Most-Used Newborn Essentials
Published Jan 20, 2020, Updated Dec 09, 2022
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Sharing all my must-have newborn essential items for the first few weeks at home with your baby. Go ahead and add these things to your registry now!
As an expecting mama it’s so hard to know what baby items you really need and what items are just “nice to haves” or not necessary at all — especially if it’s your first baby. That said, I thought it would be helpful to share the things that we have used almost daily since Olivia has been home. Not all of these items are super essential, but they are the things that we’ve been really happy to have on hand with a newborn baby. I’ve broken everything down into five categories and included a limited amount of items so that the list isn’t too overwhelming.
After reviewing these must-have newborn essentials, be sure to check out my postpartum essentials post where I share all the items you’ll want to have on hand after the babe arrives for YOU. I include items for postpartum healing after a vaginal birth, comfy clothes that I lived in the first few weeks and my postnatal supplement routine.
I’ve been exclusively pumping since Olivia was born so my recommendations might be different than someone who is exclusively nursing, but these are my top used items, in addition to my breast pump. I’ve been using a rented Medela Symphony, which I rent from the hospital and the Willow. Here’s my Willow breast pump review.
My Brest Friend nursing pillow – This pillow is a game-changer for breastfeeding, especially for first-time moms like me who haven’t ever breastfed before. It puts the baby in an ideal position for feeding and helps support your posture too. Added bonus, anyone can strap the pillow on (it resizes via velcro) and use it for support when holding the baby. Everyone who held Olivia while we were in the PICU used it for holding and it was perfect because we could clamp all the wires to it as well.
Hands-free pumping bra – As someone who has been exclusively pumping every 3 hours since birth, I honestly don’t know what I would have done without this bra. I remember the first day in the hospital before I had a chance to put on the pumping bra, I was either having to pump one boob at a time (which took double the time) or literally holding both flanges in place with my hands. With this bra, it holds the flanges in place so you can pump both sides at the same time and still use your hands! Plus, it’s comfortable enough to sleep in. I bought another brand to try and this one is hands-down my favorite. I now have it in three different colors.
Motherlove nipple cream – I’ve tried a ton of different nipple creams and the Motherlove nipple cream is my favorite by far. It’s nursing friendly, organic, goes on smooth and doesn’t feel tacky like other brands (ahem.. Lanolin).
Oxo bottle drying rack – Having some sort of drying rack for all the bottles and pumping parts has been key. This Oxo rack saves a ton of space on our counter and the area at the top definitely comes in handy for air-drying small parts and pacifiers.
Baby wrap – Having a wrap to wear Olivia has been AMAZING, especially when we have to keep her upright for 20-30 minutes after she eats to prevent reflux. She’s a baby who loves to snuggle and be close so this is her favorite spot to sleep. I really like it because I can wear her around the house and get stuff done. I’ve even gone to the bathroom wearing her when I was home alone and she was being super fussy. Of course, this wrap works out of the house too — perfect for walking around the farmers market or baby-wearing at a restaurant. This particular wrap is easy to put on once you get the hang of it (I watched the YouTube tutorials) and because it’s just one long piece of fabric, it’s one size fits all and can be worn by multiple people, which is great if you and your partner aren’t the same size. We also used the Boba Wrap and the Baby K’tan (Isaac liked this one), but I loved the Solly wrap best because it’s so soft and more stylish than the Boba Wrap, in my opinion.
We also have an Ergo baby carrier, which I think will be great when she’s a little bigger or for more active things like going on a long walk.
Nuna Pipa car seat – We have loved this car seat so far! It is compatible with our stroller and super lightweight for transferring Olivia to and from the car. It also fits right into her stroller so it’s easy to transfer her from the stroller to the car.
Nuna mixx™next stroller – You might not 100% need a stroller in the first couple weeks, but it’s ideal for taking walks, if your baby has doctor’s appointments at a hospital (like us) and even for shopping at the grocery store. If you’re not getting too many items, you don’t even need cart, you can just put the items in the stroller. We really like the Nuna mixx™next because it has f the swivel wheels, built-in “shocks” and offers rear- and forward-facing seat options. It’s also super lightweight and easy to open and collapse.
Freshly Picked diaper bag – I love how cute and practical this diaper bag is. It has a little insulated pouch for cold storage and a changing pad. Bonus points: It looks more like a backpack or purse than a diaper bag so I can see myself using it for years to come. And I’ve already gotten a compliment on it while we were out at a store one day.
Bib’s pacifiers – I love these BPA-free pacifiers and so does Olivia! They come in a bunch of different fun colors.
Baby Shusher – This little sound machine has been so nice! It’s small enough to move from room to room or to take with us on-the-go. It also comes with a wrist strap so you can carry the shusher with you.
Nested Bean Zen Swaddle – We’ve tried quite a few different swaddle options and this one is our favorite. The velcro closure makes it easy to get baby wrapped up in the swaddle and also makes it harder for the baby to break-free in the middle of the night. The little weighted beans on the chest and the sides of the swaddle make the baby feel like they’re being held. Olivia loves it.
It goes without saying that you are going to need a ton of diapers and wipes on hand. Newborns go through 8-12 diapers a day so make sure you’re stocked up on these. If you want to go the non-toxic route, it seems that Honest diapers and wipes are one of the best options. Of course, there are other options out there as well.
Ubbi diaper pail – Okay, so a diaper pail isn’t necessarily an essential, but putting stinky diapers in your kitchen trash can isn’t ideal. They say baby poop doesn’t smell bad, but trust me… it does! We love the Ubbi diaper pail so much that we have two – one for the nursery and one for our changing station downstairs, which is currently in our living room. We have the rose gold for Olivia’s room and the gray for downstairs. I also really like that you don’t have to buy special bags for this pail. The Glad kitchen bags work with it which is great because we don’t have to buy two different types of trash bags.
Honest diaper cream – We’ve been using this cream since Olivia was born and she hasn’t had a single diaper rash. I like that it’s not super duper thick so it goes on easier. We currently have three tubes – one for the changing station in the nursery, one for the changing station downstairs and one for the diaper bag. I also purchased this sensitive baby diaper cream to try as well, but we haven’t tried it yet.
Pack ‘n Play – We have the Pack ‘n Play set up as a bassinet with the changing station attached at all times. Even with the changing station on top, there’s still plenty of room to get Olivia in and out for napping. We have this in our living room and it’s where she naps during the day and where we change her when we’re downstairs. It’s been so convenient. You could also use this a bassinet/changing station in your bedroom for the first few months.
BabyBjorn bouncer – We’ve been using this bouncer as a seat for Olivia to relax and play in. It’s the perfect place to put her after she eats because she’s still sitting upright (which is good for reflux) and we can still engage and play with her. Now that she’s getting a little bigger, I just purchased the toy attachment so she has something to play with while sitting in the bouncer.
Art Cards for Baby – These were a gift from Isaac’s mom and sister while we were in the hospital and Olivia loves them. From the very first days of life, studies show that a baby sees high-contrast shapes and patterns at a distance of 9–12 inches. We put a different one of these in her bassinet in the hospital each day and she would focus on them. Now we use them during play time to help her learn to engage and track the cards with her eyes.
Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor – Olivia has been sleeping in her crib in the nursery since we came home from the hospital so having a good video and audio monitor to keep an eye on her has been key.
We originally started with the Infant Optics monitor. We liked this one because it’s small and light, but ended up upgrading to Nanit monitor per a friend’s recommendation and we LOVE it. The detailed insights and sleep tips were super helpful in the beginning and the breathing monitor gives us so much peace of mind. Of course you have to purchase the wraps separately.
Things I Registered For, but Haven’t Really Used
A couple things I registered for that I haven’t used as much as I thought I would include the Boppy nursing pillow. I found the My Brestfriend pillow to be more supportive and comfortable for nursing. Also, the Haakaa let down catcher! Everyone swears by this thing, but for some reason it actually hurt my nipples.
Update: The Boppy nursing pillow came in handy later… for tummy time and for using as support when Olivia started sitting up on her own but was still unstable. We actually used a Boppy A TON! And the Haakaa came in handy when Olivia started nursing more around 3 months so if you are nursing… I think you’ll use the Haakaa. It hurt my nipples when I was trying to use it as a manual pump. I think it’s better to just catch the milk that is released on the opposite side while nursing, especially in the early months when your boobs leak more!
More Collections and Posts You Might Enjoy
- Breastfeeding Snacks for New Mamas
- Olivia’s Birth Story
- Olivia’s Sleep + Schedule (5 Months Old)
- How to Make Oatmeal For Babies
- Lactation Cookies
I hope you found this post helpful. For all my parents out there, let me know in the comments if there are any newborn essentials that you swear by.
I love the nursing items you picked! A good bra is a girl’s best friend in those early days!
Thank you! And I agree. I still want to try the Kindred Bravely hands-free pumping bra as well.
Thank you for the newborn essentials page! I just found out I am pregnant(this is our first) and I’ve been really curious what people really need and what they use the most when first-timers! I can’t wait to purchase some of these items myself.
Of course! I’m so glad it’s helpful. Congrats on your pregnancy.
Great list for a new mum. My LO is 17 months now, but I perfectly remember al the hustle those days. I’m also struggling for a healthier me, I’ve even start running with SportMe marathon training app and I can say I’m on the right track now. Nutrition is an important part of my losing weight plan, and your blog posts are a true inspiration!
I’m so glad you’re loving the blog posts! 🙂
When I first used the Haakaa, it hurt too. Then, I watched this video and it didn’t hurt at all. I got so much extra milk from it! I also wore it while driving or out a few times too. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcisJU43Gn8
What kind of formula did you use for Olivia? I’m struggling to find a good dairy free option for my 8 mo old
The only formula she had was a thickened anti-reflux formula.