newborn needs

Real Talk: What Your Newborn Needs

Cribs, diapers, swings, baby carriers, bottles, blankets, clothing, strollers, car seats, toys, soothers, bumbos, breast pumps…..the list of things that you’re told you need for a newborn is seemingly endless and overwhelming. But have no fear. I’ve got the real list of what you need here (and spoiler alert, it’s not nearly as long as the list “they” tell you). I’ll tell you what to buy new, what to buy used, and what to skip altogether!

Cribs, Diapers, and Swings – Oh My!

As a mom of 4, I have learned firsthand that the things “they” tell you that you need for your newborn are not always necessary. I’ve spent a lot of money and time accumulating baby things over the years. Walking into a baby store can have your head spinning with all the options for baby gear and gadgets. But in reality, there are very few things that a baby truly needs. 

The short list? Well, a baby’s needs are really quite simple. They need some form of milk (whether that’s breastmilk or formula milk), somewhere to sleep, temperature appropriate clothing, and a caring adult. You don’t believe me, do you? But it’s true! All of that extra stuff is just stuff that makes things easier for us as adults and parents. 

So what DOES my newborn need?

Like I mentioned above, a newborn truly only needs those few things.

  • milk (either formula or breastmilk)
    • You will need to add bottles if not breastfeeding or chestfeeding
  • somewhere to sleep (crib, bassinet, mattress on the floor, your bed made safe for cosleeping, or even a laundry basket works in a pinch!)
  • temperature appropriate clothing
  • a caring adult to respond to their cries and needs

It’s a short list, I know. But truly, if a baby has those things, they will be okay. But as adults and parents, sometimes we need some other items for our own comfort and convenience. One can only stand and rock to comfort a baby for so long before they get tired!  

newborn baby edmonton
Photo by Jen McLeod Photography

Okay, so what do I need then?

Your newborn may not need much, but there are some items out there that will make the fourth trimester a lot easier for you. And some of those things CAN be expensive to buy new. But they don’t have to be! You can purchase a lot of these items used. 

Buy It
  • Car seat. Unless you plan to only ever take transit, you will need a car seat. And if you are birthing in the hospital, you will need to have one to be discharged from the hospital. BUY NEW.
  • Baby carrier. Especially if you have older children. Get yourself to a local baby store (in Edmonton I recommend Two Mothers). The staff there can help you find the perfect carrier for you. My favourite is a woven wrap conversion ring sling, but you may find something else fits you better. BUY SECONDHAND IF POSSIBLE.
  • Bottles if not breastfeeding or chestfeeding. 
  • Diapers. If using cloth diapers, check out local cloth diapering groups on Facebook to buy barely used secondhand diapers. If using disposable, ask for people to gift you these!
  • Wipes. Stock up on these! You can also use cloth wipes – just repurpose some baby face cloths!
  • Breast pump if breastfeeding or chestfeeding. Though not totally necessary, you may find a pump helps you to reach your breastfeeding/chestfeeding goals. Buy this new. 
Skip It
  • Bumbos or other “sitting devices.” While convenient, there are concerns about limiting a baby’s movement and the time they are useful for is generally short. Put it on your registry if you really want one. 
  • Expensive crib bedding packages. Babies can’t use blankets and pillows anyway.
  • Baby positioners. They just aren’t safe.
  • Wipe warmers. Some parents swear by them, but I never found them necessary.
  • Changing table. Get yourself a dresser and use the top to change your baby. You can purchase a changing pad to make it more comfortable.
  • Toys. Newborns don’t need a bunch of toys. All they need is you.
  • Shoes. They don’t stay on newborns. Best bet is to buy a pair of wool slippers/booties. 
Nice to Have (but buy it secondhand if possible)
  • Swing
  • Stroller
  • Bouncer or rocker chair
  • Rocker/recliner (for you!)
  • Extra clothes
newborn needs
One more thing…

There is one more thing that I think every family needs after bringing home a new baby – postpartum doula support. As a mom of 4, I know I would have benefited immensely from having such unbiased support.. A postpartum doula can help ease the transition of bringing home a new life. They can help you build your confidence so that you can thrive. If that sounds like something you need, send me a message to book your consult now

Love Sarah