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Having a child is expensive no matter how you look at it. Add in mommy shaming from people who think you need to everything their way, have the best of the best and every single item out there and I don’t even want to know the cost. (Plus, my little one spent three months in the NICU, add an additional $700k to my total!) I spent a ridiculous amount of time researching WHAT to get for my little one before she was born and as she nears her 1st birthday, I thought it might be time to share some of this information with you!
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1 | SOMEWHERE TO SLEEP
There are a million schools of thought here, and I’m not here to debunk any of it, or even share my opinions. I will assume you’ve done your research, you understand the pros/cons to every sleep arrangement and are intelligent enough to make a responsible decision so instead I will share my personal experience.
OUR EXPERIENCE: My husband and I did our due diligence, made our decisions…and then our daughter was born 3 months early. ALL planning done up to that point was thrown out the window. She spent the first 3 months of life alone in a NICU isolette, almost 2 months with a heater and cover, a few weeks in an open radiant warmer, and 1 week in a bassinet. By the time she got home, we had no idea what to do with her. We put her in her crib for a nap while we set up the bassinet (she came home unexpectedly) and she slept soundly. We later moved her to the bassinet in our room where she cried and whined and stayed awakCe all night. We let her nap in the crib through the day, and tried the crib the second evening where she more-or-less (as babies do) slept through the night. We never tried the bassinet again.
WHY WE LIKED IT: We loved the simplicity and delicate details in the design. It was feminine without being in your face. The 3-in-1 convertible meant it would go further in our daughters life, so we wouldn’t have to rush out and buy a new bed as soon as we would otherwise. They have 4 and 5 way convertibles out there as well, we decided against it because by that time it would most likely be in rough condition from playing and chewing and per reviews, people often replaced them before getting to that point anyway so it wasn’t worth the money spent.
2 | SOMETHING TO WEAR
OUR EXPERIENCE: People go hog wild with baby clothes (guilty!) But I highly recommend against it! As I mentioned earlier, my daughter was born 3 months early – everything we purchased before that was based on her being born in December and therefore long sleeves in newborn, summer in 6 months etc. We never planned for preemie sized, much less preemie sized until February. Not to mention we had always been careful anyway – we only had 2 or 3 newborn sized because we assumed she would be a big baby and may not even fit newborn when she was born, or at least not for long. The third consideration was a baby shower – we assumed since people looooooove buying baby clothes, we’d get a lot from the shower. A shower we never had because the baby came long before one ever got planned.
WHAT WE DID: Primo Passi Body Extender
WHY WE LIKED IT: These bodysuit extenders were perfect to extend the life of her closet! They are cheap, easy to use, and colors and patterns don’t matter because they are hidden under pants/skirts etc.
>> Hey Mama, check out my Children’s Book Reviews for inspiration for books to add to your book shelf!
3 | SOMETHING TO TRAVEL IN
OUR EXPERIENCE: We spent far too much time (in my opinion) looking at strollers and car seats. We researched, tested, researched, tested and finally fell in love. When our little one was born early we were concerned we wouldn’t be able to use the system we purchased, but it worked perfect for her because it starts at 4lbs and she was required to weight 4lbs before leaving the NICU. You can buy strollers and car seats separately, systems that work together, attachments to make certain products work together or even frames to sit car seats on. Not to mention jogger vs full sized vs umbrella etc. We decided on a jogger (we love going on walks) + travel system, they are economical, incredibly easy to use and because they are made to work together, never any concerns about a third-party attachment failing.
WHY WE LIKED IT: We LOVE this stroller. The car seat has fantastic safety ratings. They actually had a recall right before we purchased, but the recall wasn’t an actual issue – they just went above and beyond to ensure safety. We tested out dozens of similar systems before choosing Britax. Besides safety and customer service, we loved the maneuverability – you can steer with one finger! The one button collapse is amazing, and the stroller itself is super light to carry and folds down pretty well. The car seat IS heavier than similar options, but it feels way more durable and safe than others in my opinion. I love the one button release, and easy click-in to the base in the car. Easy to move baby without waking her! It’s definitely a splurge (for me at least) but it was completely worth it for us.
4 | SOMETHING TO PUMP WITH
OUR EXPERIENCE: I’m hesitant to include this category, similar to a bed – there are far too many opinions on this topic. BUT I wanted to once again share my EXPERIENCE as with a preemie, things are a little different than usual. This is not a requirement for anyone, no matter WHAT you’re feeding your baby, this was my experience and I wanted to share it! All NICU experiences are different but here’s what happened with mine. Day 1: baby was given donor breast milk, the antibodies found in the colostrum especially are important for newborns who aren’t fully developed yet. I was highly encouraged to pump and was provided a machine for free by the hospital. OMG the pain. I provided 100% of the milk until a few days prior to discharge where she began getting Neosure Formula as well. As it was explained to me Neosure helps provide additional calories, vitamins, iron, DHA, and Lutein to help preemies catch up with growth quicker and develop the brain and eyesight. It is incredibly hard on their bellies and eventually we had to switch to another option per our doctor. But I need to drop one opinion right here and if you can’t respectfully disagree STEP AWAY FROM THIS BLOG.
FORMULA IS NOT EVIL. In many ways formula can be better than breast milk, not in every way, but in many. There is NOTHING wrong with giving a baby 100% formula, NOTHING wrong with giving a baby 100% breast milk and NOTHING wrong with doing both. I’ve done an incredible amount of research on this topic, and though I would prefer not to get into it because it not the intent of this blog, I would be happy to provide resources for anyone interested.
Moving on, once I got out of the hospital I was ready to give up on pumping, it hurt far too much. I tried a different pump and was SO thankful it didn’t hurt, increased my production and cut my pumping time!
WHAT WE DID: Spectra S1 Hospital Grade Rechargeable Breast Pump
WHY WE LIKED IT: As I already mentioned, it didn’t hurt! Not to mention, my production increased and my pumping time was cut! I chose the Spectra S1 over the S2 because it was wireless! I could go anywhere and not have to rely on a plug being nearby. This was especially handy being in the NICU where its a VERY tight space to maneuver even without a machine, plus traveling back and forth I could pump in the car. I would absolutely recommend this to anyone over the Medela Symphony which is what almost made me give up giving breast milk to my daughter!
There we go, there are my 4 must haves for a newborn! So much more that could be added to a list like this, but at the bare-bones a baby needs somewhere to sleep, something to wear, and a way of getting home from the hospital. Plus, if you want to provide breast milk a pump could be your best friend (or worst enemy).
Any other must-haves you would add to this list? Did you use any of the items I did? How did you like them? Share your experiences below!
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Welcome! I live in Northern California with my husband, our toddler, and two dogs. I’m a writer, illustrator, and personal development consultant.
I’m on a mission to create a culture of happier, thriving mamas! I help calm the chaos so they can reclaim their happiness, rediscover their identity, and reach new levels of success in their endeavors.
This site is a place to find value in your voice and strength to become the best version of yourself so you can go from simply existing day-to-day to LIVING ON PURPOSE.