My baby, Blair, is now 10 weeks old, and with her being my third babe, I think I finally have a pretty good handle on the essentials that make these newborn days just a little bit easier for me.
I have to be honest, I know this isn’t true for everyone, but I absolutely love the newborn stage. I love them all small, and snugly, and sleepy. And it is such a short stage and goes by more quickly with each baby that we’ve added to our family, so I want to cherish it as much as I can.
I guess I’m lucky because I’ve had pretty easy babies, and Blair has definitely been the easiest of all. It remains to be seen if that’s more her personality, or if it’s just the product of being the third child.
I’m not a fan of having lots of baby gear, and even though she’s an easy baby, there are still several things that I feel like I couldn’t live without during this newborn stage. These are the things that I have found to be essential and what has worked for me. If these items don’t fit well with your life, then pass them up, and find the things that make your life with your little one easiest for you.
My Essential Baby Gear for the Newborn Stage
I couldn’t choose just one, but basically a baby carrier of this type is one thing I would not go without. These make the biggest difference in making the newborn stage easy for me.
Baby is tired and needs to sleep, but you need to get stuff done – put them in the baby carrier instead of rocking them to sleep, baby is fussy and colicky – put them in the baby carrier and they will calm right down.
You need to run errands, or want to go out and do stuff like go blueberry picking, go to the beach, or to the park with your kids but you’re not sure what to do with your baby, or want to keep nosy people from getting in the baby’s face – put them in the carrier and you will almost forget that they are there with you – except for the curious look that you get from strangers who haven’t seen this type of baby carrier before.
These baby carriers are so perfect for every situation with a new baby, if you can only get one item on this whole list, get a baby carrier – you will not regret it! I’ll also be sharing more about babywearing with a newborn soon!
This is one you want to have on hand as soon as the baby is born. I put mine on right after Blair was born and it’s so nice that it covers everything up while still being super comfortable and making nursing easily accessible.
If you’re having a hospital birth, you definitely want to take a nursing nightgown with you to the hospital, they are so much more comfy, and flattering for pictures, than those ugly, scratchy hospital gowns! I have two and still sleep in them, just because they’re so easy for nighttime nursing.
These are absolutely essential for wearing during the early days and weeks when you are nursing on and off all day long. You can get cheaper ones at Target and they are okay, but I love my Bravado ones because they have a built-in bra and are much more supportive and don’t give me the uni-boob look like the ones with just a shelf bra do. They are well worth the price in my opinion, because I basically wear one every single day for at least a year.
I prefer nursing tanks over nursing bras because they cover up your tummy and back love-handles while your nursing, (or am I the only one that has those?) They easily latch and unlatch with just one hand for when you’re holding the baby and they’re squirmy and fussy because they want to Eat. Right. Now. Get several tanks in neutral colors and wear them under everything.
This was a new one for me this time around. I had previously used a Boppy nursing pillow, but after Blair was born I couldn’t find it (I must have lent it to someone, but I can’t remember who). Anyway, I bought a My Brest Friend pillow used because I had heard good things about them, and yes, it is so much better.
It provides more support for my arms, holds the baby right up at the breast without sliding down, and also supports my back. I usually have a really hard time with a having a sore back for the first few months, but the My Brest Friend Pillow has totally eliminated that.
It may seem like a waste of money to buy the newborn size of cloth diapers because they are so small and can only be worn for anywhere from a few weeks to two months, depending on how fast your baby grows. But, if you want to cloth diaper your baby from the beginning, you’ll definitely want to invest in some newborn sized diapers.
I have found that the one-size diapers just don’t fit well until the baby is at least 10 pounds. When they are first born their thighs are so skinny and newborn diapers are designed to fit their skinny thighs, and fit below their umbilical cord. We’ll talk more about cloth diapering a newborn next week and I’ll share what kind of diapers I recommend.
These are also a new thing that I’ve had with Blair that I didn’t with my others and really wish I would have. They are just the softest blankets and a great for everything from swaddling to using as a lightweight nursing cover.
I use mine most often, though, as a burp cloth, and they have pretty much completely replaced traditional diaper style burp cloths for me. They are bigger, so they cover more of your body helping to keep spit-up on the blanket and not on your clothes, and they’re also big enough that they don’t get completely soaked with one round of spitting up, so you can use them throughout the day before they need to be washed.
Sometimes though, you do need to set the baby down, and sometimes they even like to sit down and watch the world around them. You could lay your baby on the floor, but with two (sometimes wild) older siblings and a big dog, I don’t feel super comfortable with that (not because the dog will do anything to the baby, but mostly because my floor usually has at least a fine dusting of dog hair on it).
The bouncy chair is perfect because it doesn’t take up a lot of space the way a swing does, doesn’t require batteries, and you can easily move it from room to room to keep the baby close to where you are. You don’t need a fancy bouncy chair with lots of toys attached either. My babies have been perfectly happy to watch the ceiling fan spin around, or just to watch their older siblings – they are the most entertaining.
And here are a few more things that I know are not exactly essential, but are still really nice to have.
You can use a blanket, but I really love my nursing cover because it has the curved open neckline at the top that makes it easy to see my baby, and help her latch on, while still keeping covered up. In the early days of nursing it can be a little tricky to get the baby latched on correctly, and I find that trying to keep a blanket covering me while also needing both hands to help my baby latch on, can be quite difficult.
With my oldest daughter I pumped a lot and would usually give her a bottle when out in public because I didn’t feel so comfortable nursing, but with my son, and now Blair, I haven’t pumped at all – I just use my nursing cover and nurse wherever I need to, feeling confident that I’m covered up.
It is our preference that our babies sleep in our room until they are around six months old. I would really love to have one of the bedside co-sleepers, but we were given a bassinet from my in-laws and have used that with all our babies and it works fine for us.
It makes nighttime nursing so much easier because I don’t have to get up and go in the other room when the babe wakes up and wants to eat. We put the baby down to sleep for her naps in her bassinet, and when she first goes to sleep at night she sleeps in it, until she wakes up and then she sleeps in bed with me for the rest of the night so I can nurse her as needed.
So, those are my essential items for the newborn stage. Again, they may not be for everyone, but they’ve worked for me! And as with most things, if you can buy any of these things used, borrow them from a friend, or get them as hand-me-downs – go for it! They may be essential, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy them new!
What would you add to, or take away from, my list?
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