25 Must Haves when Bringing Baby Home

We created a registry pretty early when I was about 5 months pregnant. Little did we know, Jed would come in a month and we wouldn’t have a baby shower or much time to prepare the way we thought we would. There are so many lists and recommendations of things to get out there but I wanted to give you all a list of the 25 Must Haves we feel you will need and use often. I have tailored it a bit for preemies as I think some of the needs are slightly different. But overall, I think this is a solid list for anyone bringing a little one home from the hospital or a long NICU stay. I have linked all the items to webpages were you can purchase or find out more. I hope you find it useful!

1. UPPAbaby Mesa Car Seat
You cannot take your baby home without one. This applies to all babies. But with preemies, they will undergo a carseat test in the hospital before they can even begin to consider discharge. Get a car seat that can accommodate small babies. Jed was about 5 lbs when he passed his car seat test. But he might have easily failed if his car seat wasn’t a good size for him. The UPPAbaby Mesa carseast accommodates babies from 4 lbs to 32 lbs, comfortably. It also makes it impossible to install the carseat incorrectly as the SmartSecure system has indicators will turn red if the car seat is not on properly. It’s fire retardant, has a 5-star ease of use government rating, side impact protection and a lot of other wonderful features. Highly recommend this car seat, especially if you’re considering an UPPAbaby stroller.

2. UPPAbaby Cruz Stroller
This stroller is light and easy to open/close. May not seem so important but once you find yourself alone with your baby, heading to a bunch of follow up appointments, you’ll be grateful. It’s compact and narrow enough to not give you a hard time fitting it in tighter aisles and spaces and never feels bulky. It has a wonderfully useful large basket in the bottom to put everything from toys to your diaper bag, to food, etc. It also comes with a ton of accessories like sunshades, rain shield, mosquito shield, the toddler seat and bumper bar. Pair this with the Mesa carseat, and it installs with literally one click. It doesn’t hurt that its also stylish!

3. Owlet Smart Sock 2
When you go from a bunch of monitors in a hospital that assure you your child is getting enough oxygen and breathing well, to being at home by yourselves, the Owlet will be a saving grace. We honestly didn’t use it more than a month once we saw his oxygen levels never went below 95, but we would buy it all over again because it gave us peace of mind during a transition from hospital to home. It’s a simple sock that goes on your babies foot and monitors his/her heart rate and oxygen levels. If they drop below the normal range, an alarm will sound immediately. It also has an app for your phone that it hooks up to where you can always check in and see how your baby is breathing. Probably the best thing we bought.

4. Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Naturals
This is a must. Buy it in bulks because after spending time in the NICU and getting used to washing and sanitizing your hands every 10 minutes, it’ll be a habit you will continue (and for good reason) for a while. Making sure bacteria and germs don’t spread around your house and onto your baby, especially after a long hospital stay, is critical. We have a bottle in every room in our house and make sure anyone who comes in lathers up. Our hospital used Purell and we loved it but we did find a “natural” version we opted for instead. It kills 99.9% of germs and bacteria is made of 93% bio-based ingredients.

5. Burts Bees Baby Diaper Rash Ointment
I honestly have two favorites here. In the NICU, they sometimes used Aquaphor Healing Ointment and I loved it. Jed never (and still has never) gotten a diaper rash. We have the Aquaphor at home and use it often but I also use Burts Bees Diaper Rash Ointment and love it too. The Aquaphor is more like a clear gel whereas the diaper rash cream is white, thicker and creamy. In my opinion they are both great. I’d use Burts Bees more to prevent diaper rash and Aquaphor if I see any red or sensitive spots that might need a little extra care.

6. Pampers Swaddlers
I will honestly say Pampers is the only brand of diapers I have tried. But if I haven’t had an issue and have been 100% satisfied, why change it? They have every size needed for Preemies starting all the way at Micro (for 2 lb babies). They provide up to 12 hours of overnight protection from leakage and the color changing wetness indicator lets you know when it’s time for a new diaper. Jed has not had any reactions from them either: no rashes, irritation, etc. Our hospital used it and we continued to at home. I recommend waiting until you’re getting close to discharge before stocking up on diapers though. You don’t really know how much your baby will weigh when he comes home and you might spend a lot of money purchasing the wrong size (we needed preemie and newborn sizes when he came home and only had size 1’s).

7. Pampers Sensitive Wipes
You’ll need lots of wipes. It’s kind of amazing how quickly we go through these things. But I love this brand and the sensitive line. Jed does have sensitive skin and it gets a little red and irritated with certain products. We’ve had no issues with these wipes whatsoever.

8. WubbaNubb Pacifier
When it comes to pacifiers, I strongly urge you and recommend that you get the same type that they use in the hospital. This will be the first pacifier your baby is introduced too, and if he/she was premature, probably the first thing that taught your baby how to suck. Switching them to a different type of pacifier when they come home might not work as well and could cause stress for you and the baby. A lot of hospitals and NICU’s use the Avent Soothies. They come in different sizes and even have the WubbaNubb’s with the stuffed animals at the end. Babies love them! Soothies were the only pacifiers Jed ever cared for, before he stopped caring for them at all.

9. Boogie Wipes Saline Nose Wipes
I love these things! I use them to wipe Jed’s nose a lot, but also his face and hands. Other wipes have caused his skin to get a little red and irritated. Not boogie wipes! They are very soft, gentle and come in Grape, Fresh Scent or Simply Unscented.

10. Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard Quick Connect Portable Napper with Bassinet
This is even more essential than a crib at first. Doctors recommend that babies sleep in the same room as their parents for at least 6 months, some even go on to say a year. Regardless, after a long NICU stay, you will not feel comfortable not having your baby close by. I put this Graco bassinet and play yard because I think Graco makes the best ones and it has dual purpose as you can use it when traveling and later for your baby to just play in. If you prefer a stand alone bassinet, that works as well. Some people have even opted for mini-cribs and other have opted to put an entire crib in their bedroom. Whatever works as long as your baby gets a good nights rest and you can keep an eye on them!

11. Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack
This is the perfect drying rack for bottles and accessories. It’s sleek and stylish which sounds irrelevant but its not because you will use this product everyday and it will sit in plain sight on your counters. The design allows water to drain onto the holding tray and the grass blades are flexible and help air dry. Its easy to clean as well. Very convenient!

12. Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Baby Bottles
The speech therapist in our NICU told us these were the nipples that were most similar to the ones at the hospital, therefore providing an easy transition and it worked like a charm. These bottles are great at reducing colic, gas and spit up through their venting system. They also have nipples in all sizes, including for preemies.

13. Dr. Brown’s Natural Flow Deluxe Bottle Warmer
After having milk warmed in the NICU for a long time, Jed would not drink a bottle if it wasn’t at least room temperature. We’ve tried three warmers and this one has been our favorite so far, especially since we’re using the Dr. Brown’s bottles as well. It’s easy to use, digital and allows you to adjust the time down to the second. It has a great guide as well on the back to tell you how much time is necessary to avoid overheating.

14. Vick’s Baby Rectal Thermometer
Another one of those items that are a must to have around. You will constantly be making sure your baby doesn’t have a fever and a rectal thermometer is the only truly ACCURATE reading. I don’t recommend using this daily if you are just curious at what the baby’s temperature is. But if a forehead thermometer or underarm thermometer gives you a concerning number, verify with a rectal thermometer before calling your doctor.  This Vick’s one is easy to use with a short flexible probe tip for safe rectal readings. Put a little vaseline on the tip and Jed has never looked uncomfortable when we’ve used it. We’ve always gotten accurate readings in less than 10 seconds.

15. Exergen Temporal Artery Forehead Thermometer
Before you reach for the rectal thermometer, this is our first option to see if there is any reason for concern. You just simply hold down a button and slide it across the forehead and you’ll get a pretty accurate reading. We’ve used this plenty of times and are happy with it.

16. Boppy Luxe Feeding & Infant Support Pillow
Tummy time, feeding, sitting up, etc. This thing has so many uses. We used it in the hospital during feeds and then for tummy time as soon as he came home. Now we use it to help him sit so that when he topples over, he has a soft impact. It’s also very useful when you have a baby with reflux (as a lot of preemies tend to have) to help them stay propped up after feeds. You will have many uses for this pillow for a long time to come.

17. Modern Burlap Organic Cotton Muslin Swaddle
Swaddles are so versatile and will be useful in the NICU as well. I’ve used them as swaddles, to keep baby warm, as a picnic blanket when I had nothing else, as a stroller cover, for floor play time and more. They are also great as nursing covers and make great backdrops for pictures as well. Modern Burlap has a lot of great ones with biblical quotes and uplifting words if you’d like to splurge on a couple.

18. Skip Hop Chelsea Downtown Chic Diaper Backpack
I like having my hands free and naturally gravitate towards book bags. This spacious and stylish bag was exactly what I needed. Has plenty of pockets and room for bottles, diapers and all of my necessities. It also comes with a changing pad that’s extremely useful when you’re on the go and don’t have a clean, sanitized place to change your baby.

19. Fisher Price 4-in-1 Sling ’n Seat Tub
The only tub you’ll ever need. This 4-in-1 tub grows with your baby. The sling is excellent when you bring home a tiny baby and are terrified of bathing them. They won’t slip and will be cradled by the fabric in just the right amount of water. When your baby outgrows the sling there is the stage 2 baby stopper for reclining without sliding, the sit-me-up for stage 3 when the baby is sitting but a little unsteady and finally stage 4 that’s just a roomy little tub for your baby. It also has a hook for easy hanging and drying and a plug for easy draining and cleaning. LOVE this tub.

20. Babo Botanicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo & Wash
Tried a bunch of shampoos and this Babo Botanicals one has been our favorite. It’s gentle and plant-based and great for sensitive skin. It has a great scent and leaves Jed relaxed and ready for bed.

21. Safety 1st – First Grooming Kit
Everything you need for grooming. Nail clipper, comb, brush, nail files, etc and a great case to keep it all contained in. We clip Jed’s nails about once a week and brush his hair daily. A Grooming kit is a must.

22. Fisher Price Kick & Play Piano Gym
We had a few of those floor play mats when Jed came home but he wasn’t to interested. He was too little to reach out for the toys and couldn’t reach half of them. This piano on the other hand was a Godsend! He was kicking away at it from day one and the toys were reachable for him. I recommend this mat to EVERY new mom I speak too because it really was the one toy he could play with as soon as he came home. Jed was crazy about it!

23. Little Remedies Saline Drops
Jed has minor reflux which causes him to be a bit more congested than usual. But his boogers do not run down his nose. They dry up in his nose if I don’t take them out, cause him discomfort from the blocked nasal passages. Two drops of Little Remedies in each nostril and those boogers are softened and ready to be taken out. It is the perfect non-medicated relief to flush and remove mucus. This works best if you use it right before suctioning your babies nose (see Nose Frida next).

24. NoseFrida Snotsucker
Those bulb syringes you’re “supposed” to use are the worst thing. They are completely inefficient at removing mucus and are also prone to mold buildup. An electric suctioning machine will cost you a lot more and might be a bit rough for the babies nose. With the Nose Frida, you control how hard you suction and man does it work. It is truly effective and a must have. Use this with a couple drops of the Little Remedies Saline and your little ones nose will be mucus free!

25. 4Moms Mamaroo
I left this for last because it isn’t a MJST but definitely a great thing to have if you can splurge a bit on it. If you need to put your baby down, this seat is the best place to do it. It has 5 unique motion settings and speeds that mimic car rides and the motion a mother would make when comforting their babies. In addition, the Mamaroo also has built-in soothing sounds and can be connected to an MP3 device to play your own music for baby. You can also download the app and control all of the settings from your phone. You can fully recline the seat for relaxation or or sit it up for play time. The fabric is plush and washable and its incredibly easy to install. I love this thing!

With love,

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