I have always loved seeing posts like this, and looked at dozens when I was planning for Baby J’s arrival. Now that Arthur is here, these are the products I would sing about! This is just my personal experience, but these are the essentials I relied on and would buy again and again. I’ll share a bit about how we used each one so new moms can have an idea of how to use them! At the end I’ll share a list of the rest of the baby products we use, because I’ve seen tons of essentials lists but I’m like – wait, don’t you need more than just those 6 items??! Hope this helps – please comment or message me any questions you have!
We planned to use the Uppababy bassinet overnight since it came with our stroller and is safe for overnight sleeping, but the night we came home from the hospital, I laid in the bed and realized I couldn’t see into the bassinet without getting up out of the bed – which would not be easy only 2 days postpartum! I remembered reading good reviews of the Halo, so I immediately got on Facebook marketplace and thanks be to God there was one available 15 minutes away for a good price. I messaged the seller, my dad jumped in the car, and 30 minutes later he was back with the best baby bed I could dream up. I loved that it had mesh sides so I could see in (and there was plenty of airflow), and it swivels all around so you can pull it right up next to you to get the baby out, and then push it away when you need to get out of bed. Best spontaneous purchase award!
Love to Dream zip-up swaddle
Biggest regret from leaving the hospital? We forgot to snag swaddle blankets! They had taken the laundry before we packed up, and we grabbed the similarly colored blankets in his bassinet, but they weren’t the right size. And of course me being the minimalist and inexperienced new mama we didn’t have any receiving blankets at home. Whit had MASTERED the hospital swaddle, but it didn’t work at all with the muslin blankets I thought we would use. I had saved a few hand-me-down velcro swaddles but was 99% sure I wouldn’t need *another baby gadget*. But I have a Houdini baby who from day 2 could wiggle his way out of a flimsy velcro swaddle. He was a little guy, and I worried incessantly about how tightly the velcro was secured, afraid that he would pull the fabric up over his face and not be able to breathe. After almost six weeks of battling velcro, I discovered the Life-Changing Magic of Zipper Swaddles. The Love to Dream keeps baby tight and cozy, but you don’t have to worry about any fabric bunching up because it simply ZIPS UP and there is no way for baby’s arms or body to wiggle or scoot it around. PRAISE! I will gift this to every new parent from now on. Ain’t nobody got time for velcro swaddles. (Bonus: Your baby will look like a little gingerbread man.)
Uppababy Vista V2 stroller & bassinet
This is a big-ticket item, but I believe we will get every last penny out of this stroller set. It’s a big cumbersome, but heavy duty and durable while being perfectly smooth and easy to use. This whole system is worth it to me for the bassinet. We bought a used bassinet stand that we kept in Whit’s office/the nursery but moved all around the house as needed. The bassinet simply snaps in. This gave us a safe space to set Arthur down near us instead of having to walk back to another room when he cried. It folds up, so you can take it in the car, and snap it into the stroller when you’re out. We used this every day, multiples times per day. We would take it to my parents’ house or a friend’s house instead of having to set up a portable crib, and he was already familiar with it so he slept pretty well in it. It was awesome for walks and being in public, because he could lay down flat to look around or nap, but you don’t have to fool around with any buckles or snaps to pull him in and out (and you can discreetly change a diaper without having to find a changing table!).
Once Arthur started rolling in his sleep and wasn’t sleeping as well, we actually took the Halo out of our room and had him sleep in the Uppababy bassinet overnight (I put it perpendicular to our bed so I can look in and see him easily) – it’s so cozy and a bit smaller so he couldn’t actually roll around, and would sleep all night. He just outgrew it a couple of weeks ago (he started trying to sit up in it, but I kept him in there as long as possible!), but like I said – worth every penny! (Fyi, now that he isn’t using the bassinet, we either snap his car seat or the toddler seat into the stroller for walks.)
Pro tip: When you register with Buy Buy Baby, you can get a 15% off coupon a month or two before your baby is due. We used this discount to buy our stroller new.
Everyday Mother notebook
This log book never left my side for the first three months. Some people use apps to track feeding and diapers, but I preferred something handwritten that Whit or our parents could reference, and I liked being able to flip back to previous days. This helped me remember what side I felt him on last and helped us figure out how long he was eating for and the intervals he would go in between feeds in those early days when nothing is set on a schedule yet. It’s beautiful and laid out practically. (I just saw there is a mini 3-month version as well!)
Arbonne baby lotion
Arthur had a number of rashes and various skin issues that would pop up randomly the first few weeks. I would put a tiny drop of Arbonne lotion on, and in a few hours or a couple days, they would be completely gone! This is the only brand I trust to put on my baby’s skin (and my own!) – there are no harmful ingredients. (The diaper cream is equally amazing! And I use their baby soap as well)
Before learning how to pump at 4 weeks postpartum, I used the Haaka to collect milk when necessary. It was great for leaky breasts the first few months while my supply was regulating. Some people use the Haaka all the time, but I had read some great advice to only use it for a few minutes to relieve engorgement, otherwise you could get into a cycle of over-supply that’s hard to manage. There was no learning curve for this, other than it took me a couple tries to figure out that you have to squeeze it before applying to the breast. Tip: get the kind with the little flower on top to prevent accidental spills. (Update – just saw they now make a lid!)
Nanobebe and Evenflo pacifiers
We were given the go-ahead from our pediatrician to use a pacifier after a week, and that day could not have come soon enough. I liked the Nanobebe pacis for the first month or two because they fit his tiny mouth the best. Since then we have been using Evenflo. They’re clear and practically invisible which is miserable if you drop one in the middle of the night (and they bounce…), but just keep a handful nearby to avoid that problem. I like that they’re all one piece and made for breastfeeding babies! (Now Arthur sucks him thumb mostly, which is even better because he can self-soothe anytime, anywhere – hooray!)
Diapers, Wipes, and Burp cloths
Finally, what could be more essential than diapers, wipes, and burp cloths? You will find your own favorite brand, but I would be remiss to not include mine on this list. Someone recommended Target diapers to me, and we haven’t looked back. They are affordable, they have a little elastic on the top (unlike Pampers which leak on our long torso-ed baby), and they don’t cause diaper rash (*cough* Huggies *cough*). After the first few weeks, we started using cloth diapers, and I’ve been incredibly pleased with our choice of Charlie Banana diapers (easy system, absorbent, one size fits all, solid colors). Goodbye blowouts, they keep everything in. Water Wipes are my favorite wipe. They’re better for the environment and safe on baby’s skin (no harsh chemicals), they’re very wet which helps you clean faster, and they don’t all stick together when you try to pull them out (I’m looking at you, other baby wipe maker companies!). Aden + Anais makes these very absorbent, cute burp cloths that you can also snap around your baby’s neck as a bib (great when you get into the spit-up/drooly stage). They’re awesome, but pricey. I also have a few cloth diaper folds that are quite absorbent, but unfortunately don’t have a link to them as I bought them secondhand and am not sure what brand they are.
Pro tips: If you are doing cloth diapers, buy a few packs of Newborn diapers for the first few weeks, until you get the hang of it. Then add in cloth. I tried one one day, and then slowly switched over to full-time as I felt comfortable. Also, there is no shame in using disposables when you’re out of the house! (How would I ever carry multiple cloth diapers and inserts around? They’re so bulky…) Also, buy a huge box of wipes to start with. Or two. You’ll use more than you think.
Finally, for the other obsessive planners out there, here are alllllll the other baby items we used the first 2-3 months (and are still using now). I’m not married to any of the specific brands shared here, and a lot of this can vary person to person, so I’m just gonna share a bullet point list. It’s a lot of stuff, and very overwhelming to try and think of everything, so I hope this helps you compile your list!
Main Supplies and Clothing
- Nuna Pipa infant car seat (we LOVE it. Also we purchased the Nuna circle adapter for the Uppababy stroller instead of the Uppababy one, it is better because it doesn’t rock around)
- Sound machine (we’re not obsessive over it, but it does help calm a newborn baby who is used to the white noise of the womb!)
- Baby carriers (I love the Solly baby wrap, which is great for the newborn days and you can just throw it in your diaper bag, as well as the Infantino to snap on quickly and provides more back support)
- A few long-sleeve and short-sleeve onesies (he rarely wore clothes before 2-3 months though – just diapers and swaddles! No need to complicate it. Though he was born during the Florida summer so that helped)
- Zipper pajamas, once we exited the summer months
- A swaddle blanket or 2 (I love Lou Lou Lollipop and Lou Lou & Company – yes those are almost the same name but they are different brands ha)
- An extra bassinet sheet (for the Halo and for the Uppababy, if you are using it as often as we did)
- Diaper bag (this one has worked great!)
- Changing pad (we don’t even put a cover on it – you would just have to do more laundry!)
- Diaper genie
- Hanging diaper bag for cloth diapers – we use the Charlie Banana one
- Fold-up changing pad for outings (ours is very thin – it fits easily in the diaper bag and just gives you an easy-to-clean surface in case things go wrong)
- Newborn tub
- A couple of towels and wash cloths (you don’t really need this, but it is a lot easier to wrap up a baby in a small towel versus an adult one)
- Medicine cabinet – nasal aspirator, thermometer, nail file for the first couple months until their nails get hard enough to cut, nail clippers, children’s tylenol, saline spray, probiotics, gas relief, vitamin D drops)
- Nursing bras (and very loose shirts or shirts with buttons for the first couple weeks)
- Nursing pilllow (I use the Boppy and My Breast Friend and honestly both have pros and cons. I found My Breast Friend is easier for a newborn baby because they don’t fall in between you and the pillow)
- Large water bottle (I’ve found a straw is easiest for nursing sessions)
- Nursing cover
- Nipple cream (not super essential, but nice to have)
- Sunflower lecithin (a supplement that is supposed to help prevent clogged ducts)
- Spectra S1 pump (began using at about 1 month, this one is great because it works on a battery so you can pump in your car/wherever in your house, plus it’s quiet)
- Hands-free pumping bra
- Breastmilk storage bags
- Lansinoh bottles for breastfed babies
- Bottle soap
Toys and around the house
- Baby gym with toys and play mat
- Books! You can start reading to your baby from day 1
- Mobile (definitely not necessary, but he loved to lay in his crib and look at this while we did other things around the house)
- A couple of 0+ toys once he could start to hold things
- Baby Bjorn soft bouncer (we waited until about 2 months to use this, when he could hold his head up better)
- Gentle laundry detergent (just use one without fragrance) and stain remover (Dreft or Shout)
- Pool/beach items – swim diaper, sun hat, rash guard, infant float
- Stroller cup holder
- Stroller / car seat fan (charges using USB)
- Bassinet rain shield (there was a day we went to Universal in the pouring rain and I didn’t have this but wished I did)
Big-ticket items we don’t really use but you might like to have
- Monitor (we have a small house so we hardly ever use ours (someone gave us their old one), but it’s helpful for when we’re in the backyard or taking a shower)
I *think* that’s all! Please share your personal favorites or things you didn’t end up needing!