The newborn phase is a total blur that flies by in the blink of an eye. When you’re deep in it – especially those first few weeks – you think that you will never sleep again, but I promise it whizzes by. Next thing you know, three months have passed and your little baby is no longer considered a “newborn” but is now referred to as an “infant” (a stage that lasts until the baby turns 1 year old).
In the first three months, the name of the game is survival. Looking back, it feels like most of our time was spent trying to sleep, trying to keep the baby fed and mama healing. We were learning about our baby and getting into our groove. It takes time to figure out a routine and learn what your baby likes, doesn’t like, needs, etc. Though you can never predict what will work for your family, being prepared with various tools and resources will help make everyone’s lives easier. This starts with baby gear! There is such an abundance of baby items on the market and truth be told, most of it you wont use. We were incredibly lucky in that we have very generous friends who gave us like-new hand me downs to try. My recommendation would be to borrow what you can to try it out rather than registering for a million baby gadgets. If baby loves one of the items you’re trying, buy it! if not, give it back to your friend.
If you don’t have that luxury, I recommend paring down your list to a few type of products. Since all a newborn does is eat > poop > sleep > repeat, you don’t need much. You’ll need something to keep your newborn contained, somewhere for he/she to sleep and some sort of moving item to mimic the swaying pattern they felt in the womb.
Now, every baby is different but here is what worked best for us:
1. Dock-a-tot: From day one, this has been hands down #1 most used item, could not have survived without it. He has almost outgrown it (length-wise) but we have just loved the DAT. He will take naps and relax in it and it is so easy to move around the house and take with you anywhere. Plus, I love that the cover is washable since he has spit up a good bit in it.
2. Mom-A-Roo: A friend gave this to us and I had no idea how much Duke would love it. The first month or so he didn’t use it but then once he got back to about 8lbs, we put him in this and he will sit looking at the colored balls and coo-ing all day long. It has also been a great area for him to take a nap in at least once per day. The only downside is that it’s a bit bulky and not as easy to move around the house. I keep mind in our main living area so I can see him from both the kitchen and living room.
3. Halo Bassinett Swivel Sleeper: Another hand-me-down which has been a lifesaver is this bassinett. We had this next to my side of the bed for the first few weeks for easy access for feeding through the night. When the baby wakes up every 2-3 hours, this is key. It is breathable, safe and easy to use. The (big) downside to this sleeper is that is is heavy and takes up a lot of floor space so it needs to stay put once you set it up. Although Duke has been sleeping in his crib since week 3, we keep it in our room for him to nap or occasionally sleep if we have company.
4. Gripe Water: We had multiple people give us this with our gifts and now I know why. We have given Duke gripe water drops daily since day one to help with gas, hiccups, digestion, etc. It is made with organic fennel, gingerto (to help soothe gas discomfort) and organic chamomile, lemon balm, and passion flower (for restful sleep). This has been a miracle worker for us and we swear by it!
5. Stroller with Bassinett: Many people told me that they never used the bassinett but we still use it every single day on our daily walks. I once heard that if a baby is fussy, “get them outside or into water”. We take Duke on at least one long walk per day, usually in the afternoon when he’s more alert and can be fussier. He just loves getting outside and is comfortable in the bassinett because he can kick his feet and move around. It feels way less constrained than in a car seat.
A few other items that we used off and on (some more than others) include Probiotic and Vitamin-D drops, an easy wrap (we started using this at week 4 but would use earlier next time), the magnetic sleepers (absolute lifesavers), Dr Browns slow flow bottles, his lightweight baby bath and of course, the adorable hooded animal towels.
I hope you found this list helpful. Remember, each baby is different so what worked for me may not work for you and that’s ok. It is all trial and error when it comes to newborns.