Things we absolutely needed and used during the first couple months: (NOTE: Both my kids were practically summer babies – so this would vary for a winter one….)
~ Originally written in 2010. I’ve added some updates below as well.
Diapers & Wipes
See Post on Diapers here.
Clothes *note that we opted to not take the baby out a whole lot during the first three months… so we didn’t have a huge need for clothes – they grow out of clothes fast anyways)
*I LOVED the gowns. We had 6 pairs of gowns (they have the built in mittens) – we opted to use the gowns because they had the built in fold over mittens which were easier to use….and it was easy to access her diaper for changes. and when her legs were cold, we would just pull the gown down over her feet. its pretty much ALL she wore at home for 2 months. When it was cold, we either put socks on her… or kept her in her swaddler.
*in all honesty, I only used One onesie… like once! and that was just to go to a doctor appt that first month, by her 2 month appt, she was wearing more of a romper outfit, but as you can see… she really didn’t have much use for clothes.
* we did have one sleeper that we used to bring her home in… and also wore out once…
*after two months… all she has been wearing at home is her diaper and the Carters side-snap t-shirts (comes in a five-pack). LOVE the side snap T-shirts!!! Carters also sells these three-piece set things that include a short sleep side snap shirt+long sleeve side snap shirt+footed pants for like $10
*you will probably need just one pack of little bootie/socks (especially for a winter baby)
*3 pairs of mittens to keep from scratching
Toiletry type stuff
*Shampoo and Bath wash (I preferred the Mustela Newborn Foam Shampoo and 2-in1 hair and body wash…. Aveeno Baby is also highly recommended)
*Lotion: Aveeno Baby Daily moisture lotion… And Aquaphor!
*Powder: Johnson’s CORN STARCH powder…. We didn’t use it the first 3 months, but then it started to get really hot because of summer, so we were using it to keep her dry in her body creases (armpit, behind knees, etc)… I also started to use it in her nighttime diaper since she was sleeping longer hours.
*Swisspers Supreme Cotton Pads are great for wiping baby’s face. Very soft, I liked it better than ever using a towel.
*2 hooded towels
*8 Washcloths at least
*the Johnson’s baby cotton swabs… I did use, but only to clean the outer part of her ear lobe… never actually stuck it in her ear.
*when you are at the hospital – Ask them for a nasal Aspirator! Then just take it home with you. You can also ask for a thermometer. Hehehe.
*one bath tub of your preference (I got the First Years Infant to Toddler tub on craigslist for like $5)
*bath thermometer (if you feel you need one)… I got the Aquatopia one on Amazon.com $14 – shaped like a turtle… love it!
*Grooming kit (with nail clippers, nail file) – honestly, you can probably find this at Ross or Marshalls for better prices.
*Destitin Diaper Rash Cream
*Diaper Genie – we got the Diaper Genie II Elite. Love it. Ended up getting a second one on Craigslist to have downstairs as well ($15). One of our friends really likes the Diaper Champ… but I guess its all down to preference…. Whatever one you want, you can definitely find on Craigslist. I’d get the diaper thing on Craigslist and just register for the refill bags!
*3 bottles. I only rotated out between 3 bottles throughout the day. But if you don’t want to keep washing throughout the day and want to wait until the end of day to wash everything… then you’d probably need about 8 bottles. The main bottle we used in the first 6-9 months was the First Years BREASTFLOW. Love it. Shaped like a boob and my kids took to it well. I did buy 6 of these bottles, but I wash regularly, so I only use 3. BUT… I have gone through an extra set of nipples on them… so get extra nipples… stage 1 (0-3 months) and stage 2 (3+ months). In the latter months and up until getting off the bottle, I switched to the Playtex Drop-ins… mostly for convenience.
*Lots of bottle brushes to stock up – because you will probably want to change it out every month or other month. I use the First Years double scrubber. I found that the brush part of the head wasn’t as stiff so it didn’t feel like I was scratching the inside of the nipple.
*Babyganics Foaming dishwashing soap – its not as concentrated as what we use on our own stuff. This is more for preference.
*Burp cloths – At home we just used the Gerber Cloth Diapers (they are just the plain white ones that come in a 12 pack… they work great)… but I did buy a set of some nice ones for when we are out. hehehe… but at home, those plain white ones work just fine!
*Bibs – any of the regular cloth ones work find for milk, etc… but once on table foods, I was all about the Bumkins!!
*Drying Rack – I got the First Years Spinning drying rack. Cheapest at Target ($12.99) unless you find one on Craigslist.
*Bottle Warmer – I just got it on Craigslist because its cheaper and I hear they don’t last very long to begin with.. often breaking down. Right now I’m using the Avent Express bottle warmer (found it for $10 on Craigslist). Works just fine, but then again, we only put the bottle in there just to bring the milk to cool temperature (from being cold)… My kids never had fully “warm” milk unless its freshly pumped stuff at body temperature. If you keep the baby used to cool milk, it will probably make life easier when you start taking baby out and about.
*Car seat – This is where it gets tricky because you will need to decide if you want the whole Graco type travel system (the one with the carrying seat) or not. We personally opted to NOT get that type of seat because we knew that the baby was not really going to go anywhere the first couple of months, and once she did start going out.. she would be TOO HEAVY to carry in that thing! Imagine the 10lb seat plus 15lb baby carried by a small mother?!? Anyhow… so we went for the Convertible car seat. We got the First Years True Fit Convertible Car Seat (Update: We still have this seat 4 years later…. used it for my daughter and then once I switched her over to the Britax Frontier 85, then my son was using it. Car seats have about a 5 year lifespan so I got my money’s worth!)
*Stroller – Since we did not get a travel system, we got a stroller that was able to suit 5lbs-55lbs. we opted for a 3-wheeled jogger type stroller for better maneuvering. The one we got was the Baby Jogger City Mini. LOVE IT! (Update: Still have the same Baby Jogger City Mini and STILL LOVE IT!) Have since also gotten the Maclaren umbrella for travel and I found the Zooper Double stroller on Craigslist for $65 which I am quite happy with when I lug the kids to amusement parks, etc. My biggest concerns when shopping for strollers: full recline of seats for napping, large coverage of the canopy shade, and ease for collapsing and opening.
*Pack and Play – love it… we used the changing table feature all the time and she used to nap in the bassinet area…
*Ring-Sling … a sling is great for carrying the baby and we used it to take her to her dr’s appts since we didn’t get a baby carrier car seat)… LOVE IT! She loved being cradled in it the first couple of months… and as they get older, there are other ways to carry them in it.
*Baby Carrier – We just started using this now that she is older. Whatever you pick… just make sure the shoulder area is well padded! Best to go try them on at the store. We ended up getting the Chicco Deluxe You & Me…
*Crib – we got a hand-me-down… but haven’t quite used it yet because She sleeps in our room in a co-sleeper. I LOVE THE CO-SLEEPER! Check it out… Arm’s Reach Co-sleeper. Keeps them right next to you, yet in their own sleeping area. Got ours on Craigslist for $100 near brand new. Just buy an extra sheet! (Update: We still have the Co-sleeper and I still LOVE it. My daughter slept in it in our room for 2 years… and now my son has been in it for 2 years as well.)
*Changing pad – used once baby was too big for the changing area on the Pack N Play
*High-Chair – Fisher-Price Space Saver. Still using it with our oldest – going on 4 years. Bought a second for my son! If you get one on Craigstlist… then just buy a new cover.
Toys *Whatever you get in this area is of course optional… not truly a necessity… however, I do have some recommendations on things that we are glad we got!
*Play mat – this is great because its colorful, gives baby a place to lay down and look at things above her… most flip down so they can enjoy tummy time too. The one we got was Tiny Love Monkey Island… But it seems they don’t really enjoy it until around 3 months when they start to focus more on things visually.
*Swing – LOVE the swing! She totally loved rocking in it and would keep her entertained. We got both the large one and the travel one on Craigslist! Both under $45! We got the Fisher Price Aquarium ones… seems like for the large swing, they are all good.. but for the travel one… the best one is the Aquarium (or similar build) because of the way the swing arms are. The other models are not good because babies get caught in it. Remember to sell it back on Craigslist when you are done! I basically got a $5 rental out of mine for two kids!
*Bouncer chair – I liked having this just to switch things up for her and give her different scenery for entertainment. Anyone of them will do.
*Bumbo chair – We just started to put her in this… because they have to be able to hold up their head… got mine on Craigslist for $10!! (Update – This one didn’t last long, probably because my daughter was too chunky to sit in it… ended up selling it back on Craigslist quickly. Didn’t bother getting one for my son)
*Jumperoo- Got the Rainforest one on Craigslist for $40!! Used them through both kids and sold it back for $35. whoooo. Let me just say.. the kids LOVE the jumper. Definitely need one of these.
*Mobile – is great once baby can focus on stuff. Keeps them entertained for quite some time! We got the Tiny Love Symphony-in-motion….. love the colors and the classic music on it. BUT if you are not putting the baby in a regular crib… then it will NOT have anything to hook on to… so what we did was we rigged it – attached it to the swinging doggy gate we have at home since it has the same type of bars and leaned it up against the couch or pack N Play… so now the mobile hangs over her area as normal.
*Dreft – we got 3 of them from our baby shower… so my plan is to use all three up.. and then after that start washing all the household laundry in a Free and Clear detergent so that we can start washing baby stuff with everyone else’s. My friend recommended Purex Free and Clear…. But these days, all brands have a free and clear version.
*Kiddapotamus Swaddleme Blankets. We had two of them and used it a LOT during the first 3 months. Helped her sleep well and keep her arms in. Felt like she was in the womb I guess. I had 2 in size small… and later got 2 more in size large. The reason for the doubles is for washing purposes… so I’m not doing laundry all the time!
*Sleep Sacks: HALO sack. Loved these better than using blankets with the baby – safer for them too. Got one fleece one and one cotton. The fleece one is nice and keeps her pretty warm as it gets chilly at night. (Update: as the kids got older, I transitioned them to the Halo Toddler sized ones where feet can stick out for walkers. Loved them all!)
*Kiddapotamus Snuzzler – we had two of them… one in the car seat and one in the stroller. Didn’t use the one in the car seat very long… couple months before they get bigger and fit better in the car seat. The one we used in stroller got more use.