I know there are some new mamas as well as a few pregnant ladies out there that are overwhelmed by all the stuff that babies need. It's really hard to decipher what you truly need, what is just nice to have and what you won't use at all. I know when I was pregnant with Jillian, I did lots of research on products and read several blogs trying to find out what worked for other moms. This was especially helpful when it came time to register for gifts. I hope this list helps someone :)
A few disclaimers:
I am in no way an expert. I am simply a first time mama and these are the things that helped me and my daughter the first 3 months.
All babies are different. What worked for us and Jillian may or may not work for you and your baby. Keep an open mind and follow your baby's lead. If they hate a type of bottle, pacifier, etc., then get new ones. It may pain you to spend that kind of money, but everyone will be much happier in the long run.
I was not asked by anyone or any company to write this post. Any brands or products that I name specifically, I give a reason for my initial purchase and why they did or did not work for us. All opinions are my own.
Things Baby Needs
1) A place for baby to sleep
This can be in the form of a co-sleeping attachment, a bassinet or a pack n play. We had a family bassinet and a Graco Pack n Play that Jillian slept in up until she was 3 months old. If you are using an old bassinet like we did, make sure it is up to date with safety standards. Jillian was getting too big for our bassinet at 10 weeks, which is why we decided to start her sleeping in her full sized crib at 3 months. The pack n play is what she sleeps in when we travel. With Jillian's reflux issues, we had to elevate the head of both the bassinet mattress and bassinet attachment in the pack n play. We just used folded towels which worked well. Now that she is in her full sized crib, we don't need to elevate her head. Speak with your pediatrician about elevating before you do it.
2) Diapers, and Wipes
- We use disposable diapers. If you are interested in cloth diapering, I can only suggest a website for information.
- If you know your baby will be near the 7 or 8 pound mark, I suggest having two large boxes of whatever choice diaper you want in newborn size. Jillian went through 9 or 10 diapers every day for the first 6 weeks. Now she uses between 6 and 8 diapers a day. Since Jillian was born at 6 lbs and 6 oz, we graduated her to size 1 diapers at 6 1/2 weeks. The size 1s were a little big, but they didn't leak on her and we had a few boxes we had received. We started with Pampers Sensitive Swaddlers because I have issues with eczema. Just in case, we wanted to be proactive and use the sensitive kind. After awhile, we tried just Pampers Swaddlers and Jillian seemed just fine. I tried the Target brand when Jillian was 10 weeks old. They leaked overnight so we're just using up the bag and only during the day.
- For wipes, we started with the Pampers Sensitive and they seemed to make her squirm. I think they were just really thin and cold. We switched to a thicker wipe and she seems happier. For home, we use Huggies Natural Care Thick n' Clean. We have a Pampers Sensitive ThickCare travel wipes for her diaper bag.
- For diaper rash, we use Original Boudreaux's Butt Paste. It originally started as a joke that we would use butt paste, but it is the same cream the hospital I delivered at uses. The more research I did, the more I decided it was the best to try. Jillian does not have diaper rash often, but this stuff really does clear it up quickly. My only warning is to be sure to rub it in well. Although it washes out easily, it will discolor clothing or cloths until you wash them. It never permanently stains fabric.
Phil and I originally decided to purchase a convertible car seat so that we would not have to buy a second car seat when Jillian was older. We chose the Evenflo Triumph 65 LX based off of the research I did. We are very happy with the seat, but having two cars and one seat was hard for us. We ended up buying a second infant car seat to accommodate our two-car family's needs. We chose the Britax B-Safe. Both seats are great and I just encourage you to do as much research as you can.
4) Bottle Feeding (or Formula Supplementing): Bottles, Bottle Brush, and Formula
- The number of bottles you need will depend on how often you are willing to wash bottles. If you don't mind washing bottles every day, having between 6 and 9 bottles of your choice will be fine in the beginning. Again, keep in mind that you need to take cues from your baby to see which bottles they prefer. If you want, you could always buy 1 pack of one bottle brand and 1 pack of another. You just have to figure it out by trial and error. We had 6 - 4 oz Avent bottles and 6 - 8 oz Dr. Brown's bottles. We used the Avent most in the first 5 weeks for Jillian. I chose Avent based off of recommendations from other moms I know and Dr. Brown's because it is recommended by doctors if children have issues with feeding, (I wanted to be proactive again). After 5 weeks, we started using the Dr. Brown's exclusively. This was partially due to Jillian's appetite growing and my observation that she was less gassy when she used the Dr. Brown's bottles. We bought some more and now have 14 - 8 oz Dr. Brown's bottles.
- We bought the most inexpensive bottle brush to help us with washing. You must keep in mind that this will need to be replaced at least every 6 weeks. This is not only for sanitary reasons, but also because the sponge will be worn by then. In this case, the cheapest option works just fine. If you do use Dr. Brown's bottles, you will need to use the mini brushes they come with. I do recommend replacing them at the same time just to keep things simple.
- In terms of formula, this was a lot harder for me to decide on. I really wanted to do an organic formula, but it was really hard to figure out how beneficial it would be in terms of nutrition as opposed to my peace of mind. After reading labels in the middle of Babies R Us for several minutes, I finally decided to start with Similac Advance. Not only does it have all the nutritional needs Jillian requires, but it also comes in a variety of other things like ready-to-feed bottles and on-the-go packets. We did try to switch to Enfamil A.R., per her pediatrician's recommendation, when Jillian was having spit up issues. It really messed up her pooping schedule and she was later diagnosed with reflux. After talking it over with the pediatrician, we switched her back to Similac Advance and it has worked great. I know some children have allergy issues so be sure to talk to your pediatrician if you think your baby seems to have issues with formula. They can help steer you to a formula that will work for you and your baby.
- I had a breast reduction surgery 4 years prior to having Jillian. I did have milk come in, but it dried out in 4 weeks despite my best efforts. I exclusively breastfed for 2 weeks, then mixed expressed milk with formula until I ran out of supply. Even after I stopped breastfeeding, the nursing pillow still came in handy. We have a Boppy pillow with a removable cover. I suggest having a removable cover because it's easy to wash the cover, but still use the pillow if necessary.
- I only had two nursing bras from Target, but they worked great! I know that many other places have good selections, especially if you want a regular looking bra. Just remember your breasts are larger than normal so be sure to get fitted.
- I used Gerber NUK thin disposable nursing pads. Even 4 weeks after I stopped expressing milk, I would leak a little, which looked like a lot on my shirt. Plus, I would leak at very embarrassing times. I considered getting reusable ones, but that seemed a little harder for our lifestyle.
- I bought a single pump, the Evenflo SimplyGo pump, that worked fine, but I was told I could save time, and would be better off with my particular situation with a double pump, the Lansinoh Affinity pump. Both pumps worked well for me, but if you really want to keep up with breastfeeding, you might want to invest in a pump like the Medela Pump in Style. My supply would have dwindled no matter what so I did not want to invest too much money.
- If you pump, you'll need milk storage bags. I used the Gerber NUK Seal N Go bags and they worked well for me. If you don't want to spend that kind of money, you could always just use Ziploc bags.
- The Medela Lanolin Cream saved my life. Jillian latched well, but would clamp down after a minute or so and it hurt. Even with pumping, my nipples were incredibly sore. I highly recommend splurging on this item because it's worth every penny.
- Jillian had lots of clothes before she was even born. My best recommendation for the bare minimum is: 8 to 10 onesies, 2 to 3 pairs of socks, 1 hat, 1 jacket, and 4 to 5 footed pajamas per size. Even if the same company makes them, be aware of how wide/long the clothes are.
- If I could go back, I would buy at least 1 premie outfit. We assumed Jillian would be at least 7 lbs based on an ultrasound we have about 3 weeks before she arrived. Of course she was much smaller and we could have used more newborn sized clothes as well. We ended up dressing her in the same 4 or 5 onesies until she was big enough to wear her 3M clothes at 8 weeks. You can always have much more than the amount I listed, but that's the minimum.
- Of course, headbands and hair bows for little girls are good too :)
- I would recommend at least 2 light blankets and 2 heavier blankets. We received several blankets as gifts so we have plenty.
- The light blankets are mostly for swaddling. The nurses at the hospital will teach you to swaddle if you don't find a way to learn before baby gets here. The light blankets will work with a footed pajama for the winter and nothing but a diaper for the summer. We used aden + anais blankets based off of reviews I found online.
- The heavier blankets are for being out and about. With Jillian being a winter baby, we've used them for her car seat, the stroller, and her swing at home.
- These are probably the most used items in our home.
- It honestly doesn't matter what kind of burp cloths you use or if you just use basic fingertip towels. Make sure you have plenty to go around. One may last you a day and it may not. We have between 12 and 18 cloths and we still run out really quickly. I recommend getting as many as you can store.
- Bibs are usually reserved for solid food eating. However, we have several cloth bibs that have come in handy. Not only can they be used as a backup burp cloth, but with Jillian being such a spitter, they have saved several outfits from peril. Usually four are the most you need at this stage
- For washcloths, be sure to get the baby size as well as fingertip towel size. We've found using the fingertip size as the towel to cover Jillian's body keeps her warmer and much happier during her bath. The baby size are great to wipe her face. You may not, but we have Jillian in a bath every night as part of her nightly routine. If you do the same, I would recommend at least 7, maybe even 14 baby size towels so you don't have to wash them all the time.
- Hooded towels are great! Not only are they really cute, but they keep baby warm as you transition from bath to pajamas. I would recommend having at least two, especially if you have animals in your home. Sometimes we use our second hooded towel because the other is just covered in cat hair, (Thanks kitties).
I believe that is all for the basics. Again, if you have any questions, feel free to email me.
Next time: Baby Products for Newborns: Extras
Next time: Baby Products for Newborns: Extras