12 Must-Have Baby Items for Expecting Parents
As an expecting parent, of course, you are daydreaming about all the joys that will come with the arrival of your little one. You obsess over the tininess of the little onesies and plan out walking paths to all the best parks. But what do you actually need once your little one is here?
Don’t fret! We’re here to explain what you really need and what you can probably wait to grab. So, let’s dive right into what you should absolutely buy now to prepare for your little nugget’s arrival!
1) An Easy to Carry Diaper Bag
Let’s be clear: you are going to be afraid to take your baby anywhere for the first few weeks they are with you - and then you’ll hit that point where you will do almost anything to get out of the house. So, you need to have a diaper bag that holds everything you want to carry. This usually means it’ll be pretty hefty.
Aim to find a diaper bag with straps that make it easy for you to carry it, your baby, the stroller, the car seat, and whatever else you need to have (like maybe something for yourself). Too many diaper bags are poorly designed, and they end up tipping over, breaking or just being far too cumbersome to carry. You want to get a keeper because it will be your companion for quite a while!
2) Books to Set That Routine
For the first few months of your baby’s life, they won’t get a lot out of reading books, at least outwardly. But what’s going on inside their head is magical. However, it is crucial to set up a routine that you can carry on for a long time. Books help a baby to learn how to focus, think, speak, listen, and it even gives them cues for when they need to go to bed.
Another great thing about books for kids is that they can make you feel better as a parent when you are having a bad day. They tend to be sweet and inspirational for parents and babies, so don’t be worried if you get teary-eyed reading Love You Forever. It’s great for you and for your little one!
3) Baby Bottle Coolers to Regulate Those Bottles
For mothers especially, breast milk is a priceless resource. Even if you produce enough milk, running out of pumped milk in the middle of a busy day (or not taking enough to Grandma’s when you want to have a date night) can be disastrous.
A baby bottle cooler not only ensures you think about filling those bottles, but it also helps to regulate temperatures so the milk stays fresh and doesn’t end up spoiled and in the garbage. A bottle cooler will keep warm bottles warm for an extended period or keep them cool if they need to be cooled.
If you use formula, these coolers can help to ensure that the water temperature is good to go and the formula (which is expensive!) stays safe to drink for hours.
4) Stroller Straps for On-The-Go Parents
When you first have a baby, you are more than happy to stay at home and bask in the love...and then you want to show off your baby to the world. Going for walks is a great way to calm your baby and get yourself outside in the sunshine, but you need to take a bunch of stuff with you if you want to walk any great length.
If you are gone for more than ten minutes, you’ll need to take some sort of diaper bag with you, bottles, snacks, and more. Having a stroller strap can make it easier to manage everything you need to take with you without feeling like a camel crossing the Sahara.
5) Bibs - And Lots of Them
Some things haven’t been improved all that much over the years, and bibs are one of those things. They have stayed simple because they just work. Unless you want to throw away everything your baby wears, a bib is a must-have to protect clothing.
When babies first start eating, a regular cloth bib is a great idea because you can just use it to wipe their mouths and keep that cute outfit pristine. However, once babies start eating solid foods, you can get a bib that has a tray that collects (most of) what they drop. This will cut back on cleaning time, which is essential because it means more “you time” for you!
6) Laundry Detergent Designed for Babies
Babies have incredibly sensitive skin; even laundry detergent can cause irritation. Not only do you need to think about the products that you use on their skin, but you also need to think about what you are washing their clothing and bedding in - and what you use to wash your own! Be sure to find a detergent that is specifically designed for use on baby clothing. These detergents are sensitive skin-approved, and they work on getting out all of those “where did they come from” stains.
7) Breathable Cotton Blankets
Those handmade blankets are amazing keepsakes, and you should cherish them forever, but sometimes a good, breathable cotton blanket is just what you need for your sweet baby. These are the blankets that you can use at any time of the year to swaddle your baby when they are fussy, keep them warm when they need it, and even protect them from the sun. They are easy to throw into the washing machine many, many times and use over and over again.
The more you can get your hands on, the better! Even though you can wash them, we all know that laundry can be hard to do with babies.
8) Waterproof Mattress Covers – Stock Up!
The next thing you absolutely want to invest in is a waterproof mattress cover. Even if you are diligent about changing the baby overnight and not allowing bottles or cups to sneak into the bed, mistakes are going to happen. And when they do, babies won’t be happy sleeping on a wet mattress, and it won’t make you happy either at 3 am.
Invest in a few waterproof mattress covers, so when leaks or spills do happen, your mattress is protected. You can either strip it (in the case of a real blowout) or clean it quickly with a towel. And voila! Disaster averted!
9) Sleep Sacks for Those Sleepless Nights
Swaddling is great for a baby until it isn’t. Babies sometimes want to be able to stretch out and kick their legs, but we worry about them getting too cold. Sleep sacks are a great compromise that are perfect for on-the-go coddling as well as keeping them cool for nights when it is just too warm for a thicker blanket.
Plus, they are really, really cute!
10) Some Sort of Speaker for Your Sanity
A speaker will help you in many ways. Smart speakers, like Alexa or the Apple Home Pod, can help you to keep lists of things you need to do, remind you when something needs to be done, and just plays music when you can’t think of another lullaby to sing. These speakers can really make the parenting game a lot easier - there are even lullaby versions of rock songs, so your baby can be the coolest kid on the block!
11) Baby Carrier So You Can Get Something Done
It is easy to get overwhelmed when you are trying to take care of your home and baby simultaneously, especially if you have a baby who wants to be held at all times. A good baby carrier will help you knock out that to-do list while still being close to your baby.
Not all carriers are built for all bodies, so it is best to read reviews and even try some carriers before making a purchase.
12) Rocking Chair Because You Can Only Pace So Long
Are you ready for some calves of steel? Many parents spend nights pacing with their baby when they could just be rocking in style. Somehow, rocking chairs have fallen out of fashion the last few years, but they are still a good parenting tool. You can get something old-fashioned or something equipped with endless gadgets like a phone charger, so you and your baby can get the rest you need.
Stock Up Early
If you are trying to find something absolutely amazing for your baby from the list above, simply do a little research and see what seems to suit your lifestyle. While some of these items may seem basic, there are definitely brands and products that are far better than others, so shop around!
When it comes to parenting, remember, if something appears “too good to be true,” it probably is. There are a lot of products out there that promise the world but don’t deliver. And your baby deserves the best, so it’s perfectly ok to be a selective shop-smart parent!
Reading Books to Babies | KidsHealth
Best Baby Laundry Detergents | What to Expect
Why Rocking to Sleep Is a Matchless Sedative—and Elixir | Scientific American
Snap + Go® Silicone Food-catcher Bib (3-in-1 set) | Green Sprouts