Sophia is already ten and a half months old and I’m kind of already forgetting what the newborn stage was like… so I figured I better get this post written quick! It also helps that several people I know are expecting and have asked for recommendations on baby things, so I’ve been going through my Amazon and Target orders from the past year which has refreshed my memory. I set up baby registries at Amazon and Target because those were the two places I shopped the most, and they both had ‘welcome boxes/bags’.
Disclaimer: None of these items were sponsored, and they were either all gifts from family and friends or purchased myself! However, if you click on the affiliate links below and complete your purchase, I may earn on qualifying purchases.
So here goes my list of baby-related things that I found to be super helpful in those first few months! I’m sure there are other things that I’ve forgotten in this list, and will update the post as I remember.
For the baby
If you’re getting close to your due date and you feel like you’re not ready in terms of material items, don’t panic. The two most important things you will need are: 1. a carseat to bring baby home and 2. a place for baby to sleep once they are home. Oh, and diapers, but the hospital will have diapers while you’re there ;)
We got the Britax B Agile & B Safe 35 Travel System (2017), which came with the B Safe 35 infant car seat. When I was pregnant and doing research on the baby products to put on my registry, I was sold on a travel system, which is an infant car seat plus a stroller that the car seat clips into, because I’m a small person and carrying around the baby in the infant carrier seemed daunting. Nearly 11 months later, I can count the number of times that I actually lifted the infant carrier out of the car seat base and clipped it into the stroller to go somewhere on one hand (for our next child, I think I may end up going with a convertible car seat with a newborn insert). If you’re a petite person like me (5’ tall, 100 lbs pre-pregnancy), this Britax travel system is way too heavy and bulky, so I actually would not recommend it. However, Britax is known for safety, which is one of the reasons I purchased this travel system. I also purchased it online after reading all the glowing reviews, and didn’t realize how heavy it would be, despite going to Babies R Us (RIP) to check out all the different car seats and strollers in person. So long story short, I would recommend that you watch several YouTube videos of infant car seat AND convertible car seat reviews to first figure out which way you want to go, and also go to baby stores to check them out in person. If you’re leaning towards infant car seats, pick them up and carry them around the store (with something in it that weighs about 7-9 pounds) to get a feel for what the next several months of your life may feel like if you plan on being out and about regularly. What’s nice about the infant car seat is that you can in colder weather,
Now, once you and baby are home from the hospital, you’ll need to figure out sleeping arrangements. My grand plan during pregnancy was to have a bassinet next to our queen bed in the master bedroom for 6 months (so I didn’t even have a crib when the baby first came home), and then transition the baby into their own crib in the nursery. Alas, twas not meant to be. My baby refused to sleep in the bassinet, or really anywhere that was not a person’s arms or chest. In those first couple weeks, we would try to get her into a deep enough sleep where we could lay her down in the bassinet and quietly tip toe around the bedroom, only to have her wake up in about 20 minutes. What we ended up using was the Dock-A-Tot in between us in our queen bed, which left a tiny space on the bed for us on either side of her. Let me tell ya, sleeping while almost falling off the bed every night did not help the recovery process.
Since Sophia was our first and we had zero experience with baby sleep, every night ended up being a struggle of trying to figure out how to get her to stay asleep or get her back to sleep, and actually, I would really recommend a baby sleep class for new parents! I follow TakingCaraBabies on Instagram and really wish I would have known about her baby sleep classes earlier on and actually taken one. Instead, we did a lot of trial and error, read different books and talked to a lot of parents, until we finally decided on sleep training when Sophia was older, around 5 months, and it was NOT a smooth ride. I think sleep training will need to be a whole separate post on its own… but take a look at her Instagram stories for some tips to help you out!
MAM Glow In the Dark Pacifiers, 0-6 Months, 'Night’ Design Collection, Unisex, 2-Count: Obviously, pacifiers are going to be needed (unless you’re planning on not introducing them at all), but there are so many different ones out there so finding a pacifier that actually stays in your baby’s mouth is going to be key. One of the most popular ones that I see everywhere are the Philips Avent Soothies and I know a lot of babies that love them (and the Wubbanubs), but my baby could NOT keep this one in her mouth. We got a MAM pacifier for free in a welcome box - I can’t remember if it was from Amazon or Target - but that ended up being the one Sophia liked the best, so I ordered these glow in the dark versions so that we’d have extra! And when she was close to being 6 months old, I ordered the next size up: MAM Glow In the Dark Pacifier 6+ Months, 'Night’ Design Collection, Girl, 2-Count for the night, and MAM Sensitive Skin Pacifier 6+ Months, 'Air’ Design Collection, Girl, 2-Count for the day!
Oh and if you are dismayed like I was that regular “universal” pacifier clips don’t work with the MAM pacifiers, rejoice! These MAM pacifier clips worked great for us (besides the fact that Sophia preferred to chew/suck on the clips more than the pacifier itself) as well as these “Pearl” binky clips which are super cute. Remember to wash these straps/clips after every use, because they can get really gross. I just washed them by hand when I was washing bottles or pump parts and hung them to dry.
Bottles… there are so many different bottles out there! Yet again, the Philips Avent Natural Baby Bottles which are very popular didn’t work for Sophia (but worked great for Sophia’s cousins!) and we ended up using good ol’ Dr Browns Original bottles. We also noticed that the nipple flow for the Level 1 nipples that came with the bottles seemed to be too fast when Sophia was a newborn, so I got the Preemie nipples and used those until it seemed like Sophia was getting frustrated with the slow flow (about a month or so). A lot of parents also swear by the Comotomo bottles, and we just started using those at around 9.5 months so I’ll have a better idea of how we like those once we use them some more.
OXO Tot Bottle Brush with Nipple Cleaner and Stand: this is my favorite bottle brush and I’ve tried the Munchkin, Dr. Browns, and Playtex bottle brushes. The Playtex bottle brush is my next favorite. Don’t bother with the Munchkin and Dr. Browns bottle brushes - the bristles are hard and fall out (not to mention they’re really rough on your bare hands!), and I went through a couple of both brands before trying the Playtex and Oxo ones. The Oxo one is nice and soft, while still firm enough to get bottles clean!
On the topic of cleaning baby bottles, a lot of people have the Boon patch/grass/lawn drying racks which look super cool, but… it doesn’t hold as much as other drying racks do, plus is hard to clean. It is supposed to be washed by hand, but I find it impossible to get in between all the tines! I have the Dr. Brown’s Universal Drying Rack and like it a lot! It holds a lot more if you make good use of the tines and is also super easy to clean and folds down! I’ve also tried the Munchkin High Capacity Drying Rack which is nice, except if you have a lot of tall bottles in the bottom yet want to put your Dr. Browns nipples and vent inserts upside down on the top rack, it doesn’t work so well.
And to continue the bottle cleaning topic, you’ll want a sterilizer unless you want to go old school and boil water on the stovetop. I have the Dr. Brown's Deluxe Bottle Sterilizer and used this religiously those first few months. I gifted one to my sister-in-law and she also agrees that this was probably one of the most used items in her house! It just made sense for me to get this one since I knew I would be using the Dr. Brown’s bottles, but it does also fit Philips Avent bottles! I also loved that I could sterilize pacifiers and teethers (as long as the packaging said it was safe to sterilize or boil) in the top compartment. Note: remember that you need to wash all your bottles and parts with soap and hot water BEFORE putting them through the sterilizer. The sterilizer is not a dishwasher, it disinfects by using steam. The CDC says that, “Sanitizing is particularly important when your baby is younger than 3 months, was born prematurely, or has a weakened immune system. Daily sanitizing of feeding items may not be necessary for older, healthy babies, if those items are cleaned carefully after each use.”
Philips Avent Fast Baby Bottle Warmer: If you plan on bottle feeding (pumped breastmilk or formula) and you have a picky baby like I do, who likes her milk VERY warm, you’re going to really need a fast bottle warmer. We tried just using a bowl of hot tap water but found that it was taking too long for the hot water to come through the pipes of our old house and the impatient baby would be screaming, and boiling hot water in a quick water heater does work but also just takes longer. Just make sure that you fill the bottle warmer with water before turning it on - I’ve seen reviews and pictures of what happens when it’s turned on without any water!
Kiinde Kozii Voyager Travel Bottle and Food Warmer: On that note, this travel bottle warmer was a life saver many a times for us when we were out and about and it was feeding time. Just boil water, put it in the thermos, and take it with you! Note: I couldn’t find this on Amazon… so this link is from Buy Buy Baby. Make sure you save those 20% off Bed Bath and Beyond coupons that you get in the mail because they work at Buy Buy Baby! They’re the same company, if you didn’t know ;)
Now, if you are breastfeeding, you will need something to support your baby as you nurse. I was gifted the Boppy pillow for my baby shower and brought it with me to the hospital but quickly realized it wasn’t going to work. I’m still not sure how other moms use it for breastfeeding - maybe it’s because I’m petite or had a bloated belly for a long time since I had a c-section, but this was just never comfortable for me! We did use the Boppy for tummy time and now that Sophia is bigger, she lays on it like a recliner to drink her bottle, so it is getting used. It just didn’t work for breastfeeding support. Instead, I highly recommend the My Brest Friend Nursing Posture Pillow! This was the one that my lactation consultant’s office had for mom’s to use and the one they strongly recommended, and I particularly loved that I could buckle it around my waist and didn’t have to hold it in addition to trying to hold my tiny baby, a glass of water, and also my phone (bc, you know you need your phone when you’re nursing). Side note: the loopy phone case was such a lifesaver. I could simply slip my pinky finger through the loop if I also had to hold other things and not worry about dropping it! The Brest Friend nursing pillow also provides some back support, and has a pocket ;) Looking back, I really miss those days when Sophia would fall asleep after nursing, and I could just let her sleep on the Brest Friend while I watched some tv or read a book. I don’t miss being sleep deprived though.
Gerber Birdseye 3-Ply Prefold Cloth Diapers, White, 10 Count: Don’t worry - we didn’t do cloth diapering. These Gerber cloth diapers were our burp cloths. There are many different kinds of burp cloths, from fancy ones to DIY ones, but these are so simple and fantastic to throw over your shoulder when you’re getting ready to burp your little one, or tuck under their chin while bottle feeding since they will dribble, or wipe up spit up, etc. In the early days, I kept a pile of clean burp cloths next to my nursing station, so that they would always be on hand. I also always have a couple packed in my diaper bag, and now that Sophia doesn’t need them for burping or spit ups, we use them as towels to dry her hands and face after a post-meal time wash! You’ll want to get at least 3 packs. Even with THIRTY of them, we still had to do laundry every other day in the early days since we went through them so fast!
White Noise Sound Machine: Some babies are really good sleepers and can sleep anywhere, with little noise or lot of noise, light or dark. My baby though, can only sleep if it’s completely dark, has a pacifier, is in her sleep sack, and the sound machine is turned on. We use the ‘Rain’ sound, because I figure, we live in Seattle where it rains a lot so I might as well get her used to it. Although I sometimes wonder if she’ll always be sleepy in the rainy winters because of this…
Swaddle UP: Speaking of sleep sacks! Sophia liked to be swaddled the traditional way for only about a week, and then seemed to really hate having her arms restricted across her belly/chest, so we tried the Swaddle UP, and it made SUCH a huge difference. She used the Swaddle UP for naps and nighttime sleeping and then quickly grew out of the small, so of course we then ordered the medium, and then Swaddle UP 50/50 Lite for the summer. Now that she’s transitioned out of swaddling, she’s in a Zipadee-Zip but I’ll save that for the next post. All babies are different though, and some will really enjoy being swaddled traditionally for much longer. We also tried the SwaddleMe Originals in those first few weeks and Sophia didn’t really enjoy them, but I know her cousins did! You will most likely need to try out several methods to see what your baby prefers, so add all different kinds to your baby registry :)
Munchkin Changing Pad Liners: Your baby is going to pee all the time. And especially while you’re changing their diaper… so these are great! You put one of these on top of the changing pad, and can easily switch them out to toss in the wash instead of having to change out the whole changing pad cover every single time something leaks/drops on it. I also love these to just put on the floor or bed for a quick diaper change.
Aquaphor Baby: If you’ve never heard of Aquaphor, this is the jack of all trades balm you’re definitely going to want to have in the house. It’s great to use on diaper rashes, dry skin, chapped lips, etc. We also have a tube of Butt Paste as well but really only used it a handful of times and just prefer to use Aquaphor. Sophia has actually never had a real diaper rash, so we’ve been lucky. I think the key is making sure to give your baby some air time instead of closing up their diaper right after using a wet wipe. Trapping that moisture in there and not changing diapers often enough is most likely the cause for a lot of diaper rashes.
Obviously, you’ll need diapers and wipes. Everyone has different preferences on diapers and each baby may react differently to the different types depending on what they’re made of or the shape/design, but here’s what we used:
Pampers Swaddlers Disposable Baby Diapers Size Newborn, 120 Count, ONE MONTH SUPPLY: 1 box is usually enough of the NB size. This may depend on the size of your baby when they are born. For reference, Sophia was born at 7 lbs 9 oz, and 1 box of the NB size was perfect. Babies grow SO fast. I would definitely recommend just getting one box of the NB size and then as you start to get low, and the NB size is still fitting your baby well, get another box - maybe with a smaller count.
Huggies Little Snugglers Baby Diapers, Size 1, 148 Count, GIANT PACK: 1 box. Once Sophia grew out of the Pampers NB size, we moved up to Huggies Little Snugglers in Size 1. Spoiler alert: the Huggies Little Snugglers are our favorite diapers of all time and after trying all sorts of other ones, this one is on Subscribe & Save. The Huggies Little Snugglers are so SOFT and have the pocketed-back waistband to catch the mess as it starts to go up the back, which is SO important if you don’t want constant leaks.
Babyganics Ultra Absorbent Baby Diapers (Size 2 (30 Count)): Next, we decided to try out Babyganics diapers. We found that Babyganics ran small, so it worked in terms of being the transition size between Huggies Size 1 and 2, but OMG we hated these. These diapers just leaked way too much and felt really rough compared to the other diapers, and we were so glad when we finished the box that we had, and could go back to Huggies. Which was such a shame because we loved the Babyganics Face, Hand, and Baby wipes as well as their foaming shampoo + body wash, so I wanted to love their whole line of products!
We also tried Honest Company and Pampers Pure diapers, which were both fine - Sophia luckily never had any adverse reaction to any of the diapers we put on her, but the Honest Company diapers were just too pricey, and the Pampers Pure didn’t have that pocketed-back waistband, so back to Huggies we went!
As for wipes, we tried a bunch and our all-time favorite are the Amazon Elements Baby Wipes, Sensitive. We’ve tried WaterWipes (the wipes are super thin and very wet, but it did give me the peace of mind that I wasn’t putting any chemicals on my newborn), Babyganics Face, Hand, and Baby wipes (these worked great as well), Huggies Natural Care Unscented, Pampers Sensitive, you name it. The Amazon Elements wipes come in flip-top packs or a tub + refill packs. We’ve tried both and prefer the flip-top packs, which are also super convenient to take in your diaper bag. If you don’t know this already, make sure you store your wipes upside down, or else you’ll have dry wipes at the start and super wet wipes at the end!
Did you know that you can use an activity gym or play mat from day one? Though when the baby is sleeping all the time, they won’t really care if they’re on a colorful interactive play mat ;) We got the Infantino Pond Pals Twist and Fold Activity Gym but there are lots of different ones out there! Definitely get the kind that have dangly toys that you can remove because those are fantastic for taking with you on the go and hanging from the car seat, or using as a distraction anywhere else. I remember the first time I had to go out with Sophia alone in the back while I drove for longer than 5 minutes, I was so worried she would cry the entire time (because my baby HATES car rides), but I left her with two of the toys from her activity gym and miraculously, she didn’t cry! It’s also nice that they’re removable so that I can wash them (by hand) and hang them to dry.
Baby Carrier: A lot of babies want to be cuddled and held, and Sophia would not let us put her down. So, I ended up buying 3 different types of baby carriers in hopes that she would be content in one of them. Spoiler: Sophia learned to tolerate them but she never really enjoyed staying in any of them for very long. In any case, we started with the Ergobaby 360 with the infant insert which we actually use quite a bit now but didn’t use much in the early days. It was quite bulky to use with a tiny human being, the large velcro waistband was actually really loud and scared my baby to the point that she cried multiple times, and just not very comfortable for a petite person like me. Sophia definitely learned it like it better once she was about 3 months old, and this one is the only one that daddy uses. Then I got the Sollybaby wrap, which is just a very long piece of fabric that you tie around yourself a specific way and drop your baby in, and did use it quite often when Sophia was little. I debated between the Sollybaby and Moby wrap and decided on the Sollybaby because of reviews that the Moby was much thicker (which some people may actually prefer). Then I heard such good things about a ring sling, and got the Moby ring sling, and I have to say I personally like the ring sling the least. All the weight bears down on one shoulder and I had shoulder and neck pain when I used it. If I didn’t have any of these three, and had known what I know now, I would have gotten the Tula or LILLEbaby carriers instead! I borrowed the Tula carrier from a friend for a week and loved that it felt as sturdy as the Ergobaby but slightly less bulky and didn’t have the loud velcro that scared my baby so much! I didn’t have a chance to try out the LILLEbaby carrier myself but have heard good reviews and definitely want to look into that one if I have another baby. If you are able to try out baby carriers before buying them, that’s definitely the best way to go!
Swing, Rocker, Bouncer: You’ll also want to have a place to set down your baby where they won’t be on their back on the time, especially if they have just nursed or taken a bottle. I originally only had the Graco DuetSoothe Swing and Rocker but also ended up getting the Fisher-Price Baby's Bouncer as well, because Sophia preferred to be bounced rather than rocked and the bouncing seat was pretty inexpensive. Many parents also swear by the 4moms mamaRoo but we borrowed one and tried it for a couple weeks but Sophia didn’t seem to like it any much more than the swing we already had so we didn’t purchase it.
For the mom
Let’s not forget that the mom needs a few new things to accommodate the new little one. Just remember that you may be extra swollen after delivery if you have a c-section, and may need to order 1-2 sizes up from your regular size. After my c-section, I was so swollen that I couldn’t fit into any of my clothes - even my maternity clothes! I “borrowed” my husbands sweatpants and pajama bottoms for a few weeks until my swelling went down, and ordered mediums and larges of the tops I mention below (pre-pregnancy, I wore XS and S).
3PACK Full Bust Seamless Nursing Maternity Bras: If you plan on breastfeeding or pumping, you’re going to need nursing bras. I actually got these in my second trimester of pregnancy because normal bras didn’t fit anymore. And while these are not the sexiest things out there (ok, I felt downright frumpy at first!), I now live in them. I am looking forward to the day when I can go back to wearing normal, prettier bras, but until then, these are my go-to nursing bras. These came in a 3 pack, and are machine washable! Tip: If you use nursing pads, remove the padding that comes with these bras so that they aren’t too bulky!
Smallshow Women's Maternity Nursing Clothes Breastfeeding Tops: Another 3 pack, this time nursing shirts. These became my uniform the first few weeks after baby came home.
iLoveSIA 2Pack Seamless Nursing Cami Tank Top with Build-in Maternity Bra: Another daily staple for my wardrobe: a nursing tank + robe.
Innersy Women's 3 Pack Ultra Soft Postpartum Cotton Underwear: And yet another 3 pack, sensing a pattern here? Postpartum underwear was so helpful for me the first few weeks, after I ran out of the magical mesh panties that the hospital gives out. If you don’t know yet, you will. I liked the ‘Solid Color 2’ ones the best, because the seam didn’t rub against my c-section incision site too badly. I also got the ‘Flower Print 4’ style, but the seam on those rubbed against my incision site so much that I couldn’t bear to wear them!
Nursing Pads: If you are planning on breastfeeding, you will most likely need nursing pads, whether disposable or reusable, because you could leak. You’ll leak when you’ve gone too long between feedings/pumping sessions and your breasts are too full, or when you have a let-down, the side that your baby is not on may leak.
Any must-haves that I’ve missed? Please comment below :)