My Newborn Essentials

I feel like I have a small avalanche of new babies in my circle of friends. Since I like inflicting my opinion on everyone, I thought I’d share some stuff that I came to appreciate in the early days of bleary mommy-hood.

Eat Sleep Simple Baby Tracking app – In the first few weeks of life you will have fairly frequent well-baby check-ups with the pediatrician, where you will be grilled with a series of rapid fire questions involving everything from the number of poops and pees per day to what the sleeping situation is and which direction your carseat is facing. It feels like a pass/fail sort of test. This app helped me a lot in order to keep track of things, because I had about 2 functioning brain cells due to sleep deprivation. I mostly used it for keeping track of eating, how many minutes on each side and how frequently. My iPhone and my Boppy were my constant companions.

Halo Sleep Sack – I was all about the swaddling. Cora… not so much. She wouldn’t fuss when swaddled, she would just do a little Houdini move and her arms would wiggle free in mere moments. We had a few different kinds of things, from the nice Aden & Anais muslin blankets to the Miracle Blanket. The most fool-proof swaddle was the Halo Sleep sack. There is a zipper in front and two flaps on the arms on the side that can velcro together, with the option to hug arms to the body in a swaddle or leave it loose around the body to let those baby arms wave in the air. The zipper offered easy diaper access without having to completely unbundle her. Next time I need to swaddle somebody I’ll go straight to one of these. So, so easy. Plus even if your lil bugger isn’t into the swaddling it is a nice wearable blanket that can’t be kicked off or wiggle up in front of the face.

Fisher Price Newborn Rock N’Play Sleeper – Cora slept in this for the first three months. It is super lightweight and small, so I kept it right next to my bed. It was easy to drag around the house too (or pick up if you’re able and less lazy). I loaned it to a friend later who had a preemie with some serious reflux issues, and she said it was a lifesaver. The angle of the seat helps newborns with those uncomfortable regurgitation issues. I just saw there was a recall on these due to the potential for mold to grow in them. Well duh, if they get wet and gross and you don’t clean it and let it dry, I see how that could happen. Same with a carseat or swing or any other kind of infant seat. I always kept a waterproof pad like these in the rocker in case of diaper leakage to protect the seat. I also keep one on the changing pad so if there’s a mess I can just switch one of these out real quick rather than washing the whole changing pad cover. Easy peasy.

Piyo Piyo Nail Scissors – love these little guys.  I’ve never hurt her teeny fingers with these, and cutting baby nails is a tricky operation since she has a proclivity to flailing all her limbs, sometimes simultaneously.  (Best to cut those nails when baby is unconscious, whenever possible).  I’m only sorry they don’t seem to work on my cuticles.  

Boppy – The nursing mom’s best friend.  Its a pillow that hugs you back! Also when the bebe is teeny it makes it comfy and easy for anyone to hold that lil bundle.  Later you can use it to prop the baby up when he is working on those sitting skills.  I didn’t think much about the one I registered for.  It had a green cover and I thought that was fine.  What I didn’t consider was how much I would be living with this thing.  In the early days you’ll take a lot of photos with your bebe’s head resting on that Boppy.  I also realized the pale green pillowcase clashed horrendously with my dark red couch.  As it so happens, I would love to just get a new couch, but the more cost effective and practical option at the moment was to find a Boppy cover I actually liked.  Boppy makes them of course, but I wanted a little more variety, so I turned to that mecca of all things cute and crafty – Etsy.  Search for Boppy covers on there and you’ll find tons, I went with this store BixbyBasil because of the pages and pages of cute fabric options.  I probably could have bought a dozen just because there are so many great fabric choices.  With any baby gear that has a decorative element, I say go with something an adult would like looking at too.  If there’s any colors or patterns, the baby will like it.  I chose this one.  Cora loves it too.  A Boppy cover is an easy DIY too, if you have any skill with a sewing machine. I have no skill with a sewing machine and I was able to make a Boppy cover for a friend following a tutorial and with some supervisory advise from my mom.

Swing – I did not want a swing. I thought it would be a “sleep prop”. After 6 weeks of 45 minute naps, I caved and took the swing my parents had purchased (link above). The 45 minute naps now lasted about 2 hours. Hallelujah. The swing was big and tacky and I kind of hated the sight of it, but I really needed those two hour naps. The weird thing was Cora slept fine in the rocker/bassinet at night but that didn’t work for naps for some reason. She napped in the swing until she started to outgrow it and started sitting up in it while it was swaying, so at around 6 months old I started working on napping in her crib (where she was already sleeping fine at night). The nap transition took a while, but it happened … eventually. At one year old she naps in her crib like a champ. Though it was essential in the beginning, I was glad to move that big tacky swing out of the nursery and out of sight.

Netflix – I watched SO much Netflix in the first couple months following Cora’s birth. Mostly because nursing sessions last about 40 minutes during that newborn time, conveniently the length of a show on Netflix (or two shows if its a 20 minute sitcom). I would get really bored sitting around all the time, so watching endless tv was one of my few available hobbies to keep me entertained. Find a few shows you’d like to burn through several seasons of and go for it.

What are your must-have, lifesaver newborn items?