Parenthood is nuts.
Your life changes on a dime. Your values shift from yourself and your spouse to someone who you just met. You try to reason with a screaming infant that spits up and poops on you without a moment’s notice.
And you love the unreasonable screaming-spitting-pooping machine. You love them more than anyone or anything else.
Does it make sense?
Is it easy?
Will you be tired?
God, yes. You’ll wonder how you function every day and why your work hasn’t fired you.
Anyway, the point of saying all of this is that you need to plan ahead. As a new dad, you won’t be in the headspace to go out and grab things from Target every single night when you discover you need something new.
You’ll want to be home with your kid, trying to figure out why a trained medical staff let you take them home from the hospital without any legal supervision or at least a weekend-long training camp.
So here’s all the stuff that I was thrilled to have when my wife and I brought our son home (and a few things I wish I would’ve had).
- Dr. Brown’s baby bottles gift set
- Dreft laundry detergent
- Amazon Elements unscented baby wipes
- Pampers (newborn size)
- Chicco KeyFit30 infant car seat
- Baby shusher
- Big Red Rooster white noise machine
- Dream on Me Zodiak playard
- HALO sleepsack
- Philips pacifiers
- Philips Avent bottle warmer
- Prideal silicone ear plugs
- Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
- HaloVa diaper bag
- Similac Alimentum
- Simple Joys zipper sleepers
- Muslin burp cloths
Video Podcast: Becoming a Dad during COVID-19
Bottles are baby essentials.
Even if you and / or your spouse plan on breastfeeding (or some similar alternative), bottles give you the freedom to prepare meals and snacks ahead of time for your baby.
And when you’re waking up 2-5 times per night to feed the newest addition to your family, that kind of prep work can make the difference between a happy day as a family-team and a groggy, exhausted afternoon where you can only think about your next nap.
Laundry detergent plays a surprisingly big role in your newborn’s happiness.
Newborn skin is delicate, and it’s sensitive to a lot of the chemicals that don’t bother adults.
That’s why Dreft is so important to have for the first few months (or years) of your child’s life.
This detergent deep-cleans your newborn’s laundry with skin-friendly chemicals so you don’t have to worry about them itching or scratching when they’re clothed.
This is important too — you’re going to have a TON of laundry, and your child will cry for a dozen other reasons aside from skin irritation.
There are three things that never get old: Honey, the TV show Community, and baby wipes.
Buying a huge stock of baby wipes is a genius investment before your child is born. You’re going to have a lot of payments coming your way — food, hospital bills, pediatrician visits — that buying a couple thousand baby wipes will be one less thing you have to worry about.
Amazon Elements wipes are nice because they’re exactly what they say on the tin — baby wipes. You can shop other brands, but these are the most wallet-friendly wipes you can buy in bulk.
Diapers are the first thing that pops into everyone’s minds when they think “baby supplies.”
It’s hard to tell how many newborn diapers you’ll need because “newborn” refers to your child’s weight — not their age. Newborn diapers are usually good for any child between 6 and 10 pounds. Premie diapers are for lighter babies, and “1” diapers can accommodate children up to 16 pounds.
Still, you can stock up on at least one box of newborn diapers so you’re ready for the first few weeks of your kiddo’s life.
A new baby means a new carseat. The Chicco is an awesome choice because Chicco carseats are made to fit in everything else made by Chicco, including strollers.
The Chicco KeyFit car seat is easy to use, compact, lightweight, and all-around a godsend for tired parents who need to get their newborns to a doctor. It’s a little pricey compared to a pack of diapers, but this car seat will work for months to come.
When I was buying supplies for my newborn, I was most suspicious of the baby shusher. But now, I recommend it to everyone who’s expecting.
The reason is simple — it helps your newborn stop crying, fall asleep, and stay asleep. It’s 100% battery-powered and automatically sets to 15 or 30 minute intervals.
In other words, you can set it, place it near your newborn to help them calm down, and then leave it going long after your child falls asleep.
It may just be white noise, but it emulates the noise a child hears while they’re in the womb. That makes it a nice, familiar noise that helps them deal with outside world.
White noise is the elixir that helps your newborn sleep and stay asleep.
A baby shusher may help them calm down, but white noise does the heavy lifting when it comes to your newborn’s nights.
Aside from the weird brand name of this white noise machine, this one works great.
The best part of it is that it’s portable, so you can take it anywhere outside of your house to help your kid sleep.
Playards (also called Pack-n-Plays) are great sleeping areas for your newborns.
Just make sure it’s sleep-safe before you put your child down for the night.
Newborns can’t regulate their internal temperatures as well as adults. That’s why they need extra covers to stay warm at night, especially in the fall and winter.
Also, sleepsacks come with the added benefit of keeping your baby’s arms tight against their bodies when they need to go to sleep — the sleeping positions they’re used to in the womb.
Plus, it’s a lot easier to pick up, carry, and sooth your newborn when they’re wrapped up like a little burrito.
Pacifiers are amazing. Your newborn uses their sucking reflex as a soothing motion, and having them suck on a pacifier accommodates that reflex.
It’s a great way to help them self-sooth at night, and it can make all the difference in the world when it comes to quieting your child and keeping your sanity during early-morning non-stop crying.
Got bottles? Get a bottle warmer while you’re at it.
The only way to properly heat up refrigerated breast milk or formula is with warm water (no microwaves or stovetop heat).
It takes a long, long time to heat up a bottle — but this little warmer can do it in about 3-5 minutes.
It may sound long, but the alternative is waiting 10-20 minutes for a bottle to warm up under a faucet.
Your newborn will be small, but their voice will be loud. They’ll scream. Sometimes, they won’t stop screaming. To top it all off, you’ll be holding them while they’re screaming when you’re getting them to STOP screaming.
Earplugs will help you deal with all of that chaos without losing your cool. It won’t keep you 100% sane — but it’ll take the edge off when you need to stay patient and make your child settle into a good, long sleep.
Boudreaux’s butt paste is a borderline instant cure for diaper rash. It’s crazy how well it works, and it’s a great medicine to have in your back pocket.
Diaper bags are essential for when you go anywhere with your newborn. Doctor’s offices, parents’ houses, you name it — you’ll need your baby supplies.
This bag has all the room you need for the essentials and them some. Pick it up and use it — you’ll be thankful it’s actually comfortable to have on your back.
Babies are born with allergies, but there’s no way to know what allergy they have until it’s triggered.
My wife and I first noticed our son may have an allergy to milk protein (which is apparently pretty common) when he would have diarrhea-like dirty diapers.
On top of his silent reflux, which is basically baby heartburn, we needed something to help him digest.
We introduced this formula, and he’s a completely different kid.
Fewer screaming episodes, less crying overall, and just a happier disposition.
Sleepers are great for… sleeping. But did you know there are two main kinds of sleepers? One has snaps, and one has zippers.
Only buy zipper sleepers.
Here’s why: You’re going to have to change your child in the middle of the night when it’s dark. You can’t use a lot of light because you’ll risk fully waking up your kid, so you’ll be working in dim light at best. Snaps have to be undone and re-done in order, or they won’t line up and you’ll have an uncomfortable baby. If you have a zipper, you just zip it up and down.
Take it from someone who now swears at snap-up sleepers at Target — zippers are the ONLY way to go.
Your kid is gonna spit up a lot. This keeps it from getting on your clothes.
Swaddles are awesome. For the first few months of your life, your newborn will feel most relaxed in poses where their hands are near their face — just like when they were in the womb. This is where they’ll also start sucking their fists and thumbs for the same reason — self-soothing comfort.
Swaddles replicate that feeling so your newborn can feel back at home in the womb and get comfortable again.
Does it sound far-fetched? Yes.
Does it make the difference between a shrieking baby and an extra hour of sleep at 4:00am? Also yes.
Expecting your first kid?
First of all, congratulations.
Second of all, get all of this stuff before the baby’s due date.