Things That You Really Need for a Newborn //

Things That You Really Need for a Newborn

DenaFebruary 25, 2015

Things That You Really Need for a Newborn //

Creating my registry was one of my favourite parts of my first pregnancy. Let’s face it, they gave me that little scanner gun in the “baby stuff” store and I went crazy. It’s a mistake that most first-time moms make. If you read mommy blogs like I do, you likely come across lengthy & loaded “Must-Have Lists for Newborns” on the regular. And as a first-time mom, it’s easy to convince yourself that you really will need all of that stuff for your tiny babe.

The truth, however, is that you won’t — not even close. If you fall into the madness, you will end up with more than you could ever hope to need or use. Opening the gifts at your baby shower will be equivalent to running a 10K and your husband will faint as he tries to figure out where you’re going to put all that stuff. (In all seriousness, when M. saw my shower gifts, he turned white. I’ve never seen him look so puzzled before or after that day.)

The reality is that newborns are simple creatures. They eat, sleep, and fill diapers. That’s about the extent of it. There are around twenty things max. that you actually need to take care of a newborn during his or her first few months of life. And if you want to go super minimal you could get away with less than that.

This time around I am taking a far simpler approach to my newborn preparations. Experience has taught me that less is more when it comes to tiny babies. I’ll appreciate the increased simplicity both when my new baby arrives and in a year or so from now when I’m ready to declutter my house of baby things.

I put together the inspiration board above to share a few of the things that I consider truly helpful when bringing a newborn home. I’ve included a few other “necessities” in the text below.

A couple of notes– Both of my babies are spring babies and I planned it that way. This list would be longer and would have to include a whole host of additional warm clothing items if I had winter babes. Since we’ll be welcoming a girl very soon, I’ve included a lot of pink here and I’ll be using female pronouns in this post. I can’t help myself!

1. Onesies/singlets – Your little one will basically live in a onesie for the first year of her life. This 5-pack of Burt’s Bees Baby Baby Onesies is perfect. It’s the one that I put on my registry because the onesies are soft, durable, and organic. There’s no need to be picky, though, no matter what brand/style you choose, you’ll get lots of use out of them.

2. Nipple butter – This one is actually for Mama, but a happy Mama make for a happy baby. Whether you choose to/are able to breastfeed or not, that part of your body will likely go through some changes, and if you do nurse, it may be really painful for a really long time. This time around I am going to give Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter a shot. Last time I used Lansinoh cream and while it gave me some relief, I’m hoping that Earth Mama will be better.

3. Swaddle blankets – Good swaddle blankets are golden when it comes to newborns! You’ll use them to wrap your baby for sleep, to cover her when there is a breeze, and to put over her carrier when there are germs about (like at the pediatrician), as a changing pad in a pinch, etc. etc. They have endless uses.

I tried several different types of swaddle blankets the first-time around and I fell in love with the Aden + Anais Classic Muslin Swaddles. They are lightweight & beautiful. They’re also extremely durable and unlike most other swaddles, repeated washings don’t take away from their softness at all.

4. Stroller – A stroller may not be a necessity for every family, but it certainly was for ours. My first baby was a terrible sleeper and long walks with him in the stroller were my saving grace. Unfortunately, I didn’t put much thought into my first stroller and I lived to regret it. Later, my mother-in-law found us a used City Mini and we fell madly in love with it.

I knew that I wanted a double stroller since Roman still loves walks. After a lot of research, I decided on a City Select with a Second Seat (from the same maker) that will sit both Roman and the new baby. It can also convert to a one-seater if/when Roman outgrows a stroller altogether. The stroller was out of our budget & more than I would ask family to pay for, so we found a used one one in our local mom’s group and my mom gifted it to us.

5. Long-sleeved onesies – As I mentioned above, she’ll be living in onesises for awhile, so it will be important to have different types for different times. It will be good to have a variety of short and long-sleeves and to have some that have built-in mittens to keep her from scratching. Their little finger nails grow like wildfire and mittens will be the only thing that keep scratches from that sweet face in the beginning.

I love these Burt’s Bees Baby Organic Onesies and the little top knot hats are perfect. Hats should definitely be on your list, too. Keeping that little noggin warm in the early months is so important.

6. Calendula Cream – My first baby had a severe case of baby acne, pretty much from his second day of life. It drove me nuts. After tons of research, I decided to give California Baby Calendula Cream a shot and it literally worked like a miracle. I’ve recommended it to several friends who had the same problem and they’ve all had the same fantastic results with it. (By the way, I’m not being compensated to say this. It just works!) I use it to this day on Roman’s dry skin.

7. Shampoo & body wash – I am a huge Burt’s Bees fan and the first-time around I used all of their bath products. I have no complaints about them — they work well, and smell fantastic. However, Roman has chronically dry skin and I’m about to start using California Baby Calendula Shampoo and Body Wash for him since the cream worked so well for us in the past. Thus, I’ve included that in my registry and will be using it for baby girl, too.

8. Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing – The first-time around, my favourite outfits were by far the loose-fitting, comfortable ones. We received several one piece short-sets and Roman lived in them through the warm spring & summer months. I love the look & feel of these Burt’s Bees Baby-Girls Organic Dresses. I’ve got a feeling they will be our go-to pieces as soon as it is warm enough.

9. Warm, hooded sweatshirt – A few of these warm hoodies were equally as important for us. They are perfect for layering up and for breezy days & nights. I’ve added this Burt’s Bees Baby Baby Loose Terry Zip Hoodie to my list and think it will do perfectly.

As I mentioned above, there are several other things that you’ll need. Here is a list of the things that stick out to me. Most of them haven’t been added to my list because either we won’t need them because I am nursing rather than formula feeding and/or I haven’t yet decided on which ones we’re going to get and don’t have a recommendation as yet.

  • Bottles/formula – My first baby was exclusively breastfed and never took formula. We bypassed bottles altogether and went straight to a sippy cup when he was ready. I did, however, receive these Dr. Brown’s Glass Bottles at my first shower and have held onto them in case we need them for our baby girl. The packages are still unopened.
  • Pacifiers – I am a big believer in pacifiers. At first I was afraid that using one would mess up my ability to breastfeed but it didn’t at all. In fact, the pacifier is the only thing that saved my boobies during those first painful months of round-the-clock nursing. I won’t recommend a particular brand because in my experience every baby is different. We had to try about six different brands/styles before we found one that Roman loved.
  • Bath tub – We received a little plastic tub with an infant sling that proved to be very helpful for bath time. I’m not certain that a baby bath is a necessity, but it was really helpful to me when we moved from sponge baths to soaking baths.
  • Diapers – Duh! This is probably the most obvious “necessity” but there is a lot to think about as you decide whether you’ll use disposables or cloth diapers and which brands you’ll use. I tried cloth diapering and quickly realized that it wasn’t for us, but every family is different and as long as baby is clean & safe, that’s what matters.
  • Bassinet/crib – This is sort of a loaded one for us. Simply put, your baby will need a place to sleep. Roman slept in my arms all night, every night for three months. Not fun. This time around, I’ve purchased a second-hand bassinet which is stationed in my room. I’ve got my fingers crossed.
  • Socks/booties – In addition to the clothes I’ve mentioned above, you’ll need something to keep baby’s feet warm when she’s not in a onesie with built-in feet. I really struggled to find a pair of socks/booties that would actually stay on, and I’m hoping that I’ll have better luck this time around.
  • Breast pump – If you’re planning to breast feed, a pump may be necessary if you have an over supply or if you’re planning to return to work. Unfortunately, pumping never really worked for us so I don’t have a good recommendation on this one. We’ll see how it works out this time around.
  • Car seat – The final thing that you’ll want to make sure of is that you have a safe, new car seat. At the hospital where I delivered, the staff insisted on checking out our car seat before we could go home. It seemed a bit unusual to me, but I appreciated having the extra assurance that our car seat was safe & installed properly before we hit the road.

There you have it, the eighteen things that I consider to be newborn essentials. There are undoubtedly endless additional things that I could add to the list under the heading of “conveniences,” but that list could easily go on forever. There will be a learning curve and you will quickly realize what your family truly needs. Many times a baby will also present a unique challenge (i.e. eating, sleeping, allergies) and that will call for additional, unexpected necessities. I would, however, advise caution whilst you try to “fix” the issue. There are many unhelpful products on the baby market that claim to be miracle solutions.

We had major sleeping issues with Roman that led to him sleeping in my arms every night for his first three months. During those days & nights of desperation, I was willing to try anything that claimed it would help. We wound up purchasing every manner of co-sleeper, baby wrap, and sleep aid that had a positive review. In hindsight, many of those products weren’t worth it and didn’t help at all. It makes sense to seek solutions, but don’t go overboard. I will say that the rocking swing that we purchased was a lifesaver. I’d categorize it under “convenience” rather than “necessity,” but considering the fact that it was the only place that Roman would sleep (other than my arms), perhaps it was more of a necessity after all.

My final recommendation is an Amazon Mom (Amazon Prime) account. If you’re not familiar it’s an Amazon account that gives you free two-day shipping on thousands of items — including almost every newborn essential you could possibly dream up. It was the single-most useful and convenient resource for me during those first months of motherhood, when leaving the house was simply not an option. I can’t recommend it highly enough. (You can sign up here, if you’re interested.)

Okay, that’s all for my recommendations! I hope that this post is helpful to you first-time mamas-to-be, and perhaps even to moms who are expecting again and simply looking to simplify this time around.

I would love to hear from you, too. What things did you consider essential when you welcomed your newborn home? (I’m sure I’ve forgotten some really obvious ones!) I’d love for you to add to the list in the comments below.

Comments (2)

  • Tina

    February 26, 2015 at 11:37 am

    My child lived in simple white onesies and then footed pajamas once it was cold for like the first year of her life. Actually she was in just her diaper when it was warm too. People gave me hundreds of outfits that were never worn 🙁 When I have a kid again it’ll be years after Lyla and so I’ll probably have a full baby shower again haha And this time about 1/3 of the crap I had on my first one will be on there! This is a good list!

  • The Baby Maven

    March 23, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Love this list! I am obsessed with the Aden + Anais swaddles. I recommend them to all of my newbie parent clients!

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