Motherhood Mondays: Newborn Essentials - What you need for the first four weeks.

April 13, 2015

I know. Every single blogger who has ushered new life into this world has written a post just like this one.  The things you need for a baby.  Its a subject where every mom feels expert enough to erect a neon sign outside their house that says:  
"I did it.  This is what you need.  Trust me I'M EXPERIENCED."<--- hyperbole, just fyi.
So, naturally, they have written or verbally passed on her wisdom to other would-be or soon-to-be mamas.

Before having my baby, I read TONS of these posts.  There are so many out there and they are as varied in content as the JFK assassination conspiracy theories.  I still read them and I learned something from each one.  (not the assassination theories, just the newborn lists) Though I didn't religiously use any of the checklists or buy the products... it was simply gathering info, watching for common items and trying to assess a few things.  Was the writer, like me, interested in simplicity where baby paraphernalia was concerned or was she was in the camp of be-prepared/more-is-better'.

Disclaimer: I don't think I have all the answers.  I think I'm just adding to the pile of lists.  Maybe mine will ring true to you because perhaps you're more like me than you are that other chick who swears a mamaroo is an 'essential newborn item'.  Sorry, what?

How I think this works:
You need different things for different stages.  I broke up the stages thusly:

-birth to 4 weeks
-4 weeks to 3 months
-3 months to 6 months
-6 months to 12 months 

This post will cover birth to 4 weeks.
1. Diapers.  - One of the first things that will happen to your baby besides breastfeeding and medical once-overs is the application of a poop and pee recepticle.  There are two camps:  Cloth Diapers and Disposables.  I have done cloth for about 8 months or so but at the beginning, we were 100% 'sposies so that is what I tackle because its relevant to my experience with this stage.  
a)Pampers Swaddlers: I liked the wetness strip (because new parents are idiots and don't know when the diaper is wet) and the fit was good.  No complaints about these in the first 4 weeks. *No poop explosion pocket in the back. 
b)Huggies Little Snugglers: I think I got a small pack of these free with a sample pack.  I also liked them.  Also come with a strip for dummies.  Smiley face. *Has poop explosion pocket in the back. 
*Note: I mention this because people usually find that different babies' poo habits work better with different brands.  Girls maybe don't poop up the back as much, boys don't leek out the sides.  But then just ignore that previous statement because there are as many babies who break those rules as there are that make them.  Buy the one on sale and if you hate them, try another brand. There is no objective 'best' brand of diaper.  Be free.  You're welcome.
2. Sudocreme <--- If you sign up with nestle, similac and/or register at your local baby shops they sometimes throw samples of this stuff in your welcome pack for free.  Save this purchase for last just in case you can score some for free.
3. Huggies Wipes <--- that reusable container is a good first purchase if you like the pattern, then just buy the bulk packs of wipes to refill.
4. Stretchy wrap - Stretchy wraps take a bit of practice to get used to, but it was my go to when P was a newborn for comfort, softness and security.  You can buy one like the solly or make your own like I did.  I'm going to do a more in depth look into carriers in a future post.  Stay tuned!
5. Diaper changing situation.  Minimalists just go with a changing pad and cover on an appropriate height dresser.  (look at this) Ultra minimalists (I hear from a real life mama friend that change tables are completely optional, and I believe her) go with a waterproof pad like the one in your baby bag.  Boom.  Anything is a changing surface because babies don't care or really move around much at this stage.

Baby clothing

Your nursery will look like hello kitty and a Michael's store 'had an accident' in it.  There will be headbands, oh so many headbands.  Little dresses and what appear to be ballooney big-girl-panties to go with them.  In the case of boys, just all the sassy sayings/truck printed onesies and newborn blue jeans.  Sadly, these ultra froofy novelty bits aren't going to make their way into your daily routine in a functional sort of way at this stage.  (Probably, unless you're Snooki) They will add tons of serotonin (or is it oxytocin... I'm too tired to figure it out) and happy feelings of mom-bliss to your newborn life, however, if you don't end up with a massive baby shower and want to know what you actually NEED need, here's ma scoop.
6. Woombie Its the easiest form of swaddling.  It works.  That is all. (Maybe buy two taking spit up into account)
7. These amazing baby sleep dresses  I only had one and i used it until it was covered in poop or puke.  Then I would wash everything in sight just so I could use it again.  Somehow, I couldn't find any more anywhere!  I would have bought 4.  Undoing snaps at night is dumb.  Snaps at any time is actually idiotic if I think about it long enough.
8. Carters cotton onesies (I like gender neutral white). These are nice for day time on their own under a nice warm swaddle.  Simple, functional, cheap.  10-15 total will get you through without worrying too much.
9. Socks.  Just a few pairs, don't go nuts.  They don't need them much, just when you go out.  The socks, though, double as little scratch mittens for the first couple days/weeks until you grow a pair of balls large enough to brave fingernail trimming.  That is a terrifying event; you'll be fine, though.  Maybe practice with a tournament of the Operation game before the baby comes... just to get your fine motor skills honed.
10. Hat.  Get one that you like for when they come out and have a chilly noggin.  The sweet thing about newborns is that they will wear whatever hat you put on because they literally can't do anything about it.  No need to be clever, here.  Piper wore a white gauze hat fresh out of the womb, after that she did a lot of time in the soft, stretchy wrap right against me or indoors.  So we didn't really use a ton of hats, but we needed at least one solid one.  People judge if you don't. This is a cute one and made in Canada!
11. Footie Pants.  Firstly, babies in footie pants are adorable; it is objectively factual.  Second, no loss of socks.  Onesie + footie pants + hat (if you're popping them in a car seat) + receiving blanket (for extra warmth/comfort... You won't understand until your kid gets older; but the thought of not being able to wrap them in a swaddle blanket forever will break your soul.  Enjoy at every possible opportunity) These ones are from Woolworths in South Africa, because Piper's were all from there and it makes me a bit nostalgic.
12. Flannel Receiving blankets for burping and general snuggling.
13. Sleeping situation.  We've come to the end of our journey.  Your baby has his/her bum covered with dipes and clothes. The diaper has been changed and the bum cleaned possibly topped with a swipe of cream... the only thing left to do is put the baby down to sleep so you can refill your coffee or dose off yourself.  I loved my moses basket for this stage.  It lived next to my bed, beside the dishwasher (free white noise) or in the living room.  Wherever I was, she was close by - so yes, portable.  It was on a rocker so when she needed a little back and forth we sleepily obliged with a spare finger or toe.  Mostly we propped some books under the one end of the rocker and it helped elevate her head for reflux relief.  

So that is it, my wonderful internet friends.  Essentials only for the first month. There could obviously be more things if you like, but this is meant to be really bare bones. It will go by very fast, then you might need to add a couple things and switch a few items out.  By then, you feel less like you need to be PREPARED and more just that you are surviving, rolling with it and responding to needs.  Additionally, I'm going to publish another list.  So if you're lost, come back here!
(If you're planning on a home birth, check out my handy supply checklist)  

If you managed to get all the way finished with this post, (big clapping emojis) I came across a funny blog post about nursing.  Happy Monday!

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