Sleep
  • Miracle blanket: These are totally worth the $30 price tag if you have a baby that Houdinis his or her way out of any other swaddle however, it’s possible to find them at a consignment store, with diligence and patience
  • Crib and mattress: Of course think of aesthetics but also of durability, storage possibilities, and reuse
  • 2 waterproof mattress pads: I love this particular brand because they’re very breathable (no sweaty babies!) and don’t make a crinkly plastic noise
  • 2+ sheets: My favorite have been jersey knit
  • Muslin swaddles: When my first child was born, the only brand out there was Aden and Anais, but now there are many brands with many prints. I’ve used these as a nursing cover, car seat cover, thin blanket for toddlers on vacation, sun shade, makeshift baby sling, and superhero cape, to name a few
  • Wubbanub/Dr Browns lovey pacifier: Yes, these are cute but they’re also incredibly useful. The extra weight of the stuffie prevents the pacifier from rolling away into a distant corner of the crib during the night.
  • Pack n play: These can range from simple to elaborate. If you’re going to use it in your bedroom for a while after the baby is born, perhaps you want one with a bassinet or changing station. We preferred something smaller than the pack n play and went with a simple one with no regrets (we’ve been using the same one for 3 babies over 7+ years)
  • Graco quilted pack n play sheet: The only pack n play sheet worth having! It adds a little padding to an otherwise stiff mattress and has real elastic around the edges for a tight fit. If you’re likely to travel often or for long periods of time, I recommend having 2.
  • Portable bassinet: If you have large pets or older children running around the house, I cannot recommend having a small bassinet to move around the house enough. If I were to buy one today, I’d stalk Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist for a Halo bassinet.
  • Sleep sacks (wearable blankets) in multiple sizes: I’ve purchased (and liked) Yoga Sprout muslin wearable blankets for warmer weather and fleece Halo sleepsacks for winter. My babies have always slept better with multiple layers and I’m happy to get more sleep!
  • White noise machine: You get a white noise machine! You get a white noise machine! A white noise machine in every bedroom! The Marpac Dohm UNO white noise machine doesn’t loop and provides a constant, steady whirring sound.
  • Video Baby monitor: We received the Infant Optics DXR-8 video monitor as a gift when our second son was a baby. Even with a small house, having a video monitor was espeically useful for the toddler years. I don’t use one this one on a daily basis anymore but don’t travel to a vacation rental house without it! I’ve heard really good things about v-tech video monitors as well.
Nursing
  • Pump (go through your insurance, most pay for at least 50%)
  • Bottles: No matter what your breastfeeding plans are, it is a very good idea to have a few different bottles on hand. Babies tend to have opinions about bottles so having 1 or 2 of several different brands is a smart way to start out before buying an entire set
  • Lansinoh milk freezer bags: They lay completely flat in the freezer and take up much less space!
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby nipple butter: Lanolin was so sticky and hurt to apply. This butter was a lifesaver!
  • Breast pads (disposable or reusable): There was never a point while I breastfed my babies where I didn’t leak milk before or during a feeding. I needed more absorbancy than what reusable pads could give me and settled on Philips Avent breast pads because they were easiest to open one-handed (a necessity)
  • Nursing bras (both for day and sleep): I loved the Kindred Bravely Simply Sublime seamless for day and their organic cotton sleep bra for night
  • Nursing tanks: I loved the support and smoothing action of the Bravado Basics slimming cami from Target. They were great immediately postpartum through weaning.
  • Formula (always good to have on hand, regardless of your breastfeeding plans): Enfamil and Similac both have rewards programs that will send you coupons and samples
  • Nursing pillow (perhaps? I never liked mine. I preferred a firm bed pillow)
  • Burp cloths (plain white cloth diapers, 2 dozen)
  • Boon Grass drying rack with stem/twig/poke: We’re beyond the bottle/pumping stage and still use this daily. My parents bought one after seeing ours and use it for water bottles and small parts
Toys
  • Silicone banana toothbrush: This teether reaches spots on the gums that most other toys cannot
  • Silicone teethers: Flexible and chewy
  • Oball toys: From the basic ball to push cars, this line of toys is great for tiny fingers to hold onto. They’ve been a hit with all of our boys.
  • Bright Starts Lots of Links: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways! They connect toys together, hang toys from the car seat handle, lock cupboard doors (at home and on vacation), are perfect first bath toys, and more.
  • Board books: We are frequent library visitors and I’m a huge advocate of making books available for children at their level from the moment they’re big enough to turn a page. I wrote about some of our favorite board books in this post.
  • Mirror: Our first baby was 5 weeks old when he started chattering to the picture of a baby on the side of a diaper package. I knew then that we needed a mirror! We kept this mirror through all of our boys’ babyhood and it made tummy time much more pleasant.
  • Play Gym: There are many different kinds of play gyms but my recommendation is one where the baby has room to roll from side to side and can be tempted by a manner of hanging toys. Of all the larger pieces of baby gear, this is one you may need earliest. Most babies are interested in talking to their reflection by one month old.
  • Some sort of containment unit (jumper, walker): Our house is many things but big is not one of them. I preferred to have only 1 larger baby item out at once. We cycled through a Jumperoo (so, so much love for the free-standing jumper), swing, and walker on wheels as baby developed.
  • Hanging toys
Travel
  • Infant car seat (Graco and Chicco are most popular)
  • A stroller (that lays all the way flat)
  • Some sort of baby wearing device: I like a wrap (baby k’tan) for small infants and a soft structured carrier like the Ergo 360 for bigger babies and toddlers
  • Rear and forward facing convertible seat (usually go up to 50+ lbs)
  • Car mirror
  • Extra base for a second car
  • Quilted cover for cold weather
Healthcare
  • Nail clippers
  • Gripe water
  • Gas drops
  • Infant Tylenol
  • Baby ibuprofen
  • Diaper rash ointment
  • Nose Frida and extra filters
  • Saline drops
  • Humidifier
  • Vicks waterless vapor plug in
  • Boogie wipe
  • Baby wash
  • Lotion (unscented)
  • Kneeling Pad
  • Bath toys (can easily wait on these for their 1st birthdays)
Diapering
  • Fragrance free wipes (i like Huggies, they’re thicker)
  • Newborn to size 3 diapers (Pampers Swaddlers for little sizes, Huggies Movers for really chunky babies and older babies)
  • Wipable travel changing mat
  • Changing pad
  • 2 covers
  • Trash can/diaper genie
Mom
  • Earth Mama Angel Baby bottom balm
  • Tucks wipes
  • Dermoplast spray (Blue top! Can get at the hospital)
  • Ibuprofen
  • Robe and comfy sweatpants
  • Pads
  • Epsom salt
  • Rice bag/heating pad
Clothes
  • Plain onesies (short and long sleeved in many sizes)
  • Footed sleepers in light weight fabric and fleece
  • Infant mitten
  • Socks of all sizes
  • Towels and washcloths
Toddler Feeding
  • Silverware (soft tipped and toddler spoons and forks)
  • Plates and bowls (Target has pillowfort brand dishes in many colors for $0.59 each, microwave and dishwasher safe)
  • Munchkin snack catchers
  • Sippy cups (several different varieties because babies have preferences)
  • Wipable silicone bibs
  • High chair (as few crevasses as possible to clean)
  • Travel booster seat
Large Items (easy and way cheaper to buy these second hand)
  • Mamaroo swing
  • Jumperoo
  • Diaper bag (stroller straps or a XL carabiner to attach to stroller)
  • Comfy nursing chair + table + dimable lamp

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