Top 10 newborn essentials: Our favorite things for baby (0-6 months)

Our second child was born at the height of the pandemic last May, and while it was a stressful time to be pregnant and to give birth, one thing we didn't stress about was if we had all the right stuff. We had all the stuff, and then some.  Commercials and memes about second-time moms generally seeming more loose or getting by with less are pretty accurate in my experience. To help new parents avoid what we call "stuff overwhelm," we decided to break it down to the essential must-haves. You won't find diapers, onesies, a crib, a carseat or a stroller below, because, well, we assume you probably already have those items researched and locked in.  

1. The Dockatot 

dockatot baby essentials

Some like the standalone bassinets (Halo, Snoo, etc.), some may put baby in the crib from the get go. We have a very small master bedroom and there was no space for anything to be placed by the bed, so we resorted to the Dockatot that we used mainly for travel with Harrison. It was a lifesaver. Sky slept in it between me and my husband for the first five months of her life. They are pricy, but worth every penny. They serve as a safe nap spot, but they're also a good spot to plop baby down safely if needed. 

Dockatot newborn baby essentials

2. A Dohm sound machine 

This thing is indestructible. And indispensable. We have had the Dohm on for 12 hours a night, for 4.5 years and the thing has never faltered once. Yes, it's nice to have a baby who can sleep through chaos, but it's nice at nighttime to turn this thing on. 

dohm sound machine newborn baby essentials

3. Some sort of bouncer (preferably Baby Bjorn or Fisher Price)

baby bouncer newborn baby essentials

We have one of each mentioned above (thanks to the generosity of friends) and we highly recommend both of them. They are clutch if you have to put baby down in a pinch, to run to the bathroom, to grab a snack, etc. Maybe you haven't showered in days (it happens). We'd probably be fine with one, but it's convenient having a couple in the house since you can leave them in different rooms and plop baby down in them as needed. The Fisher Price ones are a little bulky and not as easy to lug around as the Bjorn, which was our go-to for road trips/travel. 

4. Baby carrier (Lille or Ergobaby)

This is another situation where I find it's useful having more than one. I recommend keeping one in the car and having one in the house. There were a few times when we went somewhere and we didn't have one and I would have preferred using it over a stroller. I started having major back issues when H was about 2, so while we used the carriers loads (probably too much) with him, we limited carrier use a bit with Sky for this purpose. 

5. The Puj tub for baby's first bath (in the sink) 

Giving the newborn a bath was always a two-person job in our house. One person would hold the baby upright in the sink while the other quickly soaped and rinsed. We could never have done either of this without the Puj. You just drop it in the sink and baby sits on it looking up at you wide-eyed, but comfy. Once we graduated from the sink, we started to use the blooming flower bath cushion

6. A nail kit 

I have a little plastic container by my nursing chair with a nail file and a baby nail clipper. I've trimmed Sky's nails countless times while she dozes off nursing. Baby nails grow like weeds and you want to keep up with them before you wake baby up to find scratches on her face. 

7. Swaddles 

Buy ones with velcro, buy the Aden + Anais muslin ones, buy whatever, but swaddles are an absolute must. We were a bit loose with swaddling in the very beginning, but found when we wrapped Sky like a burrito she slept better. 

8. Baby monitor 

We have an Aventi that we used for our oldest son. We opted for the audio-only monitors — we found the video ones were just too stressful. If you live in a small apartment you might not need a monitor as you may likely hear the sounds of baby without one. In a house, however, it's a godsend. 

9. Carseat cover

Google carseat covers and hundreds will come up. We have one we have stuck with since 2016 and it's the original elastic Milksnob cover. They have tons of fun prints and they serve multiple purposes: windbreaker, carseat cover, blanket and even nursing cover. 

10. Car mirror 

We wouldn't make it in the car if I couldn't see baby's face in the mirror. They sell them at Target, just plop it on the headrest where the baby faces from her carseat and voila. 

Odds and ends: 

  • A changing cushion, like the Keekaroo. You may have furniture where this can sit on top of. It's nice because it's portable and you can move it from room to room, bed to couch, whatever.
  • The Luna nursing pillow. Even if you're not breastfeeding, it can be a really nice, cozy support for baby and doubles as a great naptime pillow for parents.
  • Diaper bag. I recommend having one with a strap to put on a stroller and a backpack one for when baby gets more mobile. I also recommend each partner having their own. 
  • Fun crib sheets. Check out Lewis is home and Coco Moon Hawaii
  • Aveeno baby shampoo. 
  • Diaper rash cream just in case. 
  • WubbaNub pacis. H hated pacifiers and never used them, while Sky has one on hand all the time.
  • A hooded towel for bathtime. 

What are some of your tried and true baby products? Please let us know in the comments! And we'd love it if you shared this with any friends who may be expecting. 

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