In the early days of bringing Asher home, we learned quickly that while there isn't much to do aside from changing, feeding, comforting, and coaxing to sleep, those activities take a lot of time and finesse. We loaded up our registry with great must-haves and nice-to-haves based on feedback from friends, family, and lots of research (including many blog posts just like this one), but those first weeks relied heavily on a few clutch items that I wanted to highlight for y'all. No two babies are the same, but these items were really helpful for taking care of Ash (and Mommy).
- Wipe Warmer - This is one of those items that many lists I found online considered unnecessary. And admittedly, yes, you don't have to have this for your little one. However, across the board when I polled my family for their recommendations, a wipe warmer was mentioned. And it makes sense. I wouldn't want a cold, wet wipe on my tushy in the middle of the night. It made changings far less dramatic, and for the price point, it's a no-brainer in my opinion.
- Our choice: Munchkin Warm Glow Baby Wipe Warmer ($20)
- Burp Cloths - Babies spit up. A lot. We have yet to have projectile spit-up thankfully, but even just your run of the mill post-feeding mess requires the constant presence of a within-reach burp cloth. We only bought one set and were gifted a few others, but I found myself willing to do a quick load of laundry to ensure some of my faves were always available. (I've since ordered another set.) Look for soft, absorbent (duh), and sized to provide solid coverage.
- Our choice: Burt's Bees Burp Cloths - 5 Pack ($20)
- Changing Pad Liner - For whatever reason, Ash is one happy camper when he's on his changing pad. He kicks, coos, and generally has the best demeanor while he's stretched out on it. (We've loved the L.A. Baby 4-Sided Changing Pad with the Burt's Bees Pad Covers.) That being said, with a baby boy I could be changing the cover every other day between mid-change spit ups and that wayward willie. Having washable changing pad liners allows me to quickly and easily switch out just the top layer and move on, one-handed at that, which is how you simply must roll in the early baby days.
- Our choice: Bamboo Changing Pad Liners - 3 Pack ($20)
- Infant Car Seat - I had actually second guessed whether I even should have purchased an infant carrier/car seat because I had big plans to wear baby as much as possible out-and-about (in which case, I could have just jumped straight to a convertible car seat). However, turns out Little Man would take some getting used to being carried/wrapped, and he loves his car seat! We had a few nights that first week when only being tucked into the infant carrier would soothe him. (And don't worry, he wasn't left unsupervised nor did he spend a whole night there.) Not to mention, the system is so easy to install, with or without LATCH, so I've been able to confidently use it without adult supervision.
- Nipple Shield - This can be a very controversial item, but I have to be honest: if it weren't for this little gem, I might have given up on breastfeeding in that first week. This was given to me by the Lactation Consultants at the hospital because Ash and I were having a hard time feeding, but it allowed us to find a rhythm while still helping him put on weight. It works like training wheels, and while I probably used it longer than I should have (close to 4 weeks), we are now feeding without it and no one had to go into Time-Out. Breastfeeding is not an easy task, despite how it's represented to the unsuspecting new mom, so if tools like the shield help you make it work so you and baby both get to enjoy the incredible benefits, then party on!
- Our choice: Medela Contact Nipple Shield ($7)
- Gripe Water - This can also be a controversial one, but we got the OK from our pediatrician, so I wanted to include it. As sweet and generally happy as Asher is, most evenings he has bouts of fussiness. They range from absolutely awful with Mommy and Baby both in tears, to simply tiring and sad to watch. While we naturally saw some improvement in his overall tummy situation and demeanor around week three, as he got a little older and feeding came more naturally to us both, we found that giving him some gripe water (two doses a day, max) seemed to help alleviate some of his discomfort. We introduced probiotics at week three, and that coupled with regular chiropractic adjustments and the gripe water seemed to help. We now (at week five) just use gripe water occasionally, but make sure we get those probiotics in him every day (and Mommy, too!).
Honorable Mention Items
- Seventh Generation Free & Clear diapers
- Absorbant, no harsh chemicals, doesn't irritate baby's skin; we opted for these before we dive into cloth diapering once he's big enough for the bumGenius all-in-ones
- Seventh Generation Free & Clear wipes
- Fisher-Price Rock 'n Play
- This became our go-to solution for naps and to allow Mommy to use both arms, as he'll hang out in this (for a short bit, at least) even while awake; great for post-feedings to reduce gas and reflux
- TIP: Check resale shops for these! Many parents swear by these but they have a brief shelf life (3 months).
- TIP: If you're concerned about flat head, we love the Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support for the RNP and swing.
- Gerber Onesies
- They really are the best, and Asher lives in these and his sleep-n-plays (someday I'll dress him cute, but Mama ain't got time for that yet)
- TIP: Those little shoulder folds come in really handy to remove the onesie from the top-down when blowouts occur.
- Baby mittens
- Baby nails are razor sharp, so if you plan to breastfeed, you need some protection from their adorable little talons
- TIP: When you're ready to start clipping baby's nails (we waited three weeks to feel comfortable), I highly recommend the Simba Baby Safety Scissors.
- Clif Bars
- When you gather your supplies to have nearby for your Nursing Nest, I highly recommend including some easy, heathy snacks for those middle of the night feedings when you'll feel ravenous and need some nutrition; also, oats are apparently magic when it comes to breastfeeding, so get you some!
I'm by no means an authority on this whole baby thing, but hopefully these recommendations are helpful in steering you toward some gear that had been super helpful in our home.
Be sure to check out my birth story, and revisit my first trimester/early pregnancy and late pregnancy must-haves!