8 Things I Didn’t Know I Needed for my Newborn

5 weeks already?!? I can hardly believe my baby daughter is already 5 weeks old. Just look at her!

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She is my world! But, man, there are a few things that I’m glad I haven’t been without these past weeks. There were definitely some things I knew I would need, like diapers and a husband willing to lose some sleep. But here are the things that I didn’t expect I would need for my newborn:

1. The Happiest Baby on the Block

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Now, I’m the last person to suggest that one thing works for everyone, but if you look at the reviews (and my personal experience), you’ll see that the Cuddle Cure method for soothing infants works like a charm for almost all babies. The book suggests that if an infant is crying for no reason (as in, all their needs are being met and they aren’t in pain), the method will work to calm them down in under 5 minutes. And, it does work for EV quite well! She’s a really easy baby so far, but the 5 S’s (swaddle, side/stomach, shushing, swinging, sucking) really do help her when she’s fussy, particularly when she’s tired. Usually I only need one or maybe a combination of two S’s to calm her. So, seriously, it has saved my sanity!

2. SwaddleMe blankets

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Yes, these particular swaddling sacks by Summer Infant have been such a huge help. We swaddled EV with blankets initially, but we had to get them really tight in order for her to not go all “mermaid” (arms out). It’s not as easy as it sounds. This product, however, works like a charm! One piece of advice I read was to not assume that your baby hates being swaddled because he or she cries when you do it. The thing is, we could have assumed she hates it because she screamed the first few times, but once we gave her a few minutes, she calmed right down. Now, she calms down while we swaddle her, because she knows what’s coming and she really does like it. Added bonus: she sleeps waaaay better when she’s tightly bundled in one of these!

3. Soothie Pacifier

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Now, this is a family choice, and I’ll admit, I was really hoping to not have to use a pacifier with my girl, but I quickly learned about the role that sucking a pacifier plays in a newborn’s life. In the womb, little babies suck on their hands to practice nursing, but once they’re earthside, they don’t have the muscle control to keep their little fists in their mouths. Some babies don’t care so much about sucking anytime other than during nursing, but others want to suck for comfort. If your breast isn’t available for those babies all the time, you must have a back-up plan, and for us, it was the soothie. These are designed for babies without teeth and are more hygienic than others because they are a single piece. My one piece of advice for new moms, though, is this: if you plan to breastfeed, wait until you have established nursing really well before you introduce the pacifier. My milk had come in, and EV got confused with the two different feelings of my breast and the soothie, so we stopped for a few days. Now, there are lots of times she just wants the comfort that sucking provides, and she’s a good eater, so I don’t have a problem with it.

4. Boppy Nursing Pillow

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Now that my daughter is a nursing champ, I don’t have to use the nursing pillow as much. Before we had gotten the hang of it, though, it was miserable to try to feed her without it. You need a hand to hold her body, a hand to aim the breast, a hand to hold her head, a hand to hold the flailing arm that insists on pushing the nipple out of her own mouth, and a hand to wipe your tears of frustration. With a nursing pillow, you only need 3 hands, which is a serious improvement! And it has other functions as well, such as a seat or tummy time pillow.

5. Muslin Blankets

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…and a whole lot of them! We go through these puppies like crazy. They are good for swaddling, covering, burping, you name it! And, in this hot southern weather, they are breathable but still cozy. We have 8 huge blankets, and I definitely thought that would be too many. Boy, I sure was wrong!

6. White Noise

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My husband I downloaded a free app on our phones, but I cannot stress how awesome it has been to have it. Itty bitty babies that have just come out go on an interesting journey in the way of hearing. They go from constant whooshing as loud as a vacuum cleaner to a myriad of voices and foreign sounds louder than they’ve ever been! But the volume doesn’t bother the baby as much as the shock of the change in clarity, even though newborns have some fluid in their ears to drown the sound out. So, the rushing sounds of the ocean, a hair dryer, or a vacuum help them feel like they are back in that comfy, cozy womb. EV calms right down when I play ocean waves. Bonus: Mama’s voice is louder than them all, and if you spent time talking to or singing to your fetus, do so after he or she is born and you’ll find it also has a calming effect. You may have sung a specific song to them frequently during pregnancy, and often little ones have special attachments to these songs for their entire life!

7. A Cradle

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So, unlike a bassinet or a crib, a cradle is a small, rocking bed. (In the picture above, the cradle is the cream and blue bed that detaches.) I haven’t seen people using them in modern times, so when Jimmy and I received a cradle attachment to our Pack’n’Play, we figured we probably wouldn’t use it. WRONG! The attachment comes off and can be placed on the floor. It felt strange at first to keep her so low to the floor, but I knew that keeping the cradle off the couch and forgoing the use of a bouncer or rocker (at least until she’s bigger) was the safest thing for her. We can carry it into any room, even if she’s inside, and it’s comfy enough for her to sleep in. Ours also vibrates, which helps to soothe her. A little portable bed, like a cradle or a small bassinet, is definitely a nice item to have with a newborn.

8. Coffee… so much coffee!

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Ok, so, this isn’t exactly a baby item, but I needed it so much more than I thought! Now, I did have coffee occasionally during pregnancy, and I think that may have helped EV get used to it now that it’s in my breast milk. If your baby is sensitive to caffeine, it’s not worth it, but if you’re baby gets along with it like mine does, grab that cup of joe and enjoy the short energy boost. Almost every parent will tell you: expect to lose some sleep! They forget to tell you that you don’t care about being tired when your baby needs you, but you might care when you can’t even keep your eyes open to listen to your pediatrician.

I don’t expect that this list is the same for all moms. Heck, I bet baby #2 would demand a different list from me! But, there is a lot to know, and a lot of extra stuff out there that maybe you don’t need when your little one is brand new. These things, however, have been life-savers for me, and I would love to help any new momma in any way that I can, even if it’s just suggesting some baby loot.

Have a super weekend! My main goal is to take a shower before Monday. Farewell!

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