I remember being an expectant first time mom, and pouring over my baby registry and shopping list. I looked at Amazon reviews, went into stores to look at products in person, asked all of my mom friends for advice, and thought we needed all of the things. Like many first time moms, I got way more of everything that I needed, and by the time I had my second baby, I realized, you don't really need that much for new babies. They don't take up much space, and their only needs are: someplace to sleep, food to eat, and diapers. Pretty simple. My biggest advice for new parents is not to stress about the things, or get too much stuff. You won't need half of the stuff you think you'll use.
Everyone has their own list of lifesaving products that made things easier, and things their baby didn't like at all. Another piece of advice I have is wait until you know your baby and see what your baby does or doesn't like, before you make all of your decisions about what your baby will want.
Here's my list of recommended products, but keep in mind: you don't need the most expensive stuff to help your baby sleep. Can you buy a $1300 Snoo to help your baby sleep? Yup. You can! But you don't need to. Your baby will be fine sleeping in a $40 pack-n-play or hand-me-down crib. I've heard of moms who literally spend over a thousand dollars on products to help their babies sleep, and good sleep is not about the products, it's about teaching your baby good habits.
With that in mind, here are a few things I love:
Ten Things to Get
1. Blackout Curtains - You can use shades, curtains, or even cardboard taped over your window! Anything that blocks out the sunlight will help your baby sleep.
2. Sound Machine - Choose one that can play regular white noise, and keep it running all night long. The exception is the Baby Shusher, which can be used in addition to a white noise machine, and can help new babies fall asleep independently.
3. Someplace safe for the baby to sleep - You can use a regular crib, and I have two mattresses listed above. You can use a basinet, such as the Halo Basinet or the Arms Reach Co-Sleeper, or a Pack-n-Play.
4. The only thing that's safe to be in the crib with the baby is a fitted crib sheet. No loose blankets. If you do use a swaddle blanket, make sure it is snug around the baby. The Aden + Anais muslin swaddle blankets are large, stretchy, and breathable, and are great for swaddles if used properly.
5. Swaddle Sack - If you're not confident with your swaddling skills (I'm not!!), a swaddle sack is amazing! You can use the Velcro kind, or the Nested Bean Zen Sack, which has a light weight to help the baby feel secure. The Love to Dream Swaddle Up is great because it zips up and keeps your baby secure, and allows hands up by their face for self-soothing.
6. Zip Up Sleepers - During those middle of the night diaper changes, when it's dark and you're tired, and your baby is wiggling, it's easier to zip up their pajamas instead of button 15 tiny buttons or snaps.
7. Cool Mist Humidifier - This will add moisture to the air and help your baby breathe and sleep easier, since babies are prone to congestion and they breathe through their noses.
8. Baby Monitor - A video baby monitor will allow you to see your baby when you're in another room. It doesn't have to be a fancy one, but there are monitors with options to see the temperature of the room, allow you to talk to your baby, and the Nanit Plus Baby Monitor even has sleep tracking and Alexa-enabled capabilities.
Ten things you don't need
1. Crib Bumpers - Even the mesh kind are not safe.
2. A Mobile - This can be too stimulating and keep the baby awake.
3. Blankets in the Crib - You shouldn't ever have baby blankets in the crib with your baby.
4. A Dock-a-Tot, Snuggle Me, or Any Other Lounger - These may be great for laying your baby down on when the baby is awake and you're supervising your baby, but they are not safe for sleep.
5. Lights or Projectors - Some people use projection lights, night lights, or starry sky lights in their baby's rooms (I did with my first!), but they are not necessary for babies, and they can actually disrupt sleep.
6. Swing, Mamaroo, Rock-n-Play - The Rock-n-Play has been recalled for safety, but baby swings and Mamaroos are still on the market. These are not safe for sleep, even if the baby is supervised.
7. Baby Positioners- You don't need anything in the crib to keep your baby in a specific position.
8. Breathing, Heart Rate, Oxygen Monitor - If your baby is full term and healthy, an Owlet or any other kind of breathing monitor. These have been known to have false alarms and cause anxiety in parents.
9. Medicine, Melatonin, or Sleep Aids - These are not safe for babies. If you're concerned about teething or gas pain, ask your doctor about using Tylenol, Motrin, or gripe water.
10. Stuffed Animals or Loveys - These are not safe for sleep.