Baby Must Haves: First Year & Beyond (Stuff Every New Mom Needs)
These baby must haves (first year through third) are essentials for pregnant mamas to buy before birth.
It can be so tough to prepare for a new baby. There are tons of things to do and about a thousand different ways to do them.
And all of this while you’re miserably pregnant!
Not to mention the endless list of baby stuff calling out to you “Pick me! I’m the BEST.”
Ever think, HOW can they all be the best?! It’s overwhelming.
So, I thought it would be helpful to share some baby items that I not only researched like crazy, but that I use and love.
And the best part is that these are baby must have items you won’t only be using for a month.
This is baby stuff that you can still use for your little one even past the first year.
We are STILL using all of these things with our 20-month-old.
These are essential baby must haves, first year and then some.
This post may contain affiliate links. See my disclosure for details.
Baby Must Haves: First Year & Beyond
This kind is awesome. They are the tiniest, cutest little things and they work super well.
I was terrified the first time I cut my baby’s nails.
The first few times, actually.
These little guys are super gentle and I feel like I have a lot of control when clipping.
A lot of stores recommend buying a baby first aid kit. I was thankful for the advice not to do this.
Most of the items in those things are cheap, to drive down costs. You get what you pay for.
The nail clippers were especially junky in the couple kits we got as gifts.
You’ll end up having to buy something better anyway, so start with what you know will last.
I feel so strongly about steering new moms away from poor quality baby stuff that I wrote a whole post about how to make your own baby grooming kit with items that I’ve use, love, and highly recommend.
I had my eye on some cute shoulder strap diaper bags when I was pregnant with my first.
I even got a beautiful one as a baby shower gift.
But my friend who was also pregnant made an excellent point: what about when Dad goes out with the baby?
This made me reconsider the super feminine options.
Then she also mentioned that she was opting for a backpack diaper bag.
When you’re juggling baby, the last thing you want is something heavy slipping off your shoulder or dangling down at your hip and getting in the way.
I found our great bag on Amazon and I LOVE it. It’s small enough to feel compact, but holds a ton.
It has a bunch of pockets and an insulated side pouch for bottles and water.
It’s padded, comfortable, simple and neither too masculine nor feminine.
*Update: Ugh. Ok, sadly, this exact bag is no longer available. BUT I’m loving these other options on Amazon. I highly recommend scoping them out and finding the right style of backpack diaper bag for you. You’ll love it. I can also now add that these types of bags are perfect for adventures with toddlers as well.
I’ve really been looking forward to reviewing this thing. It’s a baby MUST have.
I really don’t know how we’d get by without it. I just love it…can you tell?
My baby was a verrry FUSSY baby. Car rides did anything but calm him.
He hated the car. HATED.
It was so stressful going anywhere. Ever.
This mirror helped sooo much. I won’t lie, he still despised the car, but as he got older we could really engage him and distract him from his misery using the mirror.
Poor babies are supposed to be rear facing until closer to age 2 now.
That’s a long time to face a headrest.
Now, when I’m driving I can sing songs and interact with him. We make faces and play silly games through the rear view mirror. He can also make faces at himself.
He loves that.
And he can see reflections of other cars and buildings, keeping him entertained.
When I’m in the passenger seat, I pull down the little make-up mirror so I can check on him without twisting around.
This mirror is BIG and doesn’t distort the reflection at all.
It straps onto a head rest and it can turn towards the middle seat if needed.
You’ll see great reviews for this one as well.
I honestly really think this thing is a safety feature.
If you alternate having baby in different cars or if you have any fear at all about accidentally forgetting he’s with you, this mirror gives peace of mind.
Adjust your rear view so that you can see your back window clearly AND the full baby mirror.
It would be really hard to forget that little face when you see it every time you look back while driving.
4. Baby Carrier
We were given a great wrap carrier when my baby was born. This wrap was awesome.
I used it pretty often when he was teeny tiny.
Once he got a bit heavier, it was NOT working for us.
I know lots of killer mamas who can rock these cloth wraps with a toddler in it, but it just didn’t work for me.
I needed something sturdier.
Once I splurged on this baby carrier, I couldn’t believe I had waited so long.
Changed. My. Life.
This is especially amazing if you have a clingy baby.
If you do, you know it’s no joke.
I couldn’t walk out to pee without a meltdown. He wanted to be ON ME allllll the time.
Preferably while also nursing. If you’re in that boat, check out my tips on how to get stuff done with a super clingy baby.
I’m a research junkie, especially when it comes to baby stuff.
I read soooo many online reviews before purchasing this bad boy.
I don’t spend money lightly.
But I could not be more pleased with it!
This is one of the few baby carriers that doesn’t run the risk of hip dysplasia.
It’s comfortable for baby and mama. It also has front, back, and hip carry options.
We use it while doing some light hiking and Dad wears baby on his back.
They both love it.
And we can use it up into his older toddler years. How great it that?
I love it because if I adjust it a certain way, I can carry him and breastfeed at the same time.
All while vacuuming. Supermom, right?
He feels SO much more secure in this carrier than a wrap. I can even bend over and pick things up or load the dishwasher with him in the front position.
Ok ok, I’ll move on.
But Mama, if you plan on using a baby carrier beyond the first few months, invest in this amazing baby carrier. You’ll USE this baby must have: first year, then second, and then third…
It is SO worth it.
Ok, let’s talk practical baby stuff (one of my readers’ favorite topics. See this popular post.)
I know it’s tempting to buy really cute fancy sheets for your baby’s crib.
If your nesting instincts insist, by all means, get one. But just get ONE.
There’s really no reason to have tons of expensive sheets. Know why?
Babies are MESSY. Like super messy.
Our boy struggled with reflux issues and would spit up on his sheets every single night.
That’s a lot of sheet changes.
Then you factor in pee leaks, blow outs, and straight baby vomit…uhh we’re talking stains, girl.
Lots and lots of stains.
It’ll break your heart for all of your fancy sheets to be ruined and have to dish out more cash to replace them.
We got one set that were pretty cute.
Nothing super fancy, but they matched his color scheme and had some design to them.
Then we got a pair that were plain, really soft, and weren’t very pricey.
In no time, all the sheets were stained and had been washed a billion times.
The fancy set got really thin and shrunk.
It was a PAIN to put them on his mattress after a while and I honestly don’t even bother anymore.
Sheets are one of those must have baby items that you use for such a long time and so often that you want to make sure you get something high quality and for a low price.
This kind has held up SO nicely.
They remained super stretchy and easy to put on, plus they just got softer with washing.
I ended up buying a few more pair in brown.
Plain ole poopy brown.
The stains don’t show and we always have back-ups. Perfect.
I recommend getting at least 4 pair.
These sheets are still among the least expensive I could find (that also have good reviews and quality.)
Plus, they fit a toddler mattress perfectly and we’ll also be able to use them again when our new baby starts making little messes of his or her own.
Speaking of stains…
You’re gonna want waterproof pads to go under your baby’s sheets. Save your baby’s mattress.
Those messes I mentioned don’t conveniently stay on the sheets. They soak through.
We have used these since our first baby was born.
We like them and they’re pretty inexpensive!
I wish we’d stocked up way sooner.
They go through a lot of washing too, but they hold up pretty well.
Here’s a tip:
Use these on your bassinet too!
I don’t know what part of mommy brain made me think we only needed these for the crib.
My baby slept in the bassinet of his Pack ‘n Play until he was around 4 months.
The mattress was super gross and stained.
When you’re stocking up on practical baby stuff grab a few packs of these great pads.
7. Pack ‘n Play
That leads me to the Pack ‘n Play.
I spent a lonnng time researching these suckers.
I knew we’d use it as a bassinet and for trips and playing later, so I wanted a great one.
This kind is fantastic.
We live in a two story house with our room and the nursery on separate floors.
Not ideal for 10 diaper changes a day.
This pack ‘n play has a sturdy changing table attached with great storage for wipes, diapers, bags, medicine, distracting toys, etc.
A lot of comparable play yards with changing pads had wimpy reviews saying that the changing pad just didn’t hold up.
We used this one long after he started sleeping in his room, just for changing upstairs.
It’s big enough to use as a full on bed if you need, but folds up nicely into a bag for travel.
I also love that it’s really neutral.
We’ll use it for new baby too. And probably future siblings as well.
It also comes with a removable bouncer seat.
I didn’t think we’d use that part that much, but it was great.
When he was tiny, we could lay him in it while we ate dinner or did some cooking or cleaning.
We even let him nap in it when his reflux was really acting up, because it has an incline.
It’s just a really great, totally-worth-it investment.
If you’re buying a play yard during your initial purchase of must have baby stuff, this is a great option to consider.
This is one of those essential baby must haves, first year through third!
These are Baby Must Haves for First Time Moms (REALLY)
Ok, you’re going to think I’m exaggerating on this baby stuff. Guys, I REALLY love all of them.
There’s a ton of stuff we use not worth mentioning, but this stuff is GOLDEN.
If you’re still in the baby registry phase, this baby stuff is perfect.
(I highly recommend creating an Amazon Baby Registry so people can just click and send, especially if they aren’t local. Plus, you get FREE baby stuff in a welcome basket!)
If I hadn’t kept evveryything in anticipation of a second baby, I’d totally buy any and all of these baby must haves again.
They make my life easier and they hold up really well over time. Did I mention we STILL use ALL of these?
I hope this stuff is equally wonderful for you and your little one.
Now check out my posts:
These practical tips will help you to be as ready as possible for your life with a newborn.
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Baby Must Haves: First Year Through Third (at least!)