When soon to be moms find out they have a bun cooking in the oven, they are usually elated. Those nine months leading up to birth is an exciting time and there is so much to do that keeps us very busy. After having a doctor’s appointment or two, we talk about fun ways to tell friends and family. Then we get to see the look on their faces when we break the news, which is probably the best part. Maybe we will start discussing names or look into preparing the nursery. Time usually flies by as the to do list keeps growing.
Soon enough, it’s time to start discussing essentials that we will need as new moms. For most first time moms, this is where some stress starts to kick in. Everyone you see will tell you about all these things that you absolutely need. Literally everyone — even the lady at the grocery store that you don’t know. When you go to register at stores, they usually have a list of suggested items. And when I say list, they usually have about five pages of things they suggest for your registry. Do we really need five pages worth of baby gear? Where are all these things going to go?
In reality, no one needs to get everything on those lists or everything that friends tell you to get. Moms raised perfectly healthy babies before all these gadgets came out, and moms can do it now, too. However, would life be easier if we had certain essentials? Absolutely. As a mom of two very different babies, this is my mom’s survival kit of things every new mom needs.
15 The Essentials
Obviously there are certain essentials that moms can’t live without. These are non-negotiable items. A carseat is at the top of this list if you ever wish to take your baby anywhere. Picking out a carseat is where the hard part begins. Do you want an infant carrier or a convertible carseat? What brand or color do you want? The list goes on. Researching the safety ratings is a great way to narrow down the list.
Other must have items are diapers and wipes. Whether you want to buy disposable diapers and wipes or do cloth wipes and diapers is up to you. But you definitely need something. My husband’s friends threw him a “dadchelor party” when I was expecting. It’s kind of like a boy version of a baby shower. The only requirement is that you bring a pack of diapers. I don’t think we had to buy diapers until my first baby was 4 months old, so that party was a lifesaver.
14 Baby Carrier
Like most items on this list, picking the right one is going to take some time. However, having a baby carrier is something I absolutely suggest, and it will make your life so much easier. Baby wearing is also suggested by many doctors to help strengthen the bond between you and baby. My second baby never wanted to be put down, so it’s also one of the only ways I was able to get anything done.
One thing to think about is if you want a wrap like the Moby type baby carrier or if you want a structured carrier like the Ergo. The wraps are really nice when you have a newborn. It’s easy to get them in the right position and the cloths conforms to their body perfectly. When my babies got older they preferred a structured carrier like the ergo, so we didn’t really use the wraps after that. That is something you will need to consider.
13 Newborn Lounger
A newborn lounger is one of the gadgets that I would consider to be essential. When you have a new baby that's waking up more than five times per night, it’s great to have them right next to your bed so you don’t really have to get up. A newborn lounger like the Rock N’ Play is lightweight so you can easily move it around. Having it in the bedroom at night and moving it into the living room during the day is no problem. It’s super easy to put it over on dad’s side of the bed so he can take a night too!
You can get a super basic newborn lounger that just sits there, or you can get one that has upgraded features. Some of them play music or rock back and forth on their own which is great to help soothe the baby every now and then.
12 Breast Pump
If you plan to breastfeed or to do any pumping, a breast pump is essential. While any breast pump is good to have, a double electric breast pump will make a new mom’s life so much easier. If you plan to go back to work and would like to continue feeding your baby breast milk, you obviously need a pump. However, there are many other reasons you would need a pump. If you plan to ever leave your baby to get a break, you will need to do some pumping so someone else can feed the baby while you’re away.
Having a little break every now and then can be great for a new mom’s sanity, even if it’s just a little trip to the store. Another reason to need a breast pump is when your baby starts to get on a regular schedule. When baby goes from eating every hour to spacing out their eating, it’s easy to get engorged and pumping will help you find relief.
11 Starbuck's Gift Cards
Don’t be afraid to ask for one — or ten Starbuck’s gift cards when people ask what you need. I don’t think I’m telling you anything you don’t know when I say that you will be tired — all the time. Your baby might sleep for two hours, or they might sleep for ten minutes. If your baby is anything like my second child, they will not sleep at all unless they are being held. This is exactly why you need a lot of Starbuck’s gift cards.
Some studies say not to have caffeine if you are breastfeeding while some studies show that you can have a certain amount without affecting baby. Just make sure you do your own research and figure out what’s best for you and your baby. Caffeine or no caffeine, there is something for everyone at Starbucks. The best part about Starbucks is that is has a drive-through. So all you have to do is put baby in the car and go!
10 Water Bottles
One of the things no one tells you about is how thirsty you will be after giving birth. The labor with my first was especially long, and I didn’t eat or drink anything for two days. First time moms generally have a longer labor, so it’s possible that you could have a long labor too. You will also be losing a lot of the pregnancy water weight in that first week after giving birth. It may sound weird, but keeping yourself hydrated is one way to help you ditch the water weight fast.
If you are breastfeeding, you will be ten times thirstier. Don’t be surprised if you are able to drink an entire bottle of water after you breastfeed. It’s also very important to stay hydrated if you are breastfeeding. Keeping yourself hydrated will help your body produce more milk. And a full baby is usually a happy baby!
9 Sound Machine
We did not get a sound machine with our first child and I really wish I would have. It would have made our lives so much easier. When babies are in the womb, it’s actually not very quiet. Your baby can hear many noises from the outside such as you talking as well as other noises. Sounds inside your body are even louder. These include the sound of your blood as well as the beating of your heart. After hearing so much noise for nine long months, babies are often more comfortable with noise than they are with complete silence.
Another helpful reason to have a sound machine is to keep baby from waking up when you are making noises. My daughter’s bedroom is right off the living room and if we hadn’t gotten a sound machine, she would have woken up at every laugh or loud noise she heard.
8 Endless Entertainment
You will be holding your baby a lot in those first couple weeks and possibly several months. If your baby insists on being held when he or she sleep, sometimes it will be nice to sit and do nothing while you are holding your baby. A new baby also eats a lot. Whether they are breastfed or bottle fed, they will still need to eat every couple of hours — sometimes more often than that. And I’m sorry to break it to you, but new babies are the slowest eaters ever.
The good part is that you can easily make it through one of your shows during one feeding session. I suggest having some of your favorite shows recorded. If you have Netflix or Hulu that would be helpful as well. For all you book lovers that prefer reading over watching television — you will probably be too tired to retain any information you read.
7 Swaddle Blankets
Swaddling is one of the first things that is shown to you after you deliver your baby, and for good reason, too. Swaddling your baby has been shown to calm your new baby and to help promote sleep. With a new baby, you can use all the help you can get when it comes to helping him or her sleep. With our first baby, we used a swaddle blanket. However, we apparently had a little magician on our hands and he managed to wiggle free and wake up.
With our second baby, we discovered Halo Swaddle Sleepsacks. They are absolutely amazing and I wish we would have had them with our first baby. Regardless of the exact product, make sure you find a good swaddle blanket and stick to it. Just make sure that you always place your baby on their back to sleep as that’s the safest way for your baby.
6 Burp Cloths And More Burp Cloths
Burp cloths are a very important part of every new mom’s life. If you don’t understand why, you will very soon after you have your baby. Your baby will spit up a lot. And then they will spit up some more. Since they are just getting the hang of the whole eating thing, they are also very messy as they do this. As if you won’t have enough to do, you will also need to wash burp cloths when you run out of fresh, clean ones.
You will likely go through your entire burp cloth stash in no time. For this reason, I suggest getting lots of burp cloths. And don’t bother getting any fancy ones either. They are just going to be spit up on anyways. All you need to check is that they are soft enough to be wiping your babies face and absorbent enough to soak up anything it may encounter.
5 Body Suits With Mittens
Body suits with mittens are definitely towards the top of my must have list. Your baby will come out with sharp nails, and you won’t want to cut them for a while. Believe me, it’s terrifying trying to cut tiny baby nails on tiny baby fingers. If you don’t cut your baby’s nails and you don’t cover them, they will scratch their face and will be very mad. A great alternative is to put mittens on their hands.
You can buy mittens separately, but I haven’t found many that actually stay on. They also get lost very easily since they are so tiny. They make body suits and sleep sacks that have built in mittens, and they might just be one of the best inventions, ever. You can pull it over their hands when you want, or you can leave them off when you want baby’s hands free. And the best part, you don’t have to look for those tiny little mittens anywhere!
4 A Swing
A swing is one of those items that people think is absolutely necessary or not needed at all. I happen to fall in the category that think it’s necessary to make your life easier. My kids were complete opposites. There were so many baby items that one baby loved and the other hated. However, they both loved the swing. Even moms get tired of holding their baby all day and all night, and it’s nice to have something to give you little break.
My daughter wouldn’t sleep anywhere but in my arms, but she would occasionally give me 15 minutes to do the dishes or fold some laundry. It doesn’t sound like much, but 15 minutes without a newborn in your arms is like heaven. There are warnings everywhere that tell you not to leave your baby for hours unattended in the swing. I never had to worry about that, but it’s definitely good to take that warning into consideration.
3 Nasal Aspirator
I don’t think any mom would argue that a nasal aspirator isn’t one of those must have items. But you can’t get just any nasal aspirator. Those little bulb aspirators are super common, but I’m sorry to say that they are awful. They don’t suck at all — in the bad way. The only nasal aspirator that I would recommend is the Nosefrida. It’s the one that has the long tube that you stick just in your baby’s nose and suck out the goods. Does it sound and look completely disgusting? Absolutely.
However, it’s one of the best nasal aspirators out there. Newborn babies don’t learn to breathe through their mouth until they are several months old, so babies are really uncomfortable when they have a stuffy nose. Being able to get their nose as unstuffed as possible will make them much happier, and will probably get you a little more sleep.
2 Diaper Pail
We have a diaper pail in each of our kid’s rooms, and I love them. We used to have a two story house when our first was born, and we had one on each level because I love them so much. I will admit that you can live without a diaper pail. But with the amount of diapers you will be changing when you bring your newborn home, it’s nice to have a diaper pail close by.
A diaper pail is also much better than a regular trash can because they actually keep the smell from wafting through your entire house. And boy do some of those diapers get smelly. There will be a ton of people that want to see you and your baby, and the last thing you need to worry about is how your house smells. Diaper pails are fairly inexpensive, so it won’t ruin your pocket book either.
1 Diaper Bag
I am all about saving money when I can, so I was planning on repurposing an old purse to use as our diaper bag. My thought was that I already have unused bags laying around, so I didn’t need to buy another one. However, I was very wrong and we bought an actual diaper bag soon after. Diaper bags are made specifically for carrying the overwhelming amount of things you need with a newborn. They have different compartments and zippers which make storing and finding diapers, wipes, diaper cream, pacifiers, and everything else much easier.
Another thing to think about when picking a diaper bag is that it’s comfortable. A diaper bag can get quite heavy once you pack it full, and who know how long you will be carrying it. Just like most other items on this list, there are many different options, so just do your research before to make sure you find the one that fits your needs.