My Favorite Top 5 Newborn Items

In an effort to help other first-time moms know what they NEED to raise a newborn, I decided to curate my top 5 favorite newborn items. Minimalism is a challenge. But trying to limit stuff while raising a human is much more difficult. When I was expecting, I wasn’t exactly sure what I needed and what I didn’t. I made-do for the first few months and learned as I went along. Luckily, I didn’t buy most of Casey’s things. Rather, I leaned on the community to provide for my growing boy. I know that isn’t available to everyone, so I hope this list helps discern what’s useful and not. Of course, what worked for me may not necessarily work for you. Please cater to your family’s situation.

My Favorite Top 5 Newborn Items

  • Car seat that clicks into a stroller. We both took leave when Casey was born. Which meant there was lots of opportunity for adventuring for our new trio. A car seat that clicks into a stroller may seem bougie, but it was a life-saver. Mostly because babies sleep… A LOT! And we didn’t want to disturb him after he fell asleep during the car ride (which is his favorite thing to do). So it helped to avoid multiple episodes of melt-downs and crying fits. We personally were gifted the Nuna Pipa Lite RX car seat which clicked into the Uppababy Cruz V2 stroller.
  • Glider Swing. Ours was a Graco Swing which was handed down to me by another mom. It was bulky and ugly to look at, so at first, I deemed it as something that belonged to my grandparent’s house. It turned out it was the best place to set him down when he was awake. And it would also do the work and rock him to sleep for us. He loved that little cocoon. And I couldn’t survive the first few months without it.
  • Bassinet. We were gifted a Baby Bay bassinet and it was crucial for those late night feedings. I loved having him by our bed which eliminated the need for us to get up in the middle of the night. Ours also had wheels which allowed us to wheel him around the house without waking him up from his naps. Therefore he kept on sleeping while I went to the kitchen to cook dinner. He was always in our sight, even when he had to sleep. You cannot do that with a crib!
  • Cloth Diapers. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if I would like it. I only knew that my parents raised us that way, and that it was good for the environment and our wallets. I ended up loving cloth diapers. We only used disposables when we were out of the house or traveling. Cloth was super easy, thanks to Esembly. You can read about my experience with cloth diapers here.
  • Baby Brezza. A mom of twins asked if I would want this formula mixer gifted to me. Initially, I thought I would 100% breastfeed. I so wanted to. But after realizing within the first few days that the supply was not there (and it never really did catch up), this baby brezza quickly became our best friend. Thanks to this machine, even dad could help with night-time feeds. And there is nothing more concerning than a wailing baby. This machine allowed us to mix formula with our eyes closed. It was our most used item, when I thought I wouldn’t use it at all!

How about you? What are your favorite newborn items?

This post contains affiliate links. The Debtist may receive commission shall you choose to purchase any of these items. As always, thank you for supporting this blog.

Creating a Magical Nursery

I’ve been pondering how to decorate Casey’s nursery in our new home. I want to be intentional with creating the environment wherein he will spend most of his time. To be honest, it’s a bit overwhelming making all the decisions for someone else. But after much consideration, I’ve decided to create a magical nursery to foster his imagination.

As parent’s, we are honored with the task of creating our children’s spaces. We have a choice. We can choose to design it from a practical perspective, providing the necessities for them to grow and transform into little adults. Or, we can tap into our inner child. In our adulthood lies an opportunity to introduce wonder and magic to the future generation. Although I have historically chosen the path of less, I choose the opposite when it comes to instilling wonder and beauty in Casey’s life. 

I once wrote an ode to bare white walls. It’s a piece I am proud of writing, and my thoughts and emotions towards white walls stay much the same. However, I cannot say I believe these things for kids. I think that kids need to be exposed to ideas in order to foster imagination and creativity. They know not what to think of white spaces. Therefore, I think it appropriate that we treat the empty canvases of his room as a starting point from where his imagination can run wild.

I am currently obsessed with wallpaper from Photowall for Casey’s space. Photowall sports plenty of options to choose from, each one transforming kid rooms into dreamlands and faraway places. There are so many that I like. It is difficult to just choose one. Thankfully, Photowall offers their wallpaper at affordable prices. At such a great price point, we might change the wallpaper in the future as his interests become more clear and change.

In the end, we had a few requirements for how the wallpaper looks. We want the print to add whimsy but at the same time keep the room tranquil. It is a big ask. Photowall’s children collection includes neutral palette options. In general, I stand by the rule that loud colors cause stress to our thinking minds. Likewise, small and busy prints add overwhelm. Perhaps this is a personal reaction? Nonetheless, I want his room to be a space where he could have fun during the day but sleep well at night. In order to achieve this, I recommend sticking with soft colors and at least 50% of empty background space.

In terms of balancing out the wallpaper, choosing the right furniture helps. The crib we are putting in his room will be Babyletto’s Hudson 3-in-1 crib-to-toddler bed. It was gifted to us by a mother in the community. The thick, blocky legs are imaginatively placed at an angle. The thick borders of the crib will prevent it from getting lost in the room. The crib is all white, which helps demarcate it in the space.

We also paired it with the matching Babyletto Hudson 3-Drawer Dresser with a changing table top. We chose the smaller dresser over the 6-drawer version to prevent the room from feeling cluttered. Lastly, a gray glider chair completes the room. It was also handed down from a different mum in the neighborhood. To learn how to utilize the community and build a nursery for nearly free, check out this post.

I want Casey’s room to be a reflection of the person he is. While he is too young for us to tell his preferences, a parent could hope for a few things. We wish for our Earth Day baby to be in love with adventures. I want to gift him curiosity and a love of learning. I also want him to be equally happy outdoors in nature as much as indoors curled up with a book in our laps. In his youth, I wish for daydreams and experimentation. I want to foster an environment without limiting boundaries. If he could approach life without fear, then I would feel at peace with my role as a parent.

Meanwhile, he is OUR greatest adventure. Therefore, his room would be the epicenter of our family’s quality time. Memories are held to the spaces in which they are made. This is why the look and feel of his bedroom is so important to me. At the end of the day, I keep returning to this quote:

We are the gatekeepers of our homes, the guardians of our children, the warriors of our own existence and, also, the builders of our love. 

The First Few Months of Cloth Diapering with Esembly

Casey was born on Earth Day, something both me and Mike are proud of. As a couple attempting to live sustainably, we felt that his birthday was somehow symbolic of what we hoped for our son. Someone who appreciates nature, understands ecology, respects our place in biology and becomes a tenant of this planet we love. In line with all that, we made the decision to use cloth diapers years before we even planned on having children. I remember vowing that if we ever did have kids, we would opt to reduce our contribution to the landfills. I remember his skepticism. But what I love about Mike is his openness to new things. By the time we decided to start a family five years later, he was totally on board.

I read about cloth diapering via Erin Boyle’s blog back in 2017. It was the first time I considered an alternative to disposable diapers. I didn’t realize at the time that my siblings and I were all reared on loincloths wrapped around our bums, pinned with a clothespin. But cloth diapering has (thankfully) come a long way. Cities like the Big Apple can tout cloth diapering services wherein they pick up used cloths at your doorstep and launder them for you. But where we live has no such services. So it’s a godsend that Esembly created a diapering system that can be done at home.

The First Few Months of Diapering with Esembly

Of all the questions I’ve received as a new parent, I have not gotten as many inquiries as I have with cloth diapering. Moms all over the web are asking how it’s going. As if they couldn’t believe it could be done. But as my mom said when I showed her our Esembly diapers, “it’s as easy as cake!”. Esembly has gone above and beyond to take care of the logistics. “I wish we had something like this when you were a baby,” my mom said as she gleefully analyzed the thick, cotton inners in her hands.

To be honest, I had my doubts too. But let me tell you, I love using cloth diapers! It is just as easy as disposable diapers, but better for the environment. For the first few weeks, we solely used disposable diapers. We couldn’t use the high-waisted Esembly inners since it would rub the umbilical cord. It took 10 days to fall off. Because of this, we have something to compare Esembly to. Those who argue that cloth diapering is too much work is wrong. Yes, you need to wash the diapers, but you never will run out of them or have to dash to the store to get more.

Changing nappies are a breeze thanks to the button closures at the front. Multiple snaps make the diaper customizable to your growing child’s size. No wasted diapers that your baby outgrew. The outer fits snugly and keeps wet inners from soiling clothes. Yet the elastic band around the legs and waist make these comfortable to wear. Plus the outers have cute designs, to boot! We have six different outers and we can change them based on his outfit for the day.

How to Clean Esembly’s Cloth Diapers

People always ask, “What do you do with the soiled diapers?” You remove them and toss them directly into the Esembly diaper bag. Since Casey isn’t eating solids for now, there is no need to remove anything from the nappies. Poop, pee, nappy – all of it gets tossed into the bag. You don’t get your hands messy at all. The diaper bag, by the way, fits into this Dekor Diaper Pail pretty well in case you are searching for one. However, a pail isn’t necessary as you can hang the bag on a hook quite easily.

To clean, all we do is toss dirty diapers and bag into the wash. We use Esembly’s washing powder with their agitators (the best invention ever!) and run a normal cycle, followed by a heavy duty cycle. It takes 40-60 minutes to dry in the dryer and voila! If you wish to reduce your footprint even more, laying them under the sun works wonders. It actually results in a neater looking nappy.

To my surprise, the inners haven’t stained one bit. They haven’t shrunk in the wash and they don’t stink. They haven’t caused diaper rash (whereas the disposables started to) which goes to show how nice they are for your baby’s bottom. They store nicely in a basket on our changing cart, and take up less room than a box of disposable diapers.

Some Caveats

To be completely transparent, there are a few caveats. We bought the fewest amount of inners and outers needed to sustain us. We have 21 inners and 6 outers. To be honest, I think we could have survived with 3 outers. Meanwhile, 21 inners could have been 24. Minor changes aside, one caveat is that no matter how many you buy, you have to do laundry every 2-3 days. For us, 2 days seems to be the number. Of course, not everyone has the time. Balancing laundry amongst other chores and working full-time is a difficult feat. The privilege of having job flexibility cannot be ignored.

Second, it is an investment. We bought the diaper system, agitators, wash powder, and diaper bag. We were gifted 3 inners and one outer. We nabbed the rest during a sale. (Check out their clearance section for awesome deals on outers.) The total cost was $250. I would recommend adding it to your baby registry if you want to save money. For the curious, this is my curated baby registry list.

Lastly, Esembly works for most situations. Whether you are at home or away, it isn’t much different from disposable diapers. However, the cloth diapers aren’t as absorbent as disposables. Meaning, if you want your baby to sleep through the night, using disposables in the evenings may be better. Likewise, if you’ll be out of the house for a while with nary a changing table in site, then a disposable diaper will make your child more comfortable. There is always the option of purchasing overnight liners from Esembly which absorbs more. We opted not to go that route and still use disposable diapers part time.

Trying is Better Than Perfect

Let me be the first to say that we aren’t perfect, and Esembly isn’t either. But trying is better than being perfect, so don’t let the caveats stop you. Don’t let perfection get in the way of reducing your landfill contribution, even if its a little bit. Using Esembly half the time still reduces 3,000+ disposable diapers per baby! So give it a go. Their try-it kit is a great place to start.

Esembly is a partner brand for TheDebtist. I try to promote companies that I have tried and love. Whenever I choose to partner, I consider the ethics and values behind the company. This is no different. The thoughts and opinions in this post are mine own, as are the experiences. Thank you for supporting the brands that support my post.