project baby {newborn essentials}

as promised, here are my essentials for a newborn. obviously this isn’t everything I needed or used for eloise when she was a teeny babe, but if my memory serves me right, these are the things that helped us tremendously! aaron & I were both pretty adamant about not filling the house with baby gear (& stuff) & we did a pretty good job (& still do).

also, see my pregnancy essentials & post-partum essentials.

{one} swaddle blankets. even if your baby doesn’t like to be swaddled, swaddle blankets still come in handy & have lots of uses: spit-up rag, nursing cover (tie two ends together & slip over your head!), blanket, car seat cover, sun shade, & the list goes on. eloise LOVED to be swaddled (we called her our baby burrito) for those first months. we loved the aden & anais ones, especially the larger size.

{two} Rock N’ Play. we had the standard rock n’play (just had a vibrating function) & it was hands-down the most used piece of baby gear we used. it is lightweight, keeps baby propped up, & cradles baby just a bit. we kept it by our bedside to use as a bassinet (for the first five weeks), used it all over the house as a place to have eloise sleep or hang out (particularly useful when you want to shower & no one else is home), & used it as a travel bassinet when we took a road trip to boise at christmastime. I know the new versions of the rock n’ play include lots of fun features, including self-rocking (!). I don’t know whether we will make the upgrade for any future baby, but we will most definitely be using one of these.

{three} Boppy pillows (nursing & lounger). the Boppy nursing pillow was & has continued to be a lifesaver. I have used the Boppy pillow for nearly every single nursing  session with eloise. even aaron uses it when he gives eloise a bottle. it is also great for newborns when the neck isn’t quite strong enough to make tummy time more than just a face plant (see eloise here). the Boppy newborn lounger was also awesome those first months to give eloise a place to hang out. we used it on our couch a lot & once I started pumping during the day that is where she hung out (before she could roll). we didn’t have a swing (ever) or a bouncy seat (until a few months in) so if we weren’t holding her, she was hanging out in the lounger.

{four} toys for tummy time. it was other mamas who first suggested that I add toys to our baby registry (thanks amanda & kendra!). it never dawned on me that baby might need toys so early, but we definitely used them starting those first few weeks. we had a few early favorites: Oball rattle, loopy rattle, & monkey. I would also suggest some type of mirror. during tummy time, we would hold a toy out in front of her face a few inches, & then move it from left to right & up & down once she started tracking.

{five} mama friends & a community. I didn’t know how isolating being a new mama would be, but it really is. regardless of how you are recovering (from natural birth or c-section) you will likely be home a lot those first weeks (or months). venturing out of the house is important, but it is so much work to get out of the house with a newborn. I feel incredibly fortunate that we have a local organization PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) which I have talked about before. the entire point of the program is to help build your community (your village!) by placing you in a group of other mamas (or parents) who live in your neighborhood & have a child the same age as yours (within a few weeks or months). for 12 weeks I was able to meet with these other new mamas & get out of the house for a few hours on monday morning. if you are expecting a baby, be sure to ask around to see if there are new parent groups (facebook is a good resource) that you could join. on a bit of a related note, setting up a meal train (or having a friend or family member set one up) can be helpful. it is so nice to have food prepared for you & maybe even someone to hold your new babe while you eat (or shower or sleep). & if you aren’t feeling up for visitors, food can still be dropped off at the front door.

{six} baby carrier. baby wearing has been a thing for some time, & aaron & I were both on board with it. I had heard mixed reviews about the Moby wrap so I opted for the K’Tan wrap instead. I used the K’Tan a lot in those early months when eloise was sleeping all day & would nap on me in order to get things done around the house, or just to walk around. the only thing about the K’Tan is that it is sized, so we just got one that fit me (I had an XS). we also got an Ergo carrier because every parent we knew had one & loved it (we had a Nordstrom edition I snagged at last year’s Anniversary Sale). the Ergo 360 was just coming out when I was registering & since it had no reviews, I opted for the well-loved original. we starting using it with eloise when she was just a few weeks old (with the baby insert) & have loved it ever since. it is sturdy & completely hands-free, & aaron & I can both use it (with some adjustments on the straps). I used the Ergo everywhere – the grocery store, walking around Greenlake, vacuuming the floors, window shopping. next time around we will probably try the Ergo 360 (since it allows for front-facing) & the Solly baby wrap (since I have heard good things about it). regardless of what type of carrier you use, definitely try one (or two)!

& lastly, I would recommend a good baby phone app (see here where I talked about the Baby Connect app) & a journal of some kind (or a blog) since those early days & milestones happen so quickly & you just don’t have headspace to remember every little thing!

mamas – what were your essentials for those first few weeks & months?


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