I love seeing my friends starting to grow their families; pregnancy is such an exciting time! I get questions from new mamas about what baby gear and products that I thought were necessary after baby arrives. I think all of us with children would agree that we went overboard with the first, or realize there were other things we needed more. My new motto is “stick with the basics.” If you’re a new mama, or even a seasoned one, read on to see what I found essential during baby’s early months, and what I would have skipped on.
Muslin fabric is so soft, durable, and versatile. I used them for swaddling, spit up/messes, and as a light blanket as baby got older. Now, Riley likes to cuddle with them or we use them for diaper changes outside the house.
Unless you’re a pro swaddler, I found these to be more fool-proof in keeping baby’s wild limbs in place. You can get them in tons of cute designs too. (The multi-packs are usually a better value)
This is something I wish we would have gotten sooner. It goes over the mattress, but fits under the normal fitted sheet. It not only helps easier cleanup for accidents, but adds a comfortable padding for baby. Good for co-sleeping transition too.
Unless you want your baby to be sleeping in their crib right away (which is totally up to you) most likely you’ll have a bassinet or sleeper in your room. We had a Fisher Price Rock and Play Sleeper that we liked. The only downside is that it doesn’t full recline, so Riley had a difficult time transitioning to a flat sleeping surface. I also would have preferred something more functional within the style of our home. I’m not a huge fan of things that are overly “baby”- bright colors, patterns, etc.
There are some sleepers that can convert to swings as well, (which is what I would have preferred) but we found a baby swing to be a lifesaver for naps. Riley napped exclusively in her swing from about 0-3 months. They even make collapsible, travel friendly ones!
We had 1 sleep gown, but I wish we would’ve had 5. Newborns pretty much exclusively eat, sleep, and pee/poop. This makes for a lot of diaper changes, especially in the middle of the night. Sleep gowns are a lifesaver, especially if you’re trying to not wake your sleeping babe.
We used a Boppy Pillow and even took it with us to the hospital when Riley was born. It really helps you and your baby feed more comfortably, at least until you get the hang of it (whichever route you decide to go!) Later we used it to help prop Riley up so she could practice sitting up. (The Boppy Covers are usually sold separately.
2-3 Different Bottles
If you plan on bottle feeding right away, I recommend only purchasing a few different types of bottles/nipples to see which one baby likes best. These were our favorites and they fit in our bottle warmer, unlike the Tommee Tippee ones.
I didn’t realize how much baby laundry I would be actually be doing because you know, spit up, peep/poop, milk, etc. I liked having a backup changing pad cover for when the other one was being washed; the same goes for crib/bassinet sheets.
Car Seat/Nursing Cover
I’m sure you’ve seen these everywhere by now, but they really are life changing. I got mine off Etsy; it was cute, functional, and lightweight. Plus, I always got a ton of questions and compliments on it.
Actual Burp Cloths
We literally had like 15 actual burp clothes that we bought. Don’t get be wrong, we used them, but I recommend saving your money and getting more muslin blankets- they’re much more versatile and do the same thing.
Nonfunctional Baby Clothes
Baby clothes are so so cute. With that being said, it’s really rare that you’re actually going to put your newborn baby in a set of denim overalls or a big fluffy dress (unless it’s for pictures of course). Stick with soft, functional clothes that baby will be comfortable in, and won’t cause you to go into meltdown mode when you try to change them.
We made the mistake of buying a TON of newborn sized clothes that Riley didn’t even wear! It’s better to under-buy and have to make a Target trip (bummer…) than to waste your money on teeny tiny clothes. We found we got a lot more use out of the 0-3 month size, but you’ll notice that sizing can vary between different brands.
Babies don’t show any interest in toys until they can start to grasp things around 3 months old. I would skip on this and just do a couple of soft rattles for sensory stimulation.
Baby Grooming Kit
To be honest, I only recently through out Riley’s baby brush that we got from the hospital (she’s 16 months now). Unless your baby has a ton of hair, I didn’t find the grooming kits with brushes, nail clippers, etc. to be useful. If you give birth in a hospital, they’re probably going to hook you up with a lot of small things that you’re going to need, and they tend to be more baby-friendly.
There’s nothing wrong with having a standard diaper bag, but next time around I’ll be doing a backpack instead. Pick something that’s functional, small, and a design that you like. Then you can continue to use it when they get older for toys and snacks.
What baby items did you find essential as a first-time-mom? Share your recommendations in the comments for other moms to read!