When I was pregnant with Bowie, I tried not to obsess over the things I “thought” we needed. A friend told me to keep it simple. He would need something to wear, somewhere to sleep, I would need to something to eat (priorities!), and it helped when I would get overwhelmed with all the things out there in babyland. We all have a pretty good idea of some of the essentials we need to start the motherhood journey with but was there one item we didn’t know about that could have made a difference in sleep? In nursing? In postpartum recovery? As my sister gets closer and closer to welcoming her first baby into this world, I asked a few mama friends to share their list of newborn must-haves that helped ease their transition into motherhood.
Newborn Essentials For Baby and Mama
- A safe surface for them to sleep on + appropriate fitted sheet… be it a bassinet, crib, or co-sleeper. We used the halo bassinet
- Download the app Total Baby or something similar. It’s helpful to track diapers, naps, and feeds-info your doctor will want at the first appointment. We also used the app Full Term to track contractions.
- Breastfeeding pillow. I preferred My Breast Friend over Boppy but have one on standby. Eventually you won’t need because you’ll be able to nurse baby and cook dinner but in the beginning whe you’re getting used to the holds, you’ll need max back support.
- Ask the Lactation Consultant in the hospital for her phone number. And ask for a follow up appointment.
- A few onsies and/or shirts that are “kimono” style to make it easier to take clothes off and on without rubbing against the umbilical chord
- Newborn tub and Weleda Calendula soap
- Lots of burp clothes // Mama tip: buy more than you think you’ll need
- Learn the double swadde. Our postpartum doula taught us how to do a double swaddle, which is helpful when they are really tiny. Basically this is wrapping them the traditional way in a muslin swaddle (like an aden and anias) and then putting a swaddle with velcro straps (we used swaddle me) over that. Keeps them snug but be sure that temp in your house is no warmer than 75 degrees if you do the double swaddle so they don’t get too warm.
- Gripe water
- Changing Pad Liners // Mama tip: I always kept one between sheet and bassinet mattress because he leaked ALL THE TIME. I also kept one under him when he was doing tummy time or just laying in bed because he spit up all the time. And one in my diaper bag for public bathroom diaper changes (still do that).
- Swaddles or receiving blankets – when people came over and asked to hold the baby, I always made sure to drape them in a blanket that had been cleaned in free and clear detergent so the baby wasn’t rubbing up against their clothes
- Free and clear detergent
- Washable breast pads // Mama tip: I ordered 20 on accident and ended up very happy I had that many.
- Hand held breast pump. I was engorged like crazy. I came to prefer the manual pump to my breast pump. Found I could get more faster!
- Baby 411: I liked having a quick reference for things that wasn’t my phone.
- FOOD! That was the hardest. Having lots of snacks, fruit, bread for toasting, any type of food you can eat with minimal to no prep.
- Mittens or onsies with mittens attached. At some point, your baby will scratch their face but this will help avoid it.
- Suction bulb
Dapple Laundry stain spray
Ipad and wireless headphones were awesome in the middle of the night
Dock-a-Tot Deluxe – I think this thing is worth its weight in gold. Charlie didn’t like being swaddled, but we still wanted her to feel snug and safe while she slept. Enter the Dock-a-Tot. In the first few weeks, we used it everywhere in the house. Naps on the table, naps on the couch… now, it’s parked in her bassinet and will most likely move with her to the crib in another few weeks.
aden + anais swaddles – Give me all of the aden + anais swaddles. If I could hoard one baby accessory, this would be it. I love the softer than soft muslin, the variety in prints, and I love their versatility — I use them in the stroller, on the nursery floor for tummy time, and as a Dock-a-Tot cover.
Triple AF paste – I don’t know what that ‘AF’ stands for but I’d like to think it stands for “diaper rash-less as f*&k.” It’s literally the only cream that successfully treated my daughter’s nasty, persistent diaper rash. Just sayin’.
White Noise app – There are a million (perhaps, a slight exaggeration) white noise apps, most of which are free to download. I would recommend having one for the times you’re out and about and need to lull the little one to sleep.
MARPC Dohm White Noisemaker – Same idea here. Nothing like some white noise to help the babe sleep.
Tranquilo mat – We used this under her Dock-a-Tot or simply placed under a swaddle blanket when she was particularly fussy (aka the witching hour). It vibrates — supposedly mimicking the feel and sound of a mother’s heartbeat — and soothes. So necessary in that first month or two.
Wubbanub pacifiers (more than one) – They’re so cute (monkey and giraffe are my favorites!) and we keep them all over — car, stroller, purse, bassinet, kitchen. You can never be too prepared.
Ultra functional onesies and bodysuits // MAMA tip: I don’t recommend asking for or buying a ton of clothes before baby arrives. I know how hard it is to resist the temptation of adorable baby clothes but the truth is: you don’t know how big your baby will be at birth, how fast they’ll grow, and what functionality you’ll value most in said clothing. My favorite onesies and bodysuits are from the Target brand, Cloud Island. They feature a reverse zipper, built-in mittens, and cute prints for both boys and girls. Easy peasy. Burt’s Bees baby zipper onesies are a close second.
Colic Calm – Even if your babe doesn’t have colic proper, this all-natural magic potion helps to ease gas discomfort. I found this to be a real lifesaver when burping just wasn’t enough.
A million Pupiki washcloths – Order in bulk from Amazon. Honestly, you don’t necessarily even have to buy from this brand; although I do love them. Having an oversupply of washcloths makes it less stressful from a laundry perspective and you can use ’em for bathtime, spot cleaning, drying off baby’s bum to avoid diaper rash, etc.
Tiny Love developmental mat – It’s the perfect activity gym for little ones. Bright, engaging, comfy enough to lie there for an extended period of time, and doesn’t take up much space.
Ergo 360 carrier – I know some babies hate all carriers and some prefer the wraps, but my baby really took to the Ergo. This set-up allows me to get some (not all) things done around the house, go for walks around the neighborhood, and run errands hands-free.
On that note, Bowie loved the Solly.