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Shopping for a new baby is incredibly overwhelming. If you’re a new parent, you have no clue how to bathe a baby much less what you need to do it, and stores aren’t there to help either. Many stores will give you a long list of things you must register for “to be helpful.” They actually just want all the money from folks buying you all those things—they don’t care if you never use them! To help you sort through all the options, here are what I consider the top 11 things you need for baby and will actually use.
I have previously shared a list of 11 things you don’t need for baby, today I thought we should cover exactly what you do need. Some of these things are specific items we’ve grown to love others are general categories. This isn’t a full list honestly, there are other things you want to grab. I made a printable Realistic Baby Registry Check List to give you a big list of everything you need.
While you may need more than this, think of this list as 11 things that we have used the most for our babies!
Top 11 Things You Need for Baby
Boudreaux’s Butt Paste
Yeah, I’m starting with Butt Paste. Your whole life is going to revolve around what goes in and out of this little person for a few months and this is some important stuff! I first learned of Boudreaux’s in my hospital nursing days. This was the brand we gave to parents and I now understand why. This is the best of all the diaper creams out there. I’m pretty sure you could use it to water seal the shower if you needed to. It will solve any diaper rash very quickly or keep anything new from happening. It’s not the cheapest so always look for a coupon first.
Miracle Swaddling Blanket
Think of this as a straight jacket for babies. It is truly a miracle for helping them stay swaddled and sleeping longer. More sleep is an amazing thing for everyone in the house! Miracle swaddling blankets weren’t around for my older girls, but we were introduced to them for my now 2 year old. After she slept for 6 hours straight the first night I immediately hopped online and bought 2 more. They also around as cheap as a basic blanket but think of this like buying a bottle of sleep (which any new mom would pay top dollar for). There are other brands like Halo that are also great, but this one was better than most.
If money is tight I would recommend a bouncy seat over a swing. Bouncy seats are much easier to move from room to room and do a great job of soothing little ones. We got ours from a consignment sale for $7, so this isn’t a big ticket item if you shop frugally. You can use this for sponge baths for baby, for feeding time, and even to keep them strapped in and happy while you take a shower. If you have multiples, this is such an easy way to keep them happy that I would recommend two! We also had a swing, but that is only helpful when you are in the room that swing lives in—you won’t find yourself wanting to drag that all over the house.
Yet another thing that didn’t exist 10 years ago… Now that baby food mostly comes in pouches, skip real spoons and go straight for the ones that attach to the pouch. You squeeze and they are fed! Eventually they will learn how to suck through a straw and you can skip the spoon all together and let them drink from the pouch. Coming in at $3-$8 for 2-4 of them they aren’t that pricey but truly make eating on the go a breeze. We only do store baby food went when are out and about, so these live in the diaper bag mostly.
I have a feeling you won’t forget this item, but let me add in a little advice. To save money, a video monitor is not required. It is nice, but if you are a hovering first parent you’ll still hover and worry just as much even though you can see them. You can’t see them breathing, you’ll wonder why they lay so still… you get my point. If money is super tight, get a $20 audio monitor and you’ll still know when they need you. I will confess, though, I never use a monitor at night. Babies are noisy when they sleep; they grunt and squeak and keep me up all night if there is a monitor next to my head. I just sleep with my door open and they wake me up when they need me.
Now that I’ve shared the truth, what monitor should you get, because you’re still going to get one? If you go video, get one that has the best reviews and best night vision. If you see reviews that it has battery issues on the handheld device, take them seriously!
Car Seat/Stroller Combos
Going for the travel system is best with infant carseats and strollers. Not only do you normally get a discount grabbing both, but you also know that they go together perfectly. The last thing you want to do is wake up a sleeping baby just because you need to run into the store. Now the carseat comes out of the car and into the stroller with two clicks they never knew that they went all over town with you. Car seats are extremely regulated, so you don’t have to get the most expensive option. I like BabyTrend for an affordable but quality option!
Baby Nail Clippers
This is a tiny expense and well worth it. Such tiny little people come with even tinier fingers and finger nails. Holding onto those tiny little fingers is tricky too! Go ahead and splurge the $3 for a pair of nail clippers that are more their size to make this easier. Also, if you think this is something you can wait and get after a few weeks you’re wrong. These need to be in the bag to come with you to the hospital because they are born with long nails that hurt!
Travel/Compact Baby High Chair
I would 100% recommend this route over a normal high chair. Grabbing a chair that you can attach to any dining room chair or even better the newfangled versions that attach straight to a table makes for an easy on-the-go seat plus takes up so much less room at home. High chairs have a huge foot space and you’ll wonder what happened to your kitchen once you put one together. If you get the type that attached straight to a chair many of them recline so they are good for all ages.
This section differs slightly based on how you plan to feed. If you are breast feeding you need a few more things upfront to make things more comfortable. No matter what your plans are you’ll still need some bottles. You’ll also all need some disposable nursing pads for at least a week or longer if you do nurse.
For breast feeding, a simple breast pump is incredibly helpful to your sanity. You’ll feel free to get out at least every now and then and Dad will enjoy getting to help feed occasionally as well. Aeroflow Breastpumps will help you see if you qualify for a free breast pump through your insurance. Insurance usually only covers the most inexpensive option, but you can pay a little extra for a different breastpump and still end up spending less than at the store.
You’ll also need breast milk storage bags or containers. Another must have even for mom’s that have nursed before is some nipple cream. My personal favorite is Lansinoh. If you are new, please take advantage of the lactation consultant in the hospital. However if anyone tells you that it shouldn’t hurt… most mamas will tell you those folks have long forgotten. It does hurt at first (not forever). As a mama who nursed twins I felt like hitting anyone that told me that during the first week! If by chance you are having multiples, I highly recommend getting a twin nursing pillow. I couldn’t have succeeded without this as it makes it possible to nurse them both without your arms falling off.
For formula feeding, you’ll need bottles, and lots of them. For your own sanity think of 6-8 bottles a day and then ponder how often you want to wash them… The only other thing you need is formula. Sounds simple enough. Go ahead and start with a house brand as they are all the same and most doctors will advise you against switching brands often once you start.
A good camera
Most smartphones take amazing pictures today, but if yours doesn’t, you will probably want something with lots of memory that takes good pictures. These days seem long and tiring, but they all only happen once. Put this item your birthday list, or save up for it. You won’t regret having a way to remember all these sweet moments.
Clothes, Diapers & Wipes
These are the no-brainers on the list. Before you go out and spend a ton (or even register for a ton) you don’t need a lot. Little ones grow super fast and you’ll be growing out of outfits before you have a chance to wear them if you get too much. Also plan for side snap shirts, or sleep and play front snapping outfits, until they are a few weeks old——pulling an outfit over an infants head is very tricky and this will make it a lot easier. I would say 3-5 of each type of outfit is plenty: onesies, sleep and play footie outfits, side snap shirts and pull on pants. As for diapers and wipes start stocking up now! Here’s a breakdown of how many you need of each size.
Is there anything that would be on your must have list? Let us know in the comments!