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Are you overwhelmed yet with all the products, information and “must-haves” you are bombarded with since you announced you are expecting?
Clearly, expectant mothers must be the richest people in the world with nothing else to do but shop, from all the marketing directed to them.
I get it.
When you are about to bring a tiny human into your life and home, it may feel like these marketers aren’t too off after all.
And even if you aren’t made of money, somehow you find yourself adding up the numbers and see that preparing for your baby financially has been more demanding than you have expected.
You need a ton of things and it is hard to know what you will really use and what is just fluff.
If you are on a budget, you just simply can`t afford everything that seems handy or looks cute.
If you have a small space, you need to be smart about what makes it into your home.
If you are worried that you won’t have the right things, you research as much as you can and take all the advice you come across.
If you do actually believe that you need a ton of stuff to make you and baby happy, then this article is not for you.
I am a third-time mama, minimalist at heart and I truly believe that it`s possible to buy only a few items and have everything you need.
These are items that were handed down from first to second to the third child and are still in good shape.
Or items that I would have absolutely lost my mind without.
Carefully selected necessities that proved to be useful baby after baby.
Thankfully I have that handy list right here for you. (I only included baby must-haves for a newborn, be on the lookout for another post for older babies)
Let`s dive in.
Not only are they big enough to serve as a nursing cover with this handy clip, they are also lightweight and breathable. They are comfy in the heat, and warm enough in cold.
You can use them when you have a toddler, because of the generous size. They are durable and truly the only swaddling/receiving blanket you will ever need!
I do realize not everybody wants to cosleep, but if you do, the Dock-a-Tot is the way to go. It cradles your baby a little tighter than any other bassinet or co-sleeper I have heard of or tried.
It is about as thick as a regular pillow, so you can snuggle next to your baby and feel like you are right next to her while keeping her safe.
You can also transfer your baby to a crib or bassinet in it. Washing it is a breeze, but I will say, putting it back together is kind of a pain.
If you plan to room in with your baby for a few months, but don’t want to co-sleep, you can either go with a crib or a pack and play. (unless you borrow one for free which is what I did, bassinets are totally a waste of money)
The advantage of this Evenflo pack and play is that it will be useful even when baby is older or for traveling, unlike the bassinet that you will just have to store when your little one outgrows it.
If you are looking into purchasing a crib, definitely go with a convertible kind. It will serve you well in the long run as you will be able to convert it into a toddler bed, daybed and full-size bed.
The Delta Children 4-in-1 crib lives up to the expectations and comes in several different colors.
Read more on BestReviews website.
I skip the fancy bedding because babies will never actually use them.
There’s no sense in buying a separate changing table that you have to store. Delta Children’s Universal Drawer Dresser will serve you well even after your little one is older.
5. Stroller and car seat
This one is a biggie. There are so many out there, it’s not even funny. You are going to use these two all the time and you want them both to fit all of your criteria.
Here are the top 3 strollers I recommend:
The BOB Revolution is pretty pricey but worth every penny.
It is easy to fold, easy to push on any terrain and has a nice bounce to it, so your baby won`t feel every bump in the road.
You can find all sorts of accessories, like car seat adapter, weather shield, and kids cupholders, sold separately.
BOBs are so durable, you may be able to find it used, in very good shape. This also means that BOBs have a high resale value.
If you have twins or kids close in age, a double BOB is a godsend.
I loved taking my kids with me when I jogged. (Love may be too strong of a word. I kind of either took them or I couldn`t go…)
The Baby Trend Expedition is another excellent option.
I own one and it`s definitely the one I prefer out of the 3 strollers I have had. (Warning, it doesn’t fold as nice and flat as many other strollers, which is a bummer, but I still love it)
The bicycle tires and the three-wheel structure make all the difference. It also has two cupholders, plus you can pull the shade all the way down to completely protect your baby from the sun.
The only thing I regret is that I did not buy the whole travel system from the very beginning!
The Joovy Zoom 360 is a great option if you want a jogging stroller with more storage.
It also has cup holders, a lightweight aluminum frame, and easy fold function. Choose a car seat adapter to make the Joovy a travel system.
If you don’t want to take my word for it, check out NerdWallet’s review post on these three here.
In certain states the new law is to have babies backward facing till age 2, therefore I recommend buying a bucket seat that fits a baby up to 35 lbs.
Even if you are able to turn your baby front facing sooner, these car seats are more comfortable as your child grows.
If you are concerned with how a tiny newborn would fit in a larger car seat, most seats come with a newborn insert and you can also buy a pillow like this to support their neck.
As far as convertible seats go, they are great because you can use them with an infant and then turn it forward and use with a toddler.
However, the disadvantage is that you won`t be able to conveniently lift it out of the car and snap it on your stroller or shopping cart.
With all that said, here are 3 top rated car seats, according to Babylist.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 has all the safety and comfort features you need, like a five-point harness, newborn insert, a bubble level indicator to ensure proper positioning when you insert the car seat into the base and an adjustable canopy, to mention a few.
The stroller that completes this car seat to a travel system is the Chicco Cortina.
My favorite feature is, by far, the fully reclining seat that allows a baby to sleep safely inside it. It also boasts a large basket, one-hand fold, and an adjustable handle.
If looking for a simpler option, the Chicco Caddy Stroller will fit the bill.
The GracoSnugRide is a great budget-friendly car seat that has all the important safety features, a lightweight frame, and the click connect system that is useful in connecting to all Graco Click Connect strollers.
I used this car seat with all 3 of my babies and was very pleased. To make transporting baby in different vehicles a breeze, consider buying an extra base.
The Britax B Safe 35 is a deeper car seat with taller sides and is a little narrower for a better fit in smaller vehicles. I own this one too and it is a very sturdy, safe seat.
If you`d rather not go with the BOB, you can buy the Britax B Agile stroller separately, or together as a travel system for a better price. Besides the extra safety features this pair provides, the stroller is easily foldable with one hand, is lightweight and comes with a front swivel wheel which makes it easy to navigate through crowds or tight places.
Besides the extra safety features this pair provides, the stroller is easily foldable with one hand, is lightweight and comes with a front swivel wheel which makes it easy to navigate through crowds or tight places.
Keep in mind when buying a travel system, that gender neutral colors are much easier to pass down to your next baby, saving you researching time and money.
My babies didn’t like swings, possibly because they preferred staying in a more upward position. So the Rock and Play became a true must have!
It cradles baby quite snug and elevates him enough to help with newborn reflux and spitting up, making it a safe option for sleeping as well.
I found it important and enjoyable to wear my babies, so I really only used my Rock and Play when I had to.
Mentioning baby wearing, my next recommended item is:
The LilleBaby Complete Airflow is another product that I only found when I had my third, but it proved absolutely indispensable. Had I purchased it at the very beginning, I would have never needed anything else.
This is the only soft structure carrier that is safe from the newborn stage, and if you are at all familiar with baby carriers, you know what a big deal that is.
It doesn’t have a hot and irritating infant insert like the Ergo and it has a neck protector for a baby who can’t hold his head firmly yet.
The LilleBaby can also be used on your back or forward facing.
There`s a huge controversy surrounding wearing a baby forward facing out, but with this carrier, you can put your worries to rest.
When I had more kids than hands, a forward facing carrier saved my life each and every day.
Baby went up, two other kids held my hand or I had free hands to help them. Problem solved. (Well, almost. Being outnumbered still had its drawbacks…)
If you’d rather carry your baby in a cloth carrier, I recommend buying a wrap like this.
I tried the popular Boba Wrap , but I found that it only held my babies high and safe enough when very little. The stretchy fabric prevented a good tight hold, so I liked my woven wrap much better.
It takes a little time to learn how to tie on your baby, and I have never mastered a back carry, but the woven wrap was perfect for the first few months to carry baby in front. Check out this YouTube video on how to use it.
Check out this YouTube video on how to use it.
This is where you don’t want to go cheap because you will regret it.
The Medela pumps work a ton faster and more efficiently than any other pump on the market. There’s a reason why hospitals use it exclusively.
I love that this pump comes in a handy bag or backpack, so you can carry it to work and nobody will look at you funny.
Order replacement parts or different size shields in this handy kit!
Don’t forget this awesome bustier, which will make you feel much less exposed when pumping, not to mention more comfortable.
No matter how much I love the Medela pumps, I was never too wild about the Medela bottles.
Opt instead for Dr Brown`s and I promise you won’t regret it. The reviews speak for themselves and they had me at “vent system reduces colic, burping, and gas”.
You may want to separate baby’s things from the rest of the dishes and for this purpose, a countertop drying rack is a good choice.
Most pediatricians nowadays recommend just washing bottles, pacifiers, etc. in the dishwasher on hot, but if you prefer to sanitize them, go with a simple microwaveable sterilizer.
If you are bustier or just prefer to wear a nursing bra under your cami, I highly recommend Undercover Mama shirts.
I was lucky enough to find them when I had my first baby and I have absolutely loved them. They came out with a tummy control version ever since.
These shirts supposed to fit pretty tight, so don`t be alarmed if they do.
Because they can be folded down from the top part, just like a nursing bra, the shirts will keep your abdomen covered while nursing, no matter what shirt you wear over it. Try them in different colors straight from their website.
If you aren’t particularly busty, you can probably go with Leading Lady`s Nursing Tanks.
The shirt has a built-in shelf bra that’s comfy enough to sleep in, but supportive enough to wear under your shirts.
Some women don`t want to use separate nursing bras, and these camis are a great option for making nursing easier.
And while we’re here, make sure you buy these nursing pads, they are soft and reusable: awesome!
I found the Summer Infant tub to be safe and easy to use. I owned different tubs with my first two, but I received this as a shower gift before my third
I received this tub as a shower gift before my third and liked it the best out of the ones I have owned.
The liner is inflatable, making it really soft even for the tiniest babies. It also has a positioner to incline the baby if you please.
The whole tub is super lightweight and as the name indicates, foldable.
The whole tub is super lightweight and as the name indicates, foldable.
Don`t forget to buy some hooded bath towels as well. Speaking from experience, it isn’t worth messing with any other towels.
I still have and use this exact Vtech baby monitor and I am very pleased with it.
Not only is it super quiet, it also has a feature where you can push a button and talk to your baby through the parent unit.
Another great feature is the different levels of voice sensitivity, enabling you to hear even the slightest noise or set it up to just hear when the baby cries very loudly. The baby unit also has a night light feature.
The baby unit also has a night light feature.
It also has a fairly big reception area and the display shows you if the monitor is linked or not, letting you know whether you went too far from the baby unit.
Overall, it is a great, budget-friendly monitor.
The monitor I started out with was the Angel Care monitor and while some think it is overkill, for my anxious postpartum self they seemed indispensable.
There are many monitors on the market now that have video features. I have heard many good things about them, though I have not personally owned one.
The HelloBaby Video Monitor has decent ratings and is also a budget-friendly option.
Ingenuity’s 2-in-1 seat is the ultimate multifunctional item you must have on your registry.
Not only will it help your wobbly sitter stay upright by having a higher back, it will also double as a high chair and booster for when your child is older.
Can`t get simpler than that!
Don’t be fooled. Neither you or the baby will care how cute it looks if it’s impractical. (ask me how I know)
This Skip Hop diaper bag is practical in more than one ways.
There are plenty of pockets inside and outside to store small things, and the bag is big enough to fit all the essentials.
It also comes with bottle holder pockets on both sides.
You can wear it cross-body style or on the shoulder, but it doesn`t have too much of a purse look that daddy would not want to carry it.
The biggest pro for this bag is that it very easily attaches to strollers and shopping carts.
But if I could start all over again, I would go with the HapTim backpack hands down!
It has all the same features as the SkipHop, but it won’t keep bothering you when you try to juggle a toddler on your hips. (hey, just trying to keep a long-term perspective).
They have a polyester backing which prevents the clothes underneath from soaking. They are a breeze to put on with a small snap and are also adjustable.
For burp cloths, the simplest choice is to buy Gerber’s cloth diapers. (don’t worry, you won’t be using them for that). These are way more absorbent than anything else you’ll find.
Often times though, your Aden and Anais blankets, baby’s clothes, your clothes or the furniture and carpet will be used.
I hope this extensive guide proves to be helpful as you prepare for the greatest journey of your life.
What is your favorite must-have from this list? And what would you add?
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