Congratulations on your pregnancy! I’m assuming you have stumbled across my page to look for ideas on what essential newborn items you absolutely need. Shopping for my baby was so fun for me, but it was also stressful because there are SO MANY newborn products out there. It gets hard to know what you should purchase and what you should leave on the shelf. There were only 5 newborn essentials I couldn’t have survived without (aside from the nursery furniture and basics like clothing and diapers).
Check out my post on How to Make a Newborn Medicine kit to find out essentials you should always keep on hand for when baby gets sick or is teething!
5 Newborn Essentials I couldn’t Live Without
Now some babies like to be swaddled and others don’t but for us this was a game changer when it came to getting sleep. Babies are used to being warm and held nice and tight in your uterus. When they are born the entire world is a completely unfamiliar experience for them.
So the way I looked at swaddling was that it was a very simple way I could provide my daughter with the comfort she was used. And you know what? It worked like a charm! My daughter always slept better when she was swaddled than when she wasn’t.
With so many swaddles on the market it is hard to know what type to purchase. There are a few different styles that you can choose from.
This type of swaddle will keep your babies arms down or accross their chest. It generally holds them pretty securely and actually prevents the startle reflex from waking them up because they can’t jolt their arms up. Aka your baby should sleep better! This is the swaddle we preferred for our daughter out of all the different types. I truly believe that we all slept better because of it. And as a new parent getting sleep is a number one priority.
Some babies can only sleep with their hands by their face, and these types of swaddles allow them to do that. If the hands down or traditional swaddle method isn’t working I would suggest trying out this type of swaddle.
Traditional Swaddle with a Blanket
This is the type of swaddle you will see the nurses do at the hospital. I actually like this type of swaddle too because it keeps babies arms in tight and prevents the startle reflex from waking them.
The only problem is that it can be hard to wrap tightly enough where your baby can’t break out of it. I had no problem with this but my husband struggled greatly. It made me nervous that my daughter would break out and pull the blanket over her face so we gave up on this one pretty quickly.
If you plan to use this type of swaddle, make sure you purchase one that is made of a breathable fabric such as bamboo or 100% cotton. I would also suggest you bring it with you to the hospital so that the nurses can show you how to properly swaddle with one of your blankets!
Check out my HOSPITAL BAG CHECKLIST to find out what you should pack other than swaddle blankets!
How long can I swaddle my newborn?
It is super important that you STOP SWADDLING when your baby starts showing signs of rolling over. Usually this is around 3 months. The last thing you want is for your baby to roll on your stomach and not be able to get off of it. Back sleeping is the only safe recommended sleep position to prevent SIDS and if your baby cannot roll back over or move appropriately when they are swaddled, you are putting their safety at risk.
So let’s go back to a babies day’s in your uterus again – it is noisy in there! Your baby was listening to the constant flow of blood, other body functions and sounds from the outside world. Something they are not used to is quiet! Having a sound machine on is something that can help them fall asleep and stay asleep because it is comforting to them. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about being quiet while they sleep because the sound machine blocks out other sounds from startling them. If you have a dog like us this is key!
We personally tried two different sound machines and I would recommend both of them for different reasons.
Hatch Baby Rest
The Hatch Baby Rest has all the bells and whistles wrapped into a sleek little device. It is a night light and sound machine combo that can be controlled from your phone. It can also be used when your baby is older with a function that allows you to change the sounds or colors of the nightlight when it is okay for them to get up or when they need to go to sleep.
There is a hatch baby rest + model available, I didn’t personally think it was worth the additional money!
Okay enough overview, why did I like it?
- Easy to use – set up literally took 2 mins
- Large variety of sounds
- Flexible volume
- Can control from your phone
The ability to control the volume and lighting from my phone was HUGE. When we were sleep training our baby, sometimes something as simple as turning up the volume on the sound machine slightly was enough to calm her and have her fall asleep. Every time I would go into her room to do so on our old sound machine she would become so wound up, now I didn’t have to disrupt her to do it!
What didn’t I like about it?
- No battery back up – power goes out, it turns itself off
- A little more expensive than your traditional sound machine
- Won’t connect to your phone if you are too far away – so far we have only had this issue if we are outside
Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine
The Rohm Portable White Noise Sound Machine was the first sound machine we started with. It was an affordable option and we liked how compact it was. It is a pretty basic sound machine that is super easy to use and is just plug and play.
Why we liked it:
- Easy to use
- Battery back up
What we didn’t like:
- Only 3 sound options
- Battery only lasts about 6 hours unplugged
- Short charging USB cable that doesn’t come with a plug for the wall
Ultimately we liked this one just fine, and now use it to travel with because it is so compact and does its job. It is a good reliable sound machine. The reason we updated is that we wanted a night light for our daughters room and the ability to control the sound machine from outside the room for sleep training purposes. But you wont be disappointed by either of these options!
Our baby LOVED the swing, she took many naps in it when she was younger (supervised of course). It was so nice to have somewhere to put her down when we needed a break from holding her when she was really little. Once she got a bit older she loved listening to the music and looking at the mobile and mirror. We had the Fisher-Price Snuggapuppy and seriously it made our life so much easier! Plus it had a decent price point and wasn’t ugly to look at either. She is 8 months and still loves going in there from time to time.
Pack N’ Play
Initially we were using a bassinet beside our bed but after about 1.5 months my daughter started getting to long for it. We weren’t ready to move her out of our room so we set up our Graco Pack N’ Play and used the bassinet insert for it. If I had to do it all over again I would have saved the money and used the pack n’ play with a bassinet insert in it from the beginning.
As an added bonus, she was already used to sleeping in the Pack N’ Play, so when we traveled, our good sleeper just kept on sleeping like normal. I must say I was slightly jealous that she got to bring her bed everywhere we visited!
Before I had my daughter I thought these were the most stupid things in the world. I didn’t understand why I needed a special garbage can with designated bags for diapers. Well let me tell you, we went and got a Diaper Genie real quick after she was born. I spent so much time perfecting her nursery and it smelled like poop half the time – that was a deal breaker for me. The diaper genie was a perfect!
Since I was home alone a lot while my husband worked, it was such a huge help that this thing is hands free. It really contains ALL of the odors too. The only time I really notice it is when we have to change the bag out. But I think that would be true of any garbage pail that had been sitting for a few days with diapers in it. The Carbon Filter Inserts on the lid really stops any smells from seeping out into the room.
Do yourself a favor just get one, it sucked running out to purchase one with a newborn.
That’s a Wrap!
These are the 5 baby items you simply cannot survive the newborn phase without!
Already have kids? What items could you not survive without? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
Planning to breastfeed? Get prepared before the baby comes with THIS post.