Must Haves for the Newborn Stage - by Clarissa Primavesi
I’m Clarissa, owner of Charlie’s Footsteps - an online store and resource providing help, advice and support about all things baby + toddler especially for those who are taking this journey whilst living abroad. My passion is reassuring new mums and mums to be that doing this momentous thing away from home can be fun, joyful and you are able to buy all the essentials that you thought could only be got from back home right here online at www.charliesfootsteps.com
When the world discovers we are pregnant (either through our choice, or through that all knowing social media algorithm!), the noise, choice and advice becomes overwhelming. You end up not knowing what is really truly necessary to buy for your newborn’s impending arrival. If, like me, you are lucky enough to have a bunch of really close female friends who have already been through it, you might be able to have help filter out all the information and get a good sense of the things you really need over what it’s nice to have. But maybe you’re the first in your group of friends to have a baby? Maybe your support network lives far away and it’s more difficult to reach out to them. I found that my own mother was an absolute fountain of knowledge, but also that birth, childcare and the products you can buy for newborns had changed a huge amount since I was one myself and so some of her ideas were now out of date.
Despite having some great advice come my way, I ended up suffering with postpartum anxiety. One of the ways I self-soothed this condition (I also didn’t realise I had it until about a year postpartum!) was extensive research into all the newborn things. I also bought a LOT OF STUFF (much to the annoyance of my husband) so I feel in a really good place to share the things that I really loved and more importantly my baby loved and led to a great parent/baby bonding relationship. Here are my findings!
Waterproof Changing Mat
Babies poo, a lot! And it’s yet another thing to think about when you want to leave the house with them, if you want to head out for more than a couple of hours, the likelihood is that you’ll have to change a poopy diaper/nappy.
When Charlie was new, I liked to take long walks through our local park with no public restrooms etc, and no convenient changing spots. And even if we were in a situation where I could take him to a place with a changing table, I knew it must have been used hundreds of times before.
So I would use my super handy, waterproof, lightweight, washable changing mat! The first one I had was not washing-machine safe (I could only wipe it clean) and therefore it did not last long! This one can be thrown in the machine and comes out like new again. It has a soft cotton side for sensitive new skin, but importantly a waterproof side to keep everything contained.
Dimmable Nursery Light
I cannot believe how necessary this item was. And it’s still in constant use in our house now Charlie’s over two years old!
With a hungry newborn baby at 3am followed by a fraught nappy and full onesie change following a newborn blowout I was desperate for some low level lighting. When we got this light, nights changed dramatically. Feeding became more relaxed in the low-light, Charlie wouldn’t think it was daytime and happily take his milk sleepily. Then I was able to sort his nappy change out because I could simply bring the little lamp with me to his changing table and aim the light at what I needed to see. Keeping the atmosphere chilled and the light low, whilst being able to see what I was doing.
Silicone/wood Teether Toys
OK - so admittedly newborns can’t grab straight away and they certainly don’t have sore gums yet from teething. But, I do think this sort of toy is great to have from the word go. It won’t be long until their attention is turned to grabbing, and shortly after transferring everything to their mouths, so you will want to be prepared! These two materials are just the best for teething toys. Silicone is such a good alternative to plastic because it is way more sustainable.
While plastic tends to be made from crude oil that’s extracted from the ground, a non-renewable resource, silicone is made from silica, which is easily found in sand. While this obviously can’t be considered an unlimited resource, it’s definitely more abundant.
Silicone products can be recycled (not many people realise this!) It is also extremely durable and it can withstand freezing and piping hot temperatures better than plastic. It lasts so much longer, and keeps it looks better. All Charlie’s silicone toys and tableware still look as good as new and I look forward to being able to pass them on to a local mum in my area!
Without a doubt one of if not the most important part of the day when you have a newborn is feeding time. Before I invested in a good nursing pillow, I was never comfortable! No matter if I was feeding directly from the breast, or from a bottle I would try and arrange myself on the sofa with as many cushions as I could but even after a day everything was aching. My husband found the same issue when he fed from a bottle. So, I sent my husband out to get a pillow and it was absolute bliss when he got back! I would then really look forward to feeding sessions, with my snacks, drinks and a good programme on the TV! This adjustable one is so adaptable to any feeding position you and your baby prefers and can be used for breastfeeding and bottle feeding. But any pillow you find comfortable really is essential!
Finally, - muslins/burp cloths.
Babies are messy. There’s no getting around this fact. Milk is often spilt, they often spit-up after a feed, they can wee whilst changing a nappy (especially boys I’ve heard…!) and that’s just the baby! Having a stack of these super soft, pure cotton muslin cloths nearby at all times is time and energy saving! I still have the same muslins over 2 years later that Charlie had as a newborn, and I use them for the times when he has a snotty nose and I’ve run out of tissues, or he’s had a fall and needs tears wiping up, or I’ve forgotten his silicone bib and I tie one of these around him to protect his outfit at a nice lunch with friend…..the list is genuinely endless!
Thanks Clarissa for sharing these amazing must-haves!
If you're an expecting mom or dad living in Madrid (or anywhere in Spain) and you're wondering what giving birth in Spain is going to be like, Madison from Madoula can support you on that journey! As a doula, Madison's goal is to help every family feel confident and have peace of mind as the birth of their baby abroad approaches. She mainly works with intercultural couples and English-speaking couples to help them understand the process here in Spain compared to their home culture, to have hands-on support during the birth itself, to feel confident breast or bottle-feeding, and to lend practical and emotional support during the postpartum period.
Madoula Services include:
All services are available online or in-person (in Madrid and surroundings).