For first time parents it can be extremely stressful trying to figure out what in the world you HAVE to have before your baby is born and the answer is really…. Not much. Newborns are the most simple of all of the age groups and they don’t require much besides being fed, changed, and a safe place to sleep. 

You can go up to your eyeballs in baby gear and jump on whatever trend is popular at the moment but let me try to save you some time with a few of my must have essentials (the more you buy, the more you’ll be trying to resell or donate later – I don’t know about you but I hate that feeling).

What proved to be most useful for us starting out —

CLOTHING

Newborns need very, very little clothes. 

With the exception of the babies who spit up or poop A LOT, they don’t dirty clothes too much. 

What I found best was just keeping them comfortable and protected. I swear by zipper pajamas but make sure they have the built in fold-over mittens, they are a life saver. I had packs of the regular mittens on hand and we literally lost them all. They were pointless. 

I would say about 5 pairs of zipper pajamas is enough clothes for the first few months if you have laundry in-house. Seriously! I’m not crazy. We basically cycled through the same couple of pairs and that was it. We had SO MUCH we didn’t even touch. 

PACIFIERS

I thought my baby was one of those babies who wouldn’t touch a pacifier but as he got older it is his literal best friend. Helping them self soothe is a marvelous thing. 

Now, we didn’t need it too much until he was a month+ because if he wasn’t actively eating, he was sleeping. Newborns are hungry, don’t fuss with trying to get them to take a pacifier, in my experience I just keep offering feedings if they aren’t settling/sleeping (as long as you know nothing else is wrong… like poop). They pretty much won’t eat if they aren’t hungry. 

The Wubbanub was the best for us because when he would spit it out 400 times per minute, it wouldn’t get lost and he could often find it again easily because it was attached to the critter. Super, super helpful but don’t leave them alone with it in their crib. Somehow they are tiny magicians and can manage to pull literally anything over their face and risk rebreathing and SIDS

If you haven’t read up on either of those, please, please, please take the time to educate yourself on the risk factors and best practices. 

ALWAYS PUT YOUR BABY ON ITS BACK TO SLEEP

After a month or so we moved to Bibs Pacifier and we still use it 16+ months later.

They are lightweight and made of natural rubber. He loves these above all of the other dozens of pacifiers I bought trying to find the right one.

SOUND MACHINE

In the early days they will sleep in pretty much any environment, noisy, quiet, doesn’t matter. But those days end. And if you want any chance of them sleeping peacefully in their own room – invest in a sound machine now. Look for one that doesn’t “loop” because when the loop resets it can wake them up and that’s just annoying.

DIAPERING 

Everyone has their own preference on diapers but we have stuck with Huggie’s from the beginning. The hospital used Pampers but I don’t like the scent they have. Huggie’s don’t have a weird smell to them and if you’re changing the diapers as you’re supposed to you shouldn’t have to worry about pee or poop smell anyway. I don’t like things with added fragrance and I haven’t had any issues with Huggie’s. I like that the small sizes have a flap on the top back to help contain the poo explosions. 

Most baby wipes I can’t even use for my face to take off make up because it leaves my skin with a burning sensation – why would I use that on my newborn baby? 

I bought a pack of Huggie’s Natural Care Wipes to try since I was fond of their diapers but wasn’t convinced it was going to be anything spectacular BUUUUT, I still love them today. I can use them on my face and it’s like a water wipe, it doesn’t leave a film or any burning. 

We have had close to zero diaper rashes and it could just be dumb luck, but I feel like part of the contribution is what types of products you choose to use on their delicate skin. 

There is a brand of wipes called “Water Wipes” but I have not personally tried them, I have heard good things though. I know Huggie’s Natural Care works for us so I’ve just stuck with them.

Like I mentioned above, we haven’t have a whole lot of diaper rashes but I kept a variety of creams on hand just in case. One of them is this Bordeaux Diaper Cream which works really well for any general diaper area irritation. I’m also keen on keeping some Vaseline on hand because it helps keep things hydrated.

*** If you have a son and you choose to circumcise, buy a handful of the Vaseline Squeeze Tubes and some boxes of gauze squares! Squirt some of the Vaseline in a pile and put the gauze over the genitals to keep it from sticking to the diaper and pulling. The baby will thank you. 

CAR SEAT & STROLLER 

*car seat segment omitted while research continues

Much later than I would have wished I was shown this spinning, singing mobile which saved us so many times. He LOVED it and it has an attachment to clip to the side of the crib (Pack N Play) and it doubles as a traditional mobile. Cheap and SO USEFUL.

If you don’t want anything that sings or spins but still want something entertaining and enriching, we were gifted this car seat mobile that he loved to stare at and play with. I often held it above him while he was playing on the floor for him to hit and kick. The black and white contrasts are really engaging and they have fun with it.

We have a fall baby and it was only beginning to get chilly when he was born but we survived the winter because of this nifty thing. You don’t want to bundle babies up before buckling them in the carseat. Nothing but a thin layer of clothes between the baby and the seat straps but I always added a small blanket to his lap and tucked it around his legs and then we zipped up this carseat canopy and ***only flip it over if you are walking in the elements for a short time, it is NOT breathable, do NOT leave the lid flipped when driving or for any duration. They can suffocate. While in the car I unzipped the cover and tucked it out of the way so he couldn’t pull it over himself while I was driving.

BEDS, SLEEP, BLANKETS

I thought a crib was like one of the main things you needed to get for a baby. Lol, nope. We have a nice crib, know how many times we’ve used it? Pretty dang close to zero. It’s actually disassembled in the spare bedroom right now. 

I swear by our pack n play. In the early days (less than 15lbs) there’s a higher bassinet beneath the “napper” (don’t let your baby nap in it!) and we used that until he weighed enough to lower it. He still sleeps in his pack n play today. 

It’s nice because if you have to travel, you can bring it with you and they don’t lose their comfort of home. 

I know pack n plays seem really uncomfortable but babies, newborns especially, need a firm, breathable sleep space. No crib bumpers, no blankets, no pillows, no stuffed animals, no mattresses. I’m saying this because it can literally mean life or death for your baby. Practice safe sleep, please.

On the topic of safe sleep, no blankets allowed, sleep sacks are AMAZING. These Halo sacks are super simple to use too, perfect for that zero sleep brain. Put the baby in, put the arms in the armholes, zip it up, fold one flap over, fold the other flap over. Baby burrito done. I always tucked a few fingers underneath to make sure it was not too tight and there was still plenty of breathing room. This sleep sack is helpful when you’re transitioning out of swaddling too (8 weeks or when they can roll over). Transitioning by leaving one arm untucked, eventually both arms untucked, and then you can move to a regular sleep sack without the swaddle wings. 

If the sleep sacks just don’t work for you or your baby, we had a few Muslin swaddles on hand that we used when the sack was getting washed and they are lightweight, breathable, and super easy to swaddle with. Don’t place it over the baby like a regular blanket for them to sleep. They will pull it over their head. 

SWING

I wasn’t sure if a baby swing was going to be a complete waste of money since I had also heard that some babies just don’t like them but our swing saved our sanity many times and I will always suggest them now. 

Looking back, I’m 99% sure we had some horrid colic (not that you can do anything for it) but it meant improvising and coming up with whatever works to help get the baby to sleep. 

The swing allowed me to set the baby somewhere safe and breathe. 

It’s soothing, they’re buckled in and you can decompress for a minute. 

BATHING

There are many cool contraptions for baby baths these days and we had a Puj tub that I thought was going to be the BEST (cue salty because someone swore to me it was t h e b e s t) – but it wasn’t. He slipped around and I didn’t feel safe with him in there. As he started kicking more he actually kicked the side of his foot raw on the tub because of the material. It was really sad and I will not be purchasing one in the future. 

The blooming lotus squishy mesh sink tub is really nice, I didn’t get the chance to use one but I know a lot of people who did enjoy theirs. After the incident with the Puj tub I opted to just get a regular baby bath and I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it but I truly loved this silly whale tub. It has a newborn/infant insert that they surprisingly don’t slip around in, and they can put their feet in the water and kick around. When they’re big enough you can take it out and they can sit in the tub itself and it’s not slippery and cleans up really well. When he got too big for it I used it as a small splash tub outside in the summer and he had tons of fun with that. It’s relatively inexpensive for the amount of use you get out of it too. 

I guess Amazon doesn’t sell the “Fisher Price Whale of a Tub” anymore (or I really, really can’t find it) so here’s a similar tub by Skip-Hop. But, I cannot vouch for it’s quality or how well it works since I have not purchased it. It merely looks similar to the tub I purchased.

Going back, I would not buy any baby towels. Maybe one really nice soft towel for the baby exclusively but as they get bigger these are just pointless and not very absorbent to begin with. These look really comfy, we had some bamboo washrags of the same brand and they were the SOFTEST thing I have ever felt.

Why is there SO MANY different baby soaps? Again, aren’t they all the SAME THING? Basically. Some have a lot more “stuff” mixed into them and I try to veer away from that. I don’t go for many of the big brands because I have trust issues with some of them. In recent months I came across Dapple – initially for their dish soap that works INCREDIBLY on bottles and breast pump supplies. The milk residue was killing me. I couldn’t get it all off. Even with Dawn (they bathe oil spill ducks in it, surely it could handle milk?!). Breastmilk is really fatty and does a really good job of leaving a film on everything. The Dapple dish soap is one of my #1 purchases today. I love it. I recently found their shampoo and body wash and I love it just as much. It’s all that I buy for my son now and I don’t see myself switching. It’s plant based, no smell, nothing weird. They make dishwasher packs too. 

GO BAG

Why are tote duffel bags still a thing? Backpack diaper bags save your shoulder and your sanity. I hate straps falling off and trying to carry a 50 lb bag on my shoulder, car seat in the other, whatever else. It’s so much easier to throw a backpack on your back and go. It’s nice for guys too because they can throw it on and not carry around a bright bag covered in daisies (some dudes care about that). I have this exact backpack and I LOVE. Good quality, so many pockets.

If you know me or much of my early baby days story – we had a hell of a time with breastfeeding. He could not latch. No matter what. After days of hell I picked up exclusively pumping. Which meant I pumped milk as often as he would eat for months and months and months. It was nowhere near fun and I hope to never have to do it again but it gave him the breastmilk essentials which is SO important in many different ways but what is most important above all else is feeding your baby. If breastfeeding doesn’t work, you don’t have to pump. Formula is there. Formula is good. Feed your baby however you need to feed your baby. I will not judge you. Here’s some of my feeding supplies I used — 

BREASTFEEDING / PUMPING / FORMULA SUPPLIES

I bought a Spectra breast pump and logged over a month worth of hours on it. I love it. Some people don’t, but we are very well acquainted. Buy extra supplies now before you need them. Tubing, flanges, all the various little pieces.

I should’ve bought stock in Dr. Brown’s bottles before having children. They are both a pain in the butt (so many pieces) and the best bottle you can buy (such less air consumed).

Formula mixing pitcher – I also used to store pumped breastmilk for an easy way to mix the fat back in.

Whether you are breastfeeding or pumping, it causes havoc on your nipples. This nipple cream is the best. I bought tubes of Lanolin because I heard how good it was and I never used them.

SICKIE SUPPLIES

I cannot rave about this enough. I am so thankful I decided to buy a bottle of this Boogie Mist one day. It works SO WELL and my son even seeks it out to try and spray it up his own nose when he’s stuffy. It works so well, doesn’t have any extra weird stuff in it, just saline and it helps lubricate those super sticky baby boogers.

I know a lot of people cringe at the thought of putting your mouth on a boogie sucker but the Nose Frida works so damn well. It is seriously magical. I even used it on myself in a desperate time. I swear by it, I love it. 

Do yourself a favor and unless your doctor TELLS you to go do it, save your money and don’t buy any of the random homeopathic cure-alls for infant illnesses. You don’t really know what kind of crap they are putting in there and you really don’t want to just be making your baby ingest whatever, desperate or not. I have found like 98% of the time nothing is going to help besides time, a little Tylenol or Motrin, and boogie spray.

Now we did have some sort of conjunctivitis from a viral cold at one point and I freaked the hell out because his eyes were oozing green. SO gross and I panicked. I took him to the clinic and they explained it’s very common, their sinus passages are so small and sometimes the cold just kinda for lack of a better way of putting it, oozes out of their eyes? I did warm gauze compresses on his eyelids while he slept and it helped flush it out in no time and he never knew the difference. 

P.S. My favorite baby hack to date is to use your bottle nipple to give any liquid medications. Just squirt the medication into the nipple and let the baby suck it out of it. Don’t give ibuprofen(Motrin) to infants younger than 6 months unless advised by your doctor. 

Any information in this blog is not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any illnesses, accidents, etc. I’m not a doctor, not a professional, listen to those guys but this is my knowledge through experience. Listen to your doctor. I’m ranting and sharing my story. Be wise! 

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