So, I have 3 children, 2 of them being born within the last 2 years. I had my daughter at 25 years old and my sons at 41 and 43 years old and there are sooooo many more products on the market that just weren’t around when I had my daughter when I was younger. The obvious newborn clothing items (onesies, sleepers, hats, socks, bibs, receiving blankets, etc.) are not mentioned in this article, but next to those items, the below “Newborn & New Mom Basics” in my opinion are necessities to make your life that much easier. Congratulations and Good luck with your new addition(s)! Now, on to the list…
1) NURSING PILLOW
I didn’t realize how invaluable Nursing Pillows were until I had my second child. I purchased the Original Boppy Nursing Pillow for my first son when he was around 3 months old for feeding and nursing and he still uses it today as a pillow at almost 2 years old in his crib.
Now with baby #3, we have 3 nursing pillows in our home in different locations. The Boppy that I just mentioned is in my toddler’s crib, which he uses as a pillow. I also have a Bamibi Nursing Pillow, which I keep downstairs, and then a Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Nursing Pillow, which we keep in our bedroom, where our newborn sleeps in his crib.
While I loved the Boppy when I first purchased it, and I still think it’s a good nursing pillow, the Fisher-Price Nursing Pillow is my favorite (however, it is currently unavailable for purchase right now and may have been discontinued at the time of this article), mainly because of its firmness and my newborn’s ability to fall fast asleep in it with support. It’s also a great pillow for my little one to prop up on when he’s able to hold his head up on his own. Additionally, we’ll be able to use it as a Tummy Time Play Wedge and it also comes with linkable toys for your baby to play with some months down the road.
The Bamibi Home Nursing Pillow, which I ordered from Amazon, is the least expensive nursing pillow (about $15 less than the Boppy), however, its too soft for me and not very supportive, although others like the super softness and the fact that it comes with a headrest for the baby for when you’re feeding them. All of them have washable covers, so that’s always a plus.
Regardless of which brand or type of pillow you get decide to purchase, I definitely recommend getting at least one for feeding your newborn.
2) NURSING PADS
Nursing Pads are a necessity, whether you’re breastfeeding, pumping or formula feeding. At some point, usually within a few days after you give birth, your milk will come in – and with a vengeance I might add!
If you’re formula feeding or weening from breastfeeding, disposable nursing pads will suffice as you won’t be using them for that long. I’ve used both Medela Disposable Nursing Pads and Lansinoh Nursing Pads and both are equally good for this purpose.
For Reusable Nursing Pads, I would suggest Bamboobies, which you can wash and reuse as needed. Just insert the pads into your bra and use until needed.
If nothing else though, make sure you have some type of Nursing Pads so you’re not leaking like a faucet through your bra and clothes when your milk arrives!
3) NURSING TOPS (if breastfeeding)
Regardless of the time, temperature or season of the year, camisoles and spaghetti strapped maxi dresses were and are still a part of my daily wardrobe while breastfeeding. They both give me the ability to pop my boob out in a flash to nurse or pump, and even more so, they’re super comfortable.
As an added bonus, maxi dresses can not only be worn to lounge around the house but if you need to go out, you can pair them up with sandals, flip flops, boots and/or a shawl or sweater for cooler months.
However, if you prefer more discreet and fashionable tops, then short sleeved nursing tops are good as well. You can also check out Motherhood Maternity for an even greater selection of year round shirts.
4) CHANGING PAD
While some mothers opt for a changing table as part of their newborn’s nursery, I opted to not have one for any of my children, even when someone offered me one for free. My main reason was because our babies room share with me (us) for at least 6-8 months, therefore, most of the changing would be taking place in our room. With our complete furniture set plus the crib, we just couldn’t ergonomically fit a changing table in the master bedroom – and you could forget me traveling to the baby’s nursery room just to change him. Additionally, we had a guest twin bed in the baby’s room so we changed them on that instead of a changing table.
Also, moving throughout the house with the baby at different times of the day, it just isn’t convenient to go to another level or room in the house where the changing table is located, when it could be done in the living room or den on the couch or in another bedroom on the bed.
With that being said though, it is important to at least having a portable changing pad(s) to keep in different levels or room in your home. But you can also opt for at least one travel portable changing pad which allows you to carry it like a tote or hook it around a stroller or around your wrist – you can also pack a few wipes and pampers in as well.
Please note though, this is not a criticism of traditional changing tables, especially if you or your partner has back issues or problems bending down. Additionally, traditional changing tables have an abundance of storage for most of your baby’s changing items (i.e. pampers, wipes, lotions, etc.).
Its definitely a preference thing, but again, if nothing else, changing pads are super convenient both in and out of the house.
5) MANUAL BREASTPUMP
If you don’t plan on breastfeeding or pumping your breastmilk on a regular basis and/or you haven’t yet purchased an electric pump (which most insurance companies cover), then I would definitely suggest getting a Medela Manual Breast Pump for 2 reasons.
First, during the few days after giving birth, your milk is likely to come in and until your body figures out how much milk it needs to produce, your breasts will likely become engorged and engorgement is painful. To release some of that milk and relieve some of that pressure or pain, a few minutes of pumping with a manual breast pump will go a long way. Once that milk is pumped, you can decide whether or not you want to store the milk or discard it.
Second, convenience. If you’re heading out somewhere and don’t want to lug around your electric breast bump and all of its components or an electrical outlet is unavailable, then a manual breastpump is the perfect alternative. I personally like the Medela Manual Breast Pump because its compact and I could interchange the bottles that you pump your milk in with a few other name brand bottles.
*Note: I don’t discuss Electric Breastpumps in this article because not all moms will pump, but again I suggest both pumping and non-pumping moms get a Manual Breastpump at least for the reasons listed above. I recently just started pumping again, and my preferred electric breastpump is the “Spectra II Electric Breastpump” which I prefer slightly over my previously owned “Ameda Finesse Electric Breastpump” which I liked at the time. I purchased both through my insurance company, but there are plenty of other options which will be discussed in another article.
6) CRIB, BASSINET AND/OR CO-SLEEPER
Well you know that you definitely need a place for your baby to sleep, as sleeping in your bed is not an option for risk of possible suffocation either by you, your partner or blankets, pillows or covers. Now with that being said, there are a multitude of sleeping options for your newborn. I had all three:
1. Crib – I opted to have a crib for both of my sons, which at 2 years old and 6 months old, they both still use. They do, however, both convert into toddler beds so you can get a couple of years of use out of them. I have 2 Graco Convertible Cribs for both of my sons. Now as far as crib mattresses go, I would suggest either a memory foam one like a Milliard Crib Mattress which is firm on one side and memory foam on the other side. You’ll also need a mattress protector (PlushDeluxe Mattress Protector) to preserve the mattress from occasional baby leaks. And don’t forget the crib sheets and crib bumper!
2. Bassinet – I also had another friend who gave me a BabyWombWorld Baby Bedside Sleeper, which also had the co-sleeper option where you can place the bassinet right next to your bed and let down one side so it was even with your mattress. I didn’t use the co-sleeper option on this bassinet, but it was a great bassinet nevertheless, as it is sturdy and I used it for naps when my newborns feel asleep downstairs.
3. Co-Sleeper – If you insist on your baby sleeping next to or in your bed, you can safely do so with a co-sleeper. A friend of mine gave me her old SwaddleMe By Your Side Sleeper, and my husband and I absolutely loved it! The bars serve as a protective barrier so your baby can’t roll out and you can’t roll over your precious little one.
7) CARSEAT & STROLLER
All new moms want a safe and convenient carseat and stroller for their newborns and growing babies – and there are a LOT of options. So which one do you choose?
If you’re on a budget, then Safety 1st carseat and/or stroller is your best option. They have both Saftety 1st carseats and Safety 1st Travel Systems, so you can keep your baby strapped in the carseat and then just click the carseat into the stroller. Love it! I wish I had one when my daughter was born. If you don’t like these though, then browse around until you see something that you like.
In the event that you have a toddler already and another baby on the way though, then a double stroller is a necessity. I use my Graco Double Stroller several times a week for my 2 year old and 6 month old.
8) BABY BATHTUB
While you won’t be bathing your newborn daily, when you do, you’ll want to bathe him or her in a baby bathtub. I loved my teal First Years Sure Comfort Deluxe Newborn to Toddle Tub both for its affordability and age adaptability. You use the mesh cradle for your newborn and then remove it a few months later so you can submerge your baby in the entire tub. And when your baby becomes an independent sitter, you just change the direction of your baby and sit them against the backrest so they can sit upright. I love the ocean so teal was my color choice for this item.
9) GLIDER OR ROCKING CHAIR W/ OTTOMAN
Without a doubt, my Windsor Glider with the Ottoman is one of my most used items in my house. I’m still nursing my son at the time of this article and I feed him in several times a day. It’s plush, smooth and soothing. I didn’t have one when I had my oldest son 2 years ago, but wish I did. The ottoman also helps postpartum when you need to elevate your legs to help alleviate some of your residual swelling. Even though I’m past the swelling point, I will oftentimes sit in my Glider it in my room with my legs propped on the ottoman just to relax or watch tv even after I put my son back in his crib. Now the one that I purchased did have to be assembled, which my 17 year old daughter did in about an hour. If you can afford to get a rocker, I definitely recommend it as a must have!
10) BABY BOUNCER
You may not need a bouncer when your baby is a newborn, but it will absolutely come in handy when your baby is a baby! As your little one begins to stay awake for longer periods of time, a bouncer is a must have. I mean seriously, you can’t hold them ALL of the time! Anyway, I’ve had several baby bouncers, but my favorite is my Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker, which I received as a baby shower gift for my youngest son. Now, I have a big 6 month old, I mean he’s in the 98% percentile in weight for his age big, so he needs something a lot sturdier. He’s already outgrown the other two bouncers that we have, but the Fisher Price Infant to Toddler Rocker holds him pretty well, since it’s supposed to hold a toddler. It was also great to see him trying to reach for the hanging rattles when he discovered how to use his hands. The vibration is also calming and he has fallen asleep in this rocker plenty of times.