After having 2 babies, a list of “Baby Essentials” seems like a little too much… but I remember when I was pregnant for the first time… I was so lost in the sea of information, products and such… I ended doing a ton of research on everything that was out in the market back then. I would have loved to have a comprehensive list of things true and tested by someone! So here’s a list of baby things I’ve used and sent to all my newly pregnant friends. I now have had a chance to try out many things, and out of experience figure out what was worth getting and what not. Hope you find this list useful too!
NOTE: This is a list of the things I’ve tried and loved. It’s not intended to be a guide for security or safety. Also, non of the products featured in here are sponsored. We’ve either bought or received them as gifts or hand-me-downs.
Cherry Berkely ready-to-assemble changing table (the one I have has lasted for over 6 years)
Changing pad with covers (at least 3) and boppy liners (very important for the first 3 months, or you’ll be washing covers three times a day).
Infant stim-mobil for the crib. All the battery operated ones tend to break down very fast, and they burn batteries like nothing.
DaVinci convertible crib, 3 en 1. It works as crib, toddler bed and then full sized bed (if you also get the side-rails).
For Baby N. 2 we got the South Shore Crib in Cherry, and it transforms into a toddler bed too. We like it, and we don’t want another convertible to full size bed as we don’t have the space for it.
LA Baby, memory foam mattress. On one side it is firm for baby, and the other side it has pressure relief foam for toddler.
3 fitted sheets and a mattress protector. The protector we bought at target, and the sheets were part of the crib set we have from Skip Hop. Again, they’ve lasted more than 5 years of use, so I like the brand.
Sleep sheep, from cloud b (travel model). 4 different nature sounds to lull baby to sleep. Baby n.1 wouldn’t go to sleep without it. Baby n.2 couldn’t care less about it.
Graco Travelite, travel crib & bassinet. This is where your baby will sleep the first 2-3 months, before moving into the crib. If you want you could buy a playpen-bassinet instead, if you plan on using the playpen afterwards. I actually feel that once they are mobile, it is best just to designate a play area for them and baby-proof it. I just got a Baby Bjorn travelite crib. It cost more than double of what the Graco costs, but it is bigger and also A LOT lighter. It’s incredibly easy to put together and strike down, but baby n.2 loves it. We lend it every now and then to another friend of ours, and her baby loves the Baby Bjorn too.
Baby Trend New Diaper Champ — diaper pail. What I like about that one is that uses regular trash bags, which can be very convenient. But it doesn’t seal the diaper “aroma” completely.
With baby n.1 we had the Chicco travel system. This is a baby stroller with a matching rear-facing car seat for up to 30 lbs. That’s good for at least the first year of the baby, and it is pretty comfortable for them. It was also rated as the safest carseat for infants when n.1 was born (2008). You could also get the infant carseat and a stroller frame that fits the car seat. The Chicco stroller is good, but pretty bulky.
For baby n.2 we got a Citi Mini GT, which is a wonderful stroller. It’s a bit bulky and heavy, but it drives very nicely and has a lot of room for the child to grow into. I love the brake system and how easily it collapses. However, it always get all mixed up on how to put it back together again. If you plan to use this stroller for a new born, then you need a new born insert — I got the Summer Infant one and it worked perfect.
On car seats. For n.2 I found out that the best rated car seat for 2013 was the Graco Snugride 35, and it has a 10 lb. stroller frame. The Graco is cheaper, but the only thing I don’t like about it is the clasp… however, after the huge recall Graco had, the newer models work better. You can also use the Britax Roundabout (or any Britax brand) which is a convertible carseat… rear facing for at least the first year AND 20 pounds, then forward facing for up to 60 lbs. What I loved the best about the Britax was the velcro on the straps to keep them apart while you put the baby in. Sounds ridiculous, but it is pretty convenient. In one of the cars we have the Graco Nautilus, which goes from 20 to 100 lbs… all forward facing from when they are AT LEAST 1 year-old, AND 20 lbs, up to when they can finally leave the booster seat and travel in the car like any other passenger. Also, STAY AWAY FROM THE FERRARI CARSEAT. A friend of mine bought it and it is the most complicated thing to use. Looks nice, but it is a total nuisance.
We purchased the Diono Radian RXT for n. 2, which is a convertible that goes from birth to booster (5 lb. to 120 lb.). I wish I had known about this before, as it is the most compact and safe car seat out there now (2014). We’ve now been using it with for a few months and I like it a lot. I’d definitely recommend it, and that way you don’t have to ever buy another carseat.
Chicco Travel Hook-on chair. This is a great travel chair, very easy to put together and break apart. For dining with friends and places without high chairs, this is a great option. However, it doesn’t work with all tables. I do like the fact that it is very portable, though.
A diaper bag. We had the Colorado Tote for baby n.1, then gave it to some friend and just used the hospital’s diaper bag for baby n.2. I really just prefer to use my camel hiking backpack to bring stuff once they get a little older. The more stuff you can pack in a diaper bag, the more stuff you need to carry…
Baby Ergo with the infant insert. What I like about it is that it is a lot easier to use and better for your baby’s development than the baby Bjorn. Apparently that one can cause hip dysplasia. And it is also more comfortable for both mom and baby. I also have a Moby wrap, which is the most comfortable of the three, but a hassle to put on and take off. For newborns the Moby is definitely the most comfortable choice for both mom and baby, and you can even nurse with it — but you need to either not take it off once it’s on, or have someone help you.
For traveling, I recommend the maclaren Volo, which is the lightest and sturdiest one in the market. But you won’t be able to use it until the baby is at least 6 months old and can sit on his own.
Cherry Glider/Ottoman Combo with Fern Microfiber By: Shermag. This is our glider, the best and most comfortable piece we found for breastfeeding and bottle feeding.
My breast friend – This is a very good thing to help you learn and hold your baby while breastfeeding… without killing your back. I also have a Boppy pillow, that has less clasps and stuff to do. It is less comfortable that the Breastfriend, but also easier to get on and off.
We had the The First Years Night & Day Bottle Warmer By: The First Years with baby n.1. Very important thing to have, to warm bottles and baby food to the right temperature. It still works, after 5 years. However, I decided to make my own baby food for Baby n.2, and got the Cuisinart babyfood maker, which I love. It also has a bottle warmer, so I gave by First Years to another friend.
BornFree 2-Pack 5-oz Wide Neck Bottles By: Born Free Inc. These are BPH free, and this brand was the only n.1 liked for bottles. What is great about these is that you can buy sippy-cup spouts and use the bottles, whenever the baby is ready to move away from the bottle. N.2 also loves this brand, so we stuck to it. However, now that I weaned N.2 to the bottle, it turns out I can’t find Born Free anywhere (they used to have them at Babies R Us, but not anymore)… However, I discovered Tommee Tippee bottles, which my baby loves.
Munchkin bottle drying rack and bottle brush.
Svan high chair, with tray, plastic cover and cushions. This one grows with your baby, and becomes a chair when they are older. Still working great for n. 2.
Medela Tender Care HydroGel Pads By: Medela. They are the most important thing to have, specially at the very beginning. Nursing HURTS, and these are very very soothing.
Lansinho nipple care or Motherlove. Specially until your breasfeeding get established, because nipples tend to crack and hurt a lot. Very very important to have. N.1 didn’t care about Lansinho, n.2 didn’t like the flavor, so Motherlove was better for him.
Bra protectors – Lansinho, if you want disposables. I bought 6 re-washables by Gerber, and that worked great for me.
Nursing bras — at least 4 or 5. Do not buy bras with underwires, as they can plug your milk ducts. Wait until you’re about to give birth to buy these, as your bra size will change considerably.
Nursing tops — Or whatever gives you easy and comfortable access to the breast for breastfeeding. I used to love the V necks or Cawl necks over anything else, but it all depends on your personal taste and style of nursing.
Ameda Purely yours breast pump. That is the one I used. It is a lot cheaper than the Medela one (which everyone uses) and as far as I know the only FDA approved breast milk pump. For n.2 I have the Medela Pump in style and also the manual pump (Harmony). They are perfectly fine, and both pumps worked exactly the same for me.
Nursing cover by Modest mommy or Uddercovers. It wasn’t until I bought this that I felt comfortable nursing in public. I do recommend it a lot. Modest Mommy is thicker, Uddercovers is a lot lighter.
Soft tipped spoons. We used Munchkin, Gerber and Boon.
At least two sets of plates for feeding baby. I’d recommend Boon, which has a suction cup on the bottom to prevent food from flying across the room. LaCie has some nice things too, as well as baby bjorn. Now that Tiny A is eating solids, I do want to stress on the importance on the suction cups under the plates, which save a ton of flying plates full of food. Tommee Tippee also has some plates with a separate suction cup to go under, which is another option to go about it.
Bibs. We have a ton of clothes ones, which will be useful for the liquid stuff. But when they begin finger foods, Tommee Tippee or bumkins plastic are the best (we used to use the Bjorn ones, but they are a lot heavier than the Tommee Tippee).
Burp cloths — We recommend the kidney shaped ones that JJ Cole has. They are very cute and the most comfortable ones. However, Gerber, Aidan and Anais and also Silkies are fine too.
Bumbo seat. For when babies start to seat. For n.1 it was great, n.2 is too active to like this one much.
Tiny Love bouncer with music crab and vibrating seat. This one was the best for the money I could find, and baby loves it. He did outgrow it at around 7 months, when he started being mobile.
Tiny love exercise mat. Same thing with this. Both Babies loved it, and it started with n.1 and lasted all the way to n.2 after passing it to many other friends.
Little Einstein’s excersaucer. This one is very sturdy, well made, and it has some words in 3 languages (Spanish, English and French). However, you should wait to see your child’s nature before buying one of these… For Tiny A we should have bought a jumping type of excersaucer, instead of the 360º turning one.
Fisher Price or Graco jumperoo. This thing clasps to the door frame and they can bounce and spin around. N.1 couldn’t care less about it, N.2 adores it and still gets in there during my shower (at 15 months) to spin. He usually ends up falling asleep in it for his nap!
— Having plenty of places to put the baby down to play is basic, if you want to have any time at all for yourself —
Soft foam mat, for when they start sitting up and crawling. We have a set of letter giant puzzle pieces, but I know the foam those are made of has been controversial lately.
Soft toys with bright colors and textures. Sassy, Tiny Love and Lamaze have a wide variety of baby toys with noises, handles, etc that stimulate babies growing brains.
Also, when they are older, stackable toys are great. Tiny A’s favorites now are Melissa and Doug’s stacking alphabet boxes and Fisher Price’s Stack and Roll cups.
Plenty of books and music. If you speak another language, make sure you have books and music for children in that language too!! It’s very important, as it will lay down the basics of your child’s language skills. For smaller babies it is also a good idea to have a good variety of board and cloth books, so they can learn about reading and appreciating books, without tearing the pages off.
Bath and grooming:
Bath tub with new born insert.
Bath toys. I love Bath creatures by Boon. Your baby probably won’t play with them before 6 months, but they are really sweet and easy to keep clean (what I don’t like about squeaky toys is that they end up getting yucky after a while)
Soft sponges for bathing baby.
At least 4 soft towels with hoodies and washcloths. I love the Aiden and Anais washcloths. They are the softest.
Mustela new born baby kit, or California Baby. I’ve also tried Aveeno, which I like, but the Mustela is the scent and products I like best.
Elegant baby Hygiene kit – includes thermometer, brush, comb, dropper and nail clipper.