Newborn Essentials

I’m just over six weeks postpartum and in no way am I an expert in any of this newborn stuff, but I do know what it is I absolutely could not live without at this point. A couple mamas-to-be asked me to put this list together, so I have! Thank you for reaching out and expressing that you value what I have to say — feels so good. I really hope that this list helps you to narrow down what products will be right for you and your baby. And as an aside, I feel like it would be disingenuine not to mention that I wrote this post mostly by dictating it by voice while walking with my baby in his carrier as he doesn’t let me put him down for his daytime naps. So my apologies for any grammatical errors! And I want to be honest in sharing that the newborn phase has been tough for me. Mentally, emotionally, physically. Baby Malcolm hasn’t gifted us with much rest yet and I haven’t handled the sleep deprivation well. Just want to serve up some realness on the side of this blog post because at the end of the day, products won’t prepare you for the mental strain of being a new parent. The biggest thing you can have is a supportive partner close by and a community around you that is ready to help!

If you know me, you know that I like to keep the stuff that I own to a minimum. Babies can come with a lot of stuff and because we live in such a small space and want to contribute as little as possible to mass consumption and eventually landfills, we tried to just get the essentials. This list is basically everything that we received and I don’t think there are many things that we haven’t used at this point, so I’m really happy with how I selected things. Obviously keep in mind that these are all items that I’m using on a regular basis with a 6 week old, so things will shift as he gets older and his needs change. For those of you who are just starting out and are expecting or have a new baby, maybe this list will be just enough for you in the first month or two as well.

I haven’t really included much info about clothes in the list. I only purchased one piece of clothing second hand. The rest was handed down to us or gifted. People love to gift baby clothes, so if you can, I’d say hold off on investing in clothes and make sure that you have a bit of storage space available in your home for the things that your baby will eventually grow into.

Feeding

Bottles

I can’t really say why I chose these bottles. I think I had done a bit of research while building our registry, but I decided to go with these because they just seem well recommended and pretty basic. We just asked for one pack of the large and small bottles plus the slow flow and faster flow nipples because I knew that I wanted to try pumping and it was important to me that eventually we would introduce a bottle or two a day. This is not only so that I can get a break, but also so that Adam or anyone else in our life would have the opportunity to share that intimate moment with the baby and be able to feed him. As it stands right now, we introduced the bottles at around two weeks, after breastfeeding was well established, and thankfully Malcolm loves the bottle and took to it really well. There was no nipple confusion which I know a lot of people worry about or hear about but I’ve heard this debunked several times. If anything, it’s that babies just won’t take anything but the boob. I really like the quality of these bottles and haven’t had issues with them thus far.

Bottle Warmer

This bottle warmer has been really simple to use and doesn’t take up a whole lot of space on the counter. Because we planned to introduce bottles, we wanted this for easy prep versus heating water manually to warm the bottle. Might seem like an unnecessary item at first but when you’re holding a fussy, hungry baby, you don’t have an extra hand to heat water.

Brest Friend Pillow

This is an absolute I-cannot-live-without product. It is a breastfeeding pillow and is incredibly comfortable and easy to use. I will say that it took me about a week to use it after having Malcolm because I was feeling bloated and kind of sore around my midsection and it didn’t feel comfortable. I’m glad that I was patient with it though because now I use it for every feeding. I love it because it’s really wide and so I can actually put Malcolm down on in-between sides. There’s also a little pocket in the front and I keep a chapstick and my phone in there. Sometimes I’ll have snacks in there too because breastfeeding makes me ravenous.

Water Bottle with Straw

It’s really important to stay hydrated while you’re breastfeeding. I definitely notice my supply fluctuating based on how hydrated I am. I used a litre bottle when I was pregnant and the big bottle helps me to guarantee that I’m getting enough water since I just need to fill it a couple of times each day. I keep a stainless steel straw in it so that it’s really easy to just grab and drink from when I only have one hand while breastfeeding or holding the baby.

Haakaa

This is another must-have if you are someone who would like to introduce a bottle at some point. I never knew that when you breastfeed your opposite breast actually leaks milk. The haakaa auctions to your opposite boob and catches that leaking milk which would otherwise go to waste. Typically I will collect anywhere from 1 to 2 oz in a single feeding. Magic!

Nipple Pads

I decided to go the reusable route with these and asked for one package on our registry. Within a couple of days of having Malcolm, I ended up ordering another set on Amazon. These have been so great because it’s really important to keep your nipples dry when you’re breastfeeding in order to avoid mastitis and clogged ducts. Babies require a ton of laundry anyways, so I just throw these in once they’ve been used or rinse them by hand in the sink and lay out to dry.

Medela Freestyle Breast Pump

I didn’t start pumping until about three weeks in just because I was using the haakaa and that was working just fine. I started pumping just once a day now that Malcolm is bigger and eats like an animal. Thankfully we got the pump covered by insurance because holy cow these things are expensive. I haven’t experienced another pump, so I don’t have anything to compare it to, but it seems to work quite well, is simple to take apart and clean, and doesn’t take up a ton of space. I also didn’t invest in a best pumping bra — I just cut two holes in an old sports bra and it works great, giving me a hands free option.

Breastfeeding Bras

I’ve now come to terms with the fact that I wear a bra 24 hours a day which is something I really wasn’t accustomed to. But leaky boobs will do that! These breast-feeding bras are really simple and comfortable. I got them at my baby shower and I ended up actually wearing them at the end of my pregnancy because my boobs grew so much and none of my bras fit me anymore. They’re really easy to pop open and do up again.

Coconut Oil

I know that there are many nipple creams out there, but I tried coconut oil before anything else just because it’s something I had on hand at home. My midwife approved that it was safe to put on my nipples and not have to clean off before nursing. I was lucky to find a good latch early on and not suffer too much damage, so the coconut oil worked for me but may not be strong enough for some women.

Breastfeeding Chair or Glider

Leading up to having Malcolm, I totally resisted the idea that we needed a glider or rocking chair. Because our space is small, I wanted to avoid another piece of furniture and I thought I could feed him successfully on the couch or in bed. It was about a week after having him when it became clear to us that having a chair that moved would be really helpful. We bought one like this from Facebook marketplace for $130 and it is so comfortable, easy to get in and out of, and gives Malcolm the motion he requires for falling asleep.

Snacks

Just to mention snacks again, because I take this part very seriously — when you’re breastfeeding, you need to eat often but it is nearly impossible to be preparing food with a newborn. You want something quick and accessible, so one of the things I did before I had him was made these nut balls and kept them in the freezer. Then friends of ours brought another batch of them over when we were about a week or two postpartum. Food is the greatest gift ever when you just had a baby! Here is a recipe for nut balls. Once you make them a couple times, you can experiment with ingredients, just keep the ratios the same.

Night Light

Another thing I didn’t really think of pre-baby was lighting. It takes some time to teach babies day from night, so you’ll want to keep it bright and noisy during the day, and as dark and quiet as possible at night. Beyond that learning curve, you’ll definitely want some softer lighting for nighttime feeding and changing. I would highly recommend looking into how you plan to light the room when you get up each time. We were lucky because we have the Phillips Wake Up Light and the lowest setting is a nice dim glow.

Changing

Bamboo Wipes

This is another area of the baby world that we decided to try to go the reusable route. I ordered one pack of these bamboo wipes off of Amazon before he was born and similarly to the nipple pads, I ended up ordering a second package shortly after. Babies go through tons of diapers and we were flying through the wipes. We just keep a little bowl of water on the change table and soak the wipe before changing him.We wash all of these wipes every other day. We did receive disposable wipes as gifts and they’re nice to have in the diaper bag when we’re out but I’ve noticed that when we do use any kind of disposable wipe, his bum gets a little irritated and red. The simple water and cloth is just so gentle. We are using disposable diapers for now and in about a month, we’re looking at changing over to cloth and potentially using a cloth diaper service in Toronto to help us alleviate the laundry load. Not trying to be heroes just yet while we tackle the first three months!

Wet Bag

I asked for this wet bag on our registry because I knew that I wanted to eventually use cloth diapers. The wet bag is great to have in your diaper bag to put any used cloth diapers inside so that the smell and moisture is sealed away until you get home. We’ve been using the bag for the bamboo wipes that get tossed every time we change his bum and so we just keep it strung up next to the change table. Some of you may wonder what we have for a diaper pail and right now we just have this simple pail from Ikea. It’s not too smelly while his poops are still so manageable. We will probably upgrade when he starts eating solids.

Change Table

I absolutely love the Skip Hop change table that we went with. This was a recommendation from my friend and it is so great because it doesn’t require a change pad. The surface can be easily wiped down in between changes and it isn’t rock hard, so little baby still has a comfortable place to lay.

Travel Change Pad

This has come in handy already! It has allowed us to have another changing station in the house so that one of us can sleep in the bedroom and not be disrupted if Malcolm needs changing. It’s also so convenient to just stock up with wipes and diapers and toss it in the diaper bag.

Grapeseed or Olive Oil

This was something that I read about in the Nurture book that I recommended in my pregnancy resource list. The baby’s poop in the first few days after they are born is called meconium and it is like black tar. It can be hard to wipe off their skin, so I prepped a pump bottle of grapeseed oil to have on hand that first week. We’d put some on the wipe and then put a little oil on his bum before putting on the new diaper. Olive oil works too!

Natural Non-petroleum Jelly

My mom bought us a non-petroleum jelly to prevent and soothe diaper rashes. It creates the same barrier that Vaseline does, but it’s all natural. So far it works really well!

Sleep

White Noise Machine

We received our white noise machine second hand and it has been great. Not only so that Malcolm can sleep soundly, but also so that either myself or Adam can lock ourselves in the room and blast it while we nap. Babies are used to lots of noise in the womb and we are subscribing to this fourth trimester idea in which you’re trying to emulate the womb as much as possible for the first 3 months. The white noise creates that same whooshing sound that he would have heard in my belly. I couldn’t find the one we have online because it’s pretty old, but I’m sure most will do the trick.

Copper Pearl Swaddle

This is a definite must-have and something we use all day long for Malcolm. We’ve found the most success using this blanket to swaddle as opposed to the muslin blankets. The stretchy fabric of these blankets makes the swaddle fold indestructible and try as he might, Malcolm can’t break out of it. We swaddle for some naps and all night long. Babies have a startle reflex in which they throw their hands up involuntarily and scare themselves awake. The swaddle prevents this from happening and let’s them snooze longer. We use the first technique in this video and it works like a charm. Some people opt for a velcro swaddle or a sleepsack swaddle and those seem like really great options too! We tried this method first and it worked, so we just went with it.

Boba Wrap

I decided to put this under the sleep category because for us, this has been a major tool in getting our newborn to sleep during the day. We really wanted to baby carry as much as possible in the first 3 months and we’re so glad that Malcolm loves it. He actually won’t sleep anywhere but the carrier during the day which is making for a bit of back pain but good naps are so worth it. He’ll give us 2 hour naps in the carrier which allow us to move around the house and get things done while he sleeps on us. I would recommend watching the tutorial on how to wear the wrap before your baby is born and then it’s one less thing you need to figure out postpartum.

Pacifier

We received these soothers in the Avent bottle set. Pacifiers are tricky because if you want to give one to your baby, you may have to play around with shape and brand (just like the bottles). We’ve tried a few for Malcolm and these seem to be the winner. He’ll take it during his naps in the carrier but not typically at night (the time when I’d really like him to take it haha), but we’re working on it!

Snuggle Me Organic

I’m so grateful that we have the Snuggle Me because it’s actually become the only thing that Malcolm will sleep in at night. These were originally made for co-sleeping but then the regulations changed and the brand has warned that it is not safe for unsupervised sleep. With that being said, many parents use the Snuggle Me or a Dock-a-tot for sleep. The cushion makes the newborn feel held and when you’re running on zero sleep, it’s an absolute gift. We did our research and take every precaution to make sure that he sleeps in it safely. This was the right choice for us but I would completely understand why parents wouldn’t use it for nighttime sleep. If anything, get it for your baby’s supervised naps! There was a period of time when Malcolm would sleep out of the carrier and he snoozed so peacefully in the Snuggle Me. This product is really overpriced and I probably wouldn’t have bought it for ourselves if it wasn’t gifted to us. I saw a bunch of them on Facebook marketplace when I was researching and most were unused because their babies just didn’t take to them. If it comes from a pet and smoke-free home, I’d say that this is a great second hand buy. Just wash the cover and pop the pillow in the dryer on high heat.

Baby Monitor

This monitor works really well and it’s simple to use. You can mount the camera on the wall or just leave it on a shelf and it has really great night vision so that you can see your baby clearly in the dark. The monitor component that stays with you is compact and displays the temperature of the room. It even has a microphone so that you can talk to your baby through the camera.

Baby Tracker App

I just thought I’d share that this is the app I’m using to track Malcolm’s sleeps at the moment. When he was first born, I would use it for his diaper changes and feedings as well. At the start, you’ll want to know how many dirty diapers you’re getting in a day as an indication of good health. It would be impossible to remember this on your own, so the app takes that out of the equation.

UPDATE! Recently started using Huckleberry instead and it’s amazing!

Shusher

This was given to us by our friends and it’s been a great help to us. Similar to white noise, we use shushing as a way to calm the baby and remind him of the noisy womb. The shusher is small and goes with you as you rock the baby to sleep or have them in the stroller. It’s more of a nice-to-have item but has definitely saved us from the lightheaded-ness that sets in after shushing for a long time! I had no idea that this was $45. Again, take a look at second hand options for this one.

Taking Cara Babies

This resource was a referral from friends of ours and not only provides free info/tips for newborn sleep but also offers several online courses. The course is $75 but may be worth it for you if you’re really struggling. I use the methods when I can and do see that they often work. They just help your baby learn that they can wait a bit longer between feedings in the night and gives you tools to pacify them in other ways besides offering them to breastfeed.

Miscellaneous

Stretchy Hats

We’ve been using these stretchy knotted hats on Malcolm everyday. It’s so satisfying to make sure that your baby is nice and warm. Not to mention, they are super soft and are an adorable outfit accessory.

Bottom Zip Onesies

These have officially become Malcolm’s pajamas because the two way zip is incredibly convenient for nighttime changes. Try to stay away from snaps in the newborn gear. It’ll drive you mad. I recommend zippers and if you can get the two-way option, you’re WINNING.

Boppy

We received this newborn lounger as a gift and I love it! It’s definitely more of a nice-to-have than an essential, but we use it a lot more than I expected to. It’s so handy to be able to have a comfy place to lay baby down and Malcolm loves that he can be propped up to look around or be read to.

Bouncy Chair

We also borrowed this from friends. I know so many parents find success with bouncing their little one in a chair like this. It makes wake time a little more interesting, gives your arms a well-deserved break, and may help to soothe your fussy little human.

D Drops

If you’re breastfeeding, you’re going to want to pick up a bottle of these. Vitamin D is the one thing breastfed babies don’t get through the milk. I just put a drop on my pinky finger every day and pop it in his mouth.

Probiotic

All babies will have a hard time with gas and figuring out their digestive systems. Like adults, you can offer babies a probiotic to support their gut and ease tummy troubles. This came as a recommendation from a friend and Malcolm has had an easier time passing wind and poops now that he’s taking it daily.

Dr. Bronners

We use this natural and unscented soap for Malcolm’s baths. I just use a few drops in the water and then a drop on the washcloth to scrub him down. It’s really gentle and this big bottle will last forever.

Bath Flower

We chose to go the sink bath route while he’s small. Just wanted to find a bath product that would take up as little space as possible. This Blooming Baby Bath Flower is perfect for the sink and gives baby a warm and soft surface to sit on. I’ve found that this does require two pairs of hands while the baby still can’t hold his head up, but this time will be short lived and then he’ll be able to sit up in the sink and hang out on his comfy flower. Clean up and storage for this is simple. I just let it drip dry above the sink and then we hang it up on one of the hooks in the bathroom.

I haven’t mentioned the car seat or stroller that we got just because we haven’t used them a ton yet and I don’t have a whole lot to report. But don’t forget that you’ll need those and a place for baby to sleep! I would also advise that you get a thermometer and a snot sucker of some sort as you build a bit of a baby first aid kit.

In the time that I’ve been working on this post, we bought a baby swing second hand and Malcolm has been crushing his daytime naps in it. An absolute lifesaver for my sanity and my back!

I hope this list serves you well and if you have any questions, please send me a message. Good luck mamas and papas!

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courage. motherhood. self discovery.

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Brittany Masson

Brittany Masson

courage. motherhood. self discovery.

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