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Have you ever tried sifting through all the advice and research on what you need as parents for your newborn?? It is so overwhelming especially as first time parents, and we found that so much of what you are “supposed” to get wasn’t actually usable or needed! So here are 5 total must haves from our experiences so far for all the one day will-be parents out there!

*Disclaimer! These are just things we loved from personal experience– I know everyone has different experiences with different products!

1). Rock’n’play sleeper. I believe at some point since we started using one, there was some issues with an older model of these. But I think the newer ones are fine, and must say that we are so positive this item is one of the top reasons both of our babies slept well!  For the most part, babies just don’t like being flat on their backs. That is why so many babies naturally sleep better on their parent’s chests/etc when they are on their stomachs, but that isn’t safe to do right away when they are laying by themselves.  The Rock’n’play keeps them slightly elevated and cozy, has mesh sides, is super easy to wash, and is super transportable. We love it!  And now they rock on their own- ours is the old version that doesn’t!!

2). THIS SWADDLER.  Note we did not say any swaddler…because we learned quickly with E1 that if a baby wants out of any traditional swaddler, they will get out…but they don’t really want out.  I think as a parent long term, you will be able to tell…if your baby never settles or sleeps in a swaddler, then maybe they really don’t like it. But from our experience, babies love being tightly swaddled because it reminds them of where they were for 9 months!  Ours would challenge it for a minute or two, and then immediately settle once we found the right swaddler…and this is it!  They cannot get out of it, and it isn’t as hot as some of the other options!  We swaddled until 6 months and kept them in that Rock’n’play sleeper (see #1) and then moved them to the crib unswaddled and it worked well both times!

3). White noise. If you aren’t sensitive to sound, then any kind is fine– hence the lack of link. If baby will be sleeping in the same room as you for a while, make sure it’s a sound you like. We had to try a lot of options and really find a totally static sound because otherwise both Michael and I would find sound patterns in it and it would keep us up. We opted in the end for purchasing a white noise mp3 so it is on both of our phones, and completely mobile– meaning we can use it in the car or even out and about if needed (vs a noise machine plugged in at home). While you also don’t want it too close to babies head, we believe in louder white noise…that is what they are used to from the womb, and super quiet noise probably won’t do much!  Of course within reason (be careful with their baby ears!), but we think this paired with #1 and #2 were the keys to good baby sleeping for us!

4). Space-Saver High Chairs.  We are big believers in these! They don’t take up extra floor space– they just attach to another chair you already have! Easy to use, removable trays for when baby is bigger and can sit right up at the table…it was just always way easier for us than having another huge item in the kitchen.  And they are easy to pack up and bring to Grandma and Grandpa’s as needed!

5). Baby Carriers. We are a huge fan of baby wearing.  I take that back… am a huge fan of it– because none of the carriers have just ever fit super well on Michael! But I know many dads who rock this, and I think it’s awesome! There are so so so  many options when it comes to baby carriers– I linked to our overall favorite for longer term here. It isn’t great for super newborn though.  At that age, we used a ring sling of sorts, but any of the fabric tie options work super well. It is just an easy way to keep baby close and safe while you have your hands available, which is especially helpful if you have other kids!  Our E1 loved being carried and E2 thought it was pretty good too, so we are hoping the same for E3!

Can I do one more honorable mention please?? To each their own for all of this, but I highly recommend getting a baby car seat (“bucket seat”) and a stroller caddy that that seat clips into that is JUST a frame instead of those huge strollers that hold everything in creation and take up more space than your car even likely has.  They just aren’t necessary.  Here is what we use, and we love it. There is still space for some storage, and it folds practically flat and is just as light.  As a new mom, again especially if you have other kids to be watching for too, you don’t need to be hauling one of those huge heavy things in and out of your trunk and trying to get it collapsed/put up before getting your car seat in it. These are just so much easier!

Phew, there it is soon-to-be-parents!!  Hope this is helpful– what am I missing from your favorites list? Share in the comments!

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  1. Brittany Puchbauer says:

    Wish I knew about that swaddle. I bet my babes might have loved that. I will continue to pass the info on. Totally agree with the rock n play. We have since given ours away. One of the most difficult baby items to say good bye to. Love to you all!! Feel E3 kick for me. There is nothing better.

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I'm Jill, a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Chicago and Central Illinois, and available world wide! I'm also a photography educator, wife to my favorite person on the planet, mama to 3 amazing kids and an energetic Aussie, and obsessed with statement jewelry and all desserts (especially fruit pies!). 

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