newborn baby essentials
Parenting

First Year Essentials For Newborn Baby

As soon as you are pregnant, you ask yourself at some point the question “What do I actually need? There are really so many things for babies, and as a soon-to-be mom (and dad) you don’t know at first with the flood of products what exactly you definitely need and what are just nice (or even useless) gimmicks.

With the arrival of the little one in the world, the usual daily routine changes completely: all-nighters and diaper changes are now just as much a part of the daily routine as the indescribable moments of happiness and closeness.

Many expectant mothers want to create as perfect an environment as possible for their child at an early stage. And rightly so, because some babies are born well before their due date. And for the first few weeks following the birth, there is hardly any time and new mothers, besides they are not yet fit enough to run errands. So it makes sense to get everything ready beforehand. The only question is: what?

I had asked during my pregnancy on my Facebook page for tips on what other moms in the first months of the baby’s life consider absolute must-haves. I have based my purchases on this, but also considered the advice of friends and my midwife. However, I must also say that I bought some of what we really needed urgently and used a lot, only after the birth,  but also a lot of things were never used.

I would like to list what belonged to the first products for us in the first three months (and is still partly used today), what was important for us and also what mistakes I have made. Remember: Every baby is different, every parent has different requirements and standards. What was great for us, does not necessarily work for you.

 

mom reading book with her baby

 

So that the whole thing is clear, I have divided everything into categories: Clothes for day & night, On the changing table (care and medicine), bathing, toys and activities, sleeping, travel, everything around breastfeeding & feeding and other practical things.

Now here are all the things we used for our fall baby (born in early October). Maybe my list will help you a little bit, if you are just pregnant or new parents and don’t quite know what you should have on hand, might need, or what will make your life as a parent easier. I have also linked our favorites – if possible.

Baby Clothes

Before I got pregnant, I fell in love with pretty much every cute baby outfit I saw and wanted to buy a thousand clothes. Little dresses are too cute though! Luckily I held back from that, because when our daughter was born, we only dressed her in comfortable, practical things for the first few weeks.

Now suddenly there is such a tiny, petite creature in front of you, where you fear that you might bend a finger or toe while dressing her and not notice it, and this child seems so fragile anyway (don’t worry, babies are really robust – you learn that at the latest at the first U examinations).

Besides, you suddenly have a different daily routine after the birth and have to completely settle into a new life. And then put on cute outfits just for show? No way! Comfortable and practical clothes were our choice here. Only after these first three months we slowly started with outfits (sets of leggings / skirt & shirt / sweater, dresses, etc.), and only at Christmas there was once a little dress. But that does not mean that the clothes would have been less cute. Because even the basics are available with super cute motifs!

Read also: Cracking the Contented Baby Routine…. and Getting My Life Back!

As for the sizes:

We were told before that we should not buy too much in size 50, but rather start with 56. Then our daughter was there and we had except for 2 bodies NOTHING that fit her. So right after the birth we sent grandma shopping, who then equipped us with clothes in size 50 (even in that she sank for the time being). So it’s not wrong to have at least a few basics in small size there.

What we used:

  • Swaddle bodysuits: Sizes 50 and 56. The best fit our daughter from H&M (C&A is quite wide). With newborns, buttoning is also really no act, because they do not yet wriggle so much, only now so slowly (with size 62/68) we start with over-head bodies. Before that was way too much work for me with such a petite creature.
  • Wrap-around jackets / cardigans: Can be put on and taken off quickly, more practical than shirts / sweaters (which are put over the head again) and also great for the night.
  • Tights and socks: For us, the ones from Zaples fit best.
  • Romper: Practical clothing during the day to put on the newborn an extra layer of clothing that you can easily change.
  • Slip-on pants with little feet: Made of fabric and terry cloth (from H&M and C&A).
  • Rompersack: For the night we always put on her only a romper (goes only to the belly of the baby), because she would have sunk in any sleeping bags (also my midwife said that there is no sleeping bag that fits a newborn). So she got a swaddling jacket on at night and down below was the romper bag (also called a pucksack). For fall / winter we bought it as a lined version.
  • Bib: Because with burp cloths milk also comes with pleasure sometimes, and one does not want to change the baby thousand times. For the very little ones there are matching at Ernsting’s (there they are called Baby Bandana).
    Jacket and pants made of fleece or terry: When we left the house with her, she was always dressed in thicker clothes over the basics (swaddling body, tights, socks), and that was usually a combination of jacket and pants (great sets with cute motifs are available at H&M).
  • Gauze cloths / burp cloths: You really can’t have enough of these and you’ll still need them later (or even much more), plus they’re versatile. We used them for milk spit up, as doilies, to cover the stroller when going for walks or the car seat, but most importantly as a “nest” when sleeping. This was a tip from my midwife: roll up a muslin cloth, and place it in the crib so that it is around the baby’s head and shoulders. You can tuck the ends of the cloth under the baby’s bottom to keep it in place. This gives the newborn a nest feeling and makes them feel a bit like they are in mommy’s tummy again and not so lost in their bed.

Diaper, Care and Medicines

As far as diapering is concerned, it has always been really simple for us: take off the diaper, wipe the bottom with a damp washcloth (for pee) or wipes (for bowel movements), dab dry with a new cloth, apply ointment to the bottom if necessary, put on a fresh diaper, and that’s it. During the colic period we still helped her with suppositories or by massaging her belly with ointment.

Read also: Playtex Baby Diaper Genie Complete Gift for New Parents

Our equipment

  • Wash bowl
  • Wipes
  • Washcloths (you can get them super cheap in multipacks at Ikea in the baby department)
  • Coconut oil (e.g. for baby massage, bath additive, body lotion)
  • soft brush (we have → this one and find it great. It is super soft and you noticed directly how pleasant the “combing” was for our baby).
  • diapers
  • Changing pad (changeable, if something goes wrong – and it will! 😀 )
  • Diaper trash can from Angelcare (Tip: The trash can with insert is very often available as an offer for $14,99. Also, the cassette with trash bags you do not have to buy expensive after, but can use normal trash bags. How to install them, you can find as a tutorial on YouTube).
  • Boxes for storing diapers, etc.

Medicine & Co:

  • Multilind healing ointment with nystatin and zinc oxide: Against sore / weeping spots in the diaper area, prevents infections caused by yeast fungi
  • Lefax Pump Liquid: against abdominal pain / colic caused by air when drinking (Whether you want to give this to your baby, everyone must decide for themselves. Yes, it really relieves and helps to collect the air bubbles and get rid of them easier, but it contains the sweetener saccharin. So I would never use it again and wouldn’t have if I knew what exactly was in it. Especially the withdrawal symptoms when we stopped were not without!)
  • Bigaia drops (possible alternative to Lefax)
  • Tamany wind ointment with caraway oil: against flatulence, congestion and to calm the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Carum Carvi suppositories: for constipation
  • Clinical thermometer (with flexible tip!)
  • Changing table radiant heater with stand from reer:
    Since we didn’t want to put a radiant heater above the changing table, we bought this one with a stand. It runs solidly, makes the changing area toasty warm in no time and thus there is every baby massage and also dressing in winter in a cozy atmosphere.

Read also: Why Wellness Is Important For New Mom

Bathing

Also with the bathing it runs with us little elaborately (also still with soon 6 months). Here we have the following routine: As the only additive for the care of the skin we take coconut oil. One of us holds the mouse, the other washes her with a washcloth. When bathing, she always has a washcloth on her chest/belly area so she doesn’t get chilled there. After bathing, we put her on a large shower towel of ours and dry her roughly, then she is blow dried from top to bottom and then we put her on a baby hooded towel to carry her to the changing table. Our equipment includes:

  • Baby bathtub from Ikea, model “Lättsam” (it’s getting really small though, so we’ll soon switch to the “adult bathtub” along with the → Angelcare seat until she can sit by herself).
  • Fan heater (we use this to warm up the room before it goes into the tub).
  • Bath thermometer
  • Coconut oil as a bath additive (1 tsp is added just before bathing so that the thermometer does not come into contact with it)
  • Towels (hooded) and washcloths: Highly recommended for newborns are the hooded towels from Hema, as they come in small sizes. They almost sink in regular hooded towels for babies because they are too big.
  • Blow dryer: With this, we blow dry her again on a medium setting and of course with the necessary distance, especially under the arms. We also blow dry the belly and massage it lightly. This was a tip from my midwife, as the warmth together with the massage also help well against stomach ache.

Toys and Activities

A newborn baby doesn’t really need much at first, but over time it becomes more “awake” and active, learning to control its body more. You can help him with his motor skills with a few toys and also support his sensory perception. In the first three months, we loved the following:

  • Sunshine mobile from Haba: The mobile hangs above the changing table in our house and immediately fascinated our daughter from the moment she could recognize it. Then there was always grinning when she looked at the flowers, and even today she loves the colors and looks happily at the laughing flowers.
  • Music beetle from Ravensburger: The beetle was a gift for her birth and is always on our changing table. In the beginning, it was simply gold as a nice musical entertainment, meanwhile she operates it herself and presses happily on it.
  • Ring rattle: Was used quite late, because it is harder to hold.
  • O-Ball: Very light in weight and easy to hold because of the holes.
  • Butterfly from Sigikid (gripper): The butterfly is quite small and therefore super to hold for small babies. The surface is very soft and great to feel, the wings crackle. Still a huge favorite in our play area.
  • Babybjörn seesaw and play attachment made of wood: A gift from the grandparents, which has really made life easier for me / us! When our daughter was awake, it allowed me to safely put her down and move freely around her. Doing household chores, preparing meals, etc. were possible again because of this. She had fun watching what mom was doing and was able to play at the same time because of the wooden top. Alternatively, of course, a playpen works, but we had that much later.
  • large crawling blanket from Bebelino in mint-gray: No toy, but a great basic to play and cuddle with the baby comfortably lying on it. Of course, also great if you have tiles in the living area (as we do), so that the child lies more comfortably when playing.

Read also: Essential Carry On Items to Bring on a Plane for a Toddler

Sleep

In the bedroom, our daughter slept in an extra bed at my side until recently. But during the day it was always with us in the living room, and for that we needed a good place to sleep. We saw Nonomo hammocks with friends and bought them when they no longer needed them. Our daughter still sleeps in it during the day.

An alternative sleeping option (also great if you are guests with others) is a buckled nursing pillow, on which you then lay the baby wrapped in a blanket (see picture below). That was a nice change from Nonomo for us for a long time, until our daughter became too mobile for it. These special blankets were also great, especially in the early days, for cuddly wrapping up the baby and carrying it around. Especially if you are still unsure about such a delicate being, such a blanket around it simply gives you more security when carrying it around (at least that’s how it felt for us).

  • Feather cradle from Nonomo: Gives the baby a safe nest feeling while sleeping and through the feather you can rock it to sleep and calm it down.
  • Nursing pillow from Theraline: Not only a great support when breastfeeding or sleeping, but also folded in half a great “bed” for the baby. Also, it can be laid out around the sleeping child (for example, on the sofa) as a boundary.
  • Blanket from Motherhood: This was actually a tip from the hospital, which we have continued at home. The small blankets have one side with Velcro, so they hold great when folded over and act like a nest. We then wrapped our daughter up like this and either carried her or put her to sleep, and lovingly christened the whole structure Baby Burrito 😀 Today we use these blankets to play with or as a base for her on the sofa.

Read also: Best Baby Bottles To Prevent Colic and Gas

Travel

Whether you buy a stroller or not is up to each person. I didn’t feel safe with a carrier in the winter (was afraid of slipping in the snow) and with a hollow back I can’t carry her in it for long anyway. So a stroller has been the first choice for walks. On the road in the car it definitely needs a good car seat with a suitable holder. Which model you choose depends on your own preferences, so I won’t make a recommendation here. What I can recommend, however, is a fleece insert for stroller and car seat, in which the baby lies warm and cozy.

Read also: Everything You Need To Know About Traveling With A Baby

Baby Car Seat Footmuff: We bought this model twice (for use in the baby car seat of the stroller and in the car seat, since it has matching slots for it), and as you can see in the photo above, our mouse has always slept blissfully in it. The fleece also keeps baby warm enough that you don’t have to use extra blankets or thick (winter) clothing. We even used the bag until recently, but now it is unfortunately too thick with the warm temperatures.

All about breastfeeding & feeding

Breastfeeding and feeding are one thing and neither is really talked about. I don’t want to give any pros or cons for one or the other here, or address the whole thing. But the fact is that breastfeeding is not as easy as you might think (I also had to learn that the hard way) and it would have been easier if I had received the right tips right away (instead of sayings like “Read guide xyz” or total refusal of help in the hospital). In any case, the following things were really worth their weight in gold for us:

  • Ready-made baby milk (to be warmed up in the microwave) plus bottles for emergencies: If breastfeeding doesn’t work out or the milk comes in late, you can help yourself and feed the baby anyway. If you are concerned about teat confusion (and yes, there is) you can also feed the baby milk via a spoon or cup.
  • Nipple shields from Medela They helped me so much in the beginning, especially against pain.
  • Nursing pads: Here I recommend washable ones that you can use again and again. This is cheaper in the long run and causes less waste. I found the ones from Rossmann to be good and cheap.
  • Washcloths (multipacks from Ikea in the baby department): Soaked in hot water, wrung out and placed on breast before breastfeeding to ‘get milk going’
  • Thermo-Pads from Philips Avent: Great for cooling afterwards or for breast engorgement.
    Pacifiers (for 0-2 months): Again a sensitive issue among parents, but they really helped us during the colic period (even if I didn’t want to give one at first). We use the ones from Philips Avent.
  • Grape seed pillows: At dm there are small ones in the baby department that are made for the baby bump. We have used it for bad tummy ache and colic which was especially good at night before bedtime.
  • Spoon with a soft silicone tip (for giving milk, Lefax, vitamin D3, etc.)
  • Temperature Control Kettle: This kettle has been such a blessing! Preparing baby bottles (especially when we’re sleepy at night) was always such a laborious act until we had the right temperature. With this kettle, I simply set the right one (40 °C) and can prepare bottles in no time at all. You can also keep the water warm at the desired temperature for over 2 hours, which is also super practical. Of course, you should not use water straight from the tap without boiling it at 100 °C. Since this became too time-consuming for us in the long run and our mouse liked to choose the times when it was hungry when the water was still too hot for milk, we now use baby water (available in every supermarket / beverage shop). This does not need to be boiled before use. Once a day we boil the remaining water in the cooker and fill it up with baby water from the fridge.
  • Stackable cup for storing and portioning milk powder: Great for on the go or when you need something quick (especially at night).
  • Sterilizer for the microwave from Philips Avent

Other Practical Things

  • Laundry basket from Ikea, model “Jäll”: Cheap and chic, and conveniently made of plastic. So if you throw clothes in there that are really dirty (if you exploded the diaper again), then you can easily clean the basket.
  • Sound Sleeper App: Around the 3rd month, our daughter had incredible trouble falling asleep due to a developmental spurt (which wasn’t an issue before) and colic also prevented her from doing so. A tip I got was then “white noise” (white noise) to calm her down, so I got the Sound Sleeper app. Lo and behold, with it we were able to really calm her down and she found it easier to sleep.
  • Amazon Prime Account: As a new parent, you really have other things to do than constantly run to town to purchase important items for the baby. I was so happy to have a Prime account that delivered things to us in no time at all when we needed them (for example, when we urgently needed baby bottles or the radiant heater that we didn’t have yet).

These were basically all the important things that we used in the first three months and that I would not have wanted to do without. They made life much easier and helped us and also our daughter.

But of course there were also a few bad purchases. As a parent, you just can’t avoid that. In our case it was: Sock-ons (our daughter is very narrow and ALWAYS loses her socks, but these parts she hated like the plague!), Cool Twister to cool water for bottles (the absolute disaster, because the part has not really worked and also always only 1x, before it had to cool down again for ages in the refrigerator), thick jackets (a newborn to put on thick jackets, was just nasty for me. I bought three pieces in pregnancy on the recommendation of friends, which hang around unused to this day), hooded jackets (no baby fit these hoods and they just annoy!).

I hope my forever long list is helpful should you be putting together your first outfit right now 🙂 .

If you’re already a mama: What were your absolute must-haves? And do you still remember total bad buys?

AboutElena

I'm Elena, mom of two kids. My vague aim for this blog is to bring my take on medical parent life or just normal life with the odd survival tip thrown in and useful stuff for parents. And also add a hint of humor, if I'm in the right mood.

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