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The top 10 (+1!) baby essentials

Truth be told, one could take out a second mortgage to get all the things people say you should get when having a baby. But what are the essentials you need to take care of your newborn, without going bankrupt? Read on for my top 10 (+1!) list of items for your new bundle of joy!

  1. Invest in a professional postpartum doula. If you can anticipate some extra help in the first few weeks home with your baby, it can take the stress off you and your family. A professional postpartum doula can help with newborn care, sleep solutions, light housekeeping, meal prep, and they have expertise with newborns and postpartum recovery. The first couple of months after baby can be overwhelming and exhausting. Hiring a professional postpartum doula can help you get the rest you need and keep your house in order while you recover from birth.
  2. Calm and settle swaddle blankets. Living in the womb prior to birth, newborns are used to being in a tight space. Your newborn also has what is called a ‘startle reflex,’ which makes them have sudden movements with their arms and often wakes them from sound sleep. This is where swaddling your newborn can help them calm down and settle in for uninterrupted sleep. Good, safe brands include HALO® SleepSack with Velcro Wings, SwaddleMe® Velcro Swaddle Blanket and SwaddleMe® Pods, and Love To Dream™ SWADDLE UP™.
  3. The MOBY® Wrap. Newborns can be a bit demanding, and always prefer to be held versus put down. However, it makes it difficult to get anything done if you are constantly holding your new baby. In comes baby wearing! Being able to comfortably carry your baby and get your hands back to get a few things done - or even just eat dinner - is life changing! My favorite is the MOBY® Wrap. It makes your new baby feel like they are right in your arms, and they will potentially sleep on you for hours. Don’t get overwhelmed about how to use it. Search YouTube for a demo and once you wrap your baby a few times, it will become second nature.
  4. A white noise machine. Newborns are used to constant noise; this is what they experienced while in the womb. Leaving them alone in a dark, silent space is often too much of a change for them to be comfortable with and will make it harder for you to keep them happy in their own bed. This is where a white noise machine can bridge the gap. Having a machine that offers static noise for the night can help your baby feel settled and calm. For many newborns, it can also help them sleep longer.
  5. A breastfeeding (aka nursing) pillow. If you are choosing to breastfeed your baby, having a supportive breastfeeding/nursing pillow can make positioning your baby at the breast easier. A good breastfeeding pillow can also keep your baby at the right level and relieve some of the need to hold your baby up, which your arms and wrists will appreciate! The Baby Buddy Nursing Pillow is one of my favorites.
  6. A baby monitor. It is never a bad idea to have the ability to check in on your newborn anytime of the day. You will most likely find that your little one is a loud sleeper, making all kinds of noises as they slumber. A video monitor allows you to take a quick look to make sure all is well and assess whether they need you or if they are settling back in to sleep. My clients like the Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor, while others find their Google Nest camera to be an effective tool to monitor their baby.
  7. A good baby stroller. Getting out with your baby for a stroll can be just the break you need, and babies that get fresh air tend to sleep better, too! There are many factors in selecting a stroller for your needs and lifestyle. However, a good place to start is researching the City Mini, UPPAbaby®, or Thule®.
  8. A safe car seat. Of course, every baby needs a good, safe car seat. This is one item that is a must! Just like researching a baby stroller, there is a lot to consider when choosing a car seat that fits your needs and lifestyle. Some of the most popular picks for baby car seats are UPPAbaby®, Graco, and Maxi-Cosi®.
  9. A portable travel bed. Having a portable travel bed for your baby is convenient for when you are visiting friends or family or when you are going on a trip… anywhere! Babies sleep at various times during the day and night and planning a visit around your newborn’s sleep schedule can be difficult. Having a place where you can lay them down while you are away or even setting up a travel bed on another level of your house can be helpful. Although the Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard has withstood the test of time, others like Lulyboo and the Lotus Travel Crib by Guava are other options, too.
  10. A baby lounger. The baby lounger has become a popular item lately. Having a snug cushion or nest that hugs your baby can bring comfort to them - and a break for you! Some babies find loungers soothing. Take caution when using and always keep your eye on your baby while in the lounger. Some popular brands are DockATot®, Snuggle Me, and the Mamibaby Baby Lounger Baby Nest.

Bonus essential

The SlumberPod®. If your baby is having a hard time sleeping during the day for their naps, the SlumberPod® can be an amazing addition to help keep their space darker. This is like a blackout tent that goes around their portable crib and can increase your odds of a good nap for your baby!

Sharon Loose, CCE, CD, BDT, PCD, is a certified doula and childbirth educator with over 23 years’ experience and has supported over 1,500 Calgary and area families on their parenthood journey. She is the owner of Calgary Birth Essentials, which offers private and small group prenatal classes, birth and postpartum doula support, and breastfeeding and early parenting education. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

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