It’s taken a while to get another post up, but I’ve been working on this one for the past few weeks. Definitely ended up being longer than I expected! Haha. Hope you guys like it
Even though my own daughter is not a baby anymore, I’m currently surrounded by all things “newborn” because a very good friend of mine is having a baby in a few months. I have the enormous pleasure of helping to plan her baby shower! Besides being so much fun, and also brings me back to when I was getting all prepared for the arrival of our little one. I can’t believe how long it’s been! Anyway, seeing as I have babies on the brain right now, I thought this might be a good time to compile a list of “newborn essentials” for the blog!
Of course, “essentials” is a very relative term, since each lifestyle and parenting style will warrant very different set of what is considered essential, right? So to clarify, this is a list of what we considered to be essentials and/or extremely helpful for our baby, our lifestyle and our parenting style. Most of the things on this list are things that we used ourselves with our baby, and a few are things that we wish we had had!
One of the best pieces of advice that I received when getting ready for the baby was to take it slow. Each baby is different, and you never really know what your and your baby’s wants and needs will be until you’ve had some time together to adjust to the new routine. So my advice is to start with the bare essentials and then go from there, getting what you need as you go along. Believe me, you will have plenty of time to get stuff, even after the baby comes!
I was pretty shocked after I put this list together, though–even just the “essentials” is actually quite a lot of stuff! Haha. So brace yourselves for a really long post. Hope you guys find it helpful and fun, and please feel free to ask any questions in the comments!
(*Small disclaimer: some of the stuff on this list I haven’t been able to find in Argentina, but I included it because I truly love and recommend them. But most of the items are either available here or you can get similar versions here!)
1. Onesies and wrap shirts: our baby lived in onesies for the first few months. Make sure you get ones with a wide hole for the head, it will make your life much easier! Wrap tops are also pretty useful and practical. Again, Kom, CottonPom (organic), Galo y Her and Pepa y Limón.
2 and 4. Baby accessories like socks, booties and hats: since babies don’t walk, they don’t really need shoes (although there are some adorable baby shoes out there. I mean seriously!). But socks and booties are important to have to keep the feet warm and cozy. Booties are great cause you can tie them to keep them on! Hats are good for sleep time and outings, but best when they are a bit elastic. Haven’t really seen any particularly cute ones here though. Have you?
3. Baby leggings: we definitely used a ton of different baby leggings. They are soft and flexible and generally pretty easy to pull on and off for changes. Some great places for them here in Argentina are CottonPom (organic), Galo y Her and Pepa y Limón.
5. Snap pajamas, sleep gowns and sleeping bags: these are useful for easy access to the diaper area for night changes, and he sleeping bags for keeping the baby warm if they tend to kick off their blankets at night. Kom and Lalabai have cute stuff.
6. Sweater: especially is you have a winter baby, but always helpful to have at least 1 or 2 light sweaters for leaving the house. Paula Cahen D’Anvers often has some nice ones.
7. Aden & Anais swaddle blankets: I don’t think I can overstate how awesome these things are. You’d never guess a simple piece of muslin could be so useful! We started using them to swaddle and they quickly became her favorite, eventually turning into her special “blankie”. Good thing we have 4, since we have to change them out often!
8. Sheepswool blanket: I had heard so much about the benefits of sheepskin rugs, mattress/ stroller pads etc, but was reluctant to get one. However, I recently came across this sheepswool blanket, which appears to have all the great benefits (for example warm in winter/cool in summer, anti-bacterial, water resistant, doubles as playmat, therapeutic), but is not a hide, as the wool is sheered (humanely, apparently) and then attached to cotton. So seems to be a great product! No idea where to get something like this here. Any thoughts?
TOYS AND BOOKS
9. Sleep Sheep On the Go: We really liked this little sheep. Our baby was generally a good sleeper, but I like to think that it helped creating a soothing environment for sleep time, became part of our sleep routine, became a reassuring sight and sound when sleeping away from home and also created a little “buffer” to muffle outside noises.
10. Wooden teether and rattle: both teethers and rattles are quite useful, especially later on, but the texture, shape and sounds made by the wood are great for both newborns and older babies.
11 and 12. Art for Baby and TouchThinkLearn series. I totally love the TouchThinkLearn books. They are beautiful! The series, by Xavier Deneux, is bright and colorful but elegant, the images are simple but also have some complexity to them, they have great use of positive and negative space as well as texture in order to engage a baby’s many senses. In Argentina, you can get them at Cúspide, and I’m sure other book stores as well. And the Art of Baby book was also a great buy. It appears that newborn babies are very attracted to high contrast images, such as those in black and white, as they are not yet able to distinguish more nuanced colors. This book is also great because it comes with panels of the artworks that you can hang up on the walls of your house. Our baby would stare at them a lot!
13 and 14. Wooden developmental toys and fun stuff: This set of Waldorf/Montessori baby toys includes a dangling bell that the baby reaches for to ring, teething rings, a dangling ring, also for reaching, wooden beads and a rattle. You can read more about the toys at the link, and a bit more about Montessori principles here and here. A lovely and simple wooden ring with colorful ribbons also makes a great toy, offering multi-sensory fun, distraction and creative possibilities. Also seems like a relatively simple DIY, no? Haven’t seen things like this here, but Tienda Ludus has some great wooden toys.
1. Diaper bag: We got one of these Skip Hop Duo bags and it’s great. My favorite thing about it is that it has special straps to attach easily to the handles of the stroller, which is super useful! I love all the pattern options it has too, and lots of compartments for all the baby things you will take with you. Here, I’ve seen that Globba and Happy Little Moments make nice ones.
2. Car seat: We don’t have a car, so we debated whether or not we needed one of these. But in the end we decided that it was important to have. I’d recommend getting a convertible one (ours was not), so that you don’t have to get a separate chair when the baby turns into a toddler.
3. Stroller: I pretty much went crazy looking for the right stroller for us. I read pages and pages of reviews, hours of research, all without really knowing what is going to work for you and you baby. I finally found one that seemed like it would be a great fit for us. It was the Baby Jogger City Mini, available in Argentina. I liked the sturdiness of the 3-wheel design, with large rubber tires and suspension, which would help us navigate the highly irregular sidewalks of Buenos Aires. It also has the easiest folding mechanism I have ever seen for a stroller. The hood is extra large and with two windows, and the storage underneath is a good size. The stroller is a bit large, but I have generally not had too much trouble with the size. I would recommend measuring it against your elevator before getting it, though!
4. On the go changing kit: This would have been quite useful. Great to have in the diaper bag so that you have all your supplies together and ready to go for changing time, and also great to slip into your purse so you don’t have to take the entire diaper bag for smaller outings. Here, I’ve seen that Baby Piac makes cute ones.
5. Stroller pad: we got one of these from El Buhito and loved it, especially in the new born stage, because it gives a bit of extra padding comfiness to our City Mini, which is not terribly padded. As our baby got older, i wasn’t really necessary, but nice to have in the beginning.
6. Mama Loba baby wrap: this is the Argentine version of the Moby wrap and it’s excellent. I used mine every single day. We hardly ever used the stroller when we went out unless we knew we were going to be out for a long time or going a long way. My baby spent a lot of time in this and would often take 4 hour naps in it while I did other stuff. Absolutely loved having her so close to me and it seems that she did too! The benefits of baby carriers are many, and you can read more about them here, if you’re interested. I can’t recommend it enough! Just make sure that you get one that keeps the baby’s legs bent and supported (not dangling), and is not forward-facing, as there can be serious damage to he baby’s hips. Llevame Cerca is another brand that makes great baby carries, but these are in the Mei Tai style.
7. Wet bag: definitely a must have if you’re using cloth diapers. this is where you keep the dirty diapers until they are ready to go in the wash! The one we got is from Planet Wise and has been very useful, but I love this chevron line from SkipHop (can you tell?)
8. Diaper sprayer: Super useful to help remove the poop from the cloth diapers! This one from bumGenius seems to be pretty easy to install, but we were lucky to have one already installed in our bathroom. Score!
9. Liniment “oleo calcareo”: I had never heard of this until living here, but everyone here uses this mix of olive oil and calcium to clean newborn bottoms. Natural and gentle, we continued to use this with our baby even past the newborn phase. I have also recently discovered that this can also be used as a cleansing oil for the entire body (which makes sense) and is good for babies with skin conditions like eczema. Lots of brands make it here, including Ewe, Estrella and Farmacity brands, and I have heard that the Parafarm brand is really good. Just make sure you’re getting the straight up “oleo calcareo” and not the cleaning lotion based on (“a base de”) oleo calcareo. Definitely made that mistake
10. Cloth diapers: We decided to go with the bumGenius All-in-One cloth diapers. They are soft, absorbent and really practical because the whole thing goes in the washer and you don’t have to stuff and unstuff constantly. However, if you’re using them in Argentina, make sure you also get special laundry detergent. I thought I was doing it right using very little of the gentlest baby detergent here (Woolite Bebé), but I ended up with ripped up diapers after 1 year. In the last couple of years there have been a few brands of cloth diapers similar to these here in Argentina. I haven’t tried them, but they look nice. The ones I know of are Econatural Bebé, GoGreen, Ecolitas.
11. Cloth baby wipes: we got a bunch of these and they were quite useful for a number of situations: used as wipes or diaper changes, washcloths, burp cloths, general cleanup cloths. Good stuff.
12. Puj Tub: SUCH a great product. This is a soft, flexible tub that fits into most bathroom sinks so that you can easily bathe your newborn. It keeps its shape in the sink using magnets to keep it together, and unfolds into a thin mat you can hang up and take up very little space. Both my baby and I loved it. I have found something similar made here in Argentina by Wity Wity, available at Espacio Maternelle.
13. Baby towel: there is one made by Puj and it has a strap so that the towel hangs around your neck so you dnt get wet when picking the baby up after the bath. Totally brilliant and wish I had had it! I have seen a hands free baby towel here, but it doesn’t appear to be available anymore, unfortunately. But I imagine it’s not too difficult to make yourself, you’d just have to sew on a loop of fabric at the top to go over your head! The one pictured is from Tienda Más Chicos, and here is a cute one from Picnic.
14. Nursing pillow and baby lounger: A nursing pillow was very useful to have in the first few months, when baby and I were still trying to get used to nursing, but after a while we stopped needing it. We had one that tied around my waist, which was a bit annoying because of having to tie it all the time, and because it would loosen easily, but on the other hand, it made no noise when I took it off when the baby would fall asleep, as snaps or velcro would. I also improvised a bit and made the pillow into a lounger. And then I discovered that Vincul-Arte makes a multiuse pillow which you can use as a lounger too
15. Dria nursing cover: another amazing product I totally love and always recommend. This is a nursing cover that looks nothing like a nursing cover. Super cute, it can be used as a poncho or short, pregnant or not, as well as a stroller or car seat cover. It doesn’t get easily wrinkled and the fabric is soft and breathable, so the baby doesn’t get too hot under it. The hole for your head is also pretty wide so that you can easily peek in to see the baby while nursing.
16 and 17. Nursing tops, nightgowns and bras: Very useful to have as they allow easy access for nursing, but there’s no reason why they can’t be cute!
18. Baby healthcare and grooming kit: We got a smaller version of this, but I like this one a lot. It has all the necessary instruments you might need, like a thermometer, bulb aspirator, baby safe nail clippers, hair brush and comb, and more. Super practical. You can probably put one together on your own, though
19 and 20. Natural baby and cleaning products: We try as much as possible to minimize the amount of chemicals our baby is exposed to, so we try to use natural baby and cleaning products when we can. Unfortunately, the options for natural baby and cleaning products here are quite limited. We use some Burt’s Bees products (got them in Chile) and make most of our own cleaning products, usually. I have never tried California Baby or Honest Company, but I have heard a lot of good things about them and would love to give them a try one day! Here, I’ve heard that Weleda makes pretty good natural baby products.
21. Baby Book: I was pretty terrible about keeping track of all the the baby things, taking the monthly photos, etc, but I love this Moleskine baby book! It’s modern and grown up, which I love because this is something that is more for me right now (rather than for the baby), and that I will show to my daughter when she is older, and this is definitely more my style, haha.
22. Bio oil: I used this quite often and i did get quite a few stretch marks, but they are not that noticeable. Can I say it was thanks to this? Not for sure, but there you have it!
23. Baby ESP app: This app was really key for at least the first 6-9 months. It lets you keep track of when the baby eats, sleeps, poops and more. The genius of it is that it helps you identify patterns and remember things that you normally would not, especially with your new “mommy brain”! It will help you figure out if your baby’s sleep patters and if they are sleeping enough between all the naps and night wakings, your baby’s pooping patterns (very important to gauge health!), and nursing patterns, all of which will help you keep track of their health, keep your doctors informed and help you plan your days, including predicting when you might be able to get some time for yourself!
24. Post-partum wrap: I can’t tell you how much my mother insisted that I get one of these. The one pictured actually seems kind of comfortable, but I got mine at some random garment store (the tightest one they had, actually, thanks to my mother! Haha) and could not wait to take it off. Of course, I can’t guarantee, as I have nothing to compare to, but I do feel like it helped.
Oh, and some massages wouldn’t hurt, either!
1 and 2. Bookcase and storage boxes: you need somewhere to keep all the toys and books, and with the help of a few storage boxes, such as the ones from Krethaus, Picnic or Cosa Bonita, an open bookcase like this one is ideal. It keeps all the toys organized but also accessible to the little ones. The one pictured is the Oeuf Mini Library, but Booh Muebles makes a really similar one here in Buenos Aires! For boxes, you can also check Falabella or some wicker ones from Once work well too!
3. Mobile: this could go in the toys section, but I added it here. mobiles are great for newborns and this is a lovely one made by Argentine designer KasaDesign. STU and Coucou have have lovely ones.
4. Night light: This is more for you than the baby, since having a soft light will definitely help you from painfully bumping into furniture during those late night diaper changes! This awesome bear night light is available at Pehache.
5 and 7. Dresser and changing pad: a great place to keep all the clothes, diapers and other supplies, and also doubles as a changing table with the simple addition of a changing pad! The changing table/pad might not be totally essential, as you can really change a baby anywhere, such as your bed or the floor, but I liked having a designated place where all the tools were easily accessible. We got our lovely one from El Corral Muebles, and the one pictured is also by KasaDesign. Love it!
6. Co-sleeping cot: Our baby slept in a little cot next to our bed for the first 8 months, but my dream was to have a co-sleeper like this. And since our baby went from the cot straight to a Montessori style floor bed, we never even got a crib, which I guess makes it a “non-essential” for us! haha. Arm’s Reach makes some nice, affordable co-sleepers, while Bednest makes beautiful ones, but search the internet and you will find tons of options, including dome DIY versions, which I’m sure you could get made if you lack carpentry skills. This lovely cot pictured is made by Argentine company Good Wood for Glow. Booh Muebles and Cozlip also make some.
8. Rocker: We had a regular, non rocking chair in our nursery, but I feel like I would have liked having a rocking chair, even if we usually nursed on my bed or the couch. I love the simple Scandinavian design by Good Wood for Glow, which also has a small footprint which is great for small spaces like ours. However, I do wonder how comfortable it is!
9. Rug: We decided to go for a nice area rug for our baby’s room. There are some nice options at Okko, for example.
10. Laundry bag: oh, laundry. One of my very many housekeeping weaknesses. But having a cute laundry bag does make the absolutely endless piles of laundry a little easier to bear. Enter Prynt.
Everyone will tell you: You can never really be fully prepared to become a parent, but reading as much as I could helped me at least feel like I was getting there! Between these books and websites like BabyCenter (register for their newsletter, it’s really quite good!), and tons of blogs I discovered along the way, I started to feel a bit less anxious about the whole thing before the baby arrived (a tiny bit, but still!).
1. Breastfeeding Made Simple, Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers: This book was definitely and absolutely essential. The idea that breastfeeding is something you just know how to do instinctively and that from the start it’s easy and simple might be true for some women, but for many, it’s something that takes work to learn, and probably a some pain too. This book was immensely helpful to me demystifying the whole thing and was an invaluable source of moral and technical support. I think that the biggest and most important takeaway I got from this book was to seek help if you’re having trouble. THIS WAS KEY FOR ME!
2. The Baby Book: This book, but the Sears doctors, is what is sometimes referred to as the “Bible” of “attachment parenting”. Although we tend to not really subscribe to any one type of “parenting philosophy” (we usually take bits from different places, combined with intuition), I think it’s safe to say that I like many of the principles of so-called “attachment parenting”. This book acknowledges that every parent will have their own style and offers guidelines. I think it was a good resource in the beginning.
3. Brain Rules for Baby: I didn’t read this one before the baby was born (in fact, I’m still reading it now!), but I probably should have, haha. It is a great, no-nonsense, research-backed book full of information about the do’s and don’t’s that will help you make sure that your baby’s brain develops well, and debunks many myths along the way. There’s even a great chapter about how a new baby can affect a marriage and offers tips for how to deal with is in the healthiest way possible. Definitely a must-read.
4. How to Raise an Amazing Child The Montessori Way: to be honest, reading Maria Montessori can be fascinating, but a bit tedious and dense. This book is an excellent introduction to the main principles of the Montessori philosophy, with lots of hands-on, practical ideas for applying them in your home right from birth. It’s also a short and easy read and great reference as the baby grows.
5. Bringing Up Bébé: this is a great, fun, easy read that gives lots of excellent perspective and ideas on how to provide structure with lots of room for freedom and autonomy. Highly recommended.
6. Baby-led Weaning: definitely not necessary to read before the baby arrives, as this talks about the weaning process from nursing to solids, but I found it very useful to start reading it early on in order to prepare. Also note that it offers a weaning process that is a bit different from what is considered “traditional” today.
Aaaand, that’s all folks!
That is, until the baby is a few months old, and then we have a whole new slew of stuff! Hahaha. But it is wonderful though, isn’t it?
So what do you think of this list? What are/were your newborn essentials?