First, we want to preface this by saying: you don't technically need any of these things. As moms or moms-to-be, we are literally bombarded with checklists and must-haves. I remember being 8 months pregnant and leaving one of the big box baby stores in tears because I was told I needed no fewer than 6 car seats.
At the end of the day, your baby needs a clean diaper and a milk supply. That said, having gone through two kids so far (#highfives), below is a round-up of items that made my life as a mom MUCH easier.
Anything essential we forgot? We'd love to hear - let us know in the comments below.
Sleep: Because this is literally the holy grail.
- Pack n' Play- There are a ton of options! We used and love the Guava Lotus for its super lightweight frame, ability to pack into a backpack for travel, and a bassinet conversion kit.
- Bassinet- or somewhere for baby to sleep in the early months. With our recent addition, we tried out the Snuggle Me Organic and so far, so good. Safe sleep for infants is a hot topic, and one we don't claim to be experts on but instead are always researching and learning more about. From personal experience, this helps baby feel snug and secure, and eliminates the fear of them rolling over or a parent rolling over onto them (if placed in bed next to mom). Bonus points for being mobile and entirely organic.
Baby Monitor: You could probably research these until the end of time. So far, we've been really happy with this one.
White Noise Machine: Again, there are tons of options. We've been happy with the cheapest version we could find on Amazon!
Crib: This is a given, and you can spend as much or as little as you want. If this is your first child and you're confident you'll have more, this can definitely be worth a higher investment. On the flip side, IKEA makes some fabulous minimalist, raw wood options as well. We're currently using and loving the Stokke Sleepi System for our smaller-sized nursery. (It's always a good idea to get two mattress pads, and at least two sets of crib sheets for those inevitable, middle-of-the-night blowouts/throw-ups/accidents. Some of our all-time favorites can be found on Etsy, from shops like Evie Baby and Little Anouk.
Clothing: This tends to be the gift that friends and family LOVE to buy and gift, but it's worth hunting down a few items you absolutely love and add them to your registry. The options are endless but we are listing a few of our favorite small shops:
- Leggings: The way we see it, why waste money on leggings that only last a few months before they're outgrown? Stock up on Bear & Bunny Co. grow-with-me leggings and shorties instead.
- Adorable tees and onesies from Bebe Nourri.
- This one is for YOU, moms: Our favorite #momlife tee from River Babe Threads (a staple with leggings, for those days postpartum when it's a victory just getting out of the house!)
- Socially conscious tees with messages we love, from Wire & Honey.
Feeding: Whether you choose to breast or bottle feed, the items below will likely be in daily rotation!
- Bibs: From dribbles to drool to first foods, bibs are essential. Anchored Arrow makes some of our very favorites.
- High Chair: We used and loved the Inglesina Table Chair, because it's tiny, it's portable, and it packs up between use.
- Teething Necklace & toys: Our favorites (and some of the cutest, and most popular) come from Little Teether!
- If you're breastfeeding:
- Breastfeeding Pillow: We use the Bobby without complaints. If you go this route, definitely check Etsy for adorable, unique, interchangeable covers to match your nursery.
- Check out Aeroflow Breastpumps! Completely cost and hassle-free, they help navigate your insurance and provide you with a list of breast pumps covered by your insurance.
- Our friends at Marley's Monsters make the cutest, reusable nursing pads (because, let's face it, things get messy!)
- Ever heard of Nurselet? It's the handiest bracelet that helps remind you which side you last fed on, AND helps hold up your shirt while nursing. Such a smart and helpful mom hack.
Keepsakes: Let's face it, you may never actually get around to filling out that baby book...and anyway, these options are WAY more fun!
- Milestone Blankets: You've probably seen these take Instagram by story, but we're totally smitten with the milestone blankets from Batz Kids.
- Birth Elephant: Display baby's birth stats with the most adorable embroidered stuffed lovey from Stitches By Natalie, made from baby's hospital blanket. Definitely a keepsake you'll have for years and years!
Transportation & Travel: Because trust us, eventually you'll leave the house again.
- Car Seats: From newborn to convertible to booster, one again, options are endless. We had the best luck with our Chicco Keyfit 30 for rear-facing newborns, and the Diono Radian RXT for rear-facing, forward-facing and beyond (bonus: it's super narrow and takes up less space in a smaller car!)
- Baby Carrier: We couldn't love our Lillebaby Complete All Seasons any more! There are so many slings and wraps, and endless research to show the many benefits of baby wearing! (Plus, free hands to hold your coffee!)
Potty: Yep, it's inevitable. May as well embrace it.
- Changing pad + 2 covers: once again, a zillion adorable options on Etsy. Our favorites are made by Ivie Baby.
- Diapers: This tends to be a very personal decision -- and for good reason! No two babies are alike, and only you know what you can handle. That said, if you're even remotely considering cloth diapers, check out our Cloth 101 to see how it might be easier than you think.
Again, anything we missed? We'd love to hear which products made your transition to motherhood even easier - let us know in the comments below! Each mom and each baby is so different so there is no right or norm when it comes to this stuff.
Written by Heather, of Bear & Bunny Co. --makers of the grow-with-me-leggins and shorties, handmade in the USA! Check them out and get more bang for your buck with the sizes that take baby through multiple ages and milestones: www.bearandbunnyco.com.