When I was pregnant I loved looking at lists. I wanted to feel prepared and looking at what others had suggested was so intriguing to me. Some of it made perfect sense, some items seemed ridiculous, and some were surprising. I thought I would share 5 items that I think EVERY parent should have. Truly I think these items will make those first 3 months go better than they would without them.
Jared and I are pretty simplistic. Our house is not large, and with it being almost 100 years old, we have 2 closets. Yep, 2. We don’t have a lot of room to store things! This is not an exhaustive list. There are THOUSANDS of items out there that are geared towards the newborn stage. Im sure all of them serve their purpose and are helpful in some capacity, but they probably aren’t for everyone. When making this short list, I wanted the items to be something every parent could really use and benefit from. The truth is you do not need much. You don’t!! Not in the early months.
Let’s save the best for last and start with #5…
The 5 S’s. New parents, take note…these will be lifesaver’s for you. I am not kidding. When your baby is crying, try ALL of these things. You will figure out quickly which one(s) your baby likes.
Babies love to be swaddled. Most all of them love to be saddled all the way up to their neck. Some babies prefer an arm out, or both out. Try swaddling completely first, and if they fight it after several tries, pop an arm out. Do not listen to the naysayers when they sweetly, but passive aggressively tell you that babies want to be free.
Hold the baby like a football perpendicularly to the floor, or parallel with the floor on their belly.
This one (and swaddling) are like magic. Shhhhhh REALLY LOUDLY directly into your baby’s ear. Yes, very very loudly. You will feel like you are going to hurt their ear. You won’t. Put your lips on their ear and Shhhh your heart out.
Hold the baby however you can/like and swing your body back and forth or sway side to side.
If you are breastfeeding and you don’t mind being a human pacifier, by all means go for that. If that is uncomfortable physically (it will be) you can use your pinky, or a pacifier. Sucking immediately sends calming hormones into their bodies.
Aden and Anais swaddle blankets may seem a little pricey but they are SO worth it. Get a nurse to teach you how at the hospital. Wrap that baby TIGHT. If you have a houdini, but you know they sleep better and feel better with a swaddle, do the double swaddle. Swaddle in the blanket, and them zip them into the Woombie. Mac was swaddled round the clock for about the first 2 weeks. We then would give him periods of time out of the swaddle to move his arms and legs around and to do Tummy Time. We swaddled him for sleeping until he was about 4 months old.
Ahhhh the Sound Machine. This one is crucial. For the baby, and maybe even more so for you. If you are taking shifts with your husband or wife (you should!) having the sound machine on while the off duty parent sleeps will help them to actually SLEEP. They won’t hear the crying! It will also help you sleep while the baby is sleeping. Babies make SO many weird noises at first. It sounds like they are choking. For real. They grunt and cough and do all sorts of things that will send your new parent heart right up to your throat in fear. If the baby needs you, he WILL let you know. Trust.
Even if you are breastfeeding, get a paci. I know all the books tell you to not do this. JUST in case, have one on hand. Sometimes babies just need to suck and your anatomy has already taking a beating to fulfill that need. Use the paci. It will be okay!! You will wonder why you waited so long to try it.
My NUMBER ONE baby item: the Rock n Play. GET THEE A ROCK N PLAY! There are literally no negatives here. It’s lightweight. Its super portable. It collapses for easy storage. It keeps the baby upright for sleeping to help reduce reflux. You can rock it with your foot. Some of them have a vibration button. Its a safe place to put the baby down while you try to brush your teeth. Its affordable. Seriously– go buy this now if you are expecting or line up someone to get it for your shower. Mac slept in this for the first 6 weeks of his life. We did a slow transition to the crib, but we still use it to this day! If I need to do the dishes, Mac goes in the RnP. If I need to pee, RnP. The cat is about to puke a hairball onto the couch, RnP. Don’t worry about buckling them in until they can roll, its not necessary.
Bonus item!!Sleep gowns (or Footed Zip Up Sleepers) with hand flaps. These make diaper changes so easy! The hand flaps are essential because trying to cut a newborn’s nail is like playing Operation. You are bound to clip their tiny little fingertip and you will hate yourself when you hear the forthcoming screams. Babies even scratch their faces in the womb. Mac came out with scratches. If you can’t find enough clothes with hand flaps, use baby socks in a pinch!
So there you have it, my Top 5 Newborn Items (with a Bonus!) Agree? Disagree? I hope this is helpful to someone out there!