We all know that babies don’t need much, other than lots of love, nourishment, and nurturing. But, for those of us that care for babies, we do need stuff. Lots of it.
I’ve been asked by friends about the products I use or what I think is necessary to have for first-time parents. I know there are already lots of lists of *baby essentials* out there, but this one is my own version of necessities. And, by necessities, I mean that I don’t function very well as a parent without this stuff. This does not mean that I think you need all this stuff, too.
Note: I have not received any promotional items or paid sponsorship for any of the below-mentioned items. Everything listed is something I’ve been using for the past 2 years already. Just putting that out there.
Without further ado…
- Binkies – because I like sleeping and peaceful shopping trips as much as you do. My kid prefers Avent. Not sure why.
- Muslin wraps – I love these Aden and Anais muslin wraps. Good for swaddling newborns or keeping your toddler warm during a walk – I don’t leave the home without one. They are also my go-to gifts for new parents.
- Babysense Infant Movement Monitor – if you’re like me, you’re an anxious mom who will watch her kid breathe at night. I would not have been able to sleep at night without this movement monitor. I used it every night for the first year until my kid started rolling off of it.
- Boppy and My Breast Friend nursing pillows – I had both and alternated between the two. I was not able to breastfeed comfortably without them. If I had to choose between the two, I would go Boppy because it’s more soft and easy to use.
- Medela Pump in Style – A great breast pump: easy to use, clean, and carry. A must have for breastfeeding working moms or a nursing mom that simply needs to get out of the house every once in a while.
- The Hands-Free Bra – I did not know about this bra until about a month after I started pumping. When I learned of its existence, I cried with relief. Do not pump without it.
- Born-Free bottles – they’re a pain to clean because of multiple parts and they will leak if not properly sealed. But I still like them anyways because they’re BPA free and my kid has loved them since he started the bottle.
- Boon feeding products – I love their squirt feeding spoon, no spill bowls, plates, and utensils.
- JJ Cole bibs – sturdy, stylish, and easy to clean…what more do you need?
- Neat Solutions Table Topper – you will need this when dining out. The people cleaning your table will thank you.
- Neat Solutions Mat – unless you really like to clean your floors every day, this product is a must-have.
- Skip Hop Splash – I love this dryer rack for bottles and binkies. It’s cool, modern, and can easily hold 4 Born Free Bottles, plus parts.
- Baby Bjorn Babysitter Balance – I would not have been able to shower, cook, or eat without this thing. My kid lived in it for the first 6 months of his life.
- Fisher-Price Papasan Cradle Swing – Another life-saver. My kid was in this swing until he was able to touch the birds flying above his head.
- Haba Toys – Haba makes great wooden toys. I especially love their adorable teething toys.
- Melissa & Doug – they make great educational toys. My kid adores the wooden puzzles.
- Camden Rose – another great company that makes wooden, natural toys.
- Li’l Playzone – this has come in handy since the Monkey was 6 months old. He still loves to sit in it with his toys and books. I call it his happy place.
- Seventh Generation diapers and wipes – toxic-free and chlorine-free. I’m sure there are other diapers like that, but I’m loyal to this brand.
- A large purse as a diaper bag – I never did find a good diaper bag that I liked. I didn’t want a whimsical or flowery design on my diaper bag, so I just went with a cool large black bag like this B. Makowsky purse.
- Burts Bees bath products- I’ve used everything, from Johnson & Johnson to Mustela. However, Burts Bees has always been my favorite body wash/shampoo combination.
- Frog Pod Bath Toy Holder - a brilliant storage system from Boon for bath toys and products. Adorable gift idea, too.
- A rocking chair – always helpful during nursing or story-time. My home decor is modern, so I have this rocking chair from EQ3. I love it.
- Stokke Sleepi crib – Expensive, yes. But this modern crib transforms from a bassinet, to a crib and, finally, to a toddler bed. Brilliant.
- Yet another plug for Seventh Generation products. I use all their cleaning supplies – from laundry to dish soap. Their products are hypoallergenic and toxic-free.
- Mrs. Meyers – I’m a big fan of their cleaning products, especially their Baby Blossom Spray. Spray it on toys and other baby gear.
- White Distilled Vinegar – that’s right. Good ol’ fashion vinegar. I use it religiously to clean the high chair and other hard to clean areas that need to be disinfected.
- CleanWell – this company makes great hand sanitizers that are non-toxic, alcohol-free, 100% biodegrade, and certified cruelty-free. I think the stuff smells nice, too. Like a pine tree or something.
- Crocs – yes, I admit that I own a pair for myself, but I only use them in the garden. My kid, however, rocks his Mario Batali-style Crocs.
- Baby Gap Organics – I love Baby Gap, but especially the organic line. The best part is that there always seems to be a sale.
- Amy Coe – you can find her clothes at Babies R Us. I really love her baby/toddler pajamas.
- Carter’s – I think their onesies are the best. Comfy, soft, and they fit my kid perfectly.
- Bugaboo Chameleon – yes, this is an expensive stroller but I also consider it an investment. Other than the crib, the Bugaboo was my priciest baby item. I was willing to spend the money after I read reviews and took it for a test drive. My monkey has loved this stroller since day one. It comes with a bassinet and a toddler seat. The stroller base can also be used with the Graco SnugRide (separate attachment not included). I love this stroller and plan on using it for years to come.
- Graco SnugRide – a great carseat with top ratings. Easy to install and use and we were also able to use the seat with the Bugaboo base. Genius.
- Britax Boulevard – we transitioned to this car-seat after my son graduated from the SnugRide. It’s another top rated car-seat and my kid sleeps like a dream in it.
- The Ergo – this baby carrier is wonderful. We used ours all the time because it was so easy to use, comfortable to wear, and our kid slept wonderfully in it.
- A shopping cart cover – some parents don’t think this is necessary. They are probably the same parents that will change a diaper on the floor of a store. If you’re a germ-freak like me, then pick yourself up one of these.
- Baby-proofing - it’s imperative to baby-proof your house before your kid starts crawling. You might be surprised about some of things in your home that could be dangerous. We hired a professional baby-proofing company but, if you would rather do the baby-proofing yourself, then make sure to check out the link listed.
- Baby Gates: we have two baby gates, one at the bottom of our stairs and one in an upstairs hallway. I love these particular gates because they are pressure-mounted and can easily open in both directions.
- Pool Gate: if you have small children and you have a pool, it is essential that you have a pool gate. I liken not having a pool gate to letting your children play with matches, run in a busy street, or play with plastic drycleaning bags. You wouldn’t do that, now would you? Protect your kids and fence off the area that can cause the #2 reason for deaths of children under the age of 5. There is no excuse. Do it.