12 Must-Have Baby Products for Newborns

If I've learned one thing since being pregnant, giving birth and now parenting, it's this: Everyone has an opinion.

For every person you find that suggests co-sleeping, there are 10 more that say no way. This person says breast is best, while that person says formula is A-OK, and another says it's actually best when you mix the two. This OBGYN says a glass of wine per night is fine when expecting, that one says once a week is a better frequency ,and your friend's doc says no wine is ever OK, not even a sip. And don't even think about deli meat, even though your OBGYN said it's totally cool.

It's just.too.much.

And it doesn't stop at differing opinions on how to parent or what to do (or not to do) while expecting. The opinions, research and experiences extend into what you actually need for the baby. Many people reside in the school of thought that all babies really need is love, clean diapers and a few pairs of pajamas, while others are in the market for any item that will make their lives easier. 

I think we can all agree that there is A LOT of stuff on the market for babies. A LOT. As a first time parent, how the hell are you supposed to know which brand, which model, how many or what size? 
The baby registry experience is fun, in theory...until you start it and are overwhelmed by the number of choices you have with EVERYTHING. 

I was completely consumed with making the best choice for our baby (whatever that even means) when it came to our "stuff". I've learned something about myself over the years: I'm impressionable. And by that, I mean that I tend to take other's experiences close to heart; I trust them and value them, especially when it's in a realm where I have no experience or knowledge. I also know that I am extremely indecisive, so I look to these people to basically make decisions for me. 

For the registry process, I did extensive research, asking friends and family, reading books (Baby Bargains was the best) and consulting what I consider to be the Holy Bible: Lucie's List. (Sidenote: Meg, who runs the site, has awesome info on everything from registry to pregnancy to postpartum. I highly recommend signing up for her emails if you are expecting - she gives you a no-holds-bar rundown of what to expect/advice for each week and it continues after you've had the baby, including sleep tips and feeding pointers.) Anyway, for the registry stuff, she goes through each major category of stuff, and gives you three options based on your budget. She's also pretty frank in "Don't waste your money on this." Check it out here.

In any case, I will be the first to admit that we registered for and received several items that we just "had to have", and that have gone unopened or unused. I also am guilty of buying several items that I can safely say were unnecessary.

One prime example: Clothes. Don't register for clothes. People will buy you clothes, whether you register for them or not. While I was pregnant, I bought several outfits that were so cute I couldn't resist: think chunky cardigans, blue jeans and shoes. While no one can resist a baby in blue jeans, here's the reality: It's very likely that your baby won't wear any of those adorable items in his/her first months of life, despite your best intentions. 

For one thing: babies spit up a lot. They also poop a lot. Sometimes the poop is not contained to the diaper, and sometimes, the spit up is so plentiful that you can't just wipe it off with a rag and go about your day. You will put your baby into an adorable 5-piece outfit and I promise you, that baby will ruin the outfit before you can even take his photo in it! For another thing, these outfits just aren't practical. Sure, they're nice to have for special occasions, like holidays or even meeting people for the first time, but when you're at home all day with a newborn whose diaper you are changing approximately 15 times/day, the last thing you will want to do is take his shoes, socks, pants and shirt off each and every time. And finally, babies grow so fast. I can't tell you the number of items in Liam's wardrobe that were only worn once or not at all because he outgrew it before I could find a time for him to wear it. *tears*

See exhibits A, B, C. He wore each of these ONCE.

Onesies are where it's at.

In any case, that was a long way of saying, it is crazy overwhelming knowing what to register for. And I want to add my opinion to the 6.983497891283 billion others out there on what items are truly "must haves" for your baby. Here are 12 things that I've found to be lifesavers in the past few months:

Goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Every baby is different and you may have to try different items until you find something that works for you.

Newborn Must Haves

  1. Little Castle Glider: Invest in a good glider. We have this one from Little Castle, purchased at BuyBuyBaby. We use every day to rock, feed and read with Liam. I've also slept in it several nights (intentionally and otherwise). Plus, when it's not being used in a baby's room, we can use it as furniture in our home.
  2. Summer Infant SwaddleMe: Swaddles are one of those products you might have to try a bunch of. Liam is a Swaddle Houdini and gets out of blanket swaddles, so we invested in some other brands. SwaddleMe is our favorite, but we also saw success with the Miracle Blanket and Woombie. (We now have about 10 Aden + Anais blankets, which are great just to have for the diaper bag, walks, etc. I'd get at least a pack of those, too!)
  3. Baby K'Tan: This is great for a fabric carrier (I also suggest getting a structured carrier for when the baby is bigger). There are only two pieces of fabric and moms can get it on without any assistance (a must when you're home alone with the baby). We've used this for everything from walking the dog to walking around the house to traveling on an airplane. It comes in tons of colors and is affordable. Plus, you can wear in several different positions as baby grows.
  4. Medela Breast PumpHands-Free Pumping Bra + Quick Clean Wipes: I have the Medela Pump In-Style Advanced, which I got with the Metro Messenger bag (I got this through my insurance by paying a little extra). I love this model because you can plug it into a wall OR use batteries. You must also get a hands-free pumping bra, and I love the quick-clean wipes, especially now that I'm at work!
  5. Nursing Tanks: If you plan to breastfeed, get a lot of nursing tanks. I still wear them to bed every night, even though Liam only eats once. At the beginning though when you're nursing around the clock and most likely have a screaming baby in your arms, you want something with easy access.
  6. Wubbanub Pacifier: I love these for a few reasons: First, the animals on the end are cute and also serve a purpose: they help weight the pacifier down. It's hard for those little babes to be able to keep the paci in his/her mouth at first and I thought this helped. As Liam has gotten older, he also now holds on to the animal, which aids in his development in learning to grasp. Plus, the pacifier itself is a soothie, which we used int the hospital and Liam took to well. We have the elephant and giraffe!
  7. Bobby Newborn Lounger: Probably the most used product in our house. This little pillow is great for so many things. We used it as a napping spot when Liam was itty bitty. We use it at bathtime by laying his towel across it, so we're able just to lay him in the lounger wrap him in his towel, rather than the hard floor. Plus you can set this thing anywhere if you need baby in your eyeline - on the bed, floor, counter, wherever. It also travels great! 
  8. Fisher-Price Rock 'N Play: On second thought, this is probably the most used item! Liam slept in this next to our bed for the first 10 weeks or so. He still sleeps in this at night, only now in his room. It's great to move from room to room, or to set baby in while you're getting ready, making dinner, etc. 
  9. Earth Mama Nipple Butter: A lifesaver for your nipples, whether breastfeeding or pumping. A little goes a long way and it's lanolin/GMO free! 
  10. Onesies: See note above re: clothes. I'm not partial to any brand in particular, but I do recommend zippers over buttons!
  11. Fisher Price Cradle 'N Swing: We received the 4Moms Mamaroo as a gift after hearing that it was basically a miracle swing. While Liam liked it enough in the beginning, he soon began to cry any time we put him in it! Now that he's a little older, he likes it a *little* better, but still, I bet we've used that thing maybe 10 times. 
HOWEVER, once while visiting my sister, I put Liam in her Fisher Price Cradle 'N Swing. Nothin' fancy about it..just a regular old, affordable swing. Liam LOVED it. There's a mirror and mobile for him to look at when he's awake (we call the mobile peeps his "friends," as he tends to chat with them frequently). This is also where Liam would sleep for long stretches! The first time Liam slept 6 hours straight, it was in this swing. We ended up borrowing from my sister-in-law, as her son didn't like it. I think some come with little bouncy seats, too -- another good investment for when baby is older and needs to be entertained and you have stuff to do!

Other Must-Haves

Don't bother
  • Bottle warmers: We have found it to be just as easy to run bottles under hot water and it does the trick just fine. We also give him cold bottles sometime, the idea being so he can eat whenever, and he takes those, too.
  • Bottle sterilizers: Hot water and soap, or the dishwasher are totally fine.
  • Wipe warmers: A good idea in theory, but here's something to consider: What if you have to wipe your babe's toosh in public and don't have your wipe warmer? Then you might have a screaming child on your hands, angry because he used to warm wipes. While we did get one of these as a gift and found it useful when we were still doing middle-of-the-night changes (warm=less likely to wake baby), but also found it worked to just hold the wipe in our hand for a few seconds and let it warm up. Most of the time though, it's cold and Liam is cool with it.
Hope you found this helpful!


  1. I tell every new parent to get the Rock-N-Play. Peyton legit used it until he could flip it over while standing in it. :)

    I am guilty of the bottle warmer because I was given hell by my Mom and my BFF about "how would you feel about drinking cold formula or cold milk...?" Well guess what - at 15 months old the little shit won't drink cold milk. Never again.

    Good list doe!

    1. Case in point on why you don't NEED to warm things up...those little prince/princess' get the royal treatment as it ;). And did you tell your mom and BFF that as lowly adults, we DO drink cold milk! :) hahaha!

  2. The only thing I would add is my car seat caddy. It's not as bulky as a regular stroller but still has room if you are shopping to store bags and what not. Those car seats are heavy, this made it easier to run in and out of places with baby in tow.

  3. The only thing I would add is my car seat caddy. It's not as bulky as a regular stroller but still has room if you are shopping to store bags and what not. Those car seats are heavy, this made it easier to run in and out of places with baby in tow.

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  5. I know that may be a difficult concept for some to wrap their heads around, because plastic is so dominant in the world of baby items, Ann Royston


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