For a small checklist of this list, try the Newborn quick list.
Update: try guguguru.com for a simple way to make your registry. They’ll ask you questions and tailor the recommendations to your priorities and lifestyle (urban, citydweller, etc).
You can check out my registry here[LINK]. Consider that I do not have much space, I practice minimalism and I like to travel light.
Where do I begin?
We have all been there, having a minor panic attack after we look up “best stroller” with YouTube reviews and see 200 strollers, up to $2000 prices and mixed reviews on ALL of them.
There may also be many differences in budgets, but we all just want what is best for our babies.
Here is a list of newborn essentials that I wish I would have found when I was trying to figure out a budget for my baby, with things that you will end up getting after the third product trial-and-error. Let me save you some money! Let me save you the hassle of needing to sell baby items on Craigslist.
It would be great if you could add some of this items to your baby registry in case you have very kind and giving people on your life. I suggest adding a variety of small priced items in your registry. Most people will get you clothes as gifts, so try to put a break on overspending on fancy baby outfits, prioritizing those things that will help you heal and take care of your baby during the first few weeks.
Hope to give you a little bit less stress and a lot more relief on those first few days.
Convertible Crib: 4-in-1 cribs. You can sidecar the crib next to your bed, have it near your bed and it will last you for a long time since it converts to a toddler bed. You can move it to another room once your toddler wants more space.
Crib Mattress: Walmart has these bundled with the crib, but normally you will need to get them separate. Make sure your mattress is waterproof.
Carter’s Keep-me-dry Waterproof Crib Pad: Most newborns have reflux and diaper leaks, which will end up stinking up your mattress if you don’t protect it well. I suggest the quilted type of pad because the crib mattresses are very firm (stiff as a rock), and your baby might reject the crib just because of the texture of it. Make sure to keep the crib warm by putting something to warm it up on top before putting baby to sleep.
Fitted Sheets: Make sure the sheets fit snugly on the mattress so that there are no gaps and no possibility of the sheet coming apart and covering up your baby.
-Breathable mesh bumper for newborns and regular bumpers for older babies.
-Bouncy. A simple $25 vibrating bouncy will do. It makes babies sleepy and relaxes them. There is not much need for all the bells and whistles of a rocking bouncy unless you have the extra cash.
-Changing Pad: You can use it on top of any surface, the most ideal would be a drawer chest where you can keep baby clothes and even your own clothes, diapers and other baby accessories. A changing table is optional, if it suits you better, but is not ideal because things are visible and its harder to organize.
-Changing Pad Cover: Newborns often poop or pee in the middle of a diaper change, no matter how quick you are. A changing pad cover easily washes off and it’s waterproof. Most of these are very soft and keep baby warm during middle of the night diaper changes, and also they have cute prints.
-Baby Bathtub: This bath tub from Safety First works wonderfully. It has a small hole to drain the water once you are done, and great sitting support for babies who are younger. Your baby is safe in this bathtub because it is hard for him or her to not be laying down and under the water (use a warm wet washcloth to avoid feeling cold in their chest). It is way safer that this folding bathtub. What’s best is that for $15, you won’t feel bad throwing it away once it starts to grow mold or your baby outgrows it.
-double shower head. It’s super easy to change your shower head if you don’t have a shower hose. These kinds of shower heads come in really handy with toddlers and babies too.
-Travel System Stroller with infant car seat. Some infant car seats that come with a stroller are subpar. Make sure that you try the infant car seat before you decide to keep the whole set.
I do not recommend:
- Evenflo infant car seats have little to no cushion, they don’t come with an adjustable base, and are just poor quality.
- Urbini car seats are really hard and very small, even for my baby that has always been low on the growth charts.
You might be happy with:
- Graco infant car seats
- Britax (very cushiony and great quality).
- Cosco infant car seats.
Do not use a stroller for airline traveling, check it in as luggage before/at the gate. Use an umbrella stroller for traveling. “Wear” your baby in a baby carrier instead, that way he naps the entire time.
If you can, purchase a seat for your baby and bring their car seat, it is the safest way for them to fly and you might get some breaks by sitting them on their car seat.
I do not recommend getting a Convertible car seat plus a lightweight stroller until your child is a toddler/at least one year old.
-Baby Carrier: I used a Baby K’tan, but I don’t recommend this type of carrier anymore because it is too hot. You will have much better results with a lillebaby, a Tula or a mei tai. They are super easy to use and you don’t end up all sweaty.
Babywearing has a bit of a learning curve, but it will make it easier to soothe a difficult baby, bond and even breastfeed. My baby spent the first three months of his life being carried on the baby k’tan. He slept there for hours while I did house chores or we went out to run errands. I recommend the ktan because it is easier and quicker to use than baby wraps (moby or boba), it is easier for a baby to nap in it than a structured carrier (like baby bjorn) where you need to use a blanket to cover them away from the sun, it is safer since it has more support than a ring sling (like a maya wrap) but it does get hot if you life in a place with hot weather. The ktan is easy to wash and easy to transport, about the size of a small clutch or purse.
-Blackout curtains: This will help your baby sleep better.
Gear that can wait
-High chair or reclinable convertible feeding chair: Your baby won’t sit up until 6 months old, at which point you can get the chair. A reclinable chair is handy for having baby close-by at dinner time in the table. Otherwise use the bouncy.
-Baby bjorn feeding bibs: Great at containing messes, just rinse after feeding. Other bibs will not catch the mess.
Don’t use Little green pouches:m or Kidsme silicone feeder.
Put in pieces of banana or fruits so your baby can chew with his gums.
-Soft spoons: If you give your baby a spoon, it will be so he can learn, and not so you use it for him. Use a food pouch for easier faster feeding.
-Plate: Any plate will do. Keep away from baby in the beginning, loading small pieces of food to a spoon so he can learn to use it. There is no need for a warming plate.
-Activity Center: Your baby will not even be big enough for this until at least 4 months old, and he shouldn’t be standing, even if you have a “big” or tall baby.
-Tub spout: This protective tub cover is great for older children, but it won’t be necessary until you stop using the baby bathtub, which is not for another year or longer.
-Co-sleeper: use a convertible crib sidecar to your bed instead.
-Bassinet: Baby outgrows it in some months.
-Pack ‘n play: most babies hate being left alone to play, they rather interact with you. Use a bouncy or activity center instead.
-Crib bedding sets: These are expensive and you won’t use them because they are not safe for newborns. Most bedding sets come with an extremely small quilt, it’s cute but it’s expensive for being that small. You are better off getting a toddler sized bedding set, like the one from Skip Hop.
-Mesh feeder: The food will be left on the mesh, making it really hard to clean. Use a silicone feeder instead.
-Baby monitor: If you have two stories in your home, keep a small bassinet on the first floor so you have baby as close to you as possible, in case you hear any chocking noise or they wake up. If they sleep on their own nursery at night, then make sure that room is close-by. One hard truth is that the first year becomes more complicated for you as a mom if your baby is not in the same room as you. If you are trying to breastfeed, the first months will be really hard waking up every 2 hours and spending time away from your bed instead of napping while the baby eats by your side. If you are formula feeding, you will still need to wake up every 3 hours to feed the baby in another room, which is hard when your body is still recovering from birth or a c-section. There really is no advantage at having the baby in another room, at least not until they sleep through the night. The risk of SIDS also decreases if baby is close to the mom, and there are always ways to be intimate with your partner (though the sleep deprivation and the recovery from the birth might prove this difficult in the first weeks).
-Wubbanub pacifier: you’ll never lose it because it’s attached to a stuffed toy and baby will love it because it is similar to a nipple. Babies prefer this to the orthodontic pacifier.
-White noise machine or app. You can use an app in your phone but a companion from cloud b will soothe baby to sleep and help him or her stay asleep and feel safe. The giraffe from cloud b has womb sounds as well as white noise.
-Swaddle: small babies like it better with receiving blankets, while bigger babies are better on swaddles with Velcro that they cannot undo.
-Sleepsack: Keep your baby cozy and safe by putting them to sleep on their back, which reduces the risk of SIDS. Smaller babies love to be swaddled, but some babies will not tolerate it. Instead of using bedding, use a sleep sack that will keep them cozy to prevent them from chocking. Do not have any toys, stuffed animals, or pillows on the crib, and use breathable mesh bumpers for newborns.
-Piyo piyo nail scissors: Clipping baby nails is not for the faint of heart. Have you seen how small those nails are? Use this scissor that has safety rounded edges, and is curved upwards so you never take parts of the skin. Forget about nail clippers until your baby is a toddler.
-Soft bristle hair brush: This brush is specially designed for babies. Use this instead of a comb, or use a lice comb to separate really thin baby hair.
-Thermometer: Use a simple rectal thermometer under the armpit. There is no need for an expensive thermometer.
-Nosefrida: You will get a nasal bulb aspirator from the hospital which won’t work. To your salvation comes the nosefrida, that is able to suck the biggest boogers and leave your baby with a clear airway. Make sure to keep trying until you see the boogers come out, might take some work.
-Saline spray: When your baby is 6+ months, you can use saline spray (simply saline) before using the nosefrida to make it easier by loosening up the mucus.
-Safety Cotton Q-Tip: Use this instead of the regular q-tips to clean your babies ears, on top of the earlobe and behind the ear, or to apply some Vaseline under the neck to avoid rashes.
-Health care kits: Most are cheap and come with “fillers” that won’t work, like flimsy nasal bulb syringe, nail clippers, and combs. You can get one if it contains some of the items mentioned before.
-Nail clippers: Babies have really tiny nails, so it is safer to use nail scissors to trim their fingernails and toes.
-A “sassy” rattle: best developmental toy ever. You can make sure that your baby is hearing and follows the rattle, he will chew on it when teething, and be amazed by the contrast. Babies are drawn to high contrast black and white or red.
Rated with least toxicity in EWG Environmental Working Group
-California Baby’s shampoo and body wash or Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo: It will be easier to bathe your baby if the container has a pump, so that you have one free hand.
-California Baby’s bug spray
-California Baby’s sunscreen or Badger Baby Sunscreen
-California Baby’s calendula cream to soothe dry skin or their eczema therapy or Earth Mama Angel Baby Lotions.
-Hair conditioner: it’s unnecessary as most babies have small amounts of hair. It might be necessary once you have long hair in girls when they are toddlers.
-Bubble baths: This are cute but most contains very harmful chemicals to produce the bubbles. You could try California baby’s bubble baths for a safer alternative.
-Diaper Pail:You can use any regular trash can, since the smell of diapers doesn’t get any better when the pail is sealed, it just gets contained. The best thing is to use a small amount of baking soda that absorbs the smell, and keep it ventilated.
-Diaper Pail for Cloth Diapers: Any regular trash can or laundry hamper with a planet wise pail liner (waterproof) will work fantastic. Use a small amount of baking soda to absorb the smell.
-Vaseline or desitin or coconut oil to protect the diaper area. My pediatrician recommended Vaseline so you are able to see through if there is a rash. The dollar store’s butt paste has the same ingredients of the more expensive desitin and Boudreaux butt paste, and they are all more toxic than Vaseline or coconut oil. Go with coconut oil if you prefer something natural. There are cloth diapering safe creams like Grandma El’s and CJ’s butter, if you would like to try.
-Baby powder, unless it is California baby’s. Talc is very harmful to baby’s lungs if inhaled. Use baby powder to take away the sand after a beach day or to deodorize adult’s shoes.
-Baby lotion. Most of it only dries the skin worse and all the chemicals on the lotion are harmful. Try to go as close to organic as you can, like California baby’s calendula cream.
-Cloth diapering hanging zippered wet bags for home. Even the biggest one is too small, and the cotton prints on the outside end up fading over time with washing. Use this ones only for cloth diapering on-the-go
If you want to go organic, or baby has sensitive skin, I suggest this brands:
-Earth Mama Angel Baby
-Johnson’s Baby (worst, scores 5-8)
-Aveeno Baby (half-worst, scores 2-4)
-Babyganics (Just OK, scores 2-4)
Books & Resources For You
-The Birth Partner by Penny Simkin: An amazing book written by doulas. Doulas are trained companions to help you and encourage you through the birth, helping you by making you more comfortable and following your birth plan. This book is full of suggestions of what to do in various situations where a complication is happening and how to help the mother until they can get to a medical environment. There are also exercises and comfort mechanisms to aid you through the birth, like massage, positions, use of water, and others. It’s a very kind way of explaining a birth.
-The Girlfriend’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: Laugh a little, since good humor can tone down your nerves for giving birth. If anything, this is not a medical guide but a great way to laugh about pregnancy and child rearing.
-YouTube videos of natural birth: Even if you are having a c-section, watching this videos can help you take away some of the fear for childbirth, and realize it is a beautiful thing. I am sure that not many women can say that they have witnessed a birth before except for the ones in the movies, which are highly dramatized.
-Inna May’s Guide to Childbirth: There are many birth stories of natural childbirth here, I never did actually finish reading this book, but it helps to have positive experiences to read.
-The Business of Being Born: This movie is slightly full of propaganda for natural childbirth, but if you skip towards the middle, you will see the positive aspects of a birth.
-The Wonder Weeks: An amazing book that will let you take a look inside a baby’s mind and their development during the first year. This book can help you understand milestones and difficult times like separation anxiety, learning distances, etc (See the app too).
-What To Expect When You Are Expecting: Worst book ever, doesn’t explain any complication in a positive light or tells you how to handle them. It’s outdated and the advice is just harmful.
-The Mayo Clinic’s Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy: This book is an OK reference, but you are better off with the course from BabyCenter.
-Skinny Bitch Bun in the Oven: Worst book ever. They attempt to induce healthy eating by traumatizing you with mental images of the food industry. If you want to be turned into a vegetarian by a bunch of hippy crazy authors, go for it. ** If you really wish to eat healthier, try “It Starts With Food” which promotes the paleo diet. This diet is very healthy with protein such as beef, chicken, turkey, pork, duck and others, cooked in healthy coconut oil or olive oil, with sides of veggies and nuts, all types of eggs and fruit for dessert. Sparkling water with fruit to flavor is allowed, which is a great substitute to soda. No more calorie counting:)
*Please know that this is not an attempt to sway you into a Natural Unmedicated Childbirth, but it is instead a way for you to conquer your fears and realize that you will make it through, and to expect different things during labor. Do what works for you! If a c-section or different procedures like an epidural or an induction are needed or if that is your choice, then feel great about bringing your baby into the world, do whatever you need to do to have a healthy happy baby.
Apps For You
-The Wonder Weeks App
-Johnson’s Bedtime App
-WebMD Baby App
Why Use EWG to find organic products if they are more expensive?
EWG stands for Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that reviews products and gives them a score from zero to ten (0-10) based on their toxicity. The lowest scores represent products made with organic materials that have no added chemicals which might be harmful to the skin and to the environment. The reason to switch to products that are made with the lowest ratings is to avoid rashes, eczema, irritation of the skin, and long term side health effects. Why use extra creams and potions for rashes when you can avoid them in the first place? If you care for the environment, the added benefit is that you organic product do not poison the (recycled) water that we all use from our sinks, thereby making the water more pure.