When I was pregnant, I was at a loss for what we really needed when it came to preparing for a new baby. With the crazy amount of products on the market, shopping for baby stuff can be seriously overwhelming! While we wanted to be as prepared as possible for our new arrival, we also didn’t want to be stuck with excess items that we wouldn’t use.
In fact, I really could have used a list like this one.
Despite my best efforts, we still wound up with extra items that we didn’t use, and not enough of the items that we really did need! Hopefully the following round-up will help my fellow friends and future parents avoid this situation by navigating the necessities.
Here are My Top 10 Must-Have Baby Items:
1. Swaddle blankets.
I had no idea how many swaddle blankets you need with a newborn– which are not to be confused with receiving blankets. (To be honest, I’m still not sure what to do with receiving blankets!)
I think we only had two of these blankets when our little guy made his arrival, but by the end of the first week, we had ordered 4 more! I love these muslin swaddle blankets by Aden & Anais. They are large enough to create a tight swaddle, but are also thin and breathable, to prevent over-heating. With all of the spitting up and diaper leaks those first couple of months, we found that 4-6 blankets were useful to have on hand.
*If you need more help with getting a tight swaddle, you may also want to try the Miracle Blanket. Our son slept 5 hours straight the first time we wrapped him in it! It quickly became a staple at bedtime.
This DVD is essential for new parents. I borrowed the book from a friend, but watching the DVD is invaluable for seeing and learning these amazing techniques to calm a fussy baby. I also learned how to create the perfect swaddle from watching this, something that I didn’t accomplish even after getting assistance from the nurses at the hospital several times.
This is hands-down the most helpful nursing pillow on the planet. It’s ergonomically designed to support your back and position your baby exactly where he or she needs to be for each feeding. I love how it snaps to your waist and has a pocket for storing a water bottle or TV remote– perfect for those first few weeks when you’re glued to the couch or bed! I recommend buying an extra slipcover, as we had to change ours at least once daily for washing.
I tried a variety of baby carriers, including the Moby and Baby K’tan wraps, but the Ergo is by far my favorite. The infant insert allows me to do practically anything and everything hands-free (including cooking!), with my baby safely nestled against my chest. It’s actually his favorite way to nap, and allows me to stay productive at the same time.
What sets the Ergo apart from the other wraps is that it’s structured to provide extra-support for the baby, and is easily adjustable so that my husband and I can both wear the same carrier! I honestly don’t know what I’d do without this thing.
Babies love sleeping to white noise, and we love that this machine comes with an auto-timer, but will also play the noise all night long. We sleep to this noise at full-volume every single night! When our baby sleeps well, we sleep well… noise and all.
Speaking of sleep, your newborn will need somewhere to safely do that! We had originally intended for our baby to sleep in his crib in our bedroom, so we bought this Nook Pebble Pure organic crib mattress for a safe and breathable sleeping environment. This was probably the most expensive purchase we made when it came to baby stuff, but since babies sleep 12+ hours a day, we thought it was a worthwhile investment that would last.
However, it turns out that bed-sharing works best for our family (using these safe co-sleeping guidelines), so our little guy will just have to enjoy this mattress in the future.
One thing that I found most frustrating about preparing for a baby was that no one could tell me exactly how many items of clothing I would need in each size. Since we do laundry daily, I’ve found that we really only need about 4-6 outfits in each size (newborn, 0-3 mo, 3-6 mo, etc.). Any more than that is not a necessity– just for dress up!
Depending on the weather, you may also want to keep a jacket and hat in each size, for layering. And plenty of socks! Since they fall off easily, and somehow magically disappear in the laundry, you’ll most likely want at least 4 pairs of socks in each size.
8. Diapers & Wipes.
You’ll need plenty of these with a new baby! We cloth diaper, which probably deserves a whole post of its own, and absolutely love these GroVia diaper shells with prefolds. They are just as easy as using disposables (my husband agrees!), but are WAY cheaper and non-toxic.
As an added bonus, prefolds can double as burp cloths.
9. Bath Tub
I love this Puj Tub for bathing our son in the sink. It keeps him at waist level, so I don’t have to bend over, and it stores flat against our fridge with magnets– so it takes up virtually no space in our small apartment! I’ll be sad when he out-grows it, but we’re still going strong at 5 months.
10. Car Seat
You can’t even leave the hospital without one of these. I found it difficult to find information on non-toxic car seats, but vehicle safety was our top priority when choosing this essential item, anyway. We went with the Britax B-Safe Infant Car Seat, and let it air-out for months before our baby was due to arrive, hoping it would help with any potential off-gassing. We’ve been very happy with it so far!
I hope this helps with any future baby shopping and gifting!
Reader Feedback: What’s your favorite baby essential? Is there anything else you’d add to this list?