10 Must-Have Items for Babies 0-6 Months*
Bringing a newborn home for a second time was a surreal experience. I felt confident but in no way prepared for life with two small people. Many newborn parenting skills came back to me very naturally – how to change a nappy, how to operate the electric steriliser and the best ways to help release baby’s trapped wind.
There were, however, many things I had forgotten in the three and a half years since my first child was a newborn. The sleep deprivation – oh, I had forgotten just how awful it makes you feel. And how to fit the infant car seat or collapse the pushchair. I had also forgotten just how much baby ‘stuff’ there is on the market. So much of what was considered a ‘must-have’ several years ago has been usurped by something bigger, better and seemingly more expensive.
My sister is expecting her first child soon and so has been quizzing me for the must-have items I would recommend for a newborn. After bringing home a second baby, my list has been streamlined down to things I really couldn’t have survived the first six months without.
* I have purposely not listed essential items such as nappies and baby toiletries, cots and cribs, feeding and sterilisers, prams and car seats because there are so many options available for each of these categories and your choice may be driven by budget, convenience, availability and/or personal ethos. As babies change and develop so quickly from 6 months onwards, I plan to write a separate blog post on my must-have items for an older baby.
This blog post is not written in affiliation with any brands – where a product is listed by brand it is because I, as a consumer, genuinely love it.
Being a parent to a newborn is exhausting. Investing in thermometers will help build your confidence in caring for your baby, and give you one (or in this case, three) less things to worry about:-
Room thermometer – the safest room temperature for a newborn baby is between 16-20°C. A digital room thermometer accurately records and updates this information so you can see at a glance if you need to add or remove layers of clothing on your baby. My first child was born in a heatwave, and using a digital room thermometer helped me to appreciate just how quickly a room can heat up and cool down in extreme weather.
Bath thermometer – a simple bath thermometer is brilliant for gauging if the water is too hot or cold for baby. Many come in fun shapes which can also be used as bath toys. As the ideal bath water temperature for babies is similar to our body temperature, I find a bath thermometer is the safest way I can check this.
Digital thermometer – this should be an absolute must-have item in your home as a baby with a raised body temperature can so quickly turn feverish, which requires immediate attention and monitoring. A digital thermometer should give you an accurate body temperature reading, and they are available in several different types depending on your budget.
The trusty babygro is a must-have item for all babies – in the sleep-deprived newborn days, making a baby fashion statement will not be high on your agenda. There is nothing cuter than a baby in a onesie and they are incredibly dispensable (especially when a poo-nami strikes at 2am):-
Bodysuit – for new parents, this simple item of clothing is the keystone from which you can build your baby’s wardrobe. Bodysuits come in different variations – cap-sleeved, sleeveless, long-sleeved, patterned or plain. For summer babies, a cotton bodysuit may be all the clothing they need to stay cool in the heat. In winter, a bodysuit is excellent as a base layer to keep little chests and arms warm. The best bit about bodysuits is that they add a layer of defence against the inevitable poop explosion. Then, instead of wrangling a soiled bodysuit over baby’s head, stretch it over her shoulders and pull it down and off – et voilà!
Sleepsuit – a close relative of the bodysuit, a baby sleepsuit is not just for bedtime. Sleepsuits with built-in scratch mitts are brilliant for newborn babies to wear day and night. They are also super comfortable for baby as they have no waistband and thus don’t put pressure on windy tummies.
3. Baby Sleep Bag
With a newborn baby, one of my biggest fears has been SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The thought of one of my babies wriggling down beneath the bed covers, potentially suffocating or overheating, was enough incentive for me to to put them in a baby sleep bag at bedtime. The Gro Company was one of the early pioneers of the baby sleep bag in the UK and I love their products. They have worked with The Lullaby Trust to design and produce great quality baby sleep bags and promote safer sleep practices. Using a baby sleep bag, together with monitoring your baby’s room temperature (see Item 1), can help to reduce the risk of SIDS. Both my children have loved using sleep bags; making them feel safe and cocooned.
4. Muslin Cloths
Whether your newborn baby delicately possets or full-on projectile vomits after a feed, the humble muslin cloth is your friend when used as a burp cloth. They are easy to wash and dry, and offer a myriad of other uses. An extra-large muslin cloth can be really useful as a lightweight cover in hot weather or as a makeshift picnic blanket on days out.
5. Baby Bouncer
When my second baby outgrew her baby bouncer chair I wept because it had been one of our best baby buys. It was bought when my first baby was born, then stored away, and reloved when our second arrived. A simple, vibrating bouncer chair is a lifesaver for new parents. Cuddle and snuggle your newborn as much as you can, but there does comes a time when you will need to put the baby down in a safe place so you can a) use the bathroom, b) make a cup of tea, c) have a shower or d) all of the above. In addition, the gentle vibration settings are brilliant for calming a fractious baby if nothing else seems to work.
6. Baby Monitor
Like the baby bouncer (see Item 5), a baby monitor is another tool to help new parents regain a bit of normality and order in their lives. A baby monitor, preferably one with audio visual settings and a long distance range, can give you the confidence to put your baby down to sleep in the bedroom while you may be in another part of the house. Our baby monitor has been reloved with the arrival of our second baby. It has also been easy and compact enough to pack up and take on holiday with us. It offers such peace of mind for new and experienced parents alike.
7. Blackout Blind
For the first couple of weeks, your newborn baby won’t know the difference between day and night. She will probably sleep during the day and be awake at night. However, her natural body cycle will start to develop and this can be encouraged by creating a stark contrast between day and night. During the day fill your rooms with natural light, be chatty, play music and engage in lots of eye contact with your baby. Then at night time, make your room as dark as possible, whisper and sing lullabies to your baby. My son was born in the height of summer and he also suffered terribly from colic. By using a blackout blind in the bedroom, we were able to shut out the daylight in the evening and this would help calm and settle him into a nighttime routine. A portable blackout blind, which attaches to the window with suction cups, is invaluable for the long sunny evenings of the summer months and to take on holiday too.
8. Buggy Clips
Attached to baby’s pram, a large buggy clip is so useful for keeping items nearby rather than in the basket underneath the pram/pushchair. I have found that using two large clips is even better for distributing a bag’s weight across the handle of the pram. If you’re making a quick grocery shop, the two buggy clips are also great for carrying a two-handled shopping basket while you push the pram. Make the most of your days with a pram or pushchair and save your arms from carrying too much – get a buggy clip (or two) to carry your bags!
9. Sensory Baby Toys
It is never too early to start engaging your newborn baby in sensory play. Stimulating baby’s senses can enhance their development and offers a wonderful way in which all family members can bond with baby. My go-to brand for baby sensory toys is Lamaze. They offer a fantastic array of characters and types of sensory toys which are durable and have become my babies’ favourites. Many sensory toys provide black & white or bold patterns to stimulate baby’s eyes, crinkly fabric or squeakers to engage their touch and hearing, and textured teething rings for baby to pull on and mouth. A lot of sensory toys play music or songs, which babies love as they learn to recognise familiar phrases and melodies. Some toys also provide baby-safe mirrors to engage baby and help build their self-confidence. A simple, textured baby book provides sensory stimulation and can nurture a future love of books and reading. You don’t need to spend a lot on sensory toys as each usually provides multiple sensory activities in one item. You can also try recreate many sensory-stimulating activities at home using basic items safe for baby.
10. First Aid Training
Although you hope to never have to use it, at least one parent or carer in your household should receive baby and child first aid training (ideally before baby arrives). No matter what your budget is in preparing for baby, the cost of a first aid course should be factored in. The British Red Cross offers a day course in baby and child first aid, as do many other organisations and private trainers. Download the British Red Cross Baby and Child First Aid app to your smart phone and always have advice at hand.
I really hope you have found this list of must-have items, for a 0 – 6 month old baby, useful. I would love your feedback on the things I have selected as baby essentials – do you agree, or are there other items you would suggest to new parents?
Bumps & Babies Linky: http://www.letstalkmommy.com