Newborn Essentials: 9 Things I Think I’ll Need

Newborn Essentials: 9 Things I Think I’ll Need
Carly Jacobs

This post is sponsored by Little Ones

It was over omelettes and flat whites that we told two of our oldest and dearest friends that we were having a baby.

Steph burst into happy tears immediately and hugged us both several times. Stuart looked suitably chuffed, shook Mr Smaggle’s hand and hugged me hard.

Then he said very seriously ‘My advice? You need hardly anything newborn essentials. A towel to change them on, a few cloths for wiping their face, a couple of onesies and a place for them sleep. Just buy stuff as you need it. Don’t go to a baby store or you’ll end up with a whole lot of stuff you don’t need. Oh and nappies. Tonnes of them.’

This was a huge comfort to us because like most first time parents, we have absolutely no idea what we’re doing and our friend’s suggestions seem super manageable and don’t involve spending $1000 at a giant and depressing suburban baby centre on what we think are newborn essentials.

Over the past months we’ve received so much advice, I swear I’ve actually run out of room in my brain. I know lots of pregnant women get fatigued from the advice but I’ve quite liked it. The parenting advice that is – I can definitely live without being told yet another horrific birth story from someone I’ve never met before. Side note for the general public: Think carefully before telling a pregnant woman your birth story, particularly if you’ve never met her before. Make sure she actually wants to hear it and you’re not mindlessly chatting away to her at the hairdresser about how you couldn’t walk for two weeks after your first born because he had a historically enormous head and you basically bled for 3 months straight. Chances are she (and by she, I mean me) has heard ALL the horror stories and just wants to get a haircut without thinking about the impending and very scary birth of her first child. Just a little something to consider.

The newborn essentails/parenting/breastfeeding advice though has been ace. The thing that’s shocked me though is how frighteningly contradictory the advice has been. ‘Don’t have visitors in the first few days, you won’t be wanting to see anyone.’ closely followed by someone else’s advice of ‘Make sure you tell people when you’re in labour so they can be there the minute your baby is born – you’ll want to show your baby off!’.

newborn essentials

We’ve been told to get plenty of sleep but also not to sleep too much so we’re not totally thrown when we’re up half the night feeding our newborn. I’ve been told to not give up too soon when breastfeeding (breast is best) but also not to get too stressed over it and switch to formula if I need to (fed is best). I’ve been told to keep busy right up until I go into labour so I don’t obsess over it and I’ve also been told to wind down and have a few weeks of self indulgence before the baby gets here.

Obviously everyone’s journey is different (as ours will be!) but this has made some of the advice a tad confusing.

There have been a few things though that have come up again and again as newborn essentials and I figured once the 5th person raved to us about a particular thing, it seemed like a good idea to listen. This is a list of the little things, not all the obvious stuff like car seat, stroller, cot etc. Just the little every day things that seemed to really make a difference in the lives of the parents around us.

I’ve teamed up with Little Ones to bring you this list of things I think I’ll need in the first weeks of our bubs life. Caveat – this list will probably be hilarious when I read it back in a few months time and I see what I actually needed but for now, this is the stuff that keeps coming up again and again when talking to new parents.

newborn essentials

1. Onesies with zips

My best mate was the first to tell me about these and she gripped my arm urgently and said ‘Onesies with zips. Press studs in the middle of the night when your kid has Poo-geddaned all over themselves will make you want to set yourself on fire. Onesies with zips. WITH ZIPS!!!’

I’ve since had the same intense (and frankly creepy) conversation with several new parents so obviously this is a thing and I’ve stocked up on onesies… WITH ZIPS!!!

newborn essentials

2. A nursing pillow

One of the ones that kind of wraps around you. Regular pillows are apparently useless. Thankfully I have a pregnancy pillow that turns into a feeding pillow (thank god, I’m getting really sick of sleeping with that thing!) so I’ll be using that. But yeah, I’ll keep you posted as to whether or not this was an essential.

newborn essentials

3. Decent nappies

Most of my friends and family have kids so I know that nappies can mean the difference between a good nights sleep and a really bloody terrible one.

Little Ones nappies tick a lot of boxes for us as soon-to-be parents.

You can get them at Woolies – huge plus because I’ve heard rumours that you don’t have much time when you have a newborn, so schlepping around to heaps of different shops is out of the question. We have four Woolworths stores within 5kms of our house so we already do 99% of our shopping there anyway so it that makes it extra easy.

They have leakage protection – massive time saver because I really don’t want to be changing cot sheets every five seconds. They have double leg cuffs for a better fit around the legs and to stop leaks around that area. I’ve read a few reviews that say they’re super absorbent and awesome for overnight – they have an absorbent core that draws liquid in which means bub stays dry… and hopefully asleep and quiet. *fingers crossed*

newborn essentials

* Rad value for money – we were shocked recently at our birthing class when the teacher said you need to change a newborns nappy about 12 times a day. That’s a lot of nappies and I don’t want to be throwing money away on name brands when we can get decent nappies at Woolies for half the price.

 

newborn essentials

So I’ve definitley changed nappies before but never on a newborn – thankfully there’s instructions on the back of the pack. 

* Good for sensitive skin – I’ve read heaps of reviews of Little Ones and a lot of parents reported rashes and irritations clearing up when the switched to Little Ones which is awesome. If our baby’s skin is anything like mine, they will be a life saver.

newborn essentials

4. Hydrogel Breast Discs

My oldest mate (we’ve been friends since we were 9!) gave me the most thoughtful baby gift – an amazing bag of all the stuff she used including a packet of these. I had no idea what they were for but I’ve had several people recommend these to me and I was like ‘Oh! THAT’S what they’re for!’. Hot tip: Be the last of your friends to have a baby because they give you amazing and useful gifts. I’m dead set ashamed at the weird stuff I bought for them when they had kids. It was mostly booze or impractical but gorgeous baby clothes. Super useful.

5. Night light

What do you do when you need to feed your baby in the middle of the night but you don’t want to wake your partner who has to work the next day (or wake up yourself or your baby more than absolutely necessary)? You need a night light. I’ll admit this never occurred to me until my mate gave me this light bulb converter thing that makes any lamp into a night light. It’s low light and low stimulation, just enough light so you can see what you’re doing but not enough to disturb everyone just for a night feed. I feel like this is about to become my new best friend.


newborn essentials

6. Sleep sacks

I’ve heard from several people that Grobags are essential, particularly if you can’t grasp the art of swaddling. Again, I can’t confirm this from personal experience but I’ve been given a few second hand Grobags from friends and relatives most of whom sighed and stared lovingly at them before handing them over. Apparently they’re rad for getting kids to sleep well. Sounds ace – I’ll take 50.

newborn essentials

7. Travel change pad

Mr Smaggle and I haven’t really got into the whole baby thing. Not the baby itself – we’re very into the idea of that! – but we just haven’t gone into baby shops and gone nuts for all the stuff in there. There’s one thing we have looked at several times though and that’s this travel baby change mat. It just seemed like such a great little product and we travel a lot so thought this would be a great thing to keep stocked with nappies and wipes so we can chuck it in a tote bag super quickly and hit the road. Guess what? Some mates of ours bought it for us without even knowing we’d been looking at it. Aren’t friends the best?

newborn essentials

8. Wire free nursing bras

I’ve heard excellent things about both the Bonds and Kmart nursing bras so I’ve bought one of each and whichever one I like the best, I’ll stock up on once bub gets here and I figure out the whole breastfeeding thing.

newborn essentials

9. At least a few seasons of a TV show you love to watch while breastfeeding

So I definitely had grand plans to connect with my child while breastfeeding but most mums are like ‘Yeah… you’re doing that for 8 hours a day in the first few weeks. You’ll go nuts if you just stare in silence at your baby the whole time.’ Noted. I’m quite thrilled that the new season of Call the Midwife starts in Dec which will hopefully be perfect timing. Also, it’s not the greatest show to watch when you’re pregnant so that makes the timing double perfect.

I’m sure if you’ve had a baby you can see some gaping holes in this list (I left out lots of obvious stuff like a bassinet/cot, because der!) but I’d love to hear what things you couldn’t live without in the first few weeks of having a newborn.

Tell me… what were your newborn essentials? Little things you really couldn’t have lived without in those first few weeks?

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30 Comments

  1. Maria 2 weeks ago

    I would add a baby carrier to this list! That way the baby is happy because she’s being held and you still have 2 hands to do something else. It was also a great way for my husband to bond with our daughter. The ones I liked best for my newborn were ring slings or the K’Tan. (I’m from the U.S. and not sure if that last one is available in Australia.) Structured carriers like Tula and Ergo are great a couple of months in, but most of them are awkward to work with for newborns. And if you’re planning to breastfeed, look into the Milkies Milksaver or Haakaa (again, not sure what is available in Australia!). It’s a super easy way to start a freezer stash without doing any extra pumping.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      I definitely have a baby carrier, this stuff was more little things that you might not think of! I have an ergo baby and a hug a bub! Should be sorted. I also have a Haakaa! A mate of mine bought it for me!

  2. J 2 weeks ago

    A lot of people also recommend onesies with magnets. Super practical!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      I hadn’t heard of these but they sound great! Mr Smags is very interested in them.

  3. Lexi 2 weeks ago

    Toms maternity pads… Seriously they’re the only ones that feel like a cloud and if you give birth vaginally you’ll need some extra tlc. Soak a few with witch hazel and aloe vera gel and freeze them for the first few days (they’re called padsicles look it up on Pinterest!)

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Yes I have them! One of my mates recommended them. So weird to think I’ll need to use pads again, I’ve been using a mensrual cup for years.

  4. Lexi 2 weeks ago

    Oh and Milo! Helps increase your milk supply.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Any excuse to have milo. I’m assuming it still works if you have it on ice cream? 🙂

  5. Jennifer 2 weeks ago

    I would recommend lanolin cream. Always double the amount of ‘spare clothes’ when travelling. A pop top drink bottle of water to clean the stitches after each toilet visit. A few thin soft washers and old school terry cloth nappies are great for breast feeding. For some reason there is always a mess when and where you least expect it. Bras that are super stretchy so there are no restrictions.
    And, take lots of photos. Not necessary, but they jog the most delicious memories when you look back on their childhood.
    I’d love to hear your recommendations when bubba is 1

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      I just restocked on Lanolin! I went to buy a fancy nipple cream and it was 100% lanolin so I just bought lanolin instead and it was much cheaper. Mr Smags is a photographer so I suspect we’ll have lots and lots of photos!

  6. Jane 2 weeks ago

    Totally agree with not needing to go over the top on stuff. Don’t get me started on change tables… one thing that I found helpful is to have a bottle of water and something to read wherever you plan to feed, and a cloth of some kind for spills. Whether you’re bottle or breastfeeding, it can be hard to get up once you’ve started so have a little feeding station set up. I found that breastfeeding made me really really thirsty.

    • Maria 2 weeks ago

      Definitely the station! Mine was on the couch. I had my laptop and a book on an end table, a basket of nursing pads and nipple balm sitting on the arm, and a diaper changing station set up on the ottoman (using the travel changing pad). I even had a basket of snacks sitting on the back of the couch and told my husband it was his job to keep that and my water bottle filled at all times! I could and did camp there for hours at a time the first couple weeks.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      I’ll have to stock my Kindle with books! Love the idea of a breastfeeding station – will definitely do that!

  7. Tiffany 2 weeks ago

    Great list! But definitey add a soft wrap baby carrier for when babe is clingy but you still need to wash/cook/eat/grocery shop. Very good for when little one might be having a rough day and won’t settle. Got ours from Peekaboo Baby, reasonably priced and made on the GC. Lasted our babe almost 5mths before transitioning to an Ergo ?

  8. My youngest turns 10 in January, and you know what I agree with ALL THIS LIST. Seriously, all of it. While I didn’t have onesie’s with zippers, I did have those bond suits that everyone hated “it had to be invented by a man” onesie’s and omg with my son they were the best. THE BEST.

    My work wife recently had her 2nd baby (she named Carly btw), and she told me I have her the best thoughtful basket.
    I made food, gave her snacks, condoms for her husband. I also included a thermal drink bottle, which she said was the best as it kept hot water hot for ages.

    The sleeping sacks are the best, especially come winter.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      That’s so weird she called her kid Carly! There’s so few of us around. We have lots of little sleeping sacks – many cousins and friends with little ones have passed them on to us.

  9. Browny 2 weeks ago

    I know I’ve probably overloaded your brain quite effectively already, but seriously, I think the best thing we’ve bought, and used the most, was our baby carrier. We chose the ergo 360 so once they were 4-5 months they could face out as well (which they started to insist on), with the newborn insert for when they were tiny. Both our kids insisted on being carried and it enabled us to get on with life around the house while wearing them. I also agree that they’re wonderful for dads to bond with babies. Steve would wear both our babies for hours every day. He loved it and it meant I could get a break too. In my book, a good baby carrier is mandatory.

    • Browny 2 weeks ago

      Ooops I just read all your comments. Of course you have a baby carrier. Duh.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      We have two actually! A hugabub and another more serious for when she gets older!

  10. I was lucky enough to be showered with onesies of all sizes by a couple of workmates at the time who became first time parents before me in an odd kind of mini-baby-boom. None with zips though, we did okay with press studs, but I guess we didn’t know any better! We didn’t buy any new clothes for the kiddo for a good long while. .

    A light and compact pram that fits in your car boot. We found the Mountain Buggy Swift was just right, light and easy to manoeuvre. Three wheels and knobbly tyres made it great for off-roading (morning walks on the creek path while my son slept in the pram were the BEST).

    Another vote for the Ergo, although my kid outgrew it relatively quickly. And tbh, he wasn’t particularly satisfied to be carried around like a gorgeous little sack of potatoes. Every kiddo is different.

    And it’s true what they say about breastfeeding. If it works out, WOOHOO! If not, don’t stress. Look up stuff from the Australian Breastfeeding Association on “baby led latching”. It will blow your mind! The way we New mums are taught in the maternity ward is very much focused on getting us good enough to get us out the door. Babies know how it’s done, given the chance they’ll figure it out themselves. Even if it’s later; my son figured it out, eventually but it was too late for him to be exclusively breastfed. But the fact that he did figure it out meant lovely bonding for us.

    Best wishes! I’m excited for you ?

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Thank you so much that’s lovely! We’re sorted with our pram and car seat! All ready to go!

  11. Sarah 2 weeks ago

    Every baby is different, but for the Jazz person, who hadn’t read the manual on naps, sleeping or other parental-relief measures, a baby bouncer proved invaluable. As long as he could watch what was happening (me peeling carrots or doing the washing, whatever) he was happy – which meant I was happy. I just put the bouncer on the benchtop/desk, wherever, and was able to get on with things I needed to do while he was happy to observe and be part of what was happening.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      I’ve heard bouncers are great! My cousin has one just down the road for when I need it!

  12. Naomi 2 weeks ago

    I needed muesli bars & bananas by the side of the bed because breastfeeding in the early days gave me hypoglycemia and I would wake up shaking and in cold sweats. Also a kindle with lots of easy reading in it for night feeds. I re-read Narnia.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 2 weeks ago

      Oh weird! That’s great advice I didn’t know that was a think. I’ve never read Narnia… maybe now is the time!

  13. Li 2 weeks ago

    Dear Carly, best wishes for the birth of your baby. I think you have it all sorted. My tips are 1. raisingchildren.net.au for Australian Government supported evidence based advice and 2. A lactation consultant if breastfeeding is tricky. Enjoy!

  14. Hailz 1 week ago

    Love your sensible approach. Babies don’t care about stuff!

    I didn’t use a traditional nursing pillow, but a noomi U shaped one, behind me to support my upper arms and neck, rather than under my forearms/baby. It saved my neck, I would always nod off feeding bub overnight! This way I could be comfortable and if we fell asleep, we were safe. So if yours doesn’t work for you in front, maybe put it behind and see!

    Two website recommendations are janetlansbury.com and the milk meg. Treasure troves of respectful parenting advice!

    All the best. So exciting.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 1 week ago

      If I had my time again, I’d get a U shaped one – I ended up hugging it on both sides so had to flip it every time I turned over. That’s for breast feeding recs – that’s my next challenge!

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