Now that our son is 1 and we are expecting our second child, I feel like I might be qualified to share my list of baby necessities based on what’s currently available in the market. To be honest, I’ve been super busy lately and only got it together to make a proper list since I found out a family member is expecting her first! Please feel free to pass this along to anyone you know who is expecting, and let me know if there was something that should have been on the list that I missed!
Things to definitely make space for and probably register for…
- Powered swing: I thought we wouldn’t need one, because I would NEVER EVER put him down but I was wrong. The first time I put him in it he slept for 4 consecutive hours.
- Nanit Monitor: I loved being able to peek in at him without risking waking him up. We also benefitted greatly from the integrated white noise machine. I credit this for our little guys amazing sleep habits.
- Rocking chair (with some padding) or glider with nightstand. Somewhere to put the nightlight, bottle, beverage, snack, and earbuds if you want. I found it easier to get up for middle of the night feedings if I listened to an audiobook on bluetooth earbuds (so I didn’t wake him up any more than necessary).
- Think about a stroller that converts to a double. We were so excited to have just one kid we did not think this fully through. I LOVE our stroller but we will need another one.
- A car seat (or two). We had one in each car which was super helpful. They will both be going in one car though, because having four car seats for two kids seems like a bit much.
- Somewhere for them to sleep. A crib or bassinet. We have this pack n play bassinet / changer. I can’t really speak to the bassinet functionality because he chose the crib on the second or third day he was home with us. HOWEVER, it was fantastic to have the changing table and pack n play all in one piece of furniture we can take with us and move around.
Necessities for Mama
You can’t just wear regular clothes…
- Zip Hoodies: If I had to buy ONE THING for the whole process of having a baby, it would be a zip hoodie. They zip down the middle which is easy for breastfeeding. They have strings and zippers for baby to play with. You can put it over them in the car seat if it gets chilly. You can grab a minute of sleep in them whenever you get a chance. I had a bunch from old navy and that was all I wore for a while. Josh turned me onto J American recently which are lovely.
- Pump / Nurse camis: The only ones I ever found that did both jobs were these from Kindred Bravely. I honestly think they are kind of overpriced, and that the cups should be sewn in (because who wants to mess with straightening the cups every single time). That said, they were the most valuable shirt I owned while breastfeeding. If it had been reasonable, I would have bought 14 of them. Changing clothes every time you need to pump would be wildly inconvenient, especially early on, if, like me, you have to do it all the time just to get the process going. And it’s also shirt. Not having to mess with a whole bunch of different pieces of clothing just to be sort of covered and have proper access to is worthwhile, in my opinion. I’d say register for a few of these so people can help you out, because it really is a lot of $$$ for a tank top.
- Lots of extra pump bras with tops with vertical access. Maybe this doesn’t happen to everyone but I sweat so much while breastfeeding. I also wasn’t getting as much of an opportunity to do laundry as I did pre-baby, so I needed at least one pump bra (including the camis) per day so I could do laundry once a week. Tops with vertical access seemed to work the best with the pump and the pump bra, and again, it was very worthwhile for me to find things to wear that didn’t require a change of clothes multiple times a day.
- Reusable pads with aloe and witch hazel. There are a lot of things about having a new baby that make it easy to be super wasteful. In an effort to reduce my consumption of single use items, I used bamboo cloth pads. A trick I learned online was to coat them with aloe and witch hazel and put them in the freezer to help with some of the postpartum discomfort.
- Soft leggings. I’ve written about these leggings before, but they really are the best. They work as maternity leggings (but aren’t), postpartum clothing, regular pants, and pajamas. If you get them in black, people might not even know you’re wearing what you wore to sleep.
- Belly Bandit Mother Tucker Leggings. The compression in these leggings helped a lot with keeping everything (loose skin) in place. I also really appreciated that they came up so high, providing some coverage when I lifted my shirt for breastfeeding. Also, the name cracks me up. I assume they are referring to tucking in your skin flap…
- XXL shoes: I didn’t realize this would happen, but my feet REALLY swelled up immediately after giving birth. I had to keep cramming into my regular shoes and broke my big toe nails just wearing them in and out of appointments. I was very grateful when my new (stretchy, wide sized, and full size up) sneakers arrived, so I could get to doctors appointments without killing my feet.
- Stroller cup holder and Yeti bottle with straw lid. Pregnancy and breastfeeding really dried me out. Imagine being a beverage dispenser. I just needed all the water all the time. Having constant access to beverages was important.
Baby Sleep Necessities
They must eventually fall asleep…
- Fravita light on nightstand: I really liked this light because it’s cordless and you can just flip it over to turn it in and off. It fades in and out so there’s nothing sudden. You can also adjust the amount of light it emits, and since it’s cordless you can move it over to the changing table or wherever it needs to be.
- Zen Sack: Babies aren’t supposed to have blankets in their crib, so usually people use something like a sleeping bag. I didn’t know about these before we had our little guy but they really seemed to help him sleep. He’s been sleeping 12 consecutive hours a night since he was about 4 months old.
- Baby shusher: This really helped our little guy settle down for naps. It would be really great if they didn’t break when you dropped them (happened to us twice!!) but I’d say they are still worthwhile.
- Get Your Sleep On: This is the sleep training book we followed. I’m not sure if our little guy was just a naturally wonderful sleeper or what, but this book had a lot of helpful information, was SHORT (in a good way), and the techniques seemed to really help.
Baby Feeding Necessities
Even if you are the beverage dispenser…
- Butterfly pillow or boppy. I have one of each of these, and they were both great. It was nice to have one in the nursery and one in the living room.
- Glass bottles & Dishwasher cage. If you will be heating up milk, it’s important to have glass bottles so your baby is not ingestion microplastics. Keeping all the little pieces together in this little cage in the dishwasher was helpful so we didn’t have to hand wash everything every time.
- Infant gas drops: When they can’t sleep or eat properly, they get cranky (like us). It was really helpful for us to have these in the house already when we ended up needing them.
Baby Diaper Necessities
Until you teach them how to use a toilet…
- Thirsties all in one diapers: Back to reducing consumption of single use items – We use these cloth diapers (still) and they work great. We drop the solids into the toilet and put them into the wash. We still use some disposables – At night, and if laundry day comes too soon, but the cloth stash has dramatically reduced the number we use. I’m planning to use cloth for our second as well. These have snap closures to adjust the sizing.
- Air deodorizer (non scented): These seem to keep the room reasonably fresh, even with a diaper laundry basket. It’s important not to use anything with a strong fragrance near babies.
- Two kinds of diaper cream. We use this one on the wipes to get him clean when he’s a little sticky, and this one if he starts to show a sign of diaper rash.
Other Baby Necessities
For right away…
- Nail clippers: We didn’t need these for the first week or so, but I’ve heard some people needs these on the way home from the hospital.
- Konny wrap. I’m a little over the top, so I bought 4 baby carriers. These were by far the easiest to use – take only a few seconds to put on and take off, and they roll up and can fit in a purse. I was able to start using mine with our little guy right away when he was still too small for other carriers.
Random Bits of Advice
Mainly Digestion Related…
- Colace – take it regularly starting 2 weeks before your due date. I didn’t do this and regretted it. Normally this isn’t something I need, but the whole birthing process really solidified everything for me.
- Figure out the pump before you leave the hospital. I had trouble understanding the settings (lower number is higher suction?) and needed to talk to a lactation consultant about which settings would be good to start off with. I wish I would have asked all those questions while we were still in the hospital!
- Prep freezer meals high in fiber (not full of cheese). As I mentioned, I was backed up for a while after giving birth. Unfortunately most dishes you can make and freeze contain cheese. This time around I’m planning to focus on high fiber (cheese-free) recipes to prep in my Pyrex containers and then stack up in the freezer. The nice thing about Pyrex is that you can thaw it out in the refrigerator the day before and then just put the whole thing (minus the lid) in the oven. I really like that they are starting to have bamboo lids available! I don’t have those yet but I am trying to reduce my use of plastic, and the plastic lids don’t last nearly as long as the pans. They sell just the lids on the site which is nice.
- Prep soup in mason jars with sippy lids and silicone sleeves. When I went back to work after maternity leave, I realized I had no hands available to eat. I started making blended / puréed soups on weekends from whatever vegetables I had around, and then I’d freeze them in mason jars. Just like with the Pyrex dinners, I thaw them out a day or two in advance, and then heat them in the microwave (in a silicone sleeve with a sippy lid). Then I put the ring back on over the sippy lid and I can sip on it one handed like a to go coffee.
- Prep oatmeal bars. Oatmeal is a great ingredient to help with milk supply, and bars or muffins are another possible option for one-handed food. Breastfeeding made me so hungry, and without the ability to get in the kitchen and make something, it was basically this or something packaged. I made mine in silicone cups, but I probably should have just made individual bars so as to have no wrappers to wash.