Congratulations! This single word is about to be the most common word heard in your life for the next nine….nope, make that ten months;)
Now that’s great and all and it is definitely an exciting time. But with every one of my pregnancies, the one question I wanted the answer to was “how am I going to survive having a newborn?” Was I excited, yes? But I was definitely more nervous than excited.
I don’t know about you, but the single thing that helps me when I’m nervous is feeling like I’ve regained control of whatever is causing the nerves. With pregnancy, and being anxious about this little human that I was making, growing and about to bring into this crazy world; that sense of control came in the form of planning and preparation.
Realistically, you can’t plan for every aspect of life with a newborn. Oh, how I wish you could though!
So while it is virtually impossible to plan for everything with a newborn and anticipate what they will like; these seventeen items are the favorites that helped me to survive life with a newborn. As a mom of four, I’ve tried to narrow down the thousands of choices that are available to parents and help simplify the overwhelming process by sharing a few of my favorites that I wouldn’t want to go without 🙂
These are in no particular order. My mama brain is way too scattered for that 😉
1. Dohm white noise sound machine
If you hope to continue any sense of normalcy after the baby is born, you need a sound machine. A sound machine if you aren’t familiar, provides a white noise that you leave in the baby’s room.
Mimics sounds from in utero
This is helpful in several ways. One, it mimics sounds that baby heard in utero. After birth, replicating this sound in the form of a sound machine will provide soothing comfort to a baby.
Establishes a maintainable routine
Two, it helps in establishing a routine that is easy to maintain as the baby grows. Every month will bring different changes and sleep patterns. But having something like white noise that is turned on every time baby goes to bed, helps to signal to them that it is time to sleep.
Helps teach them to self soothe during their sleep cycle
Finally, as they move through their sleep cycles, especially at night, and enter the lighter part, or they wake, hearing the white noise that they fell asleep to, will help them self soothe and fall back to sleep without needing you= more sleep for everyone! This is also a lifesaver when you are traveling since it helps to maintain a familiar routine for the baby. Need I say more 😉
There are a variety of models available. I liked the simplicity of this sound machine. I didn’t want to create a dependency on music or anything else that I couldn’t maintain long term. Some sound machines are multi-function and provide lullabies. However, the music doesn’t sustain throughout the night. So if baby falls asleep to music and awakes and it isn’t there anymore, it causes confusion and an awake baby.
This Domn sound machine is simple, easy to use ( a necessity when you are sleep deprived), and is well made. In fact its, so good, that I still use it for my older children. It helps to filter noises like unexpected doorbell rings, dog barks or in all reality, noise that comes from trying to maintain life while the kids sleep. This is a must.
So I actually didn’t get the opportunity to use this 🙁 In fact, it wasn’t even an option until my last kiddo. However, I have read so many good reviews and have seen so many friends have success with this product, that I had to share it here!
It goes back to the idea that babys thrive in a snug and soothing environment that mimicks the womb. Babies do well with routine and structure. When they know what to “expect”, you will find it is easier to get them to sleep.
The DocATot is great because it provides a small, secure sleeping environment that grows with baby. But the best part, it is small and portable which means naptime/bedtime can be wherever. This is a great option to use if you are interested in co-sleeping safely, traveling or even in baby’s own crib. In addition to providing a snug environment, it provides another maintainable routine to help baby sleep consistently.
3. Swaddle/ Magic Merlin Sleep Suit
Swaddle, swaddle, swaddle. I can’t emphasize this enough. While at the hospital with your newborn, the nurses and doctors will emphasize the 5 S’s of soothing a newborn; swaddle, side-stomach position holding baby, shush, swing and suck.
There are several main reasons to swaddle a baby. The swaddle creates a womb-like feeling providing comfort for a baby. Babies also have a startle reflex which means at random times during their sleep, their limbs will startle hard enough that it wakes the baby from sleep. The swaddle keeps baby’s limbs close to the body to help them to sleep longer. At an age where they also are too little to use blankets, it helps provide warmth safely.
Skip the muslin blankets for swaddling
Many people use these muslin blankets for swaddling. While I love these blankets for a variety of other uses, they are not what you want for swaddling. You want something that is easy to use at 4 A.M. when you have just fed baby for the 5th time and can barely keep your eyes open. Try and swaddle with a blanket, and it’s not tight enough, the baby will wriggle out of it. This not only means that the baby will wake up (shortening your sleep time), but a loose blanket in the crib is dangerous to a baby.
My favorite two swaddles
These are two swaddles I liked. I loved how this adjustable swaddle blanket was to use with its velcro fasteners. It made it easy to swaddle baby keeping baby’s arms by its side with little effort. For babies that don’t like having their arms by their sides, and sleep with their arms above their heads, I like this zipper swaddle which creates a little more freedom of movement but still helps with the startle reflex.
Once a baby can roll over, it’s time to stop swaddling. That’s where this magic sleepsuit comes in. In two different sizes, this patented heavy sleep suit helps transition between swaddling to nothing. Often at the point, that baby can roll over, they still aren’t ready to sleep without any sort of “swaddle” which means if you just stop swaddling, the baby will stop sleeping as well. That is the last thing you need. This sleep suit will help to keep your baby sleeping longer, better and also keeps them warm. You want this.
4. Baby carrier
Baby carriers are good for everything. Most babies will be most calm when they are near you, can feel your heartbeat and smell you. Whether or not you need something to hold the baby while you take a walk/hike, or you have a fussy baby that needs to be held more often so you can have your hands free, you need a baby carrier.
I had an Ergo baby carrier with all my kids, and loved it! I’ve used this everywhere from walking the dog, hiking, all the way to traveling alone overseas to Brazil with my kids. This Ergo baby carrier was one of the 10 items that helped me make that 24 hr travel adventure and survive to talk about it 🙂
Go with the Ergo 360
They recently came out with the Ergo 360 baby carrier which in my experience is the best out there! I loved this brand because it is designed to be comfortable for both adult and baby. Its wide straps help evenly distribute baby’s weight.
Ergonomic natural “M” position
I chose this over the other brands because there is a wider piece of fabric that goes between the baby’s legs. The adjustable bucket seat supports your baby in an ergonomic natural “M” position. This is supposed to be a lot better for their body/limbs than the brands with just a tiny strip of fabric between their legs like a swimsuit would have.
Can face multiple directions!
I also love that with the 360, the baby has the option to face forward and look out as they get bigger, or face you. With infants, it is nice to have them facing you. However, as they grow, they often prefer to face out so they can see what’s going on around them.
There are so many other features that I love about this product! It is well made. I don’t know about you, but if I spend the money, I want something that will last. Mine has held up well enough that it could be used for multiple children! This makes it well worth the initial investment.
It has an SPF hood that snaps to the shoulder straps. This hood is great to keep the sun and wind off baby, provide a darker environment for naps while on the go, as well as keep people from touching. I even used this hood to provide privacy while breastfeeding! I traveled to Brazil alone with my three girls which you can read more about that adventure here 🙂 But that hood and comfort of this carrier allowed me to feed my baby while pulling my other two kids through the airport.
Finally, the fact that it is machine washable instead of hand wash only sold me! I can barely keep up with our day to day laundry. I need a carrier that when it got dirty or spit up on, I could just throw it in the wash quick.
5. Baby monitor
A baby monitor is something you want regardless of the size of your home or where you are when the baby is sleeping. The saying, rest when baby rests is 100% true because this provides you with a chance to recharge.
A monitor will allow you to go outside on the porch for a minute and relax or lay down and nap. It also allows you to check on baby without them knowing. Baby’s wake up a lot during their sleep as they move through their sleep cycles. With that comes, noises or even short term crying. The monitor allows you to check and see whether the baby really needs you when you hear a noise, or whether they will go back to sleep.
This is a lifesaver because the second you walk in the room and they see you, it’s game over. Being able to see without entering allows you to build healthy sleeping habits and only go in when really needed. Which means more sleep for everyone!
With over 29,000 purchases and almost a 5-star rating on Amazon, this baby monitor is a best seller for a reason. With an interchangeable camera lens, you can customize the view and angle for your preferences and room. I also love the fact that in this digital age with the concern of security, this system provides 100% digital privacy with nothing being transferred over the internet!!!! The remote function allows you to tilt and adjust the camera for the view you need without having to go in the room!
If you are looking for a simple model that provides solely audio, this audio monitor is the perfect, inexpensive monitor! With a 1,000 ft range, it allows you to move freely about your home or even to relax in your backyard while keeping an ear out for your little one!
6. Nursing pillow
In all honesty, previous to kids, I didn’t think a nursing pillow would make that much of a difference. I figured any throw pillow would do just fine. But I was mistaken. I have finally figured out through trial and error and the use of various options, that having a pillow that supports you while you feed your baby, whether with a bottle or breastfeeding, will make all the difference.
My Brest Friend nursing pillow
This is my favorite pillow! I actually sent my husband out to buy this the day our baby was born. Unfortunately, I hadn’t been successful in breastfeeding my first two girls, and the lactation consultant at the hospital recommended this nursing pillow as a game changer. Boy was she right! For the first time, I was able to exclusively conquer the challenge of breastfeeding! I largely attribute that to this pillow helping to easily put the baby in the ideal position every time.
The wrap-around design of the pillow not only provides better support, but it is more comfortable. This makes it easy to be in the correct position every time. (Trust me, you will be too tired during those night time feedings to be messing around with a pillow to try and adjust it to the right position!) The extra support and strap also help it to stay in place and not slide around! The removable/washable cover plus the pocket is the perfect spot to store a water bottle, or your phone are just added bonuses making this pillow even more functional.
7. Nose aspirator
Gross, yeah kind of; but necessary. Baby doesn’t have the ability to remove the mucus themselves, which means it’s on us when baby needs their nose aspirated. I go between these two nasal aspirators.
Bulb nasal aspirator
One is the standard bulb similar to what they sent us home with from the hospital. However, this bulb nasal aspirator that I found on Amazon I like better because the bulb is made up of two parts. This makes it easy to clean/dry and eliminates the possibility of mold growth. Only downside to this one is that it takes some work to put the bulb back together after washing. Not too difficult, but it does take a minute. Which maybe that is a good thing because it means that it won’t fall apart while you are trying to use it 🙂
NoseFrida nasal aspirator
The second one I use is the NoseFrida aspirator. I avoided this one as long as I could. The idea of sucking through a tube to pull out baby’s snot grossed me out, still does. But it works and technically there isn’t supposed to be any transfer of snot because of the replaceable filters. This one seems to work really well, however, I have always needed help from someone in order to use it. (One person holds baby, the other sucks the snot). Sometimes I also feel like it takes longer to get all the crud out since you are sucking.
I would suggest both so you have something for any senario.
8. Baby bath
So many options here. You can choose between a plastic tub that goes inside your bath or shower or something for bathing in the sink.
My favorite to date is the baby Blooming Bath. I love the practicality of this one. It is perfect for use in my kitchen sink. I get to bathe baby without bending or hunching over. Trust me. This may not seem like a big deal the first few times. But after the first week, or when baby projectile vomits in the middle of the night, you are not going to want to be bending over!
I also love how soft it is and how easy it is to use! Since I can use it in any sink, this allows me to multi-task which is a necessity in trying to do it all. I can be bathing my littlest in the kitchen sink while my big girls eat for example. After using, it’s easy enough to hang up in the shower to dry. Plus I felt better about putting my daughters baby skin on something soft for a bath instead of hard/cold plastic.
9. A comfortable chair for feeding
It took me until my last baby to heed my own advice, and I regret it daily. With each pregnancy, I went and tried out nursing chairs and LOVED THEM, but kept talking myself out of it because of the cost. I kick myself every day for not investing in this from day one.
Here is the thing. No matter how you are planning on feeding your little one, you will spend SO MUCH TIME sitting and feeding. Having a comfortable feeding chair for you will completely change how you feel when you go to sit down for the 3rd nighttime feeding and are exhausted. I also loved having a stool to put my feet up. The more relaxed you are, the smoother feeding time will go since babies seem to pick up on our feelings.
Along with the nursing chair, I created a little feeding station next to it which I recommend. I made sure that I always had a water bottle, extra burp cloths, phone charger and anythying else I might need. It became my little relaxtion space to make feeding enjoyable for us both.
10. Baby bouncer
A bouncer is a must. It is small enough that it allows you to easily move baby from room to room from the time they are born. You will want an option to put the baby down and give yourself a break. I loved using a small baby bouncer like this for when I needed to get some work done, make dinner or just take a break. The battery operated vibrating option is great for soothing baby. And the removable toy bar provides vital entertainment with toys, light, and music as baby grows!
Don’t forget the rechargeable batteries!
Along with most baby items you will be getting, make sure you get a set of these rechargeable batteries! I can’t tell you how many late night trips to the store this saved us! Easier to plug in to charge for 45 minutes rather than run out!!!! Trust me!!!!!! I love how it has any battery you may need in this rechargeable battery kit.
11. Space saver high chair
Again, I’m hoping you can learn from my mistakes. I bought what I thought was an amazing high chair for my first daughter. It was expensive and HUGE! It was always in the way, and I was always moving it.
This time, I bought a space saver high chair and it is so much better! (Not sure why it took to until my last kid)! It is inexpensive and small. I can bring it with us camping or remove it easily if we need the chair for something.
Skip the fabric
But the dealbreaker for me on high chairs is NO FABRIC! Yes, I understand wanting your baby to be comfy. But look, they really aren’t seated for that long. Plus you will have enough laundry to do without adding one more thing. I guarantee you that the chair will get dirty at every feeding. To keep it clean means washing it daily. Don’t know about you, I don’t have time for that.
The material on this space-saving high chair allows you to quickly wipe it down after meals, and it still has a cushion for comfort. Win Win.
12. Diaper bag
Say goodbye to your purse and hello to your new one; a diaper bag. Your hands will be full on every outing between a car seat, baby and a diaper bag. You won’t have the hands to also carry a purse. So when choosing a diaper bag, choose one that is big enough to hold all of the essentials for baby as well as the items you will need.
I love these new backpack style diaper bags. It frees up your hands, fits everything you need and looks good. Most importantly, when you bend down to pull out baby, or grab something, it will stay on your back, out of the way. Shoulder bag diaper bags tend to swing around and hit whatever is in front of you and are constantly in the way. Plus the extra weight on one shoulder is cumbersome. You eliminate those by going with a backpack design.
13. Carseat/nursing cover
These covers are amazing! Lightweight, inexpensive and versatile! These are great for putting over the car seat as a cover when the baby is sleeping, to keep the wind off, and keep touching hands away. My favorite part is that they won’t blow off and fall on the ground. Plus the fact that they also can be used as a nursing cover, to put in a shopping cart for baby to sit on, as a light blanket and more make them perfect. They are a “do everything” product that will simplify your life. Do yourself a favor and get two of these versatile covers!
14. Cold weather car seat cover
Again, took me until my last kiddo to get smart enough to use this. Previously I’ve always used a regular blanket to keep baby warm when we left the house. I can’t tell you how many times that blanket either fell off or baby kicked it off and I had to do extra loads of laundry/baby wasn’t warm. This is amazing because it’s like a sleeping bag for the car seat. I love this one! You can cover baby as much or as little as needed, it’s easy to install/remove to wash and it is really soft! This cars seat cover is a must for babies in colder weather.
I’m not a huge fan of the big swings. They are bulky and take up a lot of room. Plus, baby items and batteries don’t mix, unless you get these rechargeable ones.
I love the Mamaroo baby swing ! Its a mix between a bouncer and a full swing, but has all the bells and whistles to make life simple and help you survive the craziness of life with a newborn.
I loved everything about it from the ability to mimic 5 different motions including car rides, play white noise, pair with your smartphone to play music or….. Get this. If the baby was asleep and started to fuss and wake up, from my phone, I could turn on a motion to lull her back to sleep. Talk about amazing.
16. Magnetic Onesies
I’ve tried it all. The cute newborn outfits, the little dresses, the snap or zipper pjs. Here is the thing. They are not functional. At least for me, they didn’t work. I was exhausted with a newborn. It took so much work to do up all those buttons and snaps. And in all honesty, until the belly button stump fell off, I was afraid of putting them in anything that might rub and irriate the stump.
Finally, with my littlest, my younger sister gave me one of these gowns as a gift. It was amazing. I wish I could go back in time and use it for all my girls. Ditch the zippers, snaps and buttons, this long gown with last for months, and uses magnets to hold it close making it extremely easy and quick to put on or take off. This makes it perfect for those late night/ early morning changes with a squirmy baby. Underneath, I simply used one of these newborn long sleeved shirts. It kept anything like a waistband on pants from rubbing on the belly button stump and made changing so easy.
Once the stump fell off and the belly button healed, I went with long sleeved onesies, with this magnetic gown on top. I can’t say enough good things about this.
Coming in a variety of patterns and colors, this is the perfect gift for that baby shower you have coming up for your little one on the way.
17. Don’t lose your sense of humor
As long as you know that there will be moments like this, and can laugh them off, you will make it just fine 🙂
At the moment, you may not think something is funny. And may even be tired enough that you are leaning towards crying more than laughing.
But later you’ll see the reminders with your photos, and will hopefully be able to laugh 🙂
Life with a newborn is exciting but exhausting. While there are certainly more items out there that are great, these are my favorite 16 products to help you to sail through those months and not only survive but be able to function and look back on it all with fond memories 🙂
What are your favorite baby products? Or what did I forget?!?!
I’m sure I’ll be adding more to this list as my mama brain remembers 🙂