Becoming a parent is one of the most exciting and scary experiences in a person’s life. You spend 9 months getting ready, taking classes, preparing the nursery and then all of a sudden your little bundle of joy comes screaming into the world!
The most nagging fear for new moms (besides watching the scale) is labor. What will it be like? Will I know it started? Am I going to make it to the hospital? Will the epidural hurt? Should I get an epidural? These are some of the many questions that you will stress over that cease to matter as soon as the little baby is born healthy.
But next comes the list of things needed for a newborn.
Things Needed For A Newborn
The scariest part after birth is sitting in the car with your newborn strapped into the back with no nurses, no doctors, just you and the newest member of your family.
The first night home with a newborn away from the safety net of the hospital’s doctors and nurses is like suddenly being transported to a new country where you don’t speak the language. This will be your steepest learning curve in history. You have to learn the language of crying and feeding and well, let’s face it… bodily fluids.
However, before you know it, you will have learned all the different cries your baby has and speak their language completely. Even with the crying and the emotional rollercoaster, you will find complete serenity watching your baby sleep.
Bedtime is probably one of the hardest parts of having a newborn. My son’s first night home, it took every inch of my self-control to not just hold him all night long to keep an eye on him. But, since I needed sleep too the Halo Bassinet Swivel Sleeper was a complete lifesaver. This bassinet has mesh walls which makes watching your little one breathe so much easier. The swivel aspect of this bassinet is also a huge bonus because you can easily rock your baby back to sleep without having to pick them up and completely wake them up.
Helping your baby sleep
Anything that helps your baby sleep is going to be a must for a new parent. A white noise machine is a great way to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep without the natural noises of your home waking them up. Coming from a momma with two dogs, our white noise machine was well worth it!
Creating a safe-sleeping environment for your newborn is the first step in reducing the risk of SIDS. You want a bassinet or crib with nothing more than a tightly fitted sheet on the mattress. No toys, bumpers, blankets or anything in the bed with the child.
A great replacement for a blanket is a sleep sack. This gives your child the warmth and comfort a blanket would without the dangers. The absolute number one thing I recommend every parent gets for their newborn is the Owlet sleep monitor.
The Owlet is a sock your newborn wears that monitors the oxygen levels and heart rate of your little one. My son’s monitor alerted us a couple of times that his heart rate or oxygen levels were too low. Which in most of the cases was no big deal. We would gently wake him up, his stats would even out and that was that.
However, one time we got an alert and I went to wake him up but he wouldn’t wake up. It took a lot to finally wake him up and I truly believe we would have lost him to SIDS that night if he wasn’t wearing the Owlet. Having this monitor is a great addition to your newborn’s safe sleep routine.
Before we had our son, my husband had never changed a diaper in his life. Now, believe me, he became a quick expert because newborns offer a lot of opportunities to practice. But, those first few changes were pretty comical.
There are a few key items that you will need for changing time. First is a changing table. They sell so many options for premade dressers/tables that can match any nursery theme that you chose. I repurposed an old dresser I already owned that was the perfect height and added this Serta changing table mattress to the top of it.
My son hated having his diaper changed, and I mean, hated it! He would scream and cry every single time. It was the cold wipes that were making the process so uncomfortable. So, despite what all of the parenting articles and pins I read said, my mom went out and bought us a wipe warmer. It was worth every penny. Once we had warm wipes my son didn’t mind diaper changes at all anymore. The wipe warmer made those two a.m. diaper changes so much less stressful on everyone involved.
Babies fill a lot of diapers and you will be amazed at the smell that a little tiny baby can make especially after they start eating baby food. So a must for any parent of a newborn is a Diaper Genie. This little garbage can keeps the smells all inside and the liners make it so easy to keep the can empty.
Something my husband was totally right about, (that’s right I said that my husband was right), was the butt spatula. This genius little spatula is used to apply diaper rash cream and it is amazing. It sounds like it’s something you would never use but it is one of my favorite baby items we own. The spatula keeps your fingers clean and applies the cream quickly and effortlessly. The final thing I would recommend for a newborn is a basket to organize all of the diaper-changing items and tools.
Newborns eat a lot. Their entire job in life is to eat, sleep, poop, and repeat. So feeding time happens often and you want to have everything you need to make it a breeze. No matter how you are going to feed your newborn, whether you choose formula or breastmilk, there are some basics you will need.
Starting with burp clothes, unless you wear baby puke as a badge of honor, you will need things to make life easier. Newborns haven’t learned how to release the air that they swallow while eating so you will need to burb your baby every so often throughout and after a feed. This will result in spit-up on your clothes and this is where the burp cloth comes in. The next thing you will want is bibs which will protect the baby’s clothes from spit up. Especially if you are going to formula feed because that stains quite a bit.
If you are going to exclusively breastfeed, my number one recommendation is to get the nursing pillow called the Breast Friend. I originally used the Boppy but when my son started having trouble latching, the lactation consultant recommended the Breast Friend and it is amazing!
Breastfeeding is very demanding on the mother so you want to get everything you can to make it as easy as possible for yourself. I tried saving money on nursing bras and I really wish I would have just started with the Medela nursing bra to begin with because it is so comfortable! I also wish I would have started out with the Medela nipple cream. I tried several different creams but the Medela worked the best. It is silky and not too heavy. Most importantly, it is safe to leave on while the baby is nursing.
If you are like me and wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t due to tongue tie and latching issues, then you may have to exclusively pump. I am not going to lie to you; it is a lot of work. But once you get a routine down it does get easier.
The first thing you will need is an automatic pump. If you live in the United States you can get one free through your insurance company. I used the Medela Pump in Style which worked great.
I have also heard great things about the Spectre pumps. In addition to the pump, you need some spare pump parts…about three sets. This is for those middle-of-the-night pumping sessions. Trust me, you will not want to go down and clean all your pump parts at 3am in the morning. Having extra parts will help you stick with exclusive pumping.
Storage and cleaning
Breastmilk should either go directly into the baby or the fridge/freezer. I brought up my husband’s mini fridge and freezer that he had from college into our bedroom so after I pumped, I could just put the breastmilk right into the freezer until the next day. This was a life saver and really helped me stick to exclusive pumping for months.
My son was in the NICU for jaundice and while he was there, the NICU nurse gave me a small bin filled with hot soapy water to put my pump parts into after I was done pumping. This system is the only reason I kept with exclusive pumping for as long as I did.
Whenever I finished pumped I would just soak my parts, wash them and let them air dry. I kept a bin in my bathroom to make it easy to just dump my parts out after a midnight pumping session.
In order to store your breastmilk safely, you will need to buy storage bags or storage tubes. When I first started pumping I used the tubes because I could reuse them as I fed my son. But once I started pumping more than my son could eat, I switched to storage bags to build my freezer stash.
Bottles & nipples
In order to feed your precious bundle your liquid gold (breastmilk), you will need a feeding system. With my son, we used the Avent Natural bottling set with the Avent bottle sterilizer for cleaning. What I love about the Avent system is the nipples have 4 different flow rates. Since my son had a tongue tie we had to experiment with the flow rates of his bottle to make sure he was getting enough food. Avent’s system was easy to use and switch between nipples with different flow rates.
Science is an amazing thing and the formulas that are on the market now are awesome! If you decide formula feeding is the way to go, then you have a lot of options to choose from.
When I finished my freezer stash we started using formula. My son has a sensitive stomach so we knew he would need sensitive formula. We tried so many brands but my son refused to eat any of them until our pediatrician suggested we try generic formula and my son loved it! It saved us so much money and it agreed with his stomach. We used the same Avent bottle system for feeding our son pumped breastmilk and formula.
My son was the first grandchild on both sides of the family so one thing we were not lacking was clothing. But, in the end, we didn’t even use half the clothes we were gifted. I got my son so many adorable elaborate outfits with real buttons, bow ties, and I didn’t use almost any of them!
The first two months my son and I barely left the house (it was winter aka flu season) so all we really needed were about 12 easy snap-on or zip-up onesies and 5 swaddles. The elaborate outfits look cute, but real buttons on baby outfits are only placed there by someone trying to play a cruel joke on parents.
Weather appropriate clothes
My son had severe jaundice and after he was released from the NICU, we also had to take him to doctor’s appointments to test his bilirubin levels. Since it was winter we needed to bundle up our little one with a winter body suit and hats while we were outside. Regulating your baby’s body temperature is very important especially during the first few months. So, having weather appropriate clothing for whatever season your baby is born in is extremely important. Having a couple of baby blankets that can be added to block the cold kept my son warm and happy when I was forced to take him into the arctic tundra of Chicago winter.
There are so many things needed for a newborn and it can seem overwhelming. But, it is crazy how quickly new parents become old pros. You will learn all of your baby’s language, all their cues, and body language. Getting all the things needed for a newborn is step one in the roadmap to the rest of your lives as a family.