We all know this, having a baby can really be exciting. Start by thinking of a name, designing the nursery and then buying everything, as in EVERYTHING, we think they need. We love to spoil our little ones. Not only us but also our friends and family around us. We all want to give them the best of everything in this world. I know the feeling. They say these are the things we do for love.
But as a mother, we also need to be wise. Sometimes, we should ask ourselves,
”Do we really need it?”,
“If I buy this, will she use it for a long time?”
And according to once famous Netflix Series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,
”Does it spark joy?”.
As we welcomed our second baby last year, I told myself that I need to be a little wiser this time when it comes to choosing what’s best for her. When I say best, those are the things that she needs and will keep needing for a longer time. It’s our second baby so we should know better.
Below are some newborn essentials that we thought of buying. I divided them into two: things we need and things we don’t need. I hope this somehow helps parents to wisely plan and prepare the things they need for the arrival of their little ones. Of course, you are still allowed to give them everything that you think, is best for them. Again, your child, your rules. 😉
DISCLAIMER: This content is not sponsored.
What we need:
1. Bibs / burp cloth. Babies tend to swallow some air during feeding and this results to spitting up some milk. As a parent, you need to be ready for this. After feeding, make your baby burp to pass out the air by gently patting your baby’s back while she’s laying on your lap or chest on her belly. Make sure to place a burp cloth under her chin to clean up the wet burp if there’s any.
At 2 months old, some babies will start drooling and it will make them wet their clothes, pillows, beddings, your clothes, face, everything they touch and believe me it can be messy. Also, you don’t want your babies to be soaked in wet clothes so you better bring bibs with you and/or a piece of soft cloth wherever you go. In our case, I like buying bibs for my kids as part of their everyday clothing plus another piece of super soft fabric just in case I need to wipe their hands and faces.
2. Easy To Wear Onesies. Yes, it’s important that it’s easy to wear especially if you’re alone with the baby at home. You don’t want to make it so hard for you to change your baby’s clothes whenever she needs to. And because they’re still super small and fragile, you need to be gentle at all times.
With these easy to wear onesies, all you need to do is, while still carrying your baby, place the unfolded onesie on a flat surface. Put your baby down, on top of the onesie. Put your babies arms one in each sleeve. And tie the onesie to one side first and then to another. You can do it without really moving your baby’s head which is still very delicate to move at this age.
3. Mittens. This actually depends. When my first child was still a newborn, he only used mittens when I don’t have time to cut his nails and they’re already long, sharp and might scratch his face. I remembered he only had 2-3 pairs of mittens throughout his infancy. With my girl, because we lived in a colder place now, mittens help to make her feel warm. We were also told by her doctor not to cut her nails for a few weeks after giving birth because they’re still too soft. She also usually scratches her face when she’s fussy so I always make sure she wears mittens during the first 3 months.
4. Socks. Same with mittens, socks also help my baby to feel warm especially during winter season. I gave birth to her in autumn and the weather is freezing cold during her first 3 months so I have to make sure she’s not feeling cold even at home. If you are living in a country with a higher temperature, you can still make your baby wear socks during the first few weeks and when you’re outside. When we were still in the Philippines, I noticed that my son sweat easily when wearing socks except when it’s really cold. My mother-in-law usually tells me to touch and feel my babies hands and feet to make sure. If their feet feel cold, better to make them wear socks or apply some oil.
5. Pillow. I can still remember when I gave birth to my first child, he was put on a bed with a round pillow-like soft cloth. It was a piece of cloth folded to make it round with a small hole in the middle of it where the back of the baby’s head should fit in. This is to maintain the shape of their head because it’s still too soft it can be remolded due to the pressure at the back of it.
Because of this, I made sure to buy my second baby the right pillow. At first I bought one with a hole which she used during her first weeks. After a month, this pillow didn’t fit to her head anymore so I bought a very soft rectangular one. Because her head was still malleable by then, I had to carefully change her position when she’s sleeping so the pressure won’t only be on one side (Tip I got from mom :D).
6. Blankets. This is very obvious. I like hoarding a lot of soft blankets for my babies as I use them to keep them warm, as bedsheets or a cover to any flat surface where I want to put them and sometimes as wipes, if needed LOL. Whenever we go out, especially now that it’s winter, I usually bring small blankets to keep them warm in the stroller. I prefer cashmere and fleece blankets when it’s super cold but my most favorite piece is the muslin cloth. It’s breathable and soft.
7. Oil. This, I got from my parents and in-laws. It’s a must-have and I don’t know but it somehow helps my baby when she’s uneasy. I usually like to gently massage her legs with oil, also her chest and back. This is also important for you to develop skin-to-skin contact with your little one. In Finland, they’re recommending parents to practice this especially during the first few days of giving birth. Both mom and dad should allot time with the baby (while undressed) to let her sleep or just stay on your bare chest. Oil also helps newborn to feel warm. It also helps with skin dryness and even when they have flatulence.
8. Diaper changing mat. This becomes useful to us especially when we’re outside. You don’t want to put your baby on a dirty changing table whenever you’re outside so you might want to always bring one with you. Also, even at home, you can use it while changing your baby’s nappy so unwanted dirts won’t leak to the bed sheets. Make sure it is wipeable and easy to clean so you won’t have to wash it everytime you use it.
9. Baby bath tub. One of the most challenging things to do when taking care of a newborn is giving them bath. You need to be gentle and very careful but the bath also needs to be quick because you don’t want your child to feel so cold. Two to three minutes bath is long enough for a newborn. You can either use a very mild bath product or not. For the first few weeks, only water is okay.
Aside from the bath tub itself, you can also buy a net which you can connect from one side of the tub to another. You can then place your baby on it leaving space between her back and the bottom of the tub. By doing this, it will be easy for you to use both of your hands to ensure her safety while giving her bath. Another one you can buy is a soft foam which you can place inside the tub. It has the same purpose with the net. Choose the type of foam carefully because some easily attract germs.
10. Baby wipes / cotton with water. A lot of baby wipes products are claiming that they are safe, alcohol-free, mild, etc but it’s just too difficult to trust them when you’re a mother so I usually prefer cotton with water (another tip from mom ❤️) when washing my baby after pooping. Newborns don’t poo a lot but they do it often. For the first few weeks, they poo multiple times a day so better prepare a container with water and a pack of cotton.
When your baby is more than 3months old or when she can lift her back a little, you can learn (and practice) to wash her in the bathroom or anywhere with a sink as recommended to us by the midwives here. But be really careful as it is a bit difficult at first especially if you have a chubby, fluffy baby (like mine 😆). They also said it’s always better to wash with water as it is safer and can clean better than wipes products.
11. Swaddle. As stated above, I like buying my babies blankets and most of the time, I use the muslim fabric blanket as a swaddle. This is better than the already-made swaddle you can buy from the baby stores because you can use it according to how tight and loose you want it to be. It gives warmth and comfort to your baby and is also breathable. I like this because it also reduces the incidence of SIDS. My babies, when they were under 3 months old, liked to be swaddled especially when they’re sleeping. It is like they are being held and gives them the comfort they want. I also noticed that they can sleep well and long in it.
12. Hooded towels. Or an ordinary towel with a soft fabric to ensure it won’t be so rough for their sensitive skin. I personally like hooded towels because it’s easy for me to dry my babies’ hair with this. But either way, it is important that you wrap a towel around them right after the bath or after washing them.
13. Baby hat. This has the same purpose with the socks and mitten – to make them feel comfortably warm. Just choose a good fabric that won’t cause overheating. Because it’s winter, I bought my newborn hats with thick fabric for her to use when we’re outside. But one time I forgot to remove it when we went inside the mall. By the time I remembered, she was already sweating. Choose something that’s thick (if you need one) but still breathable.
14. Swing. Because I am usually alone with the baby at home, we bought an automatic swing for her so she can sleep longer whilst I’m doing something else, like some household chores. We know babies like to be gently rocked to sleep. It’s very useful for me especially because I no longer have to move it myself to make sure her sleep won’t get interrupted. This swing is also multi-purpose which can also be a rocker and a sitter. I like things that are multi-purpose and can be used a longer time.
What we don’t need:
1. Cradle / Crib. I know this is like one of the basic things parents buy even before giving birth but based on our experience, we didn’t really need it for the first few months. We bought one for our first child but then realized that it was not very useful because he had been co-sleeping with us for 2 years. He started sleeping on his own bed a few months after he turned 2. I guess you’ll only need this when your baby starts to sit and/or standup on her own. You can leave your baby in the crib while you’re doing something as it also helps her to stand on her own. That is when they’re 9 months old and above.
2. Baby lotion. I remember buying lotion for my first baby and thought of making him use it even for the first 3 months but then I realized that his skin was still sensitive during infancy so I opted to using natural oil until now. With our second baby, we use it when she has dry skin due to the cold weather with very low humidity.
3. Bouncy chair. We bought one for our second baby thinking she’ll be able to enjoy it but no, she didn’t. We ended up selling it after a few days. She likes the rocker or swing more than the bouncy chair. Maybe because her weight is not enough to make it bounce more but anyway she’s been using the rocker we bought for 3 months now and she’s loving it.
4. Baby monitor. I’m a paranoid mom and I always like to make sure that our baby is sleeping safe and okay. However, I didn’t see a need to buy a baby monitor for them. I have reasons that maybe some of you will be able to relate. First, our house isn’t so big so I can easily hear my baby when she cries. Second, I always make sure that there isn’t anything around her that would interrupt her sleep (i.e. blanket that she might grab while sleeping, toys, etc). I also visit her in the bedroom time to time (like every 5mins) if I’m doing something in the other room. Lastly, I don’t sleep when she’s sleeping. I know this is a “mommy hack” so mommies can at least get a good sleep in the morning despite of sleepless nights but I just can’t.
Aside from these things, we also use an “improvised” baby monitor if ever we have to leave her in the other room for a longer time, like if we are going to eat dinner in the dining room. We’d leave one phone in her room, call this on messenger or facetime, focus the camera to her and voila! we can already monitor her from where we are. Amazing, right? LOL
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5. Breastfeeding pillow. For those who are breastfeeding like me, we know that breastfeeding itself is already difficult so in order to make our lives easier, we look for things that makes us feel comfortable. Based from my experience, ordinary pillow is okay when you’re feeling uncomfortable due to breastfeeding for a long time. Get a small pillow and put it on your lap and your baby on top of it. This supports your baby’s weight instead of your arms supporting it.
6. Bottle warmer. If you are like me who breastfeeds and pumps excess breastmilk at the same, you’d probably think of buying a bottle warmer. I noticed with my first child that he liked it when the milk is still warm when he drinks it but you don’t really need a bottle warmer for this. What we do is after melting the frozen milk from the freezer, we put it in a cup with hot water while the milk is still in the storage bag. The hot water makes the milk warm. After a couple of minutes, we’ll transfer the milk from the bag to a clean milk bottle.
7. Bath thermometer. Instead of using a thermometer, you can use your hands to know if the water is warm enough for your baby. I personally think this is easier. You also can feel what’s right for your baby with the current temperature inside the house.
8. Bottle sterilizer. We bought one for our first child and I can say that it’s really nice to have it but if you feel like you want to save some money by buying only the things that are super important, you can leave this out. What we do now is after cleaning the bottles, we put them in a big container with hot water for a couple of minutes then let it dry. I always clean the bottles right after feeding her so it won’t leave anything inside that is hard to remove.
Aside from these things, there are more things to consider if you are like me who breastfeeds. It’s important to include breast pump for excess milk or for the days you are away from the baby. I use manual breast pump because the automatic one is expensive for me. LOL. Of course, you need to have bottles and storage bags for this. You might also want to buy nursing pads to make sure you won’t wet your clothes due to breastmilk. This is very important especially when you’re outside and the baby doesn’t want milk yet.
There are a lot more things in stores you may find useful for your babies that are not yet included in this list but I hope I was able to cover at least the important ones. Remember, your baby’s needs may depend on a lot of things and babies are all different so you still might want to know what they really like by paying more attention to how they interact with you and how they behaved in a daily basis. You can also use this as a checklist of the things you can buy before your little one arrives. You may or may not include the ones we didn’t need, of course. It’s also important to note that as babies grow, the things that they need also change. This list only covers those we needed (or we thought we needed) for our babies’ first 3 months.
Raising a child costs millions, they say but at the end of the day, there’s more important things your baby need from you and you can give them these for free – your love, your time and your attention.