Ready to bring a newborn home? Let’s talk about the only things you really need:
You see them all the time, advertisements for newborn items that are a *must have* or are *essential.* Do a quick internet search and you’ll see slideshows of cute bouncy seats and swings, outfits and headband bows that are touted as *need to get for newborn now.* Some of these items can be a ‘nice to have’ but what do you really need to have on hand when you bring a newborn home?
As doulas and birth educators, we often see couples stressing about what they need. What is essential for the first 6 weeks of having a newborn baby? Check out our list of the 7 items we think are must-haves to bring a newborn home home.
1. Diapers and wipes
Poop is synonymous with newborns. Whether you plan to go green and buy cloth diapers or just want the ease of using disposables, you’ll need diapers.
Some tips from our personal experience:
- Take home all the diapers that are in your hospital birthing room. They can’t be reused so take them with you!
- It’s hard to tell what size your little one will be when she’s born but plan to have at least one package of newborn diapers, if not two.
- Plan to have a package of size one diapers in case you have a large baby who never fit into newborn anything.
- Don’t go crazy buying and registering for diapers before baby is born. There is not one brand that is best and you could waste your money. The best diapers really depends on your baby’s bum shape and build. You could buy a years worth of Pampers, but they constantly leaked cause your baby’s bum needed Luvs diapers. So just buy some and see if you like them first, then send your mother-in-law to get more.
- If planning on cloth diapering, ask moms what they like and maybe they will pass them onto you to save some bucks!
Your baby’s first few poops are going to be very tarry and sticky so having coconut oil on hand can be helpful. Also, some babies can be sensitive to cold wipes. Wipe warmers can be another expense, or just warm in your hands before using. Generally, you’ll want to go with an unscented wipe for sensitive skin, or even use some very soft washcloths and plain water.
An easy trick our Postpartum Doula recommends is having a thermos of water or homemade wiping solution. Pour in the cap during changing time and soak up the liquid with a cloth. Voila, you have an easy and gentle baby wiping station!
2. Receiving blankets
You’ll want a few thin, soft flannel or muslin receiving blankets when you bring a newborn home home. These can be used for everything so plan to have enough on hand for the inevitable diaper blow out and spit up that’s bound to happen. You can also use them to swaddle baby, as a breastfeeding cover-up, over the car seat. These are a must since they have SO MANY USES! You cannot have too many of these around, for all the poop, spit up, drool and breastfeeding that is about to happen.
3. Clothing, but don’t go overboard.
We think keeping clothing to a minimum is wise for a couple reasons. First, baby grows so quickly that he/she could easily outgrow newborn clothes or if it’s a bigger baby, never even fit into them! Secondly, a style that might be cute may not be conducive to diaper changes and real newborn life of sleeping and feeding.
One of our favourite items for the newborn period are newborn sleep gowns! We encourage about 6 sleeper gowns that snap/zipper/tie at the bottom and call it a day. These are the best for middle of the night diaper changes, and when you and your partner are so exhausted that you don’t want to deal with the impractical infant denim jeans!
Of course a couple cute baby beanies are nice and a pack of warm socks in case it’s a colder season. (Or you’re more comfortable with a cooler house/room and want to keep him warm.)
And remember, lots of skin to skin in the first weeks is amazing for bonding and soothing. Baby doesn’t need a whole closet full right away.
4. A place for baby to sleep
Newborn babies do a lot of eating, pooping, and sleeping! So you will need a place for baby to catch some zzzz’s! Whether that’s a crib in another room or your room, a bassinet next to the bed, a cosleeper attached to your bed or just in bed with you, baby needs a safe place to sleep.
There is a newer Moses Basket type contraption/co-sleeper that you can buy to put on your bed. It has short sides if you’re concerned about bed sharing. (See what it looks like here.) If you decide on a crib, make sure it hasn’t been recalled and follows standard safety protocols.
5. Car seat
This is a must (for safety and legal reasons) before you can even bring a newborn home from the hospital. And know they will check. Do some research on safety standards, how long the seat will last based on weight. (Whether you want a bucket style that you’ll have to replace as the baby gets bigger or whether you want an all-in-one type.)
There’s also the option of the car seat fitting into a stroller and/or a jogger, so if you’re an active person take that into consideration.
Over 70% of car seats are installed incorrectly, so be sure to get a professional technician to give you a stamp of approval before bringing your precious cargo home. In the Portland Oregon and Vancouver WA area, Adjoyn provides in home car seat inspections. They also provide installs and classes to help get baby home safely and confidently.
6. Feeding Supplies
Whether you breastfeed or bottle feed, you’ll need some stuff. Buy yourself a couple good quality nursing bras, some disposable or washable breast pads and have some nipple cream on hand. Not kidding. Baby Nest makes a rad one that heals the nipple, over just lubricating it like other store brands.
If you’re bottle feeding you’ll need, well, bottles, nipples, formula or donated breastmilk. And a washing brush for getting in all the nooks and crannies.) If you are heading back to work or bottlefeeding with your breastmilk, you will need a good pump. We highly recommend the Spectra if you will be pumping daily. Medela for minimal use.
7. A baby carrier
Sure you should be napping when the baby naps but there is still stuff to get done right? A baby carrier is the magic of being with baby and having your hands free to make your lunch! There are as many types of carriers on the market as there are types of parents.
Your best bet is to go to a baby boutique and try some out before you buy. Many of them will have a pretend baby you can use to try them out. Local to the Portland Oregon Metro area, check out Milagros Boutique for all types of baby carrier/slings. You can try on and buy before you bring a newborn home!
We tend to like simple ones like Solly makes. And these can be used by any number of caregivers the baby might have. There are also front backpack style carriers like the Ergo. (You will need to purchase a newborn insert for use up to twelve pounds.) Do your homework and pick one that will work the best for your needs for when you bring a newborn home.
Wanna carry your baby, but have no idea what kind of carrier to buy? Read more here: “5 Ways to Choose the Right Baby Carrier for You”.
Honestly, you really don’t need much to bring a newborn home. They aren’t yet interested in toys or the latest fashion trends. Your baby just needs the basics, along with eye contact, love, snuggles and patience! Sure you could throw in swaddle zip ups and a strap in diaper changing table for additional convenience. But don’t stress yourself out with a giant baby registry.
If people insist on buying you something, let them all pitch in to hire a postpartum doula for you, a postpartum massage, or make you meals that you can freeze! Those are the things you really need and are priceless!
Remember what you learned in first grade? KISS, Keep It Simple Sister!