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Five Newborn Essentials Every Parent Needs and One They Don’t

sleep success Nov 14, 2020


Shopping for your new baby can be overwhelming, especially for first-time parents. It’s tough not to get analysis paralysis and FOMO spending five minutes perusing Amazon for new baby gear. Of course, there are obvious essentials, like diapers and wipes. However, there are a few baby “must-haves” that aren’t as apparent. Expectant parents regularly ask me what they should buy and what they can skip. Here’s exactly what I tell them: 

Swaddling Blankets or Sleepsack: Your baby was in a really tiny apartment for nine months, and now he’s out in the cold, large world. His arms and legs are going crazy. Swaddling helps calm him down so he can rest. It simulates the warm snugness he’s been used to for the last nine months. 

Most new parents will quickly realize there’s an art to swaddling. If you find getting that cute baby burrito look difficult to perfect, there are plenty of great velcro options out there. Whether you go with the traditional swaddling blankets or the velcro versions, swaddling blankets are essential. I show every parent I see in the hospital exactly how to swaddle––and remind them again with another hands-on tutorial in the clinic since parents are so tired they often forget! Here’s my video of the perfect infant swaddle that will stay for hours and help you and your baby rest. 

Rectal Thermometer: With cold and flu season well underway, parents will want a rectal thermometer to check the baby’s temperature when necessary. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends rectal thermometers for babies up to three months because studies have shown they record core body temperatures best.

In general, you should not need to take your baby’s temp on a regular basis. If he’s feeding poorly, not active, or feels really warm or cold, then take a rectal temperature and call your pediatrician if needed. A normal temperature is between 97.0 and 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit. If the baby’s temp is above or below that range, tell your pediatrician immediately, especially in the first two months of life.

Nasal Aspirator and Nasal Saline: Parents know there’s (almost) nothing worse than a baby with a runny or stuffed-up nose. Whether your little one is teething or just has a cold, you’ll want this snot-sucking tool at hand. Even though it sounds gross, nasal aspirators are hygienic, gentle on the baby, and dishwasher safe. Bonus tip: For even better results, I also recommend using some nasal saline along with a nasal aspirator. 

Sound Machine: Desperate for more sleep? Consider trying a sound machine in your baby's nursery. A sound machine can buffer the noises of your house. Most sound machines come with gentle music or comforting sounds to lull your baby to sleep faster and help her stay asleep for longer. That means exhausted parents can sleep better too. 

A Flat Sleeping Surface: No doubt you’ve spent countless hours looking for just the right crib for your new baby, but did you know that the crib mattress is just as important? Your baby’s mattress should be firm and flat to help prevent suffocation hazards or sudden infant death syndrome. Additionally, the safest sleeping surface for your baby is free of blankets, pillows, bumpers, and stuffed animals. If you'd like more safe sleep advice, you can watch my free safe sleep webinar.

And last but not least, the one item you don’t need for your baby? Anything that adds more stress or unnecessary data into your life. Babies at default are healthy, and you do not need notifications on your watch alerting you to the fact that the humidity in the nursery moved two percentage points. You don't need to constantly monitor your baby or their environment.


For more parenting tips and tricks, subscribe to my blog or take my popular Mighty Sleepers course!


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