Newborn Essentials That Will Make Your Life Easier
Life for first-time (or even veteran) parents can get pretty complicated. Infants change a family’s dynamic is so many different ways, it can seem overwhelming if you are not prepared. Fortunately, new parents have many months to get ready for their bundle of joy, and they likely will need every moment. Plus, the list of seemingly “required” equipment can exhaust both parents and their budget if they don’t plan wisely.
The definition of “essentials” is different for every set of parents because families have varying priorities. And that’s awesome! Getting to choose what’s best for your baby and partner is one of the joys of parenthood. Let’s look at some of the basics you might want to consider picking up before your newborn arrives. Feel free to add to or subtract from this list depending on your preferences and the needs you anticipate.
Newborns tend to sleep quite a bit, especially in the first three months. After that, most infants start to establish a routine that revolves around feeding times. So, during all the sleeping time, you want to ensure your baby is comfortable and safe. That way, your mind will be at ease when you settle in for a little nap yourself.
- Bassinet and mattress. Because of your baby’s frequent waking times, it is often more convenient to have him or her sleep in your room in a small bassinet next to your bed. It should be free of extra blankets and pads for safety reasons.
- Baby monitor. If you are in another part of the house, you can hear when your baby wakes.
- Crib and mattress. After the first six months, you can move your baby into his or her own room where a crib is ideal. Again, skip the blankets and bumpers.
- Blackout curtains. You might be able to stretch naptime if light can’t enter the room.
Every parent gets to choose how their baby will be fed. If breastfeeding is the right choice, moms already have all the equipment they need. Bottle feeding comes with a bit more equipment.
- Breastfeeding. A coverup blanket and a nursing bra for Mom will just about do it.
- Bottle feeding. You’ll need bottles, nipples and perhaps formula.
- For both. It may be helpful to have a prop pillow for feeding time so your arms don’t cramp.
What to Wear
You can easily go way overboard with baby clothes, but it’s difficult to resist. It’s all so adorable, right? However, babies quickly outgrow their clothes, so it’s best to stick with the basics.
- Bodysuits. These are worn every day, include at nighttime.
- Socks. They may not stay on for long, but they are good to have on hand.
- Outfits. It’s alright to pick up a few cute outfits, just make sure you get clothes in a range of sizes.
- Blankets. You can never have too many lightweight blankets for burp clothes, swaddling and a ton of other uses.
- Hats. Newborns aren’t great as regulating their own temperature, so hats are good for any time outdoors, even when it is warm out.
Bath Time Fun
Bath time is perfect for bonding with your baby – and cleaning up after diaper blowouts. Here is the equipment you may want:
- Bathtub. Newborns generally just get sponge baths, but eventually you may want a small bathtub.
- Washcloths. Just a few will do.
- Baby soap. Choose mild cleaners and don’t worry about shampoo unless your newborn arrived with a flowing mane!
- Bathmat. After your baby can sit up on his or her own, you might move to the large bathtub, at which point a bathmat can prevent slippage.
- Towels. The hooded kind are great for cuddling after a bath.
Whether you choose disposables or cloth, there are certain resources that can ease the chore of changing diapers.
- Diapers. Make sure to get the right size for your child’s weight.
- Wipes. These are great for changes – and multiple other cleaning tasks.
- Rash cream. Soothe red bottoms with cooling cream.
- Diaper pail. For cloth diapers or even disposable.
- Changing table, mat or cover. Mats aren’t vital, but having a changing space that’s at table height can save your back.
Newborns don’t get into too much mischief because they aren’t yet mobile. But there still are a few items you should pick up.
- Thermometer. There are many different models that can ascertain whether your baby is running a fever.
- Reference book on ailments. These are handy to have to cut down on calls to the doctor.
- Nail trimmers. Baby fingernails can get snaggly and scrape his or her skin.
- Childproofing. If you have these tools on hand, you’ll be prepared when Junior suddenly starts walking.
Out and About
After a few weeks cooped up in the house, you’ll be ready for a family outing. Here are some items that will be helpful to have:
- Diaper bag. Look for a combination of style and functionality that suits your needs best. The more pockets, the better!
- Stroller or sling. You’ll need a way to carry your baby when you are out and about. Slings are versatile and lightweight if you prefer baby-wearing, but strollers can save your back and serve as a shopping cart of sorts as well.
- Car seat. Invest in a sturdy seat that meets safety requirements. You might want to add an infant neck support.
- Heavy blanket. Baby will need to be wrapped tightly if you go outdoors during winter months.
- Car mirror. It’s nice to be able to see what your baby is doing while you drive, especially with backward-facing car seats.
Newborns don’t do a lot of self-directed play, but you should certainly find opportunities to engage with them and help them master fine motor skills, such as grasping. Here are some basic toys it’s nice to have:
- Bouncy seat. Infants love these springy seats, and many also vibrate or play music.
- Simple toys. Consider getting a lightweight rattle, rings or tag blankets.
- Baby books. Look for ones that focus on textures and simple words. The sound of your voice is more important than what the words mean.