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When I was expecting Lily, I read so many of these lists and so blessed through our baby shower with many things we needed. We ended up with so many things and full nursery, but these are items we definitely needed and used the most.
Obviously baby needs a place to sleep. We ended up cosleeping 2 months-6 months but in the beginning I didn’t want to, and started out using the bassinet. So if you’re like me and planning not to cosleep, a bassinet is a good option. Just remember to be open to what baby needs and what works for you. For me, my need for sleep outweighed the need for her to be in her own bed and so cosleeping worked for us for a while. We used this bassinet. It is one of the top-rated bassinets out there and I loved it. One of my favorite features is that the side bends down so that while I reclined in bed I could reach in and get her. This bassinet also swivels, which was useful because it could swivel out of my way. It was up against my bed most of the time but if I wanted to roll out of bed, I could swivel it around, which especially in those first few weeks, was so helpful. We are definitely saving this for Baby #2.
#2 Baby Clothes in Different Sizes
Lily wore her newborn size clothes for about three weeks then outgrew them. I was so grateful that I had been given lots of baby clothes in every size so that every time she grew, we had some outfits ready and my stress was down (at least in this area, because us moms need to minimize stress everywhere we can).
#3 Wipes and Diapers
This goes along with the clothes: you need diapers in different sizes. Especially newborn size and size 1. Different brands is also handy in case your baby is allergic to a certain brand. I didn’t realize that blowouts meant to move up a diaper size so we basically skipped size 2 because I was in size 1 far longer than I should have been, and then she outgrew size 2 quickly too (on that note, washing outfits right away and laying them in the sun helps get rid of poop stains!)
This is important – you can’t take baby home from the hospital without your carseat! We got a Graco set that allowed the carseat to just click into the stroller, which made taking her places (like the hospital) easier.
#5 Baby Swing
At least for Lily, she was soothed at night by rocking but that quickly wore us out. By the second week, we bought this swing, and it lasted us four months before she tried to roll out of it. It was perfect for putting her to sleep and we could then transition her into her bassinet.
#6 Burp Cloths
I had so many of these, but I’m so glad I did. I had one in every room of the house, and switched them out whenever I thought about it. They’re good for wiping up anything, for making an instant clean spot for a baby head, or a temporary blanket, or a wet rag. There are really cute ones, but there’s also plain cotton cloth diapers on amazon that I used as burp cloths.
#7 Gripe Water or Gas Drops
Lily was a very gassy baby (I stopped eating dairy and that helped but she was still gassy) so we gave her gripe water and bicycle pumped her legs almost every night to help her. We used this gripe water.
We didn’t get this until she got congested, and so while we waited for it to arrive we set the shower on high hot and sat in a steamy bathroom. It helps break down the mucous so that they can breathe while nursing.
This is gross, I really didn’t want to use it, but it is very effective. It has a filter so you don’t actually get anything from baby’s nose but I did make my husband do this the first few times.
#10 Nail Clippers and Nail Files
Lily was born with long nails, hated the baby mittens, and scratched her face and me regularly. I still clip her nails every 2-3 days, at 9 months old. At first babies move their hands in unpredictable jerks, so a file might be more manageable for a nervous mom (I made husband clip her nails the first week).
#11 Diaper Bag
You need something to hold and organize all the baby stuff so you can find it when you need it! I love mine from Petunia Pickle Bottom. Lily’s nursery theme is Pooh Bear and this was perfect for me. Beyond the pattern, however, the bag is truly functional. It has a bottom section that can hold leaky things, a roomy top section, a small front pocket that I put her clothes and accessories in (socks, bibs, hair bows, extra onesie), a side pocket that could hold a phone, and a back pocket that’s perfect for all of Mommy’s papers. It’s comfortable to wear and not too bulky. I also use a carabiner to attach my water bottle off the side and then I have everything I need attached to me so I can carry her in my arms. To find out what I always have in my diaper bag, click here.
Our stroller works with our carseat, which was a must for me. Another must was that I could fold and unfold it by myself, which this one complies with. It has a strap in the seat that you pull on to fold the entire stroller, and the same strap also releases the lock so you can unfold the stroller. This isn’t necessary when baby is a newborn, but it is super helpful if you are planning on going places that are further than a driveway-length away.