I just logged into my “Dashboard” on WordPress and I decided it was time to clean house (ie: get rid of all the “Drafts” I started and never finished – it was only a total of 4 but I’m relatively crazy about having “trash” lying around so it was time to empty the it!). I’m glad I looked at the titles before hitting “Delete All” because I almost threw away, if you will, a rather important topic: Must Have Baby Items
Believe it or not, I started working on it in September of 2011 after being asked by a few friends and family members what items came in extremely helpful when Abigail was born. I actually have a document on my computer titled “BABY PREP” (yes, in all caps like I’m yelling…not sure why) where I kept notes of the items and brands we loved when Abby was a newbie.
The other funny thing about this post is that I wrote a Top 10 Tips for Pregnancy & (Impending) Parenthood way back in my third trimester with Abigail and while I’m actually quite impressed with myself for getting some of it right, I’d like to take this opportunity to “correct” myself now that I’m actually a parent (ha, and I still remember one of our friends on Facebook saying, “It will be interesting to see what this list looks like after you’ve had Abigail!”).
So here goes nothing…I was going to do another Top 10 list, but I ended up with 14 items. I know I’m missing some items and I’m sure other Moms and Dads will disagree with some of my “Must Haves” but that’s okay…it’s an open forum so if you have other items you’d like to add, that would be wonderful!
I hope this will be a very helpful resource for all my soon-to-be and future Mommy friends out there.
14 Must Have Baby Items (0-6 Months) :: and when you’re done reading this list, check out my updated version (since having Baby #2) :: 4 Additional Must Have Baby Items
1. Diapers / Wipes / Vaseline: I’m pretty sure this goes without saying, but one of the only things you need at first are diapers. Diapers, diapers and more diapers! In the Newborn Parenting class we took at CPMC, our instructor told us that we would go through 400-500 diapers in Abigail’s first month of life. I wouldn’t be surprised if we went through more (mainly because we messed up so many times!). That’s (approximately) 13-16 diapers a day. Trust me, it didn’t take us long to perfect the art of diapering…after changing a diaper that many times a day, you become and expert very fast!
What’s a perfect companion to a ton of diapers??? A ton of wipes, of course! I’m pretty sure we go through more wipes than most (out of fear that poop is going to touch our fingers…haha…mainly Daddy, of course), but no matter how fast you think you’ll go through them, you’ll probably need refills before you know it. Stock up. Trust me, you don’t want to run out.
We were also relatively surprised to learn that we didn’t need any fancy diaper rash cream. Our pediatrician and all the nurses in the hospital told us to use good old vaseline every time we changed Abigail’s diaper. It worked wonders. We’ve been very lucky with Abigail and she’s never had a diaper rash (knock on wood, of course). We think vaseline has played a big roll in that!
Our Diapers of Choice: Pampers Swaddlers (they even change from yellow to green when the diaper’s wet so all the new parents don’t have to sit around and wonder – came in handy for us!!!)
Our Wipes of Choice: Target Brand Wipes (we find them to be extra moist)
Our Vaseline of Choice: Travel Size Vaseline (harder for babies to get into than the tubs)
2. Changing Table /Dresser with Changing Pad: another item that might go without saying, but in those first 6 months of life (and before your baby gets so athletic that they want to jump right off their changing table…) having a changing table is wonderful. It’s even better if you have something attached to it (a mobile) or next to it (a black and white image) to keep baby nice and distracted while being changed.
We actually had two stations set up for the first 6 months. We had a real changing table in Abigail’s room and we turned my dresser into a makeshift changing table so we didn’t have to leave our bedroom at night. To be honest, I think adding a changing pad to a dresser is the way to go. Ever since Abigail turned into an incredibly strong roller (and a leaper), we’ve changed her on the floor for safety reasons. The changing table in her room is now piled high with everything from clothes to shoes to wipes…it’s quite a mess. Good thing we’re having another baby to justify our purchase!
Our Changing Table of Choice: Delta Bentley Changing Table
Our Changing Pad of Choice: Serta Contour Pad
3. Baby Carrier: I can’t think of an item that I’ve used much more than our baby carrier. Well, I suppose our stroller now that Abigail has grown so much, but in those first 6 months we used the baby carrier any chance we got. We used it on walks around San Francisco; it was perfect for traveling; it was my best friend when I went grocery shopping; heck, we’d even use it around the house to get her to fall asleep sometimes. What a life saver. For anyone who’s on the go a lot I’d highly recommend grabbing a baby carrier. Oh, and make sure it has great back support (like the one we selected!).
Our Baby Carrier of Choice: Baby Bjorn Synergy (which we still use to this day and Abigail is 15 months old)
4. Car Seat: Duh, right!? Yep, very much so, but still a very important item to note. After all, they won’t let you leave the hospital without one! We were very happy with our car seat. The best feature (in my opinion since I did so much walking when Abigail was a baby), was the fact that the sun shade went both directions. It wasn’t attached to the back of the seat. So critical since you never really know exactly which direction you’ll be driving/walking at any given time! The other thing to note about your car seat: make sure the base is in and secure early (they recommend having someone check it out…someone like a fireman…not a bad person to have to visit before baby)! We put ours in the week before Abby arrived, but you never know what’s going to happen so make sure to install it a few weeks before you’re due!
Our Car Seat of Choice: Graco SnugRide 35 Infant Car Seat
Our Car Seat Base of Choice : Graco SnugRide Connect 30/35 Infant Car Seat Base, Silver
5. Bassinet / Crib: For this one I’m just going to talk about our bassinet because that’s where Abigail slept her first 6 months of life. Some people will use a bassinet for less time…others might not use one at all…but we loved having her so close to us at night in those first months. We always knew she was okay. It made nighttime feedings much more convenient. And we enjoyed listening to her breathe and make funny baby noises. We lucked out with our bassinet because my boss’s baby had recently grown out of his so we got it as a hand-me-down. It worked out perfectly for us and we look forward to bringing it back out for baby #2!
Our Bassinet of Choice: Organic Moses Basket
6. Stroller: I’m in love with our stroller. His name is BOB. I still remember the very first time I used BOB…it felt so strange to be pushing a stroller. I’d never done it before. I didn’t feel qualified for whatever reason. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long and now I feel completely naked without BOB. BOB is the smoothest ride. BOB is perfect for the uneven, potholed, poorly kept streets of San Francisco. With the car seat adapter, BOB was perfect from the beginning and now Abigail sits facing forward (very happily) while we cruise around town. BOB is the best. There might even be a double BOB in our future…
I also can’t mention strollers without mentioning the Snap’n’Go. The Snap’n’Go has been the perfect travel stroller. It’s lightweight. It’s compact. It’s easy to take on a trip! If you travel much at all, we’d highly recommend grabbing one of these guys as well!
Our Everyday Stroller of Choice: BOB Revolution
Our Travel Stroller of Choice: Baby Trend Snap’n’Go
7. Swing: We waited too long to buy one of these. Abigail was over two months old when we finally wised up and purchased a swing (aka, the 4th large piece of furniture in our living for 5 months…swings are not small). I’m so glad we’ll have it ready to go when baby #2 pops out! We loved the swing because it calmed her down, she loved the mirror above her head (apparently she loves staring at herself), and she NAPPED in the swing. May not be the best place for a baby to nap, but it was the only place she would nap so we took it as a victory the day she rested in the swing and fell asleep. I hear not all babies like swings, but our baby loved the swing. Another item I’d recommend at least trying out!
Our Swing of Choice: Fisher Price My Little Snugabunny Cradle ‘n Swing
8. Receiving Blankets / Burp Cloths: Babies spit up and they spit up a lot. Apparently after peeing and pooping, they think that regurgitating is their next most important job. Abigail took this job very seriously so having a handful of receiving blankets (which we used as burp cloths) nearby was key. I honestly don’t think you can have too many of them. I think we had somewhere around 25-30. Our laundry facility isn’t exactly super convenient (in the building next door and it costs $6.00 a load…don’t even get me started) so we found that having more on hand was essential. The good thing is that if you don’t care what they look like (and who really cares…your baby is spitting up on them!), you can get them on clearance for next to nothing. We found most of ours at Babies’r’Us on sale…I’d recommend you buy them on sale as well!
Our Receiving Blankets of Choice: Carter’s Receiving Blankets
9. Nursing Cover-Up: If you’re anything like me, you’re going to feel a little antsy sitting around the house with a newborn who eats, sleeps, and poops all day. And while it was scary at first, I made it a priority to get out of the house as much as possible when Abigail was new. Our first lunch out was at 3 days. Our first walk was at 4 days. The list goes on…I needed fresh air and for whatever reason, getting out made me feel better and helped me heal faster. Getting out also meant learning how to nurse in public – a scary thought at first. I still remember asking Travis questions like, “where will I sit?” “should I go into a Starbucks?” “What if Abby just starts crying in the middle of nowhere?” I got the answer to my last question firsthand…it included sitting uncomfortably on a grassy hill in the freezing San Francisco wind while nursing under a receiving blanket because I forgot my cover-up. Needless to say, I learned my lesson. I never left the house again without my nursing cover-up. As much as I wish I were empowered and confident enough to just whip my boob out whenever and wherever (and trust me, I’ve seen it in San Francisco), I’m not. I found comfort in using a cover-up. And I used it a LOT.
It was perfect for long walks, lunches and dinners out, traveling, etc…it gave me the confidence to leave the house whenever I wanted because I knew that if Abby got hungry, I’d be able to provide for her comfortably.
Our Nursing Cover-Up of Choice: Bebe Au Lait Nursing Cover in Black (goes with everything in my mostly black and grey wardrobe!)
10. Breast Pump: Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a “baby item” but it goes along with having a baby if you plan on nursing. My pump became my breast friend (ha, get it?) when Abigail was about 2 weeks old. That’s when I started to collect my “liquid gold.” My pump allowed us to go on an overnight date on our 1 year wedding anniversary when Abigail was 2 months old (more on that here). My pump allowed me to enjoy more than one glass of wine without any Mommy guilt. My pump allowed me to go to the gym without worrying Abigail would get hungry. My pump was awesome! I’d highly recommend getting one…and a really good one…if you can!
Our Breast Pump of Choice: Medela Pump in Style Advanced – the Metro Bag
11. Teething Toy: Abigail’s first tooth came in at 3.5 months (I’ve said this before, but it wasn’t very fun when she learned how to bite…). We knew we needed a teething toy immediately. We also knew exactly which one we wanted to get. Sophie. Sophie wasn’t only a teether, but a friend to Abigail. She went everywhere with us (and still does). She’s flown across the country multiple times. She’s ridden in the car. She eats out at restaurants with us. Sophie’s our little pal.
Our Teething Toy of Choice:Sophie la Giraffe Teether
12. Onesies & Zip Up Pajamas: Do yourself a favor and don’t go out and purchase a ton of super cute newborn size baby clothes that have buttons and bows and all those frills that only make dressing your child more difficult. At the beginning…and I’m talking the very beginning…you’re going to think putting clothes on your child is more difficult than figuring out a Rubik’s cube. Trust me. I still remember trying to cram her into her “super cute going home outfit” that involved too many buttons – I felt like I was ripping her arms off she was so upset. Baby #2’s going to be going home naked. Naked with a diaper and a blanket.
Make things as simple as possible. Abigail lived in onesies and zip up pajamas for the longest time (and I’m talking pajamas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner). She didn’t complain once. Do as little additional work as you have to. Buy simple clothes. You’ll be much less stressed…I promise!
Our Onesies of Choice: Carter’s long sleeve white Bodysuits (it’s always cold in San Francisco so we layer these guys like crazy)
Our Zip Up Pajamas of Choice: Carter’s Zip-Up Sleep & Play Pajamas
13. Swaddling Blankets: When Abby was really little we didn’t think she “liked” being swaddled because her arms were always flailing around and she seemed to enjoy that. Little did we know that Abigail didn’t exactly know what she liked or didn’t like at 1 week of age. Thank goodness we wised up and got serious about swaddling. I think it saved our lives. She started sleeping so much better. I honestly think she slept better then than she does now some nights. Can we swaddle a 15 month old!? Haha…I’m only joking (sort of). I know that’s not okay.
In all seriousness, swaddling is the best. Travis became a pro and he quickly became the official “middle of the night swaddling guy” after I fed her and he changed her diaper. We were quite the team. He also decided that he had a favorite swaddling blanket (and while the aden & anais ones are super nice and super cute, we used them more as blankets than anything else because they were too thin and flexible for San Francisco’s weather and for Abigail’s hulk-like strength).
Our Swaddling Blankets of Choice: Swaddle Designs Blankets (they’re thick and warm and soft and perfect)
14. a Guide of What to Expect with Baby: Last but not least, grab a guide. Like most new Moms, I’m sure you read What To Expect When You’re Expecting cover to cover, so extend that curiosity of what’s happening in your body to what’s happening with your baby. We were lucky enough to get two copies of the same book and we’ve found it to be helpful, interesting, and comforting. We were given the book by our pediatrician and it’s been our guide to all things baby since Abigail was born. To this day, I still bring it out when I have questions. I’d highly recommend grabbing a book that your friends and family recommend before baby arrives. You’ll grab it more often than you think you will.
Our Baby Guide of Choice: Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5
WOW…and that completes my list of the 14 Must Have Baby Items (0-6 Months)
And now that you’ve made it to the end of this list, check out my updated version (since having Baby #2) :: 4 Additional Must Have Baby Items
What would you like to add to the list? Add your ideas in the comment section and we can create an awesome guide for new parents!
Thanks for reading,