When Brian and I were preparing for Elliott's arrival, we honestly didn't think we needed very much, at least relative to the zillions of products that are out there--and we were right. Although there is an item or article of clothing for any situation you can possibly imagine, when you're you're having a baby, all you need during the first month is the ability to provide the following five things for your baby: 1.) food 2.) clothing 3.) a safe and comfortable place for baby to sleep 4.) a way to transport baby safely from point A to point B, and 5.)a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Of course, there are little items here and there that help you to meet needs 1-5 a little easier, and now that Elliott is a month old, Brian and I wanted to share the items that have been indispensable to us during this newborn period. Many items listed here were recommended to us or given to us by other new parents, too, so thank you to all of these wonderful friends for their insights!
- 1.) Breast-feeding Must-haves:
- Elliott is a breastfed baby (all breastmilk, no formula), so if you are planning on feeding your newborn formula, just skip over the first section! Moms who have formula-fed their babies and have tips to share: please feel free to share and link to must-have items for forumla-fed newborns!
- 2.) Baby Clothing Essentials:
- Clothing is the thing that you'll want to pick out for yourself but unfortunately, everyone will want to buy you. It is not unfortunate that people want to buy things for your child, but it is unfortunate because you just don't need that many clothes, and if you're even mildly picky like Brian and I, you'll end up using only those things you bought yourself anyways. (This excludes the handmade hats from your friends and clothing items from people who are very close to you and know your tastes well.) I also need to make a note about the Gap: Brian and I are not regular patrons of the Gap, but they have become our favorite place to pick up newborn and baby clothes. They're spendier than we'd like most of the time, but shop only their sale section and you'll come away with some awesome pieces that cost hardly anything. Anyways, below are the clothing items that we use in rotation every week and that we will be using for at least the next two months:
- 3.)Bedding Essentials:
- A newborn doesn't need much in the way of bedding to sleep soundly, but to sleep safely it comes down to having a mattress that isn't too soft and to have nothing else in his immediate sleeping area. Both of these restrictions prevent SIDS, as does keeping the baby in the room of the parents for the first 4 months of life, which is why we really only have one recommendation for sleeping essentials:
- 4.) Transportation Must-Haves:
- For a newborn, you really only need a car seat and some sort of walking infant carrier, be it a strap-on carrier or a stroller. Brian and I were not interested in purchasing a stroller, at least not for the first few months, so I have nothing to report just yet, but two things we use almost daily (if not daily) are the following:
- 5.)Health & Safety Essentials:
- This is the most ambiguous of all of the "must-haves," I know. But really, again, creating a healthy and safe environment for your newborn boils down to the essentials. Keep your baby clean, keep your home mellow but inspired, and always remind yourself that almost always less is more. Read almost any book on baby and childhood development, and you'll see countless studies that prove that babies thrive with less "screen-stimuli" (aka: television) and more one-on-one interaction. They need quiet time to sleep (and this plays a crucial part in brain development) and active playtime with their parents or primary caregivers. If babies are able to be calm and lovingly engaged, their brains will develop better.
- And now, for the practical purchased items:
- And, in closing, I need to mention one luxury item that is not a must-have, necessarily, but that we love:
Well, those are the things we love for the first month, all of which (aside from the clothes) will still be in use over the course of the next 6-12 months. I'm sure we'll have some new discoveries and must-haves along the way, so stay tuned!