Basic Necessities for a New Baby

Written by Natalie Klejwa, Contributing Writer

I’m not a child expert or anything. I’ve had a few babies. I’ve learned over the years that there is a lot of paraphernalia out there you could purchase or register for to get ready for your new family member, but most of it is completely unnecessary and a total waste of money.

This is my list of the good stuff that I have not regretted purchasing, and some of it I have only recently discovered. I wish I had read a list like this when I was starting out. I’m certain it would have saved me money, headache, and clutter.

Getting Ready for Mama

You need a few things to get through those first few weeks of nurturing a newborn! Here are the basic necessities for Mama:

  • Lansinoh Lanolin This is the only thing that solves the cracked, bleeding nipples problem of a nursing mama in those first couple of weeks. The nurses will tell you that you won’t have cracked, bleeding nipples if you “nurse right”.   I’m fairly certain that’s a lie. You very likely will, and for two weeks it will be toe-curling pain. But…just because it hurts to nurse the first couple weeks doesn’t mean your nipples have to crack and bleed too. Just apply it to your nipples after every feeding. When I faithfully use lanolin, I avoid a lot of extra trouble. You really don’t need it after the first month…but save it for the next baby!
  • Wool Nursing Pads Don’t bother with disposables. They are crackly and uncomfortable. (Who wants to put paper next to their breasts?) I used cotton pads for several babies, and it was better than disposable…but now I’m turned on to all wool pads. They are expensive, but you only need two pair, one to wear and one to wash, and they will last for all your babies. They soak up a lot of milk, are warm, naturally anti-bacterial, and very comfortable.
  • Setting Their Hope in God by Andrew Case This is the book I use every day when I pray for my children. It is simply Scripture written into powerful prayers. Diapering them, feeding them, rocking them to sleep, stimulating their brains…all good things. But the most important time you will spend each day is the time you pray for them. If you want to raise young adults who follow hard after Christ…you’ll need the power of God at work in their lives. Start praying now. It will change your own life too! (The Kindle version is only $.99!!)
Image by Caitlinator

Getting Ready For Baby

  • White Noise Machine This seriously helps babies sleep better and longer. Think about it. They are used to the white noise inside your womb, and then all of a sudden they’re exposed to the total quietness of large, empty spaces. Sudden noises can be very startling and unsettling. If you can make the transition from the womb to the world more seamless, you will be doing yourself and your baby a huge favor. In our home, our rambunctious kids make enough “white noise” to suffice during the daytime. But at night, both Baby and Mama sleep better with the sound of our white noise machine. A loud fan will also do the trick.
  • Aden & Anais Cotton Muslin Swaddle Wraps Once I discovered these little lovelies, I threw out my hundreds of flannel receiving blankets I had collected over the years. These wraps are stretchy, light, and offer a bundled “feel” while still allowing the limbs to move slightly…as if they are in the womb. Because they are light material, they won’t overheat your baby. I found three to be plenty, but I do laundry every day when I have a new baby. If you don’t have much laundry in your life, you may find that you need a few more for those times when your newborn spits up and has blow outs on them. As I recall, this is a daily occurrence in the life of a newborn.
  • Hanna Andersson Night Night Baby Sleepers Other than 10 white, onesie t-shirts, you don’t really need any other clothes. I usually buy mine used on Ebay…but my babies have LIVED in these for the first year of their lives. They are soft, comfortable sleepers and adorable, cozy play suits all in one. This brand is by far superior to any other brand I’ve tried. The zippers are so much better than snaps as far as ease of diaper changing, getting on and off. I don’t recommend buying things with snaps or buttons unless you are looking for things to do with your time. (Clothes with collars are also troublesome on a baby.) The cotton is super soft, high quality, and lasts for several babies. Other brands get holes in them or wear through…are thin…too fitted…etc. You can try to save money by going with an inferior product (believe me, I’ve gone that route more times than I care to remember), but you will end up paying the same price in the long run.
  • Cloth Diaper Stash I realize not everyone is a cloth diaper mama.  That’s OK.  I adore cloth diapers, and have had a lot of fun trying different kinds, but I’ve really settled on Bum Genius as my favorite brand.  I loved using the all-in-one pockets for a few years.  Now I’m using the Bum Genius All-In-One Elemental Organic with snaps.  It took a while to get used to the snaps concept, but now I like not messing with pockets and velcro.  I’ve found 15 to be the perfect number to last for two days.  You have to wash them every 48 hours anyway, so there’s no need to be storing more than that.  These will not work for newborns.  I’ve just used disposable for those newborn days, but I did break down and buy 12 Fuzzi Buns x-small pocket dipes for this next baby while he/she is in the newborn stage.  Mainly because the right cloth diapers handle those newborn blowouts (you know…the ones that go all the way up the back and out the top…somewhat like a volcano?) more gracefully than disposables.
  • Ergo Baby Carrier Everyone has their preference when it comes to these. There are some wonderful carriers to choose from!  I would not go with a cheap brand unless you want to ruin your back. Might as well get a high quality carrier, use it for all your babies, and be happy. I’m not as excited about the Ergo for the newborn stage, so for my next baby I’m planning to try a Moby Wrap for those first couple of months. I bought mine from Simply Nurtured (owner, Courtney Dunkin, in a contributor here!)
  • Bouncer Seat.  You can’t NOT have one of these. If you are trying to save money…skip the swing and just get the bouncer. (Some of them are actually a bouncer/swing in one!) I really like the vibrating bouncers…they usually put a fussy baby to sleep in a pinch. (Wish they made them for big people…)
Image by em 140

Planning for a Growing Baby

  • Activity Jumper  I use this from about 4 months until my babies are almost 2! They love to jump in it…and it is a great place to put them when you are doing family devotions with the older kids…or when you want to “contain” them for a period of time (maybe when you are making dinner…)
  • Gym Little babies LOVE these. They learn to reach, pull, bat, and grab. You can get cheap ones with no bells and whistles and just add your own toys to them with some links. I use mine every day from the time my babies are about 1 month until they are old enough to crawl away.
  • Pack and Play We’ve gone through three of these over the course of 8 children, mainly because we use them every day until our children are into their toddler years. They are great for travel, playtime, visiting relatives, etc. We even use them as a toddler bed if our toddler type isn’t quite ready to transition to a bigger bed when the new baby comes home. HERE is a link to a nice, big square sized one. I’m expecting our ninth baby in a couple of months, and since we are in need of replacing our older, very rickety model, we’re planning to get the Graco Modern Pack-N-Play Playard with Changer and Bassinet.  I like to “hole up” in my room with a new baby for a few weeks, and because my current youngest will only be 21 months old and still in need of using our crib in the nursery, this model will enable me to have a changing table and “bassinet” in my room with me…with the added bonus of a future pack and play…all in one.
  • Play Yard This is similar to a pack and play, but provides a much larger play space. Once my babies are crawling, this goes up in our family room. It enables the kids to play with the baby in an enclosed area, ensuring that the baby will not crawl off and get into danger. We put this up outside, at the beach, etc. It is one of those contraptions that we definitely could NOT live without. Right now, we have our old pack and play in the play room downstairs so our 19 month old can play “with” the other kids and be safe, while the Play Yard is currently upstairs in the family room where he is safely contained when the kids and family are up in that area.

While there are countless other fun looking, necessary sounding gizmos and gadgets all designed to collect your money and supposedly bring you and your baby happiness, I’ve found these to be the indispensable items that we use on a daily basis in our home.

You may have noticed a lot of things…like baby bathtubs and baby towels, bumbo seats and nursing pillows…are missing.  I’ve just found those to be more of a hassle than a help, and storing all the equipment can be tricky if you live in a small space.

Keep it simple on your budget, your storage space, and your sanity, and just enjoy that miraculous bundle of sweetness straight from heaven!

What are your “necessities” for a new baby?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

About Natalie Klejwa

Natalie is wife to Joe and home educating mother to nine children ages 2-20. When she isn't teaching children, changing diapers, or cleaning the kitchen, she administrates the Visionary Womanhood blog and runs their family's cottage business, Apple Valley Natural Soap. Her latest book project is Three Decades of Fertility.

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Comments

  1. I agree with you completely! I have 6 babies with a 6 year gap between my last 2. I definitly found with the more babies I had, the less “stuff” i wanted or needed. No one has time for un-necessary clutter. I have tried 9 different baby carriers/slings/wraps (not the ergo) and by far love the moby the most. I can still carry around my 18mth old (22lbs) with minimal back strain. The only thing I would say to this is I prefer sleeper snaps to zippers for new babies. I just find it easier to peek into the diaper to check for a poopie with snap sleepers (especially sleepy babies) The last thing i want to do to a sleepy baby is wake him back up when I double check to make sure the diaper is still clean! After a few months most babies bowels are more regulated and the poop less…but those first few weeks/months the poo at almost every diaper change! I save all my good baby clothes in bins and when I need extra I go to the thrift store! But I definitly agree with you, for the first year my babies lived in the sleepers (they were changed and clean ones) It made me sad to dress them some days…It just looked uncomfortable and un necessary for a baby to be put into jeans or tights. The more babies I had, the longer they would stay in their sleepers or rompers!

  2. Is there any good baby carriers for twins? I can imagine a woman walking with a baby strapped to the front side, and another to the rear. I dont think its a very pleasant configuration.

    • I know in the newborn phase alot of people use two slings on their front for twins. Later on it would be alot harder when they’re bigger I guess. Go to ‘google images’ and type in ‘twins in slings’ and you’ll see a range of options to click on and explore. That’s where I saw the two sling idea.

    • Melisa Hughes says:

      I am 15 weeks pregnant with twins. I know the Baby K’Tan has a lot of good reviews among twin moms (it can be configured multiple ways) though I think it will only work for infants

  3. You have no idea how helpful this list is! I am 24 weeks and finding myself TOTALLY overwhelmed with what to do and get for our registry! Thank you!

  4. HeatherHH says:

    I might reword the title to say “My List of Favorite Baby Items.” A lot of them might be nice but certainly aren’t necessities, several are more luxuries than basics. It’s important to me to make the distinction, because many people feel like they have to buy a list of necessities that they may not have room for. It is always interesting to see what different people like.

    I have a tendency to badly cracked nipples, but from my experience with multiple midwives, it’s not that common with a good latch. I’m allergic to lanolin, so I squeeze out the contents of Vitamin E capsules.

    I use cloth nursing pads, but cotton. Many people are either allergic to or irritated by wool, so I’d test-run the wool before a baby was born.

    I have never used a white noise machine with my six babies, maybe nice, but not a necessity.

    I have never had a gym or play yard. Do have a walker that doesn’t really roll on our carpet so is similar to the activity jumper. Do like the bouncy chair. Have a pack ‘n play for baby to sleep in but not for containment.

    For clothing, we also use pretty much all sleepers. Have never used onesies under them though.

    • I agree in reality the only necessities are some clothes, nappies/diapers ( I use cloth), wipes/washers, breastpads (I used cotton/bamboo blend), carseat if you have a car. Most other things are great and make you’re life easier. For the real ‘necessities’ think did they have this in Bible times? (after all they generally survived). The rest comes under ‘makes your life easier, or would be nice categories. My favourite non regrettable purchases are: Modern cloth nappies/diapers, cloth wipes, fabric breastpads, sling for early days (so far my newborns prefer to lay down for the first 2 months), then a soft structured gender neutral carrier for later on, basic bouncer, portacot, stroller (folds down small).

  5. Thanks for the ideas! I’m expecting my first baby and really have no idea what I need/want. This post was very timely!

  6. I didn’t have time to read all the comments, so I’m not sure if someone else mentioned this already or not. But Lansinoh Lanolin is not the best stuff for sore, cracked nipples. It is very hard, does not rub in well and is not safe for babies to ingest (as in you need to put it on right after nursing and not nurse again until it’s had plenty of time to absorb). Earth Mama Angel Baby’s Natural Nipple Butter is a much better and safer product. It’s smooth and creamy and goes on easily. (Try smearing the hard Lanolin onto sore nipples – it’s almost more painful than leaving them alone – I’ve tried that before and didn’t like it!) Here’s what’s written on the side of the small jar I have: “Clinically tested, hospital recommended Natural Nipple Butter is lanolin-free. Safely moisturizes, soothes and protects sore nipples, baby’s chapped cheeks and lips too! Safe for mama and baby, no need to wash it off before nursing.” THIS product was so wonderful and a great relief to find it after having been told by so many people to use Lansinoh Lanolin.

    Oh and on another note, I LOVED my moby wrap! It’s not as good for a heavier toddler – although they DO say they work up to 35lbs.

    • I so agree! Earth Mama Angel Baby Natural Nipple Butter is amazing! I am so glad I went with it over Lanolin my first pregnancy and now I’m due with #2 soon and already have a new jar waiting for me. So soft and easy to put on and really really helped. I’m glad to see someone else who loves and recommends it too.

      • And when you don’t need it for nipples anymore, you can use it on nappy rash – works fantastic and is safe to use on cloth nappies/diapers!

  7. Great ideas and these necessities will vary according to each mother. I have 4 children and I have used lanolin with all of them. With my last one, she is almost 2 y.o. and I am still nursing her, I found that if I put a pea size amount of lanolin on my nipples every night after my shower it will keep them soft. Especially during winter months they tend to get dry. I also noticed that when babies are teething they will irritate my nipples in different ways. Not using the lanolin now, though!!!

    I also think the bouncer is an unnecessary money usage. I use the baby car seat on the floor, baby buckled in and hang a few items or safe toys on the handle. The baby can rock himself depending how big and spit fired they are and they are contained. And I don’t have to buy ONE more thing. :)

    I also could never wear a wrap because I have big breasts and they were so not comfortable.

    anyway, great tips!! :)

  8. Love the list… while it may vary for mom to mom and baby to baby (mine were each very different and vocal in their needs) it helps highlight the truly useful from the commercial sell-fest… Babies don’t really need all that much! And a few extras help make life a little easier.

    My second lived in a simple cloth baby sling for the better part of 18 months, while the third was happiest with some personal space on a blanket to observe the rest of us. The first just needed to be near, with constant conversation, and started talking really early. And they continued these different preferences all the way to their present teen/adult years! (Except the sling baby walks on her own weight, but still wants to be with me close.)

  9. I love this list! Although not all is the same as what I think is essential, it is very similar. With my first son, I had an inexpensive carrier and hardly used it. I didn’t like it, nor did my son. With my second, I got a Moby wrap, and I loved it! We used it so much. Also, I loved my two different strollers – Graco Mosaic for the first, and a Kolcraft Contours Options Tandem with the second. They were worth every penny! And although I like the Pack’n’Play, that has mainly been for use at home. For travel, I love the Kidco PeaPod – it packs down so small, and fits in much easier than the pack’n’play.

  10. I am a total lurker on this blog but I have to chime in, as a babysitter an Mom of almost 3 (due in 2 month) I love a moby wrap for when they are newborns, it is awkward to learn to do at first but practice a lot at home. I do not have a moby however I did go to the fabric store (with a 50% off coupon) and got 5 yards( I am petite) of a knit fabric, cut it in half length wise and tie it just like a moby wrap. Works perfectly when they are small and don’t weigh too much. I also got to pick a fabric I would like to wear a lot and a weight for how hot or cold it is. And I got 2 wraps for a whopping $10.00. I used a bjorn with my older 2 and agree it is great when they are little and then it KILLS your back, especially because those abs aren’t quite what they used to be. I bought an ergo for this baby and everyone I know who has one loves it. Also I have never heard a complaint about a mei tei. My advice is find a MOMS group or something similar and see if some of the ladies have some you can try.
    And I agree with a nursing pillow – A MUST!!!
    I have never cracked or bled nursing but the lansinoh really does make you feel better, and it is great for treating your woolies if you are using them.

  11. My ringsling is essential for nursing on the go!

  12. 10 points for using the word “paraphernalia”. Great advice too. :)

  13. I couldn’t live without my Moby style wrap or a BOPPY! For my first, I tried propping myself up on pillows and such, but after a few weeks, my back was aching every time we nursed, so I got a Boppy. My Boppy was used with all four of my babies, and I’ll have one with this fifth baby, too. It’s definitely on my must have list.

  14. I’m a first time mom to a 5 month old boy!
    I NEED:
    *My cloth diaper stash. I love using covers with prefolds. I have ALOT of prefolds.
    *Side snap short and long sleeve t’s … I love to leave them unsnapped and have skin to skin time on my chest with my son :)
    *socks withOUT elastic… my son has serious chubbiness!
    *coconut oil
    *Cloth nursing pads. I had lots of disposies and I only like my organic bamboo ones.
    *Organic bamboo swaddle blankies
    *My sakura bloom sling for newborn stage and after a little time, I have worn my ergo/boba g2 24/7
    *BURP cloths for spit up! I have a spitter! I realized he is sensitive to wheat though…
    *I was initially against having a swing/ bouncer … but I would NOT ever be able to get a shower (this is generally for at first) without being able to place baby in it right in front of the shower door or bathtub … I only use it for that.

    I had a doula who helped me begin breastfeeding and I guess it was having learned a perfect latch or maybe using my own breast milk on my nipples each time … but I never had any cracked or sore nipple problems. I did have a “pain” not sure what it was but my doula said take soy lecithin and vitamin c every few hours and that worked.

    For momma after delivery:

    *There’s a sits spray by earth momma angel baby that I forgot I had and realized after the first few days … well it was HEAVEN to use it. For me, recovery was painful and delivery was not.
    *use your own breast milk or coconut oil on your nipples
    *cloth pads … love these. Really. I don’t think my tender bits could have stood having disposie pads down there …

    ….
    *I have a few baby activity mat thingies … one is kick and play (with the kicky piano) … and my son LOVES it. I would only get that one. I don’t ever use the others.
    *Baby bath towels are pointless. I get that they make for really adorable pics ..
    *I don’t have a play yard or pack n play … and I don’t want them either.

    And white noise is your best friend! I learned I could actually go in the car with the baby IN his carseat NOT crying if his favorite soothing songs are played … you can buy them in iTunes if you have an iPhone and play them through the speakers in your car …

  15. funny what one thinks is a “necessity” and another person thinks it’s not. Most of what you said I never had with any of my 4 babies and I seriously doubt I missed out.

    Only 2 pairs of wool pads? That may have worked my first time, but NOT my last. My super duper massive letdown was no match for wool pads(yeah I tried wool). I’m not a disposable fan, but the disposables rocked for when I was out in public and couldn’t just press down on my nipple to prevent the flood. We hated the baby tshirts and never used them. Give me the gowns instead that snap all the way down. Loved my boppy pillow or whatever it’s called. Absolutely loved the little thing I put in the tub to hold the baby while I bathed them. My stroller was worth every penny.

  16. For white noise, I use an air purifier in my room (great white noise, while also circulating/purifying air as well). I LOVE my bobby for breastfeeding (esp. useful after having c-section, also helps reduce shoulder/back strain while nursing). A couple good nursing bras are essential. I’m gonna try the Bum Genius all-in-ones diapers with this baby (I used pre-folds w/pins for my 1st 17 years ago and hated the it so I used disposables with my last 2, but just recently found so many newer/easier alternatives to cloth diapering). I use pre-folds for burp rags. I buy a handful of receiving blankets (which I also use to cover with when nursing, no “hooter hider” needed). I’m using a 34″ H dresser w/non-skid contour changing pad (in lieu of additional changing table)…with 3 kids sharing a room once the new one transitions out of our room, space saving is necessary!

    For moms that choose to still breastfeed while going back to work, Medela Pump In Style is perfect! It’s also good to pump some “extra” if daddy would like to feed the baby a bottle once in a while, or if mommy would like to leave the house for a couple hours by herself.

    I haven’t used a baby carrier with my previous ones, but I’ll check out the Ergo for this one – thanks for the suggestion! (with 2 preschoolers in addition to a newborn, I’m gonna need my hands free!) Also, I’m gonna look into those sleepers as well (I usually use the gowns with elastic at the bottom to make nighttime diaper changes easy)

    • Oh, and I have to add…I love a good comfy rocking chair to nurse, hold, cuddle with the baby :-) My mom bought me a rocker/recliner when my 1st child was born 17 years ago that I still have!

      • Oh yeah a breast feeding pillow is a MUST and do is my rocking chair! I have the luna lullaby pillow and I love it!

  17. Stephanie says:

    If you have a little baby, the Bjorn will work ok, until they get to be about 20 lbs. But I can still carry my 3-year-old in the Ergo if I want to. There’s NO possible way you could do that with a Bjorn. I even used the Ergo when my #2 daughter was just a few weeks old, with her legs tucked up under her like she would have been in a Moby. There’s really no comarison between a Bjorn and an Ergo. And if you wear your baby a lot, you don’t even need a bouncer! I only used it a handful of times the first couple of months.

    • Not to mention resale value. You can get at least 50% back on an Ergo when you are done with it. (or if it doesn’t end up working for you) Bjorns are a dime a dozen at consignment shops here.

      • I wear my babies a fair bit. But I had to go out and buy a bouncer (cheap one), as my son had jaundice that lasted for over 6 weeks and had to be put in the sunshine, skin exposed as much as possible :( He hated just lying on a blanket and would cry. Eventually we found out it was just breastmilk jaundice, which is harmless. But he did love the bouncer at times, when I wasn’t wearing him.

  18. Pretty good list! I’m definitely with you on the Ergo and Hanna PJs especially.
    I’d add a Boppy pillow to my list. I know you don’t use it that long because once they get stronger, nursing is a little easier to manage. However, I didn’t have it with my first baby and then I got it with the second and found the first couple months to be WAY easier.
    As for the diapers, I’m a prefolds nut personally. However, I’m with you about the newborn stage! You need SO many. Every time I have a new baby we use a cloth diaper service for the first couple of months. It’s a real blessing to have someone else worry about diaper laundry. :)
    I too like you love my Ergo but not so much for the newborn stage. I didn’t care for slings or pocket carriers so I’m thinking a wrap is the way to go this time around.

  19. I would second the use of a pack-n-play. We have VERY limited space and are on kiddo number 4. (young parents compared to those with more :) however i would say that we were able to comfortably get by with the pack-n-play, good burp cloths (prefold diapers), box fan (our noise maker), solid umbrella stroller, bouncy seat, a comfortable place to nurse, and just recently someone gave us a swing which is a nice addition but not needed. Thank you for your post. I have recently seen those swaddle blankets and have not known what they were called. i hope to try them out since the regular ones have never worked well for us. I hope all goes well with kiddo number 9.

  20. I am extremely disappointed that KOTH chose to perpetuate the myth that cracked and bleeding nipples are a normal part of life with a newborn. As a long time La Leche League leader, board certified lactation consultant and a mama with 5 years of personal breastfeeding experience under my belt, I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that cracked and bleeding nipples are NOT NORMAL!

    Normal breastfeeding pain fits 3 criteria: It should be MILD, meaning it is no more than a 1 or a 2 on the 1-10 pain scale. If you are curling your toes or having anxiety about every nursing session, you need skilled help. It should be TEMPORARY, meaning it should last no more than 3-4 days after the baby is born. Longer than that and you need skilled help. Finally, it should be TRANSIENT, meaning it should only hurt when the baby initially latches on. If it hurts throughout the whole feeding or hurts in between feedings, you need skilled help.

    Hopefully, you noticed a theme… skilled help. I can work with a mother who is hurting and miserable and with seemingly minor adjustments, can often make a major difference in comfort level. Pain is not something just to be endured! Cracked and bleeding nipples open the door for bacterial and fungal infections (which lanolin will not stave off) and pain inhibits your milk let-down, making it harder for baby to get what he or she needs. If you are having pain, it is worth the time and money to see a knowlegeable lactation consultant. Seventy-five to 80% of the time, I can help a mama resolve her pain with one visit and my fee is less than one month of formula and certainly less than one doctor visit when you end up with mastitis or thrush that invaded through those nipple wounds.

    I realize this site is not intended to provide medical advice but please, please, please try to avoid sharing blantantly incorrect information on a topic of such vital importance.

    Oh, and by the way, in my five years of breastfeeding, the only time I had a bloody nipple was when my toddler accidentally bit me.

    • Brenda, I can assure you that KOTH is not promoting a myth. : ) I am a guest poster on this blog and was merely sharing my own experience with 8 successfully breast fed babies. In addition, I know countless women, many with large families, who have successfully nursed their babies and yet experienced the very normal condition of painful nipples (yes…sometimes “toe curling!”) the first two weeks of breast feeding. Under normal conditions this pain resolves itself, and lanolin has helped many of us. I have consulted with several nursing specialists over the course of 18 years, and they have all confirmed that this is “normal” for many women. To call it a “myth” is to deny the real life experience of other women and to put unnecessary pressure on women who want to hang in there and have a successful nursing experience in spite of normal pain. This was not intended to be medical advice, but rather a simple tip to avoid cracked and bleeding nipples. A tip that is tried and true for many experienced mamas.

      • Wanted to clarify something and avoid any confusion…when I’m referring to nurses in the original post…I’m talking about the nurses who work in the hospital and take care of women after they deliver their babies. Wonderful gals…but some of them are in their 20s with no children of their own…and have given some faulty advice based on their training…but not based on real life experience. The “nursing specialists” I refer to in my above comment are those I’ve consulted with either by telephone or by personal visit after being home with my baby for a few days. These women are trained specifically to assist women with lactation needs. I had one premature baby (29 weeks) that required some help (my first), and my #7 baby had a mouth/latching issue that required some consulting. I also did talk with two different lactation consultants with my 2nd and 3rd babies concerning the issue of painful nipples. All of these women were very encouraging, professional, and did let me know that pain is normal for many women, it does resolve with time, and it does not NECESSARILY mean you are doing something “wrong”.

      • Natalie, I was not calling painful nipples a myth. As an IBCLC that works in both a hospital and in private practice, I am aware that there are lots of moms who have sore nipples. The myth is that anything more than mild pain is normal. Common is not the same thing as normal.

        A lactation specialist is not the same thing as an international board certified lactation consultant. Anyone can go to a weekend course and cone away with a lactation specialist certificate. The IBCLC is much, much more in-depth. A specialists may simply not have enough knowledge to help a mother adequately.

        Sometimes the issues that cause pain are more subtle. I often get the cases in my private practice that weren’t able to be resolved at the hospital so I have had to acquire special expertise in complex structural issues that many LC’s don’t have. I’m not trying to toot my own horn – just pointing out that someone shrugging their shoulders and telling you it’s normal doesn’t make it so. Normal and common are not the same.

        For instance, did anyone ever suggest seeking craniosacral therapy for your little one? Did anyone evaluate for a posterior or even sneakier submucosal tongue tie? Was palate shape assessed and latch adjusted according to palate shape? These all cause pain and all are commonly missed in the hospital setting.

    • THANK YOU! I’m pretty sure cracked and bleeding nipples are not normal… wouldn’t that have been a huge problem for our ancient ancestors?

      The only time I ever had pain, was once when my actual breast hurt. I called my doula and she told me to take soy lecithin granules and vitamin c all day. It worked. I never had any pain during breastfeeding and my nipples never hurt or cracked or bled.

      • I had cracked nipples for two of my four children, only mild, but due to poor latching (my first, and my fourth). Once we got them latching properly, all was good. Not a sign of pain for the other two, except on day 4 (too much milk!).

  21. Sarah Hodges says:

    Sounds like you are a BabyWise mama….

  22. Great list, Natalie! I actually have a similar post in the works. I love hearing what other moms think about the essentials!

    One thing I’ve found odd through the years is that as families have started having fewer and fewer children, the market for baby products has exploded, with an astronomical amount of single-use gadgets and contraptions. With my first child, I thought I needed a lot of those extras and I see other moms do the same.

    Clothing has gone overboard these days! It’s nice to have a few cute outfits, but I know I tend to reach for the simple wrap-style t-shirts (kikomos or something??), onesies, and sleepers. Blankets, though, I prefer to have lots of handmade ones. My daughter and I make our own receiving blankets (and other types), and I love handmade knit and crocheted blankets, so I do like to have a nice, personalized stash of blankets. I don’t know if I even have a single store-bought one, though! I’ve heard good things about The ones you mentioned.

    I’m excited to see how you like your Moby! :) I’m glad to see from other comments that moms realize the Bjorn and other similar carriers are bad! That’s that launched me into this business. I think the Ergo is fantastic, too, but I’ve got to say I love my Boba and find it is much softer and has better coverage. Both are fabulous, though, and I’m excited to try even more brands!

    The best thing on this list is the reminder to pray for our children. Without that, we ultimately fail. I’ve never heard of the book you mentioned, but thank you for the recommendation! I’m going to check that out. New moms have a lot of reading time on their hands due to nursing, so making the time to pray for and over our children is never an issue. Oh, and on the nursing pillows that some have mentioned. I have to admit that I tend to favor the feel and support of a regular pillow best, but the perk of the Boppy (and other nursing pillows) is that it stays by mom’s “nursing spot” since nobody takes it to their bed for their own use. :)

    • See, I have a lot to say about this topic! Good thing I have that post in the works? :)

      • You crack me up…! : ) I can’t wait to try my Moby too. I put it on the other day and imagined a warm, curled up body in there. I’m getting so excited to “do it” again. I LOVE that newborn stage…there’s just nothing like it in the world. Oh…and about the blanket thing, you should know that I actually BOUGHT a hand knit blanket from a knitter friend recently because I adore her blankets so much. I love those fluffy things for “going out”, taking pictures…and for church. We live in MN…so fluff is what it’s all about…plus I love to quilt…and do have a stash of quilts to lay my babies on. I can’t ever get rid of those…they represent too much love. : ) I want to read your post when you publish it! Babies get us all gabby…don’t they?

  23. I am checking out that book on Amazon as I type. I have never been able to get my children to enjoy a bouncy seat. We have found that to be the waste in our home but the plug-in swing on the other hand has been marvelous!

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