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Buying for a baby-to-be is exciting! It’s way too easy to go overboard with a registry since the whole idea of a registry implies that OTHER PEOPLE will pay for it. Frugal/fiscally responsible-me was jumping for joy. Until it hit me — Besides diapers and wipes,.. what are the things a newborn really needs??
I was blindly “registering” for everything and I realized that I had no idea what it would take to keep a newborn ALIVE. There’s so much stuff that they can’t use until 6 months+ soooo…? Getting the basics ready is all you really need because you’re going to want an excuse to make a Target run or two (or twelve) during maternity leave.
Here are the only things you will need for the first 3 months with a baby or at least 15 things that you can NOT live without.
1. Nursing Pillow
Even if you are not breastfeeding, a nursing pillow works wonders. They do more than just keep baby at boob-height. Babies like to be held and cuddled and comforted. A nursing pillow can free up your arms and keep baby cozy.
The most popular variety of nursing pillows is the Boppy. The c-shaped plush wraps around your waist giving baby a cushy pad. But my absolute favorite item from the postpartum period was My Brest Friend. Perfectly named, this thing is structured and so I didn’t worry about suffocation risks. Plus, the “pad” part of it is large. I mean, I could eat dinner on it if I wanted (and I probably did).
My husband the former stay-at-home dad loved it too! It was the perfect relief after hours of cradling an angry baby while I worked. Even for the most macho men, muscle failure will sneak up on you and you can’t just lay a baby anywhere. My Brest Friend is a staple for all of my future pregnancies 😉
Syringe bulbs (those blue balls with a hose attached aka booger suckers) are outdated, and this is the replacement. The most disgusting contraption beside the baby itself. Jk but for real. It’s a straw with a snot receptacle… and it works like a charm! It’s literally called “the snotsucker”.
The Nosefrida is a lifesaver because 1) the traditional bulb syringe hardly works and 2) baby nostrils are itty bitty! Good luck hitting a gold rush there. But full disclosure: most babies hate it. Sorry babe. At least you can breathe?
3. Gripe Water
You’re probably wondering “wtf is gripe water?” and so am I. But all you need to know is that this stuff is an old wives tale sounding solution to that angry middle-of-the-night outburst that can’t be soothed by food, diapers, and cuddles. Gripe water relieves gas, indigestion, hiccups, etc. It’s a thing, and we went to Walgreens for it at 3 AM….!
Swaddles! So many swaddles. I was lucky to be given several from someone who was done using them (they are really only useful for the first year or so). But I bought and registered for even more. You can never have too many swaddles!
We used swaddles for
- swaddling (surprise, surprise)
- old-fashioned blanketing
- changing pad covers (at home and in public)
- nursing covers
- car seat covers
- cleaning up random messes that arise with a baby
I never left the house without at least 3 in my bag! They are so handy, and often donated or consigned so you can get great deals on them. My favorites are Aden + Anais Muslin Swaddles.
5. Bottles + nipples
Even if you’re “exclusively breastfeeding”. Have those bottles and nipples ready to take charge. With either expressed breastmilk or formula (no judgment, babies gotta eat!). You don’t want to be the only person in the world that thought you wouldn’t need them, no matter how confident you are in your breastfeeding skills – every baby is different – and we need to be ready to accommodate those precious little people!
- Breastfeeding Essentials for the First Month Postpartum
- How to Find the Perfect Pumping Schedule for Work
Because feeding can be exhausting, painful, expensive, and unnecessary. Honestly! Sometimes babies just want to nurse for fun! This is where a pacifier is happily embraced. Let that baby gnaw on something, and if you’re lucky – they’ll keep gnawing and give you both some peace.
There are hundreds of pacifiers, but for the babies who HATE pacifiers (like mine… yay) this one was well received. This pacifier is softer and more pliable than any others. It’s like organic or something? Lol idk but it says it’s 100% Natural Rubber. *You can shop the pacifier here*
Raise your hand if you would love to live in comfy clothes.
We had a decent amount of real clothes that never got used, but PJs are essential. Every night aka 12-15 hours of every day is newborn’s pajama time. They have it so good… and the best part is — when the diaper explodes, there’s someone there to clean it up.
You’re going to want back up PJs at any given moment. I try to have at least 10-15 different one-pieces ready to go, but the newborn stage calls for 5 to 7 sets. Trust me, you’ll have plenty laundry to do and won’t need much more during those first 3 months.
Or really anything that contains your babe. A pack & play, swing (IF THAT ISN’T THE SAME THING AS A ROCKER), baby lounger, nursing pillow, etc.
Some babies demand to be held all the time, but for the fortunate bunch – those babies need a place to be! Something cozy and special 🙂
9. Butt Cream
You already know to go through a LOT of diapers. That’s fresh baby skin is durable, but it deserves to be preserved in its perfect state! Butt Cream or Diaper Rash Ointment creates a water-wicking layer that keeps moisture off those sensitive areas. Anything from Vaseline to Desitin does the trick.
I will say this stuff is messy, but there is no need to get a butt-cream applicator… Great idea, but no. It’s just an additional (weird) dish to clean.
10. Changing Pad
A cushy space to wipe those butts is essential. Sure you could do it on the couch, but one leaking diaper/pee fountain/mid-change explosion will immediately make you regret thinking this was *optional*. We had ours sitting right on top of the nursery dresser. No need for fancy diaper-changing furniture. But I’ve seen friends have an extra IN THE LIVING ROOM for using on the couch or floor or wherever.
They are such a cheap buy, so it really does make sense to buy two for these situations!
11. Tummy Time Mat
Tummy Time… If you haven’t heard of this modern newborn exercise yet, let me fill you in: Tummy Time is torture disguised as play or exercise. I’m being dramatic, but my baby HATED IT. And it’s recommended as a thrice daily activity…. so it was just 3X the torture.
BUT – the point of a specialized mat is this: they have all the cool gadgets to keep kids entertained (or trick them into not hating it). Mirrors, rattles, crinkly materials, colors, critters, and all the bells and whistles.Even cute dangling things to encourage baby to roll over! Tummy Time is worth the struggle, and these things make it easier to stomach (no pun intended).
Baby’s gotta sleep somewhere, and since placing a newborn between mom and dad is frowned upon because, you know, SIDS, a bassinet is your best bet.
Sure, you could try to get your baby sleeping in their own room but it’s best to have that little one in yours. Once again because of SIDS and of course those middle of the night feedings you hear so much about! Putting baby in your bed is generally best avoided, and it’s nice to have a separate sleep space for the babe.
- baby gets a safe place to snooze
- baby stays super close to mom for breastfeeding success
This is a BIG ONE. Most American Hospitals won’t let you leave without one. Seriously, they’ll escort you to your car to make sure it’s in there. I’ll be giving a rundown of car seat options eventually, but I went with the Chicco Keyfit 30 .It’s been rated the best/safest/simplest infant car seat for a while now. The “30” stands for up to 30 pounds and 30 inches, so I was hesitant because people claim it doesn’t last long enough for the $200 price tag.
(I went with Emerald because my April baby was supposed to be born in May, but that’s beside the point)
14. Burp Cloths
Yes yes yes yes yes. As ridiculous as they might seem (since you could use any form of tissue to do the same job), you want something reusable for this bit. Because spoiler alert: babies make lots of messes. And you can use these softies over and over again.
Aden + Anais does it again with THE BEST BURP CLOTHS because you don’t want to start chaffing those sweet cheeks with a cheap paper towel .hese things are scary soft and I wish I had a pillowcase made out of them.
However you want to cart the baby around, any one of these three are interchangeable. As long as you have some way to keep baby content and keep your hands free, you will be set.
and THESE are the things we did not even touch in the first 3 months…
Those cute little anti-scratch mittens you see little babes wearing. Supposedly it’s to keep them from scratching their face, but whatever. They aren’t going to rip their face off. Get used to clipping their nails (or biting them off) and not to make you feel bad but babies need to use their little hands!
2. baby monitor
Newborns are with you almost 100% of that time, so this can definitely be put on the backburner (aka until baby is sleeping in their own room). We have a little house, so we still don’t have a monitor and are totally fine without it.
I didn’t use these at all! I see them as extra laundry. Ya, no thanks. I’m going to wash that outfit anyway soooo I’ll pass.
4. baby powder
Totally not ok anymore. Asthma risk, apparently.
I only say this is unnecessary for the newborn stage. Mostly just to make you feel less guilty about not having all of your baby ducks in a row before delivery. Worry not! A crib can come virtually whenever and a Pack N Play is practically the same thing!
Getting everything ready for a baby is a huge job with a hefty price tag. As long as you have these 15 necessities before bringing baby home, you are completely set. Everything else will come, and won’t be required right away. So stop stressing and look forward to shopping because it will be going on for a long time! Save this for later and stop worrying about what a newborn really needs. 🙂
Other Posts you’ll LOVE:
- How To Introduce a Dog to a Newborn
- What to Expect during the First Week Home with a Baby
- Maternity Leave Rules and What New Moms should Never Apologize for
- 5 Controversial Tips to enjoying a short maternity leave
- Secrets for Returning to Work After Maternity Leave
- What to Expect for the First Week Back to Work
- How to Pump at Work with a Busy Schedule