Prior to having Jaclyn, I didn’t do kids. I never babysat growing up. I worked childcare for one summer and realized very soon that Adult Eduction was my jam. I didn’t really know anything about babies or infant development. So how in the world do I start preparing for my first child? I polled my friends on social media and made various lists to see what was the most popular. There was also plenty of help online— checklists galore, but that was overwhelming too. Now that I’m on the other side, these are a few of my favorite things in preparing for and caring for my baby.
Taking Cara Babies Newborn Sleep Course “Will I ever sleep again?”
This is worth every penny. Cara is the baby sleep master and this would be my number one suggestion for new moms. Follow her on Instagram for lots of free tips and tricks, but the course is gold. We learned how to calm Jaclyn when she was uncontrollably fussy, how to get her on a loose daytime schedule of eating, playing, and napping, and soon after that, she started sleeping longer hours at night. Currently at 4 months old, her record night’s sleep is eleven and a half hours.
SwaddleMe Original Swaddle
I was convinced that Jaclyn only liked to be swaddled in the hospital blankets because she liked to move her arms. I was wrong. Babies actually prefer to be tightly swaddled because it resembles the womb. I learned all about it in the sleep course and these swaddles were game changers.
Merlin’s Magic Sleep Suit
When Jaclyn was 3 months old, she learned to roll from her tummy to her back, meaning it is no longer safe to swaddle her We went one night with her in a sleep sack and realized that her startle reflexes still weren’t controlled enough for her to sleep soundly. She kept smacking herself in the face and woke us up all night. This suit really is magical; it’s similar to a weighted blanket and is recommended for the transition between a swaddle and a sleep sack.
Another recommendation from our sleep course. Another way to make your baby feel like he or she is in the womb. We like this one.
Personally, I love having Jaclyn sleep right next to me. Her bassinet fits right up next to our bed so I can see her anytime I want. On another note, she naps in the crib in her nursery so when we are ready to transition her, she’ll be ready.
HEALTH AND CLEANLINESS
I vowed to buy one of these for every pregnant friend from now on. This helps clean out boogies from those tiny nostrils in a safe, easy way.
I gagged the first time I realized what this was. I told Seth he would have to use it. But the first time I heard Jaclyn struggling to breath, I didn’t even hesitate. I’m super thankful for this tool. Also, the saline spray that comes with it is the best. The size is just right for baby nostrils and it sprays a good mist.
Probiotics with Vitamin D
Good for the tummy and reflux!
We prefer these to Gripe Water.
Baby Nail Clippers
Be extra and get the ones with the light and magnifying glass. It is terrifying to clip baby fingernails. Also, go ahead and get a baby nail file. It’s super handy.
Super easy to clean for the surprising pee fountains and poop explosions.
There will be so much poop. SO MUCH. This stuff is miraculous at getting out poop stains.
Register for several different types and let other folks buy them for you. Sometimes babies have preferences, and you won’t know until you try. Jaclyn mostly prefers these.
Like the pacifiers, register for several different types and let other folks buy them for you. Sometimes babies have nipple preferences, and you won’t know until you try them. With bottles, I learned I had a preference depending on how easily she ate from each one. We ended up liking Nuk and Dr. Brown’s the best.
Be sure to get a microwaveable bottle sterilizer! Such a time saver.
We didn’t register for a bottle warmer, but it was worth the purchase later. I was planning on breastfeeding, but I ended up exclusively pumping, and Jaclyn won’t drink cold milk well. This one was affordable and easy to use.
I was told cloth diapers are the best burp cloths. And I agree. These are my favorite because they’re nice and soft.
THE CUTE STUFF
I was told not to register for clothes because you’ll get a ton regardless. That was good advice. However, if you really want something specific, register for it.
I would suggest getting some 3 month sleepers with mitten cuffs like these. Jaclyn started biting her hand a lot in her pre-teething stage, and those cuffs saved her little fingers. You could also put long socks on the baby’s hands while they sleep. I loved this pack of socks. Mittens just don’t stay on that well. We didn’t get many pants. Perhaps it was because Jaclyn was born in the summer, but I think I’ll register for more next time.
You’ll get a million blankets as gifts so don’t register for them unless you really want a specific one. I have enjoyed having multiple bigger blankets to keep in different rooms for her to lay on.
THE FUN STUFF
These Teether Rings
Fisher Price Stacking Rings
THE BIG STUFF
Google the best items of the current year. Baby List has rankings for most everything and was very helpful. We primarily chose items that convert and grow with her. The crib will turn into a toddler bed. Her changing table top can be removed so she will have a regular dresser. You get the idea.
ORGANIZING THE STUFF
Perfect for organizing teeny tiny clothes.
It’s difficult to stay organized when your baby grows so fast. I bought some under the bed storage containers and some taller ones to fit on shelves. These have been super helpful in switching out baby clothes of different sizes, maternity clothes, etc.
Baby Tracker App: Track your baby’s eating, sleep, and potty time.
Baby Story App: Make all kinds of cute pictures even cuter.
To each their own, but I hope this helps narrow some things down for other mamas!