What do you REALLY need for your newborn? When budgets are tight, or you’d just prefer to be a minimalist — let’s talk about the most important things!
Today’s guest is Valerie Trumbower — the creator of New Parents Academy and a postpartum doula. She has a free expecting parents workshop — and a SUPER helpful class on newborns called Expecting 101. She also has a free workshop and a class for adoptive parents (LOVE THAT). You can also get tons of tips if you follow her on Instagram.
This is her SECOND time on the podcast and her first was 3 Truths of Newborn Life (which is also awesome)
Big thanks to our sponsor The Online Prenatal Class for Couples – I believe it IS a need for your pregnancy and postpartum time. I tried to price mine at a very affordable level:
Things you need for a newborn:
Infant carseat (both Valerie and I love this one) — and learning how to use it.
A stroller (although not necessary right off)
A bouncy seat or a swing (or a place to “put” your baby)
A breastfeeding pillow (I do prefer this one)
A place for baby to sleep (I love that she mentions a play yard vs a bassinette)
Burp cloths (these were my favorite)
Diapers & Wipes
Bottles (I used this kind)
A Thermometer (I recommend this kind)
Nasal aspirator (this is the one Valerie mentions)
Baby bathtub (BUY THIS USED or borrow from a friend — one like this)
Pacifier (this type seems most popular)
Newborn nail clippers (I used this kind)
Other things that might interest you
Do not miss her free expecting parents workshop!!!!
Producer: Drew Erickson
Check out my other pregnancy podcasts:
Check out all my podcasts:
[00:00:00.355] – Hilary Erickson
Hey, guys, welcome back to the Pulling Curls Podcast. Today on Episode 74, we are harkening back to the year 2000. I was a nurse, I worked at a nursing home that nursing home. My paychecks later started bouncing. So that’s just how lucrative that job was. My husband had… Was just graduating with his bachelor’s degree in music education. We were poor. We were pregnant with baby number one, which didn’t have a lot to splurge on a baby.
[00:00:26.995] – Hilary Erickson
So today I want to talk to you about what you really need for baby. I think there are so many fun things to have with a baby. And we did find some fun things like a garage sales. We were definitely surfing the garage sales back in the day. But I just want to talk to you about what we really need, so let’s untangle it.
[00:00:52.415] – Hilary Erickson
Welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast, I’m Hilary, your curly headed host on the podcast, where we untangle everything from pregnancy, parenting and home routines. I want you to know that there are no right answers for every family. And I find that simplifying my priorities is almost always the answer. It’s tangled just like my hair.
[00:01:17.395] – Hilary Erickson
OK, before we start, today’s guest is my friend Valerie Trumbower, she is she is the smart brains behind New Parents Academy.
[00:01:24.685] – Hilary Erickson
There is a free class that she can teach you about newborns. I’ll leave that in the show notes. Anyway, she is a postpartum doula. And if you guys follow her on Instagram, by the way. Follow her on Instagram. She gives out so many awesome newborn tips. I cannot believe that I didn’t know her back when I had newborns because it would have been so helpful. So I can’t wait to introduce you for the second time to my friend Valerie.
[00:01:46.555] – Hilary Erickson
This episode of the Pulling Curls Podcast is sponsored by the online prenatal class. For couples, it simplifies understanding labor so you can have a more relaxed pregnancy and birth taught by a highly experienced labor and delivery nurse and can be done wherever you are, whenever you want. No more arranging busy schedules to fit in a prenatal class, save 15 percent. With the coupon code UNTANGLED, you can find out more at Pulling Curls Podcast and the menu under courses or in this episode’s show notes.
[00:02:13.885] – Hilary Erickson
Hey Valerie, welcome to the Pulling Curls Podcast.
[00:02:16.555] – Valerie Trumbower
Hi, thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here.
[00:02:18.985] – Hilary Erickson
Well, you must be pretty important because we are on podcast number two together. So much…
[00:02:24.235] – Valerie Trumbower
So excited for- the first time was a blast. I listened to it and I was laughing out loud and I was there originally, so…
[00:02:31.975] – Hilary Erickson
That’s how good it was. OK, I will definitely link. We did our first podcast on things to know about a newborn and it was really good. So I’m going to link that in the show notes if you guys haven’t listened to it.
[00:02:40.345] – Hilary Erickson
But today we’re harkening back to Hilary cerca two thousand. When I had, like, no money, my husband had just graduated college. We were having our first baby. What did Hilary cerca two thousand need? Give me the skinny.
[00:02:52.705] – Valerie Trumbower
OK, so you’re having a baby. You want to buy as little as possible. So the first thing I think to remember is that that big registry checklist that you’re getting online or if you walk into a store to register, that that thing includes so much stuff that you do not need right away.
[00:03:10.255] – Valerie Trumbower
So I say, OK, your babies do. And let’s say May, guess what? You don’t need a convertible car seat. That’s what the baby’s going to ask grandma and grandpa for for Christmas or something. So you don’t need to be getting all of these things right off the bat. But circa 2000, Hillary is about to bring home her brand new baby. What does she absolutely need? OK, my first thing you need to get your baby home. Unless Hilary walked out of that hospital in two thousand, you need an infant car seat and a base. And so one thing that is very different than it was in two thousand is how long you can use an infant car seat for. So right off the bat, you’ve already bought some time before you had to buy that bigger car seat because car seats now are holding longer, heavier babies. So an infant car seat with a baby, you don’t need the extra base.
[00:03:57.025] – Valerie Trumbower
You could move the base to the other car. But that’s my first thing, is an infant car seat with a base.
[00:04:01.905] – Hilary Erickson
Hilary, circa two thousand. I did have a car seat, just so everybody knows. And I have heard people who are like, oh, the hospital. Just give you one. That is a lie. We we we will if you are one hundred percent destitute. But we are going to encourage you to do everything you can to get your own car seat because they’re expensive.
[00:04:16.345] – Hilary Erickson
We we just don’t there’s no money tree at the hospital. So bring your own car seat to the hospital, my friends.
[00:04:21.265] – Valerie Trumbower
And now as a little side note, can I tell you that I deliver Meals on Wheels at our from our hospital in my little town that I live in in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I was ready to pull out of the hospital yesterday. We’ve got our car full of stuff to deliver. And I’m watching this new family like they brought out their like teeny tiny baby in the infancy.
[00:04:40.375] – Valerie Trumbower
And ten minutes later, they’re still standing there, the nurses in the car. People. Learn how to put the car seat in. This nurse was installing and reinstalling this car seat while this baby sat there in its little seat on the pavement. So get the car seat and then know how to install it.
[00:04:56.545] – Hilary Erickson
Officially, we’re not allowed to install them.
[00:04:58.855] – Valerie Trumbower
I was imagining she felt like she was breaking some rules there. But I sat there. I knew exactly what kind of car seat it was.
[00:05:05.185] – Valerie Trumbower
I sat there and waited to see if they would get it in because they had already done it incorrectly. Once I was like, OK, fine, I’m totally going to jump in. I’m already my master glugs for Meals on Wheels. I was like, I’m going in if they need that. They got to learn. And there there’s free services around the country that will help you to be sure. You can call your fire department, you can call your police police station to see who in your area will help you to be sure that your car seat is installed.
[00:05:29.185] – Hilary Erickson
At the very least, there are a ton of really good YouTube videos for your specific car seat. So watch because they’re all different. A lot of people are like, well, you know, this brand, I’m like, I don’t know. And every Chico is like a different it’s not like just like all Chicos are the same or although no they’re all different now.
[00:05:45.835] – Hilary Erickson
Every car is different because some of them have like humps in the middle.
[00:05:48.745] – Valerie Trumbower
Right. So now next thing. Yes, I have it installed before you go. So the next thing on my list is a stroller. But here’s the thing. I don’t really absolutely think you need a stroller if you it depends where you’re going. At the time of this recording, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic. You and your brand new baby really going anywhere. You’re going to the pediatrician. You might go for a walk. You or your partner could wear your baby. I have a stroller on this list, but if you are really trying to do this in a super budgeted way, I don’t think it’s 100 percent necessary.
[00:06:18.335] – Hilary Erickson
And strollers are a great thing to buy used.
[00:06:21.425] – Valerie Trumbower
For sure. Scour the Facebook yard sale site and or wherever the buy nothing groups or whatever and find a stroller there. OK, so the next thing is a bouncy seat or a swing. What this comes down to is the price difference between a bouncy seat and swing is very different. What we’re seeing here is somewhere to put your baby when you’re not holding your baby like it can’t you can’t just lay your baby on the couch. OK, so where can you put your baby?
[00:06:47.705] – Valerie Trumbower
Another great thing to find, like a yard sale or to find you somewhere.
[00:06:51.575] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. You can put your baby on the floor, throw down a blanket, put your baby on the floor. But it’s hard to look at it that way. And when you’re doing the dishes, it’s nicer to have a bouncy seat or so you can see.
[00:07:01.115] – Valerie Trumbower
Right. And that brings about like you have a cat. Do you have a brings about some questions, but yes.
[00:07:07.515] – Valerie Trumbower
So somewhere to set your baby and then if you’re planning to breastfeed, I think it’s nice to have a nursing pillow. It’s not. I mean, is it one hundred percent necessary? It’s definitely not. But I think breastfeeding without a doubt is really challenging in the beginning. So if you can get that baby up to be at the level he needs to be at in a comfortable position. So you’re not hunching over to help breastfeeding to get off to a good start here, a nursing pillow is helpful.
[00:07:31.265] – Hilary Erickson
Yeah. And also another one that you can get from a friend because the covers are washable or from a used thing. So you don’t don’t feel like you can’t get that one used.
[00:07:38.855] – Valerie Trumbower
For sure. And a lot of these things like the swing or the bouncy seat, your friend doesn’t need to be done having babies. You’re not saying, can I own this forever? You’re saying, can I borrow this for four months?
[00:07:47.675] – Hilary Erickson
And newborn stuff just doesn’t get used very much. So I always wanted to spread the newborn stuff love out so that it got used for sure.
[00:07:55.745] – Valerie Trumbower
Next on the list I have down, I have a play yard, but it could be wherever your baby is going to sleep at night. I say a play yard rather than a bassinet, because the long term you’re going to get a lot more wear out of a play yard. Are you? You’re going to the beach with your two year old, not to the beach, but sleeping over somewhere. You’re bringing that pack and play. I mean, play yard’s the overall term, but that your baby, your brand new baby can sleep in that pack and play next to your bed instead of a bassinet you don’t need like this.
[00:08:24.245] – Valerie Trumbower
Super fancy bassinets. Some of them are very nice.
[00:08:27.995] – Hilary Erickson
And expensive. That’s new. That’s a dream bassinet. So and go and… Go and ask around on Facebook because a lot of people have a bassinet I think about. And that’s easier because you don’t have to bend over as much. But I always had a pack and play even when we were poor.
[00:08:42.065] – Valerie Trumbower
And with the pack and play with the bassinet level the packages with the bassinet level, you’re not really bending over as much as the full on.
[00:08:49.055] – Hilary Erickson
Also, we had a very tiny house and so a bassinet fits better, but there’s almost always somebody who has one that’s like, yes, please take mine because I spent one hundred dollars on this thing that I use for a month. So yeah.
[00:09:01.625] – Valerie Trumbower
For sure. And sheets for whatever that thing is. But the baby’s going to sleep. So next the next thing is the swaddle blankets or swaddles or sleep sacks. However, you’re going to swaddle this baby.
[00:09:12.755] – Valerie Trumbower
I think there’s a lot of really great swaddling options on the market that they are twenty or thirty dollars each. So it is considerable. Could you get away with just having two of those? Yes. Could you just get swaddle blankets? You could, but definitely your swaddling that baby, because that baby’s used to be nice and snug inside the belly. The startled reflex is a real thing. You watch that baby slap himself in the face and wake himself up and you’re going to be out there looking for a swaddling option.
[00:09:41.735] – Valerie Trumbower
So you want something to be able to swaddle the baby.
[00:09:43.685] – Hilary Erickson
And they make it so much easier to swaddle. I mean, the nurses in the hospital, I never swaddler because I knew how to swaddle, but it is a skill that most parents don’t have. I have so many friends. Call me crying. Can you come show me how to swaddle? Because even when I show them, they’re like I said, it’s so much easier.
[00:09:59.975] – Valerie Trumbower
As someone who’s pretty much not athletic at all.
[00:10:02.285] – Valerie Trumbower
I wish there was a Swadling Olympics. I feel like I’d love to go head to head with you in the Swadling Olympics.
[00:10:08.155] – Hilary Erickson
You might win. I’m honestly not the best swaddler ever.
[00:10:11.435] – Valerie Trumbower
OK, so beyond swaddle, if I just had to choose even six things, this would be one of those six things. And that is a sound machine. It does not need to be a sound machine. It could be an app on your phone. It could be you asking Alexa, are we allowed to say, Alexa?
[00:10:27.155] – Valerie Trumbower
I heard things for a podcast. OK, whatever.
[00:10:29.675] – Hilary Erickson
Mine didn’t come on.
[00:10:30.635] – Valerie Trumbower
OK, you’re asking Alexa to turn on white noise, something that gives you sound for that baby. That baby is used to being in the belly. The belly is not a quiet place. And so the baby is more comfortable when there is that white noise.
[00:10:44.685] – Hilary Erickson
So agree. You can even use an old phone. Like if you have an old phone, just hook it up to Wi-Fi and use that.
[00:10:50.255] – Valerie Trumbower
Ooh, that’s a great idea. Yes, for sure. OK, and next is burp cloths or I mean, OK, it’s circa two thousand. Hilary was really trying to save money. I guess you could use a dish towel, but I’ve never worked with family budget. So I say few.
[00:11:06.845] – Hilary Erickson
I bought burp, just uh… Old diapers. I didn’t buy anything fancy. Cloth diapers,
[00:11:11.165] – Valerie Trumbower
for sure, you need diapers, you need wipes that, I guess, is kind of a give in and bottles you need, even if your plan is to breastfeed, you need to have at least two bottles.
[00:11:22.385] – Valerie Trumbower
Now, probably while you were pregnant, you got a free little bag somewhere at the O.B. or somewhere. And there was a there was a bottle in there. Sometimes I think gives out a bottle, sometimes Dr. brown, gives out a bottle, save that bottle. That’s one of your bottles. I mean, you could even just one bottle would be fine, but you want to have at least one bottle.
[00:11:39.365] – Hilary Erickson
And I actually recommend that people have at least a little bit of formula.
[00:11:42.605] – Hilary Erickson
And it almost is like your little savior in the closet because you know that you have an out. Whereas if you don’t have any and the stores close, there’s no way out. Somehow you have to.
[00:11:51.605] – Valerie Trumbower
That’s that’s a tough one. Yeah, that’s a tough one. So now I also have a rectal thermometer. I’m interested to hear as in you are like, are you doing rectal thermometers, labor delivery or are you doing that under the armpit?
[00:12:04.125] – Hilary Erickson
We did rectal for about three years of my nursing career and then they decided there were too many intestinal perforations. And so we went to just axillary. Everywhere I go, we just use axillary. Now, if my baby had a fever, I might use a rectal because you really want to know what it is like, how high it is, especially if they’re tiny. But really, you’re just wanting to find out if it’s over one hundred, which you can do with just maxillary.
[00:12:25.895] – Valerie Trumbower
So OK, a nasal aspirator. I guess you could leave the hospital with that nasal aspirator. I am a huge fan of the breed of baby snot sucker. You’re not going to suck up your baby’s boogers through that straw. I think it’s a fantastic big I think it’s a great use of twelve dollars, but some kind of Bazil aspirator. Yeah. They will send you.
[00:12:46.265] – Hilary Erickson
If they haven’t they should send you home with a little blue bulb suction device which you can use.
[00:12:50.345] – Hilary Erickson
But the freeda is easier to use.
[00:12:52.205] – Valerie Trumbower
And easier to clean. Who can clean a bulb, you know?
[00:12:55.325] – Hilary Erickson
there is no cleaning the bulb section.
[00:12:57.005] – Valerie Trumbower
No there isn’t. Ok. And is my list too long, Hilary?
[00:13:01.355] – Hilary Erickson
Of I mean the reality is, is that you’re bringing another human into your house. I mean, would you be able to live with just ten things?
[00:13:07.955] – Valerie Trumbower
I mean, maybe, I guess if there was a show about that. Right.
[00:13:10.815] – Hilary Erickson
You know what we’re just saying a minimalist and some of these you could obviously do without you could not have a pillow, but it’s going to be so much easier. You know, what we’re trying to say is whittle down that list that they give you, that you need the wipe warmer and you need the no need all the right things. So we’re just telling you really what’s so important to you. Don’t even literally live in a box with a diaper.
[00:13:34.355] – Hilary Erickson
So you just need a box and a diaper. I guess if you really want to go minimal, I guess you’ve got toilet paper for the white vote.
[00:13:40.085] – Valerie Trumbower
OK, yes. So that’s that. That’s the list. Those three things. So this is another one that you absolutely don’t need. But will it make your life easier? A baby bathtub? Another great thing to find on a Facebook yard sale site. I know that everybody’s mom pictures washing their baby in the kitchen sink. It’s harder than it looks, people. A baby bathtub makes that easier. Slippery newborns are kind of scary to hold. So I think a baby bathtub is nice to have.
[00:14:07.325] – Hilary Erickson
Actually, it can be very useful. They are slippery. And usually I have a parent videotaping me and so I don’t love that. But I’m always like, well, it just feel it’s awkward. So it totally makes it easier.
[00:14:19.535] – Valerie Trumbower
Reminder you won’t put your baby in the bathtub until the umbilical cord falls off a little tip. That’s right. Yeah, I talk all about that in my life. As I say, I talk about that in my free online workshop.
[00:14:27.845] – Valerie Trumbower
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Link to it. So that’s one of my seven things. I have workshops, seven things that parents learn the first week about their baby, but you’re not giving them baths. People peed on hers and it smells so bad for so long.
[00:14:41.075] – Valerie Trumbower
OK, and let’s see my I’m going to say pacifiers is my last must have.
[00:14:46.865] – Hilary Erickson
Well, I think a lot of people pacifiers have gotten a bad name, a bad rap, but they can save you and and they’re asleep. Things you tell most of your clients to use a pacifier?
[00:14:56.225] – Valerie Trumbower
Well, I think people are scared that, like our pacifiers, this dirty little habit. And when I walk in someone’s house or they like pushing it underneath, they don’t want me to know that they’re using it. Absolutely not. Like, remember that this baby is used to living inside the belly.
[00:15:08.585] – Valerie Trumbower
We’ve already talked about the baby is used to being in tight quarters. It’s noisy in there. And guess what my baby’s been doing? He’s been sucking on his hands for the last since he got hands whatever week that was of pregnancy. So he has he’s sucking is a natural thing for babies. So that’s why it makes sense. Now, if you’re breastfeeding and you’re I tell people you really, really want to limit that pacifier, if not just to not even use it until breastfeeding is established and you’re seeing the baby’s weight move in the right direction, you don’t want to mistake in that one.
Might be happy over there in the corner sucking on his pacifier when really you’re missing those cues that the baby’s hungry and as a result, the baby’s weight is dropping. So I think that there is in the very beginning, in the first couple of weeks, you want to be careful about that pacifier, but it’s not something that you don’t want to have. I remember I had I had read all these books I try to prepare as I’m welcoming my first child.
I was like, you’re not using the pacifier until she’s four weeks old. The first night home, I’m ripping open every package with three different kinds. And I’m just trying to get her to take a pacifier because at that point. We were all crying at my house, so as with everything, show yourself Grace, and it might not end up as exactly what you thought it would look like, but use that pacifier just a bit from the very beginning if you’re breastfeeding.
Yeah, and pacifiers, I think, got a bad rap in the hospital because people like, don’t give my baby a pacifier, but we have them you can ask for. And the kind we have now that used to have one that nobody could ever find ever again, but the kind we have now, you can buy it on the shelf. Takasu. Is that what you’re still. Yeah. Everybody loves the they those things bounce. You drop that on the floor.
I found like five other people’s couches in the middle of the night, like, we can’t find a pacifier. I’m down there with my little light flashlight finding pacifiers. Those things bounce, but they’re great. See these great. I will. A lot of babies suck desires very sometimes. We’ll breastfeed for an hour and it just still wants to suck. And I’m like, well, she needs to eat something mom does. So pacifiers, they’re the best diaper bag.
Like, you need a bag to carry your stuff in because you’re going to go to the pediatrician’s on the day, the next day, and you probably don’t want to walk in with, like a grocery sack. Oh, I’ve had plenty of families to use, but I work with a lot of families who adopt newborns. And so those you really want to limit what you’re buying. If you’re not sure when this baby will come into your life, how long that baby will be there before things are official.
So I’ve worked with more than one family who has used a reusable shopping bag, but circa two thousand. Hillary wouldn’t even have had a reusable shopping bag, which when did they come out? I had no idea it was still I was too poor to buy those until recently. Now you can spring for the ninety nine cents. There you go. OK, and the other thing that I honestly did have I had nail clippers on here, I’m a big proponent of do not put socks on your baby’s hands.
I don’t know what your thought is about that, but that’s again, goes back to missing those cues. If you’re baby sucking on his fingers, he’s telling you that that’s a that’s a feeding cue. If you’re sitting there with socks on their hands because you’re afraid he’s going to scratch his face, you miss a beat. That’s interesting. I just think you do need nail clippers. You can’t use adult ones. Don’t think you can. Yeah. You don’t own their game.
Definitely can’t. There’s so many ranges on all of these things. I went to a baby show and there were like eighty dollars like nail sanding devices before versus like a three dollar pair of clippers at Target. Don’t I feel like you need the highest end of everything? You don’t you just I know it sounds like I like work for free to baby with my love of the snot sucker, but the free to baby snipper clippers are my very favorite because they cut like scissors.
So you can see what you’re doing. People are terrified of putting their babies. Oh, I’ve cut a baby’s finger because it’s almost just like an extension of their skin at that point because they lived in water and people all the time at the hospital are like, could you cut those rolls? So I’m like, no, it’s actually really not to cut them because I really don’t need to cut them. And yeah, it’s not necessary. And if we cut them, then we could just just hand over.
I don’t see I think there’s people who hire me just to cut their baby snails like that was expensive for you. But OK, now it’s like while you’re here tonight, mixture of whatever makes your life easier.
So although some people bite their babies nails and and do not use an adult nail file, that’s another don’t don’t use those adult male files are too rough for your little baby. So I never it’ll I’ll scratch their baby. Some people try that.
That’s interesting. So what I mostly want to say is you don’t need a ton of money for a baby. I’m always surprised by how little baby needs and how much they cost, don’t you think? Right off for sure. You do not need everything that’s on that list. And again, remember the baby, whatever is coming up, the christening, the baby’s first birthday. What is the baby want? The baby wants three more bottles. Yeah. And you’re always going to get close so don’t overbuying and clothes because people buy clothes because they’re fun and baby shoes.
Yeah. Oh my gosh. No, I love baby shoes. I love them so much.
I love baby feet. Just let me see those little feet. I don’t even need any shoes. All right.
Thanks for coming on, Valerie. Thank you for having me. Hilary, I want to come back for time. Number three, I brought her here. This will be a quarterly visit because I love getting her experience for postpartum because, again, I have blocked all of this out of my memory for the most part.
Thanks, Hilary. Thanks. OK, love today’s episode. As always. I would just encourage you guys to buy second hand when possible because your baby is going to use these things for such a small period of time. And if you’re planning on having lots of kids and you have more money than it, sure. But there were plenty of things that I bought used that I used through all of my kids. Stuff holds up, you know. I mean, your kid’s not breaking and he’s not a toddler anyway.
So I hope you enjoyed this. And I hope it saves a little bit of money because it’s way more important to take a prenatal class and to buy everything new.
I know where you could get a prenatal class. Check it out. Thanks so much for joining us today. I hope we help smooth out a few of the snarls in your life. We drop an episode every Monday and we always appreciate it when you guys share and review until next time. We hope you have a tangle every day.