From baby vests, to baby grows, from sleep suits to nappies; we soon-to-be mamas are totally equipped for all the dribble, sick, and poop explosions to come - i.e. the stuff for our baby! It’s the bombardment of all the extras, “what do I truly need to buy to make this all easier for me?!”.
We got together here at Bon + Bear because we wanted to know what really did work for other Mamas (or didn’t!) and what newborn feeding essentials we couldn’t have lived without. Let’s face it, babies spend the majority of those early days sleeping (if you are lucky!), cooing and breastfeeding and like every mama-to-be we all wanted to get off to a smooth start - without the price tag!
One thing we agreed on as new mamas... was that nothing could have fully prepared us. To most Mama’s surprise, things do come naturally, mama instincts kick in and soon it’s hard to picture what life was like before motherhood.
At Bon + Bear we want to support your new role as mama and give you a helpful heads-up on those essentials that really do work.
So here are our top 5 must have recommendations from Bon + Bear to help you on your feeding journey…
Breastfeeding can be super challenging! Ensuring you and baby are both comfortable throughout feeding time is essential. Sitting on the sofa, chair or bed for what can feel like (or be!) hours feeding, will soon take its toll on your back without the right support - making a good breastfeeding pillow essential! It can keep you still and comfortable for longer periods of time without feeling like you need to shuffle about; when you make sudden movements, baby’s latch can be affected which is a bit of a pain when you’re trying to establish feeding in the early days. Pillows will also help keep you relaxed (oxytocin’s anyone!), and prevent any strains.
As a double up for pregnancy and breastfeeding, we recommend the Niimo Pregnancy/Nursing Pillow. Other pillows were a generic shape which never felt supportive enough (this one has a full wrap around and tie feature) and an added bonus of being usable pre-baby for sleeping, for breastfeeding and then as a little nest to prop baby in when they are learning to sit up.
We also love the bbhugme nursing pillow, which is super comfortable. It is sort of like a mouldable bean bag, fully adjustable to your size, firm so you will always have baby at the right height for breastfeeding, and easily washable with a removable cover and it comes with a travel bag too. Worth every penny!
Stretchy Baby Wraps/Slings
A stretchy baby wrap sling was one of the things we totally agreed on! It is the one thing we didn’t know we needed, and if you did know then there really is so much choice out there. For MJ (Bon + Bear’s Chief Mama), she finally took the plunge to buy one after a few months and “eureka, my hands were free to cook or make a drink - I instantly felt more at ease! Our baby was more settled as all they want is to be close to you in the 4th trimester and to hear/smell you when that’s all they know.”
So, we admit we are heavily biased here... but buy one, and we’d absolutely love it if it was our Maine Baby Wrap because we think they’re awesome (and many others have agreed!)
There are endless benefits to using one and here is our page with all the details on why you should babywear daily in the newborn days.
Breast pumps are an essential for new mama’s and this can be for all different reasons. This could be in case you are popping out and need your partner or a family member to feed the baby, while you’re getting used to finding a comfortable rhythm with your baby and worried that they aren’t getting enough milk, or to just generally give you a bit of a break. Breast pumps can also support the transition from breast to bottle later down the line.
One thing we both agreed on was our first breast pumps we used were useless (minus the hospital grade Medela ones which you can rent!).
Both of us at first had a useless breast pump. I didn’t get on with mine at all (even though baby used to feed quickly) I would sit for what felt like hours trying to get milk from my breasts – messy, time consuming, and I gave up! In hindsight, I wish I’d tried a different one as I can definitely see the benefits of having one that works.
MJ also found her first breast pump useless, a portable USB one seemed good on the face of it; plus cheap, but she also got barely any milk and never felt like it was suctioning correctly. But then decided to find a new option to help with her triple feeding routine as she had no choice being under a feeding plan with Paediatrics. She found the MAM one was totally different; milk came thick and fast and it was more comfortable to use too.
We at Bon + Bear think it’s always worth spending a little more to get a reputable one like Medela, Mam or Elvie (did you know Elvie's sits inside your bra?! Ingenius) as they are trialed and tested and loved by many for a reason.
There is so much support out there for new mama’s, online and locally too. Check your area for your local lactation group on how best to use your breast pump for what you need to do; whether it’s for bottle feed, to increase supply, to triple feed. Or even follow accounts like Feed Eat Speak on Instagram (@feedeatspeak) for regular help on all things breastfeeding and pumping.
We might be able to sleep with daylight pouring in but lots of babies however need that darkness. Babies are in absolute darkness for 9 months so if you want a chance at sleep, make it dark. Some babies sleep anywhere, but that’s not our experience and what we’ve heard from others. Also, you need to help baby understand the difference between night and day as they don’t grasp time yet and need help with their circadian rhythm to learn.
After all that hard work of a night feed, or multiple, don’t take any chances! Ensure you have darkness to soothe them back down to sleep and you will always have the night light if you need it which won’t disrupt their sleep either.
The go-to one which we know every mama seems to have is from Tommee Tippee, as it is portable and easy to use.
So, confession; neither of us had one… but wish we had! Whether it’s for breastfeeding or getting up at night to settle, soothe or make up a bottle, a night light will be super handy. Ever had to change a baby in the dark? Ever had to prop up your phone to get it at just the right angle to not blind your new-born baby - Yep we have and it ain’t fun!
A night light is essential if you need to find the right angle to feed, need to change nappies, need to make eye contact with your partner or reach for your water. So, next time around we will make sure we buy one which ticks all the boxes and moveable from bedside to changing table.
We have researched and found the Arvov Night Light to have the best reviews from mama’s who have tried it and love it as it is adjustable for brightness, charges easily and is anti-blue light (which your phone emits and tells the brain to ‘wake up’.)
Always know that is 5am somewhere, another mama is reaching for these items or googling what will help through extreme tiredness, but we are always here to support you!
You’ve got this mama!
Read more: 12 Stylish Breastfeeding Outfits