Preparing For Your Newborn: Everything You Need for a Warm Welcome
Bringing a new baby home can be almost more terrifying than exciting. There are so many things you can’t possibly know about this new experience, because you haven’t been there yet! Trust me, I took care of other people’s children since I was a young teenager, and no matter how many hours of the day you have watched a child, 24/7 care is a whole new ballgame. You will never truly be prepared; That is one of the most beautiful things about motherhood and what makes meeting and bonding with your baby such a unique and special experience. New motherhood also gives you an amazing opportunity to grow in your relationship with God, check out this post if you don’t believe me! Anyway, despite the fact that you can’t know exactly what you will need ahead of time, there are definitely some universal products that will help you get off to a great start preparing for your newborn.
Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. – Psalm 127:3
The Essentials in Preparing for your Newborn
In addition to the spiritual ways that you can prepare for you newborn (lots of praying, Bible studying, and even strengthening relationships with your Christian mom friends to soak up their wisdom), there are material preparations that will make your life much easier. These are the products every new mom is going to need, no matter what. You will choose your own brands, styles, or have to decide between different options, but these items will all be essential in preparing for your newborn in some form!
Clearly you are going to need diapering essentials (p.s. – a great way to get a head start on preparing for your newborn is building a diaper stockpile! Buy them, go couponing, hold a diaper raffle at your shower, etc).
We have consistently used a combination of Pampers Swaddlers diapers and Huggies Natural Care wipes. We used both newborn and size 1 diapers our first few weeks — they gave us size 1 in the hospital and just folded it down as to not cover the umbilical cord and it worked just fine. People like to stock up on size 1 just in case newborn size is too small or is outgrown quickly.
Bonus product: A+D ointment! We use it at every diaper change and our 2.5 year old has only had one rash ever (and that’s because he is very active so he sweats a lot and got a heat rash).
A&D is definitely an essential for us. We prefer the larger tubs to use at home and carry around in the diaper bag as opposed to the little tubes.
You are going to need some clothes for your little one, of course! I’d recommend getting at least one of each of the following items for each day of the week (so 7 total, you don’t want to be doing wash every time your little one spits up or has a blow out!):
- Sleepers (footie pajamas — we could really appreciate the ones with the zippers!)
- Bibs & burp cloths (you’ll probably want to keep a good stockpile of these!)
- And a few hats to make sure baby’s body temp stays stable
I’m sure you’ve heard that swaddling a baby recreates the comfort of the womb (and maybe you’ve even practiced getting it just right!). You definitely want to make sure you get your hands on receiving or swaddling blankets while you are preparing for your newborn to arrive. You can use a receiving blanket to swaddle your baby, but since my son was an escape artist we really liked the Summer SwaddleMe velcro swaddlers!
This is one of those areas where you get to choose, and there are A TON of options! I’d recommend just choosing brands that you have confidence in and feel comfortable with, and if you don’t have any then ask someone you trust! The two main ways you will want to transport your child are while you are driving and while you are walking.
While driving, you will want to have a safe carseat. You can opt for an infant carseat or a convertible car seat.
While walking, there are a few more options: a stroller (regular, jogging, umbrella/lightweight), an infant car seat carrier, or a carrier that allows you to wear your baby (which also come in many different forms).
I decided to keep it as easy as possible and get one product that took care of most of our transportation needs: A Graco Click Connect Travel System! This worked for us because it included the stroller (with a sun protector, a storage basket underneath, and recline positions), and the infant car seat/carrier combo — which made it so much easier transporting my little man from the car into the house or stroller and gave me confidence that he was safe. As my son got older, we upgraded to a Graco convertible seat, but you can also start out with a convertible seat straight from the hospital if you find it better fits your family’s wants and needs!
I also got a carrier so that I could wear my little one. I was lucky enough to have people pass them along to me, and it was truly a life saver having them around. When my little man was sick, fussy, needed a nap, or just wanted to be close to me, all I had to do was put him in the carrier and I was able to get other things done. My son really loved his mommy time, so there were many times that the only way I could get myself something to eat was by strapping him in! I had a Baby Bjorn carrier when he was small, and still use our Boba carrier now that he is a toddler. It makes it so much easier to throw the carrier into our diaper bag and pull it out when we need it rather than push around an empty stroller because he would rather walk. I’d recommend trying one out before purchasing if you can, as it can be a big investment and they are said to fit like jeans — different women need different styles for a comfortable fit!
Somewhere Safe to Sleep
When you are preparing for your newborn to come home, you are most likely buying a crib and hoping that it sticks. Does this sound like you? I really thought my child would sleep in his crib. He literally napped in it one time. And that was after he fell asleep while I was holding him (but hey, it was a good 20 minutes or so). I am not saying to give up on a crib — luckily I chose one that will convert into a toddler bed and then later into a full (phew, dodged a bullet there).
However, I would highly suggest getting a bassinet as well. It is suggested to keep baby in the same room as mom to lower the risk of SIDS for at least the first three months. If you plan to keep the crib in the same room you sleep in, I still recommend a bassinet. It is always nice to have something to keep baby in for naps on the same floor as you.
We decided to use a Pack ‘n Play with a removable bassinet and changing table for the main floor. It was much easier having everything right there rather than having to keep going up and down for every nap, wake up, diaper change, etc. As baby grows you can use it to safely practice tummy time, to relax or play with toys, or for naps/bedtime. We still have ours now and use it for toy storage!
Small But Mighty Essentials
You may look at this heading and think these are the miscellaneous products that aren’t so important since they don’t have their own topic. Don’t make that mistake! There are so many facets to considering when preparing for your newborn to come home. Here are a few things I didn’t realize I would appreciate so much, but we are still using all of them (besides the bottles) now that my son is a toddler!
Even if you plan on nursing (check out these products if you do! And make sure to read the Successful Breastfeeding Series), you will want to have some bottles on hand. We went with the Avent glass bottles because I really liked them from when I was a nanny, and my research confirmed that they were great for breastfed babies. Now of course, you will make your decision based on different needs or wants. If you plan to allow your child to carry the bottles around (or just don’t trust yourself handling glass in your current state of exhaustion), you may want to opt for plastic bottles! You may also find it useful to invest in a bottle warmer to help speed up bottle prep time (we went with the Munchkin brand but Avent makes one as well).
So, I first chose a video baby monitor because I was a paranoid first time mom. I later found out that it was a good thing I did! Once my son became a young toddler, he started waking up without making a sound and going straight for the door. The monitor didn’t even pick it up, he was so quiet! Luckily we ended up bedsharing and he only gets out of bed if we are not in the room with him, so I don’t have to worry about him escaping while I am asleep. We got this monitor much cheaper than others on the market and it has worked great for us! We even bring it on vacation. I chose to avoid any cameras that operate over wi-fi because of crazy hacking stories I heard during pregnancy (why do people share the worst stories they have ever heard when you are pregnant, anyway?).
We tried to go with less chemical filled products where we could, and we found some great and effective products!
- Dapple Baby Bottle & Dish Liquid – This was our go-to for all of those bottles that needed to be washed by hand. It is effective, reasonably priced, and plant based! We opted for fragrance free but they have lots of really appealing scents to choose from. Now that we don’t have to worry about all of the handwashing, we use Dapple Dishwasher Pods to make things even easier while still using a natural product!
- Tide Free & Gentle – I know everyone is big on Dreft for babies, but we wanted to be prepared if our little guy had sensitive skin like his mom and dad did as babies, so we opted for a laundry detergent that was unscented and still baby safe. It still works just as well as any other detergent we have ever used!
- Babyganics Stain & Odor Remover – This was a safer, plant-based alternative to some of the other stain removers on the market, and it has worked really well for us when washing our son’s clothes or cleaning up other messes around the house. I recently found out they also have an on-the-go stain remover that I wish I had gotten my hands on sooner!
NoseFrida SnotSucker Nasal Aspirator
This is by far the grossest, most amazing baby product I found. I forget where I even first saw or heard of it, but Iam SO glad I had it before my son came home. This is a product you don’t want to turn up your nose at while preparing for your newborn (pun definitely intended). I promise, snot doesn’t get in your mouth — there is a very long hose and filters to prevent that. We paired it with Boogie Mist saline spray, and it was the only thing that ever worked in unclogging our son’s nose when he was sick (those little bulb aspirators didn’t do a thing!). We even pulled it out the other day when he was really stuffed up!
Obviously, you will need somewhere safe to bathe your baby. We started right away with this baby bath supporter. It doesn’t hold water so there was no issue or fear of mold, it is quick to dry, and it supported our son from his first bath until he was sitting up in the tub on his own! We are definitely holding on to this in case we decide to have baby #2!
Optional, But Crucial in Preparing for Your Newborn
The following products can probably be classified as bells and whistles by some — not necessarily essential. I have to agree to disagree on parts of that. These products were all necessary for us in some form, but there are a few different variations of these products and finding one that your child takes to can wind up being a process for some families. Many of my mom friends winded up investing in a very expensive swing, myself included, to find out that their child hated it.
Like I mentioned above, these could be hit or miss for your child. On the other hand, you may have a child that won’t sleep anywhere else! It is worth at least investing in and keeping the receipt in case. We started out with a Graco glider swing because it was what the family I was nannying for at the time was using and the baby really seemed to love it, however, this was the swing I was referring to that my son just didn’t like. I was going to link the one we had (because like I said, I used it plenty with another child who did love it), but in my search I came across this awesome version of the glider that is a swing, bassinet, and bouncer all in one. I am kicking myself I did not find that sooner!
The one that my son ended up loving, was a small, battery operated swing that we bought because it was easy to transport from room to room or on-the-go. The batteries never seemed to last long enough, but he loved this little swing whether it was operating, we were pushing it manually, or he was just sitting in it. He also enjoyed trying to get it going on his own as he got bigger!
A bouncer can seem like overkill if you have a portable swing, but it was definitely not overkill for us! My son had blow out almost every time he sat in his swing or bouncer, so it was really nice to have somewhere to sit him while the other seat cover was in the wash (again). Our Tiny Love Gymini Bouncer got a ton of attention and compliments because it was different, and our little one LOVED it! There were so many places to hang new toys, and although we don’t have the exact one pictured, ours came with the same crab that he still has hanging from one of the baby gates!
Okay, so play mats are kind of optional. I liked them because I knew my little one was laying somewhere clean, safe, and stimulating that would help nurture his imagination and motivate him to roll and play. We started out with the Infantino Grow-With-Me Activity Gym and Ball Pit, which my son was actually using when he rolled the first time. Later, I saw a friend using a square play mat inside of the Pack ‘n Play, which prompted me to add the Bright Starts Sunny Safari Baby’s Play Place to our repertoire! It fit perfectly, and it was a great place to keep him happy and safe when he couldn’t be in the middle of the floor (perfect for when you are trying to clean or having company). It’s also a great trick if you have any pets you’d like to keep away from the baby!
There are just two more products I’d like to include on this list. These were absolutely essential for us, but I know that not every family has the same goals and every child is different, so you may not have any interest in either.
- Pacifiers – I was adamant about not using a pacifier as I was planning on breastfeeding and heard that it could cause nipple confusion. There was plenty of miscommunication between the nurses at the hospital, and my son winded up using one more times than not. I persisted in spreading my wishes and keeping him with me as much as possible, but caved after we were at home. He just ended up being one of those babies who finds comfort in suckling. Your baby may flat out reject the pacifier whether you plan on nursing or not, and there are so many different brands to choose from that your little one may or may not like. Our little man took to MAM pacifiers and wasn’t really crazy about any others, so that is what we stuck with!
- Car Mirror – If you have a little one like mine who HATES the car, this may be a lifesaver for you. It definitely made a difference for us. There are so many things that seem more important for baby when you are pilling over every product preparing for your newborn to arrive, and the mirror can wind up seeming like it is more for you and can be put on the back burner. We found out that our son needed this mirror a lot more than we did, even though I absolutely love being able to see what he’s up to back there! That being said, you will get more use out of it until baby’s sight gets better and they are able to see far enough to know what it is.
Any new addition is equally terrifying and exciting! Whether this is your first child or not, you have a lot of preparing and adjusting to do–and it will be SO worth it! I hope this round up helped you find everything that you need. You can also check out the Successful Breastfeeding Series which outlines everything you will need to get started on the right foot. If you already have children of your own, you can read up on how to help them grow closer to God, some of the best Christian children’s books, or just let us know about any of the amazing products you recommend in the comments below!