20 Essential Baby Items
After originally compiling a list of baby items together for a friend who is expecting in a few months, she suggested that I share it in a blog post so here we are friends!
I want to state up front that this is an unsponsored post. None of the products mentioned here were given to me by a brand or through any sort of collaboration. I found that a lot of the “must have” lists I combed through before having a baby were riddled with items that we A) didn’t end up needing or B) were items that were I’d deem as unaffordable for the average family and were only “great” because the reviewer had received them for free.
Now more than six months into this whole baby thing, I’ve been able to look back and evaluate the top products that worked for us. I’ve made notes on each item with suggestions where to find them and if we recommend borrowing or purchasing second hand. So many baby items are used for such a short time frame, it seems quite silly to us to purchase at full price. This is especially true if you’re in an apartment and don’t have the storage space for the boxes and boxes of items that you’re sure to accumulate as soon as your baby grows out of them. (A special shout-out here to grandparents everywhere who are gracious enough to let you store all the stuff at their suburban homes with extra bedrooms and basements).
Clothes and Staples
Burp Cloths - Literally don't waste your time or money on anything else, these are SUPER absorbent. Sometimes I think our daughter spit up a ton and it totally disappears into this cloth. We may have 20 of these and they are super affordable. Buy, don’t borrow, they will be destroyed and then make great soft rags.
Bibs – These bandanna bibs are adorable and very absorbent. They have multiple size settings, so they can grow with your baby. We’ve used them from preemie-status till now and I anticipate them fitting her for several more months.
Newborn Hats – If you have a winter baby these are adorable, very warm and so soft. She wore these all the time. We brought her home in the middle of Chicago’s polar vortex #CallieStormborn and even wore it to sleep so she was warm throughout the night.
Magentic Me PJs - Literally the best baby pajamas - we hesitated to invest in any pricier baby clothing but were both obsessed with these. They close with magnets and are so easy to get on and off during the night. They are also super stretchy, and she was able to wear them for a full 3 months.
Baby Aquaphor - We use it for every diaper change!
Costco Diapers – Obviously this will depend on your baby but they supposedly are the same as Huggies and Callie (knock on wood) has yet to have a diaper rash.
Johnson's Baby Shampoo/Body Wash Combo – Sweet clean baby smell, enough said! Tear free and great for sensitive skin.
Baby Lotion - This was the gentlest one we found. She had such sensitive and dry skin as a preemie /winter baby and this worked wonders.
Bath Kneeler – When you’re leaning over the tub every night this is a must have! This one is super affordable and thick enough!
Black out shades - These black out shades are great if you don't want to do something more permanent. If you want to avoid installing something as a renter, these are a great option. Shout out to Taking Cara Babies for recommending these.
Safety 1st Ultrasonic 360 Mist Humidifier - We love this humidifier because it blows in two different directions and doesn’t accumulate mold in the base.
Diaper Pale - As 1st time parents we didn’t realize how necessary this would be to help with all the smells. We do a nanny share with another family and the weeks that two children are at our home the diapers add up fast, but her room is never smelly! We got ours for free from a Mommy Facebook group. Join the ones in your area as families are always trading, selling and giving away different baby items.
Gear and Electronics
Baby Bjorn Bouncy Chair – This is a little pricey for a baby chair but it grows with your child was a great gift. We haven’t used it a ton recently, but it can become a toddler chair and we’ll break it out again soon! If you’re part of a parent baby exchange group on Facebook, there are a lot of people selling these second hand if you don’t want to shell out for a new one. They hold up very well, see ifyou can find a discounted one that is still in great shape!
Joovy Nook - We just bought this highchair and I already love it. The tray has a plastic topper that comes off and is easy to clean and also swings open so you can get your baby out easily. Another great perk is that it it folds up to the size of a beach chair which is nice when you don't want a big honking chair taking up a lot of space in your kitchen and apartment.
Fisher Price Stow and Go Bassinet - We borrowed this from friends and it was fantastic. These days you can even rent a bassinet which is an excellent idea because babies outgrow these within a few months.
Infant Optics Monitor – This was one of our pricier baby purchases but worth every penny, the video is so good you can see your baby’s chest rise and fall so you tell she is breathing. This was great for a paranoid Mama, so good in fact that your husband might tell you stop bingeing baby TV all night long.
Avent Bottle Warmer – We love this model, but a warning - the Dr. Browns bottles are tall and don't sit as easily in the warmer which then takes longer to warm. Also a general about choosing bottles, we went through 5 different kinds before we found one Callie liked (Avent!. Be prepared to experiment, I'd suggest only buying one or two bottles of one brand or size and then see what your baby takes to best.
Skip Hop Playmat – Callie is almost 8 months old and still loves playing on her playmat and it was one of the first “awake time” activities for her when she was just a few weeks old. I’ve also seen friends with more than one kid have it be a special spot that siblings can lay and play together on so it should last many years!
Rohm Sound Machine - Love this thing, it’s small and portable and the charge lasts long enough for a night without having to keep it plugged in. It’s great for travel or overnights with grandma and grandpa.
Baby Bjorn Carrier – We love this model - it’s sturdy enough that now that’s she’s over 15 lbs, it’s comfortable for both baby and parents. It’s adjustable so both parents can wear it and you don’t need to buy two different sizes.