An Uncomplicated Life Blog: What You REALLY Need For A Newborn

Thursday, March 1, 2018

What You REALLY Need For A Newborn

There's so much on the market geared towards newborns; here's what you REALLY need when you have a new baby

I was helping my sister out with her baby registry a few weeks ago, as she sent me a "HELP ME!" email from all the choices, products, and frankly - baby crap that exists out there. It's been two years since I've had a newborn, but oh how I still remember those days. Breast feeding, running on an hour or two of sleep a night, dealing with an infant who sleeps all day and is awake all night... They tell you you'll miss those days when they're gone, but I'm here to tell you NOPE. I sure don't! The newborn stage is the worst. Parenting actually gets fun after the baby is about 6 months old, but that newborn stage is for the birds. In light of that, here's what you REALLY need to survive those first few months with a newborn. *affiliate links used*

what you really need on your baby registry vs. what's nice to have on your baby registry from an experienced mom's perspective

When I was coming up with this list, thinking back on my newborn baby days, I realized that there were things that you absolutely NEED, and then things that I found to be a lifesaver but weren't a universal need. I personally needed them, and if I ever have more children I'll be sure to stock up on them again, but calling it a need is a stretch. But, ahem, I know the difference between need and want. So. I'm going to create two sections: A need section and a want section, although I'm sure most other bloggers would tell you all these things are dire needs!

If you're forming a registry, click the image below to get one started on Amazon and then all the links below will transfer to it. Easy!

What you REALLY need for a newborn:

Swaddles and swaddle blankets - Swaddling the baby at night is a lifesaver, and velcro swaddles make it so that your baby can't wiggle out of it. Trust me, no matter how many lessons you've taken, you'll never be able to swaddle like the nurses at the hospital and your baby will escape, wake up, and scream about it. The swaddles are great at night, and during the day we used the muslin swaddle blankets for naps or to lay on the ground for tummy time. We still use the swaddle blankets to transition Otto out of a sleep sack and to a blanket and pillow sleeping situation.

Onesies - when the baby is brand new and you're figuring it all out, don't bother dressing your baby in a full outfit. Trust me, they'll just spit up on or poop in it. We only dressed Henry in a onesie for about the first 3 months of his life. Get short sleeved onesies for spring and summer babies and long sleeved oneises for fall and winter babies (then use the swaddle blankets to cover their legs). It results in less laundry and less work when you're changing a diaper every hour or two! Which brings me to...

Diapers - you can cloth diaper, or you can go traditional. I tell every future new mom to NOT register for a lot of one brand or one size! You never know how big your baby will be and s/he could grow out of the newborn size in a week. Each diaper brand has a different cut/shape too, and you never know what brand will work best with your baby. Henry wore Babyganics but was such a big baby, by 12 months he was out of their size 6 (Babyganics runs super small, BTW). Then he switched to Pampers. Otto got chemical burns from Pampers, so he wears (to this day) Honest Co. We tried an Honest Co overnight diaper on Henry and it leaked (multiple nights in a row!). See what I mean about different diapers for different babies?! Even if this isn't your first baby, this one won't be the same as your last. I recommend buying a small batch of each brand to see what works best for your baby.
Burp cloths - Oh, how I want to link some of the adorable burp cloths that are out there! There are so many beautiful trendy ones. But guys, when fabric has a print on it, it tends to not absorb well. These plain white cloths absorb everything as it comes out, which means less will end up on you. Pretty they are not, but practical and useful they are indeed. And when it comes to vomit, you want to be practical.

Bottles - Even if you're breastfeeding, you'll come to a time when you'll need to be away from your baby for a few hours and you won't want to leave whomever the caregiver is without a pumped bottle. Bottles, in my experience, are like diapers, and every baby has a preference. Henry used the Philip Avent glass bottles (he was only breastfed for 3 months). Otto took to the Medela bottles as he was breastfed/I pumped for him for a long time. Once I tried to get him to take one of Henry's glass bottles and he spit the nipple out and looked at me like I was crazy. So just like you want a mini-sample of diapers, you'll want a mini sample of all the major bottles. I'd register for 3-4 different brands, figure out which one baby takes, and then buy 6+ of them. (These are also super popular but we never used them.)
Pacifier - even if you don't introduce one right away (I'm still not sure if nipple confusion is a real thing as both my kids got pacis in their first week and both nursed with vigor) a pacifier is a life saver for better sleep. True, your child may form an attachment to it that you'll later have to break (neither of my kids had this happen. Both gave up their pacifiers about the exact same time they were done nursing) but whatever habit is formed is worth the extra sleep you'll get in those first few months. These cute contraptions keep the paci in your baby's mouth.
Bassinet - even if you want to do crib sleeping or co-sleeping immediately, having a bassinet is a must for naps. Newborns sleep a lot and having a bassinet you can move from room to room is essential so you can keep an eye on the baby while you go about your day. Rock n Plays are great because they're easily transportable and have an incline if your baby has acid reflux. There are Moses baskets that are flat-lying (better for baby's soft head) and have handles for transportation. And the Halo looks amazing for night sleeping in the same room as you.

What's NICE to have for a newborn:

A swing or a bouncer - I feel like babies either like to swing or bounce, but rarely both. Both my kids were swingers (ha!) I'm linking the one we actually have because it's amazing. You can swing side to side or front to back, there's a mobile and there's music. There's also an infant insert so it's not too big, and everything is easily washable (hello, vomit!). This is a bouncer by the same brand, and the bonus to it is that it's far cheaper than a swing. It's also more easily movable so the baby can stay with you as you move about the house. Full disclosure, we never had one of these because my kids took to the swing right away.

Pack n Play - we set this up in our master suite so that we'd have a changing table in our room, making those frequent night feeds easier. This is also great for naps and essential for travel. It is SO nice to have more than one changing station in the house!

Nursing pillow - I SWEAR by this brand! It has back support, headrest for baby in the actual nursing position, a washable cover, pockets to keep nipple cream and other things in and a belt around you so that it's secure. There's even a version for twins - how cool is that?! The Bobby was crap - because it's round the baby rolls around and is hard to keep stable while nursing.

Get the need list and you'll be all set for that new baby! Get the needs and nice to have items, and you'll be fully prepared. We didn't get the swing until Henry was a few months old and I was SO glad when we did! We got the pack n play shipped to us before Otto was born, and having those multiple changing stations turned out to be essential with two kids on two different nap schedules and all the night feeds.


  1. thank you for this! baby stuff is SO overwhelming and everyone has an idea of what you need! I'm saving this!

  2. This is really the essentials. There are so many things marketed to us these days, with baby registries a mile long. This is a great list!

  3. Such a simple list! I was expecting a whole long list of things, but you really broke it down to the basic essentials! I'll say a nursing pillow is a definite need for me. It saves my back and makes life SO much easier when nursing all day (and night) long in the begininng!

  4. OMG. I just found out I am pregnant and I am Pinning this post so fast. Thank you for the amazing tips!!

  5. This is going to be so helpful! We just announced we are expecting our first!!

  6. I added a lot more than I originally hoped to my registry, but it's mainly things that I want to buy, but want the completion discount on. 🤣
    But I added many of the items on your list! Thankful for sisters who have done this before!

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