Disclaimer: Just so you know, if you order an item through one of our posts, we may get a small share of the sale.
Here’s a secret most experienced moms will tell you: You really don’t need a lot of gear. We promise!
In the very beginning, you need very few essentials: diapers and wipes, a stroller and/or car seat, a carrier, onesies, and burp clothes. Seriously. The rest is all extra.
But! It’s always good to have extra stuff, and eventually almost all of it becomes necessary.
Baby Checklist Part 1: The Absolute Essentials
Make sure to have these on hand before the baby arrives.
Most companies now offer a subscription package so you don’t have to think about it each month. (See Honest here!) Do NOT go crazy on the newborn diapers. She may outgrow them really quickly and then you’ll have way too many teeny tiny diapers on your hands.
Any old thing will do, really, so hand-me-downs are great here. But you can also go for gorgeous ones that double as swaddle blankets, like these from aden + anais.
A few mom faves: The Baby K’tan, the Ergobaby (with infant insert, which I will say is hot in the summer), or the Moby Wrap. Before you buy anything, borrow from a friend. You might spend a few days in agony, or you might be really happy and comfortable. It’s worth doing some investigating before investing.
It’s best to stay on top of Consumer Reports since the guidelines for car seats change all the time. (In fact, what you use for one kid might not be okay for the next!) But some very reliable seats are the Graco SnugRide Click Connect and the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 car seat.
You do not need them to be warmed (really), but it helps to have a dispenser, so you can pull them out with one hand.
Now if you’re planning to breastfeed, you may not need these. But if you’re planning to pump at all (or you’re going with formula), these are a must-have. Most will do—the baby has to like the feel of the nipple—but if you want to go eco-friendly, try a Philips AVENT Glass Bottle (don’t forget the sleeve!) or Lifefactory Glass Bottles. (So many cute colors!)
Nice-to-Have Items for Your Baby Checklist
Get all that snot out.
Sleep Sound Machine
This cult fave item does double duty! Get the baby to sleep…or entertain her.
Keep baby super snug (and his head from getting cold).
Wayyyy easier than stuffing their legs in footie pajamas. How adorable are these?
Bottle Drying Rack
This puppy saved my life! No more boiling water and dipping in nipples. Wash them, put them in, press “start”—and done!
Not all babies are into these (my daughter wouldn’t take one). And they can be controversial (some point out that babies eventually need to be weaned, while others claim it’s not great for their teeth), but in those early months it can be a lifesaver. Try this eco-friendly option.
Baby Checklist Items for Around the House
How big is your house or apartment? Ours was so small there was absolutely zero need for a monitor. (Babies can scream, have you heard?) But if you want to keep an eye on the little one, you have plenty of choices, from low-tech to very high. The latest is an Alexa baby monitor and speaker.
If your little one isn’t content in her crib, try something like the Halo Bassinest to keep her close—without worrying you’ll roll over her.
How much do you want to do? If you’re okay with bouncing the chair yourself, go with the BabyBjörn Bouncer. Unlike so much other baby stuff, it won’t be an eyesore in the middle of the living room. If you want all the bells and whistles, go for the mamaRoo4. You can control it with your phone!
Set it up so it makes sense for you—everything within reach. You can go really streamlined or really fancy, but the point is that you develop a system that works for you. I loved having the changing table as part of a dresser—major space saver. Whatever you choose, you’ll need a pad too.
A Good Nursing Chair
This can be a glider or just something you’re happy sitting in for hours. I was comfortable on the IKEA Poang. Basically you want to make sure you find something with armrests, because those arms will get realllllllly tired.
Lots and Lots of Pillows
You can get special nursing pillows (more below), but you can also just pile up a bunch of pillows you already have. They really do help with nursing.
It’s not easy bending over the tub. You can set this sucker on the counter or in the bathtub without having to worry about the baby slipping out of your arms.
Baby Checklist Essentials for You
Those nips are going to need some love. Keep it near you at all times.
For your vagina and for your boobs. Your vagina will probably need overnight pads for a long while. If you have leaky boobs, they will love these washable, eco-friendly nursing pads.
Hospital-Grade Breast Pump (or Something Close)
There are so many breast pumps on the market these days. The old reliable is the Medela; the Pump in Style is a good go-to. If you want something more discreet, the new Willow Pump is sort of incredible.
If your regular bed pillows aren’t doing the trick, keep this tucked around you to keep you from breaking your back as you nurse.
Yoga balls are ideal for bouncing the baby when she won’t. stop. crying. It’ll keep your arms and legs from getting tired, plus it can do double duty when you get back to your flow.
Anything! Have your friends set up a meal train delivery. Ask your parents or friends to cook ahead of time. Cook and freeze meals before you go into labor. Chances are you won’t have the time, energy, or desire to cook for a while.
Nice Soap and Shampoo
No real reason for this, but you need to feel good, too. Treat yourself, mama—you’ll need it.