11 things you ACTUALLY need in the first 6 weeks of your newborn’s life

As you know, Maggie and I reached the magical 6 week mark last week so I thought I would take stock and try and pass on as much useful information as I can (while I remember). This 6 week mark may not be magical for all. For some it could come earlier, or at the 3 month mark, or much MUCH later. For me though, the 6 week mark has always seen a shift in myself. I become more confident and everything seems a little less scary and overwhelming. Even with my first, I found a basic rhythm to our days and I could kind of expect a certain pattern (I refuse to say routine) to our days. For a multi tasking control freak like me, that made a huge difference. I also started to relax, and as we know, the baby completely feeds off the Mum. If you feel like you have your shit together (just a little bit) you relax and the baby relaxes and everyone starts to feel a little better about everything. It’s around this time that you start to get a smile from baby and BOY does that make a difference. Personalities start to emerge and you may even start to find feeding a little easier, sleeps a little longer. Maybe, maybe not, but it can happen and that’s why I’ve always found it a little milestone.

So when you’re pregnant you try and work out all the stuff that you will need for when the baby comes. All the reading in the world will not prepare you for what you ACTUALLY need, so here’s my big sister advice on what I found useful. It may not be fancy or what the baby websites suggest, but it’s practical and hopefully handy for any of you about to embark on parenting, or finding your way through the first foggy weeks.

Here’s my list.

1. Tom Organic Maternity pads


My sister got me onto these (she read about them on Zoe Foster’s blog I think) and she had some packets left over and gave them to me. They were FAB. Soft and comfortable and yet big enough to make you feel confident in those first weeks. I bled A LOT with Maggie. 5 weeks of it. And these were the business.

2. Hydrogel Breast discs


A reader told me about these…I had NO idea that they even existed. I managed to find them at Coles. They are a gel disc (kind of like the things that are on defibrillators) that you whack onto sore nipples. They are cool and MAGICAL and really good. I wish I had used these with Daisy when I had a whole lot of cracked, bleeding nipples. Grab some for the cupboard even if you don’t need them, they are good to have in reserve.

3. Antibiotic script

If you have a good GP or ob that you are seeing see if you can get a script for antibiotics just in case that dreaded mastitis decides to rear it’s ugly head. I can tell you that if it DOES and if it hits hard the very last thing you want to do is pack up a newborn, head into a GP’s office when you are racked with fever and feeling like shit, to sit and wait for an hour after your designated time. Can you tell I am speaking from experience here? Try and get a script and have it just in case…so all you need to do is get to a chemist. You will know when you have mastitis and the appointment will literally take 34 seconds before being told that yes, you have mastitis.

4. A good probiotic

I never took these with the other two girls (I didn’t even know they existed) but upon the recommendation of Katie180 (a nutritionist and Mum) I decided to give these a go as she had used them to treat blocked milk ducts that lead to mastitis. Lots of other Mums suggested in various comments on different social media platforms that it would be a good idea too. Healthy gut and an immune boost that feeds through to baby can’t hurt and has shown to help with their little guts and skin. It can also stop thrush (which led to my dreaded nipple thrush). This is the one that I have been taking daily.


And I also had a good mate suggest this one to me that she has used that she highly recommends.


5. Napisan


Did you know that your baby’s poo will mostly be an explosive, wet, mustard like consistency? Did you know that your baby will likely have a poo explosion that will leak from their nappy and go all over their clothes, the car seat, their wraps? True! You need lots of this stuff. Daily I have had to soak that hello mustard poo from SO many clothes. It’s the only way I have been able to get it out.

6. A good wrap


Upon recommendations from friends and readers I got some Lil’Fraser wraps and they have been the business. Stretchy, thick jersey cotton means that they are a little warmer, wrap tight and don’t come undone. I previously used muslin clothes and wouldn’t go back now (the weather might have something to do with that though).

7. Swaddle wrap


These Love to Dream swaddles were around when Harper was born (bit towards the end of wrapping her so we didn’t use them for long). I love that their little hands can be up around their heads where they want to be but can easily be zipped up. Anyone can do that! I have been wrapping her over the top of these just because it’s so bloody cold down here but I do remember someone saying that they do warmer ones too. Lucky for me I got lots of hand me downs from my little sister.

7. Cloth nappies


Babies are really messy, or I should say, they make a lot of mess. Whether it’s from their bottoms or mouths cloth nappies are essential to have around the place. I have them all over the house to catch vomit post feeding, or when changing nappies on the couch or bed, or to catch vomit when she is sleeping in her cot so I don’t have to do a full sheet change. I got a 6 pack of coloured ones from Big W I think…or you can get the white ones. Whatever…just get them, you will need it.

8. Fruit & Nut chocolate


Heaven help us I can’t even count how many of these blocks of chocolate I have gotten through these past 6 weeks. All I can say is, it’s a LOT. Chocolate is as essential as showering in these early days. Keep a block or 34 handy along with lots of tea and coffee and LOTS of water. You’ll need all of it.

9. Breastfeeding notes/app


I am sure there must be apps out there somewhere that do this, or you could use a bracelet that you switch from each hand…but I completely lost my memory or ability to think and so I had to write down somewhere the last boob that I fed off so I could remember where to do the next one from. To start with I used to drain one boob fully and then as she got bigger I started to offer both (my mid wife suggested this as a way to drain the boob to avoid mastitis) and I needed to remember where I was at. I used the notes section of my phone which was also good because it meant when I sat down to feed I had my water and phone because more often than not I would forget that too and be stuck under a feeding baby with nothing to look at. Long story short: write it down so you don’t forget. See? I’ve lost my brain! (Note that this “structure” has been led by Maggie rather than by me. Sometimes she feeds in clusters, other times she feeds bang on the 4 hour mark. I completely go with her flow and it’s working for us…for now!)

10. Feeding attire


Before Maggie was born I took myself off to Target to buy some oversized black undies for the hospital and following weeks as well as feeding singlets, trackie pants and zip up hoodies. I have LIVED in this stuff. And because it was new I didn’t feel so depressed about wearing the same stuff every day. Hoodies are the business because you can zip them up and down for easy feeding access and feeding singlets are essential if you don’t want to flash your guts to the world (plus it’s COLD at the moment). I found the bonds feeding singlets good, Hot Milk ones the best and Target ones shithouse (I think I just have the wrong size with the Target one though). These singlets have replaced bras for me (for the moment)…I wear them day and night with my hoodies. Poor Rob, it’s such an attractive time.

11. A sense of humour


The first few weeks with a newborn are FULL ON. I cannot repeat just how FULL ON they can be. Especially when it’s your first. You can be the most capable person, a woman who runs her own business, be a high flying career woman or CEO or barista in a cafe and have a baby KICK YOUR ARSE. You are thrown into the deep end with no real idea of what to do. All the books in the world cannot show you what to do. You have to go with instinct and intuition (which if you are someone who likes rules or guidelines difficult to deal with) it’s exhausting, overwhelming and a bloody roller coaster of emotions. You can be high on love hormones one minute and panicked and sad the next. But you MUST have a sense of humour. This is the most natural thing in the world to do, you know what to do. You do! Even if you don’t think you don’t know. YOU DO. Trust yourself. Be kind to yourself and have a laugh. Laugh when the baby projectile vomits over you, or shoots out a hot river of Colonel Mustard poo (I had NEVER seen that before Maggie) and try not to take it all too seriously. So the baby is awake and needs a cuddle…soak it up because I’m here to tell you it’s SO much easier to deal with that than a toddler who loses their shit because you served them their breakfast in the wrong bowl, or a hormonal 8 year old who rolls their eyes at you or a 5 year old who is THAT offended that you asked them to get out of the bath and heaven forbid…get dressed. Try and have fun and laugh with your partner about it all…because I find that if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry. And the baby does enough of that.

There are SO many other things that I have most likely forgotten like baby bath things (we have just used the sink or the big bath), or carriers/slings (I haven’t practiced them enough to comment on that…yet) or something else, but like I said I have managed to lose my brain along with my placenta in the process of birthing Maggie. This is also no definitive list, just some stuff that has worked for ME third time round…big sister advice if you will.

Tell me what I have missed though.
What’s something that YOU needed in these first 6 weeks?


  1. This is a great post Beth!! And very timely for me. Only 7.5weeks til my due date so I’m starting to stock up on post-baby essentials. I didn’t really think about getting some new clothes for post-birth. That is such a good idea! Definitely adding it to the list.

  2. Great post! All the thing you wish someone had told you in one place so when things aren’t going the way you thought they would! you have a point of reference from someone who has just done it! Sleep deprivation helps makes these points a distant memory and anything that helps make those magical first weeks easier is a god send!

  3. I have a 3 week old and so far my saviours have been top deck chocolate and Netflix for those late night feeds. Love the cloth nappy tip, will rush out and buy some today for my little vomitron. Thanks!

  4. Fashionista says

    Fruit & nut chocolate is the BOMB! Sadly neither of my children could cope with chocolate in their breast milk so I could only stroke it and whimper.

    Why is it that no-one tells you that you will bleed like a stuck pig in the those first weeks? That was an enormous shock to me.

    Great post. Fabulous big sister advice for all those first time mummies out there.

  5. I’ve got a 10 day old so I’m just accumulating my stock of must have things. I’m with you on the swaddle up sleeping bags, getting new feeding clothes and totes the chocolate!

  6. A travel mug. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to make a fresh cup of tea when it’s gone cold because someone needed feeding or changing. It also holds more than a normal cup.

  7. I know what you mean – my gorgeous bundle of screams and smiles is now almost 13 weeks and I’ve forgotten basically everything. A couple of things I do recall though – I honestly had no idea babies could cry that much – there’s a little thing called Infants Friend that you buy from every chemist I’ve seen. Baby crack. When all else fails, syringe in however much you’re allowed (age dependent) and soak up the quiet for a few blissful minutes. This can sometimes be the only opportunity you have to sneak to the kitchen to get a new block of chocolate. Also, if you think you might be going insane, there’s a website called the Period of Purple Crying that I found super helpful. Made me realise babies just do shit sometimes (literally and figuratively) and you’re not a bad mama cos you feel you’re not coping. Thankfully much of the wahhing has now passed and we’re getting plenty of heart melting giggles but there were many, many times I fantasised about getting a Ben Cousins style tattoo all over my still flabby abs saying THIS TOO SHALL PASS. Cos it does x

  8. A fabulous list, and yes to cloth nappies, I had lots of small towels for spills and just to wipe up gunk from my babies and me! Yes to BIG wraps and sleeping bags for extra cosiness! In the first six weeks I needed a carefree attitude towards the state of my house! x

  9. Definitely wraps 120 x 120 at least – it’s over 28 degrees here, so it has to be muslin for us! I use an app called Baby Tracker – had worked street and means I can look back at patterns when the CHN asks me questions in my haze. We have now just hit 7 months, so I remember those first 6 weeks with fondness – I remember saying “all he does is sleep” – if only Enjoy x

  10. Georgie G says

    Hi Beth,
    I found your blog through Instagram a few weeks ago and I have loved following along with you these past few weeks. My second little girl is five weeks old and I am SO relating to your experience of not-a-first-time-mother with a new baby. I would almost say you are pulling me through the sleep deprivation, vomit and child juggling. I’m particularly enjoying your wise words about how relatively easy a newborn is to, say, my 3.5 year old little girl who is so much more work emotionally. She feels all the feelings and usually wakes up in the night wanting me to lie on her bed “but put the (crying, hungry) baby down first mum” ahh no…
    I laughed because the first time around I would use a complicated all to track and time feeds and nappy changes and sleep times and now, like you, iPhone notes left, right, left. I don’t even write the date though so it’s just a long run-on list of feed times. I made your Ann cake the other day too… Not a good idea when I’m at home all day with it and eight kilos to shake off at some point. I also discovered the hydrosol discs this time around, I kept mine in the little bar fridge while in hospital… So much better than Lansinol which I used last time. I could go on and on but just thanks for documenting this time in your life and I am really enjoying reading and laughing along with you.

  11. Thanks for the post Beth. Gearing up for a second after 3 years gap… I’m sure I’ve forgotten everything so good to be able to follow your journey along 🙂 I used ‘Milk Monitor’ for my first, which logs feeds (and poos etc) really simply (& it’s quite a cute interface too)… Might help you out (Milk Monitor by Milo Creative) xx

  12. The gel nipple pads are life savers. My tip is to keep them in the fridge for even more relief.

  13. FANTASTIC advice. Especially the cloth nappies thing. I used a massive bulk pack of muslin wraps as my clean up cloths. I had them EVERYWHERE. I am so depressed the store that stocked them in such big, affordable packs closed down. If I ever have another baby (and I really hope I will), I just hope I have been able to salvage enough of the original ones!

    Number 11 is THE most important 🙂 I found that having a blog made it all bearable. Everything can be a funny story! x

  14. Lorelle Coates says

    Great post Beth, and like you I found all the practical things essential.
    It is harder for us “control/routine” mums I think, but like you said go with the flow and laugh off the little disasters, because before you know it you will be planning their first birthday! It really does go way too fast for my liking.
    How did you go with a support garment for the abdominal separation?
    Did you google SRC recovery shorts? I have used them for post pregnancy #2 and I’m still wearing them now and bubba #3 is 7 weeks they are fabulous!

  15. Lansinoh nipple cream is the best. Now that I’m not BFing any more I use it as a lip balm!

    Stock your freezer with baked goods prior to baby arriving. Pull something out each day so you have a snack on hand while feeding because you will be STARVING 24/7. Also have 50,000 litres of water in the fridge because you will be drinking it all day, erryday.

    If you use dummies ( & I did for all four of mine) have at least 150 on hand because you will lose those suckers daily.

    And lastly, keep your phone within hands reach because you know that bastard will ring as soon as you sit down to feed. Plus you’ll want to take eleventity billion photos a day of your newborn AND it’ll keep you occupied during all those late night feeds.

  16. YES! The Tom organics are AWESOME.

    Love this product.

  17. I’m having bub #2 in 2 weeks so this was a very well times post for me! Essentials for me were
    1. Meals from other people
    2. A water bottle I could operate with one hand
    3. Clothes with easy boob access, feeding singlets were a god send!!
    4. A stretchy wrap. So good to wear a little newborn. She was my little hot water bottle and slept beautifully in it.
    5. Modern cloth nappies. Saved us so much money and were heaps easier than I imagined.
    6. Friends. I had a handful of mums I had met at yoga and antenatal class that were my life line in those early weeks. We would Facebook each other at 2am.
    Will be interesting to see if this list is different in 8 weeks time!!

  18. Those cloth nappies from Big W are the best! We used them under the fitted cot sheet or under bub who spewed all the time to save on washing sheets everyday. We also used them to block sun from streaming in car window, cleaning up spew, make do change mat etc. I also loved pawpaw cream – great for sore bums, back up lipgloss for mum in nappy bag, eczema and cracked nipples.

  19. I didn’t need 2 3 4 or 9 but agree re the choccy and the nappies to wipe up everything. You forgot foxtel!!! Essential!!!! x

  20. Kristine says

    Great tips here Beth! My little guy is now 17 months old and I remember all to well this first six weeks! I was beside myself. My top three must haves were
    a boomerang pillow for feeding instead of the overpriced feeding pillow to help support the baby when feeding while completely exhausted.
    SPROUT appt- helped me with feeding, and keeping nite of naps cod I lost track of time as well as my my ability to remember left or right!
    And the SLEEPYSOUNDS app. This is still a life saver for an unsettled baby. There are different types of white noise and nature sounds and it’s free. I now work for an obstetrician and sometimes have to snuggle babies while mums get their 6week check and I use this on those babies too. I’m telling you life saver!

  21. Or…it could be easy. I think it would be fair to say that actually, it is a most joyous time and actually, it is not that hard. Actually, if you are ready and want a baby, prepare yourself and it will be fine. There is not doom and gloom – you don’t need a lot of money and a lot of products. You just need love – the rest will come. Motherhood is not the hardest thing in the world – it is life and it is wonderful. Instead of focusing so much on the difficulties to come, focus on the fact that this is most likely the best time in your life (given social situations). There are people giving birth in slums. Seriously – be thankful you can have children and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy.

    • Of course it is! I have tried to show that you don’t really need all the things that people would lead you to believe you need…it’s a simple time. Instinct, love and joy!

  22. Oh I love this! I remember zip up swaddles changing my life with baby #3 – so much easier than wrapping. x

  23. Jane Piercey says

    YES. I’m only 3.5 weeks in but oh my god yes yes yes to all of the above! Especially the hydrogel breast pads (I keep mine in the fridge) and the cloth nappies xxx

  24. Love reading your posts, Beth! Love to relate. I am a FTM and my little girl is 3 wks, think I may have the nipple thrush thing happening too and have been told to get the gel discs and onto the probiotic too. Did you have to get it through a naturopath or at the health food store??? I am going back to read your post about nipple thrush now!!!

    • Oh you poor thing! It’s agony. If you think you have it you have to treat bub and you. Maggie had Nilstat drops twice a day for 10 days and I used Daktozin cream on my nipps (after a feed) making sure I cleaned it off before the next feed as it has zinc in it. Try and stay off sugary foods and it should clear up in no time. Good luck! probiotic is just from the chemist (I called a whole heap to see if they had that brand as it was the one recommended) before driving around.

  25. Great post Beth. It’s amazing how little a baby needs in those early weeks/months. We had so much STUFF for our 2 yr old twins when they were born and so many clothes (mostly hand-me-downs from friends) – it was quite ridiculous. My six month old has about 4 sets of PJ’s and 3 outfits and he just took his first ride in a pram last week as I’ve been carrying him in a sling. He still sleeps in a bassinet, and he has a total of 3 toys. Funnily enough, he is the happiest and most relaxed baby going!

    Excellent tip about the antibiotics script. I ended up in emergency a couple of months ago as my mastitis was so, so painful I couldn’t wait for the GP appointment. I think it is really important to get on top of that as soon as you suspect you have it.

  26. Buggar – I was vacuuming and mopping my floors on Saturday night – and I had no baby to ‘blame’.
    Guess I need some of that humour you speak of.

  27. Yep lanolin for sore boobs for sure!

    For me a “hugabub ” carrier,think a big bit of stretchy fabric you wrap round yourself to carry bubs with, was a lifesaver. Both our kids were/are reflux babies and it was often the only way to get them to settle was to carry for hours- the hugga saved my tired arms when they ran out of oomph & freed my hands up for things like grabbing a drink

  28. Fruit and nut, Beth?

    FRUIT AND NUT!!!????

    You know how much I love you but I just feel betrayed hashtag revolting xxxxx

  29. Am going to pass this on to my “baby” sister who is having her first baby in November.

  30. Yeah fruit and nut! It has taken me a long time to embrace the old fruit and nut, but now that I am 40 (holy crap that hurts to write!) I am fully open with my fruit and nut love affair.

    And on the subject of breast feeding, which somewhere in my mind fog I remember fondly, but when I really think about it, I still remember the many months of curling toes upon attachment…sheesh, to help me remember which side I started on last (as in boob side) with both my monkeys I always used a safety pin which I attached to my bra, right near the little clicky-hooky boob flasher bit. Before popping out the boob I would switch the safety pin over to the other side.

    You’re doing a fine job there Beth, keep going lovely lady!

    xx Manda

  31. Cloth nappies YES. My first was a spewer, big time, and they saved many a shirt/couch/carpet. Mum had got me a huge pile thinking I’d use them as actual nappies; nooope. So awkward and stabby to put on, and I figured if it was me I wouldn’t want a beach towel crammed between my legs.
    Other musts: pear juice and a crowbar if you’re breastfeeding. (Oh My God) A bracelet reminder for next first boob helped for me
    Net access to blogs and forums to reassure you all the shit you’re going through is NORMAL and WILL pass. 6 weeks/2 months/ however long it really was seemed like forever and it felt like I was stuck alone in an endless dark tunnel. Joining a mums group and sharing your experiences really lightens the burden, and all that support in the online community is great for the days you can’t even get out of the house.


  1. […] think what’s made me think about this is reading posts from mums with newborns, particularly Beth from BabyMac, her honest posts have thrust me back in […]

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