Must Haves for Your New Baby
So, you’re having a baby…congratulations!!! Having a new baby is exciting and overwhelming, all at the same time. There is so much to do and so much to prepare for. If you haven’t already started thinking about it, I’m sure you will soon wonder what you need for baby. And the bigger question, “what should I put on my registry?”
Thinking we were finished having babies after #3, we purged ALL the baby things. But now, with baby #4 coming VERY soon, we have been thinking a lot about what we REALLY need. Although everyone is different, I am here to tell you what I think the biggest “must haves” for your new baby are. I’ll fill you in on the tried and true products we used for babies #1-#3, as well as what we are considering trying out for baby #4. If you are completely uninterested, feel free to scroll down to the cute pictures of the adorable little newborn.
Rock ‘n Play
I say Rock ‘n Play, but what you really need is a bedside sleeper. Personally, we love the Rock ‘n Play because it’s lightweight, easy to move (seriously, you can move this sucker from room to room with one hand while holding baby in the other), and, best of all, it’s at an incline. ***Edited to add that they have recalled my beloved Rock ‘n Play. It looks like the replacement is this, which lacks the incline. The incline is especially helpful for gassy babies (baby #2 in our case), so you may want to look for something similar that still has an incline. They make models that vibrate and self-rock, but, personally, I’d stick to the basic version.
The Rock ‘n Play was a life saver for us because each of our babies slept in one right beside our bed for the first couple of months. If you are looking to splurge, you might try the Halo Bassinet. We haven’t tried it, but we have heard all good things and are considering one for baby #4. The downside seems to be the lack of mobility (not as easy to grab and carry from room to room) and the limited lifespan (you’re finished with it after just a few months). Unlike the Rock ‘n Play, it doesn’t seem to be something you can strap baby in and use as a seat once baby has outgrown it as a sleeper. On the upside, the Halo’s swivel feature, bed level height, and the lowering sidewall (for easy access to baby) sound super nice for those constant feedings in the first few months. I’ll let you decide which to add to your registry, but definitely make sure you have some type of mobile bedside sleeper! ***Edited to add that we DID try this for baby 4 and absolutely LOVED it. I added the Snuggle Me inside to keep baby comfy (I know, I know, you aren’t supposed to put anything in it, but seriously, it was a game changer!). Of course since we had baby 4, new things have come out. I hear the new best thing is now the Snoo? It looks amazing, but this one is REALLY breaking the bank! Someone fill me in, please! Is it worth it??
This is definitely a must have. When we had baby #2, we forgot to bring the Boppy to the hospital. Within hours I had sent my husband home to get it. Think you don’t need one because you don’t plan on breastfeeding? Think again. This is less about feeding baby and more about comfortably holding baby. Babies may be tiny, but they get HEAVY when you are holding them round the clock. Having support to hold baby is crucial. Whether you use a Boppy, a My Brest Friend, or some other new pillow I haven’t heard of, having a good breastfeeding pillow is at the top of our must-have list!
A Good Breast Pump
Unless you are strictly formula feeding, this is a necessity. I got the Medela Pump in Style Advanced with baby #1 because I needed to be able to pump at work. By the time baby #2 arrived I was a stay at home mom. Babies #2 and #3 were both exclusively breastfed, but I still used the pump. By pumping just once a day (usually after baby’s first morning feed), I was able to build up a stockpile of extra milk in the freezer. Having a pump, and thus extra milk on hand, gave me freedom. If I wanted or needed to spend a few extra hours away from baby, I didn’t have to worry about a hungry baby. I also didn’t have to worry about any unexpected interruptions in pumping or nursing. For example, I had to pump and dump for a few days after baby #1 because of medical procedures. Having a supply in the freezer made that a non-issue. Baby got her milk without interruption and all was good. As an added bonus, by the time I was finished breastfeeding, I had enough extra milk in the freezer to feed babies for a few extra months.
Having lasted through 3 babies, I’ve been happy with the Medela pump. The downside is that it left me incapacitated while I pumped (even using it hands free, you really are limited). Since my last baby, they’ve come out with many more options. Recently, an OB friend told me about the Willow Wearable Breast Pump. It’s a wearable, cord-free, pump that you place inside your bra. The OB wears the Willow while she does her rounds at the hospital! The Willow comes at a steep price, but with 3 other babies running around, the freedom and mobility seem like they might be worth the cost. According to the OB friend, the Willow is worth the price even if it is your last baby. At this point, I think we are sold on the Willow for baby #4. ***Edited to add that we DID try the Willow. And I liked it, but didn’t love it. I found that sometimes it was really difficult to get latched properly, but I wouldn’t realize until half way through, and then it would be too late and I would run out of time. Also, because I am not small chested, this thing stuck out for days. So while it was amazing for wearing around the house while dealing with other children, I almost never wore when out and about doing things. That said, I would buy it again. Because, lets face it, being hands and cord free and able to move about is HUGE when dealing with multiple kids!
To this day, all 3 of my kids STILL sleep with their sound machines. We have a MyBaby, SoundSpa Lullaby Sound Machine and Projector in each of their rooms. None of the projectors work anymore, and to be honest, we’ve had to replace a couple over the years (baby #1 is now 5 and a half). But we’ve tried other machines and none have worked nearly as well. I have heard that the Baby Shusher Sleep Miracle Soother is AMAZING for newborns. I’m thinking I’m going to go ahead and get one to try in my photography studio. If it works out, maybe baby #4 will get one too!
I think people go 50/50 on swaddles. Some people (like me) swear by them, while others just say their baby didn’t like to be swaddled. In my opinion, no baby likes to be swaddled the first time. But, if you give it a few days, a swaddled baby will sleep soundly and so will you!
Three babies later, we have tried nearly every swaddle out there. Baby #2 was our “Houdini baby.” There wasn’t a swaddle he couldn’t break out of. I think of all the swaddles we tried, our favorite was the Halo Sleepsack Swaddle. We personally preferred the Cotton Muslin swaddles to the regular cotton swaddles because they had less give and were therefore a little more difficult for the babies to bust out of.
So this one is my husband’s addition to the list. We call it the “snot sucker” and we don’t go anywhere without it. Well, we do now, but we didn’t before all the kids could blow their own noses. The little suction things the hospital gives you do absolutely nothing. Plus, cleaning them is a pain in the backside. The Nose Frieda on the other hand, is nothing short of amazing. It seems gross at first, sucking snot out of your baby’s nose, but you get used to it. And even if it does still gross you out a little, giving your tiny baby the ability to breathe again when she has a cold is priceless.
While this probably isn’t a complete list of everything you need for baby, these are definitely a few of the things I would consider must haves for your new baby. And if nothing else, it is a good place to start! And while you’re waiting for your new addition, check out the sweet little newborn below. If you haven’t scheduled newborn pictures of your own yet, contact me to book your session now.
Beth Smith of Three Willows Photography is a Fort Worth, Texas fine art portrait photographer. She specializes in newborn, baby, maternity, motherhood, and family sessions in Fort Worth, Aledo, and the surrounding area.
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