Ask the Mamas: Newborn Must-Haves
Each week we will ask our mamas a question from our readers that pertains to babies, toddlers, or parenting. Make sure to check back each Tuesday to see their responses!
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MSW reader Kelly asks:
“What are the top three items that ended up being “must-haves” when your baby was a newborn?”
- Swing – It was the only place she’d sleep for months!
Boba Wrap – It was the perfect cuddle spot when we were out and the best way to get things done around the house.
Angelcare Baby Monitor – That monitor helped me put my mind at ease. ~Sarah H.
- Swing – We didn’t actually buy one, we borrowed it from a friend, but it will definitely be top of the list next go around.
Angelcare Baby Monitor
Bottles – An assortment of bottles already bought so we could play around with them all and figure out what we liked best. ~Christy A.
- Swing – Once we figured out what kind of batteries it needed (doh!), Little Man slept in it for some of his naps for the first couple of months.
Pacifiers – We didn’t use them for the first week, but once we realized that he was using mama as his pacifier, we tried it out. He loved it!
Boppy Pillow – I wish I had brought it with me to the hospital. This was a life saver when learning how to nurse. We used it for almost every nursing session for the first few months. It was especially great for those middle of the night nursing sessions where my arms were weak because I was so tired. ~Mary Ellen M.
- Portable changing pad – the kind you fold up and put in the diaper bag. I did not think I would need one, but my sister bought it for me anyway. I am so glad she did!
Small lamp - During nighttime feedings, I would use it so I could see what I was doing, but it wasn’t too bright that it woke her up too much. She slept much better once we started using the lamp instead of the big bright light in her room.
Mesh bath tub chair – It made giving baths so much easier! And we used it until she was 12 months old. ~Lindsay P.
- Moby Wrap – Many, many naps were spent in the Moby since my son refused to sleep anywhere but on me for quite a while. Plus it made being out and about so much easier. I hated lugging around the infant car seat.
Nursing tank tops – They made breastfeeding in those early weeks a lot easier on me.
Muslin Swaddling Blankets – Bambinoland and Aden + Anais were my favorites and worth the expense in my opinion. They were SO versatile. TJ hated being swaddled, but still got a ton of use out of them as a lightweight blanket, nursing cover, shade over the infant car seat, burp cloth and a clean place for changing a diaper or taking a nap. ~Alex T.
- Swing – I know it’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating. The swing was a lifesaver when C was a newborn. Putting her in the swing could stop her from crying 99% of the time and she’d be happy in there. She’d even nap in the swing better than in her crib or Pack ‘n Play.
Gripe Water - I know not every baby is colicky, but C had six weeks of colic and it was horrible. She’d scream and scream for hours and there was nothing my husband or I could do to calm her – until we discovered gripe water. It definitely didn’t help 100% of the time, but it did help a little bit and could usually make her calm and happy. But warning, mamas: make sure you buy a trusted brand- there are some scary stories out there about the off-brands!
My Breast Friend nursing pillow – While I love the Boppy now that my baby is older, the My Breast Friend was ideal when she was itty bitty. It made nursing comfortable and way easier than not using it. ~Cassie W.
- Swing – It was the only way we could get our little on to nap for the first six months. We had a cradle swing that could go side to side and forward and backward and it was wonderful!
Boppy Pillow - A Boppy is an awesome thing to have for breastfeeding mamas and formula-feeding mamas alike. I used our Boppy constantly with both of my girls and one was breastfed and one was formula-fed.
Baby tub with hammock - It made bathing so much easier! ~Miriam R.
- Swing - Ty loved sleeping in that thing!
Pacifiers – He loved sucking on anything and I preferred for it to be the pacifier rather than mama all the time!
Swaddle blankets – They were the best for nighttime, especially the Velcro ones. ~Heidi C.
- Swing - We used it everyday.
Boppy Pillow – We used it every feeding.
Swaddling blankets – P would not sleep unless he was swaddled. ~Amanda P.
- Boppy Pillow – Nursing was so much easier with it and it was also great to lay G on during tummy time.
Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail – It was super convenient, especially during all those middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
Changing Pad – I don’t mean the little one that went in my diaper bag. I’m talking the one that went on the changing table or dresser (although there were many times we’d take it with us downstairs, etc.). I rarely changed a diaper without it! ~Annette M.
- Swing - I absolutely agree this was a must-have for us, as it was the only place L would sleep (other than with mama) until he was nearly nine months old. It was also a place I could set him down while I was taking a shower and he was content.
Aden + Anais Muslin Blankets – These really were versatile and could be used for swaddling, a clean place for changing, nursing cover, etc.
Play mat/activity mat - When L was brand new, we spent a lot of time looking at the animals and lights for stimulation. Additionally it was great for tummy time and gave me a sense that he was occupied so I could grab breakfast or lunch quickly. ~Corey P.
- Baby Carrier – For me, it was the Ergo Baby Carrier with an infant insert. I didn’t have an infant car seat right away so having a baby carrier was a must-have!
Bouncy Seat (Snugabunny) – We didn’t have a swing either, so many naps occurred in her bouncy seat.
Gentle Giraffe by Cloud B. White noise/soother – Anna has always needed white noise to sleep, so this was a real life saver! We ended up eventually replacing it with a Graco plug-in white noise machine that will run continuously. ~Jessica S.
- Boppy Pillow
Moby Wrap – This helped when we were out and at home.
Swaddle Blankets – She liked to be snug as a bug in a rug. ~Jaimie S.
- Boppy Pillow – My son would nurse for hours in the beginning, and the Boppy was a must to rest my arms.
Boba Wrap – Enzo liked to be held all the time, he loved to be on the wrap.
Pacifier – Sucking would make him calm and put him to sleep. It was a big help during the night! ~Fernanda B.
- Rock ‘n Play Sleeper – She loved it for naps and nighttime. It kept her from spitting up as much, and convenient to move around if needed.
Bouncer/Swing - Each were great for comforting her when she was restless or fighting sleep – the constant motion soothed her when we weren’t personally able to rock her.
Soothe and Glow Seahorse – The music and soft glow soothed her since the first night in the hospital. She absolutely loved it. ~Sam A.
- Swing - To be specific, the Snugabunny Swing by Fisher-Price. My daughter is six months old and still takes the best naps in her swing. I’ll be sad when she doesn’t fit any more.
Sleep Sheep by Cloud B. – I know that it didn’t work for some mamas, but it has been amazing for us and a part of our nighttime routine since the day we brought her home from the hospital.
Anything to help with breastfeeding – GOOD nursing bras, a breast pump to help with relief, nipple cream, shields, etc. The first few weeks can be really tough, so anything you have that can help can make a world of a difference. ~Kathy S.
- My Breast Friend - In my breastfeeding class the instructor strongly recommended My Breast Friend over Boppy. She said it’s much more stable and secure, so that’s what I got. I love how I can tie it around my waist and I can walk around wearing it. It’s also big enough for a newborn to lie completely flat on it.
Nail files - Most newborns have freakishly long nails, and it’s so easy to clip into their flesh. Per my pediatrician’s advice, I got emory boards of various grades instead of a nail clipper. The rougher one is to shorten the nails, the medium and finer ones are to smooth the nails. I buffed my son’s nails almost daily. I still use them now in combination with a nail clipper now that my son has bigger nails at the age of two.
Baby Wearer/carrier - I used a Moby wrap at home and a stiffer baby carrier (soft-structured carrier) when I was out and about. The out and about carrier is optional but I can’t imagine going through the first three months without a soft fabric wrap like a Moby. My son would only nap if I held him, so that was the only way I could get anything done in the house. ~Rebecca S.
The advice given here is solely based on our individual experiences and in no way is it going to be perfect for every mama, every baby, and every situation. None of us are medical doctors. If you have a question regarding a medical topic we can give our opinions, but please consult with your doctor. We are not liable or responsible for the results of following any specific advice in any given situation.