There is so much baby information online, it is easy to get overwhelmed! Around the time I was 6 months pregnant, I decided I had researched enough and had to stop taking in new information! After all, I love knowing babies only need a few items, I had siblings that I remember being babies, and I have worked with babies and children for as long as I can remember. So, I stopped looking up what everyone else was doing and went back to the basics.
Now, my baby is almost 6 months old and I can easily look back at the items we used every day. I curated this list from a simplicity mind set. What do we really need? The fact is- kids are expensive...but babies, by nature, are generally cheap! I mean, they need milk (breast milk or formula), diapers, and something to wear. That's really it!
Of course, I have some extra items that I find are just "fun" or make life with a baby a little easier, but this post is about straight necessities!
Burt's Bees Bodysuit/Onesies of any Kind
Short sleeved, simple, organic, onesies. I registered fro some long sleeved as well because my baby was born in November. Long sleeves on a newborn is a special kind of struggle--and it's pointless. Homes are generally temperature controlled and, as you'll see next, the baby has a swaddle. All is well. Short sleeves will save you time and fuss! Plus, you probably won't be going any where, so short sleeves won't matter in any weather with a new born.
What about those cute dress-like outfits- like a onesie that doesn't button? So cute! So impractical. They ride up on a baby the entire time. Why? Because babies kick and then you pick them up. So yes, easy to change them in, but not otherwise helpful. Skip them.
I would stick with Burt's Bees Organic Bodysuits. The five pack was really all we needed.
Swaddle Me Swaddles
I tried them all. There is one kind I would continue to use in the first 3 months. Close to 3 months, my baby wanted to keep her hands out, so we switched then. But in the beginning, a newborn is wriggly.
The nurse was able to perfectly swaddle my precious infant in a tightly wrapped muslin blanket. Good for her. Late at night, that is not something I could easily replicate. I wish I'd never wasted time on it. The Swaddle Me swaddles were hand me downs from a friend so one desperate night I tried it and I never looked back. It Velcros. Genius.
I would recommend 3 or 4 of them- no more. I didn't know this, but they come in different sizes. I would go small for newborn and have 3 of them. I would go medium or large for the 3+ month old, but have only 1 until you know if your baby will actually use it.
In my experience, more just means I stuff them somewhere and never find them again because 3 is an easy rotation from clean to sleep, to nap, multiple days, to dirty. And contrary to what most people say, you don't need that many additional outfits for newborns. For 3 + months old, multiple outfits a day is true. Newborns rarely have enough output to leak out of a diaper, because you'll change the diaper every time the baby eats because they poop that often<--- fun fact. Yes, every time they eat. I had no idea. But it's nice to have that predictability.
Earth Mama Diaper Balm
Combined with water wipes and Honest Brand diapers, this balm was a life saver in the early days when a baby poops after every feed (I actually didn't know that happened haha). Despite all the changing, my baby never had a single diaper rash. I once ran out of diapers and used a conventional brand and that very week irritated skin appeared. Coincidence or not, I went back to the balm, water wipes, and Honest Diapers and prevented further irritation. I have the balm on subscription through Amazon.
We now use DYPER and have them delivered. They have also been great and she has stayed rash-free. I will probably go with DYPER from the beginning next time for the ease of delivery. DYPER will even send you a label to return/exchange diapers if they are the wrong size. My kiddo outgrew 3s faster than I thought but they were easy to exchange for size 4! They are also available at Walmart if you need to supplement the delivery or want to try them out before committing.
As a lactation consultant, I had hear of Haakaa, but it wasn't at the top of my list. Now, after having a baby, the Haakaa is definitely a must have for the early months. The reason is simple- I could attach the Haakaa to one side while baby was nursing on the other side and by the end of the session, I had a full 3 ounces of milk (that would have likely otherwise just leaked onto my clothes). This really helped me stock a freezer supply without any extra effort. I did also have the Ladybug to catch milk, but honestly never used it, although I have had others tell me it was a good purchase for them, so it's worth a mention. Of note, I did get an electric pump (Spectra S1) but did not use it on maternity leave- it was definitely used for back to work, though so that will be in a later post! If you are in the market for a pump, be sure to check with your insurance before making any purchases! You may qualify for one that is covered by insurance. I used Aeroflow to help and it was super easy!
Ok, full disclosure- a friend gave me the HALO BassiNest and I am so very appreciative, but my baby didn't love the bassinet. She slept better in her own bed- maybe because of the better mattress. I can't be sure, but I do know a Bassinet of some kind is a must. JT and I joked that in the hospital they don't tell you how to feed or take care of your baby but they do tell you not to sleep with the baby. Like a million times! And as a healthcare worker at a children's hospital I can attest to the no sleeping with a baby (disclaimer- I know there are 80 million opinions/facts on all the things, this post is simply highlighting the need for a bassinet).
I recommend one that gets really close to your own bed, level is even better. I think this one looks like what I needed with a newborn. I love that you can just slide them in and they feel like they are close to you. I was usually leaning over the bassinet so she could feel my hand.
Obviously you'll need a car seat and there are so many options. I was so confused between a carseat, carrier, stroller, bassinet, etc. Like, what do I really need? I went with the Chicco KeyFit 35 seat and base. Yes, you will need both (I am telling you, I had no idea!). I went with Chicco over other potentially fancier brands because of the consistent better safety ratings. After all, isn't the point of a carseat safety. Not that the others are bad- they are all good and safe- I just felt good about the Chicco.
I contemplated buying more bases because when I returned to work, others would have my baby every day. While I think that would be a luxury, it is definitely not a necessity. Bases these days are so easy to remove and put back in so unless you just want to spend $100 on each base, one base works fine! If you can afford it though- sure, buy one for each caregiver.
Now that I have talked about my carseat, let me tell you about the Doona (Amazon Link) (Actual site). This doesn't fall in 0-3 months because I only discovered it when I returned to work. I carried my baby into the daycare on campus at work only to find 4 Doona strollers parked in the parking area. After all the contemplating over a carseat and a stroller, how did I miss this memo? It is literally a carseat and stroller in one! So while it seems pricy up front, it just seems worth it to me to not have to wake up the infant or worry with a huge stroller. You can use it probably until about 9 months so I didn't splurge once I already had my carseat and stroller but if I were starting out now, I would skip the stroller I bought (more on that in the older months post to come) and purchase only the Doona carseat for infant stages.
ok, so that's it! If you are feeling overwhelmed just remember- people have been having babies for thousands of years! In this age of information we are likely the only generation dealing with so many options and opinions. It can be hard to navigate what you really need but the truth is- very little! You've got this!
Tell me- did I miss any essentials? The 3-6 month window is coming up next and is a fun one to review.
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