My sister Mary is exiting the newborn stage with her beautiful baby Elena. Thinking about that, I started reflecting on my time with Maggie as a newborn recently. It was an exciting time, but like all new parents, Paul and I had a hard time figuring out how to care for our new baby. Maggie was adjusting to a whole new way of life too, being outside the womb.
In addition to the invaluable support of family and friends, there were some products that I found especially helpful in the newborn stage. I thought I would share my top 10 list with you all.
I almost called this a “newborn essentials” list. Some of these things are more essential than others though. I suppose a lot of them are more extra than needed. However, they are all things that make life with a new baby a little easier.
1. MAM pacifiers
The day after we took Maggie home from the hospital, we went back around 3 am over concern for her jaundice. She wouldn’t nurse or take the bottle and wouldn’t even wake up. I woke up Paul to tell him I think we needed to take her to the hospital and we headed out. When it came time for a nurse to draw blood, she asked if we had a pacifier and thankfully I had a free sample MAM pacifier in the diaper bag. It looked very similar to this pack that we bought soon after.
Either that day or the next (they run together in my memories a little), she acquired a Phillips Advent green soothie in the pediatric unit. I think the nurses gave it to her because they couldn’t find her other one. I didn’t like the Phillips Advent one when we went home because it was constantly falling out of her mouth. She has tried the Phillips Advent ultra soft pacifiers, which work okay.
Also, I didn’t know this until the newborn days but pacifiers not only have different sizes according to age, they also should be thrown away after 3 months because they get worn out.
2. Safety 1st Nursery Essentials Grooming Kit
This kit includes all the basics. The nail clippers are the perfect size. I bought the kind with a light when I thought I had lost these but found them a bit too chunky for my liking. I like the hair brush and comb in this kit too. They have rubber ends Maggie likes to chew on.
3. Phillips Advent natural flow bottles
Maggie and I really struggled with breastfeeding for a lot of reasons. So, she started using this bottle the first week and was exclusively bottle fed around one month. She was colicky and I thought it might have to do with gas. We tried the Phillips Advent anti-colic bottles and the Dr. Brown bottles too, but these were her favorites.
4. Boon Lawn Drying Rack
With so many bottles to wash, this drying rack is very helpful. I still use it multiple times a day, every single day. I don’t have a dishwasher. If you do, maybe you don’t need this? I use it for bottles, pacifiers, and Maggie’s dishware now that she is eating.
5. Baby swing
This portable swing was the perfect size for our small apartment. I would often put her in the swing while making dinner or at times when I was just too tired to keep holding her. As a newborn, she was too small for the carriers I had, and I didn’t figure out the wrap I bought, so the swing and bouncer were an alternative in a way.
6. Bright Starts Hug-n-Cuddle Activity Gym
I miss the days when Maggie would lay on her play mat calmly. One great thing about this play mat is that she still plays with the clip on toys it comes with. It’s good for tummy time, however, it’s not very padded so I would have to put a blanket under it.
7. Blackout curtains
I read on Taking Cara Babies that it’s important for baby’s room to be dark –– practically pitch-black if possible. I thought that was a little over the top. How would I even be able to see if baby’s eyes are open if it’s that dark? Or keep from tripping on something? Or find a pacifier in the dark? I got blackout curtains that didn’t turn the room completely dark and I found it seemed to make a difference during the day especially.
8. Fisher Price bouncer
I was a little sad when Maggie got too big for this bouncer, but I was happy that I was able to give it to Mary and now I see pictures of Elena in the bouncer. We used to call it the monkey chair. Maggie seemed to prefer it over the swing sometimes and she used it about a month and a half longer than the swing. I feel like it was pretty essential to be able to put her down in the bouncer while I washed dishes, made dinner, or took a quick shower. I even took it into the bathroom during showers a few times.
9. Stroller car seat combo
Although unnecessary, I found it helpful to have an infant car seat that easily clicked into a stroller base. You could save money by getting a convertible car seat that works from infancy on but I was happy to have a separate infant seat. If she fell asleep in the car seat when we were out, I could click it into the stroller without her waking up. You could also get multiple bases for the cars in your family so you don’t have to reinstall the car seat, just click the seat into the base.
10. Lion rattle
It seems to be sold out online, but I’ve linked similar ones here and here. This would soothe Maggie at times early on (just not during purple crying). She still loves her lion. Now he’s her travel buddy. We have him tied to her shopping cart/public high chair cover.