my 5 must-haves for a newborn.

March 27, 2012, Michaela Evanow, 17 Comments

There are very few things a brand new mother needs, I’ve discovered. I figured this much going into the last few weeks of pregnancy, which is why I didn’t stock up on much of anything. Breast fed newborns require energy, love, milk, diapers, a few sleepers and outfits, but other than those few basic necessities, they don’t need much.

First necessity: A bassinet or co sleeper.

We have Florence in her bassinet right beside our bed. We discovered early on that, although we don’t really have the room to put her beside our bed, we make it work, and move the bassinet every morning so we can use the bedroom as a functional unit again. I find I’m able to cope much easier if I don’t have to get out of bed to feed her. It’s a no brainer, but for a first time mum, there are so many little tips and tricks you have to learn yourself.

Our bassinet is from the Uppa Baby Vista stroller. it’s larger than most, sturdy and made from organic cotton and soybean fiber. She will outgrow it in a few months, or less, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I also like that we can move it onto the patio, the living room, or wherever we happen to be.

Second (NOT a) necessity, but helpful: A pacifier, binky, dummy.

Now remember, this is my list, and it doesn’t have to be yours. But I’ve discovered my little sucker needs a pacifier to reassure her. My mum bought a nice natural one for her, and I immediatley returned it. “She doesn’t need that yet. And maybe never will, but thanks.” Well. Come evening time, my milk-full, sleepy baby couldn’t get comfy. She fussed and kicked, and yet her eyes were drooping. I promised myself I’ll just try a pacifier the next day. I picked up the Nuk brand orthodontic pacifiers, and found success. There are only a few points during the day that she roots around for it, and I’m happy to give it to her (usually right after a feed, before a nap). I always make sure she doesn’t want to feed first, and obviously, if she just fed and is still rooting, it’s a given that she just wants to sleep and needs a little gum soothing action. She’s discovered her little fists can also soothe, but she’s not quite capable of getting them in her mouth (and probably never will, unless she realizes her fingers will fit!) Dr. Sears doesn’t recommend introducing a pacifier before 6 weeks, but alas, each mother has to make her own decisions. Before I introduced the pacifier, I made sure our breastfeeding relationship was well established, Florence was gaining weight, and that she really did want some extra sucking time. Infants are born with the intense need to suck, and yes, breast is best, but sometimes baby doesn’t want the breast! Because milk comes out (and chokes her…not always the case, but it’s my case!)

Third necessity: A Sleep Sack

We tried swaddling Florence, after our nurse recommended we stop swaddling her…yes, that’s what I said. Apparently swaddling increases the risks of SIDS, because a baby can become too overheated. Anyway, there are countless books out there recommending swaddling, especially for a fussy or gassy baby. So, we spent a good 10 minutes trying to get her into a swaddle wrap, after dressing her in a short-sleeved onesie. She wouldn’t have it. Her arms flailed, she cried. And then, once we got her tightly bound, she came undone 30 minutes later. She’s a tough cookie, and she doesn’t like being bound. A sleep sack is just the solution. It decreases the risks of SIDS, and is much easier to get on and off. We have a Summer sleep sack, and I recently purchased a Halo micro fleece sleep sack for the fall and winter. The sack still keeps their legs somewhat contained, and it’s warm enough with a sleeper. Definitely can’t live without it!

Fourth necessity: A breastfeeding app

I have an iPhone, and found a free app that I can’t stop using. It lets me know what side I last fed on (which is mostly what I use the app for), and for how long. It also tells me when I last fed her, which I can’t ever remember. For the most part, she’s on her own 3 hour schedule, but sometimes 4 hours will slip by, or she’ll want to cluster feed, and I just like knowing how many hours have passed since her last feed. I started with the bracelet system (wear a bracelet on the last side you fed on), but continually forgot to switch the bracelet from wrist to wrist. The app I have is called Baby Nursing, and I think it’s pretty great.

Fifth necessity: A Moby Wrap

As far as newborns go, the only other wonderful invention I’d recommend is the Moby Wrap. I’ve tried a total of three slings and wraps, and finally settled on the Moby Wrap. I was very blessed to have two slings given to me: the first was the ring sling by Sleeping Baby Productions. It was a high quality, beautiful rainbow sling that worked for one day, and then, blame it on postpartum brain/fatigue or Flo’s long legs, just didn’t work out the following day. She would not fit. She cried. She couldn’t get comfortable and neither could I. I was bummed, because I loved the sling, but after many sweaty, bleary eyed attempts, I decided to try the Seven Sling. This also didn’t work. It was too deep, and yet too short for the cradle hold. I don’t know if it’s my extremely long baby, or just my lack of talent, but I couldn’t get this sling to work for me.

Enter the Moby Wrap! I researched online and tried out the Cuddly Wrap at my neighbourhood baby store. It was alright, but the Moby Wrap was a little cheaper, and had a well established name. I am easily sold by products that are popular, I’ll admit. There is often a great a reason for their popularity!

I drove down to Pebble Baby, the only baby store in Vancouver that carries the Moby. I tried it on, and even managed to slip a sleeping Florence into the wrap. She stayed asleep, nestled against my chest, and that’s when I knew, everything would be okay.

You see, I know there is a small window where babywearing is easiest on the back, and creates an intimate bond between baby and mother. I wanted in on this window, and every day that slipped by caused me some anxiety. I wanted to wear my baby, and I wanted to wear her now!

The Moby Wrap has a pretty big learning curve, but nothing I couldn’t manage (which says a lot). The instructions are simple and clear, and all it takes is some elbow grease and determination. Once you figure out how to wrap it (it’s actually really easy—I say this now), and slip your baby inside, you’re good to go. There are multiple ways to carry a baby, but just a few for newborns. Currently I have Florence in the Newborn Hug Hold, and she loves it. She falls asleep almost immediatley. The only issue I have is her long legs. She will suddenly cry out, and I’m not sure why. I know newborns do this on occasion while in REM sleep, but I feel like perhaps her long legs are a bit too squished when I’m sitting down. They are tucked in the fetal position, but I have a feeling we’ll be moving on to the Kangaroo Wrap and Hold fairly soon.

To read more about the wonderful benefits of babywearing, click here!

17 Comments

  • Reply Larissa November 17, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    Did you use any kind of waterproof pad with the uppababy? We’re going to use the bassinet for sleeping as well.. but I’m worried about the mattress getting gross if it doesn’t have some kind of waterproof barrier. Thoughts?

    • Reply Michaela. November 17, 2013 at 4:29 PM

      We never used liners, just a bassinet pad cover. My daughter wasn’t prone to spitting up or having diaper explosions! The pad itself is covered in a waterproof liner, and zipped up in a cotton liner. I’d recommend Carter’s flannel waterproof bassinet liners. No plastic. We have their crib sheet liners.

      • Reply Lauren July 26, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        Hi Michaela,

        I realize your post is from a long time ago, but was wondering if you could share what bassinet pad you used. I am having trouble finding one that fits the Uppababy bassinet’s shape.

        Thanks!

        • Reply Michaela Evanow July 28, 2014 at 9:42 AM

          hey Lauren, I used the pad that came with the stroller…it’s much better than a moses basket pad or others.

  • Reply hintmama November 7, 2013 at 7:46 AM

    I used the Uppababy bassinet as a newborn sleeper as well and it worked like a charm. More on that here:
    http://hintmama.com/2013/11/07/todays-hint-another-use-for-a-stroller-bassinet/

    • Reply Michaela. November 7, 2013 at 8:36 AM

      Thanks hint mama for using my post in your article. It’s a great bassinet isn’t it? We still use it!! Since my daughter has a muscular condition and needs to be flat.

  • Reply motherwho June 5, 2012 at 4:38 AM

    I think that is the exact wrap I swear by, but here in Australia I bought it as a ‘hug-a-bub’. I discovered them when my first bub was about 4 months old. So excited to be able to use it from the very beginning with number two!!!

  • Reply Kay April 18, 2012 at 7:48 AM

    Great list of must-have’s! We tightly swaddled all 4 of our children. They all loved it and immediately settled. Some babies do NOT like swaddling though. We also co-slept with Baby in the middle of bed.
    And secondly, you can purchase 5m of jersey cloth and make yourself a Moby Wrap for about 11$ and 30 minute of your time!

    • Reply Michaela. April 18, 2012 at 11:11 AM

      that’s a great tip, thank you! If only I could sew…

  • Reply Lora Roberts Logan April 7, 2012 at 10:14 PM

    We are going to be using the UPPABaby bassinet as well! Glad to hear it works for you. Do you leave it on the floor or do you have it on a stand or other piece of furniture? Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Michaela. April 9, 2012 at 7:40 PM

      Hello Lora,
      I have a stand for it, although not the Uppa baby stand. We just found ours secondhand. It’s wicker and is pretty large. But the bassinet fits in it, so it’s great! When we travel we take the bassinet with us, and just put it on the floor.

  • Reply Shannon March 29, 2012 at 10:15 AM

    Wow! That wrap is amazing – its almost like having her back on the inside again?!

  • Reply Chelsea March 28, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Great post, my midwife gave me one of those wraps made from jersey cotton, and it was amazing. I have forgotten about it though, so thanks for the reminder. GREAT tips my dear!! You are one awesome momma!!

  • Reply sara eberle March 28, 2012 at 4:13 AM

    This is a lovely post and made me remember my days with my two babes.

  • Reply sara eberle March 28, 2012 at 4:12 AM

    This is a lovely post and made me remember the early days with my two babes who both too big for the slings. You are a great mum!

  • Reply Mrs Loquacious March 27, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    Just figured out that Baby L loves the bassinet too! Unfortunately she is nearly the length of it now, so our mileage is limited.
    We use a Playtex paci when we absolutely must but I still don’t think she likes it.
    Sleep sack = yes, although it makes midnight diaper changes a royal pain.
    Slings and I still haven’t become friends yet but I like my BECO Gemini Carrier.
    Finally – Our app of choice is called Baby Connect and it syncs info between Hubbs’ phone and mine. Very handy!

  • Reply Chelsea March 27, 2012 at 9:41 PM

    Love that wrap! It looks really comfy and the best part is you are hands free! When I was breastfeeding I didn’t have an app (woulda been so handy!) but I found that after a few weeks, my body built up a memory and I would just weigh each boob before a feed to see which one was full and ready to go – most times it was clear (but sometimes there was some serious guesswork!) it’s really the little things like this, that stick with ya as a mum!

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