As new parents, one of your main priorities is ensuring that you have everything you could possibly need to take care of you new child which is arriving at some point. You have probably spent hours on end researching articles, blog posts, and Pinterest pages trying to compile a list of all the items you’ll need to buy to be prepared. I know I did!
But here’s the thing..
Each list will probably have different items on it, some of which are personal preference, others which are just there as fillers.
So this is where I come in. I’ve made this ultimate round up of essential first year baby products with no fluff, no crazy products (that’s all on you to find and decide on), all I’ve listed are the absolute essentials that you’ll need to comfortably raise your child, on an affordable budget!
I wish I had come across a list like this when I was pregnant because it is so easy to get caught up in the extras.
If you’re expecting and are looking for a one stop shop style list, this is the blog post for you!
Some of these links are affiliate links. By clicking on them you are not charged any more or less for purchasing the item, however, I do earn a very small commission off of your purchase.
- Rascal & Friends Diapers: We came across this brand about 7 months in, but it has been a game changer for us. We spent months trying all the brands and struggled with R soaking through his diapers overnight once he started sleeping all night. Since making the switch to Rascal & Friends, we’ve had no issues and are not going back to any other brand!
- Huggies Natural Diaper Wipes: Since we have a sensitive skin baby, we have always been very cautious of the wipes we use on him. These have been our favourite, so far.
- Kushies Waterproof Change Pad Cover: You’ll thank me later for this one.. After you’ve been peed on a couple too many times, this will be a life saver. It is way easier to clean up a waterproof cover than it is to clean a fabric cover.
- Aveeno Soothing Diaper Cream: We had a rough go with diaper rashes during R’s teething phases. There were times where even putting him in the bath would cause him to cry out in pain. We tried everything from medicated creams to straight up petroleum jelly and the best one for us was the Aveeno Soothing Diaper Cream. It didn’t aggravate his skin and cleared up the diaper rashes within days.
Breastfeeding and Bottle Feeding
- Spectra S2 Breast Pump: I spent the first three months renting a hospital grade Medela Breast pump and finally bought my own after 3 months. The Spectra S2, hands down, is the best pump you can get for the best price. I am convinced this pump saved my breastfeeding journey. While R weaned himself at 5 months, we were almost exclusively feeding and I like to think it’s because of the quality of this pump. 10/10 would recommend.
- Munchkin Latch Bottles: Another product I feel saved our breastfeeding journey was the Latch bottles. They’re made to act and feel the same as breastfeeding which was great when we had to formula feed. We also had a lazy eater so this forced R to learn the proper latch and techniques from bottle feeding and breastfeeding. We still use them and R won’t use any other brand now.
- Lansinoh Disposable Nursing Pads: Since I was constantly having to work at my supply, it never seemed to balance out. This means I was waking up in puddles of milk if Rhys slept through the night and leaking all over, all the time, for 5 months…. SO FUN! These pads were great for comfort and keeping the leaks under control. They come in huge packs as well which means you’re getting a ton for your money.
- Boon Drying Rack: We waiting to get this one until a couple months in but it is awesome. When you’re bottle feeding you are constantly washing bottles, which can leave your counters looking a little clutter. This drying rack gives your bottles a place to live and looks cute at the same time! Coming in three different sizes, you can pick which size fits your need and space best.
- Boppy Nursing Pillow: Getting a good pillow is so helpful when breastfeeding. We loved ours because it was flexible enough to be comfortable but firm enough to offer the right amount of support during feeding time.
- Burp Cloths: The amount of spit up you will encounter with a newborn is unimaginable until you are living in it. We use to go through 10 burp cloths AT MINIMUM a day… They were used for everything and anything so stock up and have plenty on hand!
- Phillips AVENT Breastmilk Bags: I liked these bags because they came in larger sizes than some of the other brands. We also had a bunch left over after we stopped breastfeeding and now we use them to store formula powder when we’re out! Just jot down the amount of formula you’ve packed and you’re good to go.
- Ergo Baby Carrier: When you have a baby who doesn’t want to be put down, but you have things to do, this is going to be your saving grace. We have used our carrier since R was a newborn (we just rolled up a swaddle blanket to tuck under his bum the first couple months) and even now, I will toss him in it on my back if I need to get stuff done but don’t want to leave him playing on the ground. This is definitely a baby item that everyone should have.
- Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller: While I would have loved to buy one of the expensive, fancy baby strollers, it wasn’t in our budget and after a year of using our stroller, I am glad we have the one we do! The Baby Jogger stroller has been amazing. It folds up with one hand, is incredibly light and compact (it fits in the trunk of my Fiat 500), and it survived the Canadian winter with ease. You can’t ask for a better mix than that and at the price point, it’s a steal!
- Britax B-Safe Bucket Seat: This is an item which we will probably look for another brand of for our next child, but only for one reason: the weight. Size wise it was perfect (again, it fit in the back of my fiat 500) but I know there are lighter weight seats out there that I would like to try. I am only 5′ tall, and while I was (keyword: was) in great shape before having R, I am not right now. Plus R was an almost 9 pound baby. This seat got heavy reaaaal fast. Other than that, we have no complaints!
- Motorola Baby Monitor: Never would I have thought that having a video monitor would be such a soothing item for me. We moved R into his crib in his own room at 6 weeks because he was a noisy sleeper and he was waking us up, and we were waking him up. It was so reassuring knowing I could see him all night without him being in our room. We love that we can also add more cameras to this set in the future, as well as connect our phones as the monitor if we want.
Sleep and Sleepwear
- Halo Swaddle Sleepwear: We (as I think most parents do) had a Houdini baby who knew exactly how to wiggle his way out of any swaddle within minutes of being wrapped up. The Halo Swaddle was perfect for us because the velco swaddle was the only one that he couldn’t get his arms out of. I also felt better knowing that if he did by some chance get his arms out, the swaddle was connected to the sleepsack and wouldn’t move. We had lots of issues with the other swaddles bunching up around his neck and face which is why we made the switch in the first place. This is also a great swaddle to use to transition out because you can swaddle one arm in at a time.
- Aden + Anias Sleepsacks: Once we moved from the swaddle we jumped to the sleepsack to makes sure R was warm enough at night. It also offered an extra layer of protection from his scratching of his eczema (more about that down below).
- Skip Hop White Noise Machine: We started using a nightlight and sound machine once R became a lot more sensitive to noise around him while falling asleep, at around 5 months old. This sound machine was perfect because the nightlight distracted him while we left the room and the sounds were enough to drown out any background noise. He also has become to expect this noise when it’s time to sleep so it helps with the nap/bedtime routines, making for easier bedtimes!
- Jellycat Baby Lovey: At 7 months we went through a difficult sleep regression which lead us to start using a lovey with R. I Wore it around in my sweater for the morning and then started giving it to him during naps and night time. This help immensely with R being able to put himself back to sleep at night without us because he had an object that he felt connected to. We still use it now, at almost 1 years old, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
- MAM soothers: I’m putting soothers in the sleep category because we only give R a soother at naps and bedtime. It was important to us to make sure we had a clear definition of playtime and sleeptime so only giving him the soother at sleep time worked really well for us. We love this brand of soothers in particular because the space around the mouth makes it perfect for when you have a sick or stuffy nosed baby, and it’s the only one R will take now.
Bath Time and Hygiene
- Angel Care Bath Tub: This tub was perfect for us. We never felt like bath time was a struggle because you could just lay baby R in this tub, which was placed in your bigger bath tub, and when you were done with it it can just get hung up on a hook somewhere out of the way. We have a very (veeeeryyy) tiny bathroom and this would sit nicely in our shower without getting in the way.
- Nautica Wash cloths: You’ll very quickly realize 1) how many wash cloths you go through with a baby and 2) not all wash cloths are made the same. We instantly fell in love with the Nautica wash cloths because they were affordable and were great quality. The fabric was thick, soft, and maintain the quality throughout the many uses!
- Carters Hooded Towels: Another item which not all products are made the same! We found a lot of towels were thin and not absorbent enough for using after bath time. The Carters bath towels are great because the hood is a great size for our larger head baby, the material is thick and drys him off with ease, and has maintained it’s softness after being washed a ton.
- Soap and Shampoo: There are so many shampoos and body washes out there now that this one will depend on your child and their skin. For us, what worked in the first couple of months, didn’t work throughout the rest of the first year. We are currently using the Dove Baby Wash and have had no issues with it aggravating R’s eczema and sensitive skin.
- CeraVe Moisturizer: We have battled with R’s skin since he was 3 months old. It started on his cheek and then quickly went away with some attention. Then we started noticing eczema patches on the rest of his body. By 9 months he was as red as a tomato, covered head to toe with itchy, dry skin and no matter how much cream or what creams we used it continued to get worse. Once we found the cause of the eczema (see below) we found the CeraVe moisturizer to be the most helpful in restoring his poor skin. We now only use this when he has extremely dry patches but this cream was the only stuff to work for fighting the eczema flare ups.
- Purex Baby Laundry Detergent: After almost a year of battling a terrible eczema flare up, we realized that it might have been a reaction to the laundry detergent we were using. We had never washed R’s clothes in anything different than our stuff and noticed that his eczema was only in areas where his clothing was touching his skin. We made the switch to purex and within a week his skin was 50 % clearer than before and now, after 2 months since making the switch, his skin is completely cleared.
- Safety 1st First Aid Kit: I don’t have much to say about this one other than it has it all! We have yet to run into a situation where this kit didn’t have what we needed. Plus the carrying case it comes with is perfect for keeping it all organized.
- Braun Thermometer: If you’ve ever tried to take a babies temperature, you’ll understand why this one is so great. It goes in the ear, reads the temperature within seconds, and then you pop the plastic case off into the garbage so it’s ready for the next use. It tracks you last 8 temperatures, as well. It’s so easy, so convenient, and 100% worth the cost. As a parent, this will your best friend when you have a sick baby!
- Safety 1st Baby Gate: Once your baby is crawling you’ll need a gate which can withhold a tiny human consistently trying to push it over and climbing on it. This one, while totally challenging to use as a parent, is so sturdy and works perfectly for us.
Toys and Entertainment
- Ingenuity Baby Bouncer: There are many other bouncers on the market right now that have everything plus a bag of chips. This one won’t bluetooth your music through it, it won’t rock your baby in seventeen different ways, but it does provide an incredibly comfy spot for your baby to chill out in, with music that doesn’t make you want to rip your ears off after the one millionth time of hearing it. Plus it’s compact which means you can throw it into the corner of a room when guests come over so it’s out of the way.
- Baby Einstein Activity Mat: This is an item we didn’t know we needed until someone bought it for us. It was perfect for when R was just starting to become curious of his surroundings and didn’t want to be held. It kept him occupied for hours and even now that he’s mobile, we still use it. It has just transitioned to a play mat for him where he can sit and play with the toys on the floor instead of having him lay under it.
- Evenflo Exersaucer: Another saving product for an active baby. When you need to get stuff done the Exersaucer is amazing. While we joke about it being the circle of neglect, it has allowed us to keep R busy while getting stuff done worry free and we wouldn’t give it up.
- Jolly Jumper: For the afternoons when the baby should be napping but has way to much energy, we’d toss him in here and let him jump for 15-20 minutes. Usually once that time is up he’s tuckered out and ready for a nap!
- Sophie The Giraffe: We didn’t realize how much of a following this toy had but everywhere we went, everyone knew about Sophie the Giraffe! It’s a great teether for all ages and is something I recommend to everyone we know!
- Baby Einstein Activity Table: Now that we have an active and mobile baby, he doesn’t like being confined to any spaces. This activity table is perfect for him because he can stand and play with it, it lights up, and sings a bunch of songs. Just make sure you turn it off when you’re done because it is set to “remind” you (haunt you) that it’s still on. If you leave it for a couple minutes it will start flashing and playing music..on.it’s.own.
Eating and Feeding
- Ikea High Chair: We kept things nice and simple with our high chair (my dad, however, did not haha grandparents, amirite? If you want to see which one he got I’ll link it here). We love the Ikea chair because there are no small crack for food to get stunk in, no material to wash, and it doesn’t take up much space!
- Nubby Heat Sensitive Spoon: Finding the perfect spoon was so much harder than we expected! I think this will be something that falls into the personal preference category, but for us these spoons were perfect.
- Ikea Bowls and Plates: Another nice and simple product for us. We just pile the food onto R’s high chair tray so the plates and bowls are merely a way to hold the food for us.
- 360 Munchkin Cup: This one is a great way to get R to drink water throughout the day. He can use it by himself, it’s leak proof (unless it’ whipped at the floor…), and the whole thing is dishwasher safe.
Wishing you all the best in your first year with your brand new baby and I hope you find these essential products useful in your parenting journey!