If you’re in the process of registering for baby gear, it can absolutely get overwhelming with options. I believe that most things available for babies are nice to have, but not essentials whatsoever. This list is very subjective, obviously, as it’s from my personal point of view, but I still want to share what items I consider to be essential for a newborn. These are all of the things that got a tremendous amount of use with my son, and are already prepped and ready to go for my baby on the way!
A Nursing Pillow
A nursing pillow, such as a Boppy or a My Brest Friend, can be extremely useful for properly positioning your newborn to get a full feeding. But even if you’re not breastfeeding your baby, these products can still be really useful. I used the boppy pillow as a safe place to lay my son while I got dressed or brushed my teeth. Another great option was to use this pillow to enhance tummy time.
A Baby Carrier
It’s a personal preference, of course, but I highly recommend purchasing a comfortable carrier for your newborn. I wore my son so much in the first few months of his life. He was calm and relaxed and often fell asleep peacefully. It was also very convenient to have both hands free while still meeting my son’s needs. There are several different styles that are great for a newborn, and many available at various price points. A few options to consider- a ring sling (like this brand), a soft wrap (like this one), and a soft structured carrier (like this one). Important to note – many baby carriers have a minimum weight requirement and / or require an infant insert for proper use. Be sure to research whatever you plan to use.
Swaddle blankets are great for swaddling, obviously, but there are many other helpful uses for a newborn. They make great nursing covers, as they’re typically very breathable. I also love to use them as floor blankets for tummy time and somewhere clean to put the baby down – especially if visiting a friend or family member’s home. They’re also lightweight enough to keep a few in the car to use as a stroller / car seat blanket to protect from sun and wind. I prefer blankets made from bamboo, like these, as they’re buttery soft- and only get softer with use. My son still uses these blankets to sleep with for naps and bedtime, so I will need to restock my supply!
My husband and I are very pro-swaddle. Our son was swaddled, either in a blanket or in an infant wrap (like this kind) for months. If his arms weren’t wrapped in, he’d wake himself up within minutes. We hit a dilemma around 4 months – he was strong enough to wiggle his arms out of the velcro wrap but was not sleeping well if his arms escaped. A friend of ours recommended ordering the Woombie and it was a total lifesaver. My son slept in this until he was able to roll over while sleeping and not once was he ever able to get his arms free. We’ll definitely be purchasing another woombie or two this time around.
A White Noise Machine
While my husband and I are very pro-swaddle, we’re a thousand times more pro-white noise. Long story short, our son was a terrible sleeper. After doing [lots of] research and discussing with our pediatrician, we learned that babies are very used to loud noises in utero. The swishing of fluids inside the baby is comforting, and it’s louder than you might think (like, picture a running vacuum all the time). Once those babies are on the outside, they’re a little overwhelmed. Wouldn’t you be? Bright lights, giant people… and weird noises. We noticed that our son was instantly soothed by white noise (like radio static). We used the microwave exhaust fan often when he was nearby and a white noise machine at bedtime. A bonus (at least for us) – I believed it ‘buffered’ the sounds of our creaky hardwood floors if anyone stepped on the wrong spot outside of the nursery. This is the exact machine we have.
Somewhere to Put the Baby Down
Do you need a swing, a bouncer, a rock and play, a play yard, AND a napper? No – but you should have at least ONE of those things. I found it very important to have somewhere safe to place the baby so I could shower, or cook dinner, or clean. The ‘problem’ might be that every baby has their own unique preferences, and it might take some trial and error to determine what they enjoy. For example, my son loved his swing but never seemed to enjoy his bouncer. It can be quite expensive to purchase all different kinds of baby gear. A few alternatives – if you have friends with children, it never hurts asking to borrow something to test drive it first before purchasing. And if you happen to not know anyone with kids or not have anyone close by to borrow from, purchasing gently used gear can be a great option. Check for consignment sales or Facebook yard sale groups!
What were the essential items you used with your newborn? Share them in the comments!