*** (CLOSED- Congrats to winner Emma) I’m doing a little giveaway for you guys with Dyper, Comotomo and Design Dua. Enter to win a free month of diapers, a Comotomo bottle set and a Design Dua bassinet by commenting below with your number one must-have baby item***
Yesterday Marin turned 5 weeks old. It’s kind of amazing how much has happened in that amount of time. I won’t get into the postpartum stuff, saving it for another post, but there are so many changes you and the baby go through in the first few weeks. I remember sitting in the hospital not long after I delivered Marin and thinking, I have no idea how to take care of a baby. And I wasn’t really freaking out. But in that moment I thought, wow I should really start to read some stuff, haha. Well, spoiler alert, I didn’t read anything because I was exhausted and delirious and who has any time with a newborn?
The truth is, you just figure this out as you go. And if there is one piece of advice I can give, it’s that there is no need to freak out. Having a baby is a lot, physically and emotionally, but you can do it, and the more you can stay calm and confident in your abilities, the better off you will be (easier said than done I know). Again I’ll touch on postpartum in another post, but I also want to reiterate that your own care is JUST as important as the baby’s. Please prioritize your own recovery and mental health, and get help if you need it.
And the last thing I’ll add, nobody is a parenting expert. You don’t have to be perfect. Lots of people will have opinions and “rules” for how you should do certain things, but nobody knows what’s best for you, your family and your baby except you. What I am sharing in this post is what has worked for us, but you will quickly realize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to parenting. I’m here to tell you, you’ve got this.
Here are the newborn baby essentials that have gotten us through the last few weeks. While these are our must-haves, it may be different for your baby. I’ve also answered some of your most frequently asked questions at the bottom of this post. If you have any additional newborn baby product favorites or other things you found helpful, feel free to add them in the comments for others to read. You can also find my baby registry here.
Newborn Baby Essentials
I figured I’d put sleeping essentials first because let’s be real, you don’t get much of it in the beginning. Sleep deprivation is ROUGH but it’s temporary. For more detailed answers about sleep questions see the bottom of this post.
I LOVE our Design Dua bassinet (get 10% off w/ code JESSANNKIRBY). It’s so easy to transport around the house (both the bottom rocker and Moses basket) and was so helpful in helping ease the transition from co-sleeping to crib. I have a bundle that came with a changing basket and pad. I use Pehr changing pad covers with it.
Let me preface this by saying this is not recommended for sleep. I am not a doctor and I am not giving any advice on what to do in terms of co-sleeping, etc. just sharing what has worked for us. Please do your own research and make decisions you are comfortable with. This is a helpful article from Kelly Mom. All of that said, we used our Snuggle Me Organic in bed with us for the first 3 weeks and it was the only way either of us get any sleep (more on this below). It’s also great for setting her down with us on the couch, etc. She loves being in it.
My friend recommended this monitor and it’s awesome. Super easy to set up and use, no fancy bells and whistles and it doesn’t hook up to your phone or anything but we really don’t need that. The monitor can go anywhere and it’s not connected to WIFI so it can’t be hacked in any way.
I keep this humidifier running in Marin’s room to help with dryness, especially right now when the heat is on. It helps with her stuffy nose. We also have this humidifier running in our room.
We have two noise machines, one in our bedroom and one in the nursery. If you don’t need a night light and just want white noise this one is perfect. If you want a night light and options for different types of noise this one is great.
We started out with the halo sleepsack swaddle and then transitioned to the Love to Dream Swaddle (which honestly I think she likes better and we immediately started getting longer sleep stretches). Combined with following the Moms On Call sleep schedule and guidelines definitely helped us get longer stretches of sleep at night (we started this at 4 weeks). See below for more on this.
Diapers create a lot of waste, a lot. I was really hoping to find a good solution to reducing that as much as possible but also that was realistic in practice. Dyper was the answer for me.
I was so beyond excited to discover Dyper. We actually tried a few brands before Dyper and none were as good. They’re made from responsibly sourced bamboo, have zero nasty stuff, AND they are compostable. They’re incredibly soft too. The sign-up and delivery is super easy and the service is very affordable. Composting is optional and it’s an extra $39/month for the service (the way I see it, it costs less than one night of eating out a month, so we added that to our subscription).
We tried a few different wipes and these were the best for sensitive newborn baby skin. You really don’t need anything heavy duty for a wipe when they’re super young because they’re only eating breastmilk or formula. I recommend getting a wipe dispenser because it makes diaper changing a lot easier.
I use this organic diaper cream from this little set and it’s great.
I am so glad I didnt go crazy buying baby outfits because the only thing Marin has worn the last month is footie onesies. Between endless diaper changes, spit up, blowouts, etc. having a bunch of easy zip up onesies on hand is so helpful. I recommend getting at least enough for 2x/day so 14 total). Of course time of year is a factor, shes a winter baby so long sleeve, footie pajamas work best right now.
For the first few weeks footie onesies with mitts were essential because her nails were sharp and long and no way was I going to attempt to cut them. For onesies I love Burts Bees, MORI, and Magnetic Me. See below for sizing info.
We started with the Halo sleepsack and then moved to the Love to Dream Swaddle Up. I think the Love to Dream is ultimately what got us the longer stretches but we also started using it at around 7 weeks so it could have just been age too.
I’m just gonna go ahead and say don’t bother with baby socks. They don’t stay on and you really don’t need them if you have footie onesies and these booties.
We’ve been taking Marin for walks since she was a few days old. She loves being outside and getting fresh air. A fleece bunting for a winter baby is essential. We have this for the car seat which is great because she only needs a light layer underneath.
This thing is so great because she only needs a light layer underneath and it keeps her cozy but I can easily unwrap it if she’s too warm.
I decided pretty early on I did not want to breastfeed. I found pumping to be easier for me (once I got a wireless pump) so I’ve been exclusively pumping. Here are my favorite things for newborn feeding and pumping.
Wireless Breast Pump
Without the Elvie I would not still be pumping (more on that below). It’s not perfect but it gets the job done, and I HATED being chained to the Spectra. That said, the Spectra and some others are covered by insurance so if you don’t want to spend the money, the Spectra works totally fine. I just love the freedom and flexibility I have with a wireless pump. The new Willow looks good too but I have not tried it.
These are hands down the best bottles we tried and they’re known for being great at making it easy to switch between bottle and breast. I’m exclusively pumping so Marin only gets bottles but the newborn slow flow nipple on these is perfect.
This is great for bottles and for my breast pump parts.
I actually use swaddles as burp cloths because I think it’s just easier and they can be light blankets too. I probably have about 10 which seems like a lot but you go through them quickly. My favorites are Pehr and Tiny Twinkle.
I got this nursing pillow as a gift and it’s really nice for feeding to prop the baby up.
For everyone that asked what was my big ticket item I can’t live without, this chair is it (it also happens to be on major sale right now). We have small rocker in the nursery and quickly realized it was not comfortable enough to be sitting in for every feeding. You find yourself sitting A LOT and having a comfortable chair is SO important, especially for the middle of the night. I got the basketweave slub ash color and it’s a nice neutral that also won’t get destroyed in our living room.
We actually have the Carrier One and the Baby Carrier Mini. You don’t need both, but Craig finds the Carrier One more comfortable and I find the Mini more comfortable so we actually use both of them. The Carrier One can be used for a newborn but it’s a bit bigger and bulkier than the Mini. I think because Craig is so all the Mini is uncomfortable for him.
The stroller you want is really going to depend on where you live and your lifestyle. I’ve heard from several moms that live in cities and LOVE the Uppababy Minu because it’s so portable, lightweight and easy to maneuver. We also have the Bumbleride Indie because we live on a trail system and it is amazing for that, but not super travel friendly.
Absolutely love our car seat and so does Marin. She passes out the second we put her in it.
This is a great thing to have to put the baby down and it has multiple settings so you can put it low when the baby is really little. Marin loves it and it’s super lightweight and portable.
I love this quilted play mat because it’s super soft for tummy time and easy to throw in the wash.
This little tub makes bath time so much easier.
This set is really all you need. It’s very gentle too.
Love this set from Fridababy. Definitely helps with dry scalp and cradle cap.
I basically watched the bathing video from Moms on Call and follow what they say to do. I love the Pehr hooded towels and these are technically burp clothes but they’re super soft and the perfect size for bath time.
What did you take to the hospital?
First let me say, if your hospital offers a tour I recommend doing it. We did and it was super helpful knowing where to park, what to do, where to go when you are actually in labor, and what we actually need/didn’t need for the hospital. I didn’t really bring much to the hospital and honestly we didn’t need much. I brought two onesies (newborn and 0-3 month, I don’t even remember which one we put her in) and a hat for her to go home in. She was in swaddles and shirts from the hospital while we were there and we just used their diapers and wipes.
What are your pumping and bottle essentials? Any breastfeeding pillow recommendations?
To keep it brief, I hated breastfeeding. So I decided not to. I didn’t mind pumping and I loved that Craig could really help in terms of feeding so I decided to do that. I am exclusively pumping and have been for several weeks. Your insurance will cover the Spectra, which works perfectly fine, but I was losing my mind having to sit and pump in one place every several hours so I bought the Elvie. I’m not going to say it’s perfect but it works for me and I feel like I have so much more freedom.
I pump 6x/day but I’m going to start pumping 7 just to try and get some extra supply so I can start freezing more. My supply has been good and consistent so far but it’s only been 5 weeks. I try to eat lots of oats, healthy food and drink tons of water. As I mentioned above we love the Comotomo bottles and I have both the Boppy nursing pillow and the Nook pillow (they were both shower gifts). They’re both great and definitely help make feeding more comfortable.
What are your sleeping essentials and any recommendations for getting longer stretches at night?
In the first few weeks you probably aren’t going to get much sleep. Newborn babies have tiny stomachs and need to eat every few hours. We co-slept with the Snuggle Me for the first 3-4 weeks (I know this is not recommended I’m just being honest about what we did and what worked for us). Craig would feed the baby while I pumped. Slowly we transitioned from co-sleeping in the bed, to having her in the bassinet in our room and finally to her crib in the nursery (throughout that time we would also put her down to sleep in different places- crib, bassinet, stroller, etc). At 4 weeks we started sleep training following the schedule from the Moms on Call app.
Within a few days of starting that we were getting 5-6 hour stretches at night consistently. I’m definitely a believer and we are all happier and more rested since starting it. Marin is also better able to fall asleep on her own vs needing to be held/soothed by us, this probably just comes with age too. I did also buy the Taking Cara Babies Newborn class but didn’t really follow it that well (this was before I tried Moms on Call). I could have probably saved myself the money and just followed the Moms on Call app (they are pretty similar methods). The app for whatever reason is just easier for me and it has worked so I would definitely recommend it if you’re thinking about trying sleep training.
One thing I want to add, I don’t love the word training because it sounds so harsh, you can’t “train” a baby. It’s more of following a schedule and creating a routine that the baby starts to recognize and get comfortable with. Some days are better than others and we don’t drive ourselves insane if we are not right on schedule, we just do our best to follow it as closely as possible.
What sizes did you get (newborns vs 0-3 months)?
I got mostly 0-3 months sizing which fit Marin pretty early on, some were a little big but every brand is totally different. That said she was 8 pounds at birth, so if your baby is smaller, newborn will probably fit for a longer period of time. She probably wore newborn for the first week and a half.
How often do you bathe Marin?
For the first few weeks she only got a handful of baths. You can’t give an actual bath until the umbilical cord falls off which took about 10 days. Since we started following the Moms on Call schedule (at 4 weeks) we do a bath every night. She loves it and it has become a nice little routine before bedtime. See above for our bathing essentials.
How did you decide on your bassinet/thoughts on the Snoo?
I chose our bassinet based mainly on how it looks, and because I wanted something we would use when we no longer needed it as a bassinet. It has worked out great and I love that we can pick her up in the basket and move her around the house as needed. I’ve heard mixed things about the Snoo, some people love it, some hate it. I personally didn’t want to spend the money and wanted something smaller and more portable, but they do have a rental program so you can always try that too.
How did you organize your diaper changing station and what are your must-haves?
We actually have two diaper changing stations, one upstairs in the nursery and one in the basement. Upstairs I have the Design Dua basket and downstairs I have this one from Pottery Barn (I bought a few of their covers too). I use this wipe dispenser and these organizing cubes from Amazon are great for diapers, wipes, onesies etc.