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Newborn Essentials.

August 12, 2021

family on the beach

Lifestyle

Lifestyle, Tips and Tricks

Now that we’ve officially made it through the 4th trimester, I wanted to share with you my newborn essentials! Being a first-time mom, it can be overwhelming knowing what and how much you actually need when every time you turn around, there’s another ad for a “must have” baby product. Now I’m sure every product is a “life saver” for someone, but since we live in a small apartment, I wanted to make sure everything we got had a purpose, so I tried to keep all of our purchases to what was as necessary and minimal as possible. I decided that anything we didn’t absolutely NEED right away, we could always order on Amazon or make a Target run after baby was born and then get what we still wanted. Every mom has her list of “must-haves,” and it’s all a little different because every baby and every mom is different, but I wanted to share what’s worked for us. I also wanted to share the things we thought we needed, but didn’t actually need to help you decide if you really want those things too! So here is my list of newborn essentials!

Newborn Essentials:

eating:

Bottles

I thought I would need more bottles than I do, but since we currently only breast feed and I only give Luna a bottle if I’m away for a few hours, I only have two and that’s worked really well for us. I haven’t tried any other bottles and luckily Luna took this one right away. It has a slow flow nipple, so luckily we’ve never had any issues going from bottle to breast. It was recommended to me in the hospital to wait until one month to give her a bottle to make sure we’d established a good latch, but I did have to give her a bottle for the first time at two weeks when I had to have a follow-up surgery, and it never affected our breastfeeding journey.

Burp Cloths:

I love these ones, because they’re so soft and they come in a pack of eight. I keep one on our bedside table, one in the diaper bag, and one in our living room. Having one that’s in arms reach at all times is super necessary, because you literally never know when your baby is going to spit up. Luna hardly ever spits up (luckily), which means we only have one pack and that’s honestly plenty. I know all babies are different, but let me just say, people kept telling me I would be covered in spit up and Luna has only ever spit up on me a handful of times. She spits up, but most of the time it’s when she’s lying down, so I’ve never even had to change my shirt from spit up. So it is possible that your baby won’t spit up all the time. It’s also possible that they will and there’s no way to know, haha.  

Elvie Pump:

Since I work from home and I’m hardly ever away from Luna, I hardly pump, BUT when I do pump, I use the Elvie Pump and I love it. It takes me a long time to pump enough to be worth it, so I love the freedom of being able to pop this in my bra and go for a drive or get up and make breakfast while I’m pumping and not have to be sitting down and plugged into a wall. It’s also so portable, which makes it easy for travel and that was a major deciding factor for me. Full disclosure, I went with the Elvie because you can buy them individually, and I only bought one because it’s pretty expensive and our insurance doesn’t cover it. It’s great for how much I use it, but if you can get both, you’ll get twice as much milk in the same amount of time. I don’t know why I didn’t realize that before, haha. I like these storage bags for milk that I pump and freeze. 

Nipple Butter:

If you’re planning to breastfeed, order some of this nipple butter. It’s amazing and truly such a relief those first few weeks of breastfeeding. I feel really lucky, but I was never in a ton of pain breastfeeding. My nipples did get chapped and little scabs on them and this nipple balm worked wonders. It is organic, safe for baby to eat, and works really well! It’s a small container, but it’s really effective. I didn’t even end up using half of the container.
 

What I Didn’t Need:

Nursing pillow: I ordered this nursing pillow, and I love how it looks but I have literally never used it. I know some people swear by their nursing pillows, but I could barely sit up straight the first few months, so this type of pillow just didn’t work for me, and it’s always been easier for me to just cradle her in my arms and use a pillow on our couch or something to support my arm if I need it.

Bottle Warmer: If you plan on exclusively breastfeeding, I wouldn’t worry about one of these. It depends on your baby for sure, but Luna will literally take a bottle that’s freezing cold, and she only takes a bottle about once a week (at most), so even though I thought I needed one of these, I don’t have one and if I had one, I would have never ended up using it. If you plan on using formula, there are a lot more things you’ll want to take into consideration, like a bottle warmer, more bottles, a Baby Brezza, and a sterilizer.

Nursing Pads: I have never leaked. Not once. I know that seems like a miracle to some people, and I’d never heard of anyone never leaking while nursing or establishing their milk supply, but it literally never happened to me, so I didn’t need pads or anything to stop leaking.

mom holding baby with owlet sock
family in santa barbara

sleep:

Nest IG Wave Crib:

I LOVED the concept of one bed lasting us for 3+ years and that’s ultimately what sold me on this crib. That and that it looks so pretty and 100% matches my aesthetic. We used the mini crib for the first 3 months and transitioned to the full size crib around 3.5 months. It took about an hour to set up the first time and less than 30 minutes to switch it from the mini crib to the full size crib. It comes with a mattress for the mini crib, but you do have to buy a mattress cover. We used this one. And you also have to buy the full size crib mattress. We’re currently using this one, and it works great. Plus it has almost 25,000 five star reviews on Amazon.
 

Owlet sleep sock: 

I legit don’t know how I would sleep without this. For the first few weeks, I would wake up in the middle of the night and check on the Owlet app even if she was sleeping just to make sure she was still breathing. Both Ryan and I had so much anxiety around her sleep and just night time in general that this was sooo essential for our peace of mind. The sock and camera bundle are amazing and so convenient. The app even works when you’re not home, so I can check on Luna when I’m at the doctor or out running errands, and I can know if I need to hurry home to feed her or if I can hang out a little longer because she’s still sleeping haha. The camera also has a built in temperature gauge, which I love because it helps me know whether I need to put her in footie pajamas or just a onesie while she sleeps. She hasn’t slept one night without her owlet sock. We honestly bring it with us on trips and to hotels and just everywhere, because it just gives us so much peace of mind that she’s okay.
 

Swaddle

Luna hated being swaddled at first, but overtime she became a better sleeper once she started getting her used to it. We started with a Lou Lou & Company and a Solly Baby swaddle and then when she got too strong for them and started breaking out, we switched to the Ollie swaddle. We used it until she started to roll from back to front. It was also really easy to use to transition her from the swaddle to the sleep sack. She slept in it with one arm out for almost 6 weeks. The velcro on the Ollie swaddle is truly a game changer and makes me feel so much more at ease about her being safe and the swaddle not coming loose and it makes it 100x easier to swaddle her tight haha. Plus their Instagram has a lot of tutorials on how to make sure you’re swaddling correctly.

Hatch Rest + Sound Machine

We started using this sound machine on the very first night we brought Luna home from the hospital, and it has been a total game changer. Luna literally calms down the second we turn it on. It’s become an immediate cue for her that it’s time for bed, and it just calms her down so well. She also wakes up the second it turns off, so she really depends on it haha. We also love the light features that we will definitely be using when she’s a toddler. There’s also an audio monitor built-in which makes it easy to listen in and check that she’s not crying. The Rest + also has a back up battery, so if the power goes out or something, the sound machine won’t turn off which is amazing. The Rest + is definitely worth the price differential from the Rest in our opinion. It’s pretty easy to bring along on trips too, but for car rides or day trips, we use this portable sound machine.
 

Snuggle Me Lounger

This lounger was an absolute life saver the first three months for us. Luna refused to be put down unless it was in this, and it was the only way we could get her to sleep on her own for the first few weeks. It snuggles them up, so it feels like they’re being held in your arms. The one downside is that they outgrow it pretty quickly, but it’s definitely worth it for the first few months. I’d suggest getting a cover too, because babies spit up or drool or have accidents and it just gets dirty, so you can easily throw the cover in the wash if you need to!
 

What I Thought I Wanted, but Didn’t Actually Need:

 
The Snoo: There were a lot of nights in the first month where I literally dreamt that The Snoo would show up on our doorstep (like I literally had that dream) from being so tired, but honestly, I feel like we made the right decision by not getting it. I think it’s an incredible tool, but honestly Luna has been a pretty good sleeper from the start so ultimately I think we were capable of physically doing what the Snoo does for you. Don’t hold me to this though if we choose to have another child. Good sleep as new parents is priceless though, so if you’re exhausted, they do have rental programs where you can rent is for a few nights or months without having to totally splurge on buying it.
 
Sleep sacks, swaddles, and blankets: I got SO many blankets and swaddles as gifts from friends and we ended up only ever using one or two. I think these are really cute and make them easy and fun gifts, but we have a bunch that we’ve never used and I’ll be donating, so I’d suggest only buying 2-3 of each and if you feel like you need more, buy more at that point.
 
Glider: I didn’t get one of these, because we live in a one-bedroom apartment and realistically, it just didn’t work. I actually do really wish I had one, and I hope to be able to get one if we have more children, but I’ve made it work pretty easily just nursing on the couch, in bed, or on a comfy chair. But if you have the space, I’d highly recommend getting one. It makes rocking your baby to sleep or nursing so much more comfortable.
 
Swing: A lot of moms swear by these, and while I think I would’ve used it all the time if I had it, I really didn’t want it taking over my apartment, and I haven’t ever regretted not getting one. We did get a Charlie Crane Rocker, and while I love the aesthetic of it and it’s nice to have something to lay her in, I don’t think it’s necessarily worth the price.

BATH TIME:

Tubby Todd

We did a LOT of research into the best body wash and lotions for babies, and we ultimately decided Tubby Todd hair and body wash and everyday lotion was the right choice for us. We use the fragrance-free options, and Luna has never had a rash or any sort of breakout and I’m so grateful that this has never caused any sort of reaction for her. It’s so nice that a little bit goes a long way too! We have the 8.5 oz bottles and they have lasted us months! Use this link and a 10% discount will automatically be applied at checkout.

Fridababy Bath Brush:

We got this little bath brush for Luna and we love it! It’s so gentle on her skin and it helps wash her hair without getting soap all over. It’s also supposedly helpful for craddle cap, which she’s never had. It’s also easy to bring with us while we travel and it suction cups to the shower wall, which makes it easy to keep track of.

Bath Towel

You don’t necessarily need a specific bath towel for your baby, but we really love having this little one that has a little hood to cover her head. We’ve found that the faster we dry her head off, the more calm she is. This towel is made from bamboo, so it’s super soft, and the little ears are truly so cute when it’s on.

What I Didn’t Need:

Baby Bath Tub: If you have extra space, it would make it more convenient, but it’s so easy to just let them float in your hands if you have a big sink or get in the tub with them. We don’t have a lot of extra storage space, so I didn’t want a big bulky plastic tub that I wouldn’t be able to store hanging around our house, and I’m glad I didn’t. It also depends on how often you want to bathe your baby, but we only do it about 2-3 times a week, so it’s never felt that inconvenient to just hop in the tub with her. That being said, baby bath tubs are like $20, so if you have the space and don’t mind, then it’s probably worth getting one. Also, I found it more comfortable for me to just get in the tub with her than it was to sit outside of the tub on my knees on the hard tile while I bathed her in a baby bath tub.
family in los angeles

TRAVeL:

UPPAbaby Vista V2 Stroller:

Whether you’re just going for walks around town or on a trip, a stroller is a must with a baby. We have the UPPAbaby Vista V2 and absolutely love it. It’s really convenient because it has a big basket for storage, and comes with a bassinet which is perfect for the infant stage! Especially while your baby is getting used to being in the carseat, it’s nice to not have to put them in a car seat just to go on a walk. The V2 also drives SO nicely. The wheels are really big and it just rides super smoothly. We went with the V2, because it can be used as a double stroller in the future if we ever need that. The storage basket at the bottom is really convenient for throwing your diaper bag in or putting a bunch of towels, umbrella, etc. for the beach in it.

Doona Car Seat & Stroller:

We absolutely LOVE our Doona! It is SO convenient and absolutely amazing for travel! Since it’s both a carseat and a stroller, it’s literally all you have to bring with you. You don’t have to worry about checking a car seat, lugging the stroller around, and then gate checking the stroller. The Doona is so nice too, because if you buy a seat for your baby (or get lucky with an open seat on the plane), you can bring the Doona on the plane with you and strap in the carseat to the seat, so your baby can fly safely, because it’s FAA approved. Some flights have big enough overhead bins that you can fit it in the overhead bin, or you can also gate check it if you need. I truly don’t know how we’re going to travel without it once Luna outgrows it,, and I can’t even think about it because it just causes me so much stress, haha. That’s how much I love it, haha. I truly cannot recommend it enough!

Gripe Water: 

Flying can upset babies bellies and also just the change of environment and extra stimulation can cause babies to get a little fussy or overwhelmed, so we like having gripe water on hand to help calm Luna down. We love this gripe water, because our pediatrician recommended it and it’s worked really well for us! We also use it at home to help her relax on those hard days when nothing else seems to work.

Travel Sound Machine: 

Luna’s naps are 100% dependent on her sound machine, so it is essential that we have a sound machine with us at all times. This sound machine is so easy to use, plays a few different white noise options, and lasts for a few hours. It also has a little clip that makes it easy to put onto the stroller or car seat. I honestly wish I had three, because I feel like we need one for the car, one for the beach bag, and one for the diaper bag, so we have one charged and ready to use at all times haha.

diapering:

Diapers:

I know every baby is different, and some babies get diaper rash, but we use these Honest diapers and have absolutely loved them. They work the best for us and seem to contain everything really well. I also love the wet indicator on the front so I know if it’s time to change her or not. She’s also never gotten any really bad diaper rash from them and I really love that they’re safe for baby and the planet.

Water Wipes:

We love these wipes. They’re 99.9% water and a drop of fruit extract, which makes me feel like they’re really clean and safe to use. And they say they’re the #1 wipe against the causes of diaper rash, and I believe it, because Luna has never gotten bad diaper rash. Be careful not to leave these open, because they dry out pretty quickly, and they’re definitely not effective when they’re dry.

Diaper pail: 

I didn’t realize how many diapers babies go through in a day (like 6-10), especially when they’re really little, and there’s a lot of smelly ones in the early days. It’s so much easier to have a trash can dedicated to diapers that kind of seals the smell than to have to take the trash out every day. We use this one and it’s really easy and has worked well for us. I do have to say, and I hate to say it, but I think the stink is kind of inevitable. I’ve found placing these inside the diaper pail helps!

Gathre mats

Gathre mats make diaper changes so much easier. I have one of their micro mats in my diaper bag and another on our changing table. They can be wiped down really easily, so you don’t have to worry about doing laundry if there’s a mess while you’re changing a diaper and it feels more hygienic to lay one of these down when you’re out and using a public changing table. We also love the midi size for the beach or hanging at the park. It is SO much easier to wipe sand or dirt off of than a towel. The midi size is also what we use at home for her to lay on for tummy time and floor play. It makes it so if she spits up during tummy time (which she did a LOT as a newborn) our rug isn’t ruined, and we can easily wipe it up.

Changing pad: 

I thought I would change Luna on the floor in our living room all the time, so I wouldn’t really need a changing pad. Turns out, she’s almost 6 months, and I don’t think I’ve ever changed her on the floor at home. It’s been so much easier for me to change her on the changing table. This is the one we have, and it’s really convenient and waterproof. We have it on top of our dresser.

Earth Mama Diaper Cream: 

We try really hard to make sure everything we use on Luna is as clean and organic as possible. Since pretty much all babies get at least a little diaper rash, it’s good to have diaper cream on hand. We have a few different brands, but this one is our favorite and all we’ve ever needed. Luckily she’s never had really bad diaper rash and normally after applying this once or twice, any little bit of redness that she has goes away! A little bit goes a long way too, so you don’t need much! I would recommend just ordering one thing of diaper cream, because we were gifted three all from different brands, and we still haven’t even gotten all the way through this one.

Extras

Carriers:

I loved having a baby carrier. I have both the Sollybaby Wrap and the Wildbird ring sling and I love them both for different reasons. Honestly, they both take a bit of getting used to and require some practice before you really get the hang of it, but I loved my Sollybaby Wrap for beach naps and around the house. Personally, the Wildbird feels easier for me to use than the Sollybaby, but I know that’s not the case for everyone. I love the Wildbird for short walks or running into a store when I don’t want to bring the stroller with me or cooking/cleaning around the house. I would suggest getting a modal, because it’s just a lot softer of a material than just the linen. Basically having a carrier is a little miracle worker, because you can keep your baby close and have your hands free again. The Sollybaby Wrap is really nice for the newborn stage while they’re pretty little, but the Wildbird works both in the newborn stage and through the first year or so.

Clothes:

I love dressing Luna up! It’s truly one of my favorite things! I know a lot of people say not to buy your newborn clothes, because they outgrow them, but I love putting her in new outfits and I love taking pictures of her while she’s so tiny, so I’m so glad I bought her a few outfits I really loved. I love H&M, Jamie Kay, and Kyte baby! The Kyte Baby Zippered Footie pajamas are truly the BEST, and I highly recommend getting 2 or 3. Luna lived in these the first few months! 

Pacifiers:

I literally never tried another pacifier, so I have no idea if she would like a different one, but she takes this one well and it works for us. I would recommend only buying one or two and then waiting until you see what if your baby likes it before you buy a bunch, because I’ve heard babies can be particular about the type of pacifier they will take. Once you know which one works best for you, then definitely buy like four to eight. I swear they’re always dropping under the crib or in a different room when you need it, and believe me, when you need a pacifier, you want it to be in arms reach, haha.

Saranoni Blankets:

I absolutely love these little blankets! They are so soft and cuddly, and especially if your baby is born around winter time, a good blanket to keep them warm is a must. Plus this size blanket with last them for a long time, and I just love the idea of this being Luna’s little blankey that she cuddles up with. I don’t let her sleep with it unsupervised for now, but its great for walks or wrapping her in it while she sleeps in my arms.

Lovevery: 

Okay, I feel like I could go on and on about how much I love Lovevery, but their stage-based play boxes are my truly favorite, and they are literally all you need for baby toys. I feel like it’s so hard to know which toys to order and what is actually age appropriate for them to play with, and I feel like Lovevery takes all of that research and stress and headache of figuring that out away for you. Also, the toys are cute and more aesthetically pleasing, so it doesn’t feel like your house is overrun by colorful, obnoxious baby toys haha. And even though the toys come in boxes for certain ages, babies still love the toys from the earlier boxes even as they grow up and into the older boxes. I just really love knowing that the toys she has are helping her brain development and actually teaching her things and not just bright and colorful and loud. 

Books:

We only have a few baby books, but I love having a few books on hand to read to her at night as part of our bedtime routine. We’ve kept our collection small, mostly because I know as she gets older, she’ll care more and I want her to be able to go to the store and pick out new books with me, because that just feels like it will be a really special moment. We read this one and this one the most.

Education:

Taking Cara Babies:

We’ve taken both her newborn and her ABC’s of Sleep classes, and we have had great results with both! Her newborn sleep class really helped us feel comfortable and confident calming her down and getting her to sleep on her own and not in my arms, which was honestly a real struggle for the first month or two. The newborn class feels like the parenting baby sleep handbook you don’t get when you walk out of the hospital. It really is so helpful and there are so many answered questions in her course. The ABC’s of Sleep class is for 5-24 months, and we did it at 5 months and it was absolutely worth it.

Tinyhood:

We took the Tinyhood Childbirth 101 class, Breastfeeding Beginnings class, and the Infant CPR & Choking for Babies class and really loved all of them. The way Tinyhood classes are set up makes it really easy to digest all of the information. We love that all the classes are online, so you can watch them over time from the comfort of your own home. They’re also much more affordable than a lot of the hospital classes we looked into. They create handouts about each section too, which makes it easy to review all of the information you watch. Use the code: SAMRYAN20 for 20% off any Tinyhood course.

Books:

I haven’t finished these books entirely, but I have read sections of all of them and really liked what I’ve read in each: The Wonder WeeksThe Informed ParentBringing Up Bébé.

There are sooo many different products and must-have baby things on the market, but truly all babies need are diapers and love. You are the best mom for your sweet babe and no one is more equipped to love and care for your baby than you are. You’re already doing an incredible job mama! xox

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