When registering for a baby shower or shopping to prepare for your little one, it can seem like infants need more products in their first few months than you’ve used your entire life! Babies actually don’t need that much “stuff,” as Lolli often reminds me, but there are just a few things I have found “essential” for the newborn phase:
What to Wear
Since your newborn doesn’t leave the house much in the first few weeks, I recommend saving your baby clothes budget for the later months. In the beginning, my babies have mostly lived in basic onesies, convertible gowns, and footie pajamas (sometimes with a cute cap or bonnet, too!) that are easy for quick diaper changes, strolls, and lots of naps! However, I am so grateful for the beautiful, heirloom day gowns friends gifted little Liza at her baby shower for keepsake newborn photos and those occasional public outings when it’s time to dress her up:
Swaddles and Sleep
Swaddling your baby is helpful for him or her to feel snug enough to sleep well in the first few weeks. My favorite swaddling blankets are the simple and thin, soft, cotton ones by Aden + Anais, which come in so many cute patterns! (See a step-by-step guide for swaddling here. It takes a little practice!)
There are many other options out there that take the guesswork out of swaddling, too, from the original Miracle Blanket to these SwaddleMes that we’ve loved for Liza. We’ve also recently started trying The Woombie, a simple zip-up option that works best in the smallest size once baby is at least ten or more pounds in weight, in my opinion. Then, once your baby is able to roll over independently, a sleep sack is the next-phase option we’ve found helpful that provides baby more room to move without kicking off a blanket.
If your little one happens to be born in chillier weather, a BundleBee Baby Wrap is perfect for when you want to get out for some fresh air without having to layer a bunch of clothes or blankets on top of your little one. It ties with a bow, which makes baby look like a little present – so precious, and little Liza loves hers!
For Bath Time
Newborns don’t need many baths in the beginning (especially not before the umbilical cord falls off), and it’s best to not wash them frequently, since their skin is still so sensitive and dries out easily. However, when it is time for a baby bath, these are the products I would recommend from personal experience:
You need to know about the portable Puj tub for baby. It fits in your sink and you can easily fold it to take with you on travels. Then, once baby outgrows the sink, and if you don’t need a suitcase-ready option, I recommend this bath support for its simplicity and to keep baby steady while you bathe him or her in a normal tub. You may want a bath-kneeler to cushion your knees and elbows from hard flooring or tile when you reach this stage.
We’ve been using Babo Botanicals Baby Shampoo & Wash and apply/rinse with bamboo washcloths – they are so soft and naturally anti-bacterial! I’ve also been using a goat-bristle hair brush to stroke Liza’s hair and scalp to keep cradle cap at bay.
We love these medical-grade, cotton gauze towels because they are antimicrobial, warm baby up quickly, and are super soft and absorbent. I even use them myself as a hair towel sometimes! There are also many cute options for “hoodie” bath wraps and robes that we have enjoyed receiving as baby gifts and use often as well- great for getting baby from bath time to snuggle and sleep!
Organization is Key
If you’re like me, your pregnancy “nesting hormones” are no joke! I spent many weeks of pregnancy with an urge to get things in order around the house and was successful in getting the nursery especially how I wanted it to be for Baby Liza’s arrival. If you have the opportunity to “nest,” then here are a few tricks of the trade:
Storage dividers can be life-savers for keeping everything in its place. I use them on top of the changing table, in drawers, and on closet shelves so that anyone can see where things go. I also bought these cute closet dividers to keep Liza’s layette wardrobe organized by size. Another little tip…I like to use mini clothespins to keep baby’s socks and mittens together in pairs!
A well-organized changing station helps make diaper duty run smoothly. The most important changing station essentials are a changing pad and diaper pail. We have used the hands-free Diaper Dekor Plus and its biodegradable bags through all three kids, so I can recommend them confidently. You also don’t want to forget a changing pad cover and liners (so you’re not constantly having to change the cover!), and I usually stock up on unscented, hypoallergenic wipes in bulk. Instead of a wipes warmer, which has to use an electric outlet, I prefer this wipes dispenser that makes grabbing one wipe at a time super easy.
Health and Safety
I use Babyganics products all over my house because the brand is non-toxic and alcohol-free, and it offers fragrance-free options. I keep Babyganics dish soap by the sink for cleaning bottles, and Babyganics hand sanitizer in pretty much every other room. It protects Liza from germs but doesn’t dry out our hands! The brand also makes a toy and high chair cleaner, and I’ve bought the tub and tile formula for future use in her nursery bath.
Video baby monitors are an amazing modern luxury for keeping an eye on baby while he or she is content sleeping. Some of them provide phone-access to monitoring, but I don’t like anything too techy or complicated. The simple monitor system I’m using this time around has a full-color display, and you can even add cameras to it, if you’d like to keep an eye in multiple rooms (or on multiple kids!) as well.
Since we brought baby home in the middle of a winter chill, and our home thermostat isn’t always accurate, I found the Gro-Egg to be a helpful nursery tool, since it alerts you to temperature concerns. It reads the temperature of the room it’s in and displays it with a color code and happy or sad face to let you know if you should adjust the heating and air for baby’s comfort level.
Every mama knows that a baby’s little fingernails are sharper than a paper cut, and you can often see that when a baby scratches his or her sweet face! Instead of manual fingernail clippers I used with both boys, I’ve recently discovered and enjoyed using an electric nail file on Liza’s hands. Don’t be intimidated by the look of it- I promise it is so much quicker, easier, and safer than clipping. You’ll see what I mean once you try it!
A crib wedge can really help with baby’s gas and reflux by tilting him or her up after a feeding and for good sleep, and a simple thermometer is always important to have on hand. This thermometer reads the baby’s temperature with just a swipe across the forehead for those fussy nights when you need a quick read. It’s also a good idea to have something to clear the baby’s nose, like a Nose Frida or a bulb syringe that you can take apart and clean.
Although I use a regular tote bag like this one instead of an intense “diaper bag,” I still carry the necessary baby essentials with me in order to be prepared during an outing. Along with disposable diapers and my preferred baby wipes, I pack some disinfecting wipes to sanitize things while out and about. I also keep a diaper bag dispenser in my purse so that I don’t have to worry about leaving a dirty diaper behind in a public place or someone’s home.
We recently introduced Liza to a pacifier and, just like her brothers, she loves her Wubbanub, an infant pacifier with attached stuffed animal, which helps position the pacifier to stay in baby’s mouth! Along with a backup pacifier, I keep these pacifier wipes with me, which are great because they use baking soda as the cleaning agent, meaning they’re all-natural and safe for baby. You can use them on teething rings and other things as well. I also always keep a light blanket and change of clothes for baby on hand and at least two burp cloths in tow, like these organic cotton muslin ones.
Now, when it comes to feeding baby, I can’t recommend any bottles in particular, since that choice is so subjective and depends on baby’s preference. Several of my friends swear by the Kiinde Twist System, though, which works for formula bottles as well as breastmilk, so see if that’s a fit for you. What I can recommend for breastfeeding mamas is the brand new Willow wearable breast pump, which fits in a normal nursing bra and allows you to pump hands-free and discreetly. It even syncs with an app on your phone to track how much you’re pumping and when! This is a game changer for moms on-the-go. And if you need help jumpstarting your milk supply, these Miracle Milkookies really work!
This and That
One of our favorite baby brands to give and receive is Little Giraffe. They make a luxe blanket that is literally the softest thing ever and a must-have for colder weather as a stroller blanket. It’s even great for tummy time, no matter the season!
Something else we’ve found helpful is a sleep sheep or baby shusher. These sound machines make rhythmic noises that mimic what baby is used to hearing inside the womb, so it can help soothe your baby to sleep during the “fourth trimester.”
You also don’t want to forget to be prepared with an organic crib mattress and sheets cleaned with baby detergent and fabric softener. Since my boys both came early, I experienced the panic of not having the crib good-to-go and made sure our nursery was ready this time! In addition to organic, white crib sheets, I bought Liza a sweet hot-air-balloon crib sheet with matching bib and blanket from Paris, which you’ll see more of later this week as we lead up to Liza’s NURSERY REVEAL!
Please tag @lolliandme on Instagram if you post any of your own suggestions for newborn essentials. And if you missed day one of our BRINGING HOME BABY series, click here for our post about what I packed in MY HOSPITAL BAG! Tomorrow, we’re talking all about BABY GEAR GALORE, so stay tuned!