You did it. You just survived 9+ months of pregnancy and possibly days of labor and now it’s time to bring your little one (or ones, if you’re a mom of multiples like me) home.
Quite honestly, I had no clue what to expect when we got home with the twins. I felt like the nurses at the hospital were my guardian angels—my safety blanket, so to speak—and now the responsibility of keeping my newborns alive solely rested on my shoulders (and my husband’s, but he’ll be the first to tell you that I carried the majority of it because he had to get back to running our family collision repair business almost immediately.)
We arrived home, I had zero experience (which led to zero expectations) and over the course of the following days, weeks, and months, I was able to adapt quickly; I really feel like I knocked it out of the park in the first huge stage of this whole motherhood-gig. I strongly believe a lot of the baby gear and essentials that I had made my experience MUCH more manageable and allowed me to successfully navigate the fourth trimester as a mostly-solo parent to twins.
Note: I will refer to “solo parenting” a lot; there is a distinction between solo parents and single parents. Single parents are those who do not have a spouse or significant other to share the responsibilities (physical and financial) of parenting. Solo parents carry the majority of the parenting responsibilities on their shoulders because their spouse is absent for extend periods of time, daily or over the course of weeks and months. (e.g. gone 6AM-7PM with commute to work, they have short-term contracts in other locations for days-weeks at a time, they have a travel-based career, they work the night shift, they are a member of the military on deployment, are a emergency response provider, etc.
I have compiled a list of the ten MUST HAVE essentials that I believe any mom—especially a first-time mom OR mom of multiples—should have at home to improve and simplify their experience during the newborn stage (birth to three months.) While there are numerous items that I used and loved, I think that these ten are the most important.. (If you’re interested in a longer list of essentials and must-haves, click here to access my ‘Baby Essentials for Newborn - 12 Months’ checklist.)
Without any more interruptions (I hate having to scroll through all the backstory to get to the content, personally) here it is: my ten MUST HAVES (and also PERFECT baby shower gifts, in my #BadassTwinMom opinion) to survive the newborn stage.
1. Boppy Pillow
Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, this pillow is perfect. It also can be used as a lounger/napper, support for tummy time, assistance for sitting up, and the cover is machine washable (a MUST for anything that has to do with newborns.) I still use my Boppy pillows to this day for bottle feeds for my twins and they are just shy of 11 months old.
2. Philips Avent Anti-colic Bottles
I prefer the Philips bottles over the Dr. Brown’s brand because they have less components, therefore less pieces to wash (and sterilize, if you choose to do so.) They are durable, as mine have lasted from birth until now (with new vents and nipples, of course.) You upgrade the nipples as your baby grows so they can get more milk during their feeds as they develop their abilities.
3. Dr. Brown’s Formula Pitcher
This is especially a must for any formula-feeding mom of multiples. In the beginning, I was preparing every bottle individually (imagine 10 to 12 bottle preps a day—TIMES TWO!) and it was getting to me. Cue this pitcher and my life changed. I was able to batch prepare the twins’ bottles and cut it down to 1-2 prepping sessions per day and I simply pulled the bottles out of the fridge and put them in the warmer for 15-30 minutes before I anticipated they were ready to eat.
4. Wipe Warmer
Seriously, I can’t stress enough how important this is for nighttime diaper changes. In the beginning, you should change their diaper with every feed and that includes throughout the night. A cold wipe on a sleepy, warm baby butt is setting yourself up for failure in respect to keeping night feeds peaceful and calm to encourage drifting back to sleep. I stopped using the warmer at about 7-8 months when I ran out of all my replacement pillow packs (see below.)
*Wipe Warmer EverFresh replacement pillows
You soak this pillow in water (rinse and re-soak once a week) and place in the bottom of your warmer to keep the wipes moist and it has anti-bacterial properties. Replace every three months.
5. Snuza Breathing Monitors
I did extensive research for breathing monitors and I felt that these were the best option. The only other contenders I considered were mat monitors that are placed on a solid surface, under the crib mattress. I didn’t use those because they started out in the bassinets (that did not have a solid surface underneath) and I simply did not want two separate handsets (in addition to my video monitor handset) next to my bed at night once I moved the twins to their cribs (just before three months old.) The Owlet sock was my first thought (good marketing, Owlet) however research studies have indicated that Owlet monitors emit more radiation than a cell phone in use. And they expect you to strap that to your child’s foot for 8+ hours a night?! No thanks. The Snuza emits negligible EMF radiation and the alarm can easily be heard in the same room OR over a monitor to alert you that no movement has been detected for 20 seconds.
6. Portable Bouncer/Napper
I did not use this specific bouncer, as I had two Auto Rock n’ Plays (that have now been recalled due to infant deaths.) I researched alternatives and this looks like the best price and features. I believe this item MUST BE PORTABLE to be most beneficial. I moved the twins’ rockers EVERYWHERE throughout my house during the newborn stage: in the bathroom while I showered, upstairs, downstairs, in my room, friend’s houses, to the hotel during vacation, visiting grandparents, etc. Newborns sleep a lot (I didn’t appreciate it as much while I was in the thick of it, lemme tell ya) and these are so helpful. I also used mine to hold one twin while I bathed the other and also sometimes to be with me in the kitchen when I did prepare some type of meal (that scenario was not very often, if I’m being honest.
7. Vava Night Light
I am obsessed with my VAVA night lights and still use them every night. They are easy-on/off with a double-tap and can be dimmed or brightened with an extended touch. Squeezing the base will turn the light from cool to warm, and they have a rubber base that is anti-slip and can easily be set down anywhere. At bedtime and during night feeds, I wanted to encourage sleep with darkness but I had to be able to see what I was doing while changing diapers and feeding. These lights were perfect and to this day, my babies know it’s bedtime when the lights of the room are out and these night lights come on. I can’t stress it enough how much these helped them develop a healthy day/night schedule and I didn’t disrupt their sleep during night feeds (anymore than it already is.)
8. Nosefride and Saline Spray kit
I remember my twins’ one week-old appointment and asking the pediatrician what to do about Camille’s raspy nose (caused by spitting up milk through her mouth and nose all the time. She was the spit-up queen.) She said saline spray would do the trick and also help keep it moist and cut down on irritation from fluids coming back out. I had no idea babies needed saline spray, so if you don’t know—now you know. Also, the NoseFrida is the only successful way to suck out boogers and mucus. The nasal aspirators they provide from the hospital work for traumatic spit-up episodes that you need to clear stuff out of their nose quick but they didn’t do anything for boogers and mucus. Honestly, my twins STILL hate it when I use the NoseFrida but it’s the only thing that clears their noses when congested.
9. Burp/Spit-up Rags
I know, it seems simple and like a no-brainer but I didn’t realize HOW MUCH babies spit-up. I thought it was every once in awhile, but most babies spit up ALOT. It happens during feeds, immediately after, hours later, at night, etc. These rags were the only ones that handled the spit-up well, have lasted through DAILY washes since birth, and can be over your shoulder or placed across your babies’ front while burping while sitting on your lap.
10. Cloud Island Footie Pajamas With Mitten
These can only be purchased at Target (as far as I know) but they are my absolute FAVORITE footie pajamas and a staple baby shower gift from me. They come in 3-packs, are inexpensive ($12.99 - $14.99,) have a zipper (FUCK button-up pajamas….sorry,) have built-in mittens to prevent scratching in that first 1-2 months, and the zipper zips down, so you only have to zip up from their foot to change their diaper and not expose their entire body to air during night changes. I can’t stress it enough how much I loved these pajamas and how devastated I was when I found out they only make them up to 6-9 months size. They are perfect for day wear as well, with the same benefits overnight and keeping your newborn’s skin protected and cozy.
That’s it folks! I strongly feel that these items will help every mama navigate the newborn stage much easier and allow them to appreciate the sweet moments more—like when their baby(ies) will nap anywhere and everywhere, as seen above ;)
If you have ANY questions or would like my input on any items you are thinking about purchasing, please don’t hesitate to reach out—I’m always here to help my fellow mamas (and papas!) get through their parenting experience smoother and help them feel more empowered every step of the way.
All of the links above (with the exception of the Target one) are affiliate links; by clicking and purchasing any items on this list not only do you equip yourself with baby gear that will actually help you during the newborn stage, you help support this #badasstwinmom on a mission. Thank you!