Top 10 Newborn Essentials

Is a 2 month old a newborn still? What if she weighs 15 lbs already and sleeps in 6-9 month jammies? Regardless, 2 months into this whole parenting gig the second time around and I finally have time to share with you all my Top 10 Newborn Essentials. These are 10 things that make my life with a newborn much easier.

1. iPhone- I didn’t have an iPhone or any kind of smart phone with Kendall in the beginning. Oh, I didn’t know what I was missing! I remember begging Scott to set up a small TV in our bedroom after the first week because I needed *something* to do while I was up all night with him. I can’t even count how many late night infomercials I watched in those early months.

Now? I can read books, reply to emails, chat on Twitter, catch up on Facebook, and even blog all from my iPhone. Many days I don’t have time to crack open my laptop until naptime, but I can check in quickly on my phone throughout the day. Not to mention, I love that I have a camera and video camera with me at all times. Great for capturing those adorable and hilarious moments of life with a newborn and a toddler and sending them to distant family and friends. And the calendar and alerts features have saved me from having to remember all those doctor’s appointments.

2. A good pump- I didn’t pump much with Kendall because all I had was a manual pump, and it just didn’t work out for me. I’m really lucky nothing ever happened that would have made me rely on a freezer stash. This time around I have an AMAZING pump from Hygeia, and as a result, I have an ever-growing freezer stash of breastmilk.

Hygeia sent me the Enjoye electric double pump for free to review, and I started using it just a few days after we brought Leyna home. She refused to latch on to my left nipple after my milk came in, and I was fighting engorgement. Within 2 days I had 10 ounces in the freezer. This pump is SO efficient and SO easy to use, especially compared to the manual I dealt with with Kendall (no wonder I never wanted to use that thing!). I don’t know what I would have done without it. I always bust it out when I feel clogged ducts. So far, no full blown mastitis this time around!

A good pump is a necessity for any working mom who wishes to breastfeed, but even stay at home moms benefit from a pump. It’s always good to have an emergency freezer stash, and wonderful for that morning after the first night your baby sleeps longer than 4 hours and you think your breasts are about to explode.

The Hygeia Enjoye, unlike many other popular electric pumps, is a non-hospital grade breast pump registered with the FDA for multiple users. There is no risk of your milk coming in contact with anything a previous user’s milk touched if you get your own personal accessory set. It’s the “greenest” breast pump because it CAN be used by more than one mother, and when it comes to the end of it’s lifecycle, you can send it back to Hygeia and they will recycle it. As of this year, breast pumps and supplies are now tax deductible and you can use your flex savings account to get reimbursed for your purchase. So go get you a GOOD breast pump!

3. Bouncy Seat- We have quite a few baby apparatuses, and I babywear when I can, but the Fisher Price bouncy seat has seen the most use out of all of them. It’s where Kendall slept for a couple months and where Leyna now sleeps (propped up next to us inside her co-sleeper). It’s also lightweight, easy to move around the house, and a great place to lay baby outside the shower while you clean up, alternating scrubbing your hair and peeking out to check on them.

Plus, we’ve found our babies love to be bounced to sleep. As I type this, Leyna is in her bouncy seat on the floor in front of me napping while I gently bounce her with my feet. There are several designs to choose from. You don’t need anything too fancy, and the lighter, the better.

4. Moby Wrap- A lot of times, babies just want to be held, they want to be close to you. If you want to get anything done (dishes, makeup, going to the bathroom), you’ll have a lot more luck keeping baby close and being semi-productive with one of these. It’s simplicity was intimidating to me at first. It’s just a long piece of fabric you have to learn to wrap and tie a certain way, but once I figured it out, it was a breeze. Both babies loved being snuggled next to me in it. It’s also the only way I can go grocery shopping with both kids. Kendall sits in the front of the cart and Leyna snuggles in the Moby. When Kendall had colic, I could get him to calm many times by putting him in it and going for a bouncy walk outside. Sure, I looked a little silly, but it quieted the screams.

5. Flatfolds as Burp Cloths – All babies spit up, some a lot more than others. We’ve been pretty lucky that neither Kendall nor Leyna have been really messy in this department, but we still use the heck out of these Gerber cloths. They are technically old-fashioned cloth diapers, though I think they work much better as burp cloths and all around baby cleanup cloths. I keep a couple in my diaper bag, and we always have one floating around the living room. They do work as an extra diaper in a pinch, also great for cleaning up blowouts and blowing snotty noses. Down the road, they’ll make great house cleaning rags.

6. White Noise- When I met with Dr. Harvey Karp last week he told me a new study showed that babies who are swaddled and listen to white noise at night sleep on average an extra hour longer. An extra hour  of sleep with a newborn is pretty close to winning the lottery. White noise was great for Kendall when colic was at it’s peak. We even kept CDs (similar to this one) of vacuum and hair dryer noises in both cars. But even beyond colic, he still sleeps with white noise every night from his Homemedics Lullaby Sound Spa. Since we still have the monitor on in his room and Leyna sleeps with us, we all end up listening to the same noises all night.

7. Swaddling Blankets- I’m a believer of the 4th trimester theory, that babies aren’t really *ready* for the world when they are born. I learned all about this in Dr. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby On The Block book. We found once we started swaddling Kendall, he calmed much quicker and slept longer. We didn’t hesitate to start this with Leyna. We swaddled her in these sweet Aden & Anais muslin blankets at first (love that they are lightweight!), and quickly moved her into the Miracle Blanket when she got a little bigger and stronger. I like to say the Miracle Blanket is woven threads of baby tranquilizers.

8. Primo EuroBath- We went through 4 different containers to bathe Kendall in, never really loving any of them. The first was a baby sling, which made me cringe. Maybe we were using it wrong, but all it seemed to do was hold his naked wet body up and out of the water. Didn’t look comfortable at all, and seemed incredibly cold. This time around a friend got the Primo EuroBath tub for us and I LOVE it. You use one side for tiny babies, then switch it  around and sit older babies in the other side. For newborns, you can fill it just enough to let them be slightly submerged, and it keeps them in place in a reclined position. You can use it on a countertop, but we just keep ours in the kid’s tub.

9. Boppy-  I use this primarily as a breastfeeding pillow, and while I’ll admit there are more supportive pillows for newborn breastfeeding (like the My Brest Friend), this is still my favorite over all. First of all, the Boppy is easy to use, no straps to deal with. It’s also multi-purpose. It’s great for tummy time, comfy for new moms to sit on when healing after delivery, and it makes an excellent neck pillow while traveling in the car. Make sure you get an extra cover for yours. I find I’m always washing mine.

10. Cloth Diapers- We’re cloth diapering a newborn for a 2nd time, and the love is still there. Again, we’re using Kissaluvs size 0 fitteds with Thirsties covers primarily. I’m sorry to say Sunshine Diapers no longer offers the Kissaluvs Newborn Rental package (epic sad!), but you can buy them used from places like DiaperSwappers, or buy your own new stash and sell them or loan them out when you’re done. I also tried a Fuzzi Bunz XS pocket diaper (sent to me for review at no cost) and quickly fell in love with it. They are more expensive than the fitted diapers, but very convenient and trim. I think they make a great addition to a newborn cloth diaper stash.

Of course, every baby and family is different, and what works great for me and mine may not be a good fit for you. These are just 10 things that make *my* life easier. Do you agree or disagree with any of them? Have any to add? I’d love to make this post a great go-to resource for expecting readers, so feel free to chime in in the comments!

Also, I’ve been working on an Amazon store and all the Amazon product affiliate links above go back to my store. You can find much more than my Newborn Essentials there, so give it a browse. Each product is one I’d feel confident recommending to anyone. I’ll add more to it as I have time. I should note if you purchase through those links, I get a tiny little percent.

Disclosure- Some of the products included in my Newborn Essentials list were sent to me for free to review. They truly earned their spot on this list, and I wasn’t paid to include anything.

Kendall is 2 years, 10 months and Leyna is 2 months old

  • BethT - I have to add the ERGO Baby Carrier to this list (with the infant insert for newborns). I had a lot of trouble with the Moby and the ERGO was a lifesaver. Plus, my husband preferred it to any kind of fabric sling so we were able to share it between us. Love it and spent many a night walking my baby around in it!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I definitely love our Ergo for bigger babies, but I’ve never tried it with the newborn insert so I can’t speak to my experience with that. Good to know it’s so helpful for you!ReplyCancel

  • LauraBee - Love this list! I am going to share it with mommies-to-be.

    The only addition I would make to this list are milkies (http://www.mymilkies.com/)ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I’ve heard of these and keep meaning to try them since I’m such an overproducer. I go through so many breastpads, makes me sad to think how much breastmilk I’m throwing in the trash.ReplyCancel

      • LauraBee - I wish I had known about these before my milk regulated. I hated how much leaking I did while nursing and had to always carry a cloth with me to stanch the flow. Think of how much you are helping the environment and the milk you don’t have to pump!ReplyCancel

    • emily - Can you only use the milkies while you’re nursing or can you just stick em in your bra anytime? I’m sick of using a billion breast pads a day…ReplyCancel

      • LauraBee - They are meant to be discreet, and so I imagine wearing them for the sudden let down we didnt expect in the middle of the mall hey would be really helpful.ReplyCancel

  • Mama in the City - I love reading peoples top essential lists! I think *technically* newborn is birth through to the first 6 weeks, but that just makes your list all the more credible. Sort of a been there, done that!

    I always enjoyed using the kitchen sink to bath my newborn in. Plus, living in a small space doesn’t really work well for any sort of big tub. If we didn’t use the sink we would bring our babe into the bath with us. Then I’d call out for the other parent to come fetch the freshly bathed babe while I kept on soaking.

    I also found that any kind of burp cloth also worked great to mop up all the breast milk that I’d leak during those first few weeks.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - That is a downside to the EuroBath. It is definitely big and probably won’t work for families with limited bathroom space.ReplyCancel

  • Monique - Could not agree more on the bouncy seat, cloth diapers, swaddling blankets, Boppy, pump, and sound machine!! My daughter is almost 2 and we use the sound machine every.single.night. And if she spends the night with her grandparents it goes with her.ReplyCancel

  • pamela - could not have lived without the boppy and the bouncy seat!ReplyCancel

  • LCW - I found a great app for the iphone/ipod touch Total Baby, it can be used for multiple children (I believe up to 5, maybe more since updating). It keeps track of EVERYTHING. There is an easy timer for feedings, whether breast or bottle, and keeps track of which breast, it’s as easy as tapping the screen. I track all measurements, vaccinations, etc. Love it. Best $5 spent on an app.
    I second the moby and bouncy, since my daughter loved to be bounced. I was able to eat because of the moby.
    I think a swing is important too, but I always tell friends to buy second hand because some babies dont love it and it’s not worth spending a ton of money. My daughter loved to move.
    And I’ve recently started recommending easy meals and snacks that can be eaten one handed. The poor mom needs to eat and sometimes that’s the only way it’ll get done, with one hand while bouncing or swaying.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I keep meaning to download that app. Thanks for the reminder!

      I agree the swing can be hit or miss. Kendall hated the damn thing, but Leyna will nap for good long stretches in it somedays. Yes, it is definitely one of those things I think you should try to by second hand. They are so cheap at consignment sales and on Craigslist.

      Love the snack recommendations! I had such a hard time trying to feed myself those first few weeks. I wound up getting a couple cases of Luna bars for that very reason.ReplyCancel

  • Adam - I’d say a swing is absolutely imperative. Isaac used to take solid 3 hour naps in his during the day.

    Completely agree about cloth diapers. Our son is 7.5 months and we have the adjustable diapers that will last him until potty training. And then we can use every one he used for our 2nd one. My wife and I did pricing and found that it costs about as much to diaper the first one as if you were disposable, but every subsequent kid is free. Plus you can resell them at the end.

    Sound machine is also a priority. We don’t have to worry about waking him up after he goes to bed or random dogs barking disturbing him.

    And baby wearing doesn’t look weird. I recently bought two carriers so I can wear Isaac on my back!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - There actually is another multiple user pump out there that is not hospital grade – http://www.limerickinc.com/faq.php. I highly recommend it – I used it with my 2 year old.ReplyCancel

  • TheFeministBreeder - Big, huge, giant DEFINITELY to everything on the list – except, for us, we didn’t need a baby bathtub. We actually never used one. Instead we just used a bath sponge, laid the baby on the bottom of our regular tub, and used the shower head to clean them off. We actually bathed them both on the bath sponge until they were old enough to sit up and never topple over (around 9-10 months?)

    I also bathed the boys on my chest for a long time too. It was a really nice bonding experience, and both the kids still take showers with me to this day.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - Does your shower head detach? Ours don’t so I’m just imagining water pouring down on them :) Scott loves taking showers with the kids. I don’t mind a bubble bath with Kendall every now and then, but I think I take them a little too hot for me to have Leyna join me.ReplyCancel

  • Sara - Nell’s Natural Baby has newborn rentals, and it looks like they’ve expanded their options since last year (when I bought my NB stash) to include a Kissaluvs package AND a bumGenius package. http://www.nellsnaturalbaby.com/Newborn-Diapers-Rentals_c_5.htmlReplyCancel

  • emily - One thing I wouldn’t be able to survive without is my itzbeen (http://www.itzbeen.com)! I know there are phone apps that do the same thing, but this thing is pretty sweet.ReplyCancel

    • Suzanne - We had one of those with our first and it was a LIFESAVER. My son was super fussy and never slept more than an hour and a time so my husband and I worked in a lot of shifts. When we passed over the baby we could also pass over the itzbeen and the parent taking over would know the last time he had a diaper, ate, or took his reflux medicine.

      We dropped it a zillion times (being exhausted leads to clumsiness) and it still lasted until we were confident enough not to need it anymore.ReplyCancel

  • jenni - Great list mama! I have 7 of those things and I completely agree! =)ReplyCancel

    • jenni - Oh and PS- How the hell do you carry your monster babies is a wrap?? I couldn’t do it!ReplyCancel

      • Jill - Ha! That’s mainly why the Moby is a “newborn” essential for me. Once they are a few months old, we move on to carriers that are a little more sturdy.ReplyCancel

  • suzanne @ pretty swell - LOVE! Thank you for writing this. I’m 10 weeks away from delivering baby #2 and having a hard time remembering all that I’ll need. Your list is a huge help!ReplyCancel

  • Queenie - TEE SHIRTS! I have 2 kids as well and tell ALL my mom-to-be friends to get a bunch of those little tee shirts (as opposed to onesies) that snap on the side. Trying to get a onesie on a newborn is no fun for mama or baby!ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - Awesome list! The only thing I would add is a good nasal aspirator. I love the battery operated Graco one. It’s fast and it plays music. Both of my boys actually enjoy this. JD will ask for it!ReplyCancel

  • Shelia - Great list. Mine are adopted, so no experience with the pump, but think you nailed it.ReplyCancel

  • ashley - greattttttt post! i just switched out what tub we have on our registry :-)ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - Our must have is The Woombie. Our little dude broke out of every.single.swaddle blanket on the market. I spent quite literally $200 trying to find one he couldn’t houdini out of. (This is all before 6 weeks old too). Finally in a brilliant flash of mind I decided to google “zip up swaddle blanket” and The Woombie popped up. My son used it until he was 9 months old because it helped him transition into non-swaddled sleeping.

    Now I’m that annoying chick at baby showers that gives the woombie out instead of something off the registry.ReplyCancel

  • Cole - Mommy always says that her iPhone is the best money she ever spent – and we second the recommendation for Total Baby. At 18 months, she STILL tracks my sleeping patterns and growth charts with it.

    We loved our Moby, too – and it was like our gateway drug to the world of babywearing!ReplyCancel

  • Maureen - The Fisher Price Rock and Play–it is the only thing Paige will sleep in.ReplyCancel

  • Friday goodies! - […] The Top 10 Newborn Essentials by Jill at Baby Rabies. Thank goodness! – This honest and inspiring post about preparing for baby […]ReplyCancel

  • Laurel - Can you do a Top 10 toddler essentials (1+)?? I need some ideas on how to make my life easier!ReplyCancel

  • Erin - Ironically, I just sent a friend my “recommendations” for her registry. You hit every item I expressed my deepest gratitude for. I had an extremely colicky, GERD nightmare baby. These were my saviors. I would say my iTouch was in place of an iphone, but same thing. I did sudoku’s while BFing.ReplyCancel

  • Alexandria - I could not live without my Moby wrap. I think it was the single most awesomest baby purchase ever. I never really used many burp cloths because I had tons of those small receiving blankets that weren’t really good for much so I just used those instead.ReplyCancel

  • Robyn - I LOVED my Arms Reach Co-Sleeper! it was so nice to sleep so close to her. after a few months, she just slept in our bed, but it was really nice to have her close when i wasn’t so comfortable having her sleep in the bed. also, i highly recommend My Breast Friend over the boppy. i had huge issues with the boppy sliding away from me while nursing. and with the my breast friend i would often walk around the house and do stuff while supporting the nursing baby on the pillow with my other hand.ReplyCancel

  • Terri - Thank you!! I just updated my registry :)ReplyCancel

  • Courtney - Reading this made me long for the days when I could strap my son into the bouncy seat and he’d just lay there and coo at me. He’ll be 1 next week, and there’s pretty much no strapping him into anything anymore. Even the jumperoo is a last-resort item now.ReplyCancel

  • Adam - I know it’s kind of covered with the whole iPhone thing, but a decent digital camera is a must for a new parent. We have so many pictures of Isaac that it’s ridiculous.

    I always have the camera in the diaper bag when I leave the house because hey, you know never know.ReplyCancel

  • Marcy - I have a 12 week old baby and I, too, am amazed at the difference that a lightweight internet-enabled device makes! I don’t have an iPhone (yet!) but I do have an iPod touch, which is basically an iPhone just without the camera and I can’t make calls. It is a lifesaver, I don’t know how I got along without it when I had my older son was born 3 years ago!ReplyCancel

  • Brandi - Moby AND ergo carriers for sure! Bumbo baby seat, bum genius diapers, a swing and a wipe warmer. We just placed a $7 bath sponge in the tub with an inch or two of water. Wring it out when done and doesn’t take up all of the space! Nice list, thanks for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Annette - I had one of those spongy things with my first and while it was awesome for baby #1, it was NASTY by the time baby #2 came along. It was only 16 months later and we had wrung the crap out of that thing and allowed it to completely dry before putting it away.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Thank you sooooo much for this list! I’m not pregnant yet and I keep tabs on your blog because it is just great & honest info! We are in the process of buying baby items now so when we TTC this fall we will have most of our things and I just added these items to our list! Thanks again :)ReplyCancel

  • Sara - Awesome! White noise machine ORDERED! Need to get this baby in her own room.

    I would have only 1 addition…a yoga/fitness/exercise ball. In the early days this is a soothing MIRACLE! Hold that baby and bounce and bounce and bounce. We still use it and baby girl is 3 mos old this saturday.ReplyCancel

  • Blair@HeirtoBlair - yep…pretty much everything on this list was a lifesaver for me.

    Except the iPhone. I’m still bitter that they won’t let me have one. WHATEVER.ReplyCancel

  • Adam - I just remembered another thing I couldn’t live without. I was reminded of it last night when Isaac was congested. The Nose Frida. That thing is 8 million times better than the suction bulb. Worth the $15.ReplyCancel

  • Kristina-Pillows.org - A good body pillow for you too!!ReplyCancel

  • Turn Swaddling Blankets Into An Elephant | Baby Rabies - […] Top 10 Newborn Essentials 48 comment(s) […]ReplyCancel

  • Nathan Hays - What a fantastic blog! I am constantly looking for new tips on my newborn child!ReplyCancel

  • Dee - Thanks for the list. It is helping me so much. I am on amazon.com looking for the Hygeia breast pump and they have alot of different Enjoye models. Can you please tell me which you have. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Our Toddler Top 10 Essentials | Baby Rabies - […] this year I posted our Top 10 Newborn Essentials, and now I’m going to hit you up with the top 10 things WE use to make life with a toddler […]ReplyCancel

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  • Tiffany - Donate that extra milk to your local hospital for preemie babies.ReplyCancel

  • Top 10 New Mom Essentials | Baby Rabies - […] know, I know! The iPhone makes every list I ever make. It’s safe to say it would be hard to live without it at this point. But, even if you […]ReplyCancel

  • Annette - I’ve been through 3 babies and all manner of baby crap and I found myself nodding along to all of this. Spot on.ReplyCancel

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