UPDATE: I created this after I had only one baby. Many of these items still ring true, but for a few others I’ve found products that are even better than some originally listed. So below I’ve updated my essentials list with some items not pictured above — because I now have three babies and really know the meaning of the word essential 🙂
With lots of my friends having babies soon, I’ve been helping them with their registries and giving them a list of my baby essentials. Today I’m sharing my must have items for the newborn stage, 0-3 months. I hope it helps some of you mommas-to-be out there (or save it for later if babies aren’t in the near future for you.)
1. Breastfeeding + bottle essentials: If you’re breastfeeding you’ll need a pump to help you get your milk to come in, to pump so you can get some time away, to help increase your supply if you have issues like I did, and to go back to work if you decide to do that. The Medela Pump In Style is the best, and this hands-free bra is an absolutely must have (actually, you need two). Check with your insurance to see if you can get a free pump, but I highly recommend a double hands-free pump like this one. Also, a breastfeeding pillow like this one (we couldn’t go anywhere without ours for a while), some bibs, nursing tanks (I mostly used the ones from Target). Oh, and if you’re using bottles, I tried just about every kind and these bottles were the best for newborns and tummy troubles. And since you have to sterilze everything the first 6 months, these sterilzing bags are a huge lifesaver and time saver!
2. Bathtime essentials: I loved Mustela bath products with my oldest son Charlie. The scent is so nice and when I smell it now it reminds me of those new baby days. More must haves: a bath seat or tub (this tub is really great!) for the little babes, a hooded towel is too cute not to have (we had a froggie and giraffe), washclothes, and a toy or two (though they really don’t enjoy playing in the bath for a while.) UPDATE: My second baby Calvin had eczema and Mustela didn’t work for him. This is my favorite gentle bath cleanser for super dry skin or eczema (and we tried them all). I have gone more natural since my newbie mom days 🙂
3. Baby wearing: I really loved baby wearing, and Charlie loved it too. For a while, he lived in my Moby wrap. I actually took down all of the ornaments from our Christmas tree while wearing him in it when he was 6 weeks old and wouldn’t let me put him down. Once he was a couple of months old we switched to our Ergo, which we loved and used all of the time. UPDATE: I loved the idea of the Moby, but it gets pretty hot and the Moby is thick. I’ve preferred the Solly Baby Wrap with my second and third babies, but still LOVE our Ergobaby (the 360 is where it’s at!) and am a fan of this sling as well (this is my favorite way to baby wear with my youngest! I even nurse him in it.) When I had my oldest I didn’t know of any other wraps available, so I recommended the Moby. But if you have a choice, I much prefer the Solly. If you are able, get (or register for) a Solly, Ergobaby carrier, and Wildbird ring sling. They are all different and if you like to baby wear or have other small children you will use them all at various times.
4. Soothing essentials: While I don’t recommend you buy any pacifiers (your hospital will give you a bunch and you don’t know which kind your baby will prefer) I do think wubbanubs are brilliant. It is the closest thing you can get to a pacifier that stays in a baby’s mouth, because every time they fall asleep, the pacifier will fall out of their mouth. As soon as it does, they freak out. The stuffie attached to the paci keeps it in place much better. Other soothing essentials: a lovie, a crib soother (these are ugly but the babies LOVE them!), and the “5 S’s” (otherwise known as The Happiest Baby on the Block). Also, WHITE NOISE (you can just download an app to an old phone or iPad, or buy something like this.
5. Diaper bag: You need a good diaper bag. You want it to be really big, because you carry a ridiculous amount of shit in there. Sometimes literally. I love and use this backpack style diaper bag, but I also really love the convenience (and style) of this chevron diaper + stroller bag from Skip Hop.
6. Swaddle Blankets: you’ve probably heard it before by now, but Aden + Anais makes great swaddle blankets. They are soft, large, cute, and work great for nap swaddling or stroller walks. For night sleep swaddling I preferred the swaddles by Solly baby (big, soft, and stretchy which make for better baby burritos) UPDATE: My 2nd and 3rd babies absolutely loved the Ollie World swaddle. Now that I’ve had three babies and tried a TON of swaddles I have to say this one is my favorite. Use blankets for day swaddling but pick this one up for night sleep. Trust me on this.
7. Infant Carrier: Your baby is going to spend a lot of time in this (in the car, in the stroller, chilling in restaurants, etc.) and it is the thing that needs to be the safest out of the baby essentials. I did a lot of research and the Graco Snugride 35 is highly rated for safety, comes in cute colors, and can be used with most strollers (though you will need a converter specific to your stroller). UPDATE: Our Graco didn’t survive a TSA search and by the second time around, UPPAbaby had come out with an infant carrier (we love their stroller – see #9) so we used the UPPAbaby Mesa with our second baby and third baby and absolutely loved it. It is a breeze to install the base compared to the Graco (or other infant carriers) and clicks right into our stroller. Definitely recommend it.
8. Convenience Essentials — Bouncer, Swing, etc: You will NEED something you can put your baby down in to get some hands-free time. A rocker, a bouncer, a swing – something that they’ll be comfortable in and can sleep or play while you get something done, go to the bathroom, or just give your arms a break. We used this rocker until Charlie was about 6 months and too long to fit in it safely. He napped in it and it was a lifesaver. It’s great for reflux too because it is at an incline. UPDATE: We used the rocker again for baby #2 and still loved it! However, I also highly recommend the 4Moms mamaRoo and rockaRoo. The mamaRoo replaces your traditional bouncers and the rockaRoo your traditional swing. Both are way better than any other comparable products I’ve tried, but if you can only get one I’d do the rockaRoo. You can read a more lengthy review and comparison here.
9. Stroller: If you live in the burbs, will drive most places, and only stroll around the mall, you probably don’t need to invest in a great stroller. But if you’re like me and you live in the city or an area where you walk most places and plan to put a lot of miles on your stroller (and possibly use it with more than one child), you really do need to invest in a good one. I researched strollers like I was shopping for a car, and to me the UPPAbaby Vista was the best. Amazing stroller, great customer service, bonuses like a huge basket underneath (way bigger than the Bugaboo for example – and yes, you do want a huge basket) and a basinett that is included (other strollers charge extra and are already more expensive than the UPPAbaby) make this a way better bang for your buck. If I had to pick one item that I am the happiest with, it is our stroller. UPDATE: Still love our Vista 6 years later, used it with baby #2 and #3, and added accessories like the Rumbleseat and Piggyback board so we can have all 3 kids on it at once. And if you want a slightly smaller version, they have come out with the UPPAbaby Cruz, which is also really great (and has a Piggyback board option). I really love this company and everything they make — great quality and customer service.
10. Diaper Essentials: I see this on some people’s list of unnecessary things, but I couldn’t live without our Diaper Dekkor. It is way better than a trash can (ever walk into someone’s house and it just smells like poop? They aren’t using a diaper disposal system, and they should be.) I cannot smell the diapers inside when the lid is closed. And in the early days especially, you don’t want to smell shit all of the time, or have to walk the 5000 poopy diapers a day out to the garbage. UPDATE: We used and loved the Diaper Dekkor for years. But I also discovered and love the Ubbi Can of Steel with our third when our Dekkor broke. You can use regular trash bags and when the lid is closed you don’t smell the diapers (when you open it it’s another story, but that’s true of any diaper pail full of poop.) Also a diapering favorite: Butt Paste for chapped booties. And we use these disposable diapers most of the time, but love these too. And I’ve been trying these cloth diapers as well.
A few other essentials: a humidifier for dry air or sick babies (these are super cute – we have the elephant), a nose frieda (trust me), this book for sleep training (best thing we ever did!), a video monitor, white noise (we use an app on an old iphone we don’t use), and blackout shades or curtains on windows.
One final thing that was a huge help to me: Amazon mom. Have you heard of it? Anyone can sign up and you get discounts on diapers, wipes, and more essentials with their subscribe and save (it makes a huge difference when you’re constantly buying diapers), and you get FREE 2-day shipping for three months (it used to be a year when Charlie was a baby!) We bought (and still do) all of our diapers, wipes, and other baby essentials on Amazon. You only get it for free for three months and then you can sign up for Amazon prime to continue.
What’s your number one essential for newborns? Did I miss any of your favorites?
PS – my favorite baby gift ideas for second babies and my updated list of favorite things for babies 0-4 months after my second time around.