The sleep deprivation is hands down the hardest part for me with a newborn. I just don’t function well on little sleep. And the little sleep we get with a newborn is interrupted at best. With each baby, I learned and tried some new things, but I have a list of my top 10 newborn must haves to help the baby (and you!) sleep. They’re definitely what I would add first to any baby registry!
These are my favorite top 10 newborn must haves for sleep:
- Rock N Play. I wasn’t lucky enough to have one of these with my first two, but a friend insisted that I needed it with my third so she let me borrow hers. We carried it around the house for a safe place to put the baby, and she also napped in it during the day where I could keep an eye on her. I especially liked it for napping when she started spitting all the time around 2 weeks old.
- Bassinet. Friends let us borrow the gorgeous Pottery Barn Kids bassinet with our third, and we loved it. It was so much better than using the bassinet insert in the Pack N Play that we used with the boys. We alternated between having her sleep in the bassinet in the living room during the day and in our bedroom at night.
- Swaddle Blankets. I tried several different swaddle blankets with my 3 kids. The gold standard for me is honestly the Swaddle Designs cotton flannel blankets. They’re the only blankets that my kids couldn’t kick out of immediately! I think the material is grippier than muslin.
- Sleep Sacks. My kids liked being swaddled until about 3-4 weeks. I know plenty of kids who were swaddled for months. But my kids grunted all night long very early on to work their arms out of that swaddle… At that point, I transitioned them to sleep sacks with their arms out. I have several different brands from my older boys. With our third, I discovered this brand and love it so much. We received it as a gift, and I went out and bought the next size up. My kids sleep in sleep sacks until age 3, which may be partly why they never climbed out of their cribs.
- Zipper Pajamas. I avoid buttons on pajamas at all costs. It’s terrible having to button pajamas in the middle of the night or when baby is crying to be fed. My favorites are Carter’s pajamas. I use those from newborn through 12 months, when babies are no longer so anxious to be dressed quickly for bedtime.
- Pacifier. Personally, I’m a big fan of using pacifiers with my kids. I used them with all 3 babies until the pacifier fairy comes to take them away at age 3 when they transition to a twin bed. I tested out different ones with my first and settled on the MAM brand for all 3 kids. They make a newborn pacifier and one for 6+ months.
- Boppy Nursing Pillow. I really liked the Boppy nursing pillow, especially at night when you’re basically bleary eyed with exhaustion. It’s nice to have some help to hold baby’s weight.
- Sound Machine. I’d never heard of a sound machine when my first came along. But my second and third have never known sleep without one :) We have one sound machine for each kids’ bedroom. It’s a pleasant sound to sleep to, and it really helps to reduce the noise of city living. Or the noise of toddler feet when baby is trying to sleep…
- Night light. Yes, you’ll need some light when you get up with the baby in the middle of the night. But you also don’t want to throw on all the lights so that baby thinks it’s day time and perhaps to let your partner sleep more. We use these IKEA night lights. They hold their charge through the night if you need to take it along or don’t have a plug available.
- Video Monitor. Chances are your newborn is sleeping beside you during those first few weeks at home, but a video monitor is nice to have if you’d like to check on them while napping. That’s especially helpful if you’re chasing a toddler around or just need to be away from your sleeping newborn for whatever reason.
I’m always happy to share advice and my favorite must haves so I do NOT get any referral fees or credits. They’re all items that I’ve used personally and that have worked for my kids. For more advice, check out my hospital bag essentials and my baby travel gear essentials.
One last piece of important advice: Make sure you have at least 2 of the items that need to be washed like crib sheets, blankets, pajamas, pacifiers, etc. You don’t want to be scrambling in the middle of your short night!