There are many things you need and want for a newborn, and just as many you don’t. From my experience; and working with many other families, here is my top 10:
1) A good stroller: I always recommend making your purchase with the main use for your stroller in mind – e.g. are you only going to be using it in the city or in shopping centres where there are always footpaths/flat surfaces? or do you live in the country, and travel often where you will require some off-road capabilities? My favourite of all time is the Mountain Buggy. we invested in the Urban Jungle (Single) for our first baby, and the Duo (side by side double) when our second arrived. We still use both almost daily. They are still going strong despite years of bush bashing, countless international flights, and braving the streets (and beaches – believe it or not!) of Bali.
For City dwellers, the City Select (Baby Jogger) is a great investment as you have the option of purchasing an additional seat and attachments if you are planning on having more than one child.
Tip: eBay and Gumtree are a great alternative if you don’t want to buy brand new
2) A baby carrier or sling: in the first three months (or fourth trimester), the rocking motion and warmth of being carried by mum or dad is extremely soothing for babies. This has been proven to significantly reduce crying, and can even help avoid colic altogether. It is impossible to ‘spoil’ your baby in these first few months, and by tending to their needs, you will ensure their security and independence. I personally have a Kokodi Flip, along with a collection of woven wraps which I couldn’t live without. Other carriers (endorsed by professionals) include the ergo, hug a bub, and Manduca.
3) Baby Hammock and/or swing: for all the same reasons babies love being carried, hammocks create a safe, warm, soothing rocking motion which re-creates the womb experience. Motion will settle even the fussiest of babies in the first few months, and hammocks are often used instead of a bassinet for day and night sleeps. Between 2-4 months, you can make the transition to a cot or similar. A swing is also great for some ‘hands free’ time during the day, and due to the upright position, can be a god-send for babies with reflux; however, not designed for sleeping for extended lengths of time or overnight.
Tip: Please ensure with any equipment used, that you follow the safety guidelines accordingly and your baby is always supervised.
4) White noise: For the 9 months your baby is on the inside, the sound of the womb reaches around 60-70dB (the sound of a vacuum cleaner). They are lulled to sleep all day with constant noise, and then when they are born, we tip toe around them, trying to keep their environment as quiet as possible. This silence can be deafening for a newborn. I recommend white noise from birth to soothe babies, toddlers, children and adults to sleep. It has been proven to improve sleep quality and length, and effectively drowns out other noises that may interfere with sleep (older siblings, plumbing, creaking floor boards, birds, traffic, and other outside noises).
Tip: If you have access to an iPhone or iPad during sleep times and overnight, then I recommend downloading Sleepy Sounds (free on iTunes). Otherwise I highly recommend the Conair white noise machine.
5) Comforter/lovey: Introducing a safety approved comforter from a young age helps your baby feel safe, warm and secure. It can also remove some of the dependence on mum or dad for comfort every time they wake from naps and overnight. Some children form really strong bonds to their comforters, some well into toddlerhood and beyond. Among our favourites are; aden + anais, Sleepy Tots, and My Luvvie.
Tip: If you are breastfeeding, express some milk on your child’s comforter, or you can wear it down your top for half a day so it smells of you! To encourage bonding, introduce the comforter in role plays, and every day activities (such as play and meal times). An old T-shirt of mums can also do the trick placed over the mattress.
6) Zip up onesies – middle of the night changes, 100 changes a day. Do I need to say any more? I will never buy another button up suit again.
Tip: Invest in brands which are 100% cotton such as Pure Baby, Snugglebum, or Target
7) Skin care staples; Sudocrem & Coconut oil: Sudocrem can be used for nappy rash, cuts, burns, bites, rashes, eczema… you name it. This is one of the staples that to this day I can’t live without! Coconut oil is great for baths, an all natural moisturiser, and is anti fungal; so also great for newborn rash and nappy rash.
8) Baby monitor: With a monitor, you won’t need to second guess if you have heard your baby crying, and these can offer weary parents flexibility and peace of mind.Tip: If you can purchase a wired baby monitor, this is preferable over wireless. Alternatively, position the wireless monitor as far away from the baby’s head as possible.
9) Baby capsule: Capsules are a fantastic way to get baby in and out of the car (and around town) without waking them. As most of them are heavy to carry, I recommend using a stroller when out and about (purchase a capsule adaptor to suit your brand of stroller). Personally, I have used the Safe ‘n’ Sound Unity which fits a variety of different strollers; including Mountain Buggy, Baby Jogger, Steelcraft, Phil and Teds, Bugaboo, and others.
Tip: Always have your baby capsule professionally fitted for safety. If you want to see how your capsule rates for safety, check out the link here. Again, eBay, or Gumtree will save on cost. Hiring is also an option, however, do your research as it may end up being more expensive (than purchasing second hand) if you are considering more than one child.
10) Swaddle: Swaddles are a great way to help your newborn feel safe, secure, warm for sleep (re-creating the womb experience they are so familiar with). Swaddling a baby can help them sleep longer and sounder, and prevents them from interrupted sleep by disabling their Moro (startle reflex).
Tip: I love ergoPouch, and Love to Dream brands, which both offer transition swaddles for when bubs is 4-6 months old.
What’s on you ‘can not live without’ list for baby? I’d love to hear your feedback!