We all want sleep and we always hear “you will never sleep with a newborn”, but I don’t think that is always true. Here are the top items that I feel are necessities those first few months. I attempt to keep every item gender neutral which is helpful if you plan on having more than one kiddo.
- Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Quick Connect Portable Seat Deluxe, Diana (Amazon ~$200)
- Finding a pack n’ play to add your your registry is overwhelming. Everybody/baby and their mama has an opinion of what you need as far as a bassinet. If you have space in your bedroom, I highly recommend this one. Not only will it grow with your baby, but it serves multiple functions, which saves money. Yay! This can be your baby bassinet, a removable nap station, a changing table, a play pen, and its super easy to break-down and travel with you anywhere. I personally like the neutral patterns and colors, so it fits in with your home instead of standing out like an eye sore. This particular model has a 3 hole storage bin on the side which is nice for wipes, diapers and misc. baby items.
- Baby Bassinet or Pack n’ Play? Great question! One of my mom friends spent $150+ on a brand new bassinet that swivels and looks super modern and cute. It’s a sweet photo op., but her baby would never sleep in it. By around 3 months, her little one was too large for the bassinet and she had only slept in it a few times. My recommendation is to just buy a pack n’ play that will continue to come in handy for many years, not a few months and skip buying a bassinet.
- Dream On Me 3″ Playard Mattress, White – For Pack N’ Play (Amazon ~$42)
- This mattress pad is the perfect size for the pack n’ play and gives baby a soft, but firm space to sleep on.
- Pack n’ Play Mattress Pad Protector (Amazon ~$13)
- You always need a mattress protector because when it happens, it happens in the middle of the night. Diaper blow-outs in the middle of the night are not fun, but this keeps a level of protection so changing sheets, pajamas and swaddles are the only thing you have to do.
- Mom Tip: My friend Jessie told me always have 2 protectors and 2 sheets on the bed. That way at 3 AM when you baby pees in the bed or spits up, you just take the top sheet +protector off and you lay that baby back down.
- Pack n’ Play Sheets (Amazon ~$20 for 2)
- You need more than 1 sheet on hand for the pack n’ play if this is where your baby will sleep. Again, midnight blow-outs are inevitable and you need a clean sheet to swap out so you can get that sweetie right back in a ‘clean’ bed.
- SwaddleMe Zip Up Swaddle (2 pack) (Amazon ~$25)
- Okay, so these things were life savers for us! We did use the SwaddleMe Velcro swaddles, but our little one likes her hands by her face so she would pull her arms up and out and wake up screaming. Not fun! The velcro is loud and it scratches skin, so that is why I recommend the zip up version. I would go ahead and get the (NB) newborn size and the 0-3 month size. Brooke didn’t love swaddles at first, but stay consistent and they will begin to love the cocoon feeling. I know it makes them look like little straight jackets, but it is for the best.
- Aden & Anias Silky Soft Swaddle Blankets (2 pack) (Amazon ~$22)
- Another mama friend of mine (who has 3 little girls) suggested these and she was right, they are wonderful. Ensure they are the “silky soft” version because with every wash they become more snuggly and soft. They are large and thin and can be wrapped up to become thicker to keep your baby warm. These are great for keeping warm, clean up, covering up, and the list goes on…
- Philips AVENT Soothie Pacifier, 0-3 Months, Green, 4 Pack (Amazon ~$10)
- I wasn’t in a rush to offer my newborn a “Paci” because I honestly think that first month every cry was her telling me she was hungry. Also, if the baby is breastfed, Paci’s can create nipple confusion since the baby sucks differently. (When breastfeeding, your nipple actually stretches to the back of the babies mouth. Sorry for the graphic, but it makes sense.) I introduced a Paci around 1 month and use it just to soothe her when going down for a nap or at nighttime. Okay…and maybe sometimes during the day when she gets fussy. Life saver when you don’t want your baby to use you as the Paci. Some people tell you to buy more than 1 brand or paci type; however, I only purchased these and Brooke seemed to like them just fine.
- White Noise Machine (Amazon ~$30)
- You MUST get one of these. I had no idea what the big deal is with a sound machine. I was one of those who said I didn’t want my baby to rely on a noise to sleep. “She was going to be a great sleeper”. Well, the womb is loud and babies need noises that mimic the womb (think heart beating, blood bumping, digestive track, etc.) We bought one before she was born to get use to the noise that would be in our room. We actually slept better and now have one for our room and one for hers (when we move her to the nursery). It will be a game changer and help baby (and y’all) sleep longer.
- Zip-up Pajamas, Simple Joy by Carter’s, 3 pack (Amazon~$25)
- Do not, I repeat, do not buy button down sleepers. At 3 am, the last thing you want to do is wonder which button on the left fits the button on the right. The “dress” sleepers aren’t fun to put on and off because of all of that fabric you have to pull over babe’s head. Trust me, zippers are the way to go.
- The Original Cushy Closer Door Cushion (Amazon ~ $11)
- Very helpful when you just put baby to sleep and you don’t want the door closing to wake them up. It’s a “soft close” feature that we will use for many years.
Okay mama! Those are the top items that I say are “necessities” for sleeping and napping. I know some families are in to bed-sharing, but I feel that my little one doesn’t sleep as good (it’s like sleeping in the kitchen) and I know I don’t actually rest because I’m scared I’ll roll over on her. Good luck mama!
So, the first few weeks are just going to be rough. Your little one still has their days/nights mixed up and they more than likely are eating every 2 – 3 hours. I swear I was a zombie the first 5 weeks. At 1 month and 2 weeks old, Brooke finally slept more than 4 hours at a time. By 2 months, she was sleeping 6 hours at once and by 3 months, she was up to 10 – 11 hours at night. Yay!! You start to feel like yourself around month 3, but until then, just stick with it and sleep when your baby is asleep if you can.
Here are some things we learned along the way…
- See & Hear. Set the mood. Close the blinds/curtains, turn off all lights, start the noise machine and turn on the ceiling fan. We turned the bathroom light on so we could see for diaper changes, but you really want to keep the room dark.
- Another goal here is to not make eye contact. That is enough stimulation for baby not to want to go back to sleep. It’s play time, right?
- Smell. Lay one of your worn t-shirts flat on the mattress – Your baby is comforted by your smell and they might be tricked to thinking they are sleeping on their mama.
- Touch. Put a heating pad or warm water bladder on the mattress and remove before putting baby down – Your baby loves being warm.
- Follow the 5 S’s.
- Swaddle – wrapped up tightly reminds them of the womb
- Side/Stomach in parents arms – curled up so they are held tightly
- Shush – supposedly the “shushing” noise sounds like our blood rushing
- Swing or sway is a nice way to “rock” baby to sleep
- Suck – a paci, a boob or their finger, this is how they relax.