Oh baby! They sure do cost a lot of dough! Did you ever notice that anything related to babies or weddings seems to be at least triple the cost that it should be? Don’t waste your money on things you aren’t going to use. If you’re lucky enough to have friends and family throw you a baby shower, make sure to put the pricey stuff on your list. This will save you in the long run, and you don’t need everything all at once. Although, becoming a new parent, you’ll want to get all that cute little stuff to fill the nursery. And speaking of nursery, your sweet little one should be sleeping in your room for the first 6 months, so you won’t even be using that adorably painted room quite yet.
Having baby close to you for those first six months has benefits to both you and baby. These benefits start in the hospital by learning your babies hunger cues. Your baby doesn’t actually realize he isn’t a part of you until around 3 months of age. That’s right….you’re baby believes that you and he are one. And trust me, you’ll feel that way too with all the feeding, diaper changing, and snuggling you’ll be doing. Just make sure to have your partner take over from time to time to give yourself a breather.
So what are the most important things for baby, besides the essentials of clothing and shelter? This list is not all inclusive, but rather a top 10 of what you will find the most helpful during those first few months.
Beside the bed bassinet
Pack & Play with napper and changer
Anatomically correct bottles
All in one stroller
Babies love to be snuggled close to Mom or Dad, or anyone willing to hold them really. This closeness reminds them of when they were in your womb all warm and cozy. Any way to mimic this feeling will instantly calm baby. There are many swaddles on the market, but I prefer a few brands over others. Swaddle Me swaddles are great for you if you don’t feel comfortable tackling swaddling with a blanket. The are fool proof with easy instructions and Velcro. Halo sleep sacks are also great. They are the pricier option, but definitely worth it. Their newborn style is zippered for easy diaper changes, and has flaps to wrap around baby to keep his arms in place. If you life the idea of a blanket swaddle Aden & Anais swaddle blankets are awesome. They are thin and stretchy to make a tight swaddle, and double as a light blanket for warmer month outings.
If you plan to breastfeed you MUST get the Haakaa. This little miracle was not around for my first, but I was lucky enough to get it for my second. This device has a variety of uses, and requires no power! When placed on the opposite breast during feeding the suction collects milk during your let down. You can create a freezer stash without taking anything from your supply. If you need a pump on the go, you can use the Haakaa! It is compact, and super easy to use. You can opt for the version that has a cover, but it really isn’t necessary. You can always use a storage bottle to put the collected milk in since you’ll be using the Haakaa for the next feeding most likely anyway.
Having baby next to you calms baby, reduces the risk of SIDS, and allows for an easy feeding/changing transition. If you followed along with Joanna Gaines when baby Crew was born you may have heard of the Snoo. This magical bassinet is just what baby needs to feel relaxed to sleep longer intervals. The Snoo is another pricey option, BUT they do offer rentals, which is pretty cool since you don’t need a bassinet for long anyway.
Pack & Play with Napper and Changer
You may be asking why the napper and changer feature is so important. Well, let me tell you, you will be changing a LOT of diapers, and baby will be sleeping a LOT at first. Having a pack & play on your main level is life saving. You can keep all necessities with the pack & play, and set baby down in the napper for naps while still keeping an eye on him. I love this pack & play, because it offers a little extra with music and vibration, and you never know what baby might like. A word of advice: if you opt for a different style make sure the changer is ABOVE the play yard rim, and not inside. I had the latter for the first day after coming home from the hospital, and both my husband and my back hurt so bad from constantly bending over changing diapers so much. The extra couple inches of height makes a huge difference.
Babies love that soft movement while sleeping, which is why a glider swing is another great option for baby to nap under your supervision. I love items that grow with baby, so you actually get your monies worth. This glider can be used for babies up to 35 pounds, and has a removable seat that acts as a rocker. I loved being able to take this seat in the bathroom with me, so I could grab a quick shower and still safely see my baby.
Like I said earlier, babies favorite spot is going to be right next to you. Babywearing allows your baby to be close to you, but also for you have your hands free. I love babywearing in places where I need to move around easier like the grocery store, farmers market, festivals, shopping, etc. Babywearing is also a great remedy for colic. When baby’s witching hour begins just tuck him in tight with your favorite carrier and walk around the house, or the block. Getting outside daily is great for everyone. My favorite newborn carrier is the Happy Baby, and I’ll tell you why-it is simple to use, has less fabric to deal with than another popular wrap, and is super soft for you and baby. As baby gets a bit older the Lillebaby Complete is my go-to. It has great padding for your shoulders, can be worn a number of ways, and grows with your child (up to 35 pounds). Many cities have a babywearing group that will show you in person how to properly wear your baby. Youtube videos are great, too. My best advice is to wear baby HIGH enough that you can kiss him, baby should not be low, practice with a doll first, when putting baby in always do it over a soft surface like the couch or bed, and keep baby’s legs flexed in an “M” shape. Babies should not face out or be carried on your back until they are about 6 months old and can sit up well.
Again, we’re mimicking womb sounds here. That swooshing sound is what baby feels most calm with. There are several sound machines on the market, and I’ve gone through quite a few, because I always find one with other features that I want. I finally found the “one” that I will never replace! The Hatch Rest. This thing is awesome. You can make it display any color you want (even custom colors), it plays a variety of soothing sounds, you can control it from an app on your phone, you can program it to turn on and off whenever you want, AND it acts an “ok to wake” signal when your baby becomes a toddler and thinks its ok to get up at 4am and come in your room to play!
Whether you’re bottle feeding or breastfeeding you are going to want a feeding pillow. Those tiny little babes can get quite heavy after a while of holding. Feeding is such a precious time for bonding, and you want baby to be as close as possible to you. The Brest Friend is my number one pick, because it straps to you, and allows for baby to get right next to you. It also has a storage pocket for anything you might need, i.e. nipple cream, nail clippers, snot sucker, etc. The Brest Friend is a sturdy pillow that is comfortable and easy to use. There is also the Boppy pillow, which is great, but does have a gap between Mom and Baby. If you can afford to get both I would, but if you can only get one I definitely recommend the Brest Friend.
Like all other baby items, there are so many brands of bottles available for baby. Your baby may take to one particular bottle over another, so don’t get all the same until you’re sure baby accepts one. For newborns you do want to be a bit more specific. Whether you bottle feed or breast feed, babies are wired to breastfeed. This means they are looking for a soft, wide surface nipple. Tommee Tippee Closer to Nature is a great bottle choice that makes feeding more successful. When you’re looking at bottles you also want to look at the time it will take to wash all the parts. All those pieces may seem like they’re doing something extra special, but if your baby doesn’t need it, don’t bother.
All in One Stroller
One thing you will realize on maternity leave (if you’re one of the lucky ones to get maternity leave, that is!) is that you can’t stay cooped up in the house forever. You must get out in the real world for your own sanity. You’re going to need a good stroller. Again, sticking with theme here, I like products that you can use for along time. Trust me, you will too. With a newborn you need to have a stroller that allows for the carseat to just click right in. This is essential because babies don’t like to be moved, and when they have finally fallen asleep is when you will need to move him! Second, you need to look at maneuverability. People without kids do not get out of your way, and sometimes you need to fit into tight spaces to get through. Lastly, weight is very important. You do not want to lug a 50lb. stroller out of your trunk anytime you’re going somewhere. The UPPABaby Vista meets all of these. This is, of course, on the pricier side, but is well worth it! If you’re more on a budget the Graco Modes Element stroller is a great choice. It has a smooth ride, easy fold, and great storage! I also love that you can turn the seat rear facing or forward facing. You can save even more by getting the travel system that includes the car seat.
Babies are so much fun, and each month brings a new adventure. Enjoy every moment with your little one, and remember that you already have the most important thing your baby needs….YOU!
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Welcome! I’m Brittany. I’m a mom of two toddlers living in Northwest Ohio with my husband, Chris, and our two cats, Simon and Oliver. I’m a labor and delivery nurse, and an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I love finding new ways that make parenting easier, while providing a fun learning atmosphere for my girls at the same time. In my blog you will find tips and tricks for dealing with pregnancy, labor, and parenthood. My favorite part about being a nurse (besides getting to welcome little miracles into the world, obviously) is being able to educate new Moms (and Dads) on how to care for their little ones at the very start. Parenthood is such a complex and exhausting journey that we need to have support from others who make us feel like we’re not alone. You are not alone here!