Newborn Checklist (The First Two Weeks)
What you REALLY need for those first few weeks at home with a newborn - with links to shop. I’ve broken it down into Sleeping, Feeding, Diapering, Bathing, Getting Dressed, and Other Items. Whether you’re on a budget (babies are expensive!) or just want to know what’s important and what’s not - this list breaks down what is needed for bringing baby home.
We just welcomed our first baby two weeks ago! So this is fresh in my mind and I figured I would share what we couldn’t live without. Yes, you will need more stuff as the baby grows, but these are the bare bones essentials you should have on hand when you get home from the hospital.
Designing the nursery for baby? Check out my post on a Gender Neutral Nursery.
Let’s start with the most important thing: trying to get some sleep! Those first few sleepless nights with a newborn are inevitable. As is continuously Googling “how to get a newborn to sleep”. Trust me, I searched it many, many times.
What I found is there are a few things that help a newborn sleep for longer stretches at a time (say, 2-3 hours) vs. sleeping for only one hour or less at a time. The most helpful sleep methods I have seen referenced over and over are Moms on Call and Taking Cara Babies. We personally started with the Moms on Call book and so far it has been very successful! The baby is sleeping for 3 hour stretches each night and only waking to feed - yay!
Here is what we use for bedtime.
Swaddle Blanket - Using the Moms on Call method, we are using a flannel-type blanket that is about 38” x 38” square (they recommend a bit larger, but this is what we had on hand). The size and weight of the swaddle is important. Or at least, it was important for our baby. The gauze swaddles just didn’t stay put through all of the wiggling the baby does throughout the night. The key is to keep the baby’s arms secured to his sides, so he doesn’t wake up from that Moro Reflex (where their arms jerk into the the air). Get a large enough size blanket that allows you to swaddle correctly.
Sound Machine - We are using the Hatch Baby and only use the white noise setting for bedtime and it works like a charm. I think it’s even helping me sleep better! I do find the other water sounds to be relaxing, so sometimes we will put those on before bed or for nap time. Plus, you can control how much light that the Hatch Baby gives off. Making it perfect for those middle-of-the-night diaper changes.
Bassinet Sleeper - Ok, I thought we needed some fancy bassinet with vibration settings and such. But in all honesty, the baby hated the first bassinet sleeper we bought. So one night, in desperation, we used the UPPAbaby bassinet that we bought for the stroller. We knew the baby had napped in it before on our walks in the park. And - surprise! - the baby slept MUCH better in the UPPAbaby bassinet. So we now use that bassinet with a stand next to our bed. Was it the plan? No. But It’s simple and it works. And the best part? When we travel, we planned to use the UPPAbaby bassinet for sleeping, as well. So hopefully the baby won’t even be phased!
Owlet - Let’s just say, I sleep like a baby (no pun intended) with the Owlet on my baby’s foot. Listen, as a new parent, you are going to stare at your baby for hours to make sure they are still comfortable / well-fed / breathing. But the Owlet sock gives me a little extra peace of mind. I’ve been able to fall into deep sleep during those three hour stretches. Instead of being in a half asleep / half awake limbo, worrying about baby. Tip: the Owlet sock kept falling off of the baby’s foot the first few nights, since he was so small. We learned if you put an every day sock on top of it, it stays in place all night! It hasn’t been an issue since.
We also have the Owlet video monitor in the nursery. But right now, baby is sleeping in our master bedroom so we aren’t using that feature yet.
For us, these items make the perfect sleep combination right now. We stayed overnight at my Grandma’s house when baby was 11 days old and we brought all of the above things with us. Baby slept great - just like we were at home!
I’m breastfeeding right now, so this is what I have needed so far and it is pretty minimal. I am sure this will change as I pump more and try to bottle feed or add in formula.
Nursing Bras - My favorite nursing bras are from Target. I bought the black and nude combo pack and I love them! They look pretty good under tank tops and are low enough to go under a v-neck shirt. They are soft and functional. I honestly haven’t worn anything else yet!
Button Down Tops for Mom - You will need some button down or zip up tops that are super easy to undo and feed on demand. It is such a hassle to have a shirt or sweater that you need to lift up from the bottom. Believe me, I’ve tried and been highly annoyed. These cotton button-downs that tie at the bottom are super popular right now and are PERFECT for breastfeeding. I’d say get one in every color!
I have this long sleeve v-neck rib knit shirt below in grey from Target. I love it! I actually wore it when I was 9 months pregnant and it still fits great now (20 pounds later / 2 weeks postpartum)! I also found a similar style on Amazon below.
Nipple Butter - Trust me, if you are a first time breastfeeder, you will need the nipple butter in your life! Not only need, but you will appreciate it. I lather this stuff on every night at a minimum. This is the exact brand I am using and I love it.
Breast Pump - You might not end up using the pump in the first few weeks, but you will definitely use it later (if you ever want to sneak away from baby for more than 1 hour). I have tried pumping all of three times in the last few weeks and I don’t have much to show for it just yet. Apparently this is normal! So new moms, don’t freak out when you aren’t getting much supply from pumping. The more you pump, the more successful you’ll be. I also would recommend getting a hands-free pump if you are a multi-tasker. Mine is not hands-free which was driving me crazy. But now I am using my pumping time to catch up on Netflix and Bravo :)
That is it, as far as breastfeeding goes right now. The Docs and Pediatricians keep assuring me that there is plenty of time to pump later on and bottle feed. So we are keeping it simple and it’s working for us right now. As I mentioned, I am slowly introducing the pump because I want to be able to have a bit more freedom in a few weeks. We will see how that goes!
Multiple Changing Stations - This is a great idea if you have a multi-level home (like we do). Usually parents put one changing area on each floor of the house. We have our main changing area in the nursery. We have the second changing area in our master bedroom, for those midnight diaper changes. I just bought a felt caddy from Amazon and stuffed it with diapers, wipes, baby powder, lotion, and a few swaddles. It sits on the bench at the foot of our bed and has worked really great! It is only temporary, so nothing fancy was needed. This is the exact caddy we have in our bedroom and it works great (I took that keychain off of it).
Newborn Diapers - We are using a combination of Pampers Swaddlers Newborn Size and Honest Newborn Size. We received both at our baby showers and I made it a point to try using them both unless I noticed any irritation on baby’s skin. So far, so good! I really like both brands. The Pampers Swaddlers are unbelievably soft. And the Honest diapers have the cutest designs. You’ll need a bunch of diapers: some for every changing station and some for your diaper bags. We typically go through 8-10 diapers a day right now. Go for the big boxes - you’ll use them!
Wipes - It is best to get sensitive and/or unscented wipes. Especially for a newborn. You’ll also need a bunch of these for the same reasons as the diapers. We tend to use wipes for small messes around the nursery and sometimes wiping baby’s face, as well! Here is what we are using.
For diapering, that is pretty much all we use right now. We haven’t had any issues with diaper rash so we haven’t introduced baby powder or any balms (yet).
Note on Circumcision: If you have a boy and you are getting him circumcised, the nurses will tell you to use some Vaseline and gauze on the area at every diaper change until it is fully healed. The hospital sent us home with plenty of supplies and we didn’t need to buy anything. We added those items to our diaper caddies for about 1.5 weeks until it was fully healed. I was worried the baby would be in pain, but I didn’t notice any difference in his mood during the diaper changes. All went well!
I assumed we would be giving baby a bath every night, but that is just not necessary with a newborn. First, the hospital will explain that you can’t fully submerge baby in bathwater until the umbilical cord falls off (generally takes 1-2 weeks). Second, newborns already have pretty sensitive and dry skin. Too many baths can irritate their skin more. We opted for two sponge baths in the first week.
Right now we are doing bath time - in the tub - every other night. Bath time was a bit daunting to me at first. But let me tell you - it is so CUTE! Just be confident. And have a towel ready to transport the slippery baby post-bath.
Infant Bath - We use this really simple infant bath that fits into our bath tub. It has been working great! When we fill the tub, the water barely covers 1/2 inch of the lowest part of this tub. Meaning, baby’s bottom is slightly submerged and we use the washcloth to get the rest of him wet and scrubbed.
Washcloths & Towels - We have a few washcloths and hooded towels from Burt’s Bees - they are super soft and cute!
Shampoo & Body Wash - We are loving this Honest combination body wash and shampoo. I will admit - I accidentally dripped some in the baby’s eye the other day and I waited for the blood curdling scream. And…nothing! It must not have stung at all, which makes me really happy. It’s difficult to control where the soap goes on a wiggly baby! We just use the washcloth for the body wash. And we use this Frida Baby silicone brush for shampooing his hair. I have heard great things about this brush, especially for babies with cradle cap.
FOR GETTING DRESSED
Honestly, the simpler the outfit the better. We are currently sticking to plain onesies, socks, and a hat. The baby is either in a short sleeved or long sleeved onesie pretty much all of the time. It is so much harder to change a diaper when the baby is wearing footie onesies right now. At night, a short sleeve onesie keeps him from getting too hot with the swaddle. We haven’t found many pants that fit a newborn (under 7 pounds) so we are skipping pants and just using socks! If we go outside, I put a little hat on him and bring a warm blanket for his car seat or stroller. Keeping it easy! It has been working great. Especially because we didn’t know the gender until he was born. So our clothes are minimal and we don’t have a ton right now. I imagine we will buy more things once he is a bit bigger.
OTHER THINGS WE USED IN THE FIRST TWO WEEKS
Nail Trimmers - We trimmed baby’s nails on Day 1 and already need to trim again two weeks later. Get the electric trimmer! It is SO much easier than using traditional nail clippers. This is the one we have and it worked perfectly the first time we used it.
Vitamin D Drops - recommended by our Pediatrician as the only supplement the baby needs right now while I am breastfeeding.
Non Scented Lotion - Babies shed a ton of skin in the first few weeks - who knew? After one week, I started lotioning some of the dry spots around his ankles and hands with non-scented Honest lotion.
And that’s about it! If you are about to have a newborn at home just remember - you got this! You’ll prepare as much as you can, but the rest will make for fun stories and memories along the way :)