What do you really need for a newborn?
You are having a baby! Here's what you really need...
I was blessed to give birth to my seventh baby a few years ago. As a new mom, there are so many decisions to make. Baby Basics: what do you really need to have for your new baby? What can you live without? There are so many choices! Too many choices. You can spend a lot of money or just buy what you really need. But how do you know what you really need? As a mom of many, I can tell you what things I found really useful, and what things I never even took out of the package. Read on!
The big stuff you really need:
Although there are literally thousands of products for new babies and new parents, there are really only three things you really need in my opinion. These are the big three that it is hard to do without:
- A car seat
- A stroller
- A crib or somewhere for the baby to sleep
You Definitely Need a Car Seat!
You need a car seat! Most hospitals won't let you leave wtihout one. With my first baby, I found the infant carrier seat to be the best option for my newborn. That way, I had both a car seat and a carrier for your baby. When I needed to run to the store, or you got time to go out to dinner, I could easily take the baby with me. If the baby was asleep, he could stay right in the seat and I could take the whole thing with you. However as I had more and more babies, I switched to a convertible car seat. I found it heavy and awkward to carry the infant carrier carseat. I discovered I preferred to "wear" my baby in a sling carrier instead. So the convertible carseat made more sense. I got more for my money and more use out of a single car seat. I keep my babies rear-facing for safety for at least 2 years. I'm a Graco girl. I love the Graco products. It helps that one of our very good friends is a car seat engineer at Graco. I trust their products. I have had Graco carseats for all of my 7 babies.
I recommend a convertible car seat
This carseat is suitable for infants from newborn up to 65 pounds. It is first used as a rear-facing car seat from newborn (5 pounds) through forty pounds and then as a forward facing seat for children from 20 pounds to 65 pounds. I keep my babies rear facing for at least 2 years--it's safest. With this car seat, you get more for your money! I like the 5 point harness and the gender neutral design. You can also wash the car seat and cushion--a necessary item for a newborn!
You need a stroller
There are many options for strollers. You can get a single stroller, a jogging stroller, a double stroller if you have more than one small child, or an umbrella stroller. Things to consider when buying a stroller--how heavy it is, how easily does it fold, how easy it is to maneuver. It is nice if your infant car seat fits onto your stroller, to make your life easier. Those car seats get heavy! You can buy a travel system (stroller and car seat combination). Most strollers will accept a car seat even if they are not designed as part of a travel system.
You need a crib - Or maybe you'd rather use a co-sleeper
The cribs now days are so much nicer than the ones they made 14 years ago when I was buying my first crib. Most of them now are convertible--they start as a crib, convert to a toddler bed, then convert to a full size bed later on. What a great product! Make sure you use a new, firm mattress in your baby's crib. Some new parents prefer a co-sleeper to a crib. That way, the baby is within arm's reach all night long.
The smaller stuff you really need
Many people go way overboard when they buy for newborns. You don't really need that much to start with. You cannot be sure how big or small your baby will be, so I wouldn't buy a whole lot of outfits until you actually have the baby. My first few babies outgrew those cute newborn size (0-3 months) in a week, my last baby wore them for about 2 months. You just never know. I also had a friend who had tiny, tiny babies and she needed all preemie size clothes. You need a few basic things to get started, you can add more later as you find they are needed. Read on...
- Diapers (you can choose cloth or disposable) I wouldn't get too many newborn size, cause you may not have a small baby. All of my babies outgrew Newborn size in a week or less. I would recommend you start with one pack newborn size and a pack of size 1.
- Some onesies if you are having a cold weather baby or some one piece shortie outfits if you are having a warm weather baby.
- A few sleepers (I like the zippered bag sleepers for my winter babies) or some lightweight gowns for summer babies--I was not a big fan of the gowns, but they did make those nighttime diaper changes easier the first few weeks.
- Some good socks. Don't go for cute, most of them won't stay on anyway. I found that Gap and Children's place newborn socks stayed on and Carters bootie socks stayed on.
- Some good burp cloths. Those tiny people erupt all over the place. Again, the really cute burp cloths are more for show, I found that a pack of cloth diapers worked better as burp cloths. They were thicker and covered more of my shoulder.
- A few outfits to start out. Look for outfits with snaps in the legs, anything to make diaper changing easier! I prefer 100% cotton knit outfits on my new babies; they seem so much softer and more comfortable.
- A couple crib sheets and maybe a sheet saver or two. A sheet saver goes on top of a portion of the sheet, so if the baby spits up, you don't have to change the whole sheet.
Get some onesies (bodysuits) to start off with
If you have a summer baby, colored or decorative onesies can double as outfits. Onesies come in sleeveless, short, or long sleeves. They come in all kinds of colors and patterns or simply basic white. If you have a winter baby, these keep your baby warm! I prefer the 100% cotton type, but I found that many of them do shrink at first.
This is a great set to start out with. You get a gown, hat, shirts, onesies, pants, hats and booties. This set comes in blue, yellow or pink.
You need diapers and wipes!
I have gone through a lot of diapers and wipes in my day! In fact I have been changing diapers for 13 years straight. I find I prefer the huggies wipes to any I have used. They are just thicker and nicer in my opinion. I like Pampers, Luvs, and Huggies diapers. I also found that my babies tended to get rashes if I used store brand or generic diapers. However, I did use off brand wipes with success.
Other items I found useful - These are not definite needs, but they made my life easier!
There are some other things that I found I used a lot. I am really glad that I had them...
- An Infant swing--although you may only use this for 4 months to almost a year (depending on the size of your baby) I found the swing was very useful! One of my babies would only nap in the swing--he wanted the constant motion. Some babies don't like the swing at all, but so far, all 6 of mine loved it!
- An exersaucer--this was great from 4 months on. It gave me a safe place to put the baby and the baby was upright so he could see around. Plus it was great fun to watch my babies play and bounce in their saucers.
- A pack and play or travel yard--We camped and travelled to visit grandparents far away, so this came in handy as a portable crib. It also acts as a playpen when the baby starts to crawl. I had a pack and play with a bassinet top, so mine doubled as a bassinet when my babies were tiny.
- Some sort of sling or baby carrier. Makes it easier to hold your baby and be hands free!
- A camera and/or video camera! Those babies change so fast, you will want to capture all the precious moments!
Baby Items that Made my Life Easier!
I really liked my Graco swing. This is just one model, they come in all colors and kind and brands.
I used a sling with most of my babies, but there have been some recalls lately and cautions that these are not the best carriers for babies. I have used Hotsling brand and Over the Shoulder Baby Holder which is a ring sling and I really liked them. Other great carriers are the Moby wrap and the Mei Tai. If you use a sling, just watch your newborn to be sure he or she is not pressed up against the fabric or your body too tightly. (Make sure the baby is breathing!) With my seventh baby, I finally got an Ergo Baby carrier. I wish I had gotten one sooner!
I have tried all kinds of baby carriers. I like to keep my newborns and my infants close. I "wear" my babies even at home. I have tried ring slings, Mei Tai carriers, Hotslings, Snugglies and more. Hands down, the best baby carrier I found is the Ergo Baby Carrier. It is long lasting and can be worn on the front or the back. (Newborns should only be carried on the front and Ergo has a newborn insert you can purchase separately or as a package.) I have used my Ergo carrier to carry my toddlers and preschoolers. In fact I was still carrying my 4 year old in my Ergo not long ago!
Here are the things I didn't really use - They just took up extra space
There were some things I found I didn't use at all. This is just my list, other moms may love these same products....
- A wipes warmer--I was always worried that this was a fire hazard. Plus I changed the baby all over the house.
- A changing table--instead I used a bath towel to put on the bed, the floor, the couch, wherever I was. The changing table was upstairs in the nursery, but I found it was easier to just change the baby where I was.
- A bassinet--my babies were all big and outgrew the bassinet so quickly. I did use one for my last baby because someone gave me one, but I would purchase a pack and play before I would buy a bassinet.
Did we cover it all?
Here are my precious 7!
Every mom is different and will have different likes and dislikes when it comes to baby products. I have tried to share some of my favorite things. There is so much out there that you can buy for those little people. Have fun and trust your mom instincts. Having a baby is a joy! I am looking forward to the next one! I can honestly say that baby #7 is just as exciting as baby #1! Congratulations! You are having a baby!