sleepy newborn days.
This is hands down my number one most used newborn essential item. It makes breastfeeding (or bottle feeding) so much easier when you are not fighting with positions and loose or squishy pillows!
Pro Tip: Pack this with you in your hospital bag! This is one of the only items I wished I would have had with me!
- Burp Cloths
And lots of them! I had a handful to start with and quickly ordered more within the first week of being home. The Burts Bees Baby organic burp cloths and Copper Pearl burp cloths are my favorite, they are both absorbent and super soft. You are going to want at least one within arms reach in all the rooms you spend time in with your baby. Spit up is the gift that just keeps on giving!
- A couple good quality blankets
For some reason its made to believe that you will need 8,000 muslin swaddle blankets and I’m here to tell you that is not true (Sorry, swaddle blanket sellers!). That’s not to say they aren’t great, you just really honestly do not need that many. You really only need 2-3 good blankets. I have basically rotated between the same soft 3 blankets. I have a super soft plush blanket I found at a consignment shop that is one of my favorites. You can find similar ones at target that are just as soft like this one. I have a Little Giraffe one for nap time and bedtime and a couple muslin ones that I pack in the diaper bag or his stroller/carseat. My favorite muslin ones are Aden + Anais and Little Unicorn. They are SO SOFT.
- Mat for tummy time
Tummy time is so important, right from the get go! So, you will want something you’re comfortable putting your baby on face down. This teepee has been great from the start and we still use it at 8 months.
Pro Tip: You’ll still want to lay a blanket down on whatever mat you choose, because like I said before, spit up is the gift that just keeps giving!
We try our best to plan for a baby and to be tired but there is truly no way to prepare for the sleep deprivation that is on the horizon. I hear a lot about other babies that are “good sleepers” but I personally think those babies are mythical creatures. (Can you tell I got a baby that wouldn’t sleep?) For the first twelve weeks, B would not sleep on his back – anywhere. Not in his bassinet, not in a Dockatot, not in his crib, nowhere. He only would sleep on a human body so we pulled shifts and someone was always holding him. Until, we finally caved and spent the money on the SNOO. And ya’ll, I would spend the money 600 times over! You can’t put a price on sleep! It costs a lot of money, it seems ridiculous, but if you are desperate for some sleep or just something to help calm your nerves about whether your little one is safe while they sleep, spend the dang money! I promise it’s worth it. I drug my feet because of the price tag and then wished I had purchased it sooner. You can also rent it and they run great sales a few times a year.
- A good swaddle
I never really used swaddle blankets to swaddle B in after leaving the hospital, all the fabric made me too anxious (more on that another time). And besides, there isn’t anyone out there that can swaddle like a hospital nurse! I tried everything. I had so much anxiety about fabric up by his face or them coming undone. I just couldn’t do it. We bought every swaddle on the market, I’m pretty sure. The only one I was somewhat-okay with was the Ollie Swaddle. You can get the Sweetpea Swaddles that are the same as what are used in the SNOO without the clips. Since I have the SNOO, I used the Snoo Sacks that go with the bassinet. They were hands down the only swaddle I was completely comfortable with. The Sweetpea Swaddles and Snoo Sacks both unsnap at the shoulder making it easy when you are ready to start transitioning to one or both arms out.
- Noise machine
Babies love white noise, and turns out so do sleep deprived parents when it’s your turn to catch some ZZZ’s. Ha! The Hatch Baby Sound Machine is great for in the nursery or your room, wherever you decide the baby will sleep at night. It has a variety of sounds and different customizable nightlight options. The other great thing is you can set favorites as well as timers for it to turn on/off at certain times and control it from your smartphone. Our Hatch turns on to our favorite settings every night at 7pm. It’s a cue for B that it’s time to start winding down for bedtime. For on the go, I love the Yogasleep Hushh Sound Machine. It clips on to the carseat or stroller, or can just be set down next to the baby if they are sleeping somewhere other than their routine place.
- Changing Station(s)
Babies go the bathroom A LOT. Think about where you will be spending the most time and where is most convenient to change the baby’s diaper. Do you live in a two story home? You’ll probably want something upstairs and downstairs, especially if you have a C Section. Maybe you’ll do nighttime changes in your room and daytime changes in the nursery or living room. Whatever your situation is make it convenient for you. A basket of some sort is super helpful to have stocked with diapers, wipes, butt cream, lotion. Pro Tip: Buy a wipes container. In the middle of the night when your baby has a mega poo and you go to pull a wipe out and you have to shake them around like a mad person because they are sticking together – you’ll understand. The wipes containers have a weight so that when you pull, one wipe comes out and you don’t have to flail your arms and yell swear words in a loud whisper while everyone else in the house is sleeping. They’re cheap and in my opinion, totally necessary.
- Diaper pail
Not a lot I can say about this that isn’t super obvious. Diapers stink, no one wants to take them to the outside trash in the middle of the night or have your house smelling like a dirty diaper. Buy the diaper pail!
Pro Tip: Regular tall kitchen bags work just fine in them, no need to buy the bags that are marketed for these. They are the same thing with a higher price tag.
Absolutely could not do without the Owlet Smart Sock Baby Monitor! If you haven’t gathered it yet, I am a nervous nelly with B. Parenting after loss is no joke. I’m constantly worried about something happening to him and sleep has been a big source of anxiety for me. This gives me peace of mind when I can open the app and check his oxygen levels and heart rate if I am feeling anxious. Bonus: It also gathers information on how they are sleeping, I can get a little nerdy over charts and data. (This product is not a medical device and should never replace the need to check on your baby).
11. First aid and grooming
It’s a good idea to have a first aid kit handy in both your home and your car. A few of the staple things I keep in mine: thermometer, nail scissors, infant Tylenol, gas drops, snot sucker, booger picker, baby toothbrush. Best advice I was given in this department was to get the nail scissors versus nail clippers. They are so easy to use and so much less scary than clippers.
12. Stain Remover
Miss Mouth’s Messy Eater Stain Treater is the holy grail of stain removers! It’s the only one I have found that works and it is safe for baby. Can’t beat that.
13. Baby Carrier
It’s nice to have something to carry the baby around in close to your body while you walk the house, get chores done, are out and about, and so on. There are several options out there. For myself, I loved the skin to skin tops to allow for that crucial skin to skin time while still being dressed. I also love my Ergobaby carrier. The wraps are also really popular but I found it to be a bit of a pain and have never really used it. I’ve heard raving reviews about the Wildbird ring slings and am dying to try one. Let me know if you try one and what you think of it!
14. Bathtub/Bath Stuff
Babies really don’t need a bath very often and you won’t want to give them much more than a sponge bath anyways until their umbilical cord falls off. Once you’re ready to give your newborn a bath, you’ll want some kind of bath seat for them to sit in, a cup of some sort, a couple soft bath towels and washcloths, and natural or non fragranced, clean soap to use periodically (they don’t need this every bath), like Mustella, Tubby Todd or Baby Bum. PRO TIP: Get in the bath with your baby every once in awhile, it is so special, especially that first bath!
15. Baby Monitor
I feel like this is one of those items that really is going to have a lot of personal preference to it. There’s two types basically, the old school style with just the camera and monitor and the ones that you view over wifi with your phone. We chose to go with the camera and monitor for a couple reasons. The cloud freaks me out when it comes to my baby. I’ve heard of multiple people who’s wifi cameras have been hacked and they could hear strangers talking to their baby. Not ok with me! The other big reason it was a ‘no’ for me was that if you don’t have a tablet or something to have turned on all the time then you either don’t see the baby or can’t use your phone. I didn’t want my phone to also be the baby monitor. This is the camera that I have. It does the job. It shows me my baby, shows me the temperature, time, it tilts and I have more than one camera connected to the same monitor.
Congratulations on the arrival of your newborn! Soak up every moment, mama. Even the difficult ones! Babies don’t keep 😉
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