When you’re expecting a baby, you’ll probably get a lot of gifts. Soft cuddly blankets, precious little outfits, teeny tiny shoes, adorable stuffed animals. But there are a lot of absolutely essential baby items that you’ll likely have to buy for yourself – nasal aspirators and rectal thermometers aren’t the most popular baby shower gifts, after all!
So what do you need to keep your beautiful little baby healthy, clean, shiny and new?
Rub a Dub, Dub: Baby’s Bath Essential:
2-3 Hooded Towels
Hooded towels are really useful: they keep your little one’s head nice and warm and babies look so cute in them! Get two or three so that you don’t have to do laundry every day. These towels, especially the soft, thick ones (and even more especially the organic ones) are surprising expensive, but the good quality ones do last a long time. When you buy new towels or anything which will touch your baby’s skin, remember to always wash first in baby safe detergent like Ivory or Dreft.
- JJ Cole Collections Hooded Towel ($12.95) (Available in Elephants, Giraffes, and Green Bird)
- Pickles Nummy Animals 100-Percent Cotton Hooded Towel ($28.11) (Available in Bunny, Frog, Moose, Duck and Deer Designs)
- SwaddleDesigns Organic Cotton Terry Velour Hooded Towel ($35.00) (Multiple Colors)
The ones that are like mitts are nice, and make sure they’re extra-soft.
- Kushies 6 Pack Wash Cloth Set ($4.46) (Multiple Colors)
- Organic Mommy & Baby Wash Mitts ($13) (Green Frogs or Yellow Ducks)
- Bumkins Organic Washcloth 6- Pack ($14.48)
You can often get towels and washcloths as a set:
Mild liquid baby soap such as Johnson’s, Cetaphil or Aveeno Baby is best. Aveeno Baby is nice because it’s both a body wash and shampoo, and it smells really good too. I will miss those baby scents when my two littlest ones get older! I like also Cetaphil because it’s a good product for everyone in the family — I use it on my face.
A plastic bathtub with a seat or sling insert for newborns is essential. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends sponge baths until the baby’s umbilical cord falls off and you might end up doing this for a couple of weeks, but it’s good to have an infant bathtub handy for when the baby gets older. Time will fly, so it’s good to be prepared!
- The First Year’s Infant To Toddler Tub with Sling, Blue ($36.99)
- Puj Tub – The Soft, Foldable Baby Bath Tub (great for small spaces/sinks!) ($44.99
Nail Clipper and File
Trimming a newborn’s nails can be really intimidating at first (watch my demo here!), but you have to do it so your baby doesn’t scratch herself. Some people buy curved baby scissors, but I personally like the nail clippers. Also get a file for those sharp edges.
Unless your baby has a lot of hair, you might not need a baby hairbrush right away, but it’s nice to have a soft one just in case and it can be fun to brush baby’s hair.
I absolutely love lotions and I love giving my baby a little massage after her bath — it’s a great bonding time. All of the lotions smell great, so I just alternate between brands such as Aveeno and Mustela. I use Cetaphil too, for my baby and myself.
- Cetaphil Fragrance Free Moisturizing Lotion (Pack of 2) ($14.98)
- Mustela Hydra-Bebe Body Lotion ($14)
- Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion ($8.29)
- Johnson’s Baby Lotion with Aloe Vera and Vitamin E, 15 Ounce (Pack of 3) Johnson’s is making a comeback too. They now make different types of lotions. Try to aloe one…yummy! ($11.97)
Thermometer— Rectal is Best
Taking a baby’s temperature freaked me out a little before I had my first. But don’t worry! There are all kinds of baby thermometers out there. For my babies, I have always used a rectal thermometer for the simple reason that my pediatrician told me they were the most accurate. These days they make digital ones which is great. Make sure to clean them well!
- Vicks Baby Rectal Thermometer ($11.09)
You’ll also want a nasal bulb aspirator, because your baby can’t blow her nose and when she gets that first cold she can really have trouble eating and sleeping with all that congestion. Most hospitals will give you one to take home.
Some people swear by a product called, no joke, the SnotSucker. This lets you suction out the snot with an attachment that goes in your mouth (don’t worry, a filter traps it!)
*It’s important to make sure that you clean a bulb nasal aspirator thoroughly. Wash it in warm soapy water and let it dry in a cup, tip down. I think these should be treated like squirt bath toys — since you can never really get at the inside to clean it, it’s best to replace them often as mold can develop on the inside over time. You can also try the Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator which is easier to clean.
Saline Nose Drops
Also consider Little Noses or another brand of saline nose drops to give a bit more relief if your baby is stuffed up and your pediatrician says it’s okay to use. I always have this on hand, especially for the dry winter!
Baby Cotton Swabs
And lastly, baby Q-Tips or cotton swabs. They think of everything! Use this to carefully get wax from within the outside folds of your baby’s ear. Check with your doctor, but I would avoid the inner ear for now. I still avoid this with my older kids.
I hope this helps you in figuring out the essentials for taking care of your new little chicken. Good luck!
*Prices on Amazon.com are subject to change.