Ahh the human baby. The only animal on earth born with absolute no skills to live and totally dependent on the caretaker. And the soon to be new mother- a nervous, impressionable bundle of hormones who gives little credit to herself for the instincts and biology that makes her fully equip for the job. This combination makes for the perfect consumer sucker. I was that sucker. Don’t you be that sucker. The newborn baby market is saturated with gizmos and gadgets, most of which are really not necessary but sell out nevertheless because we will do anything to feel more prepared with what is our most important job to date.
When my first baby was born, I bought all the things, most of which sat around until he was too old to use them. Two years and many lessons later, my second baby arrived by emergency C-section a month early. By my baby #1 standards, I was not prepared at all. Besides not having things like the correct underwear for a c-section, my precious Snoo had not even arrived yet!
It turned out that the rocking and shushing of an expensive bassinet wasn’t necessary for my second baby. By the time it arrived several weeks later, she had proven that beyond my boob, lots of diapers, wipes, onesies and swaddles, a newborn doesn’t need much!
All that to say, trust me, YOU are the most precious item your baby needs and sometimes it takes getting to know your baby a bit before deciding whether some of the big ticket items are really necessary.
My Recommendations (in no particular order)
1. A baby monitor that does not require Wifi
For traveling, this is a must, and even for at home, whether or not you have a built in security system (we have the nest) you still will want a device that is not at the whim of wifi. I also loved having the split screen setting for two babies and temperature icon to make sure the room isn’t too warm for cold for baby.
2. Pajamas that zip
Trust me, you do not want to be fumbling around with snaps in the middle of the night. I loved the Burts Bee’s organic pajamas because they are form fitting, cover up the feet and can take a beating in the washer and dryer 1000x.
3. A dependable, easy to use thermometer
Babies get sick often. They just do. It’s stressful and the last thing you need to worry about is whether your thermometer needs new batteries or is reading accurately. I have tried SO many and finally found one that shuts off on its own, doesn’t need to wake the baby for a reading, and is very accurate. It’s called the Victoria No Touch Thermometer for Adults, Kids & Babies.
4. Good breast pump(s)
Breastfeeding can be the most wonderful and stressful experience of your life. I had such a huge milk supply that I had to start storing in a second freezer. My secret? THE HAAKA! This is literally a $30 rubber suction cup that you place on the breast your baby is not currently feeding on. When your milk lets down, the haaka continues to pull. Basically your body is tricked into thinking you have a baby on both breasts and so it starts supplying you for two babies! You’re welcome.
If you are pumping, you will want the most efficient pump possible. I used a very not cute, but dependable, pale yellow Medela Symphony Breast Pump Hospital Grade Electric Pump. It retails for over 2k so I rented it. I highly recommend asking your insurance about this option.
5. Owlet Sock
So this is one of those my mom laughed at and said she never needed this to keep her 5 babies alive, but it gave me peace of mind and helped me sleep when I needed it most, which for me was priceless. The owlet sock is a device that connects to an app on your phone and monitors your baby’s heart beat and oxygen levels. In the unlikely chance that your baby’s breathing is obstructed or impaired, you will get an alert. I loved this because I was extremely paranoid as a first time mom and liked the idea of having an extra set of eyes on my baby at all times. I won’t lie, with my second baby, I didn’t use this. I didn’t feel like I needed to because I used a night nurse or the baby slept on my chest while I sat upright (I dont condone this, its just what I felt safe doing). If you feel like you are extra nervous about SIDS for whatever reason, I think this is a wise way to spend a few hundred bucks.
6. Night Nurse
If you can swing it, I am a huge believer in the power a night nurse. Having an expert whom you feel totally comfortable handing over the baby to for a night shift so you can sleep was by far the most helpful tool in my arsenal. I did not have one for my first baby and my health quickly deteriorated into an anxious mess from lack of sleep. Since I was exclusively breatfeeling, I didnt see the point in paying someone to spend the night if I was just going to have to wake up every few hours to feed anyway. I learned that the feeding portion of the night was actually not the part that took away from my sleep the most. It was the burping, changing and being on high alert that took away from my sleep. By the time the baby was fed, burped, changed and successfully put back to sleep, it was near time to feed again! With the night nurse, she would bring in my daughter to me when it was time to feed, and take her right back after, leaving me at ease to fall asleep quickly until the next feed. I know this cost is not feasible for most mothers, but I always like to suggest the idea of adding a “night nurse fund” to your baby registry so people can contribute what they can. Babylist.com has this option on their registry and I sooo recommend.
7. Moro reflex and flat head…. oh the fun.
I loved a bamboo swaddle with a little bit of a stretch to it. He didn’t really love being swaddled for long tho, so this merlin suit was the best. Remi had a really strong moro reflex and was constantly jolting himself awake, but also hated to be tightly swaddled. This merlin suit was a godsend, and I mean… they look like a marshmallow so that is too adorable to pass up. He also had flat head… yea always something… so this pillow helped reshape so he didn’t end up needing a helmet.