Before our daughter was born, I was always online searching for all the baby products we will need for her. I looked on Pinterest and scoured several baby stores to learn about diaper genies, and car seats, and bassinets and bottles and more.
With all the hundreds of brands and products to choose from, I was overwhelmed and equally confused. I read several reviews and blogs by other parents sharing their experience about buying baby products, pinned many such lists on my Pinterest account.
My husband was a student when we had conceived and I was the sole income for the family then. We knew we had a budget so we made a list of all the essential baby items that were a must and went from there.
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Essential Baby Items for the First Year
1. Place for baby to sleep – Crib / Bassinet
The only reason we bought a crib was because we lived in an apartment away from home while my husband was in school so a crib was safer than having the baby sleep with us.
We also opted out of a bassinet because I read that babies outgrow that rather quickly. Therefore, this was a practical and budget friendly choice for us.
2. Car-seat/stroller set
We received this Graco travel system as a gift from my aunt. She bought it off our baby registry from BuyBuy Baby. I still use the stroller till date and I love it. However, we switched to a convertible car seat when Arya was 10 months old.
We absolutely love this Graco Forever All in One Convertible car seat. It is safe, has extended belts, the 6 recline positions, and many features that make this one of the best car seats today!
3. Diapers / Wipes
We only ever used the Huggies diaper and wipes for Arya. We received Pampers as a gift, however, it failed me one night so I never went back to it. She never experienced any allergies to Huggies nor it ever leaked.
The best deal on Huggies Diapers and Wipes is at Costco. They often have discounts which mark the price of several sizes down and that is when we would stock up.
4. Clothing (including burp clothes, bibs)
We received a lot of clothes as gifts prior to her birth however, I bought her onesies and one-piece sets from Carters.
I love Carters brand because it lasted longer than clothes bought from other stores (and I specifically mean onesies, bodysuits, one-piece sets). They would not shrink despite the numerous washes and would last a while without fading.
I also enjoyed the Carters Rewards program and often received great discounts and coupons to be able to purchase more clothes. I still use Carters and love their dresses and pant/top sets for my toddler!
Burp clothes and bibs are something you need in abundance. I bought a zillion of them from Target, Walmart, and even Amazon. One of the bib sets I absolutely recommend is Maxy Moo Moo. They are strong, water proof bibs that last long and come in various colors for gender. I bought 2 sets of 10 and they lasted me all the way until she stopped using them.
5. Bottles / nipples / formula
I breast fed my daughter until she was 1 year old. She was not receptive to any of the bottles we tried to give her (I think it is because we tried rather late – after 4 months and by then she was used to milk from the source😊), but after she was 1, and we moved her onto cow’s milk, she took the Phillips Avent Natural bottle without any problem.
I bought a couple of these and they lasted me until she was off them. I did change the nipple every few months just for sanitary reasons.
Since Arya never took a bottle and was exclusively breast fed for a year (along with baby food after 6 months), we did not get worry about formula too much. I remember trying it once but she did not like it and I thought it smelt like fish so I did not give her any more of it.
Before having the baby, my company also gave me a breast pump. It was useful however, since Arya did not take bottle, I stopped pumping after a month or two. But if you do need a breast pump, I do recommend Medela pumps as they work well and are hands-free.
6. Bouncer / Rocker (this could be an option)
Since I did not have a nursery or rocking chair set up, we decided to get a bouncer for our baby. Nothing too fancy or complicated! We added this Fisher Price infant to toddler rocker to the baby registry and received it as a gift.
She loved it – it had a musical bar that she enjoyed tugging or hitting when she wanted to play the music, and the 2 recline position was great for feeding time as well. This was also helpful for when I wanted to keep her in one place especially when I was cooking and did not want her crawling around.
Later we also purchased a high chair (this is an optional item) from the gift cards we had which she still uses (we use the seat on the dining table chair so she can eat with us).
7. Diaper Rash Cream
This is a must-have for your diaper bag! I kept several tubes of Desitin Diaper cream in the house and in her diaper bag and they worked very well when she had a rash.
8. Blankets – swaddles /receiving
There are so many different brands and types of blankets for babies and they can be quite expensive, especially the muslin swaddle blankets. After looking at a few different brands, I ended up buying the Carters receiving blankets. They were perfect for wrapping my little girl; soft, machine-washable, and came in a variety of colors.
9. Toys / mat / activity gym – anything to entertain your baby
It goes without saying that you will need some toys for the little one! At best, you usually get them in baby showers or as gifts from family and friends. However, if you want to purchase something on your own, I highly recommend an activity gym mat. My parents gifted us this Skip Hop Alphabet Zoo activity gym and our daughter just loved it. The soft musical animals, the crinkles, mirror, and beautiful colors are just what a baby wants!
The hanging animals can be replaced or you can buy additional ones at BuyBuy Baby stores.
10. Nursing Pillow/ Boppy
I highly recommend a Boppy for new moms. Pillows can work but having a nursing pillow makes breast feeding so much easier. I took this to the hospital with me and used it from day 1. The best thing about it is being hands-free. Often time with pillows you may have to keep adjusting the position or hold on to the pillow while the baby nurses. However, with a Boppy, you just place the baby on it, let him or her latch on and just be hands free.
11. Baby bath tub (including shampoo/body wash)
I do recommend a proper tub for the baby. They have several kinds of tubs and soft pads on which you can bathe your baby, and the prices vary according to the brand or style you choose.
We bought this Euro Primo bath tub for Arya along with Johnson and Johnson baby shampoo and body washes. Always opt for something tear free so it is comfortable for the baby.
There are several organic brands available in stores these days, if that is something you wish to purchase (Baby Ganics, Honest Company)
12. Baby Health & Safety items
Babies do get sick and doctors often say it is good for their immune system. However, as a mom I really hate this! I feel helpless and miserable seeing my baby sick, which is why I keep a baby first aid kit around the house. This contains a thermometer, medicine like Baby/Infant Tylenol, Bulb Syringes (to clear the nose), Saline solution, Q-tips, cotton, and band-aids.
I hope you find this list helpful.