8 essentials for a newborn baby

by Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

Last week we discussed all those things “they” say you need for a new baby, but that—well, you really don’t. But this doesn’t mean you need nothing. There are a few necessities most families need to care for a newborn.

Throughout history, parents have managed to raise the next generation with very few items. The “must haves” of today’s culture weren’t even invented not that long ago.

Everyone’s list is different. But here are the top eight things I find essential for nurturing a new baby.

1. Diapers

This is about as basic as you can get. Yes, there’s elimination communication for the truly frugal, but we do just fine with a basic stash of cloth diapers, wipes, and diaper liners.  You can learn more about cloth diapering from the Cloth Diapering 101 series we did last summer.

2. Pack ‘N Play

For our mobile lifestyle, a pack ‘n play has proven essential both on the road and at home. I know it’s tempting to get a classic crib with the coordinating sheets and bumper, but it’s not a necessity.

We had a crib with our first-born (bought on the cheap at a consignment store), we were given one with our second, and for this upcoming third, we’re sticking with only a pack-n-play. (In case you’re wondering, we’ve lived in different locations for each of these births.)

I do hope to find an attaching bassinet feature for those first early weeks, so that I don’t have to bend all the way down to pick him up.

3. Baby carrier

There’s no question — babywearing is so healthy for bonding and comfort, and it makes basic chores like folding clothes so much easier.  It’s not hard to be absolutely overwhelmed at the selection of baby carriers. There’s no one perfect carrier, but each parent and baby do tend to have their favorites.

Photo from Ergo Baby Carrier

I love the Ergo baby carrier for most of my babies’ early months, but for our next baby’s earliest, teeny-tiny months, I’m going to try a Moby wrap, given to me by sweet Simple Mom columnist Maya.

4. Basic layette

It’s obvious that your newborn will need clothes. But you don’t need nearly the amount nor the extravagance of a wardrobe that mainstream baby registries will have you believe.

A stash of onesies, pants, socks, little t-shirts, and a lightweight hat are all you need. Of course, colder weather calls for a few more layers.

5. Swaddling blankets

Photo by Petunia Pickle Bottom

You won’t know ahead of time whether your newborn will prefer swaddling (my oldest hated it; my second-born loved it). Either way, these stretchable blankets are quite useful for a variety of things — from swaddling, to tummy time, to cuddling with in a stroller.

6. Car seat

In the United States (and in many other countries), it’s illegal to transport a baby in a car without a car seat. No matter where you are in the world, it’s good sense to use one anyway.

You don’t need anything fancy—it just needs to be safe and up to standards.

7. Basic grooming tools

A newborn’s fingernails grow surprisingly fast. The amount of snot from such a tiny thing is downright shocking. Occasionally you’ll need to check your little one’s temperature. And he or she just might find comfort with gas relief drops.

You won’t know for sure when you’ll need these items, but you sure don’t want to be stuck without them at 2 a.m. It’s a good idea to have on hand simple tools like baby fingernails, a bulb syringe, a thermometer, and gas relief drops, just in case.

8. Burp cloths

Photo from Cooper’s Classic

Babies are messy. Simple cloth diapers used as burp cloths are absorbent. You can do the math — trust me, these things come in handy for all sorts of reasons. In the early months, we go through several of these babies daily.

There are a few other things our family found helpful, but I wouldn’t exactly call them essential — we used a bouncy seat and a pacifier with both our children, our daughter liked a swing for a few weeks, and our son had fun with a door jumper once he could hold up his head. But none of these things are fundamental, by any means.

Keep in mind this list of mine is items for newborns – the earliest weeks with your little ones. As babies grow, other things become more useful, like a stroller, simple toys, and sometimes an exersaucer.  Here’s my Wishpot list of suggestions for a simple baby registry.

But there’s not much reason to invest in these things until you understand your particular needs and your baby’s preferences. Until then, save your money for the things you truly need.

Now it’s your turn — what’s on your must have list for the newborn months?

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  1. Also not essential, but very handy was our Boppy Pillow! Oh my goodness, I loved that thing for nursing! I actually wrapped it up and put it away for my girls to use with their babies some day.
    .-= Angela @ Homegrown Mom´s last blog ..Homeschooling in Humility (aka Pride Goeth before the Fall) =-.

    • I never used my boppy too much for my babies, but I “broke” my tailbone during my last pregnancy/delivery, and it became ESSENTIAL for me to be able to sit down without excruciating pain!

      • I agree, the boppy isn’t always the right fit for feeding a baby but it can be great for supporting a sore bum. My dad actually stole mine, after breaking his tailbone while sledding with my husband and brother-in-law! He sat on it for 6 months…it’s never been the same :-)
        .-= karissa´s last blog ..Not Me Monday =-.

    • absolutely love my boppy pillow too!
      .-= Leslie´s last blog ..spontaneous math =-.

    • As a big-chested woman the boppy was so helpful to me. I didn’t have to hold up my breast and my baby at the same time. I tried that initially and was getting exhausted every time I breastfed. I really only used the boppy in the very beginning, but it made the whole process much easier for me.

  2. I LOVE my Moby Wrap!! I had a sling but it killed my back! The Moby Wrap is SOO comfy and you can use it until your baby is 35 lbs! I HIGHLY recommend it!
    The other things on my list are: Aden & Anais swaddle blankets-they are light and airy, and big enough to do a good swaddle!
    Also, two books: “The Happiest Baby on the Block” and “Bright from the Start”
    Thanks for sharing your list!

  3. You covered the list pretty well, don’t know if I can add anything truly essential! I’d say instead of a pack n play, a co-sleeper like the Arm’s Reach might work better for some moms. We’re not huge crib fans either.
    .-= Vina´s last blog ..Go Ahead, Let Motherhood Re-Define You =-.

  4. thanks for the hot tips – we’re expecting our first in September and don’t have much room for extraneous baby items.
    .-= Maggie´s last blog ..Praying for rain =-.

  5. Hi,

    I started with very few things when the baby arrived. What I have learned, is that the place where you change the diapers on is essential. after 4 weeks I went to buy a real “Wickelkomode” these dressers where you can store the diapers and can easily change the baby without stooping.

    Instead I didn´t need such a pack and play – we just used sheepfur and blankets to put the baby on.

  6. I TOTALLY agree re: not too many clothes! At one stage recently, we realised my 6 month old son had 30 short sleeved size o shirts! You are doing so much washing when you have a baby anyway (particularly if you use cloth for diapers) that you only really need 5-7 outfits for baby. Burp cloths and bibs are important too – especially for those “chucky” babies.

    And don’t underestimate how many gifts you will receive when baby is born. You really don’t need to buy any toys, stuffed animals etc – most people receive PLENTY.
    .-= Julie´s last blog ..5 minute “special play” =-.

  7. I had pretty much the same list for my baby, before she was born. The one thing I had right from the start was a stroller/pram/buggy. We started going for walks somewhere in the first month itself and it was a big help since I couldn’t carry her much and she loved being outside. It helped that I would talk to her pretty much all the time we were walking.. Really helped us bond:-)
    .-= prerna´s last blog ..Simple Ways to be a Mindful Mom =-.

  8. I love the moby and the ergo – they are my carriers of choice. I think having those and figuring out how to make them work for us really revolutionized our parenting the 2nd time around.

  9. avatar
    Amanda G says:

    I definitely agree about the pack n play. Right after my son was born, our crib got broken in a move. We used the pack n play until we could replace it. He’s over a year now and is still sleeping in it!!!

  10. We have a handcrafted crib that my dad made for our first daughter, so I wouldn’t trade that for anything! But we love our pack n plays too!

    Instead of burp cloths, we just use the thin, inexpensive receiving blankets. They’re so much more versatile because they’re bigger!

    • i see a lot of love for the Moby Wrap on here. I have a piece of fabric that I learned to tie like a moby and I really do love it – it’s the most comfortable carrier I’ve found. The only thing is I end up not using it very much because it is kind of complicated to take on and off. especially when you have a fussy baby that needs to be carried pronto. Also when he needs to nurse, it’s so inconvenient to take it on and off. I’m just wondering if I’m missing something here, is there some trick to it to make it easier?
      .-= Leslie´s last blog ..spontaneous math =-.

      • One key I found to loving the Moby is to consider it more like an article of your clothing instead of an acessory. I would put mine on right after my daughter was done nursing first thing in the morning. Then, I’d pop her in and out all day. I also found that low v-neck shirts or button up shirts were essential. That way, I could stay wrapped to nurse and didn’t have to take the Moby off completely. I would just peel her out, keep the Moby on, and nurse. Sometimes, I’d even put her bum in one of the criss-crosses to help support her weight for proper positioning, especially when I didn’t have a pillow handy. I wasn’t able to nurse her completely hands-free in the Moby, but I found that the support it provided really helped.

        • that’s great advice, i’m definitely going to try it. i guess the trick is wearing the right shirt so you can still nurse without taking the whole thing off. thanks!
          .-= Leslie´s last blog ..spontaneous math =-.

  11. I enjoyed this post! This time around for us (just had our third three weeks ago!) we really had a much better sense of “need” and also any “extras” that were worth it. For us the extras that were worth it were: a large llbean tote bag stocked with travel essentials so we weren’t repacking a diaper bag everytime we take a trip, a baby hammock, and a moses basket. I’m using all three of these things ALOT this time around (in addition to a baby sling)
    .-= Lisa @ WellGrounded Life´s last blog ..Becoming a Mother, Again and Again =-.

  12. Great list! I got a moby wrap with my last babe and LOVED it! He was very fussy and was the only carrier he’d tolerate and actually fall asleep in. 😉

    For me, the bouncy seat was essential – I used it all the time with both my kids as babies. It was especially helpful to just plop on the floor by the shower or near us at the dinner table – times when baby need to ‘be’ somewhere but not held if it was not a sleeping time. We have a dog, so the floor wasn’t much of an option without us nearby.
    .-= heidi @ wonder woman wannabe´s last blog ..Monday Musings =-.

  13. I would like to second, third, and eighteenth the recommendation for the Ergo — wow, what a carrier! I couldn’t believe how far I was able to hike with my heavy son on my back, and hardly feel it. Fabulous weight distribution and little ones just love it.

    I agree with Lisa, a good diaper bag is an essential, though it doesn’t have to have been designed for that purpose. And, for me, the best thing to stock up on before my last baby was born, was a freezer full of nutritious meals. You just can’t fathom the level of exhaustion until you’ve been there. Oh, and to read up on breastfeeding and have your local La Leche League on speed-dial. Seriously, as natural as it is, it can also be tricky, and you will need support, experience, and encouragement.
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..The Enemy is Perfection =-.

  14. avatar
    Jennifer says:

    Thank you so much for this post! I am pregnant with our first child and the whole world of baby stuff just seems so overwhelming sometimes. It is really nice just to have this concise, basic list to start with :-)

  15. I’m expecting number 5 and the only other thing I can think of is somewhere to put the baby when she/he’s awake and you can’t hold her/him. A seat or a playpen, which is great for protecting little newborns from a curious older sibling or pet 😉

  16. The bouncy seat was pretty essential to us, especially with our second. Both of our boys were really soothed by the motion of it (and liked it a lot better than a swing), and it was a comfy, safe place to lay our youngest if we needed to go tend to something for our older son. If/when we have a third, I think we’ll forego a swing and just get a gently-used bouncy seat. It takes up a lot less space, too!

  17. My only concern with using a pack and play in place of a crib is support for their little spine. The ones designed to be a bassinet will offer enough support until their 15lbs, but after that they would have to lie on the bottom, and I’m not sure if that would benefit their growing spine. Perhaps their is a mattress that can be used in the pack and play to make it more friendly long term.
    .-= Jen @ Canadian Rhapsody´s last blog ..Month Four =-.

    • I actually know of many babies whose bed was only the pack-n-play, and their spines are fine. I’m not sure that’s too much of an issue… :)
      .-= Tsh´s last blog ..8 Essentials for a Newborn Baby =-.

      • We’ve only used a pack ‘n’ play with my son, and he is now 1, and has been seen multiple times by a chiropractor (he comes with me when I go), and get’s checked and never needs an adjustment! So I agree, I don’t think it’s such a worry.

  18. Along with the nail clippers, I found a booklight to be very useful – With it, I was able to see clearly to clip nails while my daughter was sleeping. That process is nerve-wracking enough for a new mom to not need to contend with trying to clip wriggling nails.

    And for the baby carrier, my daughter refused to be carried in the complicated strappy unit, but loved to be carried in a simple sling. I found someone online who made a basic sling for just a few dollars and I shipped her the material, so it was fully customized. Instructions are available online and seem pretty simple, but I didn’t have a sewing machine.

  19. Great Post…..I found your site on stumbleupon and read a few of your other posts. Keep up the good work. I just added your RSS feed to my Google News Reader. Looking forward to reading more from you down the road!

  20. I had twins and when it came to nursing the boppy was a life saver. My Maya wrap was great too.
    .-= Rana´s last blog ..I’m Beat! =-.

  21. LOVE these suggestions, Tsh! We love, love, love our Ergo, but I don’t like it for the newborn weeks. I’ve used a Mei Tei Baby mei tai with the adjustable bottom for a newborn and liked it okay, but if we have another, I am DEFINITELY getting a stretchy wrap.

    We are the biggest fans ever of swaddling blankets. Each of our girls had Swaddle Designs blankets and not only were they perfect for swaddling my big babies, but the blankets lived on as lovies for years. AJ – our two year old – still lugs her blanket around with her (just like Linus).

    Great list, mama!
    .-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..40 Days of Joy {day 10} – Projects =-.

  22. For those looking for a pack n’ play or play yard, I recommend Chicco. It is a little on the pricey side, but it can be a nice group gift on your registry or a great way to spend gift cards. It has a plush bassinet insert that is very comfortable, not just a board for baby to lie on. It also has an attachable diaper station and nightlight, which I found very helpful in the wee hours of the night. Another great thing about it is that when it is packed up in its travel bag, the wheels stick out and you can roll it.

    I also agree with Hope, _The Happiest Baby on the Block_ is a great resource for new mommas.
    .-= Kim´s last blog ..A Call to Worship =-.

  23. I have four kids and I found that after my first the change table went by the wayside as the older ones wanted to “help” and watch me change the babe. I just made up a basket with all the essentials for each floor of my house and when the need arose I was able to change the babe without having a huge deal made out of it.

    I used my pack and play as a “play pen” to keep the babe safe too when I had stuff to do. My bouncy chair was aweseome as well – I had one on each floor so that I could use it to keep the baby safe and in my view!

  24. Instead of a pack-n-play or a regular crib, we went with a mini crib for my daughter. (We got one of the Delta portable mini cribs.) It has been wonderful. When she was a newborn, we had it pushed up next to our bed with the mattress at its higher setting and the side dropped (I don’t know if they are still manufactured with a drop-side). The side was still high enough that it was safe for a newborn, and the mattress was at the same level as our mattress. For naps on her own, I could just raise the side. It was exactly what I wanted in a co-sleeper, but much less expensive than the arms-reach ones (& less bulky, too, I think). Now she’s one, and she’s sleeping in it in her own room – mattress down and drop-side up. We are planning to get a full-size crib/youth-bed for her in the next couple months because she’s outgrowing the mini-crib, but we’re definitely holding onto the mini crib for her younger siblings down the road!

  25. Breast pads for leaky breasts (especially for overnight), and a good nursing bra that fits and is comfortable. For co-sleeping I also found an incontinence pad for the bed to work wonders for both my leaky breasts and baby’s leaky diaper. Kept my sheets dry a couple extra days!
    .-= Melodie´s last blog ..Poll: How Old is Your Nursling? =-.

  26. avatar
    Catherine S. says:

    Lansinoh ointment. I could not have survived nursing four babies without it.

  27. I didn’t invest in a good, quality nursing bra until baby #4. It kept me so much more comfortable and supported. It was money very well spent. Along with good nursing pads and Lansinoh. Being comfortable with breastfeeding made me happier to keep doing it as long as my babes wanted to (which varied SO much from one to the next!).
    .-= karissa´s last blog ..Not Me Monday =-.

  28. I would say that if you’re prone to having large children, you might want to invest in a crib since they are bigger than a pack and play. By the time my son was 18 months old he had to be diagonal to sleep in his pack and play. :)
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..They Are Listening =-.

  29. GREAT post! I so agree. We’re American expats about to have baby number 3 in an English house (read MUCH smaller house and no storage). So my wish list was quite small this time around. The only ‘must have’ I would add is Weleda Calendula Cream. Great for diaper rash, dry chapped cheeks & a lot of other stuff besides! I started using it with our first 7 years ago and never leave home without it.
    We’re also buying a small freezer for our garage and doubling meals over the next several weeks so we have things to heat up when baby arrives. So helpful especially without mom and close friends around! I believe Tsh has a post about how to meal plan that way too!
    .-= Cori´s last blog ..Tiny socks =-.

    • I absolutely loved your list! I did enjoy an armsreach cosleeper with my last one but used the pack and play for the first 6 weeks with my first. I agree with the cloth dipers. They save sooo much money and they are so easy these days. I have a friend with an ergo and that is at the top of my list.
      .-= Laura´s last blog ..Save $10/Month on Electricity (For Busy People) =-.

  30. Yes I also reccommend a pack n play or similar co-sleeper type bed over a crib. For our first child we were given a crib and a pack n play as gifts. We set both up but never ended up using the crib. Being apartment dwellers the pack n play took up much less room, and could be moved easily to a different room whenever we needed to. We ended up taking down the crib after the first 6 months and giving it away. We also traveled quite a bit (to some pretty exotic and rugid destinations I might add) during her first two years, but our baby slept well and played safely wherever we happened to be because she always had her familiar pack n play. We liked the flexibility so well we used a pack n’ play with our second child too.

  31. I fell in LOVE with my Boppy Pillow! I think that anything you can do to make breastfeeding a little easier for you is a must! I heart breastfeeding! :)

  32. I, too, highly recommend 2-3 good nursing bras. My advice? Buy 2 of those triangle top elasticized ones (they sell them at Motherhood or Target for about $11). Those are great for nighttime and for the first few days. When your baby’s 2-3 weeks old, go to a bra shop or lactation consultant and get fitted for a decent nursing bra. Your back and your breasts will thank you!

    A breast pump and breast milk storage bags/containers are essential, too.

    When I had my second child, I told everyone who wanted to visit, “Come on over and bring something to eat!” I was only half-joking, and I appreciated every restaurant gift card, spaghetti casserole, and pot of chicken soup we received!
    .-= Melanie at Parenting Ink´s last blog ..Need a Good Cry AND a Pick-Me Up? =-.

  33. I know this is kinda silly but: a laptop and/or a very large stack of books! You’ll spend so much time sitting — recovering, feeding, rocking to sleep. I might have gone crazy without my laptop and some light reading material. And that’s when the boppy pillow can come in handy!
    .-= Jessie´s last blog ..Flashback =-.

  34. avatar
    Johanna says:

    For those new to cloth diapers…I was so nervous when we had our first little one to start with cloth diapers. I actually decided that I couldn’t handle the stress of a new baby and cloth diapers all at the same time, so we waited until our daughter was 3 months old to start using cloth. Now I love them! I would never do disposable again and I have to say it is so easy once you start.

  35. avatar
    Jessica says:

    Great list! and yes a loud shout out for the Ergo carrier! Also there is an all-natural baby spray lotion- that’s right in a spray container, (just a friendly tip from a LifeLogic promoter), making it extremely easy to apply and have one hand free. You can find it online at Drugstore and Wal-mart, or if you live on the east coast you may want to ask your local store to start stocking up.

    When you are a new mom, the easier your change routine is, the better, especially at 3am.

  36. I’m not sure exactly where you can buy this, but I would add PATIENCE to the list. Patience with yourself, with your baby (didn’t you just poop 30 minutes ago – now you need changed because you’re wet?), your husband, etc.

    Best advice I ever received – when it all gets to be too much, ask yourself the following questions:

    1. When did you last sleep?
    2. When did you last eat?
    3. What did you last eat?

    The answers to these questions will probably help you understand why you feel so overwhelmed.

  37. I love my Moby for nb’s. My last nb lived in ours and this one will too. I have a Beco for when they are older and a woven wrap but I am a babywearing addict. I also make my own cloth diapers, so so easy and we do cloth from birth (hospital and all).
    I second not too many clothes but I also believe nb’s need wool, even in warmer climates, even if it is just a hat. My winter nb’s live in wool.
    .-= Helen´s last blog ..Launch of Simple Living Media =-.

  38. On the top of my list is always a baby carrier. I always suggest to new mamma’s a sling or wrap of sorts. I think it’s the one thing I can’t live with out when a new babe comes!
    .-= grace´s last blog ..New From the Creator of Veggie Tales–Plus a GIVEAWAY and FREE THINGS! =-.

  39. Thanks for the great list. I am expecting my first this June and I was feeling kind of overwhelmed by all the stuff people are saying I “need”. It is difficult to figure out what I will actually need since I have no prior experience and my mom seems to think I need every baby product ever made.

  40. Great list!

    We have that exact pack and play for our new baby – he’s six months old today. I’ll add to the list hats! You already mentioned blankets, but my babies always wear hats too, sometimes inside if it’s chilly, but always when we leave the house.

    I got a Moby D wrap – and LOVE it! I love the Maya too, but wow I really love the Moby.
    .-= Tsoniki Crazy Bull´s last blog ..Japanese Fabric =-.

  41. Obviously I’m sleep deprived – our little one is six WEEKS old, not months. LOL

  42. I never liked the look of a nappy bag (South African name for those baby changing bags filled with stuff!) so I bought a quality lady’s back pack style handbag. All my diapers, wipes and creams fitted into a small toiletry bag. Keep those toiletry samples! They come in handy for travels. I still use my back pack style handbag because I need 2 hands to push the pram and hold onto a toddler’s hand!
    .-= Nadene´s last blog ..Day, Week, Month, Season and Weather Chart with Rotating Circles =-.

  43. We went a little overboard with our son (now 4) and did a much simpler round 2 with our daughter (now 18 months.) One thing that fits in your grooming category and that I wouldn’t be without is a Nosefrida. This thing is awesome – you put the nozzle in the nostril and suck from the other end, with a filter in between. It is SO much more effective than a bulb syringe. Truly the most disgusting thing I’ve ever loved.

    We also appreciated “Happiest Baby On The Block” as a good guide for soothing newborns. Heck, the loud SHHHHH!!! noise and a close, arms in snuggle still works on my 4 year old!

  44. We’re about to have baby number one and I am overwhelmed with the stuff people said we needed and bought for us. We live in a small apartment and will be moving to Switzerland in 6 months so needless to say I hear you about there being too much stuff! After I did my registry I had a bunch of people asking me why I hadn’t finished it. People really seemed to think a wipes warmer was a necessity! No thanks!

  45. avatar
    Caitlin says:

    I am just getting around to thinking about what I will need and I just opened a registry on myregistry.com this morning, so this article (and all of the comments) has been very helpful. I know there are other things I will need to register for, but this has given me a good place to start without getting too overwhelmed!

  46. Have to reiterate the love for the Boppy and the Moby wrap.

    I got a travel system for my daughter but once I got a Moby I almost never used the stroller until she was over a year, though now that she’s 17 months old I use it all the time. When she was a newborn she spent most of daytime hours in the Moby. I actually got a second Moby so I could wash the first one. I would recommend that if you live in a warm climate or will be having a spring/summer baby, a light colored one makes a lot of sense – both of mine are dark. FWIW, I’ll also note that between carrying the baby all day in the Moby, including while walking the dogs, and breastfeeding I lost my baby weight VERY quickly.

    While I know the Boppy isn’t for everyone, I still use it for the couple of times a day I still nurse my daughter, and it’s the pillow she likes to sleep on at night. She never got attached to any other “lovies” but her Boppy is her “lovie” – she will hug it and make cooing noises when she holds it.

    Finally, we used a crib for a while with my daughter after co-sleeping with a little in-bed bassinet (marketed as a travel sleeper) the first few months, but it didn’t fit in our storage pod when we moved cross-country, so we got rid of the crib (kept the mattress). So my daughter has been sleeping in a Pack & Play for the past six months and has been doing just fine. We have #2 on the way in the fall and probably will not replace the crib, either see if we can get a hand-me-down one or go to a toddler bed.

    Also – if you find out the sex of the baby beforehand and tell people, expect a lot of gender specific clothing. At one point, I had 36 girly size 6 month onesies! I did some exchanging for larger sizes, but I wish I had been even more aggressive now. I wouldn’t cut tags/wash anything except maybe a couple of newborn items until very close to delivery and exchange as much as you can for 9 month, 12 month, and 18 month sizes, which almost no-one will give you.

  47. avatar
    Ghanimatrix says:

    Just wanted to comment on the “baby nail clippers”.

    Just say no!

    Baby nail clippers are essentially adult nail clippers with big clunky plastic handles. These are actually more dangerous than regular clippers. Know why? Because those big handles increase your leverage and are clumsy to work with. This is a bad combination, because you have bad aim and more power! It results in the tips of little fingers being clipped off. If you use regular clippers, you are more accurate and can do less damage if you do miss. Don’t buy into the hype!

  48. They really ‘need’ so little, don’t they? I had a Baby Bjorn and absolutely LOVED it. I used it a bit longer than I probably should have but it was a life saver. I also had quite a selection of bibs – my daughter spit up and dribbled quite a bit so it helped keep my from changing her any more than I had to.

    Great list!!
    .-= Debra´s last blog ..Are you ready for March? =-.

  49. Re Ghanimatrix #50: I haven’t looked very recently, but the “baby” nail clippers my mother always kept strung on her key ring growing up were a much smaller size of clippers for little fingers. FWIW, some of the new ones have a small magnifying glass attached so you can see what you are doing.

  50. If you want to really simplify, I think you can skip most of the layette and just go with jammies and socks. I prefer the zip-up jammies for newborns because they’re easier to change in the middle of the night when you’re mostly asleep! I agree w/you on the pack & play – we have used ours extensively for our three boys. We used the bassinette part for the first four-five months, and then the regular setup after that. I agree with one of your top commenters that the Boppy pillow is super-handy. I didn’t have one with my first son, but it DEFINITELY cuts down the frustration in baby positioning during nursing, and is super-handy. If I had to choose between a baby carrier, and a Boppy, I’d go with the Boppy (it gets used multiple times every day!)

    Also necessary/extremely useful for us: a large stroller (the kind you can also clip the baby seat to when the baby is really small). We used ours for grocery shopping and all kinds of other things — have gotten a ton of use out of it.
    .-= Heather – Dollar Store Crafts´s last blog ..Transform Valentine Hearts into Shamrocks =-.

  51. avatar
    Heather of WA State says:

    I always had a stacks of soft terry toweling cloths, about the size of a washcloth but of a finer terrycloth, and used them to wipe chins, wash little hands, to place under my breast to catch drips while nursing, and for baby to teethe on (I put them in the freezer). I kept the towels in the kitchen, the nursery, by the rocking chair, in the car, etc. I washed them daily in hot water with vinegar.

  52. I think your list is just about perfect, although for my kids the bouncy seat was a necessity. My 3rd slept in it until she was 6 months old- I think it helps the little ones that have a bit of reflux. I would definitely add the bouncy seat to the list of essentials!

  53. I never managed to use the baby carriers much. My son really didn’t like any of them much. I have an ergo, and another with leg holes, that he just HATED with a passion. I tried so hard to use the carrier… so really, not all babies are going to be ok with this. I even tried out a bunch of others in stores and I just could never get him into them. Drove him absolutely nuts to be all squished up with me I guess!

    Also, I did not use finger nail clippers. I know this sounds odd, but I couldn’t clip his nails ever. Why? I don’t know – couldn’t ever get a hold of those little teeny teeny fingers. I still don’t clip his nails and he’s 19 months old. It’s never been a problem for us.

    The pack n play was ok, but I got to a point where I was fairly certain he was uncomfortable in it because of the thin mattress. I also began to have trouble reaching all the way down to get him (I was having hip problems, and my husband re-injured his back shoveling). The crib made things lots easier when he got a little bigger. And, it’s nice to be able to use things like the fisher price aquarium, which can’t be attached to a pack and play.

    And, I agree with others – the bouncy seat was a LIFE SAVER for me!!!! Absolutely could not have a baby without one. I can’t cook dinner with a baby on my chest (really dangerous). And, it’s nice to be able to shower. The vibrations are definitely helpful.
    .-= sarah´s last blog ..Hello, =-.

  54. Thank you! I just bought the Ergo today and was SO happy to see it recommended here. Love your site.

    <3 EJH

    [*I linked this this page here: http://happinessisrealwhenshared.blogspot.com

  55. Agree wholeheartedly on the Pack and Play. We used one during a move/remodel for my second child, and recently set it up as a playpen for our mobile toddler. Even the 3-year-old is fighting to take her nap in it!
    .-= Meredith ´s last blog ..Foil Pans For Freezer Meals & Deliveries =-.

  56. definitely agree with the principle of the article, and most of the items on it, but am commenting just for a difference of opinion… I hated play pens, and almost never used one, we bought a used one for visiting, and maybe used it 3-4 times over three kids (not at all for the third) – grandparents and most friends had their own. We used it outside once, it drove my daughter crazy because she was caged away from us and wanted to play in the grass. A part of the dislike is also because I had two emergency c-sections in a row – the rarity of two breech babies! and bending down to the ground was not comfortable, at times impossible. My babes also tended to wake everytime I leaned over to lay them down, and at that newborn stage I needed them to sleep! So my faves were a king size bed – great to co sleep with the babe, she had more room than we did, and great for family pile ons when they are older – we got a more inexpensive one at first, and when it is about 10 years old it will be replaced (also the time that jumping on the bed will be occuring less!) A crib was a fav – loved that mattress on the highest setting until they could move/roll – so easy to just lay them down at almost waist height – for me and them. Lastly, loved a change table or dresser top for changing – changing on the floor or sofa kills your back, and again, with a c-section was impossible for quite awhile.

    so just another opinion to throw into the mix… it is easy to become overwhelmed with information too, and to just start believing what you read, and then doubt what you are doing. I like pros/cons of things, because not every baby or parent does things the same way… and I like the whys of things. I do have a dislike for playpens – but was also never able to really use one, who knows what it would have been like if I had birth naturally?

    also completely agree on the adult nail clippers – those baby ones were slippery and hard to used, gave up after a couple tries, and ended up using mine for better control on those tiny fingers. And agree on the A&A swaddling blankets mentioned above – only had for my third and they were AWESOME, they were cool in the summer and warm and insulating in the winter (folded in half), they were also fantastic for swaddling!

    love the newborn clothes comment too – I always give 12-18 month size clothes for baby gifts, you rarely get them as gifts, you need them, and they are so much more fun and cute than sleepers!

    • Thanks for the additional insight! To throw another curve ball into the mix ( :) ), I actually had two c-sections as well, and so far, have had no problems with the pack-n-play. It’s definitely why I want a bassinet feature for this next one, though — I didn’t use it in the newborn stage with the other two, so I know I’ll need that in order to not lean over so far.

      And also, I completely agree that using the top of the dresser as a changing table is the way to go. The only time we change our son on the floor is when we’re at someone else’s house. Just wanting to state for the record that I agree with those of you who have mentioned this. :)

  57. I loved reading this article and the comments.

    The things it confirmed to me is that 1) you need a lot less than you think and 2) what you need will depend on your baby … so borrow or rent if you can.

    I’m not sure if its the case elsewhere but here in NZ we have a number of companies and not-for-profits that rent out baby gear … carseats, pushchairs, packnplays, baby hammocks, baby hammocks … we even have a sling organisation that loans out baby carriers. Try before you buy!

    I have a packnplay that I have never used … neither child would tolerate it as a bed or a playpen. Neither of them used a crib either, but we found a baby hammock was great – very small in terms of space and easy to travel with.

    Our bouncinette was awesome until the babies were rolling, that was often the bed unless they were in with me or asleep in the sling.

    There is such an industry around babies – its scary!
    .-= Gypsy´s last blog ..Always too much stuff =-.

  58. Thanks for posting this. We’re not pregnant yet, and part of that reason is the overwhelming amount of money and space that babies consume. I think a lot of baby products are marketed to new moms’ fears and soft spots. It’s helpful to know that just because it’s traditional doesn’t mean it’s necessary.

  59. We used our Bjorn constantly with our daughter. We are due in 2 weeks or so with our second and I would love a Moby for this baby. I use our backpack a lot with our daughter (who is 15mos) and I know I will have days when wearing both may be a necessity. I think the Moby would be more conducive to that.

    We used the bouncer for our daughter until she could turn over, then the pack-n-play until she was about 6 mos and then the crib. She still uses the pack-n-play when we’re away from home. Everyone keeps asking if we need a crib for this one but if this baby is like her, our daughter will be in a big girl bed before I ever need a crib. I definitely don’t have room for another crib so if nothing else this baby can use the pack-n-play longer.

    I am definitely in the less is more camp. That includes toys, etc. I loved those people who gave us bigger clothes. It was so nice having them when I would wake up and realize nothing she had been wearing really fit anymore! :)

    I haven’t used our stroller much but did accept a great double stroller from a friend when it was offered. One rarely regrets free things. If nothing else I can bless someone else who may use it more if I don’t end up using it.
    .-= Stacie@HobbitDoor´s last blog ..Cinnamon Roll Recipe =-.

  60. Just have to add this: You need to have a stash of meals in the freezer! And some yummy muffins that are healthy for nursing mamas (and you can eat them with one hand!).

    So glad you’re emphasizing cloth diapers, too! So much healthier for sensitive newborn bums!

  61. If you have a family history of spit up babies (as I do), it’s worth investing in many receiving blankets and bibs. I had to do wash every other day for the first six months because my daughter spit up so much. Those little birth cloths didn’t cut it either, we had to have full size receiving blankets. Bibs with a good water proof backing we also a must so I didn’t have to change her clothes 5 or 6 times a day. (the bibs helped but that down to 3 or 4). She had to have more clothes as well for the same reason. She wore almost everything over the course of just a couple of days.
    We also ended up depending very much on a baby swing. We bought it for $30 on consignment. Our daughter is such a light sleeper that nothing would get to her nap during the day (except in my lap after nursing), except the swing. It saved my sanity.

  62. Your blog has a lot of helpful information and I am bookmarking it for future reference. I enjoy anything that has to do with children. With my first baby, I had no idea what to do with a colic baby. I cried alot from fear and frustration. Not sleeping didn’t help. I finally got a baby swing and it seemed to work better when my daughter was having a crying spell. I was finally able to get at list a continous four hours of sleep. With my next two babies, the swing was a life saver.

  63. We had an ergo baby carrier but now our daughter is a little bigger we have bought a New Zealand made Macpac Vamoose Baby Carrier which I can’t rate highly enough. It’s a much more robust piece of kit but in general baby carriers allow you to explore on foot with so much more flexability which I love.

  64. I’m so glad i found this site. Thank you for all your information. My husband & i are due our first baby please god in 6 weeks and i just got so overwhelmed by whats out there for babies, god they think about everything. We live in a small apartment in Sydney so don’t have the space for much but going by your list i wont need much. Thanks again

  65. Thank you for this great list. I absolutely LOVE the swaddling blanket. My old one loved it, hopefully my next one will too.

  66. One thing that I couldn’t live without was my little manual breastpump! I had trouble getting the latch started so it was awesome to have to get a bit of milk out to spoonfeed the little one until we got the latch going. Also awesome for engorgement relief too- not something I’d want to shop for in the early days, but not everyone may need it- so I think as long as you know for sure which one you’ll get if you do need it, I think you’d be set.

    Along with cloth diapers, come the accessories! Definitely a wet bag (although plastic bags do in a pinch), good washing detergent like wonder wash or Nellies, and dryer balls & rack for drying.

    Otherwise I’d agree with everything else on the list! We will probably get a stroller/car seat frame just for when the grandparents want to take part in little walks and they aren’t as comfortable/don’t fit in the wrap that we have (and etsy handmade wrap). That decision is personal though- but could prove to be essential for some!

  67. Thanks for the info on the your 8 baby essentials list , we call diapers “Nappies” here in the UK, we are selling UK baby care essentials, thanks for the tips…

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