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Baby Essentials / favorites for your little one

Baby Essentials: a list of favorite baby gear, nursery items and accessories / jones design company

We’re going to have a new baby in the family this summer.  Don’t worry – she’s not ours. Ryan’s brother and sister-in-law are having their first and we can hardly wait! My Jones side is already overflowing with kiddos (12 kids ages 11 and under), but this will be the first new baby on the other side of the family besides our kids.

It will also be the first time I can be an auntie to a new baby without having a baby of my own! I’m so looking forward to holding and spoiling her and watching our kids fall in love with their baby cousin.

Since this is the first baby for my sister-in-law, she is brand new at all of this. The other day she sent me the most darling text that went something like this:

“I had a slight panic attack in Target when we went to register. There is just so much stuff!! We got through an aisle and a half before I freaked out. The breast pumps were what did me in. Any suggestions for what we’ll actually want/need?”

First, I laughed. Because it is quite overwhelming – especially when you’re new to the whole baby thing. And then next, I replied with an equally overwhelming long list of what she’ll want/not want. Apparently I have some opinions on baby paraphernalia.

Even though I’ve been out of this baby game for 5 years, I did do it four times and have a pretty good idea of what was totally necessary, what products I loved and what items were a waste when it came to setting up a nursery.

Since we’re in that springtime season of baby showers, I thought it might be helpful to share that list with all of you as well.

(Keep in mind that I’m 5 years removed from the baby trends. It seems like all sorts of ingenious and adorable products have been introduced since I had Audrey, so feel free to chime in at the end to let us know what fantastic and essential items you would add to my list.)

So, here it is – my list for my soon-to-be first time mama sister-in-law:

BABY ESSENTIALS: the best gear for your baby / jones design company

 

1. Infant Carseat

The key to choosing an infant carseat is making sure it is comfortable to hold between the crook of your elbow while juggling 18 other things. This one from Britax is a favorite.  You’ll probably want a stroller you can clip the carseat into, so whichever carseat you select, be sure to grab the coordinating travel system.

2. Bouncy Seat

I know you’ll want to hold your baby all the time, but soon enough you’ll find you just need to set her down for a few minutes (or hour) and a bouncy seat that vibrates is key. I wish they would not put such baby-ish designs on these things, but one like this isn’t too offensive and will work like a dream.

3. Portable Crib

There are so many different ones to choose from. I just like how simple to use and easy-on-the-eyes this one from 4moms is.

4. Booster Seat

This one is totally up to you, but we never bought a real high chair. We used this booster seat for all 4 kids (just buckled it onto a chair). It is easy to bring with you when you visit friends for dinner and can be scrubbed down without much effort.

5. Bumbo Seat

Once the little darling is old enough to sit up, the bouncy seat will lose it’s magic and in will come the bumbo seat. It allows the baby to sit up with support and watch what’s going on. Just don’t leave the baby sitting in it on the counter. That freaks me out.

6. Umbrella Stroller

A light-weight, easy-to-fold stroller like this Maclaren version is essential once the baby grows out of the carseat carrier. Just beware that hanging a heavy diaper bag on the handles causes it to tip backward. Not that I have any experience with this or anything.

7. Moses Basket

When the baby is a newborn, she’ll sleep all the time. I loved having a small moses basket nearby to let the baby nap. We also used this for the first month or so in our room before we moved the babies to their own cribs.

8. Baby Bjorn Carrier

A great hands-free option for holding the baby: the classic Baby Bjorn. You could also go with a wrap (like this one) which I like for newborns.

BABY ESSENTIALS: favorites for setting up your nursery / jones design company

1. Changing Pad

This curved changing pad is great for adding to the top of a dresser instead of purchasing a changing table.

2. Changing Pad Cover

Just add a simple terry cloth changing pad cover to the pad (or go with a patterned or colored one – there are so many designs to choose from). You’ll probably want at least two covers, so you can switch them out and wash regularly.

3. Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

To save on washing the entire changing pad, these waterproof liners are great for layering over-top to catch any leaks (of which there will be plenty).

4. Swaddling Blanket

You’ll become an expert in wrapping your baby up like a burrito, and these extra-large swaddling blankets from Swaddle Designs are my favorite.  They come in many different stylish patterns and are super soft. Or, if you want a lighter option (especially great for warmer climates), these muslin swaddles are great too.

5. Stroller Blanket

My babies each had a special blanket (actually, they all still sleep with theirs still) and these fluffy ones from Little Giraffe are the best. You really can never have too many blankets – great for snuggling up in the stroller for morning walks – and there are endless options. This classic white knit blanket is sweet, and this pom pom version is super cute too.

6. Swaddle Sleep Sack

When your baby starts breaking out of a regular blanket swaddle, these sleep sacks make it so easy to give them that comforting swaddle feel and extra warmth of a blanket. It’s a little bit like a straight jacket, but just try to see past that part.

7. Baby Monitor

Go with your gut on this one, but my recommendation is to skip the video monitor and stick with just the sound monitor version. Honestly, we hardly even used ours. There is a mother’s instinct that just knows when a baby is about to wake up, so rarely was I surprised to hear the baby. Also, babies make strange noises when they sleep and I never felt the need to hear all of them while I tried to get a few hours of rest. It’s up to you, though. I know everyone has different opinions on this one.

8. Sound Machine

The womb is a noisy place, so a little white noise makes it easier for a baby to sleep. And if your household is noisy, a sound machine will cover up those noises to prevent premature wake-ups.

BABY ESSENTIALS: accessories for your little one

 

1. Sophie the Giraffe

This classic teething toy is just plain cute. See it in action (and a really sweet photo sequence of my baby girl) here.

2. Trumpette Socks

My aunt bought a set of trumpette socks for my first son before he was born and I became an instant fan. They are socks that stay on babies’ little feet and have the cutest designs. The Mary Janes are my favorite.

3. Burp Cloths

Such an essential item for little ones who spit up (mine were the worst). I love these soft, simple organic burp cloths, or you could make a bunch of your own with terrycloth and cotton (tutorial here).

4. Petit Bateau Crossover Bodysuit

These sweet onesies are a splurge for sure, but well worth it. These soft shirts can be worn on their own during the early days of snuggling the newborn, or worn under clothes for an extra layer. The crossover style makes changing baby much easier without having to pull a shirt over her head. And once you feel the quality of material, there’s no going back.

5. Pilot Cap

Hats are a good idea for babies, and these organic cotton pilot caps from Hanna Andersson are not only adorable, but also practical. The chin ties keep the hat on and ear flaps keep tiny ears warm.  Start with a lightweight one for warmer months and switch to a thicker winter version when the weather turns chilly.

6. Board Books

One can never have too many books. Good, solid board books are great for baby. These are our family’s favorites of all: Tumble Bumble, Peepo, Going on a Bear Hunt, Sheep in a Jeep. For more books for baby, check out this post.

7. Diaper Bag

You’ll want a good diaper bag. It doesn’t have to be huge with tons of pockets or even one from Petunia Pickle Bottom (although they make great bags!), just roomy enough to hold an extra change of clothes, diapering items, snacks, toys, your wallet, phone and lipstick and random things like socks and hats and bottles and binkies and sunscreen and hand sanitizer. Actually, I take that back. You will want something huge.

8. Plush Bunny

While pregnant with No.1, I vowed that we would not be a stuffed animal family. I’m not sure why, exactly, other than that there are a lot of weird looking stuffed animals that I did not want cluttering up the nursery. And then my mom gave me our first JellyCat stuffed bunny and my mind was changed. These are darling plush toys that the kids love and so I’ve given in. And (of course) my kids turned out to be total stuffed animal fans.

double-line-tiny

So there it is. My list of baby essentials.

I’d love to know … what’s on your list of nursery necessities?

(top photo credit: rareandbeautifultreasures.com)

113 thoughts on “Baby Essentials / favorites for your little one”

  1. Hi, I started following you when I was looking for cute Christmas gift tags. I love your style, so many great ideas!

    Have you seen the moon cocoon sleep sack from nini & pumpkin? It’s a great sleep sack that adjusts to grow with your child so it’s a great investment. You can check it out at niniandpumpkin.com.

    We are based in San Franciisco and just launched last fall!

    Best,
    Pamela

  2. What fun to add to this Essentials List! I would like to add a couple of things if I may, the Satin Trim Chenille Blanky by “Little Giraffe” to keep her comforted and the PhysiObébé Cleansing Fluid by Mustela for a little safe cleansing which are both available at Nordstrom.

  3. I forgot one of my favorite momma items of all time, the mommy hook.

    http://www.amazon.com/Mommy-Hook-Silver-Black-Pad/dp/B004WN7AH2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426773566&sr=8-1&keywords=mommy+hook

    It is great for securely holding a bag to your stroller handle. Maybe not the best for a lightweight stroller prone to tipping but we had a beefier stroller and the hook was tremendously useful – handbag, shopping bags, car keys, water bottles (if equipped with a hole or strap) – this hook holds all kinds of stuff.

  4. You’re the best, Em. Thanks for writing this all up and putting links…it’s all added onto the terrifying registry! :) I read all the comments, ended up overwhelmed, and realized that it just must be bedtime and I’ll try again later. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  5. babyLit board books! they are too cute and all three of my kids love them for their beautiful colors and fun illustrations. they have so many cute titles for boys and girls now.

  6. Angel Care monitor! Hands down the best investment ever. It monitors motion, as in the baby’s chest rising and falling from breathing. Basically, it will tell you if your baby stops breathing. I think so many SIDS accidents could be prevented from having this monitor. It’s pricey but worth every penny!!!!!!!!

  7. As others have said, Ergo carrier over the Bjorn – ABSOLUTELY. Booster seat over high chair for the win – we used the exact same one for our three boys! Congrats to you and your family.

  8. i would just add the Boppy pillow and bath accessories. I’m on my 3rd and what always strikes me is all the stuff you DONT need! oh those lists with a thousand things on them… no wonder new moms get overwhelmed!

    thanks for keeping it simple as always.

  9. thanks for the link to the bassinet/moses basket. our second is on the way, and this is one thing i’d wished we’d had the first time instead of trying to get the little guy to sleep in this weird rocker thing [he ended up sleeping almost-standing up a lot of the first month strapped into this seat thing . . . not sure what i was thinking there!!]. helpful!

  10. My 2nd baby is now 11mos and the things we have gotten the most use out of are: ergo-bob stroller-halo sleep sacks-como tomo bottles (great for travel etc b/c of wide mouth and soft bottles are great for breast feeding moms that also bottle supplement)-boppy lounger-Aiden anis blankets-chew beads (great accessory for mom too-and video monitor!

  11. 1.- una manta para que se cubra cuando amamante al bebé
    2.- un organizador para llevar las cosas en el auto
    3.- una tonelada de bolsas ziploc para proteger las cosas pequeñas

  12. Seems like you covered just about everything! My favorite sound machine is by Cloud b. there are lots of cute animals to choose fro, and the sound machine portion is small enough to take on a trip. Also, my husband and I wouldn’t have made it without Dr. Harvey Karp’s wisdom via the DVD The Happiest Baby on the Block. Also, a humidifier for the colder months is a must. We chose a Crane model, from the Adorable collection:)

    1. When I had my daughter 12 years ago The Happiest Baby on the Block hadn’t made it to DVD so I just had the book to go with. I swear by his principles. Anytime I find out a friend is expecting for the first time I immediately send a copy to them.

  13. Great roundup of baby essentials Emily. I definitely have to add some of these to my list of go-to-gifts.

    The sleep sack seems to have become an absolute staple for little ones and these ones from http://www.weeurban.ca are wonderful. Great fabrics, design and high quality.

    I also was a big fan of my nursing cover (www.bebeaulait.com) as it gave me the privacy and comfort I wanted when out and about with baby.

    Congratulations on your new baby niece coming soon!

  14. Emily! I was waiting on a surprise announcement from you as I’ve been seeing you pin all kinds of cute baby stuff. *wink

    I think this list is great. I know your sister-in-law will appreciate your help. Congrats on the new addition to the family.

  15. one more item… Mustela Foam Shampoo for newborns…a little pricey but I promise your baby will never be plagued by that unslightly “craddle cap” nearly all babies come down with.

  16. A BABY WIPES WARMER!! Seems like a silly and unnecessary gadget, and while it does lead to higher waste due to some wipes drying out, it is an absolute must!!! Trust me, or better yet conduct this test for yourself: late at night or early in the morning when you’re groggy and tired, wipe your own bottom and face with a room temperature baby wipe. It will feel sooo cold and uncomfortable. You’ll immediately see how any newborn would scream, wail and become agitated during a midnight diaper change. Warm wipes really made the difference in making middle of the night diaper changes and feedings quiet mommy/daughter bonding time and made it so much easier and quicker to sooth her and get her back to sleep.

  17. You have no idea how much I needed this right now. It is overwhelming to a soon(ish) to be mom. All the who-its-what-its that a child needs, or you think you need, or you don’t actually need at all and will be reselling later. I definitely just printed out this post to read later (when the panic goes away lol). Thank you!

  18. I think the Chicco c6 lightweight stroller is a must! It has great storage pockets, is super light, has long handles so its great for your back (you don’t have to lean over when pushing it), and it reclines!! Well worth every cent!!

    http://www.amazon.com/Chicco-Capri-Lightweight-Stroller-Tangerine/dp/B000FFS9VM

    I also love this amazing neoprene pocket organizer that attaches to any umbrella type stroller! Perfect for cellphone, keys, drink for mom, and a bottle or sippy for the kiddo!

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005C9ODIO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  19. I would add milkies milk savers. With my 1st i leaked while nursing, and learned this was a lot more common than i realized. Milk savers is a pocket type thing you put in your bra on your non nursing side and it collects milk. With my 1st, nursing anywhere but home was aweful and messy, this is a great solution for that. You can find them on Amazon.

  20. So many of these were essentials in our house too, when I had Henry (7 years ago now!) As a working mom who had to send lots of bottles for feedings with our babysitter, I really liked the Munchkin dishwasher basket so I could wash all the little parts and pieces of the the bottles and sanitize the pacifiers. And the Munchkin baby bottle drying rack was terrific when hand washing all these items was needed. (The Little Giraffe blanket he received as a baby gift is still a nightly accessory. I’m sure he would see this as an “essential” too.)

  21. This is a great list! We are big, big fans of the Fisher Price Rock n Play sleeper! He and I love the Fisher Price whale tub, cloth books by Lamaze, 4Moms Mamaroo, and footed, zippered sleepers by Carters or baby Gap. I also recommend aden and anais burpy bibs and swaddling blankets. For nursing moms: bravado nursing bras by day and medela or motherhood sleep bras at night. My baby loves his unbreakable mirror by Sassy and his precious moments praying doll that says the “now I lay me down to sleep” prayer when you squeeze its tummy. For riding in the car, the Brica Magical Firefly mirror entertains him on long car rides and helps me to keep an eye on him. I also love my Beco Gemini carrier, it saves my back!

  22. I have a ton of things on your list!

    Might want to skip the Bumbo until she can sit on her own- http://mamaot.com/2013/07/16/beware-the-baby-bumbo-seat/ – we have this one for our 15 week old – http://www.fisher-price.com/en_US/brands/babygear/products/Sit-Me-Up-Floor-Seat – Ergo instead of Bjorn for the same reason as the Bumbo.

    I also love the Rock and Play and the Aden and Anais swaddle blankets. The Halo Swaddlers are great for when they start breaking out of the swaddle, but the blankets are still useful.

    I ran out and bought the Boppy Newborn Lounger after using it at a friend’s when my daughter was a couple weeks old. I thought it was silly since I had a regular Boppy, but it was a lifesaver for the first couple weeks.

    http://www.boppy.com/shop/boppy-newborn-lounger/

    I only have a video monitor, but it’s really nice to be able to flip the video on and see what she’s doing. Sometimes she’s fussy but doesn’t need attention and sometimes she’s fussy and she needs attention. It’s nice to be able to check before going into her room.

    And I’d add a humidifier! The Crane animals are so cute, we have not had any issues with ours.

  23. Ditto on the inchbug silicone bottle/sippy cup labels. We have them for all our kids and they still use them for their re-useable water bottles for school and sports. They are well worth it. I have to add a corelle babipouce to the list – such a sweet first doll. It is available in many different styles for girls http://www.amazon.com/Corolle-Babicorolle-Babipouce-Pink-Happiness/dp/B00AGI9O5I/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1426601683&sr=8-6&keywords=babipouce and boys http://www.amazon.com/Corolle-Babicorolle-Babipouce-Sky-Doll/dp/B0032FPROO/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1426601826&sr=8-7&keywords=babipouce I also highly recommend Justin Roberts’ album Lullaby http://www.amazon.com/Lullaby-Justin-Roberts/dp/B009K5JGSS/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426601878&sr=8-1&keywords=justin+roberts+lullaby.

  24. I like the list but i would add to it the Lattice Print Organic Baby Carrier by Yoli & Otis, it’s too cute i can’t resist it!

  25. Best gift ever a baby mobile (do you still get them??) for above the cot so baby can get used to being alone in their cot and falling asleep. My kids would love the music and the moving mobile and spend ages “chatting” to it so I could get on with the daily chores, and then fall asleep easily in their cot while it was on!!

  26. I’m a grandmother of 4 and have enjoyed seeing all the great stuff that is out there now for you young moms! One thing that most people don’t know is that most people can get those great breast pumps for FREE !! You just need to check with your insurance company. Both my daughter and daughter in law got theirs FREE. ( I’m talking the ones that are over $200)

  27. I agree with the majority of your list & just want to say 2 things: 1 – Jellycat makes the most huggable, sleep-with-worthy stuffed animal friends! & 2 – I truly believe the Bjorn was designed for a man’s body & that women benefit more from mei tai style carriers, Moby-style wraps, and/or slings.
    Great post, as always! I love your perspective!

    1. I agree, Meg! I never used our bjorn – not once!!! But my husband used it all the time. And he is much bigger than me so it was way too much work to re-size it after he used it.

  28. SO funny – you had a bunch of my faves on your list. The one book that I love to give new Moms is an older one. It is called The Making of a Christian Family by Elizabeth Elliot. It is the story of how her parents raised her. I quote from it often when teaching a Bible study to young Moms. I taught through Titus at our women’s retreat this year and read from the book several times. Then we gave away five copies as doorprizes. You can get used copies on ebay or Amazon for $5 or less. It is a wonderful book full of godly teaching on parenting!

  29. I have 4 boys and a 6 week old baby girl. I agree with several on your list. Here are some I would add: My Brest Friend nursing pillow (even better than the boppy – it supports your back really well), Swaddleme baby swaddler, wabbanubs, Potterybarn Kids hooded baby bath towel (it is the softest and very absorbent). For the mom: the book “Treasuring God in our Traditions” by Noel Piper. It is so helpful in being purposeful in treasuring and exalting Christ in the traditions you set in your home. I try to give this to first time moms. Also Lindt chocolate. :) and for a baby girl: hair bows, headbands, and, oh my word, baby leggings!

  30. Muslins (Aden & Anais, Weegoamigo), 1 ply, mini size, 2 ply, 4 ply, every and all sizes & thicknesses! You can use them as blankets, burp cloths, bibs, ground covers for play, nursing covers, sun shields, etc. I cannot live without mine – use them for everything!

  31. Extra bases for your car seat so you don’t have tome it overtime…a time saver for sure. Definitely get a compatible stroller to the car seat. I am also a fan of cloth diapers to use around the house for spills, as a burp cloth and especially if you have a baby who spits up a lot. They are super soft, can be laundered easily and if you add some trims can be precious burp cloths. I am from the Atlanta area and we have a lot of consignment shops here most of which are run by churches and other non-profits. I highly recommend them if they are in your area. So many of the baby items are used for such a shirt period of time and your baby may or may not like them. (Baby #1 loved a swing, baby #2 would have no part of it.) These shops are great ways to get the expensive items that are used for a short period of time and yet are essential to making the time with an infant fun and enjoyable. I love the swaddlers that are out now; if you have an escape artist, they really dome things easier.

  32. No wonder why it is so overwhelming for new moms- I like your ideas but different brands! Ergo baby, baby bjorn bouncy seat, the big swaddle blankets from target (i think they are bamboo but but are light big and soft, perfect for nursing! Lots of zippered pajamas and thats about it!

  33. We adopted twin girls almost 4 years ago. I have the Aden and Anais receiving blankets. We still use them! They are larger so if your baby likes to be swaddled, you can swaddle them longer.

  34. Welll, I think I’ve taken over as oldest of this post…daughters are 29 and 25! Exciting news to share…Glenn and I are expecting our 1st grandbaby this April! Super super excited! Several items on your list my daughter received at her baby shower. And I’m so excited to read all the positive comments on the Rock ‘n Play! My one suggestion is aquaphor! It’s the best! I still use it for myself…chapped anything.

  35. I am 20 years out of baby stuff . I’m the one at the shower who needs explanations as to what the other gifts are!!! I always make a blanket-so easy and personal- buy 1 1/2 meters of 2 different co-ordinating flannels-wash /dry[may shrink] /press-place right sides together – trim pieces to match-pin-sew 1/2 inch seam leaving an open area to turn-turn right sides out-press- stitch opening closed-sew again around edge-maybe 1 inch-done!! A big blanket that can be used on the floor, a crib, or doubled over for a stroll outside. The more it gets washed and used the softer it becomes-beautiful!

  36. I would compliment your amazing list by adding personalized thank you notes. I vividly recall how many gifts arrived at my house daily after I had my son, Thomas. How fun is it to write a beautiful note on personalized stationery with your baby’s name or initials? Thanks for sharing your list.

  37. Ergo carrier- it’s better for mommy’s back and for baby’s hips
    If they plan on having more than 1 child i would highly suggest investing in a baby jogger city select stroller. We’ve been thru 10 strollers in 6 years with 3 kids and I wish I would have purchased this stroller with our first. Blooming flower for baths when they are little. Avent bottle sterilizer- ours has lasted 6 years and is still being used multiple times a day. Medela pump in style and be sure to get several hands free pumping bras- those are a must! Rock and play sleeper and wubanubs pacifiers and adain and anais blankets :)

  38. I couldn’t live without Doterra’s Lavender essential oil. Anytime my little guy was restless or fell and hurt himself, it was lavender to the rescue. Now he is 26 months and he does it himself before he goes to bed or if he gets an owie. Definitely a necessity in the nursery! Additionally, the Honest Company diapers, shampoo and body wash and hair detangler. Love them! I was given a little portable sound machine that hooked on to his car seat and we never left home without it! I loved our Britax B Agile car seat and stroller. It was light, portable, durable and safe. Here’s to happy kids and grateful moms!

  39. I”m sure many mom’s have already posted about the ergo baby carrier, but I will also add WATER WIPES from Target.com. My babies always had such sensitive skin and frequently broke out in a diaper rash if I used anything else in the first month.

  40. I forgot to mention, I love those baby monitors! They weren’t available when I had babies. I relied on the sounds of a muffled cry, or an hourly peek at them in their cribs. Nerve- wracking to say the least.

  41. Good list…..I would add boppy pillow to the list.

    It was good to have when nursing as well as to prop the baby up when the baby starts sitting up.

  42. I’m 33 years away from my last baby, but recently was blessed with our 5th grandchild. For sheer fun, sweetness and smiles from baby, Mama and Daddy, nothing comes close to Sophie the Giraffe! Sophie was in all 5 of my “welcome sweet grand angel” gift baskets and she has never failed to be a favorite. All of them still have their “Sophie”, some packed away as keepsakes, some still in the toy basket.

  43. I concur with the Ergo carrier and love our City Mini Stroller (especially how it shields them from the sun as so many strollers do not).
    I also had a baby monitor that gave the baby’s room temperature. That was always helpful for me to know.

  44. 1. City mini stroller
    2. Boppy nursing/feeding pillow
    3. A great chair, rocking or gliding…one that you can spend HOURS in
    4. Cloth diapers- they’ve come a long way baby!
    5. Sleep ‘n play rocker (ask your doc but this saved my little guy as he had reflux)
    6. Onya baby carrier-washable, back and front carry, ergonomic on baby’s hips AND can be used as a seat on a chair on the go. Good and comfortable support straps for parent too.
    7. Audrey’s hand-me-downs. ;)
    8. Medela double breast pump-(insurance companies often cover the cost of pumps)
    9. Enjoy every second…A wise woman with lots of kiddos told me “The days are long but the years are short.”
    Congrats and praying for you!

  45. White blankie bunny from Bunnies By the Bay is a must! Spare isn’t a bad idea either because I promise it will be a favorite.

  46. I my babies are all grown up but I have the privilege of helping raise my grandson who is 16 months old now. Things have changed a lot since my babies were young!
    Umbrella stroller, the doctors say they should be three before they ride in them now.
    Amazon baby gift registry! All of our out of town family and friends could buy the baby gifts and no doubles!
    The other thing we have gotten a lot of use out of is the nursing pillow. My daughter used the pillow for nursing, for setting the baby up when he got older, great for tummy pictures too! At 16 months he still likes taking naps on it on his cot.
    That is all I would add, great list!

  47. A swing! For a lot of babies (and parents) it is a must have, particularly around dinnertime when you’re trying to get dinner on and nothing else will hush them. :-)

    I had to smile at the plush bunny. This is timely for me – I’m due in a few weeks with the 3rd and final act of our family. :-) We have two boys, and this is a girl. I’ve designed her (almost finished) nursery to be not so “babyish” and the other day I was looking around the room and felt that some childhood “whimsy” was missing and that a stuffed animal was just what I needed….and I chose a stuffed bunny, too. Check him out…he’s so cute:

    http://www.landofnod.com/angora-white-plush-bunny/s616682

  48. I personally think a video monitor is a must have!! And a boppy pillow, nursing cover, and Dr Browns bottles. Oh, and soothie pacifiers!

  49. I would say the wubabub was a must have for us. http://www.wubbanub.com/home.html
    I got tired of chasing the passi when it fell in the car-seat, at least with this when it fell out of her mouth the animal was still laying on her chest.

    The fisher price rock-n-play was a must for us. It was expandable and literally went with us everywhere, in-laws, vacations, holiday events. Was so handy to have.

    …and if in daycare – these gems http://www.inchbug.com/ we used on our bottles for the daycare and still use them on our sippy cups!

    Hope this helps! Morgan

  50. This is a great starter list with so many of our fav items & products! When we had our son, we were living aborad for a 15-months, so we knew we had to keep things pretty simple. The items that we used all the time: the Breastfriend nursing pillow (2nd the first post who mentioned this!), Medela dual freestyle pump, Skip Hop playmat, Moby wrap & later the Ergo 360 when my son was bigger, Phil & Ted’s lobster travel high chair, aden + anais big swaddles (they can be used for everything!), Summer Infant swaddle, Baggu Duck Bag (as diaper bag because it’s light and washable; you could even monogram or personalize with a little effort), and the absolute life saver is my son’s Angel Dear lovely. Congrats and wishing all the best in the weeks ahead!

  51. My husband and I trying to have our first so this is beyond helpful :) thank you so much Emily!!! Congrats on being an auntie :)
    xoxo
    Mariana

  52. Ergo carrier would be a must for me. I still use it with our youngest who’s two. We also loved using a stroller frame with the bucket car seat and the City Mini was fabulous for walks and beyond. In fact we ended up with a double when we had two and three, and are mostly back to our single again. They’re just fabulous and easy strollers.

    Have your SIL do some reading on the Bumbo though. Our first baby used one, but then I learned they can cause hip dysplasia and a whole host of other problems.

    Congrats in the baby girl, Aunt Emily!

  53. What a great source for your SIL! You’ve made a terrific list, Emily! I didn’t see these from another post, so I’d add BOUDREAUX’s BUTT PASTE (for the tiny heiny and LANSINOH cream for mama if she’ll be nursing. Plus, a handy glass of wine when she first starts out (hey, that’s the way I got through the first 2-3 weeks)! Congrats!

  54. Oh! I love the camera monitor because he wakes up and moves and makes noise and doesn’t really need anything ( now at 8 months). I can see that on the Monitor and let him put himself back to sleep. If I just heard the sounds – I think i would go in the room more often and once he sees mommy- that’s what we will want! Just my thought on that!

  55. What about non-toxic products for the home and for baby?
    I was using products that I thought were good for my family, only to learn about greenwashing (advertising designed to make you THINK you are getting environmentally sound products, when you are not) and the importance of knowing how to read ingredients labels. I now consult with Ava Anderson Non Toxic and am stunned at all that I have learned about helping to reduce endocrine disruptors, curb adhd, and other illnesses. Check out http://www.toxicfreecricket.com –Did you know that the FDA does NOT regulate ingredients?! and that tear-free shampoos usually use numbing ingredients to avoid baby from crying? Me neither, but I learned which ingredients to avoid. They have a great baby line!

  56. Baby Bjorn mesh bouncer seat – amazing – it let’s their own body weight do the bouncing – out little man loves to get his legs going and bounce away! He didn’t like it right away but stay the course and he fell in love!
    Baby Bjorn basinette! LOVE! Only fit him for 4 months but was modern and perfect for getting him started by our bed and then you could move to crib!
    Sling for sure – i think it’s personal everyone seems to like something different.
    Medela lanolin for her and for baby skin rashes etc. works on everything for real and that brand one is smooth and the best!
    Medela freestyle pump! Go ahead and invest in the bandeau bra for hands free- pumping can be such a time sink!
    Clothing brands I adore- kissy kissy, kickee pants (organic bamboo), feather baby!

  57. While not all are essentials, the following products were my favorites for getting much needed sleep: 1) tips from the Happiest Baby on the Block book, 2) muslin swaddles, 3) rocking chair, and 4) nice lullaby music. We used the music, specifically Jewel’s lullaby album, to help with sleep training.

  58. Oh without a question the BABY BUM BRUSH !!! As a mom of 5 I totally vouch for this and wish I had it with the other 4. I’m so happy about the chance to share my dear friend’s invention. She is a young mom of two and her invention is finally out on the market. The idea came about when her first was 9 months old and was suffering from a digestive disorder. He had diarrhea for 40 days and was tired of using her finger to apply diaper cream…. Hence, the Baby Bum Brush. You might ask what in the world would I need that for, so I urge you to check out her website and see the youtube video yourself. It’s genius !

    http://www.babybumbrush.com

    It’s definitely a must have !!!

  59. Hi Emily!
    I am a mother of seven ages 10- 4 months and I agree with all of your nursery and gear picks. 70% of the brands you picked are the very ones I use on a daily bases. I would change up th accessories a bit. My must have accessories would be board books, diaper bag, a layette set from Gymboree, and alot of matching bibs. I would also add that your sister-in-law needs at least one sheet change for the crib and the playpen. And, if she plans to breatfeed, a Boppy pillow and a supportive, comfy nursing bra are musts. Blessing to your family and congratulations to your brother-in-law and his wife!

  60. Such beautiful choices! It’s been eight years since my youngest was born, but it’s amazing how much the basics stay the same. And it’s nice that companies are making things that fit better with décor nowadays.

  61. I always like to have a humidifier or an air purifier. With allergy season approaching I think it helps prevent stuffy noses and congestion! I also think a dim light? Nighttime feelings-sometimes you need a little light but you want to keep it dark enough to let baby stay in sleep mode! And last, the mamaroo! It is worth every dime! It was a God sent for me truly.

  62. My youngest is now 9 so a lot has changed in the baby world since then! If I could go back, I would want an Ollie wrap. Those things are amazing and maybe my babies would have been better sleepers!

  63. Definitely agree with the Rock ‘N Play suggestion. Our kid slept in that at the foot of our bed for his first five months, and he LOVED it! So easy to transport too.

    Cloth diapers make great and CHEAP burp cloths. A boppy is great for breast-feeding! Oh, and Wubanubs. So cute! Maybe don’t let your baby sleep with them until they’re older…use a different one for night sleep.

  64. Well, girls – I am the oldster of the group – an empty nester – my two “babies”, 22 and 24, got married last summer (do NOT do this at home!!) so I haven’t heard of most of these wonderful things~ BUT – I will tell you several precious items that were either greatly helpful and/or meaningful:

    1. Jim Trelease’s Read Aloud Handbook. a MUST. You will be educated and assisted in choosing books. http://www.amazon.com/Read-Aloud-Handbook-Seventh-Jim-Trelease/dp/014312160X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1426528226&sr=8-1&keywords=jim+trelease+read+aloud+handbook. My go-to gift for new mommies.

    2. if you’re able, and you ARE – make your baby’s blankie yourself from printed flannel: two pieces sewn together, decorative machine stitching topstitch if you want to get fancy. Make TWO at least, since one will meet a sad end or be lost. It will mean much to you both in years to come. Keep the scraps: I made a teeny tiny blankie for first child to take to kindergarten, hidden under her nap mat :) Second child never looked at his but I was still happy I’d made it. First child is 25 and still has scrap of hers. Priceless.

    3. If possible, install -( or use one you already have) a huge sink someplace in your home – kitchen preferable. Bathing babies in the sink is a joy – no bending,awkward lifting, less chance of slipping, etc – and some young ones will sit in there for 30 minutes playing w cups and water and bubbles, while you cook dinner ….

    4. Naps are essential for , firstly – Mommy, and secondly, baby. There is no such thing as “baby gave up her nap.” Mommy gave up training baby to stay in crib and entertain herself if not sleeping. Just my opinion. I love my naps…..still.

    5. A Child’s Gift of Lullabyes
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/tgoodman. Wonderful soothing music you will hum for years.
    “A Child’s Gift of Lullabyes” is the most successful selling Lullaby recording in history. A Grammy finalist in “The Best Musical Album For Children” and “Parents Choice Award” also a “Dove Award” finalist. Get the one by Tanya Goodman, not the later version.
    There’s a second album, equally good – Rockabye Lullabyes.

    5. Hap Palmer’s Baby Songs. Classics- My Mommy Comes Back (she always comes back, she always comes back to get me) Sharing, etc – great to have tunes they already know when you first leave them, etc: We still quote these songs! ParentsChoiceAwards
    http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/happalmer15/FROM/hpalmer

    Congratulations and many blessings!
    Susan in Charlotte

  65. CONGRATS Auntie! Thank you Emily for adding me to the email string (although I would qualify more now as the grandmother – almost 51 in a few weeks) – lol. But agree with your list and the comments from others that you don’t need TOP of the line products – but safety is the biggest priority.

    It’s like that commercial of the ‘first moms’ and then the ‘second child’ – you learn as you go. But car and bed safety are still my biggest factors. Watch detergents/fabrics/washes, etc. for signs of rashes/allergies. It’s amazing how kids react to things now as opposed to even when “I” was little. So the best advice on what to HAVE is a really good (personable) baby doctor, one that answers your questions, has a personality, treats you like you and your child mean just as much to them (and not about the money). THAT is the most critical thing you can ‘purchase’ (even through your insurance).

    Lastly, reminding parents to keep the kids OUT of your bed. AKA, don’t get them used to sleeping in the bed with you – you’ll never get them out. LOL But I never said you can’t sit next to their bed as you watch them sleep (creeped my kids out for years when I did that). Ha Ha but I would never forget their smell, touch, feel, sounds and it made it easy to deal with them as they grew up!

  66. I preferred the Ergo carrier (facing in might not be as fun for baby, but so much better for their hips!), and I would have to add a Rock ‘N’ Play for sleeping. We tried to avoid it because I had heard it could be difficult to transition to the crib, but after 3 months of no sleep, we tried it (bought one for $30 off of Craigslist) and it was a LIFESAVER. Our little one started sleeping better immediately – being at an incline is very helpful for those first few colicky months, and any time baby is stuffed up. We finally said a very sad goodbye to it after he learned out to stand up in it… might have held on to it a tad too long. :) We also love our Uppa Baby Vista stroller – works great with the carseat, has a great seat for when baby is older, and also transitions to 2 seats. Expensive but a GREAT investment if you are planning to have more than one child and if, like me, you hope to only every have one stroller. Definitely larger/heavier than an umbrella stroller, but surprisingly manageable (and steers with one hand, and includes a bassinet). I would also add a Diaper Genie. And finally, as to breast pumps, every new mom should know that according to new health insurance requirements, their insurance should provide a hospital grade pump for FREE. All you have to do is call and ask for one (and they will probably require your OB to write a prescription). I got a double-electric Medela pump for free.

  67. I didn’t use most of that stuff. Wasted a lot of money. My essentials were the ergo carrier and My Breast Friend pillow. If you breast feed you need a lot less stuff. I never used bottles or monitors. Don’t forget a good diaper pail. Loved my bugaboo and the carriage that you can just snap the car seat into was fabulous ( snap n go?).

  68. We had a gap between babies that spanned 10 years and my husband and I were amazed at the advances made in baby gear in that time :)
    We used the Chicco infant seat/travel system and purchased an extra base. We loved it!! The stroller was big, but not too big and not that heavy. It was easy to collapse and load into the car. It’s important to try them out and I know the store we purchased ours from would let you take the demos outside to make sure they fit into your car. The infant seat went up to 25-20 pounds (can’t remember off the top of my head) and since my daughter is petite she was able to use it for two years.
    I also loved my aden and anais muslin blankets and use them to this day to wipe runny noses when allergies or a cold strikes. No irritation to the skin! Mustela baby wash was great as well and really did prevent cradle cap like it claims.
    Finally, since it’s a first baby, go gender neutral on gear.

  69. Skip #4 and #5 at the top and combine them into the Ingenuity booster. It’s a floor seat, then straps to your chair later on to be a booster! And tray is included and stores away in the base. I just got it for my 14m old to sit at the table, and I wish I had it all along and skipped the expensive bumbo plus tray that was hard to use anyway. And comes in fun colors AND cheaper than bumbo by itself.

  70. The thermometer that you can rub across baby’s forehead area. I LOVED this! I still use mine. I forgot how frazzled I became trying to get an accurate reading before I got this!!

      1. Those thermal thermometers are wonderful, but I found out they are only accurate after baby is 3 months old. Have to get a rectal thermometer to use for the first three months. We just found this out as we have a newborn and had a scare with an inaccurate thermometer read!

    1. A changing pad from Patemm!!! It is awesome! I’ve bought it for all of my daughters! It is circular. Has pockets. And folds so yiu can put it in your diaper bag! It is definately a must!!

    2. I don’t agree with every brand listed (for instance, our son hated ol’ Sophie), but the actual products are a really solid list. The new 360 Ergo is awesome, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Summer Infant Zyre fold & go stroller. I didn’t really understand strollers when we got started, and now I have three. The system stroller hasn’t been used AT all. Sad times. I do recommend the city mini for around-town strolling!

    3. Emily, thank you for putting together this list of PRACTICAL baby needs! It’s sad how much the baby industry has taken advantage of new parents! I’d have to add an oldie but a goodie read “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy” a riot from start to finish.

    4. Totally agree with all your essentials…and add in a nursing cover, if she plans to do so (or bottles if she chooses that). For my first two kiddos I was trying to keep costs down/items minimal and didn’t have a changing table…but after years of changes on beds, counters, floors, my back hurts! And now I have a cool old dresser with changing pad for baby #3 and it is the best thing ever! That, a carseat, pack n play, and baby bjorn have been our most used items! And the sleep sheep…. :)

    5. I couldn’t live without my Moby Wrap (mobywrap.com/) when my daughter was brand new. I’d wear her nearly all the time in a little cocoon against my chest, and then have two hands to accomplish the seemingly endless list of things to do. It was the only way I could get anything done!

      I also tell all mommies about Indestructibles books (indestructiblesinc.com). They’re just what they sound like… virtually indestructible. They feel like real paper (which all babies love), but won’t tear. They’re also water and dirt proof. So, you can put them in the bath, take them to the beach, throw them in the wash. Babies (and mommies) love them!

    6. A Rock-n-Play is an absolute MUST and acted as our bassinet for the first couple months. It is also great for travel because it is portable and light-weight. A much better option than that huge pack n play.

    7. I appreciate that your list was honest & practical. Those suggestions are perfect! I have 3 kids and we mamas don’t need as much as all the ads tell us we do :) Not that some of the splurges aren’t fun & okay, but when ya get right down to it life with baby is just very practical. Congrats on the new niece coming!

    8. i would highly recommend the fisher price rock and play sleeper. its amazing! we are foster parents and our little one was teeny tiny and he slept in this for the first 5 months we had him in our home. it sits them at a perfect angle, so not as much of a worry with reflux, it vibrates (almost without a sound!) and it folds up easily and its lightweight so its easy to move from room to room. and its pretty cute. we have the snugapuppy but the lamb and bunny are pretty darn adorable in their own way. congrats on becoming a new auntie! and for your sister in law as well.

    9. I would add the Angel Care monitor, an Ergo carrier, and an organic mattress and sheets. Splurges, for sure. But, it doesn’t hurt to register for them because you may get them or you will at least get the fulfillment discount. : )

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