When I was pregnant, I trawled through countless articles and videos claiming to be the “only newborn essentials list you’ll ever need”…but found it all a bit overwhelming and confusing. I really wanted to be well-prepared, but also wanted to avoid gathering lots of stuff and cluttering the house/hurting my bank balance!
If you are an expecting or new parent who is tired of being bombarded with ads and info, here is my honest, no-nonsense guide to newborn essentials*.
*bearing in mind that actually, all you baby really needs is lots of contact with you, food and warmth!
1. Easy-to-wear clothes
Baby B’s ‘going home’ outfit was a super cute velours number that went over his head and buttoned in the back. Big no-no… It took me 10 minutes to dress him and it came straight off when we got home! Learn from my mistake: buy in lots of baby-grows that button or zip up and thank me later. And make sure you buy newborn and 0-3 sizes. Baby B outgrew some of his ‘newborn’ stuff at 10 weeks and people will buy you bigger sized clothes as gifts.
2. Water Wipes
Your baby’s skin is super soft and sensitive, and for the first few weeks of life he is developing his immune system by gathering bacteria. It’s best to stay away from fragrance and harsh chemicals during this time (and forever if you can!) Water Wipes are 99.9% water and midwife-approved. We went through a packet a day in the early days (!!!) and while this has reduced greatly, I’ve always felt confident I was protecting Baby B’s skin.
I realised in hospital that my handful of muslins wasn’t going to be enough so ordered some from the post-natal suite! You’ll use them for swaddling, cleaning up, covering up if you’re nursing…and about 15 other things. Get a mix of small and large 100% cotton muslins.
4. Sleeping bags
There is LOADS of advice out there about what baby should sleep in. The safest sleeping environment is a firm flat surface with no loose bedding – so loose blankets aren’t recommended. (Click here for more safe sleeping advice.) Swaddling has made a come-back and while we tried that (with those handy muslins!) Baby B just didn’t like it. He LOVES, however, his Grobags. They’re comfy for him and handy for us, and we actually use them as one of our “it’s bedtime!” signals. They also come in different togs which is great, and we have a Groegg which monitors room temperature through the night so we know Baby B isn’t too cold or overheating according to the tog he is wearing. Love the Gro system!
5. White noise
Speaking of sleep, I was shocked at how Baby B was comfortable with noise until I realised he’d been surrounded by it for 9 months! Apparently the volume in a womb is as loud as a hoover, and silence actually makes babies uncomfortable. For the first few weeks I used a white noise app to help Baby B sleep, and when we were sure it was indeed helpful, we bought a MyHummy. We researched several devices and settled for this one because of its range of sounds and its continuous setting (it also turns on automatically when it hears your little one stir!) Note: always keep spare batteries handy!
So, there you go: my top 5 essentials. I debated whether to include a baby carrier (Baby B is rarely not on either Dan or me and we use this one) and I’ve missed out things like nappies and saline spray (pretty important for winter babies!!) If I was writing a longer list I’d include our Uppababy travel system (we found it on eBay and it arrived in pristine condition…that has changed since I take it out everyday, rain or shine, and just love it!) and our bedside cot, the Snuzpod. It is recommended that babies sleep in their parents’ room for at least the first six months of life, and the Snuzpod means I can have Baby B right next to me with the side down or simply alongside our bed with both sides up! It allows a lovely closeness during the night and the top lifts off so you can use it for naps in the rest of the house, too.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Let me know how you get on – and remember the most essential newborn ‘item’ is YOU!
While you’re here, here’s my post on how to help new parents! Share it with your tribe so they know how to support you on this exciting new journey.