5 weeks down and a lifetime to go!
I’m far from a mommy expert and if these first few weeks have taught me anything about motherhood, it’s that once you think you’ve figured something out, your little one will show you that you haven’t. When setting up your baby registry, it’s easy to focus on the obvious must haves – car seat, stroller, etc., but there are a few items that will make life with a newborn easier (and every new mom knows they’ll take their wins, however small, whenever they can) that likely won’t make it to your registry (or any of the registry checklists).
So here’s my list of 12 Newborn Essentials That Won’t Make it to Your Baby Registry (but should, along with a few other tips), so all of you expectant parents can get a head start on parenthood and save yourselves a few panicked Amazon orders in the first hours/days you bring your bundle of joy home.
Wee-Wee Pads/Disposable Baby Changing Pads/Disposable Underpads
As a small dog owner, wee-wee pads have been part of the home for ages, but I had not been introduced to its very many uses until my hospital stay post-delivery. At the hospital, I quickly realized that wee-wee pads were more like wonder-pads with a million uses, including as a liner for the baby’s bassinet (genius! – so long as they’re tucked in tightly). So when we got home, I started laying them down everywhere and ordered stacks more! I’ve found that disposable underpads or disposable baby changing pads are best because of its larger size and rectangular shape. My favorite uses include: (1) as a liner (tucked in tightly of course) to the baby’s moses basket (babies spit up/pee/poop infinitely, so why subject yourself to multiple bassinet sheet washes a day?); (2) on top of the changing table (pees and poops are messy business, so why have all that happen directly onto the changing pad sheet?); (3) on the go in your diaper bag (lay it down on top of any public surface); or (4) any surface that your baby might soil! Sure, things won’t look as pretty with a disposable pad on top, but honestly, who’s looking when you spend most of the day alone with baby. And, I don’t know about you, but I’d do anything to save myself another load of laundry or the need to stockpile more sheets and covers.
Collapsible Dish Pan/Basin
If you cook as much as I do, then the bottom of your kitchen sink sees and collects bacteria and grease that you won’t want commingling with bottles, pacifiers or breast pump parts. To be honest, I never gave the washing process much consideration (other than knowing I needed special baby dish soap) until my seasoned mom pointed out that we needed a clean vessel to separately wash baby stuff. A quick search led me to the cutest collapsible dish pan with drain that I use around the clock and is compact enough when collapsed to put away with ease.
Separate Dispenser for Baby Dish & Bottle Soap
You know you need different soap for baby’s bottles, etc. and you likely have your Boon grass drying rack all set up, but what you might not think of (because I didn’t) is how you’ll be dispensing that giant refill size bottle of soap. If you’re like me and hell bent on maintaining the aesthetic of your home (at least for as long as you can), then go ahead an order a cute dispenser that won’t be an eye sore on your kitchen counter top. We ordered these.
Small Wash Basin
I know you’re thinking – another wash basin? And, the answer is yes (before the baby, I had forgotten about the existence of wash basins, so much so that I didn’t know what keywords to use in my search while looking for one). Baby won’t be getting full baths until her umbilical cord falls off, so you’ll need a basin for sponge baths during the first few weeks. And, even after baby is ready for a full soak, you likely won’t be bathing the little one daily (daily baths can lead to dry skin) and there will be plenty of times you’ll want to give baby a quick refresh/wipe/cleanup. We ordered this super cute collapsible one from babyhood.
Baby Nail File
You’ve probably registered for a baby nail clipper or it’s part of a larger grooming kit, but while your little one is still mini and her fingers seem wigglier and more fragile than anything you imagined, you’ll have to find a way to trim those super sharp/speed growing nails (since you probably will not have worked up the courage to use the nail clipper on those minuscule fingers) and you’ll be glad to have a baby nail file handy.
Swaddling Sacks and Pouches
I’m sure your registry has swaddles, but don’t waste your time on traditional swaddle blankets (except for a few cute ones for aesthetic/photography purposes) and opt for swaddling sacks and pouches that are preshaped with velcro, snaps or zippers. These will make swaddling your super wiggling wee one way easier (especially during overnight changes) while keeping them tightly and safely wrapped for hours. My favorites are from SwaddleMe.
You’ll have ample onesies for baby, but don’t forget to register for enough sleepgowns to get you to the next laundry day. You’ll be so glad to not have to fuss with zippers and snaps during overnight changes. The best are kimono gowns so you won’t have to worry about difficulty pulling them over baby’s head and tiny little arms.
You will need bibs and burp cloths, but why not get one that serves both purposes. The Burby Bibs from Aden & Anais are seriously life changing – drape over baby while feeding and drape over shoulder while burping – pure genius. Also, make sure you have one for each day to get you through your next laundry day.
Hands-Free Pumping Bra, Extra Milk Storage Bottles & Nipples
If you intend to breastfeed and pump, you’ll need three additional breastpump accessories: (1) a hands-free pumping bra; (2) extra milk storage bottles and (3) nipples . It’s hard enough to have to pump around the clock, it’s even harder if you have to sit there holding the darn things. I love my Lanisoh Simple Wishes Hands Free Breast Pump Bra. I’ve also seen other bras that are both nursing and pumping bras, which may even be better, especially if you’re also nursing. If you’re pumping and storing breast milk on a short-term basis (breast milk can be refrigerated for up to 5 days), then save yourself a few extra steps and some cleaning by purchasing extra milk storage bottles so you can instantly pump and store, as well as corresponding nipples so you can feed from the same bottles. I have a Medela pump and the extra bottles and nipples have been a game changer.
I know, bassinets are controversial – arguably, you might not need one at all. But, if you plan to have baby close to you overnight during the first few months, I urge you to get one that rocks. Due to space limitations in our bedroom, we had to find a bassinet that was small enough to fit the narrow sliver between our bed and the wall. Luckily, the gorgeous moses baskets from Design Dua are just the right size and their rocking bassinet stand has come in far handier than I originally envisioned. Whether during naps or overnight, if baby fusses, a little rocking can soothe baby right back to sleep.