10 Items that Make Life with a Newborn Easier
If you’re expecting, then you are likely overwhelmed with the amount of baby products on the market. Truth be told, babies require very little. If you have breasts (or formula), diapers, wipes, a few pieces of clothing and a car seat, you have almost everything you need.
But why stop at the essentials, especially when there are so many cool baby items available that make life with a newborn a little easier. Today we’ll share a few things that we can’t imagine living without during the first few months with a new baby.
1. Smarter Diaper Changes
Whether you choose to cloth diaper or go the disposable route, you’re going to need diapers and wipes; but of all the other products on the market, what else do you really need?
While you can get away with a sheet saver on the floor or bed, we do find it useful to have a changing pad of some sort. Specifically, we really love the Smart Changing Pad by Hatch. Not only can you do the obvious task, but you can also keep track of all the information that your pediatrician is going to ask of you, such as your baby’s weight, length, feeding patterns, diaper changes and sleep behaviors using the Hatch (free) app.
2. Burp Cloths
Another obvious item in your baby arsenal is a burp cloth. People love to gift cute burp cloths at baby showers. While these are great to toss into your diaper bag for those moments when you want to make a good impression, we find that they hardly get used because we’re too scared to mess them up.
We prefer to use inexpensive prefold cloth diapers. Not only are they great as burp cloths, but if you’re like us, you’ll continue to use them for a variety of other reasons (ex. dusting the house) long after your baby is done spitting up. If you have a 2-story home, divide the stash in half and make them accessible at both levels of your house.
Along the same lines, we also know many moms that use bibs in the same capacity. If you have a “spitter,” you may find it easier to keep your baby in a bib to avoid multiple outfit changes. You’ll continue to use these bibs as baby starts teething and drools all over everything.
3. Swaddling and/or Receiving Blankets
Your baby may or may not like to be swaddled; however, swaddling and receiving blankets have so many purposes that you should have at least 3 or 4. Beyond swaddling, these blankets can easily be used as a stroller blanket, nursing cover, and changing pad cover (especially when out and about).
4. Baby Gowns
If this is your first time down the newborn trail, then you don’t know the frustration of trying to change a diaper in the middle of the night while having to unsnap the tiny buttons of your itty bitty’s footie pajamas. It’s easily enough to send even the calmest woman into a tailspin of rage. Let us save you the madness.
Gowns are absolutely essential during those first few weeks. No need to fumble with snaps or zippers; just lift up the gown to change your baby’s diaper and you’ll be back to sleep in no time. Baby gowns typically have the same fold-over mitten cuffs to prevent newborn scratching, as well as an elastic bottom to keep your baby warm.
If you’re like so many of us, you spend those months leading up to your baby’s birth meticulously decorating your baby’s nursery. We daydream about rocking our sweet bundle of joy in the rocking chair we spent weeks researching, and try to imagine the look on our baby’s face as they sleep the day away in their crib.
While many babies will eventually sleep in their crib, we find that most babies prefer to be snuggled up to mom. The sooner you accept these conditions as normal, the easier life will be; however, we also recommend that you have a co-sleeper safely in place to make nighttime feeding and sleeping more comfortable.
6. Baby Carrier
During the day, you may find that your baby wants to stay snuggled up to you, but the house still needs to be cleaned and dinner still needs to be prepared. The easiest way to take care of your newborn and get some things done around the house is to wear your baby in some sort of baby carrier, wrap or sling. It took a few of us months to learn this lesson, but we won’t make this mistake again!
7. Boppy® Newborn Lounger
Another way to rest your arms when you need to get some things done around the house or tend to another child is the Boppy® Newborn Lounger.
Boppy is a brand name that moms have trusted since 1989 with the release of the “Boppy® Pillow” that many of us have added to our baby registries and used during those early weeks of breastfeeding. So, if you already love the Boppy pillow, then you’ll absolutely love the newborn lounger. This baby lounger is the perfect place for your newborn to rest or lounge around while awake, and it is uniquely designed with a recessed bottom that provides the ideal reclining position and creates the same cozy feeling of being in the womb.
In addition to being a great place for your baby (newborn – 4 months, up to 16 lbs) to sit back and observe the world, we’ve found that within a 3-4 month period, you will find reasons daily to make use of this pillow – even more so than the commonly used baby swing. Here are a couple of our favorites:
- Ideal for “suntanning” baby if your newborn has jaundice. Just place your little one in the lounger by a window and let them soak in some Vitamin D.
- Perfect for baby photo shoots. For newborn photos where you need your baby’s head propped up a little in the front while their bottom needs to be laying low, the Boppy® Newborn Lounger sits them up just right so you don’t have to use blankets and such to get them in the proper position.
- Allows siblings to bond with baby. Your older child can easily sit or play beside the lounger without any worries of them holding and dropping the baby.
- Great for babies with reflux since the slightly inclined cushion keeps baby sitting up. And since the fabric can be easily wiped down (unfortunately – not removable, so it cannot be washed), you don’t have to worry about spit-ups.
Furthermore, the Newborn Lounger is very light and has a handle on the top so that you can easily transport it anywhere you need it. Rather than keeping two swings or bouncers (or any other array of baby products) on both floors of your home, you can just carry the lounger with you. We found this made taking a shower so much easier as you can lay the lounger right on the bathroom floor rather than laying baby in the crib and hoping you hear her on the monitor if she starts crying. We also found that if you’re traveling to see family, it’s a no-brainer to carry the lounger along so that your baby has a place to rest without worrying about lugging a pack-n-play with you.
8. Baby Monitor
If your baby is sleeping in your room, you may question the necessity of a baby monitor, but we truly believe that having a baby vitals monitor such as Owlet is a necessity. You’ll be able to get some much needed sleep yourself knowing that you’ll be immediately alerted if your baby stops breathing.
9. Noise Machine
After 9 months in a loud womb, the outside world is rather quiet for newborns. So much so, that many struggle to sleep without some sort of noise – white noise. And, when it comes to sleep, newborns and parents alike want all they can get. Therefore, a noise machine is, by far, the most effective and inexpensive way for you and your baby to get a good night’s rest.
While we could write an entire post on the benefits of white noise, we find that the most beneficial reason to get a sound machine is that your baby will fall asleep easier and stay asleep longer because the white noise will help newborns push through the arousal period that happens during a natural sleep cycle. We’ve also found that white noise tends to mask all those newborn grunts and gurgles that keep parents up all night (babies are incredibly noisy).
You may find that having white noise is like having a dose of magic in your back pocket – so much so, that you’ll want a travel machine. We particularly like the Relax Melodies app.
10. Nursing Accessories
Finally, if you plan to breastfeed your baby, there are a number of products you’ll want to have on hand to make nursing a little more comfortable.
- Nursing Pads: Once your milk comes in, there is going to be a few leaks. You can certainly buy a few washable pads, but we really love the convenience of disposable ones, especially when you’re out and about. Go ahead and buy in bulk. You’re going to need it.
- Gel Pads: Whether this is your first child, or you’ve nursed a litter, those first few days of nursing a newborn can really take their toll on your nipples. Many people will swear by Lanolin cream, but we found that gel pads offer more instant relief.
- Breast pump: You may find that your newborn struggles to nurse in the first few weeks of life, for a variety of reasons. That is hardly reason to give up on a breastfeeding relationship with your child. In the hospital, you can request a hospital-grade pump and meet with lactation consultants to create a plan for long-term success. Use the time in the hospital to encourage your milk to come in, with or without your baby doing the work. When you get home, you may or may not need to continue pumping; however, since breast pumps are now included in all health insurance plans, you might as well have one available. Also, by having extra milk available, it may allow you to leave your baby for longer periods of time (for date nights or when you go back to work) or give your spouse important bonding opportunities.
- Bottles: If you do decide to continue pumping, you’ll need bottles. You won’t know until you try them which bottles will work for your baby. Your baby may not even take a bottle, but we still find it best to have a few different options on hand.
With all of that said, congratulations! Bringing a new child into the world is one of the most exciting things you’ll do, but there’s no reason to stress about whether or not you have it all. If you’ve got these 10 areas covered, we are sure that you’ll figure out the rest.
This is a sponsored conversation written by us on behalf of Boppy. The opinions and text are all of Daily Mom.
Tags: baby monitor, baby wearing, Boppy Lounger, co-sleeper, Hatch Changing pad, newborn essentials, Newborn lounge pillow, newborn must haves, noise machine, nursing accessories, Owlet Monitor, smart diapering, swaddling
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Ashley lives in North Carolina with her husband, two children and Kitty Paw. She’s a work-from-home mom with a natural light photography business and a passion for sharing everything she knows. Since leaving the corporate world, she now spends her time chasing her preschooler, nursing her new baby, writing and finding ways to enjoy life. You can find her on Facebook, Google + or on her website.