When I started planning what I was going to take in my hospital bag, I also started planning what essentials I needed to have ready when the baby arrived home. I made sure I assessed everything I had packed up from my previous babies and then jotted down what I needed to purchase again for our third baby girl. I realized that I had misplaced a few items, while others had just been overused and needed replacing.

1. Clean Clothes: Even though I wash my clothes before packing them in boxes after every baby outgrows them, I still wash them again when I have another baby, because clothes just need to be freshly washed. I also wash new clothes received as gifts so they are ready to be worn. There is nothing like having fresh clean bodysuits for your baby when the time comes.

2. Sleepwear: Babies require more than bodysuits the first week. Their skin is so thin, which means they get colder a lot more easily, so I make sure my babies have warm sleepwear in addition to their swaddle. A couple of outfits are necessary in case there are diaper blowouts.

3. Pacifier: From my experience, learning the basics of breastfeeding a newborn takes time in the first week. A baby is very anxious and hungry, and sometimes a pacifier calms a baby down while a mom’s milk is getting ready in her body. A crying baby can be very overwhelming the first week, and a pacifier is usually a saving grace for both baby and mother.

4. Swaddle: A baby has been in a mother’s womb all cozy, so there is nothing more they want than to be warm and wrapped up when they are outside the womb. I have learned that a baby will sleep really well when their little bodies are wrapped in a swaddle, keeping their arms secure in order to prevent sudden hand movements that tend to wake them up.

5. Diapers: While this item should not be hard to remember, it is the most essential. Even though I have had newborn size diapers available, my babies tend to be bigger, so I have to have the next size available for that week too. It’s important to keep two sizes of diapers available in case the baby’s weight is different. My baby girls have all been in the heavier side, so size 1 diapers have been a lifesaver.

While there might be other baby essentials to this list, my five items continue to help even after having my third baby girl. I am glad that they were ready and available to help me survive my first week.