Must-Have Baby Items

10 baby items that new mothers must own.

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Top 10 Baby Essentials

What you’ll need for that sweet little baby

-Kimberly Shore Levin, “The Connoisseur of Everything Baby”

Are you a new mama or expecting a baby soon? Check out these top 10 ESSENTIALS you’ll need to have before your baby arrives!

1. Car Seat(s): A properly installed car seat is a must-have before you leave the hospital with your new bundle of joy. A bucket-type seat is ideal from birth until your baby is 5 to 7 months old (depending on his or her size). You will then need a convertible-type car seat that can face backward (until baby is at least one year old and/or weighs 20 pounds) and then forward. Look for a seat that has been rated highly for safety and fits well in your car.

2. Stroller(s): There are plenty of strollers on the market, which means there’s one for every lifestyle and budget. For infants, a snap-n-go stroller is a quick way to go from car seat to stroller – the seat fits right into the stroller frame. Once your baby outgrows the infant seat, you will need a new stroller to accommodate a larger child. Whether you want a jogger, umbrella or hybrid model, I recommend taking the stroller out of the store to push it on the sidewalks, practice folding and unfolding it, and then placing in and taking it out of the trunk (if applicable) to see how cumbersome it might be. Remember, when you have a wriggling, crying baby, the last thing you need is to be struggling with collapsing a 40-pound stroller into your trunk.

3. A Place for Your Baby to Sleep: Some parents prefer their baby to sleep in a separate room in a crib from the beginning, while others want their little ones as close to them as possible. Either way, you have many choices, including a crib, mini-crib, pack-n-play, bassinet, arm’s reach co-sleeper or your own bed! Think about your home setup and lifestyle before you make any sleeper purchases.

4. Diaper Bag (or something for you to schlep all the new things you must carry for an outing with baby): You can go crazy with diaper bags – from a basic carry-all to a designer fashion statement. When purchasing a diaper bag, consider your lifestyle and budget, as well as who will be using it (i.e., choose something your husband/partner won’t be embarrassed to carry!). Other options include a backpack or even a larger purse you already own. It is helpful from the beginning to have a bag with several separate compartments. You will be lugging a lot of stuff initially, but as your little one grows (along with your confidence), you’ll be able to get by with bringing less.

5. Baby Bathtub: This really will make your life easier. You can put it in your kitchen sink or in your tub, and it will keep your little one confined in a smaller space. You will probably be using your baby bathtub for six months, if not longer, until you feel comfortable with your baby sitting up in the big tub.

6. Bottles/Nipples: Even if you are planning on exclusively breastfeeding, have a few bottles/nipples already sterilized and ready to go. You never know how breastfeeding will go, and you may be beyond exhausted and want your partner/family member to give the baby a bottle of expressed milk or formula. The last thing you want to do in your tired, hormonal state is look for and clean bottles.

7. Swing/Bouncy Seat: This is a great item to borrow from friends or purchase secondhand, as they are usually gently used for a short period of time. Swings and bouncy seats make an ideal option when you need to put your baby down so that you can take a shower, fix yourself lunch or take a break!

8. 8-10 Sleepers/Outfits/Onesies: It’s good to have a week’s worth of outfits on hand, washed and ready to go. The last thing you want to do as you are recovering from childbirth is to wash multiple loads of laundry each day. Babies tend to spit up, poop and leak out of their clothes, so don’t be surprised if your little one goes through two to three outfits/per day in the first few weeks. Have enough so that you only have to do laundry every four to five days.

9. Diapers/Wipes: Have a supply of at least one package of diapers at home ready to go. Keep a stash of diapers on every level of your home so that you aren’t running around looking for what you need. Set up a changing station in another room that you often use. You can keep a spare outfit or two, plus diapers, wipes, creams, etc., right there.

10. A Sense of Humor: Your life has just changed for the better, but it is still crazy and overwhelming the first few weeks. Don’t get so wrapped up in being the “perfect” parent, and remember, your baby loves you and it really will be OK! So what if you have 40 thank-you notes to write, last night’s dinner dishes in the sink and dirty clothes all over the house. The first three months are all about surviving day-to-day, so do whatever it takes to be balanced and happy. This will go by so fast and you will look back and wish the time had moved more slowly!

Kimberly Shore Levin is the mother of three children born in three and a half years, and in her previous life she worked as a speech-language pathologist. She founded Nursery Know-It-All in the spring of 2008. It is a baby planning and concierge business aimed at helping expectant and new parents with all things baby. Visit her blog at

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