The Only 12 Things You Really Need to Care for a Newborn
Hooray! You’re pregnant. Congratulations mama-to-be. I was in your situation just one year ago so I know first-hand all of ‘the feels’ you’re currently experiencing. One of them is likely to be ‘overwhelmed’. Not just with the changes happening to your body, but the sheer thought of everything you’ll need to buy as well.
I’ll let you in on a little secret—you really don’t need that much. Your brand new bub won’t be able to focus their little eyes on play gyms, mobiles, rattles or the like for the first couple of months, nor will they be able to sit up, grasp toys or crawl for even longer than that. So, don’t stress over stocking up on the latest Etsy finds or the newest toys on the block.
Babies also don’t get properly dirty until they’re on solids (we’re three months in and my washing pile isn’t much bigger than it was when it was just the two of us) so you don’t need 200 pairs of tights or 200 tops just in case. Also, when it comes to clothes, you don’t know how big or small your bub will be until they’re here. And they grow really fast so my advice is not to spend hundreds of dollars stocking up on newborn clothes—it’s easier to roll up the sleeves if something’s too big than it is to squeeze a floppy bub into something that’s too small.
Also, it’s good to remember that stores will still be selling baby things after your new arrival makes his or her entrance so send your mother, in laws, aunt, uncle, or friend to pick up that soother or nail clippers or hairbrush that you absolutely need to have, right now. Or jump online—genius!
My fiancé and I made no secret of wanting to parent our daughter by instinct so we bought the bare minimum we chose to add to our baby booty if and when we needed to. You don’t have to take my advice as it’s your journey after all. Read on to find out how we did it and what things we considered essentials when it came to our baby.
A pretty obvious purchase really, the problem being, there are just so many on the market. Also, capsule or car seat? There are benefits to both but we chose to go with a car seat that would see Sunny from birth through to four years. We went in store, asked for assistance, narrowed it down to two, went online, read reviews, and then purchased. You could spend hours going back and forth but my mum reminded me she only had two choices when I was born and I turned out just fine. Also, we acknowledged the fact that if it weren’t safe, it wouldn’t be available to buy so, we bought a middle of the road car seat that also happened to be on sale. Trust me, you need one but you don’t need to stress over which one.
We always planned to have our baby girl, Sunny, in our room, but given she was used to being in small and confined spaces we felt a cot was too big to start. We bought a moses basket and had her sleep right up next to our bed. At just three months, she’s outgrown it and is in her own cot so don’t stress too much about the brand, look, or style of your bassinet, because babies really don’t use it for that long.
In my opinion, this is hands down the best purchase a new parent can make. No one told me that babies like to be held in the first couple of months - pretty much all of the time. Of course in hindsight it makes sense, they have been nestled up in your belly for 10 months, close to your heartbeat and they want to feel that safety for as long as possible. A wrap lets your baby get what they need, while you get what you need – namely, food. Have you ever tried to butter a piece of toast one handed? We love the Chekoh and Yoli and Otis baby carriers.
Forget stocking up on stylish clothes for the first three months. Onesies are seriously your BFF. Newborns are flimsy so dressing them is often quite the task! I found having to get just one item on and off for the first few weeks was key—also, it meant I didn’t have to think about matching X with Y which came in handy given I had a little bit of baby brain (#thestrugglewasreal). Stock up on singlet, short sleeve, and long sleeve styles as well as Bonds wondersuits.
We started with a list—we wanted all black, we wanted it to be light, we wanted to spend under $1000, and I wanted to be able to get it up and down and into the boot of the car quickly and without it weighing a tonne. It was initially down to the Bugaboo or City Jogger before I came across a little gem from my motherland—enter, Edwards and Co Baby. It is sleek, light and robust. And, they offer free shipping to Australia. #winning!
This may not be an essential for everyone but it was most definitely an essential for us. The ocean is our home outside of the home we sleep and eat in, and both my fiancé and I swim most days. We took Sunny to the beach at just two weeks old. We set up our umbrella, nestled her underneath, and she slept peacefully while we took turns dipping in the ocean and breathing in that sweet, salty air. Our fave? The Jungle Canopy Beach Umbrella by Sunday Supply Co.
You can never have too many muslin wraps! These little gems come in handy for sun protection, swaddling, blankets, wiping up puke, changemats on the go, playmats, and a whole host of other things. You can buy them in sets from just about anywhere but we paid a little more for organic cotton wraps by Modern Burlap and bamboo wraps by Tom and Milly. They are thicker, softer and wash so well – and when you use them day in and day out, they’re worth the extra investment.
Without a doubt, you need something to hold all of your baby bits—nappies, wipes, cloths, hand sanitiser, and sadly, your beloved Deadly Ponies Mr Caiman Bag will no longer fit the bill (tear). I’ve found the best in the biz is Claudine and Ash. Stylish yet functional, these pebbled leather baby bags have individualised compartments that make finding what you need a breeze plus, extra points for the rose gold detailing! I also bought a Herschel Supply Backpack for days when I needed to be hands free!
Things you may need in the first three months:
Not every baby likes to be swaddled. Despite what your midwife, mother, parents group, or internet tells you. Yes it recreates the feeling of being in the womb but some babies just want a little space. Sunny started wriggling and grunting her way out of a swaddle at just 10 days old. When we finally realised she wanted to sleep with her hands up above her head, the battle of the nightly grunts stopped. At around three months, she started to kick her blankets off altogether so we bought a couple of sleeveless sleeping bags. It gives her enough room to kick her legs if she wants to but ensures she’s always warm.
Sunny isn’t the biggest fan of the pram, but loves being in a wrap or the front pack—plus, it means you’re hands free so is perfect for those morning walks to scoop up a coffee. There are several on the market and you can spend hours researching which is best and why but we based this purchase on comfort. Which felt the lightest? Which fit my waist the best? Which worked for my fiancé as well? We chose the Baby Bjorn One Carrier and have loved it.
Babies like to suck. Sometimes because they’re legitimately hungry, sometimes because your body needs to produce milk, and sometimes, just because. This is where a dummy comes in handy. Sunny wasn’t a fan until recently and we chose a natural rubber soother. All parents have their own reasons for using dummies, but we simply use it when she wants a little comfort without needing to be fed.
This was a godsend when Sunny hit around 12 weeks. After being flat on her back for weeks on end or being held, we popped her into the Babyhood Mesh Bouncer and she loved it. It also meant we could eat dinner together at the same time (hooray!) instead of taking turns holding her!
The number one essential, I believe, is you. Your bub has just spent the better part of the year nestled in next to you. They are used to hearing lots of noises, mostly your voice, and of course, your heartbeat. They want to know that they’re safe, that they’re not alone and that you’re there. They are learning every single day. They’re seeing things for the first time. Everything is new to them. You are all they know. The washing can wait. The dishes can wait. The most important thing your baby needs is you. And you’ve got this. You’re going to be amazing.
What are your newborn essential suggestions? Share with us below!
Opening image by Kelly Barriball.