Newborn Nighttime Essentials

Great list on the essentials needed to survive the first month of newborn nighttime feedings...a pin worth saving!Looking back the first month with a newborn is a blur. In your sleep deprived mind you still manage to capture tiny moments that you hold dear…the way your baby snuggles to your chest, the tiny hand gripping half of your pinky finger and small sleepy smiles. The one thing all parents can completely recall without a doubt and the one thing that most people always ask new parents about is the sleepless nights.

FYI don’t ask moms with newborns how is the sleeping going…just don’t. By some miracle if the baby only wakes once to feed and can immediately go back to sleep without rocking and stays asleep without grunting or other noises then you can ask because that mom has spawned a miracle and that mom wakes up every morning feeling fan-flippin-tastic. So just stay clear of this question for a least a month because no mom wants to be reminded multiple times that we aren’t getting any sleep!

I’m working on a post for newborn essentials, but since nighttime feedings are the one thing we all remember from the first month I thought it necessary to chat about this first. Sure you have a registry (FREE printable baby registry HERE) that is suppose to prep you for your newborn, but for this post I’ll show you just the items needed to help you through the exhausting night time feedings. {I am exclusively breastfeeding so I have not included bottle feeding items below, however all items can be essential to bottle fed babes!}

Because adjusting to nighttime feedings with your newborn is brutal, here is a great list (with tips) of essential items needed to make it through nighttime feedings! Pin to save...

  1. Gowns. Make your nights less stressful by dressing your baby in gowns at night. There is nothing worse than worrying about snapping all those buttons up and around their kicking legs over and over each time you wake up to feed your baby. And FYI, sometimes right after you feed and change your baby, they might decide to blow it up as you’re rocking them or in the actually process of securing the new diaper on, thus causing you to change another diaper. The gowns just make it so much easier to quickly access your baby’s diaper. The best kinds of gowns (for us) are the ones with buttons down the middle. You will have accidents changing diapers and you will get pee & poop leakage, so being able to quickly unsnap the gown and snap on a new one is so much easier. The snap up gowns just make it easier to get their hands and arms in each sleeve and you don’t have to worry about pulling the outfit over their head, a task most babies hate and start to fuss over. Another tip: make sure you keep at least two extra gowns (with other additional supplies discussed later) near the bassinet or where ever the baby sleeps…that way when your baby does pee on their gown you can quickly grab a new one and not trek all the way across the house at 2 am for a spare change of clothes! Check out the cute gowns above, the first is Little Me Girls’ two piece snap front gown from Babies R Us and the adorable pink flamingo gown is from The Gap.
  2. Changing Mat. You will be changing diapers in the middle of the night at each feeding and with diaper changes comes accidents. Yes you hear stories of boys having “fountain” moments where they spray you or themselves. Well girls can too! Yep while you are lifting your daughter’s legs to wipe her tush she can and will start to pee and it can spray or start to run backwards all over her stomach and nightgown…so it’s crucial for your sanity to have a changing mat. The best changing pad is actually a mat you can take form the hospital! While you are recovering from labor you will have these large cloth blankets that lay on the bed under your tush to catch blood. Before you leave take them because they make THE BEST changing mats ever!!! I have three of them (took two off the bed and one from the closet in the hospital room) and I use them for our ottoman in the living room for diaper changes during the day (if I’m too lazy to go to the nursery) and one for our bed for nighttime changes. While recuperating at home after birth I placed one on the couch to sit on just in case I leaked. Now if you don’t have the amazing hospital mats don’t use a towel because pee will just leak through the towel and still wet your comforter. You can use the waterproof changing pad liners because they won’t allow the pee/poop to leak through to your bed. You can get a set of three Munchkin waterproof changing liners on Amazon for less that $12.
  3. Swaddle. After you feed and change your baby its time to get them to pass back out so you can pass back out. Most newborns like to be swaddled because it makes them feel like they are back in your tummy. All babies are different, but most all newborns will fall asleep and stay sleeping if they are bundled up. I love the soft Aiden and Anais swaddle blankets, but for nighttime I use swaddle blankets that have Velcro so I am assured my baby will stay bundled. Both my girls have super arm strength and always manage to bust out of blankets. The ones with Velcro secure their arms in place and keep them in place so I’m not woken up just to re-swaddle them. The only time I want to be woken up is for a feeding or if there is a diaper explosion. So for sanity purposes get swaddle blankets with Velcro! Tip: get more than one just in case a diaper explodes and keep the extra swaddle blankets with the extra nightgowns near the bassinet or wherever your baby is sleeping to make it easier to grab at 2 am. My favorite options are the HALO sleep sack, Summer Infant Swaddleme adjustable infant wrap, and the famous Miracle Blanket.newbornswaddles
  4. Burp Cloths. Weather you are breastfeeding or bottle feeding you need burp cloths! All babies are different, but I noticed that the spit up and puke really didn’t start until the second week (but it is always safe to have a burp cloth available that first week!). I’m all for super cute patterned burp clothes with monograms, but my go to burp cloths are plain white Gerber flatfold cloth diapers. You can get 10 in a pack for around $12 so the cost is way cheaper than the expensive personalized ones. These cloth diapers are big enough that they help cover a large area while burping. The cloth is also thin enough that it makes it super easy to place under the babies chin while burping. Another plus is that once your baby grows up you can re-use them as dusting rags! BTW I still believe in monogrammed burp cloths…just save those for when your out in public! Make sure you get the flatfold cloth diapers and not the pre-folded cloth diapers (they are way too thick to keep under the chin while burping). You can find these at Babies R Us or on Amazon.
  5. Binky & Binky Clip. A lot of babies love the whole sucking motion and it helps calm them down when they’re upset and can help soothe them to sleep. Lily was a HUGE binky lover and she had to have the binky to fall asleep. Chloe uses a binky but she can fall asleep without it…thank goodness! If your baby is a huge binky lover sometimes they will wake up and start to fuss when it falls out of their mouth. Do yourself a favor and get a clip for that binky so at three am you’re not searching in the dark for the it to pop back in your crying baby’s mouth! With the clip you can reach for it and quickly pull on the attached strap until the binky appears and then quickly pop it back in their mouth. Chloe is going through this annoying phase right now where after her 2 or 3 am feeding it takes forever to get her to pass back out completely. She will start to fuss, grunt, wiggle or cough and her binky will pop out multiple times once I put her back in her bassinet. Having the binky clip makes it so much easier (& saves what little sanity I have at 3 am) to reach out and pop it back in every time. This clip will also come in handy when you make the transition from bassinet to crib if your child is still using the binky (Lily used it for over a year!). When Lily got older and the binky would fall out at night she would take her hands and search her chest for the clip, pull on the strap until she got the binky in her hand and then pop it back in. Some moms will just toss tons of binkies in the crib so when one falls out their kid can search around the crib until they find an extra. I found that the clip was easier because Lily learned quickly where to search to get the binky back so she could fall back asleep…thus allowing you to fall back asleep once she stops crying over the monitor. So the binky clip will continue to help you at night as your baby gets older! My favorite clips are the ones from BooginHead because once secured they will not come off the swaddle or gown no matter how hard your baby yanks on it. You can find these clips at Babies R Us or on Amazon.
  6. Diaper Caddy. This handy organizer is just that…an organizer for important items for you and your baby. Not only is a diaper caddy useful during the night to hold items like diapers and wipes, but once the sun comes up it makes life easier when you move from your bedroom to any other room in the house. Instead of having newborn items all over your house you can store important items in the caddy and just carry it from room to room with you! If you’re downstairs and you need to change a diaper, your caddy can save you the back and forth trips by holding all necessary baby items. The items for newborns I kept in my caddy are diapers, wipes (I just carry around the refill packs from Pampers in stead of an actual large plastic wipe case), lanolin nipple cream, small alcohol wipes (to clean the belly button), small bottle of hand sanitizer, extra burp cloth, Butt Paste (or other diaper cream), rectal thermometer (just in case), a few disposable diaper trash bags, a couple of disposable nursing pads and a tube of Aquaphor (for my chap lips). I also would keep a banana or crackers in there (with some water nearby) because I would get so hungry from breastfeeding. I have the Sabrina Diaper Caddy from Pottery Barn Kids. If you get the liners that fit their caddy it has built in dividers to help organize the items even more! Because I’m a basket lover and appreciate a good organizer I still used my diaper caddy as Lily grew and now I’m able to re-use it with baby number two. You can re-use it in the laundry room, medicine closet, your closet or your kid’s closet to store and organize items. Tip: Make sure you check and resupply the caddy each night before heading to sleep.
  7. Lamp Dimmer. All of these items are going to help you during the middle of the night but this item was a game changer for me. Now if your breastfeeding, you will eventually be able to find your baby, pull out the boob and attach the baby to the boob in the dark with your eyes closed…it will become second nature. What is impossible to do in darkness is changing diapers! For that reason you will have to turn on a light in the middle of the night to help out. To make my life easier I found a dimmer for my lamp that also acts as an on and off switch. Easy to install, this dimmer comes with a small round pad that sits on the nightstand that you can lightly tap and it will turn your lamp on. If you tap the pad again it will turn the brightness up one notch and even brighter if you tap it a third time. On the fourth tap it will completely turn off your lamp. Why is this such a game changer?? Well when you are healing from labor its nice to be able to have the light switch so easily accessible instead of needing to swing a leg over and fully reach over and up fumbling around for the tiny light knob when your sore or in pain! Plus at 3 am having a dim light is a whole lot better than the full brightness of the lamp. Plus the dim light will help keep your newborn in “nighttime mode” instead of them thinking its daytime if the light is fully bright. Plus your spouse will love you for trying to keep the lights down low for them while they fortunately get to sleep through the feeding(s)!  I picked up my lamp dimmer (Utilitech Black Touch Lamp Control) from Lowes for $9.98. I loved this so much I purchased another one just for the nursery!nighttimeessentials
  8. Bassinet.  Some people think they might not need a bassinet prior to having a baby, believing they will be fine with just their crib. Unless the crib will be right next to your bed I HIGHLY recommend you get a bassinet to help you out for nighttime feedings. Even if you only keep your baby in your bedroom for the first month it will be worth every penny! Especially the first week while you are healing from birth having your baby right next to the bed will make your life easier. There are all kinds of bassinets out there, I personally like the ones that come on stands that will reach the height of the bed (not the woven baskets that you carry around the house. I am also a huge fan of the bassinets that come with a built in vibrator that helps soothe babies that need that movement to ease back asleep. Sometimes after putting Chloe back in the bassinet after rocking her for a bit she will wake back up. The bassinet’s vibration helps ease her back to sleep. Another feature that is important to me is that the bassinet has storage space underneath. When (not if) your baby pees or poops through their diaper having that storage underneath to keep extra gowns, burp cloths, swaddles and even diapers and wipes is convenient. We have The First Years Carry Me Near Sleep System. If you don’t want to spend the money and you have a pack in play you can use that. Having your baby in your room for the first month for the multiple feedings and diaper changes will help with your sanity!
  9. Shush App.  This might seem silly to the mommas to be, but for those with kids you can appreciate how awesome the Baby Shusher App is especially those that have/had newborns that needed some kind of noise to help make them fall back asleep. Moms can attest that just two minutes of constantly shushing is tiring…so why not allow an app to do it for you! There are apps out there that actually have several sounds that can be soothing to babies and some actually have the Shush sound. So save your breath and download the app and let your phone shush for you for those late night feedings. Check out the Baby Shusher app or the Sound Sleeper app that has other great soothing sounds or the Baby Lullaby and White Noise Sounds for Sleep app (this one is FREE!). 

Typing this my eyes are bloodshot, dry and by 5 pm they will be barely open slits because I’m averaging a total of 4 ½ hours of sleep. Nighttime feedings with your newborn are rough. Some nights are better than others and since I have been through this once before I know that at some point in my future I will get a full nights sleep. So hopefully these items that get me through the night will help another momma out there!

Top photo cred: Niki Schmidt Photography (who was AMAZING to work with & I’m obsessed with all of Chloe’s pictures)


View Comments
  1. Danielle Ferch commented:
    November 15, 2014 Reply

    I’m expecting my first baby and just wanted to say thanks for sharing all your tips! I love your blog !

2 Trackbacks

  1. By Lily & Bliss | Newborn Essentials: Vol. 1 on May 3, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    […] four weeks I already posted the essential items needed and suggest you read that post first (post HERE). Since most of those items are needed during the daytime as well I won’t go into repetitive […]

  2. By Lily & Bliss | Newborn Essentials: Vol. 2 on May 12, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    […]  If you read my post about the essential items for nighttime feedings you will understand why having a bassinet next to your bed at night is so important for the first […]

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