Going through this twice now, I feel like I have a good grip on what items are essential for the first few weeks and which ones are a waste! Living in an apartment, we are short on money and space so we really had to consider how we would maximize the use of each item. After tons of research and trial and error, here are my top picks for newborn essentials!
- Convertible Pack n’ Play – there are lots of different styles of pack n’ plays these days, but I recommend the one with an attachable bassinet and changing station. We have this one and we used it from newborn to eight months with Reagan and will probably use it just as long with Elliott. Having one item that can work for a longer period of time eliminates the need for a separate bassinet, rock n’ play, and crib.
- Star Sack Swaddle – this is the only thing that Elliott will sleep in! We have several different kinds of swaddle blankets but she can break out of every one. This sleep sack allows Elliott to move a little bit while still feeling snuggled, and the velcro keeps her secure meaning longer stretches of sleep at night. Reagan used one that was similar, and she slept in it for months!
- Nose Frida – Unfortunately, Elliott caught a cold when she was only 2 weeks old. She was so congested all the time and having the nose frida to help suction out the mucus was such a life saver. We’ve used it every time Reagan had a cold and it works so much better than the suction bulbs.
- Lots of Basics – buy up tons of cheap onesies from Walmart and absorbent burp cloths that you won’t mind getting stained or ruined. I don’t dress Elliott up very often because her outfits always end up covered in spit up, so having lots of onesies to switch out several times a day is crucial. We have probably 20 cheap burp cloths and use them constantly, you can never have enough of these stashed around the house and in the car!
- Breast Pump – I wrote a post on how to get a free breast pump without going through your insurance here. Having a good quality pump (double electric) is important for building up milk supply and pumping when you’re away from baby. I kept mine from Reagan because it works really well, and I always make sure all the pieces are washed and easily accessible so I feel more inclined to pump even when I don’t want to. Trust me and get the nicer pump, even if you have to pay for part of it because it is SO worth it!
- Good bottles – If you have to go back to work like I did, you’ll want to find a good bottle that a breastfed baby will take. I really like the Evenflo balance, and we’re trying out the new Tommee Tippee closer to nature bottle too. Look for ones with slow flow nipples and claims to reduce gas and bloating. Elliott takes a bottle every night so once we found one she liked we stocked up and never looked back!
- Place to play – this is broad, but we have two different options for Elliott to play when we’re not holding her. The first is a swing/bouncer which I normally wouldn’t say is necessary, but it’s been nice having an elevated place to put her down where Reagan can’t accidentally step or lay on her. The second is a play mat with dangling toys which has been really nice for tummy time. I also feel better having Elliott lay on the play mat because it gives her something to look at and try to grab with her hands. She gets really excited trying to reach for the toys, so I feel like it’s helping her develop (maybe?). Whatever you choose for this, I would limit it to one or two things, and have one be interactive and one be versatile (our swing is also a bouncer and a safe spot for her to rest).
Truthfully, all newborns need is a food source and a safe place to sleep so as long as you check off those requirements you are doing a good job! The rest is superfluous, but these items are ones that we use every day, multiple times a day and have been really helpful the first two months. I’d love to know what your newborn essentials are! I’m also planning a post on items I regret purchasing, so stay tuned for that! 🙂