I remember being a first time Mom and having absolutely NO CLUE what I was going to need for those first few months of parenting. I asked some friends and got lots of different opinions depending on the parenting style. And then I got myself even more confused by taking a tour of the local baby store where they had every baby gizmo and gadget imaginable for a newborn. Swings, bouncers, bumbos, fancy tubs, bassinets, activity mats…my head was literally SPINNING. My husband did our best to get just the basics and knew that if we NEEDED something the baby store was just around the corner from our house. If you are a natural mama like myself and want to be prepared for baby here are all the items we USED and LOVED during those first few months of parenthood.
1. A few comfortable nursing bras and tank tops
Breastfeeding is a little tricky in the beginning least it was for me and you are going to want to have easy access and be comfortable. In the first weeks I spent a lot of time with Coco-nib directly on my chest but when visitors came it was invaluable to have something fuss- free to wear. When I started venturing outside the house it was so nice to have clothes that made it easy for me to breastfeed in. I loved this nursing tank and this is anice comfortable bra.
2. A nursing pillow
When I told my mom about these pillow she was 1) Jealous they didn’t have them when she was a nursing mom an d 2) Anxious to make sure I had one of my own (she’s kind of the best). Getting a proper latch and position when you are new to breastfeeding takes practice but these nursing pillows help SO SO much. When Coco-nib and I were learning to breastfeed it took both of my hands to help him get a good latch which would have been VERY difficult had I not owned a breastfeeding pillow. I had the this pillow and thought it was incredible but I’ve heard great reviews about this one as well.
3. A Co-sleeper or Bassinet
I’m a co-sleeping mama and I LOVED IT. Nothing better than sleeping with a tiny newborn bundled up on your chest. But there were times I needed to set him down while he slept. We bought a crib and NEVER used it. I know some co-sleeping families eventually transfer their littles ones to a crib but it was nothing but a waste of money for us. So perhaps purchase a bassinet, co-sleeper before deciding to purchase a crib. We had this co-sleeper and it worked wonderfully. I also love this bassinet but it’s kind of pricey. You may also want to check out best for mums recommended sleeping bags if you’d like to make sure your new little one is warm and comfy enough. If, like me, you are unlikely to use sleepers that often, you might want to consider renting something like a graco dreamglider instead of buying one outright which can get expensive.
4. A Baby Carrier
When you are ready to venture out with your baby keeping them close is a top priority. People often ask me what baby carrier is THE BEST and that’s a really tough question to answer because it varies as your baby grows. In the beginning months this wrap was my favorite carrier but you need to make sure and watch youtube tutorials BEFORE baby arrives or it will be completely frustrating. Once you figure it out this carrier is simply a dream for both mama and baby. If you don’t want to bother with a wrap style carrier this ergonomic carrier will take you from to toddlerhood.
5. A Car Seat
Probably pretty obvious right? But this is an important one to purchase early. Get it installed into your car and practice taking it in and out. Even practicing adjusting the straps and buckling a stuffed animal into it. It sounds COMPLETELY RIDICULOUS but if you spend the extra time doing this before baby comes you will be way less stressed out when you go to use it. We have this infant seat and liked it because it was safe and light weight. But honestly there are plenty of great options out there!
6. A Bouncer
Personally I think a lot of the newborn “entertainment” items on the market are completely unnecessary and overstimulating for a new baby. The new world they have just entered is pretty stimulating as it is and they don’t really need flashing lights or toys to keep them amused. However it’s nice to have a place to set your new baby that gives them a nice view of the world. My grandma purchased this bouncy seat for us and it was incredible. When the baby kicks it gently bounces and there are three different settings so that your baby can lay more flat or be propped up. I brought it into the bathroom with me when I showered and took it into the kitchen when I cooked dinner. I would chat with Coco-nib while he got to watch me cook. It’s also fully collapsable and is easy to take on the go. If you want to save some money here is a similar style that is a lot less expensive but I can’t vouch for the quality.
7. Swaddle Blankets
Swaddling is a great way to soothe you baby and encourage restful sleep. It is important to educate yourself on “safe swaddling” which you can read more about here. Improper swaddling can cause problems with hip development so it is important to take a minute to learn the proper way to do it. At first Coco-nib really resisted the swaddle but once I learned to swaddle correctly it helped extend his sleep periods for an hour or two. We always swaddled him up when a visitor came over to hold him because I felt like it decreased germ exposure ( I wasn’t a paranoid mama or anything…lol). Muslin swaddle blankets were my favorite swaddles and my favorite multi-purpose blankets as well and I’ve also heard this speciality swaddles(pictured on the right) makes safe swaddling easy!
8. A Breast Pump
For the most part Henri was exclusively breastfed directly from the breast but I thinking having a breast pump is still a necessity. When my breast milk first came in my breasts were so engorged they were literally as hard as rocks and it was impossible to for coco-nib to latch. My doula instructed me to pump for a few minutes to soften my breast so that he could latch on. Having the pump ready to go was a lifesaver. It was a lifesaver again when my husband fractured his back on a white water rafting trip when Coco-nib was three months old. I pumped while I stayed with David in the ER and my mom delivered the milk to my sister( we call her the baby whisperer) who took care of Coco-nib. You don’t need anything fancy-I actually used this $30 pump and it did the job. However most health insurance providers are now required to cover the cost of breast pumps. So be sure to call your insurance company and inquire about receiving your FREE pump.
9. Natural bath/first aide kit
From cradle cap, colic, diaper rashes and first sign of teething pain as natural mamas we want the most natural products for our babies! I love products from Earth Mama Angel because they are completely safe and non-toxic for new baby skin. I also recommend having essential oils on hand because they can be used for cradle cap, colic, a fussy baby, ear infections, diaper rashes, teething and so much more!! I recommend purchasing only Therapeutic grade essential oils because you want to make sure they are completely free of harmful additives. Purchasing an everyday essential oils kit is a great way to be ready for baby because you will have your natural “first aide” kit when something comes up. Learn more about purchasing essential oils here
10. I’ve missed some pretty staple items like cloth diapers, stroller and clothing but…
Purchasing your cloth diaper stash takes quite a bit of research because there are soooo many options and it would be too lengthy for this post. If you want to learn more about how I cloth diapered click here. And as far as a stroller goes we almost decided to do without one but ended up purchasing a used stroller on craigslist. We didn’t really use it a ton but it was nice to have for the grandparents and especially now that Coco-nib is too heavy for me to wear comfortably. We would’ve had to have thought long and hard about what we would do if we were having twins as we would need double the stuff, including getting a double stroller. Which would’ve been difficult considering we didn’t even really want to get one in the first place. I did have a look at a couple though just in case and I found one I really liked on Stroller Buzz that could turn into a car seat too, so it was perfect. But we ultimately decided to settle on the stroller we saw on craigslist when we found out we were only having Coco-nib. Clothing-we didn’t find out the gender of Coco-nib which ended up working out really well. At my baby shower people bought us baby items instead of clothes. When he was born boy clothes seemed to appear out of nowhere. We were amazed by the generosity of friends, family and co-workers. Second hand stores and hand me downs from other family members is another great way to get clothes. All that to say you don’t have to spend a fortune to care for you new baby.
Were there any items I missed that you simply can’t live without??? Let me know in the comments below.