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 take in all of the greatness that is baby gear.
You walk in, and you experience this bright light, starry-eyed moment of bliss when you realize soon, very soon, all of this will be yours. Strollers, car seats, blankets, oh the soft blankets. You look at the sweet stuffed animals and venture to the adorable clothes. Oh, the adorable clothes you can’t wait to put your sweet little prince or princess in.
You are drawn to all of the items that are displayed so beautifully, briefly take a peek at their price tags, and you’re quickly snapped back to reality.
Having a baby is expensive! Like… giving up your first year of income expensive.
And just like that, anxiety and panic kick in as you start to wonder if you really can afford all of these things. And what about space, do we have space?
Believe it or not, you do not need all of the things that appear on the list of things you need for a new baby. You will get a lot of those baby essentials lists and most of them will be different. Just like anything else in life, everyone has an opinion.
Do you need the diaper pail, or can you get away without it? What about the bottle warmer, is it really a necessity?
This was my story, and yours may sound strangely familiar. It can be overwhelming to think about everything your baby needs and the cost that goes along with it.
I hope that you are gifted A TON of great things but prepare yourself to have to fill in the gaps. And, chances are, you may even end up buying some of the bigger ticket purchases yourself.
If you’ve read anything about me or any of my other posts, then you know I like to save money. I did buy quite a bit of stuff at consignment sales and yard sales before any of our 7 (yes, 7!) baby showers. We were GREATLY BLESSED by our family, friends, and co-workers, but we also live a frugal lifestyle that allows us to save in some places and spend on others.
Please take note of the places we saved money, and the places we spent it. You too can attack your baby checklist with the same mindset of saving and spending.
So, what are my baby essentials for the first year that I couldn’t live without? I will share with you the things we used, the things we didn’t, those we wish we would’ve had, and the baby items we are glad we’re living without.
PS- If you haven’t taken a prenatal class yet, check out this AWESOME, COMPLETELY ONLINE prenatal class you get to do at home with your baby daddy in your jammies! WIN!!
*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.
My Baby Essentials List for the First Year
Out and About
- Car Seat
- 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 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.
- 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!
- 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!
- Diaper Bag: This Kiddy Care 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 of tissue dispensing and so much more!
- 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.
Did you know there are 7 Baby Registry Items You’ll Use Beyond the Baby Years?
For Your Home
- Infant Crib: 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!!
- Dresser: We bought the Bentley S Series Dresser to match our crib and we LOVE IT!
- Glider for Nursery: We bought one at a yard sale and it was priced for WAY LESS than what it should’ve been. We could have done without one, but I was so glad to have it.
- Nursery Décor: 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.
- Bumbo Seat: I bought one for really cheap at a consignment sale, and it was a convenient piece to have.
- Developmental Toys
- Toys for Teething: Don’t skimp on these. Check out my favorite teething toys for babies!
- Baby Books
- Baby Clothes Hangers
- Video Monitor: Do you need a video 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, so yes, buy a video monitor.
- Baby Gates
- Outlet Safety Covers
- Baby Play Mat: Many will argue this isn’t necessary. But, what I loved about our Infantino Baby Play Mat was that it had the crisscross bars over the top of the play mat 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. Why? We have carpet in most of our house, which means that it was going to be the ultimate task for our kids to make their way around in that thing. I didn’t really have a backup plan because I was kind of clueless how they were going to learn to walk other than pulling themselves up on furniture and eventually begin taking steps. Little did I know that one of the toys I had bought actually ended up being what our kids used to walk.
- Doorway Bouncer: I wholeheartedly believe everyone needs one of these. We saw a difference in how our kids developed based upon using and not using this. We were given two bouncers- a doorway bouncer and a stand-alone bouncer with the activity bar. Our first lover 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. At the 9-month checkup, our second baby was a bit behind on gross motor skills. I racked my brain about what we had done differently. And then it hit me. Within about a week of putting our baby in the doorway bouncer, standing was a breeze. It could’ve been a coincidence, but I don’t think so.
Feeding Your Baby
- Nursing Pillow: I bought one 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.
- Bottle Brush
- Breastmilk Storage Bags (obviously optional if you aren’t breastfeeding)
- Breast Pump: I got one through my insurance, but I wasn’t happy with it. I ended up buying the Spectra S 1 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!
- Baby Bibs
- Infant Silverware: Once your baby is old enough to be self-feeding, you’ll want to throw a set of 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
- Sippy Cups
- Baby Food Storage Containers
- Magic Bullet: You will only need this, or something like it if you plan to make your own baby food. If you’re curious about what it takes to make your own baby food at home, I wrote an entire post describing how to make your own baby food!
- Pacifier Clips
- Infant Bathtub: We didn’t buy the traditional infant bathtub. In this baby necessities post, I shared about how we don’t have a lot of storage space. Knowing we wouldn’t need this forever, but we planned to have more than one kid, we needed an infant tub that would store easily. When our babies were REALLY tiny, we actually bathed them in a small plastic storage container, and it worked perfectly. I held them, washed them, and we were done. Once the baby got too big for that, we switched to the Mom’s Helper Inflatable bathtub and it worked perfectly for us.
- Bath Toys: 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.
- Baby Soap
- Baby Wash Cloths
- Faucet Cover: 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 thing. We use the clippers, the thermometer (think rectal), the nose bulb sucker, and the hairbrush.
- Humidifier: 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?
- 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 Swaddles brand of sleep swaddle. Our second had colic (I have an ENTIRE post coming up about how to deal with 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.
My “You can live without it” List
- Bottle Warmers: Some swear by them, but I was breastfeeding, and this wasn’t a needed item.
- Diaper Pail: I was given two of these and didn’t use either one. It grossed me out to think about dirty diapers sitting in a bin in the room my baby slept in. And, I tried out both, and I always felt like they smelled bad.
- Changing Table: We didn’t have the space for the changing table that matched our furniture set, so we bought a changing pad. Our furniture set did have a changing table topper that fit the changing pad right inside and didn’t damage the dresser top. It was perfect for us!
- Toy Box: We bought a 9 cube shelf and we keep most of the kid’s toys there or in their bedrooms.
- Nasal Aspirator: Again, I know a lot of people swear by these, but we just used the nose bulb sucker.
- Hooded Towels: We were given several of these, and although they were cute, we could have done without them.
- Baby Shoes: There really isn’t much point in buying baby shoes until your baby can walk. If you decide you want them for the cuteness factor, just don’t spend a fortune.
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 my Amazon baby registry must-haves for any 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!
Awesome tips on labor and childbirth:
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.