I have not quite come to grips with folks actually turning to me for mom advice, it's still weird when I say "my daughter"! I always say I do not really have advice because every baby is different, every family is different, and every lifestyle is different; however, I love this community I would love to share what has worked for us so far. You'll notice that my suggested items are from all over which is why I created my registry on Babylist.com, it gave me the flexibility to really customize my registry plus they had a ton of guides which I needed!
Now a little background on us and our lifestyle: we LIVE in our house (meaning no "look but don't touch" here), we love simple and dislike clutter (I did not want a ton of UNNECESSARY baby crap, just because it was labeled "baby"), we wanted to try self soothing techniques, and we are out and about quite often.
Below are the products that have been my MUST HAVES in the first 3 months. She's using more things now but I want to focus on newborn essentials for this post because I remember feeling so overwhelmed when I was pregnant because I was so unsure of what I needed. The truth of the matter is you don't need much in those first few months, like a high chair and sippy cups for example! I hope this helps and again, this is what worked for us!
- SWADDLE SWADDLE SWADDLE! Before Kennedy arrived we had so many swaddles (receiving blankets) and I was so sure we would never use them all BUT that is our most frequently used item. We use those blankets for everything: swaddling (game changer), a light blanket, car seat cover, on the floor for play time, burp cloth when I've forgotten a real one etc! We also have them EVERYWHERE...the car, the stroler, diaper bag, our room, her room, living room, grandmas house...EVERYWHERE! I use Aden and Anais; they're super soft, a breathable fabric, machine washable, and they have great prints (just saying). Link to: Aden & Anais Swaddle
- ALL THINGS FRIDA BABY. Everything Frida Baby is amazing, legit game changers. The Nose Frida is used religiously in our house (I'm crazy with boogers haha) and I even purchased an extra one for the diaper bag. It really is just so easy and more importantly it gets the job done (pair it with a saline solutions for babies, totally safe from day 1 but obviously check with your doctor). The Windi has been a real life saver, it has cured every gas issue and major fuss fest we have encountered..it is practically instant relief for your little one (and you). The Medicine Dispenser has made giving medicine a breeze and NO MESS, you have no idea how quickly Cherry Tylenol stains. Link to: Windi, Nose, and Medicine
- DIAPER BAG. For starters, I highly suggest a book bag style diaper bag because if you're anything like me shoulder bags constantly slip off and when you've got a baby in tow that is extra annoying. Up until a few weeks ago I was using a book bag I had already and just used a diaper bag insert which essentially turns any of your bags into a diaper bag, so if you still want to rock your favorite purse or be able to rotate bags this is a great option. (link to Insert:) Recently, I got an actual diaper bag (still back pack style) and it is GREAT. For starters, it stays open when open so you have full visibility of what's going on in there. It also has different compartments both inside and out which make organizing your diaper bag easy (an organized diaper bag is so key, I'm still working on it ha). I have the Citi Babies diaper bag (link to: Citi Babies Diaper Bag) it's also very affordable and looks good on both me and Jack ha. Also, make sure your diaper bag has a changing mat in it; most come with it (the two above do) if not throw one in there it is a must when you're on the go.
- CHANGING PAD. I cannot stress enough how much I love my Bumbo changing pad! It is a wipe down changing pad; meaning no changing the cover. I'm actually not sure why the traditional changing pad and cover system still exists; seriously, Kennedy has pissed on the damn changing pad more times than I can count! I can't imagine having to not only change her but then change the changing pad and add something else to the laundry; again you simply wipe down the Bumbo changing pad if there is ever an accident. (I use Dreft wipes). The Bumbo changing pad is a bit more than the traditional pads but you don't have to buy any covers so they end up evening out in price. Link to: Bumbo Changing Pad, Dreft Wipes
- WHITE NOISE MACHINE. This was especially helpful in the earlier weeks and months but definitely still works now at 5 months. I have used everything from an app on my phone, to youtube videos of the shush noise, to actual white noise machines. I keep one in the car (on her car seat so it travels with us) and we have one at home near her bassinet. It is a comforting noise and it also helps her associate a noise with sleep which is helpful to wind her down. PS it doesn't have to be a new purchase, you can use a phone, a speaker, iPod etc. Link to: Whale White Noise Machine
- BABY SINK TUB. Before Kennedy was even born, bathing a baby freaked me out...they're so small and then slippery when wet...scary! A sink tub was perfect for the first few months (a little longer for most others, remember Kennedy was a big ol' baby). We used the PUJ, it's soft and sturdy, she fit perfectly in it and there was no chance of me putting too much water which gave me peace of mind. (Side note I only use Mustela bath products, amazing on her skin and smells so yummy. Also, make sure you have baby wash cloths.) Link to: Puj Sink Tub
- BASSINET. For the first weeks AT LEAST (we lucked out with K) your baby is going to be eating pretty much around the clock which means good ol' middle of the night feedings. With that being said convenience was a huge factor here for me, if I was going to have to get up in the middle of the night A LOT for feedings I didn't want to have to go very far so we setup a bassinet in our room. I went back and forth with this idea because I was all "I don't want the baby to get used to being in our room, our room is our sacred place"...lol silly me, thankfully I stuck to logic and convenience! Also, our house is two floors so I set up a wicker bassinet (mainly because I thought it was so damn cute) which we used ALL the time for naps, to change her diaper, a place to hold her while we did what we needed to (that worked until she was able to rock herself lol), and now that she can sit up we have it on the floor for her to sit in or lay in...eventually it will hold her toys or blankets. Link to: The Snoo, Wicker Bassinet
- PACIFIER CLIPS. "Have you seen her pacifiers?" literally something we say daily. Maybe it's just us but pacifiers are like socks and bobby pins in this house; they always go missing. They sell the pacifier clips everywhere from big name stores to Etsy shops, I actually just purchased the metal parts (a pack of like 10) and just braided some string (AFTER I realized pacifiers disappear). Link to: Clips to DIY
- ONESIES. Onesies are life! Kennedy literally lives in onesies; be it the only thing she's wearing or it is layered under her clothes...we use them every single day. Throw some socks in there while you're at it.
- NAIL FILE. I dreaded the thought of cutting baby nails but it turns out in the very beginning they're too thin to cut so you just peel them then eventually you can file then cut. Once I found out I could file I stuck to that; it's easier, safer (for me), and they're not jagged like they are after cutting so less scratches. Link to: Baby Nail File
- BIBS/BURP CLOTHS. One of my friends mentioned that bibs and burp cloths are her go to gifts when she goes to a shower because everyone forgets about them since they're not "cute" or "fun" but they're such a necessity and boy was she right. Bibs and burp cloths are LIFE. I actually just registered for Plain Jane white cotton onesies, I'm pretty sure they're the ones people use at showers to decorate but they were clutch. First of all a bib gets DIRTY especially in the first few months when babies (or at least Kennedy) spit up and vomit A LOT! The burp cloths were great to put on our shoulders when burping and to clean up any messes on her or us. (The Burts Bee ones are soooo soft). Link to: Plain AF Bibs, Soft AF Burp Cloths
- DREFT TO GO SPRAY. Just trust me and put this in your diaper bag! Accidents happen and the Dreft spray is better than any Tide stick I've used! I actually have one in my purse, the car, and in the house! Link to: Dreft To Go
- JUNGLE GYM. I don't even know if that's what it's called but you know the thing that they look at and play with while on their backs. I got the IKEA one (I actually got quite a few things from IKEA) and I love it (she loves it too)! I learned that babies actually only see black, white, and red for a few months so that's why you're supposed to use high contrast like black and white and the IKEA "jungle gym" thing is wood with black, white, red, and blue dangly things...so it is simple and EFFECTIVE (my favorite), I do not like unnecessary bells and whistles. Oh and inexpensive...winning! Link to: Ikea Gym
- BABY CARRIER. I personally LOVE wearing Kennedy and so does Jack so we have a few but our top two carriers are the Solly and the Ergo. The Solly was great when she was a newbie because it's soooo soft and it's a wrap so you can get a custom fit and get the baby nice and snug. Also, Kennedy was a summer baby so the fabric felt very breathable (for her skin and mine). The Ergo is my go to for all things active, basically anything outside of a leisurely stroll or sitting down at a restaurant (again early months talk, I would wear her when we went out to eat in town opposed to lugging a stroller around). I use the Ergo for hiking and traveling for sure, it is by far the most secure carrier in my opinion and there are numerous ways to wear it which is nice (meaning she can face me or face the world). Carriers aren't for everyone, be it lifestyle or personal preference. It suits our lifestyle perfect though; the ability to be hands free while with the baby makes going for a stroll easy and getting on the train a breeze! Link to: Ergo 360
- POOP BAGS. Again no idea what they're actually called but they look like the poop bags you use for dogs. I always have one clipped inside my diaper bag in case I'm changing a diaper some place other than a bathroom. I toss the dirty diaper in the little scented bag until I find a trash and I don't walk around smelling like poop nor does the diaper bag get funky. Link to: Poop Bags, Poop Bag Carrier
- SEAT/ROCKER. Like I mentioned in the intro of this post we were big on self soothing so we opted out of the oh so popular Fisher Price Rock n Play and went for the Baby Bjorn Bouncer. Unlike most bouncer this one has NO power button eventually the baby will learn to rock themselves to soothe opposed to being dependent on the machine. We plopped her in there when we need free hands or just so she could chill, especially as time went on and she didn't want to lay on her back in the bassinet for no reason ha. This again like a lot of my things is very simple in design and EFFECTIVE, it also has has a life of 2 years...meaning it goes from newborn to two years old...talk about getting your monies worth! And it folds and weighs NOTHING so it was easy to bring from room to room or when we would visit people. Link to: Baby Bjorn Bouncer
- FOAM MATS. Tummy time is super important and when babes aren't on their tummy they're on they're back so you want to make sure you have a safe and comfortable surface for them. I opted out of the very bright and large alphabet mats (she'll learn her letters another way) and went for plain black foam mats that are firm yet cushiony and would just throw a blanket over it (if I remembered). Link to: Mat
- SECONDARY DIAPER STATION. While our house is small, it is two floors with the living space being downstairs. We spend a majority of our time downstairs so we set up a Kennedy "nook" so that her stuff was in one place. We used an Ikea cart and a diaper caddy that held: diapers, wipes, diaper rash cream, a foldable changing mat (like the kind that would be in your diaper bag). Link to: Cart, Diaper Caddy
Okay that's what stood out for me as MUST HAVES (I even checked with Jack to make sure I wasn't missing anything). The above were things we used every single day in those first 3 months and even to this day. Below is a list of the more obvious must haves for a life with a newborn:
- Car Seat
- Bottles / Nipples
- Leak pads (for your nipples because you will leak!)
- Pump (all the pieces, bottles, etc)
- Hands Free Pumping Bra (optional but SUPER helpful, don't know why you wouldn't use it)
- Robe (for the hospital and once you're home)
- Diapers / Wipes
- Baby Tylenol (I'm sooo not a medicine person and was pushing Kennedy in that direction as well but the day she finally needed it I wish I had it on hand instead of having to run out for it)
- Monitor. Honestly, we used a $20 audio monitor and really just used it as a walky talky system for us ha. I didn't see the need for the video monitor for a little baby...MY PERSONAL OPINION. However, now that she is mobile I will get one.
THINGS I DID NOT/HAVE NOT USED (EVEN RETURNED):
- BOTTLE WARMER
- WIPE WARMER
- BABY DETERGENT (we ended up using All Free Clear once we ran out of the Dreft baby detergent, although baby detergent smells so yummy...hmm maybe I'll pick up a bottle)
- TOYS. Newborns fresh out the hospital do not need toys, hell they are hardly awake and when they are they're eating. The jungle gym and Sophie (Sophie's the bomb, she should be up there) will take care of the toy category in those first three months.
- BOTTLE SANITIZER. We keep it old school and simple...BOIL THAT ISH. Also, they sell bags that you put some water in then you throw the bottles or whatever in and pop it in the microwave to steam aka sanitize. I like that because I can toss it in a drawer when I'm done opposed to taking up a ton of counter space.
I will work on an updated list for "must haves" you'll need in the months post newborn stage. But if you have any questions shoot me a message or leave a comment. If you're already a parent and think I've left an essential off this list please comment or message me so I can update this list.