By Ryann Donahoe
Being a mom of four means I’ve done my fair share of thinking, What should I get for those newborn days? And a fair share of figuring it out, as well. I’m here to help you learn from my mistakes! With your first baby it’s easy to get carried away, stuffing your registry with all things big and small, buying in to the latest and greatest baby trends. But after the fourth time around, I know exactly what was necessary, things I could have lived without, and what ended up being completely useless.
- Swaddles With our first baby I stocked up on tons of muslin swaddle blankets. While these are great and still high on my list, I found that using a true “swaddler,” with swaddling functionality, worked much better in keeping my newborns asleep for longer periods of time. I recommend the Ollie Swaddle and Miracle Blanket, both of which keep baby feeling secure, preventing them from easily moving around and freeing their arms. Our babies typically slept in four-plus hour stretches at night during the first two weeks.
- Nursing wear When I was pregnant with baby number one, I bought a single nursing bra, thinking that was all I’d need. Shortly after we got home I sent my husband on a Target run to grab more. So for my second baby I knew to stock up on nursing bras as well as a nursing nightgown and tank tops. During the first few weeks at home with your baby you’ll spend a lot of time indoors, in bed. You’ll want to have comfy lounge wear with easy access for breastfeeding.
- A breast pump Obviously this is only a must if you plan on breastfeeding. I made the mistake of not getting a breast pump before my first child was born, thinking I wouldn't need it until I planned to leave the baby with some one else. Boy was I wrong! My breasts became engorged the second we got home, which meant my husband was running around town looking for a breast pump while I was in tears!
Things We Had But Never Used
- A diaper pail I know many parents who love a diaper pail, but for our family, we found it easier to simply use our plastic grocery bags for diapers and take them outside to the trash everyday.
- Baby gear When it came to gear, we went above and beyond with baby number one. We got the latest swing, a highly rated bouncer, and a Fisher-Price Rock ’n Play sleeper. We quickly realized we didn’t have room for all of them, which turned out to be fine since our baby only loved the Rock ’n Play. For babies two through four, we would always have the Rock ’n Play out and ready for when we got home from the hospital. But just because one baby likes it, doesn’t mean another will. You have to get to know your baby a bit, before you’ll be able to tell what kind of gear they prefer.
- A ton of newborn clothes Newborns grow so quickly during their first few weeks of life, you turn your head for a second and they’ve practically grown an inch. With our first baby I had stocked up on so many cute newborn clothes, but I mainly dressed her in baby gowns and the next thing I knew she had outgrown all of them! Instead of getting a ton of newborn items, register and shop for clothes in the 0-6 month range instead. You’ll get much more use out of them!
Other Things We Loved
- DockATot This baby lounger, available in two sizes, is a great option to have, especially for bed sharing and traveling. Our littles stayed in their DockATot Deluxe (the smaller version) for the first six months, and the DockATot Grand (sized for up to 36 months) until age two.
- Owlet Smart Sock No parent wants to have to worry about their newborn all throughout the night. The Owlet smart sock is a monitor that fits onto your baby’s foot, and tracks things like heart rate, oxygen levels and sleep, giving you a warning if anything is amiss. For me, it offered peace of mind.
- Lollipop Smart Baby Camera This cute monitor is hands down one of my favorite baby items to date. We didn't get a Lollipop camera until baby number three, but I wish I’d had it from day one of baby number one! The Lollipop camera is great quality, provides access to your babe even when you’re out of the house, and it’s easy to install.
Ryann Donahoe is an excellent example of today’s modern mom. As a wife and mother of four she documents her experience on her blog, Balancing In High Heels, where she shares her thoughts on motherhood, health, fashion, and much more. Ryann has always found joy in being a mother, and she blends this with her passion for writing to delight her audience with stories of love, fear, and the many challenges that encompass parenthood. Her goal is to share advice that helps all families achieve their best potentials.
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