"Babies need so much stuff!" Raise your hand if you’ve heard it. I’ve heard this so many times. Truth is, they really don’t need that much. Diapers, food, and place to sleep, right? ;) I have had many questions about which items we used and loved for baby's first year. I put together a list of just that, the items we absolutely loved and actually used during baby’s first year and it consists of 33 items! So, back to-- "babies need so much stuff!" I wouldn't say 33 items is much, but maybe everyone’s idea of “a lot” is completely different. Maybe 33 items is a lot to someone else, but maybe it is the bare minimum for the person who might have 100+ items on their baby registry. I strive to live a minimalist lifestyle and planned to continue just that, even with a baby + acquiring all of the baby necessities. I feel that we have gotten by with the bare-minimum and I'm here to share with you my list of baby essentials, with the understanding that everyone is different, including every baby, and we all have our own preferences. I broke them down into categories and each item listed has a description as to why I chose that item specifically and trust me, the descriptions are worth reading. There are a lot of trendy items out there that cost a fortune. These pieces are both beautiful + affordable! So if you're expecting or you need baby shower gift ideas, take note.
And because I think that there are some items on our list of 33 that you could still get by without, I put a star next to those that I think are absolute gotta-haves. Making this a list of 33 items we actually used and 27 items you must-have.
There are so many different crib styles and so many cribs that are quite pricey, but you really do not have to spend a fortune on a great crib. This crib is modern and beautiful and similar to the pricier Babyletto. It has great reviews and a great price. I recommend a waterproof mattress for easy cleanup! Plus, you do not have to worry about purchasing an additional waterproof mattress pad. We also tried many different types of sheets. Our absolute favorites are fleece crib sheets. They are so soft and cozy for baby and stay soft through many washes.
2. CHANGING PAD
Honestly, you can get by without a changing pad/changing table. We really liked having one because it is nice not have to sit down on the floor to change baby, especially in the night. the wipeable changing pads are genius-- you don't have to purchase covers or worry about extra washing. This version is a more affordable option over the Keekaroo Peanut.
You could really get by without this item, technically speaking. But a rocker of some kind is so so so nice to have a comfortable and quiet place to feed baby, especially during the night. Bonus if your little one enjoys being rocked. This one is an affordable version of the Joya.
CRIB BUMPER: There are mesh liners and braided bumper pads for inside baby's crib. We didn't use either and got by just fine.
CRIB RAIL GUARD: Some cribs are made with a teething guard on the rail to protect the finish, when baby starts to teeth and chew. Not all babies chew on the crib rail, but this rail guard is a crib saver if your baby does and your crib does not already have a guard.
Really, three 5 ounce bottles and three 8 ounce bottles is plenty. You could even get by with a couple of each. I highly suggest purchasing bottles that have easy to read measurement markings. We purchased some very esthetic bottles without paying attention to the details that really matter (measurement markings). The markings were so faint and made the bottles very pretty but they were a nightmare, especially at night, trying to find that very faint number and line to fill to. It was a challenge.
*5. BOTTLE BRUSH
Essential for bottle cleaning. These particular ones that stand up and even have a nipple brush are perfect.
*6. SILICONE BIB
Silicone bibs with a front pocket are brilliant. They are easy to clean, no laundry. And they help prevent too much mess by catching food! I recommend dark colors for feeding utensils and accessories as any tomato-based product will stain light colors easily!
These spoons! If you are a little bit picky like me, these spoons are awesome because they are black so they do not get all dingy and stained. They stay looking nice and beautiful and are very cute as well!
*8. BOOSTER SEAT
I love a booster seat than can double as a high chair as well. Anything that has multiple uses saves on space and money. I mentioned space, yes. This seat is small and compact and doesn't take up any room on the floor! The tray is removable and baby can learn to sit in this one and eventually eat in it. When baby is new to eating, you can start out with this seat on the table or countertop and eventually use it on a dining room chair at the table!
*9. BURP RAGS
Muslin swaddles work great as burp cloths. We also love the Cloud Island burp cloths because they are large, soft, and flexible. They stay soft through multiple washes-there's nothing worse than a rough, stiff and scratchy burp rag.
BOTTLE DRYING RACK: These are nice but a regular dish rack will do, or you can use your dishwasher to hang bottles in for drying- less counter clutter!
BOPPY PILLOW: Helpful for feeding, but if you really want the bare-necessities, a regular pillow will work as well. NURSING/FORMULA GEAR: Whether you nurse, bottle feed, etc. You may need a few additional items (pump, pumping bag, nursing bras, travel formula container, thermos, etc.
*10. DIAPERS & WIPES
Whether you use cloth diapers or disposable. Diapers and wipes are an obvious essential.
*11. ZIP JAMMIES
Though little gowns are nice, we loved zip jammies more than anything else because you don’t have to go over their head when putting them on and they are easy for diaper changing.
Mittens are another must for those first few weeks.
These swaddles are a bit pricey but so worth it!! They are the one item I recommend splurging a little bit on. Copper Pearl swaddles are so soft and stretchy, giving baby the most comfort and providing the perfect burrito swaddled wrap. I would not waste my money on any other type of swaddle!
BATH & HEALTH
*14. BATH WASH
A bath wash specifically for baby is a must. Baby's skin is so sensitive and many products can be harsh for baby's skin. Soaps made specifically for baby are extra gentle and usually tear-free.
*15. STARTER MEDS
Baby Tylenol/Ibuprofen, Gas Drops, Soothing tablets, Rash Cream- having all of these on hand prevents a late night run to the store in an already stressful situation. Just have them.
For the same reasons above. Baby safety. Just have it. You'll need it.
*17. MANICURE KIT
Baby's nails will need trimmed and it is much easier and safer to use a set that is smaller, to prevent accidental injuries.
Baby will (most likely) be getting teeth within that first year. Did you know that you need to begin cleaning baby's teeth as soon as they erupt? Yes! With early tooth buds, a wash cloth will do the job. As baby begins to get more teeth, a toothbrush is very essential to prevent tooth decay! This one is great because it is double-sided and it comes with a finger toothbrush for early stages.
BABY WASH CLOTHS/BATH TOWEL: Some add these as absolute necessities. I found that our baby wash cloths were rough and I opted for the washcloths we already had on hand and even our regular bath towels. It all works the same. :) BABY TUB: We didn't use one. A lot of styles are bulky and difficult to store. We preferred bathing baby in sink and co-bathing until baby was able to sit up on own.
BABY SAFE CLEANING SUPPLIES: Some prefer to use baby-specific laundry detergent, which is a necessity for some babies. We like to use CleanSmart for household cleaning, but dish soap or Distilled White Vinegar would be fine too and is already on hand for most.
*19. GLOW PACIFIERS
The glow-in-the-dark pacifiers are so great for nighttime, no rummaging through the crib or shining your flashlight all around baby's sleepy eyes. Another option. We also really like these though they do not glow, you can handwash them over and over without ruining them/the nipple/etc + they are a more affordable option and comparable to Ryan and Rose.
*20. PACIFIER CLIPS
Clips are so helpful to keep pacifier from getting lost and dropping on the ground. I personally like and prefer the plastic clip because you can hand wash them without worrying about rusting metal.
21. PACIFIER LOVEY
We went a few months without one of these. I finally caved and I haven't looked back! Pacifier lovies are little animal friends that attach to the pacifier. So helpful to keep pacifier from falling out of crib! And makes it easy for baby to find pacifier on his own.
*22. SPROUT BABY APP
This app is awesome! It is so helpful for logging so many different things. To name a few: feedings, pumping, diaper changes, medication administrations, growth and development, doctor’s visits. My husband and I both have the app, logged in under one account, so we can always be on the same page with feedings, etc.
23. MESH LAUNDRY BAG
My goodness. Nobody recommended this. I'm not sure if most people don't use them or what. But this was such a lifesaver when washing baby's small items- socks! We didn't have to worry about losing them in the wash and searching endlessly for matches. Made our lives so much easier during laundry time! If you already own a bra washing bag, that will work too!
AUDIO/BABY MONITOR: This just really depends. Some choose a heart rate monitor, some like a video monitor. I just really think it depends on your preference, comfort level, and home. Will baby be nearby and easy to hear? Do you have a large home and need to keep your eye on baby while he's sleeping? This is a necessity for some, others can get by without. Do what works for you.
As far as strollers go, a few people suggested spending a good chunk of money on a really quality stroller- One that seats two children, for the future. At this point in time, I can say I’m very glad I did not spend a bunch of money and got something small, simple and compact. I realize I’ll probably have to purchase a double stroller one day, but for now, I’ve loved how small and convenient ours is. I have LOVED that the car seat snaps directly into the stroller. It’s so small and compact and I keep the stroller in my trunk and use it almost on the daily. It's small and petite, easy for running errands, etc. I get asked ALL THE TIME when out and about which set I have. These are two super affordable options that are AWESOME! HERE and HERE
*25. CAR SEAT CANOPY
These are very nice for protecting baby from germs in public, windy environments, keeping the car seat dark for baby napping, and also to use as breast-feeding covers. If you live someplace cold, we recommend the waterproof Cozy Cover. It is awesome and helps to keep baby nice and warm, especially because they cannot wear coats/jackets in the car seat.
*26. CAR SEAT MIRROR
A car seat mirror is nice for seeing baby during the rear-facing stages. I recommend the shatterproof mirror like this one, for the safest option.
These are so nice for the first few weeks when lounging around at home, on the couch, wherever. They are also very nice for the first few months if you do any traveling. Some opt for a Pack n Play, we got by without. They are easy to pack as a bed for baby and I love that the Snuggle Nest folds up for compact storing and traveling. Affordable alternative to the Dockatot.
The kind that straps to you so you can carry baby next to your chest while walking around at home or out and about. This makes it so much easier to get things done around the house, especially during the first few months. I felt more comfortable with this one than the wraps and it's less complicated to use.
*29. DIAPER BAG
There are a number of items baby will need on-the-go. It doesn't really matter which type of bag you use, some like a duffle, some prefer a backpack, etc. Just have a bag of some kind that will be designated for baby's on-the-go neccesstites. If you want to go one that doubles as a purse as well, go for it! The less you have to carry mama, the better!
Great for staying hygienic in any environment. You could technically use a blanket, but that makes for more laundry. These portable pads wipe right off and fold up nicely to fit in diaper bag.
I want my kids to have fun, but I also try to keep our space as clean as reasonably possible. When baby wasn't mobile and still in those spit up stages, I LOVED having a playmat to lay him on. I used blankets for a while and found myself doing so much laundry. A playmat is so nice to wipe up messes quickly and protect that new carpet or cute rug. A large exercise mat will even work and may be a more affordable option.
*32. BOUNCER OR SWING
I really don't think you need both. These items can be large and take up a lot of space, also not the most convenient to store. But having one is always nice to have a place to set baby and use for independent play. We opted for a bouncer so that baby didn’t get used to sleeping in a swing and I’d have to say that was a good choice! This bouncer is stylish and comparable to the BABYBJÖRN for a fraction of the price!
*33. JUMPER OR WALKER
This is a game changer! When baby can hold his head steady this gives him the opportunity to sit upright and be more independent. Not only that, but baby gets exercise and can play for hours. Baby loves independent time and this gives parents some hands-free time and baby stays happy! Best thing ever for those stages when baby is too big to just lay around but not quite crawling/walking yet.
I will include that gender-neutral items are definitely something to consider when building your collection of baby supplies. This allows for reusing items with future babies and not having to buy multiple sets of things- save money, save space! Woot! Though I know life is crazy and busy with a newborn, I've also learned, that if you are able to keep up on laundry and dishes, you really only need a few small sets of each item, i.e.; clothes (they grow out of them so fast anyway), swaddles, bottles, etc.
What items do you absolutely love and recommmend for new parents?