Google “newborn care essentials” and you will find over 1,750,000 results screaming for your attention. The internet does not come up short in the area of information, and neither do your friends who are just waiting for you to ask for their advice. (Or maybe they aren’t waiting for your inquiries and are shoveling it to you for “free”).
While preparing for your baby’s arrival is important and often a pleasurable part of the experience, it can also become extremely overwhelming. Here are the top ten essentials you will need for your baby’s first few weeks of life. If you don’t yet have the crib set up, the outlet covers in place, and the breakable items out of reach, do not fear: you have a bit of time before that stage. Here are the bare essentials needed to care for your newborn:
1. Moisturizers. Do a bit of research and discover what type of moisturizer you will be using for your newborn. Once you discover the perfect brand and type, be ready to change it in the case that your newborn’s skin responds poorly to your initial choice. Don’t forget to factor in the reality that infant skin is irritated by dyes and fragrances, so you will definitely need to be looking for ointments that are more hydrating than creams, which are even more hydrating than lotions. Newborn skin sheds and peels fairly often when fresh out of the womb, so be ready to apply ointment frequently.
2. Swaddles & Blankets. Most infants are calmed down fairly quickly once swaddled up tight. Being swaddled mimics being in the womb, which is all these little humans have known for the last 9 months. Swaddling your newborn stills their nerves and keeps their limbs from flailing, startling them awake. Blankets are a give in: your baby needs to keep warm, especially if you are in a cooler climate or season.
3. Thermometer. Feeling your baby’s forehead may raise your awareness to an issue, but it most definitely will not tell you whether or not to be worried. Even a minimal fever can be dangerous to an infant; during the first 3 months, most pediatricians want you to call them if your baby’s temperature reaches 100.3 degrees.
4. Diaper bag, with changing pad. This is non-negotiable. You will need some sort of large bag with plenty of compartments and pockets for the various tools of the trade. Purchasing a diaper bag with a built in changing pad is a game changer and makes you feel more comfortable changing your baby anywhere you may be, knowing he or she will be on a pad covered in his or her own germs.
5. Baby wash. Most likely you will not stick your newborn in a bathtub of water for the first two weeks; you are waiting for that nice little umbilical cord to fall off. Soaking the left over cord will create a stink. But so will not bathing your newborn at all: think sponge baths. As with moisturizers, do your research and find the baby wash that will work best with your newborn’s skin. Fragrance and dye free is the way to go. There are plenty of baby washes on the market.
6. Baby wash cloths. Did we say sponge bath? Yes. You will definitely be needing some soft baby wash cloths for those precious first cleanings, as well as the subsequent baths. Your newborn’s eyes may also occasionally produce eye discharge. Being able to snag a fresh and soft wash cloth from your diaper bag, run it under some warm water, and clean up his or her eyes is a wonderful quick fix. Those rags you have around the house? Not soft enough for your newborn’s sensitive skin.
7. Clothes that fit properly (one piece, shirts, pants, outer layer, hats, mittens, sleepers, etc). It is always good to purchase clothes before your baby arrives, but once he or she is here, you will know their size much better. If you do not have his or her correct size of clothing, be sure to make a stop at the store (or send that mother in law!) to pick up a few items that fit properly. Loose clothing is dangerous to sleep in, as it could slip up over baby’s mouth without you realizing.
8. Wrap/Carrier. Just as the swaddles mimic being in the womb, so do wraps and carriers. Being held close to your chest and up against your skin, bundled up tightly, creates a safe and soothing atmosphere for your newborn. Your infant cannot have enough snuggling and cuddling in the first three months, so do not be afraid to over-wear him or her. There are an array of wraps and carriers on the market; find one that you love and get chores done while bonding with your baby!
9. Diapers & wipes. Whether you are choosing disposable or reusable diapers, be sure you have plenty. Your diaper bag should have no less that 6 at any time, your nightstand should be readily equipped with them, and your stock should always be plenty! The same goes for wipes. You don’t want to be caught at 3 am running out of wipes and diapers with a newborn-blow-out.
10. Snacks & water for you. This is often overlooked and forgotten. Taking care of yourself will most definitely benefit your newborn. You are exhausted from being up constantly and your body needs nutrients. Keep a pack of trail mix, goldfish, some fruit, and a water bottle in your diaper bag at all times.
If you enjoyed this article read our other articles on parenting:
- Things To Do With a Newborn
- Love That Baby Skin! Top 5 Best Baby Lotions & Moisturizers
- Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers