Newborn must-haves are really more like mom and dad must-haves. The baby really just needs snuggles and food, and if mama is breastfeeding you come well equipped to handle both those needs. That said there are some things that make life easier and more enjoyable for everybody!
This is not intended to be an ultimate baby registry guide. This is simply the items that we used day in and day out in the early newborn days.
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Let’s Keep those Newborns Safe, Snuggled, and Sleeping!
First and foremost, your biggest newborn must-have is a safe sleep setup. No If and or buts. The AAP recommends that infants sleep in the same room as their parents, close to their parents’ bed. But babies should be in a separate bed or crib appropriate for infants.
PackandPlay – We use a simple pack and play with the bassinet level and changing table attachment as our baby sleep station in our room. It keeps babe close by, but when they outgrow it you have a pack and play for travel needs.
White Noise Machine – We love our Hatch Baby Rest for our toddler’s room (the auto on and off as well as the light have done wonders with teaching her wake vs. sleep times). We needed something in our room for the newborn and we kept it simple, but it works great to dull the noise of us coming to bed after her and honestly, it helps me sleep better too.
Velcro or Zipp Swaddles – Swaddle blankets have their place and they come in all kinds of wonderful patterns and materials. Do you know what you won’t be worried about in the dark while everyone is hopefully sleeping? Those pretty swaddles. Get yourself something with Velcro or zippers that your Houdini of a baby cannot get out of and you will ALL sleep better. Not to mention they are WAY easier to redo in the middle of the night when your only half awake.
Knit Stretch Swaddle Blankets – if you must have traditional swaddle blankets, forget the muslin ones every has and don’t even look at the tiny flannel ones (those might as well just be burp clothes, that’s the only use I’ve found for them) We adore our oversized knit swaddle blankets. The extra material makes it easy to keep everything tucked and the stretch allows it to stay nice and tight! Bonus they are big enough to make good cuddle blankets well after you stop swaddling.
Newborn Must-Haves for Clothes Must be Simple and Cozy!
Zip up Jammies – No Snaps. Dear lord no snaps. If you end up with snap jammies treat those as daytime clothes because you do not want to be dealing with all those snaps after the middle of the night diaper change. Even better if you can find one that zips from the bottom so you don’t have to undo it all the way to change the babe.
Simple onsies – Trust me when they are little and floppy and sleep 90% of the day you do not need three-piece outfits. Get one. Revel in the cuteness and then change them into a simple onsie. Pants Optional. I tend to only have a few “newborn” sized outfits as I have had to 8lb babies…so I stick to the 0-3 range Have a couple of each size on hand and then get more of what you need after the babe arrives.
Bootie/knee-high socks – Baby socks suck. They just do. If ya gotta do socks then go for knee-highs. They cant slip off and they double as pants! Lol The other foot covering options I go with are booties. These are perfect if you’re going out and about and want something a little warmer for their toes.
Baby Containment and Newborn Playtime
The time will come. You will need both hands. I may be for 2 mins as you change the laundry or it may be for 30 mins so you can have a warm meal. Don’t even get me started on the need for free hands if you have other children to care for. A major newborn must-have for me was carriers and safe baby play situations.
Bouncer – This is one of the OG baby containment devices. Up there with the baby swing, I think. Ours came with our pack and play and we use it all the time. I can’t link that one for some reason but I wouldn’t mind upgrading at some point to something a little sleeker.
Playmat/Playgym – We didn’t really start using this until 2 months or so. When wake times started to get longer and the babe was more alert, but I’ll tell you what she loves it. She is content to chill here for an extended time more than anywhere else. Ours is a makeshift use of a little floor mat and our Pikler Triangle, right now but I have my eyes set on something a little more user friendly when we get the time to DIY it
High Contrast Books – Newborns don’t really play per se, but they are working on developing their vision and high contrast black and white images are great for catching and keeping their attention
Mirror Toys – as they get a little older and their vision starts to focus more there is nothing a baby likes more than looking at other babies. Even if the other baby just themselves in the mirror.
Ring Sling – I found a to have a little bit of a learning curve with my ring sling but I think this may be my favorite newborn carrier. It’s so quick to put on and it fits nice and snug. I really have no complaints. It’s the perfect carrier for around the house or out shopping
Baby carrier – We had an Ergo 360 from when our first was a babe and we picked up the infant insert this time so we could use it right away. It does such a good job of distributing weight it’s like there isn’t even a babe in there. It is a bit bulky and can be tricky to get on by yourself. Just a heads up. I prefer this carrier for longer walks.
Newborn Baby Bathtime Basics
Another basic need babies have is to be clean and while yes they aren’t rolling in dirt or smearing food in their hair you would be surprised at how dirty they do manage to get. The number of times I have discovered breastmilk in eyebrows or lint in little armpits…bathtime is a newborn must have
Baby Bath – there are TONS of different options of baby baths on the market and they are all huge. Give up looking for a small one. We like this one as it is not ridiculously huge, and it allows us to bath both the babe and the toddler at the same time. Multitasking is key
Turkey Baster – hear me out. One goal of giving a baby a bath is keeping them warm even though half of their body is out of the water. I have found that a turkey baster works great as I can essentially keep a slow stream of water. Yes, you could use a cup, I find I like this better.
Wash clothes – some people swaddle bath, but I personally find that a simple washcloth on their belly is all we really need, and it’s so much easier to wash around than a full blanket!
This, That, and Some Other Newborn Must Haves
Saline Drops – I hate hearing a babe with a stuffy nose, especially when they are eating and it seems like they are working so hard to breathe! Saline drops do a great job of clearing out that congestion!
Gas Relief Drops – This is our hail Mary. When everything else has been attempted and nothing is working to calm a fussy babe. Try this. It’s kind of crazy how well it works. I prefer this over gripe water as the dose is smaller and easier for babe to get down. but Gripe Water, works too!
Burb clothes – Depending on your baby you may need a ton of these or just a couple. Start with a small set of them and keep one by all your standard nursing stations. You also have the option to go fancy if you want or super simple. I think it all depends on how much you want to spend/how many you’ll end up needing.
Pacifiers – You won’t want to use these RIGHT away but after a few weeks when you feel that your babe has this whole breastfeeding thing figured out then you can introduce them. Pay attention to age(size) of the paci and start with newborn, also your babe may have a preference so have a couple of different styles
Tired Daddy Must Haves
When I asked the man what he thought our must haves were he nearly interrupted me to say coffee…coming from the one who wasn’t up in the middle of the night for feedings…but I agree with him so there’s that.
Coffee – or caffeine of your choice honestly. Just something for the midday slump to keep you going after a long night.
Rocking chair – you totally COULD get by without this, but for us it’s invaluable. Both for late-night sleep struggles and daytime cuddles.
Nursing Mama Must Haves
My specific must haves are all related to breastfeeding. It’s a magical and totally bizarre process and there are a few items that make it a little more enjoyable or convenient.
Nursing Tanks – easy access. Say it with me. Easy Access. I’m not kidding when I say that I LIVE in these tanks in the early days and to be honest for quite a few months. I simply cannot be bothered to deal with shirts getting in my way, especially when it seems like the babe is nursing every 30 mins!
Reusable Breast Pads – Some people prefer disposable, but I already feel bad about using disposable diapers. So I have a decent collection of reusable pads. Just make sure they are really absorbent for when your milk is coming in and longer overnight stints, because waking up from a lucky long stretch due to a milk puddle is beyond frustrating!
Waterbottle – trust me on this. Get a big one and get one with a straw.
Hakaa Breast Pump – This is a wonderfully simple little device. A silicone breast pump to catch the letdown and start to build up a supply, without any real extra effort on your part what’s not to like?! Me personally I used it the most right after my milk came in. It was a perfect way to alleviate engorgement. I don’t really need a freezer stash but having a little up there is good for peace of mind!
25 Newborn Must-Haves That You’ll Really Use
This is our basic list of newborn must-haves. We try and keep it fairly minimal and we do have other things but these are the things that we used every day without fail that and a car seat. You need a car seat.