Newborn essentials

I’ve been wanting to write a post on our newborn essentials for ages and I’m so glad that I’m finally getting around to it! With two newborn babies done and dusted, I think that I have a pretty clear view on what you definitely need (well, what we used over and over again) and what you can probably leave off your list. I’ll link everything so you can shop online, and also leave links where I’ve done a more in depth review. But let’s not start waffling (something that I am a pro at), in no particular order, here’s what we absolutely could not do without:

1. Love to Dream Swaddle Up: I’d read rave reviews about this product while I was pregnant, but still I was a bit cynical, even after I was gifted one. Well, it’s amazing. It helped Maia with her sleep so much in the forth trimester (her first 3 months). She settled much faster and her sleep seemed to be deeper as well, I dreaded laundry day when she would have to nap without it! Maia used hers from the day she was born until the day it wouldn’t close around her belly anymore. You can read more about why we loved ours over here.

2. Kidko Play Mat: This was one of the best things that we were gifted, so much so that I bought a second one for Aria’s bedroom! First off I love that they aren’t crazy colourful and gaudy, so it will still look great if you need to keep it in your lounge or other non-kid area. Secondly it’s really great quality; our grey one has been in our play area for months and months and has been trampled on baby baby, toddler, dog and adult, had motorbikes ridden over it, been chewed, vacuumed and scrubbed and it’s still perfectly in tact, presentable and it hasn’t lost any of it’s cushion-ing. And lastly, I love that you can make different patterns with it so you can change up the look whenever you feel the need. Maia has rolled around on ours since we got it when she was tiny and I don’t have to worry that she’s getting sore on the hard floor, in fact I used to put her other play mat on top of this one.

3. Dummy: I suppose this is quite a personal choice but we would not have survived without our NUK dummies. In saying that though, we are pretty strict when it comes to when Maia can use it; she only ever has one when we put her down for a sleep or if she is absolutely inconsolable. For us, the dummy not only helps to soothe, it’s also a sleep trigger, but in preparation for our girls to give up the dummy we also made sure that they had another sleep trigger, which brings me to my next newborn essential…

4. Lily n Jack Snuggle Bunny: I don’t know what these bunnies are made of but it must be some sort of magic because both of my girls love theirs! In fact Aria still sleeps with hers that she’s had since she was a newborn. They are so soft and snuggly and the silk ears are incredibly soothing for babies, I often see Maia stroking them to fall asleep. They wash well and last forever. I also have one in our car for the pram and a spare in the cupboard… just in case.

5. Medela Quick Clean Bags: These are an absolute game changer and something that I used with both of my girls. Traditional microwave sterilisers are so big and take up so much space, I love that these Quick Clean Bags take up little to no space and can be used 25 times each! They’re also amazing to take in your bag when you travel. I used mine for bottles, dummies and even my breastpump. Highly recommend.

6. Bottles: Like dummies, this is also a very personal choice when it comes to the brand that you choose to go with. We used the NUK Nature Sense with Aria and were lucky enough to be gifted with some more for Maia as well. They work brilliantly for us and I have used them for both formula and breastmilk. For us, it was important to get our girls to take to a bottle as early as possible (even when I was breastfeeding – we used expressed milk) so that Dan could help with feeds, free-ing me (and my boobs!) up. We never had an issue with nipple confusion, both our girls would go from bottle to breast to dummy with absolutely no issues at all.

7. Tiny Love Play Mat: We purchased our play mat when Aria was a baby and its lasted brilliantly. Both of our girls loved lying under it, staring at and trying to grab all the different dangles. Our specific play mat also had different textures on the mat section, as well as a mirror to encourage tummy time. Once Maia could sit, she was still happy to be plonked onto the mat and play. Such a worthwhile investment.

8. Medela Freestyle Breastpump: If you’re planning on breastfeeding I cannot recommend a breastpump enough. When I was pregnant with Aria I didn’t think that I would need one… I was wrong! It helped so much to have a stash of expressed milk, and it also helped to keep my supply up. With Maia, I was gifted with the Medela Freestyle pump and honestly it was an absolute pleasure to use. It’s a double pump and has a rechargable battery. There are so many different breastpumps on the market that it can become quite overwhelming, if you’re in the JHB area, Medela now offer a “try before you buy” service so you can make sure that you get the pump that’s perfectly suited to your needs.

9. Ko-Coon Nesting Pod: I have raved and raved about this product since Maia was born… and I’m not about to stop. I am beyond certain that the Ko-Coon nesting pod has a lot to do with Maia’s amazing sleeping habits, but above and beyond that, I love how the product transforms as your baby grows, giving you more bang for your buck. I wrote a much more detailed post over here.

10. Tiny Love 3-in-1 Rocker: We’ve only just stopped using our 3-in-1 rocker at 9 months old and boy did we use it! When Maia was a newborn this was so wonderful to use to keep her happy and contained while we were making breakfast, playing in the lounge or just playing with Aria. The dangles kept Maia entertained for ages! I was so great that we could start to prop her up as she started to get more interested in her surroundings, in fact I often fed her her meals while she was sitting in her rocker. There is the option to have it vibrate to help your little one to fall asleep. I honestly didn’t know I needed this product until I had it – it’s especially helpful if you have more than one child.

Some other items that we found really useful during the newborn phase:

Mrs Milk Lactation Bars (use my code Mascara&Mimosas for 10% off)

Bravado nursing bras

Bebe Confort Easia carrier (we still use ours and Maia is almost 13kg)

Little Interiors high contrast dangles

Korbell nappy bin

Jean Kelly nappy bag (that I’ve had since Aria was born and it’s still going strong, read my review here)

Some articles you may find interesting:

What I packed in my hospital bag

My breastfeeding journey

How to prepare your toddler for a sibling

How to increase your breastmilk supply



South African Influencer Sarah Booyens

I’m Sarah, shameless coffee addict, brazen beauty fiend, mid-size style gal and the heart behind parentingbeauty and lifestyle blog, Mascara & Mimosas.


  1. Thanks for this!

  2. Thank you so much for this. All the information in the market can be overwhelming.



  1. Best of 2020 - Kids - […] are no more babies in our home, but check out last years post, and my newborn essentials post for…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *