Since becoming a mamma myself I have decided to edit this article to add a few more tried and tested essentials.
Please note I am in no way the expert on this scary mind field of parenting, but I have sought out the advice of my very own panel of experts, who have graciously offered their wisdom and guidance, and I am very excited to see if this really is the ultimate minimalist guide for newborn baby essentials.
My panel of experts have a few things in common:
• They are all moms, to multiple little munchkins,
• They have tried and tested a whole host of products,
• They have been manipulated by the salesman to buy unnecessary crap that ends up taking up space, and burning holes into wallets, and have researched further to not let that happen again.
• Most are alternative Doctors, Homoepaths, Chiropractors, Midwives and doulas; these are parents who have focussed on Newborn care without all the added toxic ingredients.
• They have found products that are kind to them, kind to baby, and easy to use.
Another very important factor for me was how much hassle is involved in using these products. I am a no fuss, no mess, practical kind of woman, and I am loath to buy or use anything that doesn’t have multiple purposes, or can be used for long periods of time.
This is a list of essentials, there are certainly no frills attached, or aesthetic benefits, the colours probably won’t match the baby room, but one thing I do know for sure, is that you should feel empowered by the end of this article, and a little stronger in your ability to stand up to the commercialism that is “new born baby products”.
You see the new baby industry has tapped into one of our deep underlying fears, that we are useless, uneducated, inexperienced human beings who are bound to end up harming our newborns if we don’t have all these extra goodies to make us better equipped at parenting, but it turns out, this is nonsense; if you have boobs for breast milk, arms for cuddles, a relatively calm environment for your newborn to adjust, and a support system that you can connect to, you can kind of survive.
This gives me hope, and reminds me that even though I am inexperienced in the parenting territory, I do have an inborn parenting gut instinct, and a lot of these ‘Essentials” fall under the “ I thought that would be a good idea feeling”, which further boosts my faith in myself, and guess what, self esteem and trusting your gut actually lead to a far happier parenting experience, as explained to me by my panel of experts.
So lets have a look at the list…..
Post Birth Body care:
Because a Happy mom, means a Happy Baby.
Epson salts with a few drops Lavender and Tea tree essential oils provide great relief for the sore tired muscles that come from any birthing experience.
Maxi pads (super long), because contrary to what you may have been told, you will bleed for at least 1-2 weeks post birth.
Rescue Remedy, and the Homeopathic remedies: Arnica Montana 30ch and Hypericum30ch, will help to heal wounds, calm the nervous system and provide some much needed rest for the post birthed mum.
Support in the form of mums, sisters, friends, neighbours (This was so highly recommended, it came on top of the list from everyone). When someone says “is there anything I can do to help”? Say yes!
Accept help in the form of ready made meals, help around your house, running errands, grocery shopping. Human beings are social creatures, we need help, support and community, there is no room for pride in a newborns world, the best thing you can do for you new family is to accept all the help you can get.
If you are able to hire a postpartum doula do so; these are professionals who come to your home and help new parents with breastfeeding, caring for mum and babe, and help to settle dad.
Rest and stay at home for the first few weeks, being sure to feed, hydrate and sleep yourself, before you open your home to too many visitors.
These genius inventions keep your baby close to you and your partner, allowing for a mode of hands free moving about, whilst still addressing your newborns fundamental need to be close to you at all times.
• Bug a boo,
• Ring sling
• Snuggleroo Nurture shirt is a stretchy elasticated shirt, where you pop baby inside the t-shirt, allowing for complete skin to skin, whilst still wearing modest clothing ( I personally Loved this wrap and got 2 so I could wear one and wash the other ).
• Ubuntu BABA stage 1 – this was my go to from month 3-12
A great resource to check out and join is the facebook group: NINO Babywearing South Africa.
They are light weight, easy to wash and dry in the same day and have many benefits:
• Swaddle baby to help your little one fall asleep,
• Keep baby warm and cosy,
• Use to clean up baby’s spit, vomit, and other exciting bodily discharges.
• Can be used a breastfeeding cover.
Pregnancy sleeping pillow:
These wonderful things provided great support during your pregnancy sleep, and can be used as a nursing pillow (vital to preventing back, neck and shoulder tension) and moulded to provide support if you are co-sleeping.
Nappies and a nappy bin:
Clothe or disposable?
For the first few weeks, it has been advised to use the disposable nappies, as babies are so little, and they poo so very often.
There after try your hand at a few different cloth options, until you find the ones that work best or the shape your babe, even better ask a friend who has already used cloth diapers to come on over and give you a lesson or two in how it all works.
Cloth is far gentler on babies bum, better for our environment, and pretty easy to use, once you know how.
Resources: South African Cloth nappy users group.
Baby skincare products:
Did you know babies are not dirty when they are born? The vernix is a waxy substance that coats the skin of a newborn baby. It protects your baby’s skin from the amniotic fluid whilst in the womb, and provides a protective barrier to microbes, bacteria and viruses outside of the womb. It also regulates your newborns temperatures. It is best to rub it into your baby’s skin, and delay the first bath for 24hours to up to a week.
When you do decide to wash your little one, all you need is good clean warm water, some sea salt, and a few drops of essentials oils like tea tree, lavender, rosemary etc, or a very mild soap like castille soap (available at most health shops).
Great advice regarding bathing: wet babies are very slippery, and you need to be careful. If you are calm, baby will be calm, if you are stressed, baby will be stressed, so plan your first bath to be a time when both you and your partner can be involved, remember supporting each other goes a long way in easing tension.
Your baby doesn’t need a whole host of beauty skin care products either; Coconut or almond oil work best as a lubricant to moisturise dry skin, most healthy bums only need a bit of coconut oil for nappy protection, it is best to save the bum creams for a nappy rash, when they are indicated, as opposed to everyday use.
In the case of nappy creams, go organic:
• OH Lief
• Gluki Organics
• Pure beginnings