Newborn necessities and tips!

I’m expecting our first little one in [name_u]July[/name_u] and I have been asking my family members and close friends about items or tips they wished they knew about before they had their first (or any of their little ones).

I’ve been particularly worried about having her in the height of summer (not that it ever gets mad hot in the UK) but also about pests and little bugs because we live pretty much on a farm and are surrounded by fields (3 sides are arable and the other two are pastoral). I have been thinking of getting those big muslin cloths to hang over her cribs/[name_m]Moses[/name_m] basket/rocker or swing etc and maybe having a spray bottle of water to mist over it to help cool her if necessary…I think I may be overthinking it all and being overly careful before she is even born!

But I would love to hear any of your tips and ideas and I’m sure there are some mums on here that could benefit from each other’s knowledge.

Many thanks!

I don’t think there is much that I ‘wished I knew’, although some things were a little surprising. Like how awful the umbilical cord smells before it finally falls off. Literally rotting meat hanging off your baby… Haha but you don’t need to know anything to deal with that. Like I said, it was just surprising because I had never thought about it before. I also don’t know if it’s universal, perhaps some fall off fast enough that they don’t start reeking.

Basically, newborns are not that complicated. You feed them, keep them clean and at a comfortable temperature and let them sleep. That’s pretty much it. You will figure out how to care for her as you go along. Have faith in yourself and trust your instincts, things that seem daunting now will honestly turn out to be not such a big deal as you actually address them. The hardest thing for me was the hormonal rollercoaster that follows birth and the intense sleep deprivation in the first few weeks/months. If you’re like me, you’ll probably cry a certain amount and not even be sure why you are crying and a few molehills might look a lot like mountains. I did not have PPD or anything, I was just running on empty and off my head on hormones. I think it’s normal. [name_m]Don[/name_m]'t worry about it, it’ll pass (of course definitely be on the look out for PPD and get the help you need if you suspect you may be suffering from it!).

It is also hard when they cry and you don’t know why they are crying and nothing you try seems to comfort them. Some babies are harder than others in this regard. Again, just follow your instincts. If you think there’s something really wrong, talk to someone, but usually it is true that babies just cry and there’s nothing you can particularly do other than hold them and let them know you’re there and that you love them. Try to relax, if your baby cries and you can’t ‘fix it’, doesn’t mean you’re doing a bad job.

I haven’t had a newborn baby in a hot climate (last time we were in the UK in [name_u]July[/name_u] it was definitely mad hot, though! Or at least I class 35° as mad hot - that was the heat wave last year though, so not typical) but I imagine if you just dress her in a nappy or a nappy and a short-sleeved/sleeveless bodysuit she’ll be fine. That’s what we’ve done with ours in hot weather (although she wasn’t a newborn) and she got a little sweaty but was fine. Putting a breathable cloth over the cot sounds like a fine idea if you have a lot of biting insects in your house.

[name_m]Don[/name_m]'t buy too much stuff beforehand as babies are all very different and so are parenting styles, so you will not know what you will really use a lot versus what you will use once and then never again until you get to know your baby and how you like to do things. They don’t need much at all to start off with anyway in the way of material goods, beyond clothes, nappies, somewhere to sleep and a safe method of transport (as well as feeding equipment if you’re not breastfeeding). [name_f]Do[/name_f] get a lot of muslins, though - I guarantee you’ll use those. We still use them as handkerchiefs for our toddler.

Good luck! You’ll do great.

Oh dear I am quite the queen of summer babies… lets see here… babies typically like to be on their mother, those early bonding times matter so get a bin and fill it with tissues, wipes, washcloths, prepacked or pre packaged snacks, receiving blankets, muslin blankets, a few onesies or shirts for baby and something to clear her nose, a book, phone charger, whatever entertains you, breast pump, extra top for you, diapers, a wet bag to seal them in that’s not a plastic bag near your bed, lots and lots of water, put that by the bed and add whatever else you like and when she’s born lay in bed with her, out her bed by or in yours and relax with her as much as possible, if you have cool air or a fan use that in the room and don’t be crazy active, give yourself a few weeks enjoying having her and her to get to know you and then when you feel like going out a baby carrier beats a stroller hands down, yes watch she doesn’t overheat, fabric over skin, light, not thick, lessens heatrash so not laying, drooling on bare skin is ideal, put a small cloth on her cheek. Yes watch for bugs, we live on a farm sort of too and avoid animals bothering her, the cool breeze under a tree with a bug net over a swing right next to you may be nice or in your arms in a chair right there. Its ok to over think it. We are tic at the moment but have kids for sure and this time around we have been putting together a little registry in advance. What really matters is first cover your safety bases so you aren’t doing that when she’s getting into stuff as well as the things you didn’t realize that she would get into. [name_f]Every[/name_f] piece of furniture that can tip will so strap it to the wall, please. Televisions included. After you’re sure that’s all secure everywhere she will ever be ever, put a cover in each open outlet and put outlet boxes over the ones in use, plug things in there and she can’t unplug them. Now she will want to pull down and over lamps so you can strap them to walls and you can hook cords on down the wall so she can’t grab them to pull, or like us… get rid of all the table lamps… but that’s a bit silly if you can secure them… I recommend keeping baby in your room with you until they wean but this just us… it is however safer to keep baby in your room at night for at least a few months, children do better near their parents while adjusting to life outside. Some sharp edges can do with padding and check around the house that there aren’t choking hazards. Be sure you know how to install her car seat and get it in and practice hooking in a toy so you feel confident with it. Pack a bag for the hospital even if you’re planning to have her at home, that way no matter what you have a change of clothes, a snack you like, meds you may need, a charge cord, cash, a few small outfits and a blanket, whatever else. Put that in the car or by the door. Put the baby things where you want them, if they bug you, you can move them before. We are currently testing out cot positioning, like can I put this here or does it make you crazy, since we moved things around and all that… we’ve moved a lot of stuff… when putting nursery décor up, keep in mind what she will like when she’s in kinder, like will she want to move everything and put in a large bed, what will fit and where… oddly the things that matter later are keeping her safe, keeping her happy, keeping you comfortable and not overwhelmed with irritating baby stuff everywhere and sleep… so when she sleeps do sleep… ignore the dishes… sleep… if you are home with her just sleep… don’t plan lots in the beginning and make people who don’t have germs come to you, say yes thank you when they offer help, yes if they bring food and never apologize… you just had a baby, you owe them nothing. Then you need to think about bathing her so keep it simple, wipe down occasionally until cord is off then occasional warm baths however works, use a thermometer to test the water and keep it fun and quick if she hates it, in the summer she may like it though. Have a first aid kit with a bulb or other nose cleaner and saline and wipes and vitamin d and brush, tiny nail clippers (dont clip for a little while, let her wear mitts, her fingers need to grow and fill out so you dont want to clip then have them be short, and you don’t need to be worrying too much, and they typically come off oddly) whatever else, bottom balm and lotion… baby wash, research what you’ll use well and you can test on her somewhere before using it on all of her in case theres an issue. Feeding her is you main priority, babies eat like ever two hours, set a timer and get up and feed her what she needs, there are early and late cues for hunger, crying is the late cue, when she cries it means no one fed me when I was hungry, not ok now I’m hungry, a baby can learn to cry when they are hungry if that’s what works and of course the nature of the child. But the touch their faces, turn their head, coo, often don’t wake, feed them then and they will sleep, put them back to bed and they’ll be happy… its strange how feeding someone can become your life but it does and then they’re one and they’re helping and its crazy… but at first getting used to feeding them and just not overwhelming yourself is key. Yes muslin blankets are awesome, yes swaddling can be cool, yes they are breathable and if you’re careful you can leave them with a blanket BUT anything in their bed is a danger, watch the baby with anything and you’re ok, swaddling under one arm with one side of a blanket they’re laying in the middle of with their head above. [name_m]Tuck[/name_m] under arm and back, wrap other over both arms and touch under and make sure it doesn’t touch chin. Pull bottom of blanket up snug, let legs go froggy position. [name_m]Tuck[/name_m] it under chin very well and wrap both wings behind baby flat, not too tight. That holds well unlike the fold up, wrap wrap style that they get tangled up in. Nappies… I like cloth, many like disposable, with cloth there are many options and its less sweaty, you can even not use a cover on a hot day and just have a light flat over them clipped on and you wont have to worry they’ll get a rash. In the summer its ok to air out that baby bottom if you use disposables and its all sweaty, whatever you do change often, if they pee change them, inknow people who say no no theres room in there gotta save but no… that’s saying my child peed now its not and humid in a plastic wrapped pee filled bag on their bum… recipe for rash… change them. Typically rashes need air and coconut oil, not powder, that not so good for babies, they really shouldn’t inhaile it. Hmmm… I’m sure you know most of this for sure… but I have baby fever so lets see… on my registry now I’m thinking a video monitor may be cool, for nap time, like if my child sleeps not being held then just so I know no other child is touching them… some super soft bamboo Onesies… love those… with the little bum flap… simple and easy to change them in… blanket, books, because I never will have enough… babies love to be read to, poems, [name_m]Shakespeare[/name_m], classics, children stories of any kids… read her what you like… sing to her. Honestly babies dont need much… get yourself a nice water bottle and maybe a pitcher and a nice night light you can adjust maybe. You’ve totally got this :wink: congratulations on the new baby and remember that if you just keep her sort of near you then you can adjust whatever you’re doing to suit whatever is happening and just dont make tons of plans until you get settled. And less is more, a hundred stuffed animals later and they love them all, need them all, where is the doggie… a few will be loved just as much and easier to clean up, to find and when they’re older they can keep them vs you trying to get the kids to disown them so you can smuggle them out of the house… our big goal is next baby gets all the baby things and teethy things and one stuffed friend and that’s that until they’re older… we’ve overdone things in the past, oh and putting toys up and getting them out and switching them out that way works very well with babies who love to dump everything, sure a play area with bins is great, older kids do well, babies often dump it all and play in the bins or the hamper… be selective with things you buy, they mostly just want attention :wink:

The muslin swaddle cloths are wonderful but I wouldn’t hanging anything over the crib. I’ve also seen muslin onesies and muslin outfits that may help. Keeping yourself hydrated and fed is important, it can be hard especially when your whole focus is on the baby. If people offer to help - let them. One of the hardest things for me was after my hubby returned to work and I was all by myself. I went from working to being a stay-at-home mom and I really missed the adult interaction so if all people want to do is stop by for a chat and you can handle the company let them come over, even if you smell like spit up.

[name_f]Remember[/name_f] that there is a learning curve and what’s right for another family isn’t necessarily right for you. It may take some time but you will find your groove.

I looked through this thread and agree with everything in it. I just want to highlight the most important to me.
These are:

  • breast pump (it’s just necessary)
  • diapers (never enough) and a wet bag (to seal them)
  • muslin cloths are neat, get as more as you can
  • get rid of feather pillows and old mattresses (just check this article about how harmful dust mites are)
  • have lots of water to drink
  • grab lots of books with you (poems would be nice, but [name_m]Shakespeare[/name_m] for kids?).

And that’s it for now:D

Like pp said, sleep when baby sleeps! Those first few months are so exhausting you’ll need as much rest as you can get.

I would recommend getting different brands of diapers and wipes to see which brand you like the most. My son has very sensitive skin so it took us a bit to find brands that didn’t irritate his skin.

Having a baby carrier/ring sling was a life saver! My son loved it and it let me get stuff done. I used the [name_u]Baby[/name_u] K’tan and Wildbird ring sling but there’s a ton of brands.

Oh and if you have concerns or questions call the pediatrician, which seems obvious but I know for me I thought some stuff were normal so I didn’t ask about it right away. For instance, every night my son would have the hardest time going to sleep and he would cry for an hour or so. After 3 weeks I realized this wasn’t normal and asked his pediatrician. Turned out he had acid reflux. Once we got him on medication it was sooo much better!

The Happiest [name_u]Baby[/name_u] on the Block book helped me put our baby’s experience into perspective. Basically you try to recreate the womb for them as they adjust to the outside world. My baby especially likes swaddling, white noise and bouncing. In the first month I used the 5 ‘S’ method to comfort her. - (Using the 5 S's to Soothe a Crying Baby: Dr. Harvey Karp – Happiest Baby). I don’t agree with everything in the book but it’s still helpful! It also recommends wearing your baby in a sling or carrier for most of the day and I did that a lot in month 2. She slept on me while I did dishes and laundry or had lunch.

I recommend buying:

  • a Halo swaddle sleepsack (they have a cotton one for warmer months)
  • a yoga ball to bounce on while holding baby (some recommend a rocking chair but my baby loved the yoga ball)
  • a white noise machine
  • a wrap carrier (I have a [name_m]Solly[/name_m] wrap and love it)

We practice ‘the pause’ before tending to our baby when she cries (it’s from the book Bringing Up [name_f]Bebe[/name_f], another good read). It just means that you wait a minute or two before going to your baby to see if they can self-sooth. This helps especially when baby does a quick cry between sleep cycles–you don’t want to interrupt them unnecessarily!

I would also say try not to be too hard on yourself and ask for help when you need it (whether that’s from a partner, friend, family member, doctor or therapist). Take a breather too when you need one. Also: be informed about childbirth, other people’s experiences, and parenting but try not to be scared by the horror stories. I forgot this and had a lot of anxiety before having my baby. It turns out I had a good childbirth experience, healed quickly and I have loved the newborn stage. I guess, just don’t forget to see the immense joy you are about to experience! :slight_smile:

I skimmed through the previous comments and would add:

  • Bake/buy a LOT of healthy snacks beforehand. Breastfeeding and having a newborn makes you very hungry. I made 4 dozen fruit/oat muffins and 3 dozen mini savouries before [name_u]Owen[/name_u] was born and they were gone in a month.

  • Make sure you have plenty of what We call ‘spew rags’. We use terry towelling squares (old school cloth nappies), but you could use cheap hand towels/flannels etc. I keep them all around the house. Your baby might not spew as much as mine, but I still like to have something under his head wherever I put him to catch baby sick and dribble.

  • This is one is sort of personal preference, so you can take it or leave it. Lots of people say never wake a sleeping baby, but I always did. I fed him every 2.5-3 hours during the day so he doesn’t need to feed as much at night. This doesn’t work for everyone, but it worked for me. :slight_smile:

Before my wife popped out our first twins, I’d searched for a baby monitor in order to make our life easier at first. Here’s a website that suits my newbie parent status very much. Any essential was missed.

oh gosh yes, and it’s right under your nose while you’re breastfeeding!

I think what I would have liked to know about newborns is that:

  • it’s normal for them to wake every 3 hours (or more!) to feed because their little tummies are so small
  • breastfeeding can be difficult for some people at first (I knew this beforehand… but the reality of 5 weeks of “triple feeding” before we finally got her fully breastfed was so so hard)
  • a hot water bottle to warm the bassinet and take out just before you put baby back in can help getting them to sleep.
  • sometimes if you’ve got a baby who’s very upset and seems in pain before their spill-ups, if you’re breastfeeding giving up dairy can help as they might be reacting to a protein in dairy.
  • it’s absolutely ok to tell people you’re not feeling up to visitors yet - you’re so sleep deprived, your body’s healing from birth (holy hell hemorrhoids), and your baby needs you and skin-to-skin cuddles so much. The last thing you need to worry about is tidying or making small talk.

What I wish I’d known about parenting in general:

  • Get immunisations done at 4pm on a Fri afternoon so that if you’ve got a babe like mine who is very unsettled afterwards, your partner’s home to tag team the comforting!

  • It’s not a linear progression of everything slowly getting easier. It’s a flipping rollercoaster, so hold on tight for the ups and downs, try to enjoy the ride, go easy on yourself and don’t be afraid to ask or help and completely ignore what a tip your house has become. [name_u]Baby[/name_u] starts sleeping a 6 hour stretch at night… and then hits the 4 month sleep regression… things get good again… and then there’s teething, or a cold, or separation anxiety…! But also their first smile, them cracking up over something silly, their excitement at seeing animals, their pride at standing up for the first time.

  • Everyone has advice, and a few people can be judgy There’s breast vs bottle, sleep training and anti sleep training, views on screen time. You just do what feels right for you and your family. It might not be what you planned (never planned to fully co-sleep with her in my bed!), but you’ll suss it out.

  • It is a huge life change and it is HARD. My bub’s 9 months already, and just last night I had ANOTHER tearful meltdown. There are good days, but it’s also a relentless task. It’s not 9-5. Sometimes you just want a break so badly. An uninterrupted night’s sleep. To be able to go to the loo without worrying that baby’s going to cry or try to crawl up your legs or hurt themselves. To be able to pump some extra milk for them for daycare without them trying to pull all the cords out or terrorising the cat and getting scratched. [name_f]Do[/name_f] be able to do something for yourself… I was knitting and the cat messed up the yarn and the baby that was sleeping on my lap suddenly woke and screamed and flailed and knocked a bunch of stitches off :cry:
    It’s OK to cry, and to find the adjustment hard at times! You’re not alone in feeling that way.