The Baby Essentials List for Baby’s First Year
Chances are, shortly after finding out you were pregnant, you HAD to go to one of the baby stores. You wanted to check things out and find all the cute baby clothes.
Then you saw the price tag and realized how expensive having a baby is!
Thankfully, you will get a lot of great baby gifts at your baby shower.
If you’re preparing for a baby, go ahead and start your baby essentials list for the first year. These are the most needed baby items.
If you’re limited on space, I highly recommend that you create a minimalist baby registry and I can show you how.
If you’re wondering when it’s OK to start buying baby stuff, we can talk about that too!
> If you haven’t started your AMAZON BABY REGISTRY, there are some really fantastic perks you should check out. Then, start adding everything you’ll need to your baby registry so others can shop for you! <
*This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you, if you make a purchase using this link. I only recommend products I love or would personally use.
Baby Essentials for Traveling
- Infant Car Seat: When you look for a car seat, you will have the option to buy an infant car seat, that often comes with a base and a stroller as a set. These infant travel systems are really popular because it’s nice to be able to keep your baby in the car seat and take your baby anywhere. They’re also nice because you can pop the car seat in and out of the baby really easily. Another bonus is not having to move your baby in and out of the car seat when arriving and leaving places, especially if your baby is asleep. The biggest downside is the added expense of a car seat you’ll likely only use for the first 9 months or so.
- Convertible Car Seat: The convertible car seat is great if you are on a really strict budget and you’re looking for a car seat that you will use for quite a while. It will adjust as your baby grows, making it a one-stop shop until your baby outgrows it. We bought the Grace Extend 2 Fit car seat when we transferred out of the infant seat. What I love about this car seat is that it allows your little one to stay rear-facing for much longer. Your little one will have about 5 extra inches of legroom. Rear-facing for the longest amount of time possible is safest for your kiddos.
These are great for protecting the seat of your car, especially if you have leather!
- Stroller w/ Travel Package: We bought the Chicco Travel set. I liked everything about it, from the convenience to the safety ratings. It was great to have a car seat that could pop into the base in the car and then move just as quickly and easily to the stroller. The bases for the car are SUPER EASY to install and remove. So, if you and your spouse each need one for your car, buy 2, and then if grandma or someone else needs to borrow one, they can be easily transferred. The great part about the stroller is that it can be used with the infant seat, but it can also be used FAR beyond the infant stage. The biggest reason we went with this stroller was due to the adjustable handle. My husband and I are nowhere near the same height, so this was a win for us! If you want to shop for the right system for you, I’ve written an entire post on how to find the right travel system as new parents!
- Lightweight Stroller: Many will argue that a lightweight stroller isn’t necessary. And, they’re probably right. We did ask for and receive one as a baby shower gift. I will say, the convenience of having a stroller in each car was great, but not really necessary. This Summer Infant Convenience stroller has EXCELLENT reviews!
This highly-rated RUVALINO Diaper Bag backpack is on my wishlist for every new mom. It can be carried as a backpack for a handbag. It has a lot of zippered pockets, cooled bottle storage, a waterproof pocket, easy wipe or tissue dispensing and so much more! You may also choose to carry one of these diaper bag alternatives.
If you plan to breastfeed, make sure you buy at least one nursing cover for breastfeeding (or pumping) while you’re out.
Baby Carrier/ Baby Wrap
Shopping Cart/ High Chair Cover
So, this one you may question, but let me tell you, it is without a doubt one of the items we have used the most for our kids. There was the peace of mind knowing that whether we were at the grocery store or a restaurant, our kids’ hands were only touching the cover instead of whatever nasty grossness was leftover from the previous kiddo.
Sun Shades for the Car
You’ll want to make sure you have your baby protected from the sun, even while in the car. These sun shades are a must unless your car already had them.
Baby Essentials For Your Home
We wanted to make the best, most financially sound decision we could when we picked out the baby crib. We knew this would likely be one of the most expensive things we would buy and needed it to be around for quite some time. So, we bought a Delta Bentley S Series 4 n 1 Convertible Crib and we have LOVED IT!!
If you’re going to have a crib in your nursery, you want to make sure you have a quality crib mattress.
Babies can be messy, so you’ll want to make sure you register (or purchase) at least 2 crib sheets. This highly-rated jersey knit crib sheet comes in 30 different colors and patterns!
Waterproof Mattress Pad
Another crib necessity to add to your baby essentials list is a mattress pad. This Sealy waterproof crib mattress pad has done really well for us and held up great after multiple washes.
We bought the Bentley S Series Dresser to match our crib and we LOVE IT! If you need help organizing your nursery, here are some genius tips for organizing all the baby clothes!
Glider for Nursery
We could have done without one, but I was so glad to have it. If you think you’ll be spending a lot of time rocking with your baby, make sure you check out the best rocking chairs for a baby nursery!
We seriously painted the walls and put up shelves and one wall decal. Don’t feel like you have to go overboard on the décor. Though it will likely be cute, you won’t be in there a whole lot to enjoy, except for nighttime when you won’t see it anyway.
Changing Pad w/ Cover
If you’re going to be using a changing table or creating a place to change your baby on the dresser, I recommend that you buy a changing pad and cover to help keep your baby safe during diaper changes.
Pack n Play w/ Sheets
One of the baby items I have used the most is my portable crib. It has traveled with us to many places with each of our kids, and we’ve used it in our family room with the bassinet and changing station when they were first born.
A baby swing is a great place for a baby to hang out while you get some things done. If you have a baby who likes being held, a swing could free up some of your time as it helps soothe your baby. I also know the struggles of having a small home, so these are the best baby swings for small spaces.
Another essential baby item for me was a baby bouncer. Until your baby gains full head and neck control, the swing and the baby bouncer are the safest places for them.
A high chair is kind of a right of passage as your baby makes its way to the dining room table. You’ll want a high chair that is safe, and if you’re living in a small space, makes sure you have a high chair that can fold up for storage. This highly-rated Graco high chair is a great option!
I bought a Bumbo seat second hand at a consignment sale, and it was a convenient piece to have.
As your baby begins to grow and become more aware of their surroundings, make sure you have toys that meet their developmental needs. Something like this Learning Cube is a great toy because it lights up and plays music, and can grow with your baby as they begin to move around more.
Toys for Teething
Don’t skimp on these. Check out the best teething toys for babies and put a few on your baby essentials list!
Books for Babies
There are so many great books for babies, and early literacy is so important. This Whose Feet? soft baby book by Melissa & Doug is a great example of an interactive baby book.
Baby Clothes Hangers
Make sure you have plenty of baby clothes hangers for storing and organizing your baby’s clothes.
Do you need a baby monitor? The long and short of it are yes. If you don’t buy one, you will wish you had one. We live in a day and age where we want to keep an eye on our kids at all times, and thankfully we have the technology to do that now. Use this guide to help you find the right baby monitor for your family!
Safety is so important when you have a baby. Having baby gates up around the house will help you corral a crawling baby. These are some of the best baby gates.
Outlet Safety Covers
Another safety item you’ll want to add to your baby essentials list is outlet covers. They’ll keep little fingers out of the electrical outlets around your house.
What I loved about our Infantino Baby Play Mat was that it had the crisscross bars over the top of the playmat that was great for our baby’s development. I also firmly believe that this is one of the reasons our kids started rolling over. They wanted to see all of the toys along the side and so they started rolling either way to see them.
Baby Walking Toy
You have probably noticed (ok, maybe you didn’t so I’m pointing it out to you) that I didn’t include a baby walker. We didn’t get one. I didn’t even register for one. Little did I know that the VTech Sit-to-Stand Learning Walker I had bought actually ended up being what our kids used to walk.
I wholeheartedly believe everyone needs a Doorway Bumper Jumper. We were given two bouncers- a doorway bouncer and a stand-alone bouncer with the activity bar. Our first loved the doorway bouncer and started standing unassisted first. I firmly believe the doorway bounder forces a baby’s core muscles to be stronger. Our second loved the stand-alone bouncer.
Baby Essentials for Feeding Your Baby
I bought a nursing pillow at a yard sale, and then we also ended up getting one at our baby shower. I kept both, and I am glad I did. When you are nursing, the last thing you want to be chasing down is your nursing pillow while your baby is sitting there screaming at you. Trust me, make sure you have one. Or two.
Make sure you have plenty of baby bottles on your baby essentials list. It isn’t a bad idea to have a couple of different brands of baby bottles because your baby may be picky about what kind of bottle they take. These are the baby bottles I recommend for new parents.
You’ll need a couple of bottle cleaning brushes during the first year so don’t hesitate to buy a pack of multiples.
Breastmilk Storage Bags
You can skip putting these on your baby essentials list if you aren’t planning to breastfeed. If you have no idea where to start when it comes to storing breastmilk, I can help you find the best best breast milk storage options.
I got one through my insurance, but I wasn’t happy with it. I ended up buying the Spectra S 1 breast pump out of pocket and I LOVED IT! Seriously, it saved my breastfeeding relationship with my baby. Don’t convince yourself you can’t breastfeed until you’ve tried everything. Side note here- I was a working mom at the time, so pumping was a must and not an option. If you’re looking for help with pumping, I shared my tips for pumping on the go!
Babies are SUPER messy. Even before they start eating solid food, you’ll likely want to have some baby bibs for drooling.
Once your baby is old enough to be self-feeding, you’ll want to throw a set of toddler silverware in the bag for when you don’t eat at home. It makes feeding your baby so much easier because restaurant silverware is too big for little ones.
Baby Bowls and Plates
Baby plates and bowls that suction to the table are great, so long as your little one doesn’t try to lift them and throw food all over the place. Even still, they’re great for storing finger foods.
As your little one learns to drink out of a cup, make sure you’ve grabbed a few of these NUK sippy cups with handles. I love these cups because they come in several different designs, several different sizes, and the handles are removable once your little one can hold the cup.
Baby Food Storage Containers
If you’re planning to make your own baby food, make sure you have some of these highly-rated baby food storage containers.
You will only need a Baby Bullet Baby Food Blender, or something like it if you plan to make your own baby food. If you’re curious, here is a great guide on how to make your own baby food!
Similar to bottles, every baby prefers a different kind of pacifier, I would recommend having 3 or 4 different kinds of pacifiers to try with your new baby.
If you’re planning to give your baby a pacifier, make sure you have several pacifier clips so the pacifiers don’t get lost or dropped on the dirty floor.
Baby Hygiene Essentials
Diapers and Wipes
Before registering for or buying baby diapers, you’ll need to decide on cloth diapers or disposable. I highly recommend you check out these recommendations on which diapers are best for avoiding blowouts. Save yourself the time and hassle later.
I recommend that you add a couple of different types of diaper cream to your baby essentials list. My two favorites are Boudreaux’s Butt Paste, and Zarbee’s Bottom Balm.
Not much room for a baby bathtub on your minimalist baby registry? Get the Mom’s Helper Inflatable bathtub. It’s an inflatable bathtub and it’s an excellent space-saving baby bathtub!
You may think there are optional, but really, they aren’t. As your baby gets bigger, it gets more challenging to get them to stay in the bathtub, even if they love it. Take my advice… buy the bath toys. This adorable octopus with rings has been one of our favorites and I have given it as a baby gift several times.
Make sure you get some tear-free baby shampoo and wash.
Baby Wash Cloths
There is a difference between regular washcloths and baby washcloths. Baby washcloths are much softer and smaller, which makes them perfect for cleaning babies.
A faucet cover isn’t really necessary until the baby can sit up in the tub alone. This happens anywhere from 6-9 months for most babies.
Infant Pain Reliever
I am a firm believer in trying everything possible before giving medicine. I love to use essential oils, and I do so cautiously, but there are times when giving an infant pain reliever is what was best.
Baby Care Kit
Chances are, you won’t use everything that comes in this baby care kit. We use the clippers, the thermometer (think rectal), the nose bulb sucker, and the hairbrush.
You’ll want to make sure you have a thermometer on hand for when you aren’t sure if your baby is running a fever so make sure to add it to your baby essentials list.
I didn’t think I needed one of these. In fact, I had no idea what it was. When your baby gets a cold, there isn’t really much you can do for them. A humidifier will help your baby’s nasal passage stay moist, and it will help keep the crud in their chest from settling.
What’s in Baby’s Closet?
These super soft minky baby blankets are my absolute favorite baby blanket. They not only soft, but they’ll help keep the cool air out when you’re outside with your baby. They do come in several different designs.
Make sure you have PLENTY of burp cloths because babies seem to puke a lot and often when you least expect it. You’ll want to have a couple of burp cloths in every room and every car.
Every baby will need clothes. Make sure you add plenty of adorable baby clothes to your baby essentials list!
Baby feet are the cutest, so make sure you keep them warm with some baby socks.
Baby Sleep Swaddles
There are a variety of sleep swaddles out there. And, you may not think you need them, but when your baby won’t sleep, desperation kicks in, and you will wish you had one of these to at least try. I would start by buying just one type. We loved the SwaddleMe brand of sleep swaddles. Our second baby had infant colic, and we ended up trying a BUNCH of different swaddles. Some worked, and some didn’t, but it was helpful to know there were options.
Baby Essentials List- Needs and Wants
Many, if not all of these things, are going to appear on the shopping lists for first-time moms. These items are the items you should add to your baby essentials list as a first-time mom. If you are expecting, it’s hard to know what all you will actually use. This is the exhaustive list of all the things we bought and used.
We did return a variety of things that we knew we would never use. There is nothing wrong with returning things. If you aren’t going to use something, take it back and get something you will use. The gift-giver should be grateful that you didn’t let their gift just sit to waste, but instead, you got something you’re using.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time or a seasoned mom, I want to hear about your favorite baby gear purchase? Or even better yet, what baby gear did you get, but you later found out was a waste of money. Share your mom advice below and help some other mommas out!
More Awesome Baby Posts:
Minimalist Baby Registry- What Do You Need?
When to Start Buying Baby Stuff
10 Things to Have Before Baby Arrives
7 Baby Items You’ll Use Into Childhood
The Best Baby Travel Systems for First-Time Parents
Fun Baby Shower Songs for a Great Party!
The owner of this website is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon properties.