I receive a lot of questions from friends on our top items for the newborn stage, both from a developmental and a practical standpoint. When shopping for baby gear, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, and you can research for days!
The newborn stage is all about cuddles, finding a routine, and adjusting to your new family member. Early on, they don’t engage with many toys (eyesight, tracking strength, and coordinated movements are still developing). We found that it’s worth the investment to buy fewer & higher quality items than get one of everything. The items listed below that have aided us in caring for Scotty, so we can focus more time loving on our little guy.
Here are our top 10 favorite items:
1. A play mat: The Lovevery play mat has been by far my favorite item, and it is so much more than just a mat!
Why we love it: It grows with your child, making it worth your investment. It can be used as a playmat as well as a toddler tent. It also fosters development as it comes with toys, milestone cards, and high contrast cards to help engage your child from day one through their first year.
2. A good bouncer OR swing: Yes, I said OR for a reason. If you have too many devices, you run the risk of creating a “container baby,” rotating devices all day, and never actually spending time on the floor working on age-appropriate motor skills. Every hour in a device takes away opportunities to develop critical skills. Though I believe floor time is best for your baby, having them spend time a short amount of time upright and engaged in their environment, can calm them (or you!). We chose the Baby Bjorn Bouncer.
Why we love it: It is easily portable and helpful to use for afternoons at grandparents’ houses or weekend trips visiting a friend. It has three different angles; the laid back angle can be used before your baby has head control; the middle upright angle can be used as your child gains neck strength, keeping it developmentally appropriate. Another + is the bouncing motion; Scotty loves this!
3. White Noise: This helps create healthy sleep habits. The first night we used white noise was the first night we got more than two consecutive hours of sleep. We have two favorites, the Shusher for on the go and the Hatch Rest Machine for our nursery.
Why we love it: The Shusher helps in the car, doctor’s office, and all naps away from home. The Hatch has different settings that you can save, has a built-in night light and white noise machine. As your child grows up, you can use the hatch settings to help with sleep/wake routines (For example, changing the light to a particular color when it is okay for your child to get out of bed).
4. Travel Changing Mat: The Lekebebay portable changing mat is a lifesaver for trunk diaper changes, friend’s houses, or not wanting to put your baby on a dirty changing table.
Why we love it: It has a padded headrest, the mat folds on itself, and doesn’t touch anything else, keeping it more sanitary.
5. Swaddle: We’ve tried quite a few, and hands down, our favorite is the Sleepea swaddle by Happiest Baby. A lot of people say their baby doesn’t like to be swaddled (that was us too!), but he sleeps better when he’s in a good swaddle.
Why we love it: The double zipper makes diaper changes easy at night without undoing the arms (Scotty often wakes up if his arms are removed, and once that happens, there is no going back). The material is also lightweight and breathable, and the arms velcro inside the zipper portion, which means no escaping that swaddle!
6. Kiinde Breastfeeding System: If you plan on breastfeeding, this system has been amazing!
Why we love it: Fewer dishes, less air in bottles (which = less gas) and comes with everything you need for feeding. You can pump straight into the bag, which stores flat and smooth in your freezer, all the way to bottle warmer and bottle.
7. Convertible Sleep Sacks: Our favorite is the Kissy Kissy sleep sacks.
Why we love it: They can convert into pants if you need to pop your little one in the car seat to go somewhere but function as sleep sacks at home (the best of both worlds). In those early days with tons of diaper changes, it was helpful not having to fight clothing snaps to change their diaper, especially during 2 AM changes! They are also comfortably soft and cozy for your baby!
8. Stroller/Carseat System: The Uppababy Mesa Carseat and Vista stroller are well worth the money!
Why we love it: The car seat and base are easy to install, no circus tricks needed getting your baby in and out of the car, The ease of snapping in/out of the car and stroller save so much time! We love our vista stroller. The bassinet attachment is excellent for walks (we want to minimize the time & position the car seat puts them in). It can easily convert into a double stroller if you have two littles or plan on having kids close together. It’s sturdy, rides smoothly, and has under basket storage.
9. Burpy Bibs: I had no idea of the value of investing a good burp cloth, especially if you don’t want to change your clothes or your baby’s 100 times a day (but let’s be honest, some days, it’s inevitable).
Why we love it: It’s another item that grows with them! They’re a burp cloth turned full-coverage bib. They are absorbent, and the fabric holds and keeps from shrinking when washing.
10. Keekaroo Peanut Changer: I struggled to purchase this item do to the cost (it’s expensive). I thought, “Am I crazy to spend this much money on an item just to have a place to set them on while changing?” Y’all, I’m happy to report it has been Worth. Every. Penny!
Why we love it: Cleaning up accidents is a breeze, you wipe it down. No changing pad covers to worry about washing. Or the worst, they have a blow out on the changing pad, and you go to switch the cover to find they are all in the wash, wet.
To view or purchase the items listed, click shop the list below.
* Please note, we didn’t include bottle or pacifier recommendations because they are individualized to each baby!