I’m bring a new kind of post to you today. One all about Baby Must Haves, because the new world of having a baby is so much easier when you have the right equipment. Today I’ll be sharing only the products I used and LOVED with my daughter. Whether you are a new momma, pregnant momma, wishful to one day be a momma, or a supportive friend looking for a comprehensive must have list, I know you’ll find this super helpful.
Years before I became a momma I worked full time as a postpartum doula for two years. Yep, I worked in the homes of new mommas, often overnight, to help them navigate the new world of being a mom as well as sometimes take the night shift so they could sleep! During that time I also took a 20 hour in-class Lactation Educators course and read tons of books on lactation so that I could better help my clients and be knowledgeable on the subject of lactation. After that season I worked up until a month before my daughter was born in a natural family owned momma and baby store that was all about natural products. I taught cloth diaper 101 classes, helped new mommas find the best fitting nursing bras, taught parents safe baby-wearing, recommended safe natural skincare products and lactation support supplements and was a certified car seat technician that installed parents’ car seats for them while providing safety education about how to properly secure their child in a car safety seat. It was my last job before I journeyed into motherhood and definitely my favorite!
All that to say I felt semi prepared coming into motherhood for the first time so these Baby Must Haves come to you tried and true with lots of experience. So here we go, my Baby Must Haves list is broken up into categories below, let’s dive in!
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One of the most important decisions / equipment needed will be surrounded feeding your new baby. Below are the products I found helpful in my breastfeeding journey. I chose and was able to exclusively breastfeed, I attribute this to many of these products.
Milkmaid Tea – One of my absolute favorite companies is the maker of this tea. I took it with me to the hospital and drank it several times a day (even brewing two at a time) following having my daughter. Breastfeeding was something I was super passionate about and I knew with the challenging birth experience we’d had I was going to need all the help I could get. I drank this for “a while” I honestly can’t remember how long, I think possibly only a couple days and my milk came in on schedule! *If you’re reading this right now as a pregnant momma this company also has a great Third Trimester Tea.
Nursing Pads – Most breastfeeding mommas end up needing breast pads even if it’s just in the beginning so it’s good to be ready and have them on hand. I needed them for over the first year of breastfeeding and tried a number of brands including washable ones but these were by far my favorite! Because of the way these fold and how thin they are they didn’t show through my shirts which was pretty important to me! 🙂
Nipple Shield – (These come in different sizes but I’ve linked to the “small” which is a 20mm size.) While pregnant I remember hearing the description from a mom of 4 that “you’ll have a home side and a town side”. But it wasn’t until my daughter came and I was practicing nursing out and about that I knew what she was talking about! There was one side that was always WAY easier to nurse on and the other took more work and positioning, in my case due to a difference in my nipples (how’s that for TMI….) that resulted in the need of a nipple shield on only one side for the first two months. If you are experiencing extreme pain that isn’t improving after the first couple days seek help from a Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (an IBCLC – not all hospital lactation consultants are qualified IBCLC’s so make sure to find someone who is). Using the nipple shield was instant relief for me. Prior to using it I was bracing myself at every latch on that side with tears in my eyes and I knew it wasn’t normal since there was no trouble on my other side. My nipple was cracked which IS NOT NORMAL. Many think it is but it’s a sign of an issue. If this happens to you know it can be helped and seek help sooner than later. Luckily I only needed the help of the nipple shield for a couple months (2 I think) and was able to ditch the shield and continue breastfeeding with ease, no pain and no adjustment period from my baby. I’m so glad for the help of the shield though while we needed it!
Milk Catcher – This little milk catcher device will help in the early days if you experience let downs on both sides while your baby nurses. You place it on the side not being nursed on in order to catch all the milk that comes as a result of your let down. I had purchased one of these but didn’t end up needing it. I’m still including it in the list though because it’s a good thing to be aware of and will help some mommas save a lot of milk!
Hand Pump – I did not plan to need a pump although I did want to have a simple hand pump on hand in case I needed something. I didn’t use it at all until about the four month mark when I wanted to remove extra milk to store a small back stash in the freezer just in case it was needed. I didn’t pump every day or on any kind of schedule since I didn’t want to interfere with my bodies gage of the needed milk production but it was nice to have when I did occasionally pump and it was very easy to use. (*With any pump, make sure you have the proper sized flange. Flanges are definitely not a one size fits all and should be big enough not to rub your areola while pumping.)
Milk Storage Bags – A must for if you are planning to pump and save milk.
Silicone Portion Trays – This is great for freezing breastmilk in and for freezer purees if you choose to once you begin solid foods.
The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding – This book is packed FULL of such good information when it comes to understanding how breastfeeding really works and many details we’ve lost in this culture since it’s no longer commonly passed down from generation to generation.
Mother Foods – This book was insanely helpful in understanding diet choices that support nursing goals. It’s also really interesting if you like learning about traditions in other cultures surrounding food and breastfeeding.
As you read above I worked at a natural momma and baby store so I’m super into cloth diapers! There are a lot of awesome cloth diapering options out there but I’ll list my favorites below! When my daughter was older I used some disposable diapers and pull ups that I’ve linked and also recommend.
Cloth-eeze Workhorse (with snaps!) – My favorite newborn diaper! These come in a range of sizes but I used them only during the small newborn stage and then transitioned to a one-size diaper (bumGenius, listed below). *I had a full stash of 24 of these diapers.
Thirsties Covers – These duo wrap covers went over top the cloth-eeze newborn diapers. *I had 6 of these covers.
Sloomb Happy Little Clouds – These are the ultimate nighttime diaper! I LOVED these so much. I bad them in both sizes and we used them every night for almost 3 years. *I started out with 3 of these in each size and it was doable but eventually added a couple more to give me a buffer between washing. If you can afford purchasing 5, I’d recommend it.
Econobum Covers – I chose these covers to go over our Happy Little Clouds nighttime diapers. They fit so well! *I had six of these that we used in rotation.
bumGenius Elemental All-In-One Diaper – I chose this style because it’s a one-size all-in-one diaper made of organic cotton. I wanted to only use natural fibers on my baby’s skin and also didn’t want a lot of pieces so this diaper was the perfect pick! Not only was it super absorbent but it was just as easy to put on as a disposable AND it grew with my baby which saved me a TON of money! *I had a full stash of 24 of these diapers. In addition to this style there are also other styles like the Freetime and Pocket style.
Laundry Detergent – It was really important to me when I started cloth diapering to have a natural laundry detergent that I could both use on my clothes and cloth diapers. I love this one and have used it for the past 5 years. It doesn’t contain optical brighteners, enzymes or fragrance! It doesn’t clog up the diaper’s fabric and cause leaking issues and gets everything clean. Even after the close of our cloth diapering days we have continued to use this detergent for all of our laundry.
Wet Bags / Diaper Pail – You’ll have to decide between a handing wet bag and a diaper pail when it comes to storing dirty diapers until wash time. Some people think PAIL because they want a lid to shut them up tight but oxygen is actually crucial to eliminating the smell of pee diapers, counter intuitive, I know! But allowing as much air to get into your diapers as possible is key to eliminating the smell. I went with a handing diaper bag that was hung on the bedroom door handle, it worked great. *A set of two was all we needed for our full cloth diapering journey! If you go with the pail option you’ll need the pail plus two diaper pail liners as well.
Diaper Sprayer – Though not a necessity I really loved having a diaper sprayer hooked up to the toilet for after my daughter started solid foods! Along with the Spray Pal, it made cleaning so easy. I spray off any poo in the toilet and store the now much cleaner diaper in my hanging wet bag until wash time.
Changing Pad – As I’ve mentioned natural fibers are important to me. This was especially true when picking out items that my baby would spend a lot of time on or in contact with, i.e. mattress, diapers and changing pad. So, I opted to buy a 100% pure wool filled changing table pad from etsy and it was fantastic! I highly recommend!
Diaper Cream – I had the privilege of meeting this company in person and they are all so amazing! I’ve used this brand’s products for 5 years now and love them all! Bonus that I was already using this diaper cream when finding out it’s what our pediatrician recommends also!
Wipes – I opted for the most natural wipes I could find. I’d decided against reusable even though I was cloth diapering but I have no regrets, these have been the best, most gentle effective wipes on my daughter’s sensitive skin.
Wipe Dispenser – I love the simplicity of this dispenser and it’s worked so well for us.
Disposable Diapers – If cloth diapering doesn’t interest you. We did use some disposable diapers/pull ups around potty training and liked these the best.
Potty Chair – When the time came, I wanted a good stand alone chair that was easy for my little one to get on and also easy to clean without being bulky or an eye-sore. This one has been perfect! Everything I wanted. *If you have a two-story house, I’d recommend one on each floor for ease when they just gotta go!
Baby Monitor – I was very specific in reading reviews and choosing a baby monitor that didn’t operate over wifi and I love the one we have. It works so well, has different camera lens options and can be used to scan the whole room making it perfect for a playroom also!
Sound Machine – While I don’t consider a sound machine a necessity it certainly does help. I appreciate it for drowning out busy sounds of laundry, dishes and door bells….oh those darn door bell ringers!
Pack n’ Play – Whether you use this as a first bed next to yours or as a travel solution this guy is the easiest to set up and made with quality materials.
Natural Mattress – This is the crib mattress version of the mattresses we have in our home and LOVE. Oh how I love these mattresses! Easily the best sleep of my life! They are an investment mind you, because they are made with natural rubber (this one is, some are spring coils), organic cotton and wool. Wool is a natural flame retardant so NO NEED for all those nasty chemicals sprayed all over a mattress you’ll spend nearly half your life sleeping on (and breathing in…).
Mattress Cover – after investing in a natural mattress you want to make sure and protect it with a wool moisture protector pad. This also eliminates the addition of plastic used in most common mattress protectors.
Lotion – As I’ve mentioned above, I do my research on all of our products and pick carefully what goes onto or next to our bodies. And I LOVE this lotion! It’s the only one I’ve ever used on my daughter and moisturizer without any junky fillers in it.
Hair Conditioner – I’m only linking conditioner because I don’t find shampoo a need for a baby but we do like the shampoo in this brand also.
Nail clippers – I’ve loved this two pack which allows me to have one at home and one in the diaper bag at all times.
Baby Brush Set – This set is helpful for different types of hair.
Nose Frida – If you haven’t yet heard of the nose frida I’m sure you’ll probably be grossed out by it but I promise none of the snot gets in your mouth! I’m careful not to overuse this little tool because the inner nasal tissue is fragile but it is handy when you have a little babe with a stuffy nose that you want to help.
On the Go
Car Seat – Did you know you don’t HAVE to buy an “infant only” car seat? I chose this convertible car seat as my daughter’s first car seat because I planned to use a carrier most of the time and I’m so glad I did, it worked great for us and her car seat lasted her much longer. If I’d decided on an infant car seat this is the one I would have chosen.
Stroller – Since I worked in a natural momma and baby store while pregnant I got to test out and demonstrate a number of strollers to customers (and regularly for myself). This is the one the I fell in love with and still use to this day! It’s also THE stroller I recommend to all twin moms because each seat has an equal weight capacity and it glides like a dream! (This stroller comes with one seat but has the ability for another seat to be purchased and added, making it a double stroller.) *At the time I’m linking this, it’s also an amazing price!
Ring Sling – I LOVED baby wearing! I was so happy toting my little one around on my body and she was most comfortable doing the same. This was my favorite linen ring sling. It’s very easy to use once you watch a youtube video and practice a few times! Good baby carriers are an investment but if you want to baby wear you need a safe carrier (not all are) and a comfortable one (not all are).
Soft Structured Carrier – Teaching baby wearing gave me lots of opportunities to wear babies and try out different carriers. When I compared I knew I wanted a ring sling for the little days (and up until a year) and this carrier for beyond that! (Although we also used this under a year especially when doing something like berry picking.)
Diaper Bag – I’d had my heart set on a diaper bag that didn’t look like a diaper bag. Anyone else? So, when I saw this one I knew it was the one!
Travel Wipe Case – This case holds more than enough wipes for my diaper bag, never leaks and is air tight so the wipes don’t dry out.
Travel Wet Bag – Even if you don’t cloth diaper you should have one of these washable “wet bags” in your diaper bag for the inevitable messy clothes that you can seal away until you get home to wash them. If you are a cloth diapering momma then you will definitely need these for bringing home dirty cloth diapers. (These bags are also great for after swim lessons or trips to the beach.) *I recommend having 3 of this size so that if some are in the wash you always have one with you.
Chair/Swing – Most babies love to swing and I was sold on this chair swing when I heard it’s not just for babies, you can use it up through childhood – until 130 lbs! Ours still gets regular use.
Chew Toy – You’ve probably seen Sophie the giraffe by now and this is Sophie’s little Fawn friend that we loved playing with in those little exploring/teething days.
I hope you found this list super helpful, please let me know below if you’ve used any of these products or what your favorite baby must have item is! And don’t forget to pin this list to Pinterest!