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 “baby gear.”
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 & 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. I did all the research so you don’t have to.
With two children and 5+ years into Motherhood, I can definitely say that my greatest resource on everything related to baby gear & baby registry & babies & kids & Momming is…other Mamas. Why? Because we’re living it all day every day. We know stuff. And we keep it real.
So here is me being that fellow Mama to you.
This list isn’t to overwhelm you. This list is to hopefully make it easy on you by putting every single thing you need in ONE place.
This post includes affiliate links.
And, I can’t recommend doing your baby registry through Amazon highly enough. It’s the easiest way to register for all the things you love & want–easy for you & easy for your friends & family (& baby shower guests) to get you what you want! Amazon has everythinggg, you get 90 day returns on baby registry items, you can add things to your registry via the mobile app, & the best part is after your baby shower you can just click & buy every single thing you still need on your registry list…at a 15% completion discount! (10% if you don’t have Amazon Prime…which you’re gonna need as a new Mom. Trust me.) I did my registry through Amazon a few years ago & my currently pregnant sister just did hers through Amazon, too! Amazon FTW, yet again. Click here to start your own Amazon Baby Registry!
Without further adieu, my Baby Gear Must-Haves…that you won’t find on every other list.
(Of course, some of it’s on other lists, because there are universal no-brainer baby gear 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).
BABY GEAR FOR THE LITTLEST BABIES
All the things you need for that precious new babe.
Baby Gear: 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). Anything you can use daily for 4 months straight with a newborn is a W-I-N. See below for another version.
Pello: This is similar to the Boppy lounger. It’s basically a more $$$ version but it lasts longer age-wise. When they get older they can still fit in this and lounge to drink their bottles, watch shows, etc.
Swing: Some babies love them, some babies hate them. The swing gave both my babies 4 hour naps for months on end so this Mama is Team Swing.
Playmat: Babies love these. And when they’re teeny tiny, they can still lay on it & just look…and doze off.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
Crib: Go ahead and spring for the convertible rails. It will make it a breeze when you need to convert. Plus, you will be wishing you had gotten them from the start when you go to the buy them because you need them & they’re discontinued (this has happened to many Mamas I know). We have this one & have loved it. We converted it to a full bed for my son’s “big boy” bed. Also, I LOVE this one & would get it if I were having another baby!
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—or get one of these sets with extra top sheets included. I’ve used these for 5+ years. They hold up.
Crib Mattress: I love this crib mattress with built-in water resistance. The reviews speak loudly.
Blankets: I do love muslin blankets, especially the bamboo muslin ones. Aden & Anais and Little Unicorn are my faves—they both have super soft ones with great designs. They’re breathable (read: safer) and my son still slept with those blankets at 4 years old. *These doubled as my nursing cover-ups.
Dohm Sound Machine: We have one in every single room in the house now, along with this portable one for travel. Babies really do like white noise. And what babies like, babies get…because that’s ultimately good for Mama & her sleep + sanity. I love the simplicity of the Dohm machines. Baby gear must-have for sure.
Baby Monitor: I don’t have a perfect recommendation on this. We have a super basic Motorola video one (now discontinued) that has worked great. Not fancy or advanced at all, but reliable and no lag time so we never switched. My sister has this Infant Optics one & loves it.
For a long time I’ve thought about switching to a WiFi one so we could see our babies & what’s going on when we’re out or away. I’ve spent hours reading reviews & researching them. But, our internet connection is often very spotty. And also, 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. If I were to get a WIFI monitor, ArloBaby, Nanit, & iBaby all get great reviews.
Night Lights: 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. And, both my kids LOVE this one (my 5 year old still does!) that comes in a turtle & a bunch of other cute designs. It’s not enough light for diaper changes—it’s more something they love to look at because it projects stars on the ceiling.
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 & 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 an Angel Dear lovey 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 he adored it. It definitely brought him comfort, and the same has held true for our daughter. These loveys are 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.
Baby Gear: Breastfeeding
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: The Medela Pump in Style. I picked the tote one & it lasted me through 2 babies & a combined almost 3 years of pumping. BUT, if I could do it over again I’d get the backpack style because I can see how that would be so handy. Oh, and definitely get this pumping bra.
My Brest Friend Nursing Pillow: I loved this thing so much, especially with my first. Tried both this one & the Boppy one but the fact that this one buckles around you is a game changer. You can walk around with it on & 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. (Mine loved the Playtex VentAire bottles with the Naturalatch nipple since I was breastfeeding. They come in clear, pink & blue + 2 different sizes.)
Burp cloths: These burp cloths are cute & absorbent = exactly what you need.
I used the muslin swaddle blankets as a cover up when nursing in public because I always had them with me anyways.
Baby Gear: Diapers & Diaper Changes
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 & 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). Having a diaper bag backpack is awesome. I love to wear it. My husband loves to wear it. It is SO easy. Tons of storage & zipper pockets, plus comfortable to wear & free hands = AMEN to that.
Here are my 3 fave diaper backpacks: This smart one (love the wide top), this multi-pocket one (I’m a total sucker for all the compartments/pockets), & this quilted one (love that it can smush down/be crammed in the stroller).
Diaper Rash Cream: Triple Paste FTW! Recommended by our Pediatrician & man oh man does this stuff work wonders! GET IT. 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. Both of these work wonders. My kids actually request “clear” or “white” whenever they feel irritated. (If you ever get a crazy terrible diaper rash going—and this can happen (I had no idea how bad it could really be)—comment below & I’ll send 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 + way cheaper. (I have 3 of these so I obviously think they work)
This soft diaper caddy is amazing for the car or home. I keep mine in my car (I have 2!) but it’d work great at home for having your diaper change supplies easy to move from room to room. (Bonus: when your kids outgrow diapers, it makes a wonderful car caddy for books & snacks, toys, etc.!)
Disposable Changing Pads: These are so handy to keep in the diaper bag & the car…and even around your house. You just toss these so you never have to worry about the blowout getting on anything you have to wash.
Baby Gear: On the Move
Car Seat: We had the Chicco Keyfit 30 & loved it. Super easy. There are a million different options, though, and you really can’t go wrong. (Now when it comes time for convertible toddler seats, that’s a different story. Hint: get a Britax Clicktight seat.)
*Don’t use a seat protector under your car seat (unless explicitly approved by the car seat manufacturer). It can compromise the safety of your seat and child.
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 on this. A caddy stroller is holy grail baby gear status for me. It’s basically a frame stroller that your 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 or her up to use the stroller; you just snap the infant car seat in & out.
And when they outgrow their infant seat, there are a million choices. I wore mine a lot (see below) 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 had 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 the car. (*I loved my BOB so much that when I had my second child one of the first—and biggest—purchases I made was the Double BOB. Love it just as much.)
Stroller Organizer: Love this one because it has a lot more space than some yet isn’t too bulky.
Universal Stroller Cup Holder: GET THIS NOW. It will fit any stroller, is super sturdy, & won’t spill your drink like the soft organizer above does. Also, the cup holders that come most strollers are shallow & your drink wobbles/spills the whole time.
Stroller fan: Love this one, holds up well in all weather.
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. 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.
*NOTE: My son has been off the charts in height & weight since he was about a month. So he has always outgrown things by size very quickly. When he outgrew the 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 LilleBaby carrier over my Tula. Because back pain is real, Mama.
Baby Gear: Miscellaneous Accessories & Hygiene
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. 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 & 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 & it gets kind of stuck & then you pull it trying to get it & it goes too deep & your baby cries & then they’re traumatized & 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. I use it on my 2 & 5 year old.
Thermometer: This ear & forehead thermometer makes it a breeze. Similar to what they use in the doctor’s office.
Baby Qtips: These are amazing & have a larger but tapered end so they can’t go too far in the ear.
Hangers: I love these little basic plastic ones. I bought the velvet ones first because I love those in my own closet, but it was hard to get all the little baby clothes off the hangers because the neck holes are so small. So I switched to the plastic ones & never looked back.
Baby Laundry Detergent: Dreft has that dreamy baby smell + safe for their super delicate skin! (*Also, I’d recommend dropping the dryer sheets & switching to these wool dryer balls. Gotta protect those babes when we can.)
Baby Gear: Bath
I LOVE this bath caddy/toy holder! (Bonus: it doubles as a sibling separator later when you have 2 kids & they both want to be by the toys!)
Bath Accessories: Hooded towels, washcloths, spout cover to protect their little heads from bumps, fave shampoo/body wash, bubble bath, rinsing cup, drain cover. (*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.)
BABY GEAR FOR SLIGHTLY BIGGER BABIES & TODDLERS (once they can hold their heads up and/or eat, etc.)
Your baby is growing up, Mama. Hold on tight. It’s going to be a beautifully bumpy ride.
Baby Gear: Eating
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 once 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 got a second one for my daughter because my (giant) son sat in his until he was 3.5.
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. Seriously, buy it now. 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 over 4 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.) I’d say this one is a baby gear must.
Bibs: These are lightweight & so easy to wear & clean. Win win win. (I keep a couple in my diaper bag still to this day for when we eat messy stuff while out & about…and my kids are 2.5 & 5.)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. And little kids. 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 & far between. Plus they have a bunch of different sizes as they grow. (Also, all these cups fit so well in car seat cupholders & diaper bag side pockets.) My 5 year old still uses these.
If you want a sippy spout, then I love these. But we don’t take these in the car because they don’t fit in the cupholders & aren’t leakproof. These are our “at home” cups.
*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.
Place mats: For eating out, these place mats qualify as holy grail baby gear. 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. Because tables are dirtyyy, yall. I used to be a server. I know.
(*And while we’re talking babies & food & safety, check out this article about my child choking on a peanut M&M. It was the scariest moment of my life.)
Baby Gear: 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 put both mine in it until they were 18 months old when I need them to be contained. Embrace it. Embrace the color and the baby-ness 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.
Swing: the older baby/toddler version. Great for a porch or tree. Kids LOVE to swing. (my 1st kid used to nap sitting up in this swing for a few hours, no lie)
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). We used it as a playpen/place to confine our 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 (or they can have one of their own at their house in lieu of a crib).
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.
Baby Gear: I’m a Big Kid Now
You know that whole “the days are long but the years are short” thing everyone tells you? Yeah…they’re right.
A Kitchen Tower/Stool: These things are so cool. They provide the perfect place to let your toddler/kid 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. I have the Little Helper FunPod which is currently unavailable, but my runner up fave is easily this one.
These little towers are a great way to let your little one be part of the daily stuff with you. Also, my 5 year old 50lb son still loves to get in ours to cook. My 2.5 year daughter loves to snack & hang out in it when I’m in the kitchen. And I put her in it when we paint at the easel, because lbh, a 2 year old is not the best at self-control…especially when it comes to paint.
Bike Seat: We’ve loved this one (& we tried 3 different ones before settling on 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 5 year old weighs 53 lbs! In other words, you’ll be able to use this for a looong time. We’re obsessed with it. Also, it’s super easy to take on & off your bike.
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.
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 several years and use it every day. It’s not often you find an item with a nearly perfect 5 Star rating on Amazon.
Baby Gear: Baby-Proofing
This goes beyond Baby Gear. Baby-proofing is totally it’s own thing. I have a whole post about it. 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, go to my Baby-Proofing list.)
There you have it. C’MON MAMA’s Baby Gear Must-Haves. Congrats, Mama. You’ve done all the legwork. Now, enjoy the ride.
And if you haven’t started your baby registry yet, click here to start yours, Mama!
Mamas, what are some of YOUR fave baby gear & baby registry must-haves? Tell me below!
And check out MY favorite things for New Mamas: 14 Things Every New Mom Should Get Herself.
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