Choosing the best baby products can be a fun (and sometimes overwhelming!) part of planning for a new baby.
After all, having a baby is one of the most exciting events in life. Not the birthing part, that kind of sucks. But the other parts, like the cuddling part right after the birthing part. Filling the nursery with cool new baby items is part of the fun too. At least it is if you know what to look for.
When I was pregnant with my first son I put together what I thought was a decent looking registry. I mean, I didn’t really know anything about babies, so I’m not sure how I decided what should go on my list, and in what quantity.
TONS OF SIZE 0 DIAPERS? CHECK! (Come to find out that lots of babies are already bigger than a size 0 at birth! Who knew?!)
I sent that initial registry list to a few close friends, all of whom were already parents. And I quickly learned the error of my ways. One particularly straightforward friend that I love dearly called me right up – “Um, what is this list??”
Apparently I had missed the mark in some major areas. Ha! Well with a little guidance from my friends I figured out what it was that new moms actually needed. And of course, now that I’m an “experienced mom” (of course that’s relative – mothers of teenagers are laughing at me right now) I have clear favorites in the “baby items” department.
I now have three kids, ages 6, 3, and 1. And with each of these kids, I found certain products that just made my life that much easier in those early months and years.
This post is a roundup of my all-time favorite baby products. These are the real standouts – those baby products that I found to be totally indispensable.
Designing a baby nursery is so much fun. This is such a cozy and special space. I know the crib is a big part of a nursery – but after spending a lot of money on our first baby’s crib, I would recommend just getting something inexpensive and simple. IKEA has some nice, basic cribs that work with a variety of decors. Cute sheets also go a long way. You can make your nursery adorable even on a budget, but there are a few key items you’ll want to invest in.
This is the monitor I wish we got. The rest of this list are items I’ve personally loved. But we have never had a baby monitor that we’ve loved, and I did not want to leave this crucial item off the list You’ll definitely want a monitor! If I could go back, this is the baby monitor I would have chosen. It gets outstanding customer reviews and is Amazon’s top pick.
The Dohm produces just enough white noise to block out stray sounds that are likely to wake the baby up. And you can adjust it to get the sound to the volume and tone that you like.
I did not have a wipes dispenser for my first two kids. I finally got one with the third baby and realized I had been a fool. A fool! It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference. I love the UBBI dispenser because it’s got a nice solid heft to it – which means when you’re holding a baby steady and you grab for a wipe, the whole thing doesn’t go flying.
BATH + GROOMING
Bathtime will become a big part of your routine in your baby’s first year. Having some good quality essentials makes it much more pleasant.
This has been our go-to baby tub for all three kids. Even small babies fit into it comfortably and securely. That’s reassuring especially for a new mom or dad who is nervous about those newborn baths!
It’s not a guarantee that your baby will have a cradle cap problem. But if they do, this little brush is THE BEST. Seriously. It’s cheap and you can remove a lot of cradle cap very quickly. My daughter had a bad case of cradle cap and this was super effective.
You need baby nail clippers almost immediately. Those babies come right out of the gate with the ability to claw out their own eyes. Strange but true. Clipping nails can be stressful at first, but you get the hang of it pretty fast. The best thing about these clippers is that they have a built-in light. This is a big help, it can be hard otherwise to see where a baby’s nail ends and finger tip begins.
I prefer using a body wash and shampoo in one, and Aveeno is gentle and lathers up nicely. It also has a pleasant scent!
These are the cutest, comfiest booties ever. I love the fleece ones especially. They’re the perfect first “shoes” for your baby. One great feature is that because of the way they snap in the front, it’s much harder for your baby to pull them off.
One of the most useful items for newborns is a swaddle. Babies startle themselves awake very easily, and a swaddle helps with this a lot. I prefer the simplest swaddles – and these are my favorites, since you just secure them with velcro. No fancy wrapping!
I consider these fleece wearable blankets to be essential, especially in fall and winter. They are cozy and very well constructed. The zippers and snaps work really well and make it possible to change a diaper in the middle of the night without a big fuss. And since you can’t have a blanket in the crib with a baby, this is a must-have. Newborns can wear the 0-9 month size, and they also have sizes available for older babies. I’m still using a Gunapod with my one-year-old.
Getting out and about with a baby can feel hard at first, especially if you don’t have “gear” you’re comfortable with. These are some of my favorite items to make doing activities (including errands) easier with your baby.
This is my go-to diaper bag for when I’m carrying a lot of baby gear (diapers, wipes, snacks, bottles, changes of clothes, etc.). For quick errands when I don’t need to carry much, I like the Kavu, which is my favorite lightweight diaper bag. But when I want a full-on bag, I like the Skip Hop. I prefer a backpack (vs. an over the shoulder bag), especially when I’m with both a toddler and a baby. I just find it easier to manage everything and everyone.
This car seat is fantastic! We’ve used a Chicco KeyFit 30 for all three of our kids. It’s the #1 rated infant car seat in the country, and is super easy to install. This is an absolute essential (obviously, unless you don’t ever travel by car!). And you can’t go wrong with this model.
This stroller is the unsung hero of all my baby items. It’s not a “cool” or fancy stroller. But it is the most practical stroller I’ve ever owned. It is super lightweight, you can fold it up with one hand, and your Chicco KeyFit 30 carseat clicks right into it (it actually makes a loud CLICK sound which lets you know it’s in). It’s the best stroller for grocery shopping and other errands (I can even fit groceries for my entire family in the storage underneath!) It’s not a stroller for long walks – this is really an
“errand stroller” that you can keep in your trunk. It is designed to go exclusively with the Chicco KeyFit car seat.
This stroller was the big ticket item on my baby registry. And I’m so glad I got it! I do not use this for daily errands – that’s what the KeyFit Caddy is for. The Bumbleride is a jogging stroller and is awesome for long walks or jogs, including on rough terrains. I love this stroller – it’s really nice looking, easy to handle, not too bulky, and is car-seat compatible (including with the Chicco KeyFit 30, which is how I used it when the kids were smaller). As your baby grows you can ditch the car seat and just put your child directly in it. I’ve owned multiple strollers over the years, and my recommended combo is definitely the Bumbleride + the Chicco Frame Stroller.
I love baby carriers! I’ve used lots of them, but I’ll only list my very favorites. (You can also check out my babywearing resource page for babywearing tips).
The LILLEbaby is an extremely comfortable and versatile baby carrier. You can wear it in 6 positions, and I especially like the pocket, which is big enough to fit the basics (keys, phone, diaper). It’s also really easy to put on and take off even without assistance.
This was the first baby carrier I ever had, and is still one of my most used, even 6 years and 2 more kids later! The Ergo has the softest, most comfortable fabric of any of the structured carriers I’ve tried. Ergo has a higher end model, the Omni 360, (which features a forward facing option). I personally don’t love using the forward facing position, so for me the Ergo Original is better (it has a nicer pocket and is softer/more pliable).
The Baby K’Tan is my favorite carrier for newborns. In those first few months it’s nice to have a wrap on hand. The K’Tan is an easy-to-use wrap with no complicated techniques to get it on and off. It keeps the baby very cozy and even works well after a C-section. Once the baby is over 3 months old, I was ready to move on to a structured carrier like the Ergo and LILLEbaby (although you can use the K’Tan for longer, I think it’s best suited to younger babies).
I won’t wax poetic about diapers here, but exciting or not you’ll need them! Lots of them. Here are my favorite diapering products.
I find Pampers to be absorbent and they don’t have an annoying smell. They have fit well on all my kids. Those are pretty much the features I want in a diaper! I also prefer to use the Pampers wipes, and I buy them in bulk.
Feeding your baby can be fun – and messy. These are my must-haves items in the kitchen.
This high chair is great – it’s compact enough that it doesn’t take up too much floor space, it has a really nice design, and it can be used as a chair as your child grows into toddlerhood and beyond. You can pull it right up to the dinner table, or use an attached tray. It also wipes down very well. I love this chair!
These silicone bibs are so much more practical than the cloth type. You can rinse them right down, and they catch stray food. Trust me, you’ll already have enough laundry. You don’t need to add bibs to that pile.
I had a lot of trouble getting my second baby to take a bottle, and so many people recommended the Comotomo. They all said it was the only bottle their baby would take. And lo and behold – it ended up being the only bottle my baby would take!
Here are a few of my all-time favorite items for when the baby needs a little motion or play time.
I initially wanted something smaller, but this was the only swing that ever reliably worked for all 3 of my kids. This swing can move in two different directions and at variable speeds. It also has songs and sounds to choose from. Most importantly, it’s really cozy. My kids have all loved to nap in this, so we kept it on the first floor within eyesight.
This toy is magic, and has some bizarre staying power. My first baby started playing with it in, well, babyhood – and continued to play with it for the next 5 years! My other kids also love it. As do, apparently, the 16,000 people who gave it a 5-Star rating on Amazon.
I hope this list helps! And if you have a favorite item of your own, leave it in the comments below!
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