Zeameh turned four months old last week and that officially closes the chapter on the ‘fourth trimester.’ The newborn phase can be straight up hard. There is no magic product on Amazon Prime to change that fact, but there are a few products that make it easier, sweeter and more comfortable. (I should also say-more cute.) After going through the newborn experience three times in the past five and a half years, these are my newborn MVP’s (Ultimate Newborn Baby Essentials)
First of all, be sure to check out my postpartum essentials post here. Postpartum products can make all the difference in those first few months, but this post is all about baby.
The newborn days already feel so far away. I really battle anxiety and that stomach-in-knots feeling when it comes to sleep in those first few weeks. The feeding every three hours, night and day confusion, soreness and straight up zombie exhaustion made me dread feeding time with my first two. Having a three year break between Keogena and Zeameh has been such a gift. There was just plain more grace for the moment. I wasn’t terrified of letting her fall asleep on me, I wasn’t scared of forming bad habits-I just made gentle routines and let her be a baby. Here are the things I would genuinely call crucial for baby sleep in the first 3 (12 for some of these products) months:
Halo Sleeper: We were completely loyal to the Rock n’ Play when the older two were babies. It was a lifeline. I was shaking in my boots when it was recalled last year but thankfully, we had also used the Halo with Keogena and loved its simplicity and accessibility. We move our babies to their own room at 2 months so it’s a bit short-lived, but I still kept it set up in our room for a few weeks so she could nap in there if I needed her to.
Miracle Blanket: This is a must have for us. We’ve used the same one since Oshiolema and Z was the fastest to Houdini her way out of this thing but starting at 3 weeks old, our kids do not sleep without this wrap. Our favorite swaddles work until then, but once 3 weeks hits, they don’t do the trick anymore.
Sleep Sack: I rotate two. For the majority of the year, I use this one which is new to me and one of my favorite baby brands ever. The material is like nothing you’ve felt before (it feels the same as my other favorite, Kickee Pants) and makes the sleepsack transition so smooth because it’s just a dream. We don’t use a merlin sleep sack or the arms-out-first transition method. Just a cold-turkey switch to this. And then when it’s super cold we switch to my favorite wearable blanket we’ve used for both kids until they were legit almost two.
Hatch Sleep: This was a new product I hope lived up to the hype and it DOES. And then some. With my older two I’d turn the lights on completely or turn on bright lamps when it was feeding time and we slept with the light on dim every single night until the baby moved to their own room. It was genuinely the worst sleep of my life. I love the App that comes with this sound machine that allows me to turn a light on (I chose a shade of orange) from my phone and we slept with that on the lowest power in the beginning. I use the app to turn her sound machine off from another room to gently wake her, it’s super easy to travel with and I should probably stop raving about this now but I often say “where has this been all our lives?!”
Baby Bjorn Pack n’ Play: This is incredible. Easiest to set up, most lightweight, and has the best reviews. We took this up to the lake and it worked perfectly. We also keep it in the trunk for whenever we go to my parents and may be staying late so she can go to sleep wherever.
This sheet may not seem like much, but we’ve used it in the kid’s crib since Lema was a baby. These sheets are so soft and someone told me when he was a baby that having a cozy, familiar sheet as a constant helps comfort babies through the transition of travel. I bought a brand new set and will use these in our babies’ cribs forever.
I talk more about my favorite pajamas here in my ‘What I’m Picking up for Baby Number 3‘ post, so I’ll just leave a slider of my favorite pajamas to keep in every size for my babies, as well as the very best pajamas to gift. These are all incredibly soft, irresistibly cozy and the pajamas you wash immediately to put them right back on your babe.
Monitor: We’ve used this monitor since Oshiolema was born and still keep it in Z’s room, but this new monitor has been the absolute best addition to our home. The app that comes with this monitor is the best I’ve seen. This monitor will give us a notification when it senses movement or sound, I can tap the app when I’m not home and see a live feed of her nursery, it records and saves video and also creates clips to music like ‘recent morning pickups’ and ‘milestone: first time sleeping through the night.” I can’t stop raving about this monitor. It’s hands-down my favorite new item for baby.
Be sure to reat the Ultimate Breastfeeding Essentials Post if that’s the route you choose! I’m afraid I’m not much current help in this department this time around, seeing as at 4 months old, Zeameh still doesn’t take a bottle. We made some progress today (!) but every feeding is still directly from me (see my latest breastfeeding essentials post here). The comotomo is my favorite for babies who have a hard time taking a bottle and the latch is my favorite for preventing gas.
Sterilizer: I love this thing. It’s a little bit big but I wasn’t comfortable microwaving the bottles in the sterilizing bags like I did with the older two anymore. This had so many great reviews and was recommended to me so many times I decided to give it a go. I throw pump parts and pacifiers she’s refused on the top shelf and the Haaka and other bottles on the bottom. Quick, clean, sterile.
Burp Cloths: This is the only one I recommend. It’s by the company that makes my favorite swaddles and the shape has the most coverage for those spitty babies–Keogena’s reflux gave me lots of chances to find the best burp cloth out there.
Gear: Sure, we could all do this the way our ancestors did for hundreds of years with not a single item of gear in sight. But MAN am I thankful for these select few items that I call “must haves” for the first few months. Here is the gear I choose to keep in our toolkit.
Bugaboo Stroller: I’ve used this stroller since Oshiolema was a baby and 1. It’s still in perfect condition and 2. After trying out each of the top strollers on the market, this one still ticks all our boxes and is worth the investment ten times over. Bonus-this stroller fan is essential too.
Graco Swing: This gets the most questions on Instagram out of almost all the baby products we use. I love that the top part of the swing can be lifted up and becomes a bouncer. I’ve loved being able to but just the seat in the trunk of our car when we’re going to visit someone or heading on a road trip. It’s genius!
Activity Mat: This is everything I dreamed it’d be. Babies spend so much time on their activity mat- this mat made by Montessori specialists comes with everything you could ever possibly need. It has the black and white cards that help stimulate babies and engage them while they’re still colorblind in the first few weeks, is natural and non-toxic through and through and is the cutest one on the market.
Whale Bathtub: This is my favorite baby bathtub we’ve ever used. It’s a three step tub so once she outgrows the newborn sling, we’ll switch it to the next phase and finally remove the netting completely when she’s old enough. It’s also really cute.
Nuna Pipa Carseat: I don’t have much to say about this one-after thorough research, this is the absolute best carseat for us.
Solly Baby Wrap:> This wrap is a game changer. I love baby wearing and this is my very favorite way to do it.
Ergo Carrier: I’m home and with Z pretty much all the time so I haven’t needed this wrap since I typically use it for the airport or O wears it every once in a while. I do know it’s the best for those environments though and look forward to that happening again!
Swaddles: We use swaddles for everything. To lay under her in the stroller, to actually swaddle her in the first weeks, to shade her from the sun, to lay her on-you name it, a swaddle comes in handy for it. Here are a few of my favorites:
Toys/Entertainment: Babies don’t need tons of toys-their greatest source of entertainment will be you, their hands and their surroundings. These are just the things I’ve found to be the most helpful addition to those most essential items.
Black and White Cards: I talked about these above but these are essential. I started using these when she was a week old and we still use them at some point every day. I love watching her look at these cards and seeing her brain working.
Tummy Time Mirror: Tummy time can be a battle at the beginning (who are we kidding- it can still be a battle at 4 months) so this mirror really helps.
Magic Toy: This is what we’ve always called it. There’s a reason it has 22K positive amazon reviews. Do not find yourself without this toy, just trust me. I’m not sure what wizard put this thing together but it is a guarantee to make babies stop crying. Car rides, plane rides, witching hour…this is your best friend.
Teethers: These become super important around the two or three month mark. I love Sophie, of course, the classic but I discovered Munch Mitts when Keogena was a baby and it’s just the best. They chew their hands so much that it introduces a new texture and sound element to that experience while also providing a more soothing texture for their gums. Here are a few more great teethers:
I’ll leave a list of my favorite places to shop for baby. My goal is for my babies to be dressed sweetly, comfortably and safely. I’m not a big believer in babies having a luxurious wardrobe because the phrase “babies don’t keep” is real. I also don’t believe in having a full fast-fashion wardrobe. I personally incorporate a bit of a mix. Here are my go-to’s: