I originally published this post after my first-born was born but since then, have updated this list to be WAY more insightful for you all!
Current situation: I have a 4 year old and a 1 1/2 year old + I wanted this list to be comprehensive and HELPFUL for you mommas, because gosh, those first few weeks can be TOUGH.
Just know you’re not alone if you’re extremely sleep-deprived, stressed out, and like WTF just happened?! 🙂 If the babe has completely rocked your world, that’s how it was for me with my first. If not, then kudos to you and your baby!!! And no matter your situation, CONGRATULATIONS! I promise you will look back on these times as a blur, but with very sweet memories.
The good news is that the babes don’t need a lot these first few weeks! Just a lot of snuggles, milk, and sleep!
These are my absolute favorite MUST-HAVES for the first two weeks (or more!) stage… ps – they’re all from Amazon!!:
AUDIO MONITOR: This thing is AMAZING!!!! You can hear every little noise! Which is nice for when you have your newborn asleep in the swing/bassinet/crib and you are trying to get some inside or outside work done! Plus, it’s extremely portable, which gives you so much piece of mind!
CHANGING PAD WATERPROOF LINERS: These have have been extremely helpful in keeping her changing pads clean and dry. They’re also portable and make changing easy all around the house! Sure, you could just use a blanket – but these are waterproof!! 🙂 We just toss the liner (I have 6 of them!) in the laundry as needed.
DIAPERS: Hands down, our favorite diapers are Pampers Swaddlers! I’ve tried them all – Honest, Huggies, Luvs, etc. and nothing compares to the quality of these IMO! They have the stripe to indicate if the babe is wet or not, they don’t have a weird smell like some diapers do, and they’re so absorbent!
WIPES: Oh my – we ADORE these wipes!!!! They are so moist – which sounds silly to say but it makes a difference in not irritating baby’s bottom when wiping! You only need one or two to get the job done typically 🙂 These are very similar to the Water Wipes brand but just as great and definitely cheaper!
Before the baby, it’s easy to say you’ll dress him/her in the cutest clothes, ever. I remember thinking that at least! 🙂 But I underestimated how tired I would be and also how LITTLE the babe would be. Oh and they don’t tell you that their nails grow so quickly and can easily scratch their face while sleeping. Hmmm. SO. Comfy rules in the newborn stage! Whatever is easiest to undress/change them usually won for us!
GOWNS – Nothing makes nighttime changings easier than gowns! You can’t beat the softness and cuteness of this one but if you want a pack of 3 that are cute, come in a ton of colors/prints, and are only around $5 per gown, these are absolutely adorable!
ZIPPERED PJS – I was clueless when it came to this the first time around. We had so many pj’s with snaps. I quickly learned that is not the way to go with newborns at nighttime! I love these zippered pjs -pricey but oh, so soft for a special splurge!
MITTENS – So very important! They don’t wear them long – but they’re crucial for avoiding scratches in the first few weeks. Another option – find pj’s or onesies that have cuffed gloves. They won’t come off that way either 🙂
WHITE ONESIES – A workhorse of our girls’ closets throughout the stages – you just can’t go wrong with white onesies – for layering, outfits, for matching a crazy-fun pair of pants! We were always reaching for our white onesies. We had these ones with the cuffed mittens!
SWADDLE SLEEP SACK – This swaddle sleepsack by Halo may be THE most important item on this list! It makes the baby feel so snuggled and has afforded us many great nights of sleep. Many swaddles – you may find – babies can break through. But not this one! This velcro is STRONG! 🙂
SHAMPOO & BODY WASH – This foaming soap smells so good and is so good for baby, too! SUCH a fave for not only the newborn stage but also toddler stage as well!
BATHTUB WITH SLING – We used this baby bathtub with both of our girls and LOVED it because it fits in the kitchen sink. That sling is everrrything! Plus, it also can grow with baby to sitting stage as well! Here is the “boyish” version.
LOTION – Nothing beats the smell of this lotion for me! It smells AMAZING!!! Reminds me of the yummy newborn stage every time!
BOUNCER CHAIR – With my first, I totally underestimated this thing and didn’t get one right away, wishing I would have around 4 months old. With my second, I had this bouncer chair out from day one. We would bring this chair over to the dinner table and put Ellie in it… she was truly having “dinner” with us since we brought her home thanks to the portability of these bouncer chairs. We also took it outside. Very handy until they start rolling over (usually around 4 months old)!
PACK ‘N PLAY – This thing is great! It can be used on the go or at home. We always had ours stocked in the living room with diapers, wipes, blankets, clothes, etc. We changed our girls a lot in this, too!
STROLLER/CAR SEAT – We had this combo car seat/stroller. It was nice bc the car seat fit right into the stroller for easy transitions! Plus, the car seat is nice and snug for newborns. We also had an extra car seat base for my husband’s car. The car seat clicked in and out very easily and we were able to use this car seat until our girls turned 1 and then they needed a full-size car seat.
BOPPY – This pillow makes breastfeeding and just general holding/rocking much easier! I’ve used mine with both girls until they didn’t need me to rock them to sleep anymore! I received covers for it too at my shower so I could wash them as needed.
BABY WRAP/CARRIER – My second baby girl LIVED in this thing! This was CRUCIAL to my ability to chase a toddler and care for a newborn!!! Ellie loved it… the second I would step outside during fussy hours, while wearing her in this wrap, she would calm instantly! I miss the baby wearing so much.
I felt like I had so many questions and these books really helped me gain general knowledge quickly:
On Becoming Babywise – I am neither advocating for nor disagreeing with a sleep schedule. It works for some families and some it does not. You do what works for you and your lifestyle! This book definitely is insightful to know how long sleep/wake cycles are though!
Eat Play Sleep – I loved this book and tried hard to follow this routine, although it definitely didn’t always work that way!
The Nursing Mother’s Companion – Definitely a fantastic resource for breastfeeding!!! I read this front to back.
THE WONDER WEEKS APP – A reader graciously told me about this app as you can see in the comments below, years ago! Thank goodness! It has saved the day for me many times. They now have a book but the app was so nice because – whenever the girls were particularly fussy and I couldn’t figure out why – sure enough, I’d usually login in and find they were currently going through a mental leap! It was awesome to read about what they’d be doing next! Childhood development is amazing. ps – I also LOVED this book for teaching me how to calm a fussy baby!