I’ve been right where you are. Scouring the internet for all the baby gear I will need. Or think I will need. The truth is, when I was pregnant with my first I didn’t know where the heck to even start. So I did what any resourceful person who wants to be informed does: I googled it.
I’d say being an avid “researcher” is one of my strengths and weaknesses. A strength because I make really informed decisions. And a weakness because I do not make a decision quickly. I spent hours upon hours reading up on things and researching the “best baby gear.” It turns out there are about a million “baby gear lists” out there. And I’m about to throw you one more. Because what’s one million and one, amIright?
One of my favorite sites I found when I was picking baby gear for my own registry was Lucie’s List. Let me tell ya, Lucie’s Mama knows what’s up. She’s reviewed everythang.
Now, two children and almost 4 years into Mamahood, I can definitely say that my greatest resource on everything related to baby gear and babies and kids and Momming is…other Mamas. My fellow Moms. Why? Because we’re living it all day every day. We know shit. And we keep it real.
So here is me being that fellow Mama to you. At the end of this, please be that other Mama to me and tell me what lifesaving baby gear you’ve discovered in this thing we call Motherhood.
Without further adieu, C’MON MAMA’s Baby Gear Must-Haves…that you won’t find on other lists. (Of course, some of it’s on other lists, because there are universal no-brainer items that I can’t leave off). But a lot of baby gear items on this list are things I never saw on any list but learned about from my fellow Mamas or my own trial & error.
I’m going to put this in order of age(ish).
This post includes affiliate links.
BABY GEAR FOR THE LITTLEST BABIES
Sleeping, Napping + Lounging
Boppy Lounger: Both babies hung out on this every single day for the first 4 months, starting on Day 1. We loved it. You can wash it in a regular washer (insert praise hands emoji here). See below for another version.
Pello: This is similar to the Boppy lounger. It’s basically a more $$$ version but it lasts longer. We were gifted one for our son and actually got the Twin size because it is more oblong than round and he was a beast of a baby so the extra room was great. When they get older they can still fit in this and lounge to drink their bottles, watch shows, etc.
Rock n Play: Yes, it’s amazing & worth every penny. Both my babies slept (& napped!) in it next to our bed until they could turn over. We didn’t have any issues transitioning them to their cribs when the time came, but I know that’s a worry some Mamas have. Don’t waste energy and sleep on what may or may not happen in 3-4 months when you move your baby to the crib. If your baby sleeps in it now, it’s working. *I loved these so much I had 2, one on each floor. We’ve had both the extra cozy one and the regular one.My Momming Philosophy from the get-go—especially in those earliest days—is to take it one day at a time and if something works right now, don’t question it—just roll with it. And maybe rejoice. Click To Tweet
Swing: Some babies love them, some babies hate them. The swing gave both my babies 4 hour naps so this Mama is Team Swing.
Crib: Go ahead and spring for the convertible rails. Will make it a breeze when you need to convert. Plus, you will be wishing you had when you go to the buy them & they’re discontinued (this has happened to many Mamas I know).
Crib Sheets: Man oh man I love these! Zip the top part on & off in 5 seconds! Crib mattresses fit very snugly into the crib so this makes changing the sheets a breeze! Get 1 or 2 extra top sheets & you’re good to go.
Dohm Sound Machine: We have one in every single room in the house now, along with this portable one. Babies really do like white noise. And what babies like, babies get…because that’s ultimately good for Mama & her sleep + sanity.
Baby Monitor: I don’t have a perfect recommendation on this. We have a Motorola video one that has worked great. Not super advanced, but reliable and no lag time, etc. Battery in the handheld goes dead quickly but that’s an easy $10 replacement. I have long wanted a WiFi one so we could see our babies & what’s going on when we’re out or away. I’ve had my fave picks in my Amazon cart probably 6 times. I’ve spent hours reading reviews & researching them.
But I’m a little freaked out by the whole “are those WiFi waves safe being that directly around my baby all night long” debate. Yes, we have WiFi running through our whole house so those EMF waves are already there. But, they’re not pointing straight at my baby’s precious brain while she sleeps. Or maybe they are. I have no idea.
Night Light: This one is adorable, soft & just the right brightness for those nighttime diaper changes. And as they get older they love to play with it.
Blackout curtains/shades: Wait for the first Daylight Savings Time to hit and you’ll be sorry (as I was). You’ll love having a consistently dark room for naptime & bedtime…and your baby will, too. When DST hits and it doesn’t get dark until 9:00pm, you’ll be desperately trying to drape towels & blankets over all the windows (spoiler: that doesn’t work). I tried about 17 different blackout options (thank gosh for Bed Bath & Beyond and their easy returns!). I had 2 requirements when picking some: 1) that they actually do blackout the room (weirdly most don’t) and 2) no strings or cords (strangulation hazard). These shades and these curtains are hallelujah-worthy. They look great & are effective.
Loveys: A friend gave us one of these Angel Dear loveys for our son’s birth and told us it was their daughter’s favorite style lovey ever. This was the first thing we ever let him sleep with and to this day it is still his favorite ever. We got one for his baby sister when she was born and he stole it, so we had to get her another one. They’re perfect & one of my fave baby gear items. The way children adore their loveys is about the sweetest thing. (Side note: We didn’t put anything—and I mean anything—in the crib with our children until they were a year old, not even this lovey. I’m only putting it in this “littlest baby gear” section because they are fun to pick out and have in the nursery for when they are born.)
Swaddle: If your baby needs a swaddle, MiracleBlanket worked wonders for us with our son. Our daughter didn’t like to be swaddled. They come into this world with their own little personalities, just you wait and see.
Nursing + Diapers
Nursing/Breastfeeding Pump: Check with your insurance. With mine, insurance covered it 100%. I believe it was a piece of legislation passed during the Obama era. I’m not sure if it’s still in place or not, but check on it. I got to get a pimp pump.
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: I loved this thing so much, especially with my first. Tried both this one and the Boppy one but the fact that this one buckles around you is a game changer. You can walk around with it on and if baby falls asleep you have arm support. It’s amaze. My hubby even used to wear it to give the babies their bottles when they were little because it helped support their delicate heads…and his big Daddy arms.
Bottle & Pump Sterilizing: Get the microwave sterilizer bags. Hallelujah for the the easiness of these things!
Bottles: Every baby likes different bottles. Hold off on getting a ton until you see what works for your baby. Then load up.
Diaper Rash Cream: Triple Paste FTW! Recommended by our Pediatrician and man oh man does this stuff work wonders! 2nd kind we use is Aquaphor. Aquaphor is awesome for creating a barrier so the poop doesn’t just sit right on that delicate skin. If your baby always poops during the night or nap, Aquaphor before bed is great. Triple paste for when they are red from the poop. (If you ever get a crazy terrible diaper rash going—and this can happen (I had no idea how bad it could really be)—message me and I’ll tell you the big guns we used to get it under control!
Diaper Pail: Ubbi is amaze. Keeps the stink in in a big way. Hits you in the face when you open it, but I’m cool with it since it keeps it so contained. Uses regular trash bags = one less extra thing to buy.
On the move
Strollers: For infants, get a caddy stroller like this universal one or one of these Chicco caddy strollers (if you’re going with a Chicco infant seat): KeyFit Caddy or Shuttle Frame. Trust me. A caddy stroller is holy grail baby gear status for me. It’s basically a frame stroller that yotheur infant seat pops in & out of. Talk about easy breezy. Lightweight, fits easily in your car, if baby is asleep you don’t have to wake him up to use the stroller; you just snap the infant car seat in & out. Add this stroller organizer to hold your water + coffee + phone, and you’re golden.
And when they outgrow their infant seat, there are a million choices. I wore mine a lot so after they outgrew their infant seat I actually didn’t use a stroller a ton when I was out & about. But, at home I kept the BOB and wouldn’t want to do without it. If you live anywhere that you can go on a walk, get the BOB, get the infant seat adapter for your car seat, & enjoy that fresh air. When they’re older get the snack tray. The BOB is $$$ upfront, no question. But it’s so well-made, can endure tremendous wear & tear, & the re-sale value is great (just look on your local Facebook Mom Swap). Like I said, I kept mine at home, but I have lots of friends who keep theirs in their car. (If you’re looking for a double stroller, check out this post.)
Carriers: I L-O-V-E wearing my babies!!! LOVE. Do it while you can. Because before you’re ready they will be too big and you won’t be able to anymore. For the teeny tiny newborns: this is so easy. Also love my Solly wrap and once you get the hang of it it’s easy. For when they get a little bigger, loved my Tula. Not going to lie, mainly got it for the design options. You can’t wear your baby facing out with this one. But truth be told I never wanted to do that–I wanted to hold them close to me. They have the rest of their lives to face out and see the world, I wanted to wear them facing me like a hug.
*Side note: My son has been off the charts in height & weight since he was about a month. So he has outgrown things by size very quickly. When he outgrew my Tula I was crushed but I found this LILLEBaby for toddlers that I’m obsessed with. It’s actually the most comfortable thing ever because it has killer lumbar support (turns out I need that now. But I’m still young & cool, right? Right.). My son is over 4 feet & 50lbs and I wear him super duper comfortably. And he still loves when I do. It goes up to 65 lbs & you can do backpack carry which is fun when they’re a little older. Now that I know how comfy the LILLEBaby is with that awesome lumbar support, if I had to do it again I think I’d get this baby carrier over my Tula. Because back pain is real, Mama.
Miscellaneous Accessories + Bath
Backpack Diaper Bag: When I was registering for my first, I asked my Mama if she thought a backpack or regular diaper bag would be better. She said backpack because it would free up my hands and be so easy to throw on. I didn’t listen. (When will I learn?) I quickly realized how much better a backpack diaper bag would be when I was trying to juggle all the things in my arms—including a living being. So I researched (of course). This diaper bag backpack is awesome. I’ve had it over 2 years now & it’s holding up amazingly. I love to wear it. My husband loves to wear it. It is SO easy. Tons of storage & zipper pockets, plus comfortable to wear.
NoseFrida: Get it. Looks weird. Sounds weird. Actually is a little weird. But it’s crazy effective. It works. I mean like really, really, really works. Didn’t get it with my first. Thought I didn’t need it. I thought wrong. Have loved having it with my second.
Nail Clippers: I didn’t use any when my babies were really little. Because their nails are so flimsy and you can easily just bite them off. Yep, I said it. And I did it. It works. BUT, when they’re a little older, you need a good nail clipper. I tried a few ones that were just crap. Sucked it up & paid more for this one and it’s the bomb.com. Some of the cheaper ones don’t cut the nail all the way and it gets kind of stuck and then you pull it trying to get it and it goes too deep and your baby cries and then they’re traumatized and clipping their nails becomes a huge hassle. But this pair works so well, so easily, that you’re done before they even really realize you started. Win.
Infant Bathtub: Looooved this one. Nowhere for mold to grow = added bonus! For when they can sit up, get this adorable duck one! Bonus: the duck tub makes for the cutest photo-ops ever. Double Bonus: they now also have this swan one!
And of course, all the baby gear basics like wipes, diapers, burp cloths, washcloths, hooded towels, blankets, etc. Don’t get the fleece-y towels. Yes, they’re so soft but they don’t absorb a thing. Stick with the regular terry cloth/cotton ones. I do love muslin blankets. Aden & Anais and Little Unicorn have super soft ones with great designs. They are breathable (read: safer) and my son still sleeps with these blankets at 3.5 years old.
BABY GEAR FOR SLIGHTLY BIGGER BABIES & TODDLERS (once they can hold their heads up and/or eat, etc.)
High Chair: This one. Love it. Would get it a million times over. Funny story—for whatever reason, my mother in law was very eager for me to pick out a high chair so she could get it for us. She had seen her niece’s daughter sit in her high chair and eat cheerios while watching Sesame Street and that vision just really stuck with her. So when I picked this one she was so disappointed. “But there’s no cushion and it’s not even soft.” I said “I know, that’s exactly why I want it!” No cushions to keep clean, no crevices to try to reach = perfection! We didn’t see it the same way, ha. I have 2 now & my (giant) 3.5 year old still sits in his.
Also, these are SO cute to decorate for birthdays. Just saying.
Portable High Chair: The Inglesina fast chair. One of my favorite baby gear items EVER. EVERRRR. Babies can sit up far before they really fit in the restaurant high chairs. The problem is that while they can sit up in those, they are so low down that it’s too easy for them to bang their mouth or chin on the table. This chair is super portable, super easy, works on almost all tables, & puts the baby up at the right level. We’ve used ours for 3.5 years through two children. We don’t leave the house without it. (Side note: also easy to take with you or keep at Grandmom’s house if they don’t want/need a permanent high chair out.)
Bibs: My favorite ones ever are some brand called Neat Solutions sold at Target. They’re lightweight, easy to wear, easy to wash, easy to scrunch up and throw in the diaper bag, and cheap. They’re also weirdly impossible to catch in stock and not sold online so if you find them get a bunch. I cannot link them so check them out in the high chair picture.Baby Food: When it’s time for solids, embrace the pouches. Long live baby food pouches! They make things so easy! Ain't no shame in the pouch game.Click To Tweet
Cups: These are the only truly spill proof/leakproof cups I’ve found. All of them claim to be. But they are not. Many of them may not leak with the most gentle use ever, but we’re talking about toddlers. Traditionally not the most gentle beings. Their cups drop (or, ahem, are thrown) like 20x a day. Cups that can go through that & not leak are few and far between. Plus they have a bunch of different sizes as they grow. And a stainless version that basically acts like a baby/toddler YETI cup. We love those for days out & the beach, etc. (Also, all these cups fit so well in carseat cupholders & diaper bag side pockets.)
*For babies/kiddies going to daycare/preschool, these InchBug labels are awesome. I use the adhesive ones & they stay on in the dishwasher (yay!). People love the band ones, too. Use code CMONMAMA for 15% off (exp. 10/31/18)!
Placemats: For eating out, these are a holy grail item. Forget the silicone ones you have to wash. We’re trying to make less work for you, Mama. (Just recycle some extra stuff and you won’t feel bad about using these.) They’re amaze and keep your baby eating on a clean surface at a restaurant.
Kid Picnic Table: This could be in the food or activity category because this thing is awesome. So easy to clean. Folds up in a breeze (though we leave ours out 24/7). Perfect table for tea parties (or coffee parties if you live in my house), coloring, play-doh, and actual eating. Weatherproof, too, so you can keep it outside. We’ve had it for a couple years and use it every day. It’s not often you find an item with a nearly perfect 5 Star rating on Amazon.
Let’s talk confinement. Sometimes you just need your kids to be confined. Embrace it.
Jumperoo: Babies love these. And so does this Mama because it keeps my baby entertained and safe. Starting around 6 months. I still put my 18 month old in it when I need her to be contained. Embrace it. Embrace the color and the babyness of it. Yall know how I feel about baby-looking baby things. (Hint: I’m down with them.)
GoPod: Awesome to have for outdoor hanging, beach, vacations, picnics, etc. Or just so you can take a shower. Super portable, keeps them confined which is often times exactly what you need.
Pack ‘n Play: One of the famous baby gear items. I debated whether to put this at the very top in the “Newborn Sleep” section or here, because it’s perfect for both. A Pack ‘n Play is essentially a travel crib. I never used it as a crib in my home but many of my Mama friends used it as a second crib for naps, etc. or when baby is in their room (I used a Rock ‘n Play when they slept in my room). I used it as a playpen/place to confine my babies whether it be laying there or playing in there as they got older. And when you travel to a hotel or the Grands’ house, this thing is key. BUT, for true sleeping, I recommend adding this mattress & this padded sheet to make it not feel like baby is sleeping on a flat rock. (Hack: put this soft mattress on top of the hard mattress it comes with & then put the padded fitted sheet around the whole thing. Super secure that way. And I wouldn’t do this for newborns, only for older babies (too soft for newbies)).
Play Yard/Play Pen: Back in the day, they used to be called playpens. You probably spent some time in one just like I did. This is the most similar to what used to be around; it has a built-in floor/bottom & mesh sides. This is what I have and it works great over our own floor/rug/mat (it comes in multicolor & tan). There are benefits to both types. The former gives you a solid/clean bottom (especially good for outside). The latter gives more space to play (and can get rained on outside). Take your pick, but just know that once baby starts moving, you
may will want a safe area to confine her to. So you can bathe. And eat. And pee. Mobility is a game-changer.
I’m a Big Kid Now
Little Helper Kitchen Tower/Stool: This thing is so cool. It provides the perfect place to let your baby or toddler stand & be part of the action. They can help cook, eat at the counter with you (if you’re like me & usually eat standing up while unloading & loading the dishwasher), color & paint, drum on the counter, play in the sink, watch you cook, etc. And it keeps them safe & confined the whole time. It has adjustable height, closed sides (why they make similar things with open sides I’ll never understand), & is super easy to clean.
I’ve had 2 because I learned the hard way that they are not made to be left outside for months on end (my bad). We used it to paint at the easel on the porch & then I just left it there & that was a no go). This Little Helper FunPod is a great way to let your little one be part of the daily stuff with you.
Bike Seat: We’ve loved this one. Loved it so much that when our kid outgrew it we got him the larger one. Only downside is I wish it had a 5 point harness because sometimes the straps slip down, but overall love these seats! We didn’t use this until 10 months. (*Helmets are life. Don’t forget that.)
Bike Trailer: This one is wonderful if you plan on having two children at any point. Or even if you don’t (one child can ride it in, too.) It has the biggest weight capacity we could find, which is important when your 3.5 year old weighs 50 lbs! In other words, you’ll be able to use this for a looong time.
Pottery Barn Anywhere Chair: Worth the hype. They’re adorable, so comfortable, the kids think it’s the coolest thing to have their own chair. And it’s so cute to see them sitting in them & chilling like the precious little villains they are. Get the standard size. The “my first” one is tiny and though I’ve never seen the oversized one in person, my son is enormous for his age and the standard one has been perfect. We got them at around a year old for both kids.
This goes beyond Baby Gear. Baby-proofing is totally it’s own thing. I have a whole post about it coming soon so stay tuned. But here’s a preview: I’m not “less is more” on the baby-proofing. I’m “more is more.” Because the more secure & safe my house is the less I have to worry and the more I can let my kids play freely, which helps Mama have a minute to sit down. Win win win win win. (If you’re dying for some C’MON MAMA approved baby-proofing gear, visit my Amazon Shop & go to the Baby-Proofing category.)
There you have it. C’MON MAMA’s Baby Gear Must-Haves. Congrats, Mama. You’ve done all the legwork. Now, enjoy the ride.
Fellow Mamas, what are some of YOUR fave baby gear must-haves? Tell me below!
What’s next? —> Go check out MY favorite things for Mamas: 14 Things Every New Mom Should Get Herself
*You can also shop everything above + all my Amazon Must-Haves & Faves (for Mama Things & Baby Gear & everything in between) in one place on my C’MON MAMA Amazon Page.
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