The world has literally thousands of gadgets and devices that are supposed to make caring for your newborn “easier”. While no one is saying this process is easy, it’s nice to have some help along the way. My wife and I recently experienced the newborn stage for the first time, and we put together a list of the things we thought made the experience smoother and gave a good return for our money.
I’ll break down the products by their use cases, for instance Nap/Sleep time, Play time, and just Everyday usage. So, if you are struggling with a specific time of day, or just feel like something is missing, you can read the part that pertains to you.
At any point if one of the products interest you, just click the photo to be taken directly to Amazon to view the product!
This is the most common topic I see for newborns. It’s all about how to get your baby to sleep and keep them asleep for the appropriate amount of time. While the results may vary based on different research about how the baby should sleep, the products used are often common ground.
There is no replacement for a crib in most standpoints, but that isn’t always feasible, whether it’s a space issue, the baby won’t sleep in the crib, or a multitude of other things. These are the products that made our naps and night times smoother.
This product was heaven sent! It’s cozy, it rocks, this one even vibrates! It was one of few things that could either put my daughter to sleep and keep her that way. It’s easily folded with a single button, so we can take to family and friend’s homes for daytime naps. A big selling point for us was its height. It was a good size for my wife to be able to reach over and get the baby or set her down easily while in bed. This was nice for night time feedings and transitioning her from being held to laying down. We originally had a traditional bassinet but it was actually way too tall and forced my wife to actually get out of bed each time she was getting the baby in and out. Also the Rock and Play was much less startling than trying to lay her flat in the bassinet, which usually woke her up. Some might recommend not using a rock and play sleeper, because it makes the transition to the crib a little harder, and that may be true. However, the first few months are all about mom and baby settling into their new lives, and this made it MUCH smoother for all involved, I highly recommend a Rock and Play Sleeper and this one is the one we use daily!
PSA: Please read all directions and warning on baby products before using. For instance, it is recommended to stop using a Rock and Play Sleeper as soon as your little on can roll over regularly, to reduce risk of hazard. Always be aware of the products you are using!
If you intend to swaddle your baby at any time I recommend you pick up some of these blankets. Swaddling was great for us because our daughter would startle herself awake often without it. We tried many different swaddles including the “easy” ones with Velcro but she hated them and always managed to get at least one arm free. These ones require a little more effort to swaddle your baby, but they have multiple uses. They are very light blankets that you can use as a normal blanket for naps (if you are monitoring your baby). We use ours all the time to cover the furniture to avoid pet hair, and to keep her cozy in her car seat. They don’t make the baby sweat or feel pinned down. Watch a few YouTube videos and you will be a pro in no time at using these blankets to swaddle your baby. Cost efficiency wise these are the best route to go, since once your baby can no longer be swaddled they don’t lose their usefulness.
This one is less generic and will point to a very specific product that my wife and I grew to love. It’s a night light shaped like an egg. This tiny light has 1 button and so many settings. You can do warm white or a brighter cool white option depending on your situation. You can also dim it with finger motions. It was great for the middle of the night when you didn’t want to fully wake anyone up and needed a little light. It puts off a large amount of light if you need it to though. A big selling point is that it’s very portable and makes no sound at all. It has one power button that you can press before bed time, then after that everything is based on finger pressure and motions. You don’t have any pressing of buttons or clicking or switch flipping that could interrupt your babies sleep. My wife absolutely loves this nightlight for nighttime feeding. She can give herself enough light to feed, change, etc. without shocking the baby with too much light. The goal is to keep the baby in nighttime mode and this does the trick! It’s simple but effective which are things greatly appreciated when you are sleep deprived.
Most parents won’t need too much help in this department. This is the bright fun part of your day when your baby is awake and smiling and wanting attention. Generally speaking, your newborn’s favorite toy will be you! Nevertheless, I’ll list a few items that my daughter seemed to enjoy during the newborn stage, or at least gave us some enjoyment watching her try.
The activity mat is a common baby product, and I realize now that it’s for good reason. Babies starting young need a lot of stimulation, and these mats let you “dangle” all sorts of toys and items safely above them. If she gravitates towards a toy you can move it closer so that they can engage it. Also, it’s great for tummy time anywhere in the house. We move ours around like crazy she can lay on the floor in a nice clean environment. One additional note, this item doesn’t end in the newborn stage, it continues through until your little one becomes mobile, and maybe even longer, which makes it a good bang for your buck!
Every baby ends up with a load of books. However even in the newborn stage you can engage your baby by reading to them. You can get soft books that baby can hold and attempt to eat safely. Books are also very good for one on one time where you are both engaged. Holding your baby and reading a book to them really makes you feel like a parent, and it’s something you get to do for the years to come! We love our hard board books for our daughter who is past the newborn stage, but I’ll recommend some soft ones for baby to listen and love on.
I’m not talking about the rings you stack on top of each other that every family has. I’m talking about rings that are thin enough for the baby to squeeze. Hard plastic ones or ones that rattle, or even fuzzy ones all work. If your baby is anything like my daughter she likes to hold stuff in her hand and becomes frustrated when she can’t grip it. So, we have a few toys that have a plastic ring on them she can, grab and never let go. It keeps her much more engaged in the toys and play time, and less upset. It also seemed to help her hand eye coordination when she hit the “let me put everything in my mouth phase”. She knew there was something in her hand, and that she had the ability to move it. Some of the other toys would be to big and when she tried to move them towards her face she would drop them and get upset. The rings are a nice toy to have and come in a multitude of varieties.
These are a few products that I noticed us using day in and day out that I feel were either very helpful, or may go unnoticed, or taken for granted. It’d be impossible to list everything we use daily, but you keep coming back to (or running out of) certain items, those are the ones I am listing here for you.
You may have gotten this far, and now you are thinking “burp cloths? Obviously, we have those”. Well let me tell you… you may not have enough. If I had to guess, I’d say we had about 15 burp cloths in total when the baby came home. Well at the end of day 2, we had zero clean burp cloths. We had no intentions of doing the baby’s laundry every two days, so this seemed crazy. We went through them so fast, between wiping spit bubbles and spit up, and anything else that ends up on your baby, they go quick. While we may have been extra careful as first-time parents and got a new cloth more often then needed we still went through a large amount a day. I’d recommend you stock up on these bad boys, since they are relatively cheap. We ended up buying 20 more from a yard sale for 3 bucks!
This one will obviously depend on your stance on pacifiers. If you decide that you are leaning towards pacifiers, then I recommend picking up a Wubbanub. They are basically a small animal attached to a pacifier. They add some weight so that it’s harder for baby to spit out the pacifier, it will stay in place instead of falling by their side. The weight can make baby feel more secure, and the big one… It is much hard to lose the small stuffed animal than a pacifier alone. We had 6 normal pacifiers at the start and had to go searching every week for them. We always knew where the Wubbanub was. They are relatively inexpensive and they make baby look even cuter!
You may not find all these items to useful, but they are a good starting point when deciding what to get for your newborn. Many factors can decide what you buy, and what you register for as well. Our motto was, “if we want it, but don’t think we need it, register for it.” This helped us because we felt secure knowing that items we found crucial we purchased ourselves, but if we were on the fence we had a chance, but it wasn’t a big deal. If you have used any of the products or end up buying any of them after reading this, feel free to comment down below and let me know what you think! I’d love to hear any feedback and to see if you fellow parents had the same experiences we had.
Thanks for reading!