I may not have a Pinterest-worthy nursery shot for you (YET!), but I do have a pretty good list of what necessities to have on hand when baby first comes home from the hospital. It’s easy to go on baby-prep overload filling the nursery with everything from night lights to thermometers to humidifiers to mini-Ugg boots (all of which, btw, we’ve had at one time or another…)
Buuuut… for the sake of practicality, here are 16 items that I can’t live without when the delicious little bundle of love comes home from the hospital.
1. Kiddopotamus Snuzzler Complete Head and Body Support, Ivory Terry
Anyone who’s put a newborn into a carseat can attest to the fact that it looks like putting a doll into a lazyboy. The snuzzler keeps baby’s head from flopping around and tucks them in nice and cozy.
Diaper rashes aren’t very common in newborns, but dry blotchy skin is another thing. A newborn skin shouldn’t have anything on it right away, but soon thereafter, I use Aquaphor for everything: little scratches from baby fingernails, traces of dry winter skin, even covering the bottom so that those early meconium stools are easier to clean. (You know the ones…black like tar and wildly alarming if you skipped that chapter in your baby book.)
This is a new tool in our arsenal, but it replaces something we’ve always had: a small portable bassinet-type thing. I saw people raving about this on a Facebook thread by my girls at East Coast Creative and thought it might be a fun something to look forward to for Baby #4.
I’ve mentioned these before, and I’ll mention them again… we live for a good sound machine in this house. For older kids, they’re a killer way to drown out the chaos of the house, but for a newborn they help simulate the surprisingly loud environment of a mother’s womb that a newborn has been so accustomed to for 9 months. (I’ve found that sound machine’s marketed for babies are like a whisper compared to this high-volume one.)
Sorry ladies, but here’s the deal: if you’re nursing, you’re going to get pretty sore after a few days. I mean your nipples are being gnawed on every 1-2 hours which is probably a new sensation for you… these gel pads are a boob saver. Just smack them on right under your smoking hot nursing bras and try to recoup for the next feeding. They don’t make a mess and are reusable. Lovely.
Did you see the Royal Baby’s official introduction to the world? Well, if these super soft muslin blankets are good enough for Prince Georgie, then chances are pretty good that us commoners will approve. We use them for swaddling, cleaning up throw up, covering a stroller if the sun comes out, privacy while nursing. You name it, these will probably help.
Confession: Martha was our first swing baby and I picked this guy up at a local consignment store for $40. I’m not sure what planet we had raised Eleanor and Oliver on, but a swing is a godsend. She loved it and it was a great way to put her down for 20 minutes to get dinner on the table for the big kids.
Try as I might, Eleanor was our child who took a pacifier, but when she was inconsolable these were another little gift from the heavens. I’m not sure where the controversy stands, but I know when we started having kids, there was muttering about not using pacifiers because of nipple confusion, bite problems, etc. Anyone who’s seen a baby sucking their thumb in utero will agree that sucking is one of the most soothing things a baby can do… whether they’re sucking on their fingers or a pacifier, it can provide enormous comfort to a newborn getting used to this unfamiliar world of sights and sounds. (If you don’t believe me, check out my favorite sleep book: Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.) These Nuk pacifiers were small enough for baby’s little mouth and the loop at the end meant I could clip it onto whatever so as not to lose them.
Again with the nipples, sorry. They’re going to get dry and cracked (ya know, from the hourly latching and chewing and unlatching) and you need something considered ‘food grade’ so safe enough to use if baby’s going to be hopping back on within the hour. I like that the organic creams don’t stain my clothing quite the same way a heavier ointment like Lansinoh seems to.
Swaddle, swaddle and swaddle some more. That’s our motto with newborns. If they wiggle out… you’re not doing it tight enough. Babies are used to pressure on all sides from being in the womb so this sudden freedom to move about can actually wake them up with the involuntary movements of their little bodies. These velcro ones are simple and easy. And tight.
The first few baths with a tiny slippery newborn can be nerve-racking… this inexpensive bathtub may not win any design awards, but it’s been one of our favorites for all three kids. The cloth hammock means that baby is supported and safe but can also have the warm water over most of his/ her little body to stay warm and cozy.
Gentle, sweet-smelling, tear free. We used this on our babies and the big kids still have this next to the tub for their baths.
A nursing pillow is critical. It helps prop up the baby and makes it that much easier for you to position a newborn who is still learning the ropes of breast feeding. I’ve always loved the Boppy pillows with their interchangeable covers and soft contours. They also come in handy when you need something to rest your head on in case you’re down for a little snooze.
Again, this is a newer item on our baby list. With Eleanor and Oliver running around, it was a really useful way to comfort Martha by keeping her close, but also keeping my hands free for fun things like braiding hair and pouring sippy cups.
Since most of the best photo opps for a newborn are likely inside for the first couple of weeks, this flash was one of our favorites. It tilts so that the flash bounces off the ceiling, e.g. versus startling a poor sleepy newborn. Not only is it less jarring to the baby, but it also provides a much nicer flash photo, in my opinion.
If you’re nursing, you will be parched. Like willing to drink your own urine thirsty… instead of going all Bear Grylls, just grab a colorful water bottle and give yourself a break. I love these Camelbak ones because they don’t leak, they’re easy to drink out of, and they’re pretty.
Each week, I keep seeing the numbers getting bigger and bigger: 32 weeks… 33 weeks… 34 weeks… Yep, this baby is fast approaching and we’re beginning to get all nested up in this joint. (Incidentally those pesky little “lb” numbers also continue to grow…)
I’ve started doing the laundry and collecting the gear and am getting close to that “insert baby” phase! What’s your favorite baby gear?! I always love to hear about new gadgets and gizmos so bring it on!
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