My Must-Have Items for the Newborn Phase

Newborn Essentials

Henry is two months old, so we officially no longer have a newborn. I truly cannot believe how fast the time flew by! So much was different this time around to allow us to spend quality time with him and together as a family of five.

Being self-employed means I get to make my own maternity leave rules, and Adam was fortunate to get twelve weeks off from work. Considering he barely got a week off when Caroline was born, this was a HUGE benefit for our family! I’m so grateful for the time we’ve been able to have together.

So much has changed since we last had a newborn in the house (Caroline and Ellie are eight and six years old, respectively), and yet, many of my essential items stayed the same!

I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to baby gear and vastly prefer to quality to quantity. With that in mind, here are the things that absolutely helped us survive the newborn phase.

Newborn Essentials List

  1. Seek help from your OB immediately if you suspect you’re experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety. I know you were expecting my favorite baby item here, but as third-time mom who resisted help with her first two babies for WAY too long, I’m here to tell you that there’s no piece of gear that’s a magic fix for your mental health. My recovery with Henry was especially brutal (read his birth story HERE) and he had some other issues at birth that had my anxiety at an all-time high. Thankfully my incredible OB recognized this immediately, and I started taking an SSRI again at just three weeks postpartum. I feel better than I have in months and truly couldn’t have made it through without this. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of PPD/PPA – it can present as detachedness, feeling overwhelmed by routine tasks, and even rage. Please, please get help if you need it. There’s absolutely no shame in acknowledging your mental health, and I promise you’ll only regret not doing it sooner so you could fully enjoy this season of life. Alright, now on to the baby gear as promised…
  2. Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper. This was my third c-section, and a complicated one at that, so I knew I’d need a bassinet that made nighttime feedings as easy as possible. We briefly considered the Snoo, but ultimately couldn’t get on board with such a huge expense for something we’d use for just a few months. The padded drop down side is what caught my eye with the Halo Bassinest, and has been an absolute game changer. Getting Henry out of the bassinet without having to fully sit up (excruciating to do with recovering from a CS) was so helpful. Highly, highly recommend, especially if you’re having a c-section!
  3. Tula Baby Carrier. The trick to getting anything done in the first few weeks? Strap baby to your body and get moving. I know they say to sleep when the baby sleeps, but if you’ve got older children, you know this just isn’t always possible. I tried every type of carrier when the girls were babies and ultimately landed on the Tula soft structured carrier as our favorite! Both Adam and I can use it easily, and they’ve become vastly more stylish since our girls were little. We have the Free-to-Grow carrier in the sand color. Keep in mind that baby’s head should be close enough to kiss while he’s in the carrier to keep their airways clear. We have to put a rolled up baby blanket under Henry’s bottom to get him high enough, but I suspect we won’t need to do that for much longer.
  4. A cool mist humidifier. Baby’s airways are so tiny, and this helps them to breathe a little easier! There is a noticeable difference in Henry’s quality of sleep when the humidifier is on.
  5. Hatch Sound Machine. I love sleeping with white noise, and it turns out that Henry does too! It helps to mask the sounds of his sisters coming in the room and keeps him from waking up too soon. We have a much simpler white noise machine, but I love the Hatch for the newborn days because of the nightlight feature. It gets the room just bright enough for a quick nursing session, without being so bright that Henry fully wakes up. Getting him back to sleep has been so much easier with this!
  6. Nuna Pipa carseat. First things first – all carseats are equally safe at any price point, so what you’re paying more for is 100% style, aesthetic, and ease of use. We had Graco carseats with the girls and they were fine! However, we received the Nuna from my brother and I do have to say, it blows the Graco out of the water. It feels weightless compared to the other system, which is crucial in those early days when you’re constantly hauling the seat in and out of the pediatrician’s office. The Nuna carseat looks so chic, too. I’m definitely a fan!
  7. Freshly Picked diaper bag. Again, this is a purely aesthetic choice – most diaper bags or even a backpack will suffice just fine. However, something that really helps me in the newborn phase is feeling like myself on some level. This diaper bag doesn’t LOOK like a diaper bag, and that’s what I love about it!
  8. Sleepers with inverted zippers. I don’t remember these being a thing with the girls, but having a zipper at the bottom is a game changer for sleepy diaper changes! Whatever you do, don’t buy the sleepers with snaps or buttons. These are a nightmare. Avoid at all costs.
  9. Halo Sleepsack Swaddle. All three of our babies loved being swaddled, and these ones are our absolute favorite.
  10. Newborn portraits. I know, I know, this isn’t baby gear – but much like item #1 on this list, it’s an absolute must-have. It may be hard to believe, but this phase really won’t last long at all. Your baby will be running around the house before you know it, and because those newborn days can be a little hazy, your memories may not be very sharp. Newborn portraits freeze this moment in time and serve to always remind you just how little they once were. I’m so thankful for our own newborn portraits, and not having them from the girls’ newborn days is one of my biggest regrets. I’d love to help you with this! If you still need to book your newborn portraits, click HERE to get in touch today.

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Hi, I'm  Amanda.

As an internationally-lauded wedding photographer with a decade of experience, Amanda brings her signature timeless, editorial style and classic, romantic aesthetic to modern love stories. 

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