I’ve been meaning to write this post for, oh, 2 months now but as with most things nowadays, I haven’t quite found the time. But I suppose that my lack of blogging time was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to narrow down this list a little bit more. I remember reading quite a few of these “baby essentials lists” on other blogs when I was pregnant with Theo and I found them to be quite useful since I had NO IDEA what one needs to take care of a newborn. So I thought I’d pay it forward. This isn’t a list of absolutely everything we purchased/received in preparation for baby but rather a list of the items I couldn’t imagine living without when we first welcomed Theo home. One quickly realizes that every baby is different and comes with his/her own set of needs so although this list contains all of the items that I found to be most useful, it’s very possible that other mothers had more success with other brands. Please share your must-have items for newborns if you have them!
2. City Mini Stroller – I feel like the makers of this stroller should hire me as their spokesperson because I have been singing the praises of this product to anyone who will listen – even to those who don’t want to listen for that matter. Living in a second floor walk-up, I knew that we would need a light-weight and very portable stroller and this one meets both criteria. It is really well-designed and less expensive than other models you’ll find in baby stores.
3. Romeo the Frog by Lilliputiens – It’s not easy to find toys for newborns. My aunt gave this one to us and it was an instant hit with our boy. The toy has a ton of different textures and sounds and the tiny stuffed animals are perfect for little hands.
4. Maxi-Cosi Mico Infant Car Seat – Luckily, our stroller sells car seat adapters that are compatible with this brand of car seats so we were able to attach it to our beloved stroller until Theo was old enough to sit in the stroller. This car seat is very light and easy-to-install.
5. DwellStudio Bottle Holder – I’m sure you can get a more affordable version of this handy travel accessory. This one was given to us as a gift and it ended up being so useful to carry milk bottles during long car rides. The insulated lining keeps the bottle nice and cool!
6. Miracle Blanket – Although Theo spent most of the first month of his life trying to fight his way out of a swaddle, it was a lifesaver during those first weeks. His limbs would fly all over the place when he was tired, often hitting him in the face and waking him up. The swaddle was key in getting him to sleep. The Miracle Blanket made it much easier to wrap him up like a burrito, especially during the wee hours of the morning.
7. DwellStudio Swaddle Blankets – These lightweight blankets were so useful during the first months of his life. Plus I adored the patterns they came in. We still use them on a daily basis to shield Theo from the sun when in the car or stroller.
8. BabyBjorn Babysitter Balance Chair – It took a few months, but around 13 weeks, Theo began to enjoy sitting in this baby chair. I plop him in there while showering or cooking dinner and he kicks his legs around to make the chair bounce. It’s very handy and a dream to travel with. No batteries required!
9. Alphabet Zoo Activity Gym by Skip Hop – Initially I resisted getting one of these play mats but eventually I recognized the benefits of having somewhere to lay your baby down while you tackle a chore or two around the house. The little toys on this one can be taken off and attached to a car seat or stroller. The mat is also interactive and perfect for tummy time.
10. SpaBaby Tub – Although I was nervous about holding Theo’s little head above the water line, I quickly got the hang of things and saw the benefits of using a bucket-like bath when bathing a newborn. He loved having his entire body submerged in the water and never fussed. Plus it’s made of recycled materials and completely BPA-free.
12. Natursutten soother – We were told to avoid soothers but once we saw how useful it was at putting the little one to sleep, we gave in. They don’t call them soothers for nothin’! This brand is BPA-free, made from pure natural rubber and won’t leave a mark on the baby’s face.
13. Greco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine – I don’t know who loves this machine more – the baby or us. The soothing sounds help to block out the sound of traffic outside of our bedroom window and it was clearly very comforting to Theo during those first weeks of life. I love that it features so many different sound options (everything from nature sounds to womb-like white noise) and that it doubles as a night light.
14. Joe Fresh Socks – Love the patterns, love the price! Plus, they stay on baby’s feet better than most other brands we tried.
15. Gap Bundlers – I had a lot of luck with ordering baby clothing online on Gap.com. My orders usually arrived within 48 hours and I took advantage of their frequent sales. The newborn onesies we ordered really came in handy and held up through frequent washes. The bundlers were particularly handy when changing a newborn in the middle of the night because we didn’t have to fiddle with tiny buttons!
16. Mom’zelle Nursing Tops – I lived in my two Mom’Zelle tops during our first few weeks at home. This Montreal-based company makes the most comfortable and practical nursing tops I’ve come across.
17. Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter: Thank goodness I purchased a jar of this miracle cream before baby arrived. It was by my bedside on the morning I realized that I needed it, badly. It’s safe for baby so you don’t have to rinse it off before feedings and it’s great for chapped skin too!
18. Medela Swing Breastpump – Initially we rented the Medela Symphony pump from a local baby store (Bummis, for you local Montrealers) and it worked ok but I felt like I had to sit for 30 min at at time to get a decent amount of milk. The Swing is smaller, easy to carry and so much more efficient. I love all Medela products for that matter.
19. Dr. Brown’s Baby Bottles – I didn’t think that we would need bottles but sure enough, when I struggled with breastfeeding, the bottles ended up being so critical. Dr. Brown’s are especially great for gassy babies and Theo definitely preferred these to other brands we tried.
20. Medela Calma Breastmilk Feeding Nipples – I was nervous about giving Theo the bottle when he had yet to master nursing but these nipples were a nice transition since they require a simple sucking motion to create a vacuum. So the baby has to work in order to get the milk therefore making it easier for the baby to go from breast to bottle and back.
21. Organic Washable Nursing Pads – Although they don’t look amazing under your clothes, they are so handy in those first few weeks when the milk comes in. I wore these every night for the first few months.
22. Medela Quick Clean Micro-Steam Bags – During those first few challenging weeks where we relied heavily on bottles to feed our baby, sterilizing bottles became a very time-consuming part of our day. These bags made our job so much easier!
23. Grass Countertop Drying Rack – When you have bottles, nipples, covers, filters, etc to clean and dry, it takes all of 10 minutes before your countertop is cluttered. We found this drying rack to be very handy. Our bottles dried much faster and everything was in one organized place.