The best advice I ever received was from my mom, she told me what I needed most I already had, which was my instinct as a mother.
My opinion on what a newborn needs, besides the absolute outpouring of love that awaits them and the obnoxious amount of kisses and snuggles, are a few simple things to make it a little easier on them and subsequently on us. When Christopher and I welcomed Nolie, it was a mixture of finding our new balance as a family and making sure that this little baby, that had just joined us out in the world and was experiencing everything out here for the first time, that we as her parents could provide everything she needed to make her feel as loved, safe and comfortable as possible so this would be an easier transition for her.
We found out along the way that she really didn't need much and the more comfortable she was the more comfortable we were. Her days at home were spent mostly in bodysuits and footies.
Bibs were also a must for us to keep her clean and dry, we often went through a few a day.
She loved being swaddled to sleep from day one. Swaddles were a necessity for her and we could tell she felt a sense of security from then and they allowed her to get good sleep, which we were so grateful for as you can imagine.
Thankfully, Nolie has always been a really good sleeper. By one-month-old she was already sleeping through the night and has been that way ever since. Except for a couple of trips where she was very anxious and didn't want to sleep when it was time, or when she went through a few transitional phases. However, it never lasted more than a few days, and she actually loves her independence when she sleeps and loves to sleep by herself.
We never bought anything that rocked or soothed her electronically, simply because we always thought she should learn to fall asleep on her own and not be dependent on technology for it. The only thing we relied on in the beginning was swaddling.
Unfortunately, we didn't have the Snuggle Me Lounger because we didn't find out about it until later. It would have been the perfect addition to our routine. The first time I saw it I became obsessed and thought Mia, the mom who created this lounger and the swaddles mentioned above, was a genius. It was one of the first products I wanted to have on Nolie & Us because of how strongly I feel about it.
Additionally, our other go-tos were books, a rubber duck for bath time, little buddy for her to interact with and a play gym, but always for a short amount of time. She absolutely loved it, but didn't like prolonged stimulation, which as you can imagine that didn't last long.
For her skin care, we kept it very simple using soap, shampoo, a diaper cream and oil for her massage after bath time. It worked really well for us and her skin always seemed to love it.
I breastfed Nolie exclusively and although at the beginning I wasn't sure my nipples were ever going to recover, along came Erbaviva's Nursing Balm and it was an absolute life saver.
I also highly recommend Hevea's bottles made from pure borosilicate glass and a natural rubber nipple, whether you are using formula or pumping.
Also, we were big fans of cotton and cotton cloths for everything from messy spit-ups to diaper changes. To this day, we don't really use wipes unless we are traveling for the convenience.
For her first year of life, we used cloth diapers (Cloth-eez Workhorse Fitted Diaper).
Our other essentials were nail clippers, a thermometer, baby monitor (by Summer), a pack n' play for the first 3 months, car seat (Britax B-Safe 35 Elite Infant Car Seat), stroller (Britax Affinity Stroller) which used the car seat as a base until she was old enough for the main stroller body and a baby carrier (Ergobaby 360 all positions) which my husband and I both used quite a bit. And of course a cozy nursery, she started sleeping in her nursery at 3 months old.
Last but not least, on our newborn essential list, is actually music. It has always been a fundamental part of my life and many of my earliest memories involve music. When I was pregnant, it felt almost like Nolie was dancing when we listened to certain songs. In fact, the first time I ever felt her move was to music and she still loves listening to the same songs with the biggest smile on her face even now. We would play her many different songs while she was in my belly, and we could tell when she didn't care for one of them by the way she responded. Thankfully, she continues to be very clear to this day about what music she loves and what she doesn't care for, no matter how much Christopher or I may love it. I adore that about her beautifully strong personality.
Christopher would always sing to her when I was pregnant, and he sang a bath time song specifically so that when he gave her baths she would feel a connection. He gave her first bath singing that song and most of the ones that have followed.
I hope she will always be as happy and as fulfilled when listening to music as she is now. That years from now she will remember some of these moments with as much delight and passion as we feel watching her contagious joy, and the magical impact it has had on our family.
There are many ways to connect with your baby and you will find the ones that work best for you. Whether that connection happens immediately, or it takes some time, you are the most essential thing that your newborn needs. As overwhelming as that may be at times, making you feel transformed or not, at the end of the day you are still you and that is exactly who your newborn baby needs, already knows and loves.