After you find out you’re pregnant and the initial giddiness wears off, it starts to set in that you’ll be responsible for keeping another human being ALIVE.
That’s serious business, and one school of thought is to take out a second mortgage and buy every baby-related gadget ever invented to insure against you making a stupid mistake.
On the other end of the spectrum, some will tell you that the ONLY baby must haves are your boobs, some diapers, and a comfortable bed to sleep in – with the diapers and bed being optional.
Here Are the Real Baby Must Haves
I fall somewhere in between the two camps. Plus, after having four babies I’ve had a lot of opportunities to learn what makes life easier and what you can live without.
Here are the real baby must haves for taking care of your little one. Start your registry on Amazon†, add these baby registry must haves to it, and you’ll be sitting pretty by the time your sweet little bundle arrives.
Whether you plan to breastfeed or bottle-feed, these are the baby must haves you’ll want to have on hand.
- A nursing pillow that will keep you from getting muscle cramps in your arm from holding baby during countless feedings every day
- Burp cloths that are soft (for baby’s sensitive skin) and absorbent (to catch or wipe up baby’s spit-up)
- A tracking app to keep tabs on when baby last ate (and slept) because it’s easy to forget when you’re sleep-deprived
- Nipple cream for when your nipples are cracked and sore (be prepared!)
- Nursing pads to save your shirts from those telltale circle-shaped leaks
- A couple sleep nursing bras because you won’t know your final size for at least a couple weeks
- Bottles – glass or plastic that’s free of nasty chemicals
- Newborn nipples – but before you stock up on a full supply of nipples keep in mind you may have to try a handful of brands to find the one your baby prefers
- A bottle brush to keep separate from your regular dish brush, so you don’t end up scrubbing nasty food particles into the bottles as you try to clean them for baby
- A bottle drying stand for after you sterilize the bottles
- A couple weeks’ worth of baby formula to start because you’ll want to make sure your baby doesn’t have a reaction to the formula you chose before you buy a ton
- An insulated cooler or carrier for prepared bottles when you want to leave the house more than an hour at a time
Sleep Must Haves
Getting your baby to sleep (and stay asleep) is one of the most stressful parts of the newborn phase. But these baby must haves will make your job so much easier.
- A white noise machine to remind your baby of being in the womb, which is a must for getting them to sleep…and keeping them asleep
- A bassinet or co-sleeper to keep in your bedroom because putting your baby to sleep in the same room as you decreases the risk of SIDS
- Sheets for the bassinet or co-sleeper – aim for 3 total as backup after middle of the night accidents so you don’t have to do laundry at 2:00 am
- Mattress protectors – aim for 2-3 total for the same reason
- Swaddle sacks because most babies tend to break free of even the tightest swaddle blanket
- A reliable baby monitor for keeping an eye and ear out for baby during naps (and for later when baby moves out of your room)
- A red night light so you can see what you’re doing during the middle-of-the-night diaper changes and feedings without disrupting your baby’s sleep cycles (or your own)
- Black-out shades or curtains to create a womb-like environment for baby so she’ll sleep better
I’ve done cloth diapers, disposable diapers, and a mixture of both. Regardless of which direction you go, you’ll need these baby must haves to keep up with your baby’s diaper needs.
- Diapers – but don’t stock up on a ton of newborn-sized diapers because baby may surprise you and grow out of them quickly (or be too big for them already at birth)
- Wipes – you may want to pick up wipes for sensitive skin for at least the first couple weeks when baby’s skin will be brand new to this world
- A changing table and pad, or at least a pad that fits on top of an existing dresser (your back will thank you)
- Changing table covers – aim for 2-3 so you have backups when baby goes all over the changing table (that’s not just a baby boy thing either, by the way)
Check out these more specific lists of baby must haves:
- 12 Must-Haves to Survive Your Newborn’s First Month
- 7 Surprising Must Haves for Baby – From a Second-Time Mom Who’s Starting Over
- 8 Must Haves That Make the Perfect Gifts for New Dads
- 6 Surprising Songs to Soothe a Fussy Baby
- 25 Surprising Toys Your Baby Will Totally Love
- The Best Baby Board Books That Will Delight Your Baby (And You)
Social media feature photo by Travis Swan.