Top 25 Must Haves for your Newborn
I was out of the baby “game” for quite some time. Sixteen years to be exact. Preparing for my second son was overwhelming. I had no idea where to start and what was necessary and what was not. By the time I had my third son there were even more items available and then by the time my daughter was born… even more!
Try to keep in mind that all you really need for baby is diapers, a place for him to sleep, and a blanket to bundle him in.
But there are accessories that will make your job as parent a whole lot easier. The list below is what I’ve found extremely helpful after 4 babies.
1.) Crib w/mattress. All three of my little ones used the same crib. I replaced the mattress once (only because the original mattress moved to the toddler bed).
2.) Pack N Play. This isn’t an absolute must unless you plan to travel a lot and need a safe place for your baby to sleep. We have one and leave it up in the living room as it serves 2 purposes; it’s a safe changing space for the baby and a safe space for the baby to nap.
3.) Rock ‘n Play. We didn’t have this with my 2 older boys but it was a life saver for my last two babies. They napped, slept, and sometimes just happily hung out in it. They could use it longer than a bassinet and it folds up easily to take on trips (I’ve used this instead of the Pack N Play and instead of hotel provided options (primarily because I’m a slight germaphobe).
4.) Rocker/glider. Some might argue that this is not a neccesity but we wouldn’t have survived my second son Brandon without our glider/rocking chair. He wouldn’t sleep unless your rocked him. That being said his swing also gave us a much-needed reprieve. I really wanted to upgrade when our daughter was born and trade in our older swing for the 4moms mamaRoo infant seat. It bounces up and down and sways from side to side, just like parents do when comforting their baby. The seat reclines to multiple positions to allow baby to lie back and relax or sit up and play. My husband convinced me that it wasn’t worth the money and our daughter didn’t have much interest in our swing so it probably wouldn’t have been a worthwhile purchase (for us). In the end a rocker/glider provides comfortable seating for you while you spend time snuggling your baby and can offer a little added support during feedings.
If you purchase one of these things, the best bang for your buck would be a decent glider/rocker.
5.) Diapers are an obvious must. I have friends who have gone the cloth route (I just don’t have the time or patience for that). Cloth has its benefits to your wallet and the environment but this is one of those things I was willing to spend the money on (sorry Mother Earth). I swear by the Target UP&UP brand. I fail to find the difference in the Target store brand and the Huggies brand (my second choice) other than the price. Target is a little less per diaper (unless you shop at Sam’s Club or Costco then the price is pretty much the same).
But buying Target means taking a trip to Target so that’s a “Win Win” in my book!
6.) Diaper ointment. We use Desitin (normally) but when our 3rd son had a nasty rash, the Boudreaux’s Butt Paste in maximum strength saved the day. Literally! 24 hours later and he was clear.
7.) Wipes – Where there are diapers, there are wipes. This is the Swiss Army Knife of my Motherhood Arsenal. I use wipes for EVERYTHING! Of course they are used for diaper changes but I also use them daily for sticky fingers, snotty noses, juice box explosions, sticky handprints (from the aforementioned sticky fingers). I’ve tried several brands (Kirkland, Target UP&UP brand, Pampers, Parent’s Choice, and Huggies). Huggies wins hands down. They are durable (you use less) and if you decide to go with a wipe warmer (we used one with my second son Brandon) Huggies will last longer without drying out.
8.) Diaper Pail – if you are using cloth, you’ll need one of these for sure. Diapers really didn’t start to smell until my little ones started eating solids but when they were bad, having the Diaper Genie was convenient and necessary. I found this necessary but in all honesty when we are away or I have my hands full (the Diaper Genie is in the kid’s bathroom upstairs), I use our kitchen garbage but double bag the bad diapers in plastic shopping bags (usually saved from Target).
9.) Diaper Bag – I have had several over the years. I loved my designer COACH bag that my aunt bought me but my husband prefered the Eddie Bauer backpack. It is more manly (according to him) and will attach to the stroller handle for hands free ease.
10.) Diaper Caddy – I keep a small basket in my living room with diapers, wipes, and diaper ointment to have in a pinch. I also have one in our upstairs linen closet that stores excess diapers/wipes/swim diapers which is what I take on vacations. I throw the sunscreen, bath wash/shampoo in and we’re ready to go in minutes. Clothing
11.) Onesies – I didn’t learn until my 3rd baby that the darn shoulders roll down so you’re not pulling a poop filled onesie over their head. I have actually cut a onesie off after a diaper explosion of Armageddon proportions before to avoid a poopy head… the more you know. You can never have too many onesies. (I’ve actually thrown onesies away that have met with epic amounts of puke or poop that I just didn’t want to deal with. (Another reason why cloth diapers just wouldn’t work for me). These are perfect because they stay in place. No worries that they will ride up and tangle around your little one’s neck or leave their little back or bellies bare. There are plain onesies that come in packs and adorable onesies with hilarious sayings. In the summer you can dress them in a onesie alone. In cooler temperatures you can add little leggings or pants (also purchaseable in packs and extremely cheap at Walmart). I recommend the Gerber brand. Or of course the coordinating sets at Target.
12.) HALO® SleepSack® – Magee Hospital put our sons each in a HALO SleepSack. It’s a wearable blanket that eliminates the dangers of sleeping with a blanket (a swaddle that breaks loose and tangles baby). They have them available for purchase in their gift shop and you can buy them online. West Penn hospital actually gifts their SleepSacks to the newborns born there. I highly recommend these for peace of mind and safe sleep.
13.) Sleepers – Target’s new line of Cat and Jack clothing created sleepers that zip from the bottom instead of the top. Seems silly and simple but oh my gosh! I wish I would have thought to do this! Think about it, it’s winter (I always layered my kids; onesie under their sleeper for this reason) instead of exposing the babies entire body when unzipping to do a diaper change, now you are only exposing their legs and bum for a diaper change leaving the rest of their tiny body covered and snug. BRILLIANT!
14.) Blankets – Muslin blankets are a must for me. I use them for EVERYTHING. In the summer it’s simply too hot for blankets when we are out and about but having one with me at all times helps when we walk into a cool restaurant. They are perfect for swaddling, nursing and burping. They are more versatile (in my opinion than the receiving blanket). My sister-in-law gifted me a set of these blankets and I haven’t looked back. My daughter also has her favorite “fuzzy” blanket. The softer heavier blankets are perfect for cooler temperatures.
15.) Hats – Sun hat for summer and warm hats for winter.
16.) Car seat – This is personal preference. I have always used a travel system. My favorite is Chicco. The car seat/carrier snaps right into the stroller for ease of use and transporting a sleeping baby or newborn. It may be more economical to buy a convertible carseat (what we have for our boys now). There are several to choose from. We have the Graco 4Ever All-in-1 Convertible Car Seat for the boys, it gives you 10 years with one car seat. It’s comfortable for your child and convenient for you, transitioning from rear-facing infant car seat (4-40 lb.) to forward-facing 5-point harness seat (22-65 lb.) to high-back belt-positioning booster (30-100 lb.) to backless belt-positioning booster (40-120 lb.) You never have to buy another seat.
17.) Infant carseat cover. An accessory that is safe and a neccesity in the winter. I have the Eddie Bauer Warm Cozy Weather Resistant Reversible Car Seat Carrier Cover. It fully protects the baby from nature’s elements and the unique design easily adjusts to fit most infant car seats. Super-soft polar fleece reverses to weather-resistant nylon for year-round comfort. Eliminates the need for bulky snowsuits! No more struggling to get baby into the car and out of their snowsuit and then struggling to get them back into their snowsuit to carry them inside. Just dress baby as your normally would and zip up the little cover to keep them warm, dry and safe.
18.) Stroller – As mentioned above, we have the Chicco travel system so our car seat snaps into the stroller and now the baby just sits in the stroller without her seat. We had a jogging stroller but I don’t jog so in the interest of saving space we got rid of it and purchased a double stroller which on long trips to the zoo when my 3 year old decides his legs no longer work and the 5 year old feels it’s unfair that he is the only one that has to walk, we put the boys in the stroller and I wear the baby.
19.) Carrier/Sling – Infantino makes a really inexpensive carrier. I think I paid $15 brand new for my third son and when he exceeded the weight I upgraded to the ErgoBaby. I also purchased a ring sling from Amazon for just under $20 because it is a lot less cumbersome than the actual carrier and I can shove it in my purse for “just in case” needs.
20.) Bottles/Breast Pump – Okay… this is a touchy subject for me. I struggled with breastfeeding with all of my kids. I was a little more successful with my youngest but ultimately pumped and provided my milk that way for 6 months. It was a lot of work and I would absolutely do it again but it takes a lot of commitment and it isn’t for everyone. Just straight breast feeding would have been a hell of a lot more convenient and I wish it would have worked out but it just wasn’t in the cards. IF you breast feed and or need to pump. A good breast pump is a MUST. I had a cheap battery operated pump and a manual pump with my second son and it just became more frustrating than I could deal with. But when my third son was born I planned ahead and as luck would have it my insurance covered the Medela Freestyle Breast Pump at 100% of the cost! Check your insurance! It may be covered! This pump was the sole reason I was able to provide milk as long as I did.
Formula is completely up to you. I used Enfamil for all of my boys but moved on to Similac for my daughter. I actually had a sample and she seemed to like it so I stuck with it. You can sign up through their websites for coupons and free samples.
Bottles… my brother-in-law researches the hell out of EVERYTHING so when they chose Dr. Brown’s bottles for their first born then that was good enough for me. We used these bottles for both little boys and started with these for our daughter (all new of course.) But then at 7 1/2 weeks old Isabella became seriously ill. She was hospitalized with a staph infection with no clue as to how she contracted it. It could NOT have happened from her bottles but when we finally got home I tore apart the house and replaced and or sterilized everything she came into contact with, including my breast pump parts. My husband (a science teacher) took a bottle into class to swab it for bacteria during his annual bacteria lab. The culture was positive! The vent was riddled with it. GROSS! So after that we switched to Philips AVENT bottles and haven’t looked back. Disclaimer: We put all the baby bottles in the dishwasher on the sterilize setting. Not sure if we had continued to hand wash all of the vents with the little tiny vent brushes if this would have made a difference or not. I just wasn’t willing to test that theory.
21.) Small insulated bag or cooler. My OBGYN actually gave me a cute little soft sided cooler for formula that I used for all three kids. It kept formula/breast milk cold and great for sippy cups and juice boxes.
22.) Bottle rack or drying rack to let the bottles and pacifiers (if you use them) to dry.
23.) Baby Bath – look for a tub that has an insert. Baby will be slippery and the standard baby tubs are surprising large when you have a tiny baby. Something that cradles them a little and helps you hold them while you bathe them is ideal. I also had a baby bloom that was adorable and helpful as a cradle/cushion for baths in the sink.
Baby wash/shampoo – We love Johnson’s moisture wash in Vanilla Oatmeal. I’m also a fan of Aveno. Jackson had terrible cradle cap and our pediatrician recommended Selson Blue (it worked but I didn’t like using an adult shampoo on a baby). Isabella ended up with cradle cap too and the Vanilla Oatmeal helped every other day with Coconut Oil massaged in at every other bath.
24.) Rectal Thermometer – We were given a rectal thermometer each time one of the babies was born. That being said, the day Isabella got sick I couldn’t find a single one of them. Granted I was stressed out at the time, but I recommend getting one and storing it in your nursery or bathroom medicine cabinet so you know where it is (also purchase vaseline). Our doctor had already recommended that we bring her in. I had taken her temperature with our ear thermometer and it registered 99.9 degrees fahrenheit. Unfortunately, this type of thermometer is not accurate for an infant and a rectal temperature eventually read 100.4 degrees fahrenheit. If you feel your newborn is sick, your pediatrician will need a rectal temperature. 100.4 degrees fahrenheit is considered high and dangerous in an infant and requires immediate medical attention.
25.) Sunscreen – I’m going to say this is personal choice. There is a top ten list that gets published every year. I have used Coppertone Babies and Banana Boat Kids in the past without an issue but now people (some I know) have had bad experiences with these brands. The Hillman Cancer Center recommends Blue Lizzard so that’s what we’ve been using this summer. It’s pretty cool. The bottle turns pink when it’s exposed to UV rays. The boys think that’s pretty cool. Note: Sunscreen is not recommended for babies 6 months and younger.
We are absolutely done having babies but if I had to start all over again, these are all the items that I would insist on having. Most of these things I still use every day!!! Good Luck and Congratulations!!!