Pregnancy is not exactly an easy walk in the park for most women—it can definitely come along with a set of challenges—but compared to taking care of a newborn baby, it seems blissful! Babies are so much work, and while they are always worth it, new parents are not kidding when they talk about how exhausted they feel!
It is just part of being a new parent. Babies need so much love and care during this time, and they aren’t able to do anything for themselves yet. They rely on their parents for everything, and their parents have to be ready to basically wait on them hand and foot.
No matter how ready the parents are, there are always going to be times when they are ready to throw up their hands and think that they desperately need a break! But the truth is that of course, it is a bit easier to get through the more prepared the parents are, so getting ready pays off. Here are 20 things that the baby needs in the first month for perfect development—and the good news is that many of the most important things do not cost a single dime.
Many parents will go back and forth about whether or not to co-sleep during those early months, but no matter what they decide, having a bassinet for the baby to sleep in is always a good idea. According to What to Expect, it’s definitely important to get a solid, comfortable bassinet that is safe and cozy for the baby. Making sure that the baby is able to get a good night’s sleep, night after night, and also take naps when they need to is absolutely crucial. Newborns need a whole lot of quality sleep, much more than adults do!
We’ve already established that it’s so important for the newborn baby to be able to sleep well, for as long as they need. But does it matter to the newborn if mom and dad are sleeping, too? Actually, yes, it does. According to The Bump, it’s a great idea for mom and dad to get on to a consistent sleep schedule after the baby arrives—to the extent that they can, of course. It might be too difficult at first, but establishing some sense of routine in those early, formative months is always good for the baby’s development in the long run.
Babies need baths! They need to get nice and squeaky clean on a regular basis, just like adults do. And since they can’t shower on their own, they need mom and dad to give them baths. So, how can the parents do this safely and effectively? According to Mama Natural, they can pick up a baby bath! These little tubs are designed so that parents can set them up in the sink and give their baby a bath with little hassle. They can rest assured that the baby will be perfectly safe, and there is no doubt they will enjoy bath time.
So, here is something that is totally free, and it is great for the baby’s development—especially when it comes to their emotional health and personality. Yes, babies absolutely do have their own unique personalities. According to Wellness Mama, it is super important for babies to get a good balance of “alone time” with just mom and dad as well as socialization with other people, particularly close friends and family members. Too much stimulation and loud noise can certainly be a lot to handle. But it’s good for the baby to get used to being around groups of people while they are little.
According to Mama Natural, cradle cap is a pretty common problem—most parents have at least heard of it and are prepared to deal with it at some point or another, even if their baby has not experienced it yet. What is the best way to deal with cradle cap? Prevention is always a good idea—parents will want to stop it before it even starts. So, how can you do that? There are special, soft bristled brushes specifically designed for this very purpose. Having one of these on hand before the baby is even born is a smart idea!
Look, babies seem to be always hungry—it’s just a fact. They are growing so fast, and they basically run on instinct. When they are hungry, they will begin to cry to let mom know! According to The Bump, during the first month one of the most crucial aspects of taking care of the baby is simply keeping them fed. Therefore, mom has to be super attentive! Of course, whether a mother decides to go with breastfeeding or formula, all that really matters is that the baby is getting all of the nutrients they need to thrive. Fed is best!
If you have never taken care of a newborn before, this might sound a little silly, but according to What to Expect, a baby’s nails actually start growing before they are born. Therefore, the parents have to be ready to clip their nails shortly after the birth, just for safety reasons. Here’s the thing—if a baby’s nails are too long, and they reach up to touch or scratch their own face, they might end up hurting themselves! That’s why it is important for parents to be proactive. They can prevent this from happening by simply clipping their nails regularly.
As most people know, babies seem to have two basic priorities: sleeping and eating! As an adult, it’s always nice to get the chance to take a little midday nap—but according to Baby Centre, babies need several naps per day, in the morning, afternoon, and early evening. And it is absolutely necessary for babies to get those naps. They are growing rapidly, and they need to get plenty of sleep every single day in order for that to happen. This is one of the most important aspects of their development, so parents have to stay on top of it.
Carrying a newborn in your arms is actually so tiring! New parents may underestimate just how tiring it can be—after all, babies are so tiny that it just can’t be hard, right? But according to Baby Centre, most parents say that carrying a baby in their arms all day feels like a serious workout, and it can eventually lead to some discomfort in the shoulders and back. That’s why getting a baby sling can be such a great idea. Babies really benefit from physical closeness to their parents—it’s one of the only things they want besides food and sleep.
According to What to Expect, a baby will need a short follow up check up shortly after birth just to make sure that everything is going smoothly. Yes, new parents are super busy—busier than they have ever been in their lives before—but this is very important to prioritize. Seeing a pediatrician regularly is key. As we mentioned earlier, when it comes to kid’s health (and adult health, for that matter), preventing something is almost always easier than curing it. A doctor can catch things before a parent would even notice, and they can also bring you peace of mind.
This is one of those essential things that everyone deserves—babies and adults alike. According to Mama Natural, it is only to be expected that new parents won’t exactly have time to do laundry regularly or deep clean the house! But it is definitely good to give a baby an environment that is both clean and relatively quiet. This is better for both their physical and emotional health. Can’t clean the whole house? Even just getting a chance to clean the nursery and prioritizing that is fine. It’s just a good routine to get into early on to keep the baby comfortable.
Yes, the sound of a baby crying can be an unwelcome surprise, especially if mom and dad have just settled down to go to bed after a long day. But according to Mama Natural, a baby generally needs one of three things when they cry: food, someone to relieve their discomfort, or someone to show them love. At the end of the day, babies are really pretty simple to figure out! That’s why parents really do need to be responsive when the baby cries—yes, this even applies if they are so tired they can barely keep their eyes open.
Every new parent knows that they need a stroller—but there are so many big, fancy strollers out there nowadays! How on earth is a parent supposed to know which one is the right choice? It’s understanding that many of them would feel confused while stroller shopping. According to Baby Centre, there is one major thing that you have to look for while shopping for a stroller for your newborn. It has to recline flat so that they can lay down in it. They can’t really be propped upright for long periods of time yet because their heads are too heavy.
So, speaking of strollers, guess what else babies need? You guessed it—according to Today’s Parent, getting outside and taking a walk is great for both the new parents and the baby! It is such a good idea to let the baby see and hear the sights and sounds of the outside world (once it is safe for their immune system, that is). They will get to see all kinds of new things that they would not see in the home, and as their eyesight develops, they will also be fascinated by all of the beautiful colors outside! It’s so fascinating for them.
As everyone knows, having a car seat for your baby is not optional—it’s the law! According to Mom Junction, finding the right car seat can feel like a challenge—just like finding the right stroller, but it can be a bit more stressful since it is so important to the baby’s safety. So, what’s a new parent to do? Simply ask questions and remember the most important thing—it doesn’t have to be a fancy, expensive contraption. You just need something that is secure and solid, and will keep your baby safe while you are driving around with them.
According to Baby Centre, swaddling has been practiced for years, and babies seriously love it! This is because the cozy feeling of being swaddled actually reminds them of being in the womb. The outside world can be overstimulating to them at first, so swaddling is a great way to calm those worries. Not every baby will enjoy it, but the majority of them will, so it certainly doesn’t hurt to have some swaddling blankets on hand before the baby is even born. That way, you can simply start swaddling whenever you are feeling like the baby will benefit from it.
Are babies really mesmerized by those baby mobiles? Yes, they are! According to Today’s Parent, babies love to look at mobiles for a few reasons. As they start to get a little older and their eyesight develops, they will be so fascinated by the colors that they are now able to see. Plus, it’s good for them to learn to focus on the shapes as they move. It can be soothing for them to look at when they are alone. It is basically the perfect combo of entertainment and relaxation for babies! A baby mobile is definitely worth the money.
Having a baby monitor can be a lifesaver for both mom and dad! And it definitely benefits the baby, too. According to Wellness Mama, having a baby monitor is pretty much essential to be able to know when the baby is crying (well, unless you’re living in a relatively small space, then you will always be able to hear it). It will absolutely be one of those things that brings you so much peace of mind. Today, there are even video monitors, so if anything goes wrong or the baby is upset, you know right away to go check on them.
Look, at this age, it’s clear that the baby won’t need much in terms of toys to play with. Pretty much all they want to do is cuddle with mom and dad, nap, and eat. Their needs are pretty simple. But according to Mom Junction, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get a few safe baby toys before the baby is born. Toys are not just play things for babies—they also give them an outlet to sort of learn about the world and practice their reflexes. Play is actually so important for healthy development—it can even be a teaching tool!
The most important thing that you can give your baby for healthy development is something that money just can’t buy. According to The Bump, patience from mom and dad during those early months is truly the number one thing that your baby needs. There is nothing that could ever replace it or substitute for it. And the best part is, being patient with yourself will make everything just a little bit easier. You don’t have to be hard on yourself as a new parent. It’s tough enough as it is—just give yourself a little break once in a while.
Sources: wellnessmama.com, mamanatural.com, babycentre.com, thebump.com, whattoexpect.com, todaysparent.com, momjunction.com