Hi, friends! I hope your week has been going great! So today’s favorites edition is going to be a little bit different, and I’m going to share some insight into baby gear — a reader request! This one is tailored toward mommas who are expecting or anyone who needs to buy a gift for a baby shower, for a friend or a family member, and we’re going to call it the “things you actually need when you have a baby” list.
And let me start this by saying: If you’re not currently pregnant and are wishing that you were, I hope you keep the faith and know that what’s meant to be will be for you. Pray for patience. And be kind to yourself. I was in your shoes for a very long time too, and I’m sending you lots of love.
Now, moving on to the topic at hand …
When you’re expecting a new baby, there are about 10,000 things that you could buy to prepare. There are a lot of stores and websites designed to make you think that every item is essential. You have to have it or you will be a bad parent. But, I’m here to tell you that you don’t need everything that’s out there. And I’m also here to tell you that everyone has their own opinion on what you need, and now that I’ve gotten through the first four months of having a little one, I have come to my own conclusions. (By the way, we registered at BuyBuyBaby and Pottery Barn, but only needed the stuff from BuyBuyBaby, and you can use Bed Beth & Beyond coupons there, which is super helpful.)
My favorite things you actually need when you have a baby
I didn’t want to get everything under the sun, because our place was pretty small at the time, and so I registered for basically the bare minimum, and ended up getting more than we needed. So here are the things I really used and needed, and I’m linking out to my favorite brands too.
And, by the way, this is for the first three months or so of a baby’s life, because as they get older, what you need may change slightly.
Rock ‘n Play — This is perhaps the most important thing for me. We had one of these and didn’t initially pull it out when we brought Brady home. We should have. Instead of trying to get Brady to sleep in the HALO Bassinet, we should have put him right into the deluxe Rock ‘n Play at night. Doctors won’t always say this is for sleeping, but ours thought it was totally fine for the first three months or so. Brady loved the Rock ‘n Play, and it was a great place for him to sleep and lay safely and snuggly. And the vibrations, rocking and music were great too. Now, people will say that if you start with the cozy Rock ‘n Play, you’ll have a harder time getting them to sleep flat in their crib. Maybe so, but I’d still go with it, because he loved it. We ended up selling our HALO Bassinet just a few weeks ago, because we weren’t using it anymore. Truthfully, we could have gone straight from the Rock ‘n Play to the crib and saved on the bassinet. The Rock ‘n Play is also light enough to move throughout the house, if you need baby safely rocking in the living areas during the day too.
*Edited to add, sadly this item was recalled in mid 2019, so please be careful, and check the official website.
Boppy pillow — Even if you aren’t planning to breastfeed, you can still use the Boppy pillow for propping your baby up when you feed him or her bottles. You can also let your little one lean on the Boppy when supervised with you on the bed, floor, couch, etc.. I love my Boppy and bring it everywhere. The cover comes off and is washable, and I plan to keep using it for quite a while. It is great for tummy time too. By the way, you can get custom covers for your Boppy on Etsy here to match your nursery decor.
Sleepsack swaddles — When you’re in the hospital, they will show you how to swaddle your little one with his or her arms in tightly by his or her sides with blankets, which is how new babies need to sleep to keep them from flailing their arms and waking up. When we first came home, we did this same thing with the blankets at night (in the middle of the night, over and over and over), until I realized that we could be using much easier zip-up swaddle suits instead. We are still using the HALO cotton Sleepsacks for Brady and will transition him to sleeping with hims arms out soon. Get at least two of these, because baby will likely spit up all over it each night and you don’t want to have to do laundry every day.
Diapers and wipes — I should have signed up for The Honest Company delivery right off the bat, because you can get diapers for a slight discount by joining the membership program (<<–my affiliate link!), and they send you a big bundle along with wipes every few weeks automatically. We bought a bunch of Babyganics diapers and wipes and ended up switching to The Honest Company, and they are superior for sure. Babyganics diapers are a bit more flimsy and had more of a leakage issue. Now here’s where my experience is different from many — Brady was in newborn diapers for the first five weeks or so, which is a long time, and we had to keep going out to get more newborn diapers, which was stressful — so I wish we had just bought a ton before he was born to have on hand. Most people told me not to get too many newborn diapers, but we needed them. I’d say get a few bags of newborn and size 1, and wait to get any other sizes until you see how fast your baby is growing. And get a lot of wipes! You’ll use them for everything. And you’ll also want travel-size wipes for the diaper bag.
EDITED TO ADD: Several months into our diaper delivery with the Honest Company, I heard about Abby & Finn, another diaper company that makes non-toxic chemical-free diapers and wipes for MUCH cheaper. Although they don’t have as many cute patterns, the diapers are great. We’ve been using Abby & Finn for a little under a year and loving it — so it’s my preference and recommendation to other parents now.
Stain remover and detergent — Baby stains get everywhere. Have a couple of spray bottles on the ready! This is the only kind we’ve tried, and it works pretty good. You also want some special detergent to wash their things alone. Why? I don’t know, but we do it that way. I’ll be buying The Honest Company kind (which you can get delivered with your diapers and wipes from the membership too) when we run out of all the Babyganics bottles we have.
Muslin blankets — We have SO many blankets and go through a ton a day. When I look at our stack of say 15 muslin blankets, I initially thought it was excessive, but it’s really not. I think 10 is a safe number and you definitely don’t want less than five. We lay these blankets on the bed and couch to catch spit-up, we also use these blankets on top of the Boppy when I feed Brady, to keep him covered in the car seat and to cover his activity mat too. These are my favorite brand for sure. You can also use these as swaddles at night if you like to do the swaddling yourself without a zipper suit.
Burp cloths and/or bibs — Always on the ready. Sometimes we use them as a bib. Just get at least five or so, so you don’t have to do laundry every day. Oh and these are the greatest bibs, which I hadn’t registered for but got as a gift, and you’ll want those too.
Onesie and zipper jammies — Zipper jammies or little onesies are superior for the evening. While the full-button ones are cute, they take more time and attention in the middle of the night, and you don’t want that. While it’s great to have a bunch of cute outfits for baby (especially the going-home-from-the-hospital outfit), your baby will live in jammies for the first few weeks and months, unless you’re taking his or her picture. Load up on jammies. Here are my favorite basics.
Baby nail file and clippers — Babies nails grow so quickly, and they will scratch themselves if you don’t keep their nails trimmed or put their hands in little mittens. The mittens always fell off of Brady’s tiny hands, so instead, we make sure to keep Brady’s nails trimmed with this baby file and these clippers. This is always Dave’s job, by the way, and Brady doesn’t mind it at all. We call it “going to the nail salon with Daddy.”
Nursing pads — While this list is supposed to be for babies and not mommas, I couldn’t leave this off the list. You will need a lot of things as a mom, and you can check out more in the post about my postpartum recovery, but whatever you do, get a ton of nursing pads to stop leakage. I buy these in bulk and still need them to this day because I’m still nursing. As a note, you’ll want to get the extra soft version for your first batch, then you can switch to the regular version.
Car seat/stroller — You can’t take your baby home from the hospital without a properly installed infant car seat, so it’s pretty important. And you also want a stroller so you can get out and take walks with your baby as soon as you feel ready. We are in love with our infant seat and stroller combo. Love it! While some people have fancier versions, I can close up our stroller with one hand and lift it into my trunk, which is a very convenient thing. (You’ll also want a stroller bag to carry things and the converters to make sure the seat attaches to the stroller.)
Baby carrier — During the first few weeks of being home alone with Brady, I couldn’t get anything done if I didn’t have him with me in his baby carrier. This one is my favorite for smaller babies, and it’s easy to get into on your own. He loves it to this day. I also have this one for longer walks, but I need some help getting into it, and you also need the infant insert too. Both are good, and you’ll only really need one carrier to get started the first few months.
Diaper pale — The reason I think everyone should have a diaper pale is because you just don’t need to worry about emptying a regular garbage can all the time and diaper pales hold a lot of diapers. We went with this one and love it. You add your own garbage bag too, so you don’t have to buy special bags.
Breast pump — Depending on your breastfeeding journey, you may or may not have the need to pump. if you will be pumping a lot, you may need to rent a hospital-grade pump, but if you will only pump here and there, one of the home versions should work. I got this one, without the backpack, and my insurance covered it. Just call your insurance and see if they will too. I haven’t had to take it to work with me (because I work from my couch, as you know), but it’s small and portable and would be easy to transport if I needed to.
Bottles and drying rack — We didn’t actually introduce a bottle to Brady until shortly after six weeks (here’s his favorite), but we did need the drying rack right away, because we fed him tiny bits of breastmilk from a syringe the first few days of his life. Wow, it’s so weird to think back on those times! Nonetheless, there are a lot of parts to a breast pump and to bottles, so it’s great to have a place to let them air out. You can also get the special baby bottle dish soap, which we use, and you may not really need the special soap, but I like to have it.
Changing pad and changing pad liners — This is something that I didn’t know we needed a lot of, but you need to cover the changing pad, because you will likely have some accidents on there. We bought these changing pad covers/liners and started out with three and quickly realized we needed six, in order to not have to do laundry every day. Oh the fun of a new little babe.
Glider chair — This is not a must have, but this is something we truly enjoyed having, because you have to do a lot of rocking of the babe. We also have the moving ottoman. It’s an investment, but I feel like it’s already been put to use with many hours of rocking and gliding. Even if you get an old-school rocking chair, you need something to make it easy for you to soothe the little babe in the middle of the night or any time during the day and still be comfortable. And yes, there have been some snoozes in that thing.
A few other items we started using a few weeks in, but we didn’t need right away …
- An activity mat for letting baby hang out on the floor in the family room. Brady still loves this!
- A sound machine/night-light for sleeping, which we can control from an app on our phones.
- A monitor to watch baby, once he/she sleeps alone.
- Wubbanub, his very favorite pacifier he started using at six weeks. We literally do not leave home without it.
- Baby books to read to your little one to create a night-time routine. This is our favorite book. And we read a book each night, going through a rotation of about seven or eight.
- A bathtub — oh how we love bath time over here. We have this one and love it, but you don’t bathe your baby for almost a month or so after they are born, believe it or not. You just wash them with a wet cloth. But boy it’s so cute when you finally get to start bathing your little at home. Scrub-a-dub-dub.
Also, we were lucky that Brady didn’t get sick or have any diaper rash, so we didn’t need a thermometer or diaper rash cream or a first-aid kit, but I know some people do need those things fairly soon (we had them, just never used them, so it may be safe to stock up). We did, however, give him vitamin D drops and these probiotics early on, per his doctor’s request, and he no longer needs the probiotics, but is still taking the Vitamin D, which most breastfed babies need until they eat regular food.
By the way, even though your baby likely won’t be in his or her nursery very much when he or she is young, I still think it’s great to get it mostly set up, so you don’t have to worry about doing it once you have your baby with you in the world. We always changed Brady’s diapers and got him dressed in his nursery, and he finally moved into his nursery at night once we were in our new house as of almost three weeks ago. Now he spends a lot more time in there. And I spend a lot of time in the glider. Like a lot …
Okay, friends! That should cover it for my favorite things you actually need when you have a new baby! Maybe you don’t need this list right now, but if you have a friend who’s expecting, share the love. Thanks for reading, peeps! I hope you have a wonderful day! 🙂What to buy when you have a new baby? On A Lady Goes West, you'll find the must-have items you really need ... Click To Tweet
Questions of the day
Parents: What’s something you couldn’t live without the first few months of having a new baby?
What’s your favorite type of gift to buy someone for a baby shower?
What’s your favorite childhood book?