I had a request to write a post about items that I found essential for having a newborn. You really don’t need all that stuff that Babies-R-Us is trying to sell you. We tried out best to keep it simple and to not over buy, after all we only have 643sqft.
**(Please leave a comment and let me know if you agree, or don’t, or if I’m missing something that you find an essential)**
The “must” haves
(These are the items that we found to be essential, besides the diapers, wipes, clothes ect.)
Crib – We didn’t buy anything fancy, a simple Ikea one will do the trick.
Stroller– This is something that we actually spent our money on. We got a BOB from Albee Baby (online store). We absolutely love it, it turns on a dime and is super lightweight. It fits into the trunk of our car (’03 Corolla) with room to spare. On the down side, you have to spend more money to buy accessories (carseat adaptor, storage tray, and water bottle holder ect) but we found all those items on Craigslist.
Car Seat- We did our research! We wanted one that would last a long time for Carter and one that would last for baby #2. Car seats have an expiry date- if you buy a used one make sure that it hasn’t expired (5 years from the manufacture date) and that it hasn’t been in a car accident. Also, if you buy a used one make sure that the previous owners haven’t brought it on a flight, (it’s just not recommended, but if it has) make sure that the frame and base are good.
After reading about car seats we went with the Graco SnugRide 35. Why? Because it has high safety ratings, it’s weight limit is 35 pounds, and can hold a babe until they are 32 inches long. We want Carter to be rear facing for as long as possible, its just safer.
Baby Wearing Device– We bought an Ergo from CL, as well as the infant insert. I had heard from friends that you can manage to do it without the insert by rolling up blankets, but buying a used one for $15 made more sense to us. You know its going to work properly, its less hassle than rolling up blankets and making sure it’s done properly and that babe is comfy. Wearing the ergo is comfy, I feel well supported and the weight of the baby is evenly disturbed.
Our main shampoo/body wash is California Baby (Target in the US sells it). Its made by a mom who didn’t want any chemicals that would affect baby. It’s natural and organic, smells great and has many great reviews online from other moms. Their diaper rash cream is Cloth Diaper friendly (we have not tried it), and if your babe has sensitive skin this is also one for them.
Coconut Oil- No need to buy the lanolin cream, no need to buy any diaper rash cream. Pick up a jar of coconut oil from Trader Joe’s. I never realized all of the uses for coconut oil until I was reading all about it. We use it for diaper rash (it is cloth diaper friendly), for dry skin, on cracked nipples, and I use it on my c-section incision/scar. One bottle is $5.00 and its also organic.
Nursing bra – Get a few nursing bras! I bought mine about 2 months before my due date. I made sure that they were the sports bra type or ones that didn’t have an underwire, just for the fact that I had no idea how big my boobs were going to get. I still haven’t invested in a nice underwire one, but the ones I have are amazing. Make sure you have more than one or two, because your boobs will leak and will get your bra wet.
Nursing pads – are also a must, for the reason mentioned above. Your boobs leak! I made mine, and then a friend bought me some as a gift. I do have some disposable ones as well, but I only use them if Im going out. Buying disposable ones for months on end seems expensive, the cloth ones you just put in a delicates bag and then throw them in the washer.
Pump & Milk Storage Bags – I bought a Medela Swing pump, I guess its not a necessary for everyone, but if you are planning on exclusively breast feeding, I would recommend one. Yes, they are a bit pricey, but if you were going to be buying formula for 8 months that would be even more pricey. I’ve been slowing freezing some milk for when we want a date night out and a friend wants to watch Carter, for if I’m ever sick and need/want Brent to do a feed, and for whatever other reason that may come around.
With that you need something to store the milk in, doesn’t matter the brand but you’ll need some storage bags.
Diaper bag- I don’t have a name brand to recommend, actually I recommend looking around your house for a bag that you already have. It will do! Im using my work bag that I bought not that long ago.
Changing Pad– We don’t own a changing table, for two reasons. We don’t have room, and we can just use an extra large changing pad that we bought for $2.00 and we lay that on the bed.
Good/Nice to have
Bassinet – If you are only going to put your babe into his/her’s crib then you may not need one. We got one because Brent is a shift worker, so when I want to put Carter down (and Brent is sleeping in our bedroom) Carter goes into his bassinet in the living room. Otherwise, I don’t think that we would have one.
But once again we did our research on a bassinet and one that would work for us. We wanted on that was lightweight, portable, rocks, would last more than 5 months and looked cute. We found the Babyhome Dream bassinet. Although it is pricey, we found one on CL in excellent condition for half the price. Now that we have been using it for 6 weeks we love it, and its well worth the money.
Sleep Sheep – This one I was thinking about if it should be on the necessary list or not. The only reason its not is because any white machine will do. We found the standard size and travel size sleep sheep on CL for $20, and then got one as a hand-me-down from a friend. We do love it and it does help Carter fall asleep.
Nursing Pillow- I wouldn’t spend the money on a brand new one, but look for a used on in great condition. Using a regular pillow will also work, just put a flannel sheet on the pillow and you’ll be good to go.
Baby Bath- We also bought a used one off a Baby Swap site, we’ve used it twice. Our midwives suggested to bath with your babe, so I tried it. Its actually easier than the baby bath, because you know that the water temperature is safe, you’re holding babe, you can keep their body under the water to keep them warm and its bonding. If you don’t have a bathtub in your home then yes you’ll probably need one.
Activity Gym– Once again this is not necessary right away, we do have one and use it for tummy time but laying a blanket on the carpet would also work. When Carter is doing tummy time one of us is always beside him this way we can try to keep him stimulated, and give him some encouragement.
Swaddle Blankets- Since Carter is born in the winter we have found that the A&A swaddle blankets are not being used. Maybe in the summertime that will change. But what we do use is the Summer SwaddleMe. More so for the main reason that when I swaddle Carter its just not that tight, but having it one tight makes a huge difference to the length of time that he will sleep. It adds at least an hour or more to his sleep when he’s swaddled correctly. Brent on the other hand uses our oversized flannel receiving blankets.
Warm car seat covers – Once again this will depend on the season that your babe is born and where you live. We have the JJ Cole Bundle me cover (winter and spring) and it works great to keep him warm when we are out for a walk. You can find these at Winners for half the price.
Few toys– There is no need to buy lots of baby toys right away. Their eyes are still maturing and babe is going to be in your arms more than playing with toys.
Baby Towels- Yes they are cute. Yes, we do own some (that we got as gifts) and yes, we do use them. But if you are trying to save money (and space) and have soft towels, then you are good to go.
Vibrating Chair- We have one of these and Carter hates it! I’ve heard that maybe he’s still too young or too small, but as of right now he’s not a fan. He’d rather just be propped sitting up on the couch.
Swing- A friend is letting us borrow theirs. As of right now Carter is also not a fan of it. But since our Christmas tree is up and taking up space in our living room the swing is put away, we’ll try it again in the new year. As a side note if you are going to get a swing, see if you can get one that plugs in, this way you don’t have to spend money on batteries.
Baby Monitor- If you live in a house or home that babe has their own room then yes you probably want one. Carter is either with us in the bedroom sleeping in is crib, or with us in the living room, sleeping in his bassinet. So as of right now we don’t need one. However, my brother asked us if we had one and was willing to get us one. With that offer we couldn’t resist. We picked up the Motorola monitor.
And that is my list.. at least what I can think of right now.
Please leave a message if you can think of anything else that I have forgotten.
Carter in the Ergo Carrier.
(we have the winter fleece on top)