Pictured above: My friends little one, Scarlett at 4 weeks old, and my Leo at 4 months old (see point 9 below)
My son Leo just turned 10 months old, 2 more months until he is a real person – according to a friends 4 year old daughter! This is round 1 as a Mama for me and some days I still feel like I don’t really know what I’m doing, I’m just a little more relaxed about it these days. I have a few pregnant friends at the moment and the same question keeps coming up:
What do I really need for my newborn?
Taking a trip into any local baby shop can leave a pregnant Mama in a tizz. There is just so. much. stuff. What the hell do you and don’t you need??
So I’ve decided to give myself a challenge and try to narrow it down to the top 10 things you really need for a newborn.
Remember that nesting phase you went through near the end of your pregnancy? Or maybe you still need to get there. Well at around 3 months old, most Moms go through an un-nesting phase, where they giveaway all the unnecessary items they have accumulated! It’s amazing how much stuff can add up over those first few weeks.
I’m going to make a separate list for the obvious and the breastfeeding / formula feeding items… Everyone knows you need nappies, wipes, babygrows, bottles, etc, the top 10 I’m talking about are the other things you really need. The rest? It could come in handy at some point, but it’s not 100% necessary in my opinion.
- nappies (disposable / modern cloth)
- bum cream
- nursing pads
- bra’s that you can breastfeed in (I found some lovely ones at Mr Price – cheap so you can buy a few, comfy, easy to pull up or down to feed and they have removable padding which doubles up as nursing pads and prevents any visible leaks)
- phone number of a good lactation consultant
- cabbage (incase of engorgement)
- breast pump (optional)
If you want to have a night or two here and there where hubby takes over the feeds, or perhaps your Mom could do a feed during the day so you can catch up on some sleep, then you will need a good quality breast pump so you can get as much milk out in one pump session as possible. Of course, if you’re going to pump, you’re going to need a set of storage bottles, plus feeding bottles, and a baby who is willing to take a bottle over your boob (it can be a struggle).
I found it a lot easier to just breastfeed on demand during those first few weeks. It’s the best way to get the most sleep, even though it may not feel like it (unless you are formula feeding and have someone else there to prepare, wash up and sterilize the bottles at each feed). Pumping takes an awfully long time, breast pumps can be loud and may wake your baby and it can affect your milk supply negatively if your baby doesn’t nurse directly as much as possible to begin with. For more help and info on breastfeeding, join the La Leche League facebook page.
If formula feeding:
- at least 6 bottles (The anti-colic NUK ones worked for us)
- good quality bottle brush
- flask (to keep warm boiled water during load shedding, newborn babies do not like cold milk)
The list: The only 10 things you really need from newborn to 3 months
1. A comfortable baby carrier
In my opinion, you don’t really need a pram during those first 3 months. A comfy baby carrier keeps baby close, safe and warm and will dramatically reduce crying when out and about. It will also make navigating a grocery shop a lot easier than trying to push around a pram as well as a trolley, or trying to load the teeny little pram basket with all your groceries.
2. Car seat
Of course, you cannot leave the house without having a carseat, unless you’re going for a walk. Of all the things you can purchase second hand, I think it’s important to make sure you have a good quality car seat (whether new or second hand) to keep your baby as safe as possible.
3. Swaddle blankets
Newborn babies love to be swaddled, it helps bring back that feeling of being in the womb and prevents them from waking (or not being able to fall asleep) from the startle reflex (also know as the moro reflex or ‘jazz hands’) that they often get. The startle reflex is pretty cute actually, but can cause crying and early waking from a nap, which is why learning how to swaddle correctly is a good idea.
4. Good quality glass water bottle
Especially if you’re breastfeeding, you’ll need to constantly be sipping on water to keep hydrated, so it’s a good idea to invest in a good quality glass water bottle.
5. Good quality baby bag plus rollout nappy changing mat
When you do start to venture out into the world again, you’ll want to try and make your trips as simple as possible. A neatly organised baby bag, with separating pouches for your different bits and pieces is really handy. Try to find one with a nappy changing mat inside – these are very handy when you need to change a nappy on the go, in the car, or on a friends bed (trust me, friends who don’t have kids yet don’t seem to find it as funny as you do when your 3 week old pee’s on their bed!)
6. Pacifier / dummy
Some Mom’s manage to steer clear of the dummy, but for me this kept me sane. My plan was not to use a dummy, but it got to a point where my boobs just really needed a break from all that comfort sucking and the dummy did the trick. Even if you don’t plan to use one, I would suggest keeping a backup one in the cupboard, just incase. It’s better than having to rush out with a newborn baby to the closest baby shop to purchase one with a screaming baby, like I did!
7. Bouncy chair
You don’t want your baby to spend too much time in a bouncy chair, or a car seat for that matter, but I found it very handy when I needed to cook a hot meal or if I needed to do something that was perhaps not 100% safe to do with my baby on my chest in the carrier. A bouncy chair kept him happy and even managed to put him to sleep a few times too.
8. A couple old school toweling nappies
This was a tip from my dear friend Tessa, a Mom of 2 gorgeous girls. These towelling nappies are so absorbent and they’re great for just hanging over your shoulder, or keeping one in each room for quick clean ups. Whether it’s a bit of baby puke, or the cup of tea that you kicked over, I found these nappies to come in very handy. I also kept one in my baby bag.
9. Moses basket / soft carry cot / feeding pillow
Co-sleeping is great and we do it often these days, but when he was still so little it kind of freaked me out to have him under all those duvets between us, so I really used the carrycot a lot during those first few months. We didn’t use a cot at all until around 3 months. Any daytime sleeps were done in his little carrycot or in the baby carrier and during the night I would just keep the carrycot on the bed with us. A moses basket on wheels (as pictured above) is another option instead of a carrycot, and a handy extra is a breastfeeding pillow – these work nicely to keep baby at a slight angle if they want to have a look around while you’re busy.
Your smile, your voice, your touch, your scent, your eyes, your kisses, your tears, your cuddles, your heartbeat, your love. These are the only real 10 things your baby needs.
Thanks for reading and please leave a comment with anything else you think should be added to my list!