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It’s time to have an honest conversation about the exact basic essentials for newborns. There is so much that goes into preparing for a baby and motherhood. As a toddler parent, sharing the first-year experience is paying it forward.
During my parenting journey as a pandemic mom, I wished someone would have told me what was needed when I had my son. It would have saved a lot of money, resources, and time. I ensured I had what was really needed in the first hours, days, weeks, and months of parenting.
Over the years, the risk of sudden infant death syndrome has decreased, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not essential to watch out for things that can increase their risk.
New parents are constantly told so many conflicting things that are needed it can be hard to pinpoint the exact baby essentials you will need for your baby. Many different factors go into this, which include location, country, occupation, and if you will have help with your infant or not.
It’s a good idea before making your baby shower registry to ask parents with children who are three or younger about the items they are using, so it will give you a good idea of what you may need for your newborn.
This post is going to be the whole grail of what you need. If you don’t know anyone with children, that is ok. No parent should feel unprepared for the important things when it comes to being a new parent, and this post will ensure you have the basics to get a good head start. Bringing a new baby home is the first day of the rest of your new life.
This post is about basic essentials for newborns.
Newborn Baby Needs Checklist
If you ever want the most up-to-date information about what newborns need, visit the American Academy of Pediatrics. They are the governing body of all things children, so that is an excellent place to start for any new moms’ questions.
Before going down the rabbit hole of what to put on your baby registry, remember babies just need the bare minimum. You first want to think about what newborn baby essentials look like for you and make a list. As a toddler mom, here is what you must think about before even bringing the baby home.
Whether you have decided to breastfeed or not, having one is essential. Whether you give birth at home, at a birth center, or at a hospital, one of the first things they will make you do is try to breastfeed. You can opt-out of it, but they will try to have you start their first.
The pump is the next best option if you are like me and don’t want the baby on your boobs. If you are thinking about whether or not to breastfeed and looking for some encouragement, check out my post on why breastfeeding is hard.
Most insurances will pay for a breast pump, and they have really nice hospital-grade ones available for you. This is the breast pump that I currently have, and I love it. My expressing journey came to an end early, but it was great. Very quiet, easy to use, clean, and has a battery option. Comes with a light as well. It’s an excellent option for first-time moms.
Also, invest in some excellent breast pads. Whether you go the washable or disposable route, even if you decide not to express, there is a strong chance your breast will leak milk. You don’t want to be caught out there without anything to help prevent staining (which breast milk does). Getting some months before giving birth is even better, especially if this is not your first baby.
Rear-Facing Infant Car Seat
Car seats are tricky because there are so many options. You don’t want to go over budget picking one out because, depending on how fast your baby grows, you could be out of the car seat by six months. Ensure it has air pockets, so your baby doesn’t get too hot and enough coverage if you have to travel in the snow. You need something to get you through the summer and winter months.
On my youtube channel, I did a full review of the Chicco Bravo LE Trio Travel System that you can check out by clicking here. I went with the Chicco Bravo LE Trio Travel System for the first year and got a fantastic convertible car seat called Graco 4Ever DLX 4 in 1. The Graco review will come once he is transitioned to the booster level.
Besides the affordability, the base is convertible, and you can use it with a different car seat than the one with the system. There are higher-end brands like Uppa Baby, but you don’t need it (unless you really want it, then I say go for it!) That is something you put on your registry and have other people buy for you. Its one of my favorite basice essentails for newborns.
Take it from someone who co-slept; get your baby a crib from the beginning. Convertible cribs are worth the investment because after your baby enters the toddler stage, you can turn that crib into a full-size bed that your child can keep for years to come. You also want to invest in a perfect crib mattress. This is something you should also put on your registry. Make sure to get a waterproof mattress pad to protect your investment. Your baby’s comfort will determine your comfort, so a happy baby is a happy mom.
Crib sheets are hit or miss. There will be times that your baby will pee or blow out of their diaper on it so if you want luxury sheets, put them on the registry. Here are the crib sheets we used and loved that was easy to clean after accidents.
Crib bumpers are also another tricky topic. We used them and found that it wasn’t needed, but I understand that depending on the crib you purchase, you might feel more comfortable getting them. It would ride up the side of the crib, and every few days, we had to adjust it, but that might be something we were doing wrong.
I tried the baby carrier, but my son didn’t like it, so we stopped using it early on. They really come in handle after the first weeks when you’re more mobile and want to get things done around the house (like brushing your teeth or doing the dishes). Highly recommend putting this on your registry so you can get the kind you want.
Portable Changing Pad
Don’t waste your money on a changing table. Please don’t. You will soon discover that if you are in the living room. You might have to change your baby there, and you won’t feel like always going to another room to change your baby.
Trust me. Getting a nice changing pad will work just as well. Your baby won’t know, and you won’t feel obligated to get up late at night to venture out of the room when you don’t feel like it.
Reusable Diapers vs. Disposable
Only you and your family can determine the best value for diapers. I’ve always been a fan of disposable diapers; however, I do understand cloth diapers will work for some families. You want to decide this before your baby’s arrival because you want to include those baby products on your list of essentials.
Ensure you have a lot of diapers regardless of how you go because babies go through a lot of them. You will probably go through at least 180 diapers in the first month alone.
You will find that your baby’s skin is so sensitive the first few days after birth that diaper cream is the only thing to keep down the irritation. Hands down, the best diaper cream is A&D Ointment. We’ve tried all the other brands by A&D is by far the best. It’s colorless and odorless and doesn’t stain the baby’s diaper or clothes. It’s a must-have product in your diaper bag and in your home at all times.
Diaper Pail Options
Please don’t get anything expensive. Your child’s pee and poop will be there, and after six months, you’ll have to buy a new one. The shelf life for these is not that long. Even if you go the cloth diaper route, you will eventually throw them out. To see which diaper pail we got, click here. You can put all the immediate items you will need for the baby, like baby wipes, burp cloths, diapers, creams, and more.
Baby Registry Checklist
If you want specific items but can’t afford them, putting them on the baby registry is the best way to get them.
I don’t recommend putting the most expensive items on the list, but if it’s something that you really want and feel you need to make your life better, it’s an excellent option to put them on this list.
When talking about the basic essentials for newborns you really want to focus on what you really need vs what you want.
Another thing to be mindful of is that even though you put certain items on your list, people will buy you what they want. That is why it’s important to know what you need on your baby registry to get what you need from the beginning. These are the essential items that I recommend having on your registry.
If there is one thing that you don’t have to worry about is baby clothes. Even if you don’t put any outfits there, you will receive clothing items and diapers. Most of the time, you will wish you get more diapers than clothes.
Whether you are breastfeeding or not, you will need some nipple cream. In the first days and weeks after pregnancy, your body produces colostrum, eventually turning into the breastmilk your baby needs. During that time, your nipples will crack and bleed as your body adjusts, and having this will keep the pain level down.
You will already be in some pain after childbirth, so to avoid the pain everywhere in the early days, this is a great option, especially if you know breastfeeding is not for you.
We were a Dr. Brown’s Bottle family. Since my son, in the early days, had a lot of gas and had a milk protein allergy, Dr. Brown’s Bottles worked the best to keep the air out of the bottle and out of his tummy. There are other great companies you can use, like Avent and Nanobebe, that offer an assortment of bottles you can choose from.
Strollers, just like cribs, can be tricky. You want the best for your child (especially if this is your first one) and spend your money on getting them the best. I get it. We did that for our son only to realize that newborn babies sleep 99% of the time, and they aren’t going to remember, and something about it will break or crack.
If you, mom, are the baby’s primary caregiver, you might want to invest in travel umbrella strollers. It’s best to get something that is mid-range so you won’t feel like you lost your investment when things go south because it will. You can get it as a part of a system or separately. On my youtube channel, I review the gb Pockit+ All City, which has attachments you can use with your infant car seat if your child is under 6 months old. It’s super lightweight and something you can handle.
Strollers are heavy! If you are petite, I’m 5’1, and you’ll need something you can handle by yourself.
Bath products will vary on preference. Since my son was born at 42 weeks gestation and has dehydrated skin, we had to find a product that would provide him with the missing moisture he needed.
The Aveeno product line for babies is magical. You can get the lavender-scented or non-scented kind, giving your baby what they need for a few days at a time. Keep in mind you are not bathing your baby daily in the early weeks, so this gives them what they need for the in-between days.
Bath time is a special time, and it will become one of their favorite things to do as they age.
You can find the Aveeno product line at Target, and their lotions are daily use as well. I would invent getting a higher-end baby towel. You’ll be surprised how fast things break or rip in the early weeks of your baby being home.
This is something that my husband and I again didn’t think we needed to spend a lot of money on, and we were right. In the first weeks, your baby will be in your room. You won’t need the monitor until they hit the 3-month mark, when you start to get more confident in your parenting skills and feel a lot better, leaving them in another room to sleep and nap.
We got this baby monitor from Amazon; it was the best investment ever. No, it wasn’t the prettiest, but it got the job done, has lots of range, and was budget-friendly, which you need at this stage. Other mommy friends got the Owlet Duo Smart Baby Monitor, which is also good and provides more significant peace of mind since it connects the baby stats to your phone.
Complete List of Things That are Non-Important
This list is for the items you don’t need, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have them. As a first time mom, you need to ensure your comfort is the most important. As the weeks and months go by, your support system will fade. This list of items will make the impending arrival more manageable and fun.
White Noise Machine
We got the Hatch for my son, and it didn’t do much for him, but some parents have said they have seen a benefit in having it, so you can try it and see. I wouldn’t buy it but make sure it’s on the registry.
All children look so cute inside of a bouncy seat. It’s one of those baby things you should get for them just because. There are fun items for them to use and play with, but most of the time, they are just bouncy and fall asleep after a few minutes. We were gifted this baby bouncer, and it was one of my son’s favorite activities to do when he was under six months old.
Even if you don’t need it, having one is nice. We got this one from La-Z-Boy, and now my son uses it as his main chair. It’s a nice touch to the baby’s room, and if you are up late and need a place to rest for a few, the chair reclines and comes with an excellent warranty for spills and cleaning, which you will need as your child gets older.
The above are the essential baby items to ensure you have on your newborn checklist. If it is not there, it doesn’t need to be on your newborn baby checklist. It’s nice to have and want everything, but your baby just needs the basics. The first child always gets the best of everything, and while that is true, you can also provide balance, so you aren’t going broke before the baby arrives.
Baby’s First Year
Most of the items you get for your newborn will outgrow by six months. The other major developmental milestones you will have to worry about will include eating, tummy time, and making sure your baby’s weight stays within the normal range (which most of the time it does, but it can be daunting)
If you ever notice that your baby is having a problem with solid food, my post on infant frenectomy for a breakdown of what we did to solve his eating issue. Don’t worry; it’s more common than you think, and you would be surprised to know that many parents who aren’t breastfeeding their children don’t discover the problem until later in their child’s development.
Want to know what to expect in your first year? This playlist on my Youtube channel is the perfect summary of the first year, in a nutshell, so you can expect the expected.
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