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Surprisingly Useful Newborn Essentials

When you’re expecting, you’re immediately bombarded with list after list after pin after pin of items and devices you absolutely MUST have in order to make your time with a newborn the most precious and magical months in the history of everything.

As it turns out, you probably don’t need about 99% of what’s on those lists. We figured out within probably the first two weeks which things were just taking up space in the nursery (and the car, and the living room, and grandma’s house), and which turned out to be absolute lifesavers.

Here are the items we found to be the most valuable.

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When you have a newborn, they don’t always like to go to sleep on command. Or pretty much ever. And as much as we all love cuddle time, it’s not very practical, or good for your sanity, to sit around with a baby on your lap 24/7. Being able to feel like yourself is difficult with a newborn as it is. Couple that with a severe lack of sleep, and the transition into parenthood can be pretty freakin’ overwhelming.

Having a swing was a lifesaver, because it gave us that extra set of hands we needed to give our newborn the comfy, gentle rocking he needed while we tended to other things that needed doing around the house…or to simply feel like we could catch our breaths for a few moments.

Our pick: Fisher-Price Snugabunny Cradle n’ Swing


When you have a baby, you think they’ll be easy to carry around. They’re so bitty and light, and they’re really not much trouble at all. Then you discover very quickly that they’re also quite squirmy and often require two hands to hold onto. Try watering the garden like that. Not happening.

Being able to wear our little one around the house when we needed to get things done, or just wanted some hands-free time was an absolute lifesaver. The added bonus of a carrier is that you get to hold your baby close and really carry on the bonding experience. Not to mention, when your baby gets to be the age/weight when they can face forward in the carrier, they will absolutely love the sensory experience the carrier offers…and you’ll love experiencing that with them.

Our pick: Baby Bjorn Baby Carrier

Swaddle Sleepers

With a wiggly wonder, we found our ability to keep our little one swaddled for sleep started to wane after the first month. It wasn’t that he disliked being swaddled. It was more that he tended to kick his way out of it fairly quickly, so we’d have to re-wrap him a few times a night. Clearly he needed to be snug, but also needed some room to to kick a bit.

Enter the swaddle sleeper. These are essentially a sleep sack, but with extra straps for swaddling. Honestly, these made the perfect bedtime companion for our little guy, and he always knew when the swaddles came on that he was heading to sleepy town. In fact, they worked so well we had to order another size as he outgrew his first set. We found Halo Innovations SleepSack Swaddle on Amazon was the most affordable and worked like a charm for our little man.

Our pick: SleepSack HALO® Sleepsack® Micro-Fleece Swaddle

Microwavable Sterilizer Bags

Keeping bottles and their parts properly sterilized used to be a hassle. Steve recalls when his daughter was a newborn having to keep a constant supply on hand so he could bulk boil them when the pot was full.

Not anymore. With the removal of BPA plastics from baby products, microwaving things has become a lot safer. For us, sterilizing bottles is now the simplest thing in the world. We discovered Dr. Brown’s Microwavable Sterilizer bags early on when we found out our large sterilizer required a turntable in the microwave, which we didn’t have. These bags are so handy. They come five to a box, and each bag has 20 uses, so they do last a long time.

Each zip-sealed steamer bag holds two or three bottles (depending on the size), along with caps and nipples. Add in two ounces of water, seal, and microwave on high for three minutes. That’s it. Of course you have to wash the bottles first (or risk having baked formula or milk stuck on them), but really, the time saved with these awesome bags has been immeasurable.

Our pick: Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Microwave Steam Sterilizer Bags 


Steve’s dad is always fond of saying that you don’t really need a special bassinet to house a newborn. You can do just fine with a laundry basket or a sock drawer. LOL.

OK, that may have been reasonable at some point in history, but really, a bassinet is a true lifesaver when it comes to sleeping arrangements. We weren’t sure exactly how long baby was supposed to stay in our room, but we weren’t comfortable with co-sleeping either. Since we went to the trouble of setting up the nursery, it didn’t make sense to try moving the crib up to our room. Besides, he looked so tiny in that big open bed!

Ah, but the bassinet was a perfect fit. It’s small enough to fit at the end of our bed, so baby was right within reach, but big enough to ensure plenty of room to grow. To be honest, if he didn’t grow so fast we’d probably still have him in there with us. There are so many different brands of bassinets out there to choose from, but we were lucky enough to be handed down the Uppababy Bassinet and stand, and it was perfect in every way, including how well it blended with our existing bedroom decor.

Our pick: UPPABaby Bassinet and Bassinet Stand


aAre there any surprisingly useful newborn essentials that you couldn’t live without? Let us know in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you and your experience.

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