Our days have been crazy over here. Poor Charlie has come into our lives during extreme and frequent transition. I mean, we’re about to move for the second time since we found out I was pregnant with him and both of these moves were unexpected, borderline last minute decisions. That means lots of transitions in short amounts of time all while growing our second son.
So, as it tends to be for any kid after the first, he hasn’t been #1. Not that he’s not a priority. Of course he and Oliver are both #1 on that list. But, unlike his older brother, Charlie has not been the center of my attention and it’s time for me to give him a moment in the spotlight.
While there’s lots of stuff we have left over from Oliver (and our two nephews - we’ve got lots of boys in this family), there’s still a good amount of stuff we’ll need for Charlie. Plus, I don’t want him to fall victim to having 100% hand-me-downs. It’d be nice to at least have a few things that are all his own. So I’m taking the time to make a list of all the necessities for a newborn. From stuff we have to stuff we need to get, these are all the things I remember being most useful my first time around.
A MINIMALIST’S NEWBORN CHECKLIST
Honestly, newborns don’t need much. Mostly they just need food and diapers and a cozy place to sleep. There are many gadgets and things all over the internet that claim to be a must-have for any new human. Honestly, after getting rid of half the stuff we never used with Oliver and taking note of what was truly useful, I’ve found that it’s best to start with the true essentials and go from there. Every kid is different. What Oliver loved and used frequently, Charlie may not bat an eye at.
That’s why, this time around, I’m going to be prepared with all the stuff he really needs and if I feel I want extras along the way, I’ll grab them as I go.
CAR SEAT | Of course. You can’t even take the baby home without one! We have Oliver’s old car seat that we’ll be using since he outgrew it very quickly. But, I’d honestly recommend his new car seat if you want to get one that will last you all the way through. It’s good for a 5 lb baby all the way to a 50 lb toddler, so it’ll basically last you through all the years they need a car seat. The only downside to the new one is you can’t take the whole seat out of the car to transport baby which is a little inconvenient when they’re super little and sleepy. The old one, however, clicks in and out of the base making it very easy for transporting a baby, though Oliver grew out of it in a year!
SWING | It may seem like a big item for a minimalist’s list, and honestly, I don’t think you NEED to start with this, but it is so handy to help create some kind of nap schedule before you’re ready to put baby in a crib. It’s so cozy and soothing and, at the very least, it gives you a few minutes to be your own person which is very valuable in the newborn days.
PUMP | If you’re planning on pumping or you’re a working mom or you just want to have a pump handy, I recommend Medela. I exclusively pumped with Oliver, so I’m a bit of an expert on the subject. I’d love to breastfeed with Charlie, but I know having the pump around, especially after the first month or so, will be really nice so I can at least have the option if I ever want some time by myself or I need to go somewhere without the boys.
It may seem silly to only have two types of clothes for your baby, but these are really the only things we dressed Oliver in for a while. You don’t need a ton of either thing. But these are really good options for being able to easily dress baby without having to pull clothes over their head or button and unbutton things all dang day.
I’ve intentionally left off socks, gloves, and hats (unless you’re going outdoors in freezing weather. Then definitely bundle that baby!) because it’s impossible to keep them on a baby. Just have blankets handy and make sure most of their clothes have the little hand covers.
3-4 KIMONO BODY SUITS | I love this for day time. It’s cute and simple which makes it perfect for outings and you can keep a swaddle for them so pants aren’t super necessary. My favorite features are the front buttons, which make it so you never have to struggle with pulling a onesie over a brand new baby’s head (which is terrifying and difficult) and the hand flaps or covers, whatever you want to call them. It’s so convenient for during the day when baby is most active so you don’t have to worry about them scratching their little faces (or strangers getting their germs all over their hands).
2-3 DRESSES | Also known as bunting bags. I was hesitant to get a dress for Oliver because, well, he’s a boy. But newborn dresses are for anyone and everyone should have these, especially as PJ’s. The ease of simply lifting the bottom of the dress for those midnight diaper changes you’ll be doing is a life saver. It keeps baby warm because you don’t have to undress them (which is always a plus) and it prevents you from having to unbutton and re-button all the time. Seriously, get your son some dresses and make sure they always wear a dress for bed. At least until they stop waking up for night feedings. I also really love the ones I linked because they have a piece that wraps over baby’s feet which will prevent it from riding up (which is a problem with most newborn stuff that isn’t secured at the bottom).
I’d recommend only getting one or two things in a true newborn size and getting the majority of your clothes in 0-3 month sizes (with one or two 3-6 month). 0-3 month is the most versatile size for small and big babies and you really have no idea what you’re going to have until you have them. If you have a smaller baby, you can always grab more newborn sizes and the 0-3 month will still be useful very soon down the road!
BASSINET | Honestly, I didn’t see a need to get a bassinet with the first baby, especially at first when all they really do is lay in one spot or cuddle. I’m mostly getting a bassinet this round because I’m thinking it’ll be really nice to have a portable place for Charlie to lay and sleep where his big brother can’t accidentally trample him, but he can still be apart of the action. Oliver also loves his crib still so I’m not sure when he’ll be ready to hand it over to his little brother. That’s why I’m also going to get a stand for when we transition Charlie to sleeping on his own.
SWADDLES | You really don’t need more than 2-3. I liked having one that was always with the car seat, one on the bed, and one for playing. And of course, if one of those got dirty, we still had backup! You don’t need to go crazy on swaddles. Just a few that are nice and soft are good.
VELCRO SWADDLE | These things look hilarious. And while your baby may look like a psych patient, I promise they are very cozy. Honestly, from the first night we used these things, Oliver slept.. well.. like a baby! All the way through the night. I never mastered the art of swaddling with an actual blanket. Plus, babies move sporadically when they sleep and it can be the very thing that wakes them up in the night. These little swaddles are so helpful for giving them a snug and secure nights sleep, especially when they start sleeping in their own space.
I did not and don’t plan on doing reusable diapers. The zero-waster in me hates that, but I’m sorry world and all who inhabit it. I like the ease of throwing away diapers. So, obviously diapers and wipes are things you need. And here are a few little extras.
CHANGING MAT | We rarely left the bed when Oliver was born. We just used a little mat to prevent any spillage or surprise attacks from getting on the bed. It’s also great for when you leave the house because it’s super easy to roll or fold. Honesty, I’m thinking about getting rid of our changing station at home all together and just having a changing cart with a few of the essentials because it’s less space and way more convenient.
BABY POWDER | I got this at our baby shower and it was an amazing thing to have. To start, all of the ingredients are natural so you don’t have to worry about harsh chemicals on baby. Second, the powder is diaper rash magic. The first diaper rash Oliver had was horrifying. He screamed all night and we couldn’t figure out what was wrong until we found that, TA-DA, his butt was bright red. So we put the powder on him and by the next diaper change, he was all clear.
As far as where to put baby for the first few months, until he could sit up, I’d either just climb in the bath with Oliver and let him rest in my arms or lap OR lay a hand towel in the bottom of the tub and have him lay in very shallow water (heavily supervised!!). Honestly, he loved the latter around 2 months because he could splash which was lots of fun for him!
TOWEL | I have the space towel for Oliver and I love these little things. You really only need one or two because you’ll be doing enough laundry to keep them clean with all the spit up and blowouts newborns like to do.
SOAP | Honestly, I’d just make a bubble bath and use a washcloth to wet Oliver’s hair and make sure water was reaching in-between all the baby-chub creases (don’t forget behind the ears. They get really gross back there). The same way I don’t really wash my hair, I don’t make it a priority to get soap directly on my kid’s hair because, well, he’s doing fine without it! I also don’t like the idea of having soap go directly on baby’s sensitive and naturally soft skin. The soapy water is usually enough to get ‘em clean!
LOTION | Baby massage time is a really good time for having a little one-on-one interaction with your new one. I love any sleepy time lotion because it’s a good addition to nighttime routines and helps to keep baby’s skin soft and smooth. Since it can tend to become irritated easily, a daily dose of moisturizer is always a good idea.
BABY BALM | This baby balm is amazing for those dry patches or cradle cap that baby’s can get. Oliver had a bit of baby eczema and this balm was really great for that (along with this bath treatment which was an actual life saver).
While not everything listed below is essential, they are all nice to have to help with baby’s development or to just give you a moment of having free hands, put baby down, or have some time alone.
PACIFIER | I was very against the idea of pacifiers for some reason, but for a little while, they were super helpful. Sometimes babies just want something to do, so rather than have them mindlessly hanging on your boob all day, a pacifier is a nice alternative. Especially when you want to indulge in a little luxury like eating a meal without holding a baby or taking a shower by yourself. - just make sure you get a clip! It’s a little mortifying when a pacifier hits the ground, especially in public.
MAT | So this is technically a blanket, but I think this pattern makes it a good option for a play mat. We have a mud cloth hanging on our wall that Oliver couldn’t take his eyes off of so I like the idea of giving Charlie his very own intricate pattern to look at. Plus, dual purpose is always nice!
Really, just having a surface for tummy time that is some kind of design is helpful. Something that is interesting for them to look at but still keeps them off the floor. It’s also a good motivator when they’re ready to start rolling over.
PLAY GYM | If you choose to opt out of a swing with a mobile, a play gym is actually pretty nice to have. It’s good for giving baby time to play and entertain himself before he can really start moving his body. We also have this chair that has a little mobile on it which is great for when I’m cooking or cleaning and want to bring baby with me, but still need a free hand to focus on what I’m doing.
BURP CLOTHS/BIBS | Babies spit up. A lot. Really, stuff that goes in there body quickly leaves it one way or another. Burp cloths should be kept anywhere and everywhere. Really, just a rag will do, or a swaddle. But having one or two actual soft, thick burb cloths is nice for cleaning off baby. Bibs are amazing for protecting their cute clothes and it’s much easier to change a bib than a whole onesie.
CARRIER | Something for wearing baby is definitely nice. I didn’t love leaving Oliver in the carseat or a stroller when he was super little. Having him close brought me ease and him comfort. I have a Solly Baby wrap from Ollie’s baby days, but I’ve heard great things about WildBird and I think I may give it a try with Charlie!
TOYS | There’s not a ton a newborn is going to play with at first, but you’d be surprised how quickly they start learning and getting into stuff. Having a few rattles or teether type toys on hand to put with them during playtime will help motivate them to explore and entertain themselves.
BOOKS | Little plush books for newborns are great. We had one colorful one and one black and white one. Oliver LOVED the black and white one as a newborn. All the interesting shapes and animals made for a great time.
I’m a big planner, so sitting down and thinking of all the things Charlie will need gets me excited about all of those first moments you get with your baby. The newborn stage is tough, but it goes by so quickly. The sweet cuddles and chunky baby legs don’t last forever so enjoy it all while you can and don’t get too caught up in all the stuff.
I’m excited to meet you baby Charlie. I think you’re going to fit in nicely over here.