Top 10 Must-Haves for A Newborn

Newborn girl photography | Lorin Marie Photography

"I just love seeing what first-time mamas-to-be register for. It cracks me up at the amount of unnecessary items they put on there." A mom of 5, nursing her littlest baby boy, shared with me her thoughts on registry ridiculousness.

That was not going to be me, I told myself :) After talking with other experienced mamas, reading many product reviews & baby guides like Lucie's List, we put together our registry for Madison. I have to say, we may have fallen victim to "Look at this baby thing! We MUST need this for Madison!" for a few items but overall, Dean & I regularly use just about everything we registered for & received.

After our first 3 months with Madison (see her newborn session here), I wanted to share what items we used & valued most! As a new mom, I know that everyone has their own thoughts & opinions about what works best for their baby, for their family. These are a few of our favorite newborn items, intended to be a guide for anyone just starting their registry or wondering what to buy for their little one - beyond an infant car seat, stroller, onesies, diapers & wipes :)

Top 10 Must-Haves for A Newborn

Top 10 Newborn Essentials | Lorin Marie Photography

For sleep time:

Newborn Essentials | Lorin Marie Photography

1. Woombie - It's like THE ultimate swaddle of all swaddles in our household. The Woombie is like a baby sleeping bag, complete with a zipper up the front! Ain't NO baby busting out of this swaddle. SO handy for mamas (or dads!) like myself who couldn't quite master the art of swaddling with a regular ole blanket. Madison slept like a dream in her Woombie, til she outgrew it. (Currently, she is in swaddle transition in The Magic Sleepsuit. Yes, it looks & sounds hilarious. Yes, we laugh sometimes when we put her in it. And yes, it really works great!)

2. White noise machine - Oh, white noise. So underrated & unappreciated by the vast majority of the world, until a new baby enters the family. We usually keep our Graco Sweet Slumber Sound Machine on the white noise sound but there are also options for heartbeat, ocean waves & rain, too. We even brought it with us to the hospital when Madison was born - it was great! It's a wall plug-in (no batteries required), easy to transport & also has an MP3 jack if you want to play lullabies or other music from an iPod or your phone. (BONUS: Buy a handy travel version for road trips! We love our MyBaby by Homedics Sound Spa - & for $9.99, it's a great deal).

3. The 5 S's - I first heard about these 5 from Lauryn Galloway's blog before I was pregnant & tucked it away in my to-be-used-in-the-future file in my head. Dr. Karp is a pediatrician & professor of pediatrics who researched & developed an easy-to-remember way to help soothe your fussy baby: Swaddle, Stomach, Shush, Swing & Suck. We weren't sure how effective they would be until we tried it with Madison - so, so helpful! We always swaddle & generally add in some shushing & swinging with Maddie. It does take a few minutes to get her calm but boy oh boy, does it work! But each baby is different with what will help soothe him or her! If you want even more info about it, Dr. Karp does have a book (I read it while pregnant) but you can totally get by just knowing how to do each one. All you visual learns, check out this video to see the Baby Soother in action.


For feeding + diaper time:

Newborn essentials 2 | Lorin Marie Photography

4. Breastfeeding pillow - There are two pretty popular options to choose from - a Boppy or My Brest Friend, both ranging from $30-$40ish. My sister-in-law highly recommended the second pillow, which I snagged from Once Upon a Child for less than $10! Do y'all have those stores near you? So. many. inexpensive. baby. items! While Maddie was teeny, fresh-from-the-womb, I really liked the My Brest Friend because I could easily rest her on the flatter surface of the pillow, compared to a Boppy's rounder style where she seemed to fall through more often. Now that she's older, I think having a Boppy would be a great pillow to nurse with! Plus it doubles a tummy time aid. Score!

5. Portable changing pad - If you buy a diaper bag, it seems like most options come with a handy changing pad. If not, definitely register for one of these! My diaper bag did include a portable pad otherwise I had my eye on this JJ Cole Changing Clutch - stylish & practical! Perfect for diaper changes in the car, at church, out to dinner or wherever you two may travel. Yes, many public restrooms have changing pads but not all. Plus, you don't have to worry about laying out the liner to keep your baby from getting germs. You can just pull out your changing pad & put that over the public one. Easy peasy!


For awake + play time:

Newborn essentials 3 | Lorin Marie Photography

6. Bouncer/rocker of sorts - Ahh there are SO many options for what your baby can rock, bounce, vibrate & swing in! We settled on this great Safari Dreams bouncer by Fisher Price. It wasn't the cheapest option - WalMart has less fancy bouncers - but it has been one of the most used baby items we have! As much as I love to cuddle & snuggle with Maddie, there are times when I need to put her down & she seems most content in this seated position. It's not too upright so it's great for newborn use but it's also perfect to grow with your baby! There are sounds you can play, an overhead mobile with animals & a soothing vibrating option. In the beginning, the noises & vibrations seems to overstimulate her but now at 3 months, that girls LOVES kicking her legs & looking at the animals overhead!

7. Rattle toy - In the first few weeks of Madison's life, there wasn't too much play time since she was such a sleepy head & just adjusting to life in this big world. As she grew though, she absolutely loved looking at her rattle! It's a bright red dachshund puppy that has a clear rattle in his long tummy so as you move it up & down, the rattle shakes back & forth. I can't find the exact version online since hers was a gift from Grammy & Grandpa Fairweather but something with bright colors, sound & good contrast like this Bright Starts Rattle & Shake Barbell is similar & would be great for play time.


For hygiene + bath time:

Newborn essentials 4 | Lorin Marie Photography

8. Medicine kit - For the times when Madison was really colicky or seemed to be extra gassy, we immediately reached for our Little Remedies kit. Gripe water, gas drops, pain reliever & syringes are all included in this kit, plus a canvas carrying case to stash them all in one place. Although we use these meds fairly often, we're not big fans of the nasal aspirator that's included (it's kind of small & flimsy. A larger one they gave us at the hospital works better for us!) or that you need to refrigerate the Gripe Water. It's not listed on the label but thanks to the head's up from experienced mama friends, we knew to keep ours in the fridge. You'd be better off buying a kin that doesn't need to be kept cold, like Mommy's Bliss, when your first bottle runs out so you can easily travel with it.

9. Infant bath tub - As part of Madison's bedtime routine each night we give her a bath. Which in the beginning, when I was super-tired-mama-all-the-time, was a bit difficult towards the end of the day. Having the Summer Infant Deluxe Baby Bather I could set her in made all the difference in the world. It makes it easier to rest your baby & keep a hold of her while cleaning them so you aren't struggling to hold them up & trying to wet them & keep soap out of their eyes & hold their neck up. Goodness, why don't mamas get gifted with more arms when their little ones are born! It's also nice that you can adjust the back rest to go up or down as needed & it's pretty easy to rinse out if your newborn releases her bowels in the tub. Which may happen in our house a time or two :)

10. Bath kneeler - This goes hand-in-hand with #9! Like the cherry on top of a delicious ice cream sundae, the Skip*Hop Moby Bath Kneeler is a lifesaver on your knees! I have to say, we do have a fairly squishy, thick bathroom rug near the tub but even that isn't so comfortable to kneel on after a minute or two. This bath kneeler is comfy, easy to store (we hang ours on a towel rack behind the bathroom door) & cute as can be. That's a win in my book!


For a fantastic budgeting resource, check out Val Marie Paper's budgeting spreadsheet. It's incredibly helpful!

Mamas, I'd love to know - what have been your favorite, go-to newborn items?