It’s hard to believe, but it’s been over three years since I have had a newborn in this house. I can’t wait to welcome a new baby to our home & am overjoyed adding another member to our family. As I prepare the nursery and gear, I realize that I am a little “out of date”. Some of the stuff that we own is at least eight years old (or older, if it was handed down to us with our first!). Before we our last move, we actually purged several of the items donating to charity knowing that it would come to better use in someone else’s home rather than just sitting in our basement. With a new one bound to arrive within the next couple months, I had to “start over” but thankfully, I do know which products that I loved the first three times around. Below, I am sharing some of my absolute favorite baby essentials. These are items that I have used over and over again and would highly recommend, even the fourth time around!
Favorite Baby Sleep Essentials
Crib: This item is true honest personal preference. I don’t have one to recommend, because I think you have to look at your budget & what you want and go from there. We bought our crib eight years ago and can’t imagine not using it again. There’s something special about using the same crib over and over again for each baby. You will also need a crib mattress, so don’t forget to purchase one of these. Again, you have to pick on that fits within your budget, preference, and more. We went the easy route and purchased on Amazon & once again, we are using the same mattress that we did with our other three children!
Crib Sheet: You will need 2-3 crib sheets. Honestly, go with ones that “fit with your nursery” and that you like. The Land of Nod has some fun and unique choices, but I am also in love with the bedding from the Just Born Sparkle Collection. Also, make sure to purchase a waterproof crib mattress pad to keep your mattress protected!
Blankets: My absolute favorite blanket recommendation for babies are the Aden & Anais swaddle blankets. Hands down, these are the best. These blankets are big, super soft, cute, and made to last. My three year old still loves her Aden & Anais blanket that she received as a newborn. I love the new shimmery update from Aden & Anais with their new metallic print swaddle blankets! If you are looking for something even bigger to use as a playmat or to grow with your child, check out the Aden & Anais Dream Blanket. Everyone that has one says it’s one of the most comfortable blankets that they have ever owned.
Rock & Play: I didn’t have this with my two oldest boys, but I received one of these when Abby was born and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. This is by far one of my must-haves for any new mom & I highly recommend to any mom that doesn’t have them. Several moms I know have borrowed my first one since Abby was born and it has been well-loved over the past couple years. This time around, I was excited to find an updated version where you can switch on calming vibrations to help soothe the baby. The comfortable incline helps baby sleep which means that mama gets some sleep too, a win-win situation. It’s also super easy to move around the house and we used it as our “travel bed” in those first few months with Abby, as we were in the midst of a big move and didn’t have a permanent home for several weeks.
Swaddles: I have used the same type of swaddles for all of my children, the SwaddleMe swaddles. These swaddles make it super easy to swaddle your baby in a safe and secure way with the Velcro strap. While shopping for new swaddles for this baby, I love this set from SwaddleMe. This 1st Year Safe Sleep Gift Set contains all four stages of SwaddleMe to provide safe, comfortable sleep for the first year of life. It contains the pod, original swaddle, the wrap sack, and the wiggle blanket all in one set.
Sound Machine: With several young children living upstairs together, I find sound machines a “must” and a “favorite” for me to get sleep in my house. The sound machines not only give the baby a little white noise to sleep to, but each of my kids have one in their room so they don’t wake each other up in the night OR in the morning.
Pacifiers: I would recommend picking up a few different types of pacifiers and see what works best for your baby. Each of my kids have taken different pacifiers, but here’s what I recommend based on what worked in our house: MAM, Soothie Pacifier & Wubbanub, and Avent FreeFlow Pacifiers. But, remember every baby is different and some babies never take to a pacifier!
Bouncer: If you are looking for a place for your baby to sleep, no matter where you are in your house, I highly recommend getting a bouncer! I am in love with the Baby Bjorn bouncers because they are beautifully designed, but super functional as well. The ergonomic support ensures proper support of the baby’s head, back, and neck. This bouncer also has four positions: play, rest, sleep, and transport mode depending on if your baby is ready to sleep or play. No batteries are required for this bouncer because the baby’s movements help make the bouncer move. I will talk more about it below, but a bouncer is not only a great place to sleep but a great place to play for little babies. This bouncer lasts longer than other bouncers on the market because it is designed to turn into a rocking children’s chair. If you haven’t seen the latest offerings from Baby Bjorn, make sure to check out their fall and winter collection that was inspired by the Swedish forests. The bouncers come in some beautiful colors, including the Plum Red color that we will be using for our newest arrival.
Monitor: I don’t have a specific one to recommend as these have changed so much in the past eight years since my first was born, but I would do research and pick the one that you feel like best suits your needs!
Favorite Baby Playtime Essentials
Play Mat: While shopping for a play mat, look for one has several different activities that stimulate the baby to promote development and motor skills. The My Musical Friends Play Gym from Tiny Love is inexpensive, but a great pick for a playmat for babies.
Swing: A swing was a life saver for me. I’m pretty sure that all three of my older kids napped in a Fisher Price Cradle N’Swing for the first several months of their life. When we made our last move (just over a year ago), our swing didn’t quite make the move in one piece so it was time for an upgrade. We updated to one of the newer editions of the Fisher Price Cradle N’ Swing which now includes battery-free swing operation and Smart Swing Technology with six different speeds, all with a simple push of a button on the top of the swing.
Bouncer: You may notice that I have a bouncer on this list twice, but a bouncer isn’t just used for sleep. It’s a great item to have for play. I actually recommend having a bouncer on each floor of your house, so you don’t have to carry up and down the stairs! It’s so nice to have somewhere to put the baby when you need your hands, especially when you have other kids to tend to. The Tiny Love 3-in-1 Close to Me Bouncer is awesome. It’s a bouncer, soother, and a high seat all in one. This is awesome because you can have the baby up higher when you are cooking or sitting at the table, but you can also lower when you are playing on the floor with your other children. There are sixteen tunes to soothe and/or entertain your baby and a toy bar for your child to play with!
Toys: I’m a big fan of Lamaze toys for babies. We have several saved from when the other three were babies, but the Lamaze Mix and Match Caterpillar & the Peek-A-Boo Forest Soft Book are two new additions for our little baby girl!
Other Big Baby Toys: You can pick some of these up before the baby is born OR just wait until you need them, but I highly recommend an exersaucer, jumperoo, and/or doorway jumper. I often recommend searching for these among friends because this is one item that is great to have, but great to pass on as well!
Favorite Baby Travel & On the Go Essentials
Infant Car Seat & Base: After several recommendations from other moms, this time around I am going to be using the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30. First, I love that it provides superior safety with Air Protect Side Impact Protection and a rebound bar to make every ride safer. Second, it is super lightweight making it easier to carry (which is important especially when you are chasing three other kids!). Third, it’s super easy to clean. You can remove the seat pad without having to unthread the harnesses and wash in the machine and dry in the dryer. The seat itself looks super soft and comfortable, compared to other infant car seats we have had in the past. It’s stylish, sophisticated, and functional. You could also register for a carseat for the next stage up, but I find it easier to just wait and see what you prefer when the time comes to switch.
Stroller: I am trying to minimize baby gear in our house because with three other kids running around, the last thing I need is more STUFF. I also find that with subsequent babies, you often use the carrier more than the stroller. It’s easier to chase the other kids around when you have the baby right attached to you versus a stroller. This time, I am planning to use the Maxi Cosi Dana stroller. I have always used a simple snap & go stroller with our car seats, but this time I am changing it up a little bit and went with this travel system just so I don’t have to buy more baby gear than needed! After deciding on the Maxi Cosi car seat, I wanted to find a stroller that would pair easily with it which led me to the Dana stroller. This stroller is high quality and built to last. You can use the Dana stroller just like a regular stroller with kids of all ages. It’s lightweight, compact, and comfortable. But as a mother of a soon to be newborn, there is one reason I really love it even more. The stroller comes with car seat adaptors so you can remove the actual seat of the stroller and pop the infant car seat so it can be used as a car seat taxi, similar to a snap and go! I am so excited to use our new stroller with baby number four!
Jogger Stroller: If I have one stroller to recommend here, it’s the BOB stroller. I have had a single BOB and a double BOB that have logged endless miles. Our single stroller is from when our first was born and still is in great shape to use again. Our double stroller still gets used regularly when we walk to town for coffee and/or dinner with our three and five year old. I highly recommend BOB strollers.
Pack & Play: We bought a Pack & Play eight years ago when Aiden was born and we are planning to keep using the same one that we have had over all these years. We have used it at home, on occasion, but we it is has been used over and over again traveling. My kids have slept in these on vacations until they are old enough to transfer to a bed!
Carrier: I updated our carrier with Abby to the BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One and I plan to use the same one again because I loved it so much. Head here if you want to read more details about this fabulous carrier. I also love the Ergobaby Baby Carrier, especially as the kids get older! For a wrap, I would recommend the Moby Wrap. It’s soft and super easy to use!
Mirror: I don’t have a specific one to recommend, but I highly recommend having a mirror in your car so you can see how your little one is doing while you are driving!
Diaper Bag: Again, I don’t have a specific one to recommend but I would pick one that matches your style and price point. It is basically your glorified purse that will be filled with anything and everything baby for the next year or two, so pick one that you love because it will go everywhere with you!
Favorite Baby Feeding Essentials
Breast Pump: This time, I am going with the same pump that I used last time: the Medela Pump in Style. I highly recommend checking your insurance company because many companies will now cover the cost of the breast pump & send you the breast pump for free. If not, this is still worth the money. I used this breast pump with Abby, every day for the entire first year of life. It’s super quick and easy to use!
Breastfeeding Supplies: Since I use the Medela pump, I have often bought the Medela brand for breastfeeding supplies. Items that I use include: breastmilk storage bags also quick-clean micro steam bags. I also recommend picking up nursing pads and lanolin.
Nursing Cover: If you are planning to be out and about with your baby (and breastfeeding), a nursing cover is a must. Looking for a nursing cover this time around, I have had several friends recommend the Covered Goods Nursing Cover and I thought this would be one to add to this list. This multi-use nursing cover can do so much more than just a traditional nursing cover. It can function as a car seat cover, scarf, and shopping cart cover. It’s made out of super comfortable, stretchy fabric and easy to take on and off!
Boppy: This is another item that I have used with all three of my older kids & it is an absolute must-have with breast feeding. It makes nursing so much easier. The Boppy also transitions to support babies during tummy time and when learning to sit. It’s easy to wash and I love the super soft minky slipcovers available.
Burp Cloths & Bibs
Bottles: Here’s what I recommend for bottles…purchase a couple different sets and see what works best for the baby (and for you). I wouldn’t invest a lot of money into bottles until you have a definitive idea of which ones work best for your family. Babies have different preferences for nipple tops & parents have different preferences on how bottles are constructed. Also, some people use bottles every feeding while others don’t use bottles at all. It really is trial and error. Here are a few that we would recommend:
- Born Free Breeze Bottles: These bottles feature a “Just Like Mom” nipple top and an anti-colic design with ActiveFlow Vent that puts the baby in flow-control. It also only has two pieces making it easy to clean and assemble.
- The First Years Breastflow Bottles: Breastflow is the only feeding system that requires both suction and compression, just like breastfeeding. If you are planning to breastfeed, these are definitely a bottle to try!
Bottle Drying Rack: This pick is just based on looks alone, but I love the Boon Grass Countertop Drying Rack!
High Chair: I have used several different high chairs in the past & don’t have just one to recommend. The most important thing is to pick one that is super easy to clean. Then, you can pick one based on the look of the highchair, how often you will use it, and according to your budget.
Feeding Supplies: Even though babies don’t start eating until between four and six months, the time will sneak up on you sooner than you think so it’s good to start looking at feeding supplies before the baby arrives. A few of my favorites include: Boon Pulp Silicone Feeders, Re-Play Bowls & Dishes, Boon Snug Spouts, and Munchkin Trainer Cups.
Favorite Bath, Diapering, & Healthcare Essentials
Bath Tub: This is one thing that we needed to update since we have long since got rid of the bath that was used three years ago! One of my favorite baby brands, Boon, came out with the Soak 3-Stage Bathtub and it is perfect for our little girl. It is built for three stages: newborn, infant, and toddler so it will last longer than newborn or infant tubs. For a brand new baby, I suggest also picking up an inexpensive bath sponge. You can use these in the infant tubs or even in the kitchen sink. It helps keep a little tiny baby from sliding all over the place.
Towels & Washcloths: There is no brand that I highly recommend as a favorite, but I look for ones that are soft and absorbent.
Bath Products: When shopping for bath products for babies, I look for super gentle & all natural for the baby’s skin. There are lots of great options, but one company that I recommend is Babo Botanicals. Their products are made from pure flower and plant extracts, without added fragrances, colors, or chemicals. At the beginning, I often start with a set, such as the Babo Botanicals Newborn Essentials Gift Set, and replenish as needed throughout the baby’s first year.
Diapers & Wipes: There is one type of diapers I recommend for newborns: Pampers Swaddlers. As they get older, I honestly don’t have one type of brand that I recommend. I often shop whatever great deal that I can find and have been happy with several different types of diaper brands for older babies.
Diaper Ointment: Pick out a couple different brands and see what works best for your baby. Over the years, I have used a combination of Aquaphor for Babies, Desitin, and other great brands but sometimes these don’t even work and I have even had prescription creams from the doctor to help clear up rashes that our babies have had!
Diaper Pail: I have never actually used a diaper pail, instead I go with a simple trash can with a step-on lid. I just change the liner every day or two so it doesn’t smell and once the diapers start to get super stinky, I just take it out to the trash can outside right away.
Changing Pad: We have used this same contoured changing pad from Summer Infant with all four of my kids. Instead of a separate changing table, I just place this pad on top of the dresser with a basket to hold diapers and wipes.
Changing Pad Covers & Liners: I recommend picking up two changing pad covers, as you will have times that you need to wash one while using the other! I recommend just picking out one that you love based on looks (and/or matches your bedding). This time around, I picked up a really cute changing pad cover from The Land of Nod that matches our crib sheet! I often put waterproof liners on top of the cover as well, but recently I heard about the Gathre mat and I can’t wait to use this with our little baby girl. This stylish, leather mat is super soft for the baby to lie on while changing, but also easy to clean! This mat will also be great to pack up in a diaper bag and take on the go.
Humidifier: I don’t have one specific humidifier to recommend, but I definitely recommend to get one as they are especially useful when on those cold, dry days in winter or when your baby is sick.
Health Care Kit & Thermometer: There are several great options out there regarding what you need for baby’s health care so lots to choose from. You can pick up a gift set or buy the pieces that you really need one at a time. I also recommend a rectal thermometer for a baby because it’s the easiest and most accurate way to heck the baby’s temperature when they are small!
Favorite Nursery Items & More!
Last, but not least, I am going to share some of my favorite items for the nursery. I truly enjoy getting the rooms prepared for babies & finding a collection of items that make the room special and unique for the little one.
Crib & Crib Mattress (mentioned above)
Bedding and Sheets (mentioned above)
Crib Skirt: I am in love with the new Sparkle Collection from Just Born. It features super adorable items to use in our nursery, as well as layette and bath items. I was on the search for the perfect crib skirt for our room & I was excited to find this pink crib skirt. This pink crib skirt has just the right amount of gold shimmer & ruffles to make our nursery sparkle!
Dresser: I loved the Monarch Dresser from The Land of Nod so much for Abby that I bought the exact same dresser to use in baby girl’s room. It’s gorgeous, timeless, and beautiful in any little girl’s room.
Glider: We purchased our first rocking chair eight years ago when Aiden was born & after going through three babies and four moves, it was well-loved and used but ready to move to a new home. Since I don’t have a lot of other big things to purchase this time around, I decided to splurge and pick out a new rocking chair for this baby’s nursery. I went with the Milo Glider from The Land of Nod and couldn’t be happier. It’s super soft and comfortable and looks great in the baby’s nursery. I know that we will be spending many hours rocking back and forth in this chair! I passed on the traditional ottoman and went with this fun pouf that could also double as a spot for the big siblings to hang out on!
Storage Bins: I got these storage bins for Abby’s room last year and they are awesome. They are a great size that can hold a ton of small items & they still look as good as new. This time, with our little girl’s nursery, I opted to get the pink color. Right now, we have them filled with infant toys ready to go for our little one!
Bookcase & Bookshelves: You don’t need a ton of toys for babies, but we do love having a collection of books ready for our littlest one. For our nursery this year, I picked up this book caddy and these book ledges to hang on the wall. I got one of these book caddies last year for another room in our house and I love it so much that I got it for the baby’s room, but in a white color to complement the room decor. I have a great spot to hang these book ledges, so I picked up several of these to create my own little reading wall!
Wall Decor: I am still working on this part of our nursery, but I love to make the walls special and unique for the baby. I love the prints that you can find at Lucy Darling, but other great places to shop include Etsy, Homegoods, and Target!
Other Items You Will Need: Hamper, Small Lamp, Basket for Wipes and Diapers,
Other Baby Favorites: I have pretty much covered about everything that you will need for the baby, but I still have a few other favorites to share:)
- Baby Book: This may be my fourth baby, but there is one thing that I continue to do with each child. Even if I don’t get as detailed as I did with my first, I try to record some of these special little memories for each child. By far, my favorite baby books are the beautiful and modern baby books from Lucy Darling. For baby girl, I picked up the Little Lady Memory Book, but I love their selection so much that I sent my brother & his wife (due a week after me) the gender neutral Little Animal Lover Memory Book for their new bundle due to arrive soon as well!
- Lucy Stickers: I’m not always the best at making big fusses over milestones & firsts, but I love this simple stickers that document My First Holidays and each month of growth with the Monthly Stickers.
- Clothes: Everyone loves to shop for little itty bitty baby clothes & so this has to be added to my list! I don’t have one brand to recommend, but I love buying from a variety of stores and shops. For newborns, I recommend looking for clothes that are cute but yet still comfortable. Most of our little girl’s wardrobe will be sleepers, especially since she is due right in the middle of winter!
I hope that this list helps you prepare for your new addition & I would love to hear what you would add to this list!