Whew! This post has been on my must-write list for a while now, and I’m glad I’ve finally gotten around to it. This is for all my friends who are expecting and not quite sure what you really need.
Here’s the thing: when I was pregnant I thought, LESS is MORE. I didn’t want to stock up on a bunch of crap I wasn’t sure I would want or need. I’m glad I had that approach, but now I’m on the other side, I have to admit that there have been a few critical items that have made our lives so much easier.
I would highly recommend each and every item on this list with the frank caveat that every family and baby is different, and I know that different things works for different folks.
These are our newborn essentials & must-haves. Hopefully they’ll be helpful to someone else who isn’t quite sure what to put on your registry or must-have list!
Breast friend: This was a great help in the beginning, because it has a very rigid base so it’s good for position the babe when they’re still soft and wiggly. By the time I got to about the four week mark it was a bit too much of a hassle because you have to buckle it around you and tighten the strap, and by that point I was over it. That’s where the Boppy came in. All you have to do is lift the babe up and plop the donut right around your middle. This one is great once you’ve built up a little more strength and our looking for something fast and easy.
Medela Pump in Style (backpack version). We got the tote version (pictured), and I really love it. I started with an Ameda, and I did not love it. The thing to note about this pump and pumps in general is that you should make sure that you’re using the right size flange. Not all women fit the average size one that comes with the pump (me!), so look up how to measure yourself and make sure to order the right flange so that it’s not painful to pump.
Danish Wool Nursing Pads. I read a review about these and now they are my go-to every day wear. I really found the disposable ones annoying. They get crinkly (<– I know that sounds nuts, but when you’re pulling your bra up and down all the time you don’t want to also have to try to un-crinkle a stupid nursing pad). Thes danish wool pads are soft and absorbent. They won’t withstand a super heavy leaking, but they have held out for me all but once.
Carlson’s Vitamin D drops. Our pediatrician recommended that we give the Bean 400 ml of Vitamin D every day since she’s breastfed exclusively. This sounds easy, but we tried several different types, and she just kept spitting them out or throwing them up (along with all the milk she had just consumed). These are a godsend because it’s just one dense drop that contains all they need for a day, so you can drop it on the nipple or mix into a pumped bottle of milk (we do the latter). Easy Peasy.
Milkscreen alcohol test strips. Once we started pumping so that Viet could give her a bottle in the evenings (just before 4 weeks) or if we were out and about and nursing was awkward or inconvenient, it was nice to find out about these lovely strips that make sure your milk is safe and alcohol free. If you have a glass of wine or two in the evening, and the babe wakes sooner than you thought, you can test your milk to make sure you’re safe to nurse. These were most helpful from about 4-6 weeks before she started sleeping longer 6-7-8 hour stretches, and when I definitely appreciated reintroducing a nice glass of red wine every now and again.
We started with the medela bottles that come with the pump, and we still use those from time to time. However, our bean has had pretty bad gas on and off, and we’ve found that the Dr. Brown bottles are the best for keeping her air consumption down. I recommend the Dr. Brown’s Newborn set early on and then the standard Dr. Brown’s Bottles.
My friend Heather turned me on to this gem for keeping your bottles warm or cool when you are on the go: Tommy Tippy Bottle Cooler.
Sometimes the bottles can be really tricky to get clean in the dishwasher. This goes especially for the smaller medela ones. The OXO Bottle Brush is a great tool to do a quick hand wash before you pop it in the dishwasher.
We love, love, love, our Dr. Brown’s Bottle Warmer. It seemed frivolous to me at first when you can just warm a bottle in a bowl of hot water, but it works quickly and precisely (which is a double bonus when you’ve got a cranky newborn waiting on the warm bottle).
Let’s face it. You need safe places to put the little darlings while you pee or grab a glass of water or a bite to eat. The Bean’s favorite place to chill when she’s wide awake and not hanging out with me is the Boppy Newborn Lounger. It’s easy to move around, and it’s still her favorite place to sit calmly. We also like the Fisher Price Deluxe Bouncer, and she mostly enjoys hanging out with her bunny.
I know everyone talks about these, but I can’t say enough about the Aden and Anais blankets. They’re so soft and lightweight, so they’re nice if you’re in a place where the temperature is mostly warm with some fluctuation. We go the Aden and Anais Up and Away Set, and they’re super cute to boot. You can also use these to swaddle, which is nice during the day since they’re so light.
We’ve also used the Swaddleme blankets for daytime swaddling. Bea can’t decide if she loves or hates these things, but we’ve they’re nice to throw in your bag if you’re going out and want a nap swaddle on hand.
My favorite swaddle discover has been the Halo Micro-Fleece Swaddle Blanket. It gets pretty cool in our apartment at night, and these keep the Bean nice and toasty.
Man, I really love our bassinet. The Halo Bassinest stands right by our bed. It’s height is adjustable, and the best thing about it is that one of the sides flexes down so you can easily lower the baby into it. It’s also nice because it has mesh sides, so you can easily see your little one. This thing doesn’t have a low price tag, but I think it’s totally worth it.
I originally thought these WuddaNub Pacis were just cute and a little over the top, but then I realized that they act as a great counterweight so they’re easier for the Bean to keep in her mouth as she learns to keep a hold of the paci. They’re also easier to find in a diaper bag or purse (bonus).
The hubs totally laughed at me when I came home with The Mommy Hook, but it’s been great on my walks home from yoga when I’m pushing the stroller and want to stop to pick up groceries or any other treat. It’s pretty sturdy, and I’ve hooked as many as 4 or 5 bags onto it (when I was downtown in Union Square getting a little shopping done).
The Dundee Burp Cloths are soft, and I like them. that is all.
I looked around for the perfect diaper bag for a while, but I never found the perfect one. I already several big tote like bags that I carry a lot and really like, so the Quintessential Diaper Bag insert is perfect for me because I can just throw it into the bags I already love.
The Solly Baby wrap has been my go-to carrier these first few months. It’s very soft and easy to throw on, and the Bean falls asleep almost immediately in it. This wrap was especially helpful for us the first 4-6 weeks since the Bean was so little (5 lbs, 8 oz when we left the hospital), so she didn’t fit into the bigger carrier for quite a while.
I know. I know. The Prince Lionheart wipe warmer seems a little unnecessary, but all I’ll say is this: when it’s 3am, and your 2 week old needs a diaper change, a warm wipe vs. a cold wipe can be the difference from calm and panic. #worthit
I love these silly things. I think I may be super lazy, but I don’t like having to take the changing pad cover off because it’s a bit of a hassle. However, the Munchkin waterproof changing liners are super easy to whip off and clean if they get soiled. I also ended up carrying these in my diaper bag insert as a light changing pad if I’m trying to travel light.
Hope these must-haves are helpful to some mamas to be out there!
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