We are officially out of the newborn phase! People really aren’t kidding when they talk about how fast the time goes. I want to get right into it because new moms have less than no time to read anything. The list is in no particular order other than #1. If you only take one thing from this list, I hope it is the newborn class I talk about first! So without further ado, this is my list of newborn must-have items. (Please note: none of this content is sponsored or affiliate linked, I just love all of this stuff!)
#1 Taking Cara Babies Newborn Class: This is not a physical item, but in my opinion this is the #1 best thing I bought for my newborn. There is nothing I thought about more in the first 3 months than sleep, and Cara’s class helped us tackle sleep and made the newborn phase enjoyable. I wish someone had told me about Cara and her class before Eliana was born. This is not to say that we didn’t have sleepless nights and difficult naps, but I learned so much from her that helped me better understand Eliana. From sleepy cues to sleep cycles to insider tips, Cara takes a beautifully moderate approach to helping your newborn with sleep in this early time. I cannot overstate how much I love this class. It’s no cry and cuddle friendly! Cara recommends doing the class in the month before you deliver and then watching it again in the first few weeks. The is a series of videos, as well as some digital resources that I seriously can’t recommend enough! I must have watched the videos at least 10x! She also has a ton of free resources on her blog and on Instagram. She is my favorite account to follow right now. Follow her @takingcarababies. Seriously, do it…now.
#2 The Ollie Swaddle: In the same sleep vein, next on my list is the Ollie Swaddle. Don’t mess around with any other swaddle. This is the one you should get. I tried them all, and this one by far keeps the newborn snug and prevents the magic Houdini escape act. I wish I would have had the Ollie Swaddle right from the beginning. And some babies seem like they don’t like to be swaddled, but Cara’s newborn class teaches you that it’s about what you do after swaddling that matters. It’s a little pricey, but you only have to buy once because the size is adjustable. And you’ll use it so many times, it’s worth it! We bought two so that we could always have one on hand if the other was dirty. Here’s a link to the swaddle and 10% off!
#3 The Hatch Sound Machine: This is another essential sleep product. It’s super noisy inside the womb because the baby is constantly hearing the rush of your blood. When they are born, that sound is soothing to them. This product is amazing because you can control the light and sound from an app on your phone. You’re able to get the volume super loud, too.
#4 Portable Sound Machine: We have this $12 one from Amazon. You’ll want a portable sound machine for outings in the car and errands and such. It helps drawn out other noise and keep the baby calm.
#5 Red Light Bulb: Another sleep product! This is such a good little trick. Install a red light bulb in the nursery/bedroom lamp where you will be feeding in the middle of the night. When your baby is in the womb, red light is what they see, so it isn’t as abrupt and disturbing to them like a typical light bulb. Doing this allows the baby to go back down more easily.
#6 The Owlet Smartsock: This was soooo helpful in soothing my anxiety. I was so nervous that the baby would stop breathing during sleep and this allowed me to rest assured that baby’s 02 and heart rate were normal. Owlet makes a video monitor now, too. It wasn’t out when we bought the sock, but I would have totally gotten it because I don’t really like the monitor we have. If you have an HSA, you can buy this using money from your HSA account.
#7 Plush-Knit Footed Pajamas: The softest ever, and it zips so it makes those middle of the night changings 1000x easier! Old Navy has great sales online going on all the time. I think we have 10 of these guys. I cannot recommend this sleeper enough!!
#8 Wubbanub Pacis: These aren’t just for sleep, but the sucking reflex releases chemicals in the brain that soothe the baby and help ease into sleep. The Wubbanubs are nice for sleep (and the carseat) because the weight of the stuff animal helps the paci not fall out of the baby’s mouth. We have a monkey, a lamb, and a unicorn (monkey, lambey, and uni lol). We also use the standard Philips Avent Pacis. We tried the MAM pacis, but she wouldn’t take them. This is all about baby preference, so what works for one baby, won’t necessarily work for another.
Side note: We waited until two weeks after she was born to start with the paci to avoid nipple confusion, but I honestly think I’d introduce it earlier if I were to do it again. The newest research doesn’t show any connection between babies who use pacis having more trouble feeding.
We used the Halo Swivel Bassinest for nighttime sleep in our room, and it was fine. I liked the way I could bring it closer to me in the middle of the night. If we’re lucky enough to have more children in the future, I think I’m gonna spring for the Snoo Bassinet.
#9 Graco PacknPlay Bassinet and Changing Table: This is where I change the majority of Eliana’s diapers! We have it in the corner of our family room where we spend the majority of our time. She also slept in this bassinet a lot in her first few weeks, but it’s really short and she’s really tall, so she outgrew it really fast. I’m sure that the packnplay portion of it will be used more once she gets a bit older!
#10 Diaper Cream: Triple paste is great for avoiding diaper rash/the skin getting raw. Our pediatrician recommended this, and even though it is a little pricier than other creams out there, it is definitely the best. If the baby has really terrible diaper rash or other rashes on their skin, Calmoseptine ointment is a miracle worker!
#11 Water Wipes: These gentle wipes are wonderful!
#12 Changing Pads: These changing pads are what they use in the hospital, my sister is a PICU nurse and she got them for us. They are so cheap and amazing! Don’t waste your money on changing pads marketed for babies–they are so overpriced.
#13 Baby Nail File (no pain!): I remember my mom telling me how she used to bite our nails because she was so afraid of using clippers. Well, this little electric nail file allows you to shorten baby’s nails without going too short. I’ve used it a ton and have never once had a problem. We all know how uncomfortable it is when you clip your own nail too short, so imagine that on a baby!
#14 Baby Friendly Stain Remover: So helpful for saving onesies from blowout stains! We use All Free and Clear detergent. It’s great because we don’t have to use separate detergent for us and baby. We can do our loads together. Avoid using any fabric softener!
#15 Baby Bath with Newborn Insert: Eliana hated baths for her first few weeks, but once we got this, bath time got so much happier. We just fill the tub up with water and pop her into the newborn insert. We use unscented Babygenics foaming shampoo and body wash.
#16 Water Thermometer Ducky: This allows us to know the exact temperature of the water we are putting her in at bath time! Just place the rubber ducky on the surface, and it will tell you what temperature the water is. You want it to be somewhere between 95 and 100 degrees, no hotter than 100 degrees!
#17 Baby Bjorn Bouncer: I thought the price on this was nuts, but everyone told me it was a great product to have, so I put it on my registry. Luckily, one of my generous friends gave it to us as a hand-me-down! The great thing about this seat is that it keeps the baby very upright, and if you have a baby with reflux (or one just very prone to spitting up), it is really helpful! We also bought this bar to put over it to have something for Eliana to play with once she started being able to reach out in front of her.
#18 Swing: Again, this product is good for babies prone to spitting up because the seat has two settings: upright and reclined. The only downside to it is that it takes up a ton of space.
#19 Tummy Time Mat and Pillow: Eliana has never been a big fan of tummy time, but it is so important. Some people suggested I use a boppy pillow to offload her chest, but that was too steep of an incline. The tummy time pillow that comes with this mat is small. When we started using this pillow, Eliana’s ability to sustain tummy time increased significantly when we started using it. Tummy time is like physical therapy for babies. It helps to strengthen neck muscles and also with keeping the baby’s head from becoming flat.
#20 Baby K’tan Carrier: This carrier gave me my hands back! Eliana loved to nap in it for the first two months. And I loved it because it reminded me of when she was in my belly. Now, she is much more easily woken, so she sleeps in her crib, but we still use it! She just faces out now and joins the fun. I like this carrier because it’s so easy to use. There are no crazy tie patterns or anything–it’s pretty fool proof. It’s soft and cozy.
#21 Uppababy Vista Stroller:This is not a must-have. There are plenty of other strollers out there that work just fine and are much less expensive, but since I really like it and it’s the only thing I know, I’m putting it on the list. It’s the biggest splurge, but my grandparents luckily gifted us this incredible stroller. The smoothest ride, so easy to use! Opens and closes like a dream. Huge basket underneath to hold all your stuff, and there’s a lot of stuff!
#22 Uppababy Mesa Carseat: It’s a little heavier than other carseats, like the Chicco Fit/Fit2 (which is supposed to be great), but I chose the compatibility of the stroller/carseat combo over the lighter seat and having to use an adapter.
#23 Carseat cover (for babies born in cold months): This cover is super easy to use; you just pop it on top of the carseat and you’re good to go. Babies aren’t supposed to wear jackets in the carseat, so this helps keep baby warm!
#24: Mirror for backseat: This is nice to be able to look in the review mirror and be able to see what’s going on with her when she’s in her carseat. Is she still sleeping? I hope so!
So those are the items that helped make life with a newborn just a little bit easier. There’s no beating around the bush, the newborn phase is challenging, and no item can beat having a healthy support system and taking even just five minutes a day to step away, take some deep breaths, do some stretching, and remember who you are. And take the newborn class from Taking Cara Babies. I cannot stress this enough!!