Baby Essentials List – Must-Haves For New Parents

Baby playing with toys

What are the essential items to have in order to be ready for your baby?

The warmth and joy of bringing your baby home is one of the best experiences life can offer.  It feels great to introduce your child to the warm, safe and cozy place where their life begins.  The thing is, some of the things that provide that shelter might not be as obvious as you’d think, and the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to obtain the stuff you forgot you purchase!

We’ve compiled a list of some of ours picks of the most important items to have, along with a few things that aren’t completely necessary, but just might make things a little easier.  In addition, you’ll find reviews of some of the other top picks for each item, just in case our #1 isn’t your bag of tea.

Convertible Car Seats

Cute baby in a convertible car seat

They won’t let you leave the hospital without a car seat, so it should be one of the first things to research and buy.  They can be a little pricey, but having a safe, sturdy car seat is probably the best money you can spend.  The budget-saving trick is not bother with an infant car seat and instead go straight for a high-quality convertible car seat that will last years to come (for babies #2, #3, #4 as well!).  The one caveat for this is that convertible car-seats are bulkier and heavier than infant car seats.

Our Top Pick For The Best Convertible Carseat

We’ve analyzed virtually all of the top convertible car seats and narrowed it down to the top three in our Best Convertible Car seats for 2018 reviews (check it out for in-depth analysis).  Our key metrics for scoring were safety, weight, and ease of loading and unloading.  With that in the mind the winner is…

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, Gotham, One Size

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat, Gotham, One Size

Graco car seats are among the most popular around for a reason:  they are proven, built sturdy and grow with your child from newborn until toddler (65lb maximum).  Adjustable 6-position recline and and 4-position leg room extension provides great value for the cost.  Speaking of cost, the Graco line of car seats (including the more expensive, premium counterpart to our pic, the Milestone) are not the cheapest by any measure.  That being said, we chose to list car seats first for a reason: the return for a slightly larger investment pays off in the quality and reassurance of proven safety.  No matter how carefully you drive, you’re at the mercy of everyone else on the road.  It’s worth it to spend a little more on a car seat!

Some of our other favorite features were the breathable fabric construction which is great for summer months, especially, along with the adjustable harness for increased comfort for the little one.  Our only gripe is that the unloading process for a newborn specifically is a little too much physical action compared to a dedicated newborn car seat, but it’s nothing that simply taking a little more time to accomplish can’t remedy.

Check out our car seat reviews for more in -depth analysis and some of our other top picks.

Diapers and related supplies

Newborn baby in a diaper

Sorry moms (and dads!), but having a child is a crash course in diaper care, whether you’re ready for it, or not.  Best to be prepared with some of the essentials in order to make the task as easy as it can be.  Thankfully, we aren’t in the 50s anymore and there’s plenty of products out there that can make life easier. here’s a quick checklist for the essentials:

  • Diaper Bag/Backpack
  • Diapers
  • Wipes
  • Diaper Rash Cream
  • Diaper Pail & Bags
  • Changing Table & Pad
  • Toy, book or something to distract baby

For more information and our top picks for these items, check out our in-depth article on all things  diapering .

Bassinets and Cribs

A cute wicker bassinet

Whether you are co-sleeping, sleeping in separate beds in the same room, or entirely different rooms, having a place for baby to sleep is important. We’ve chosen the best bassinet and the best crib to assist in determining which option may be right for you.

The Best Bassinet – Looks Like It Should Be In a Doctor’s Office

HALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper – Premiere Series BassinetHALO Bassinest Swivel Sleeper – Premiere Series Bassinet

The Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper – Premiere Series ranked #1 on our list for best bassinet of 2018. This bad boy rotates and swivels 360 degrees and the side wall lowers down for easy access to baby or it can be locked into the upright position. The base is sturdy and the walls of the bassinet are made of mesh, which eliminated the fear of suffocation completely. As if that isn’t enough for one bassinet, the Halo Bassinest also includes a nightlight and 2 levels of vibration, 3 soothing sounds and 3 lullabies with volume control, all with 30-minute auto shutoff. Our favorite feature – pockets! Mothers can never get enough storage space. There is also a hammock insert you can buy for a newborn baby.

A few cons to this bassinet is that the LED lights are somewhat bright. You can cover them with a cloth, or simply downgrade the model to the Essentia series, which does not include all of the fancy vibrations and sounds. This bassinet is recommended for babies up to 20lb or babies up to five months of age.

The Best Convertible Crib – Safety and Versatile Styling

Babyletto Scoot 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit

Babyletto Scoot 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit, White/Washed Natural

Looking for the most bang for your buck? A convertible crib is the way to go. Convertible cribs grow with your child from crib, to toddler bed, to day bed. The Babyletto Hudson 3-in-1 Convertible Crib with Toddler Bed Conversion Kit is what made it to the top of our list. The mid-century design makes it versatile for any nursery and comes in a variety of colors and finishes.

If you are not careful during the set up process, the finish may become scratched easily.  Be sure to follow the instructions included diligently,and set at least an hour in order to give yourself plenty of time.

Want more options? We picked the top three for cribs and bassinets and listed their pros and cons in our crib and bassinet review article!

Baby Monitors

A sleepy baby to use a baby monitor with

One way mothers have benefited from technological advancements is the ability to keep an even closer eye on their babies. Baby monitors come in all shapes and sizes, just like our babies, so it is important to find what is right for you. You will want to take into account your budget and other factors such as functionality, battery life, and range. Luckily for you, we have done all of the work for you and picked out what we think is the best baby monitor.

The Best Baby Monitor – Everyone Agrees On This One

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor with Interchangeable Optical Lens

Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor with Interchangeable Optical Lens

The Infant Optics DXR-8 Video Baby Monitor takes the cake for best baby monitor.  This baby monitor has so much versatility. The Infant Optics DXR-8 is the first ever monitor with interchangeable lens capability which means this monitor can grow with your baby as they learn to play independently. The wide angle lens is perfect for when you want to keep an eye on a larger area. The monitor is a nice 3.5” full color LCD display and includes all kinds of useful options such as remote pan, tilt and digital zoom. The monitor also display the remote temperature so you can rest assured your baby is sleeping comfortably.

The battery life on this monitor is 10 hours, which is pretty impressive for a video monitor. Video is streamed real time over a 2.4GHz FHSS wireless transmission. This provides users with privacy and delay free video and audio playback. You can also purchase up to 4 add-on cameras for your growing family.

There have been complaints of the battery life degrading over time, but thankfully the replacement battery for this baby monitor runs under $10.

For more in depth info on both video and audio baby monitors, including our best value picks, check out our baby monitor reviews.

Breast Pumps

Babies drinking breat pump milk

Let’s face it – life is busy these days. Both parents may find themselves taking on different tasks to help the family thrive. Thankfully, we can now take one of the most important aspects of care for our baby, and share it. Having a breast pump can relieve a lot of weight from mom and help dad to feel useful. It is also a godsend for working mothers, who simply can’t be there for every single feeding.

Our Choice for the Best Breast Pump

Spectra Baby USA - S1 Plus Premier Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump

Spectra Baby USA – S1 Plus Premier Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump

After much deliberation, our top pick for the best breast pump is the Spectra Baby USA – S1 Plus Premier Rechargeable Electric Breast Pump. You can’t have it all, but you sure can have a lot with this breast pump. This pump has a closed pumping system that keeps tubing dry which means there is no need to clean the narrow tubing. This closed system helps protect breast milk and baby from bacteria, mold and viruses while pumping. The Spectra Baby Breast Pump also has custom settings because, as we all know, no two mothers are the same. This pump is a nice portable size and known to be quiet, which is a plus if you are trying to pump next to a sleeping baby.

Downsides to this pump include some complaints that the valves are very delicate and easily lose suction and that the replacement parts can be a little pricey. Some have solved this problem by replacing the valves with Medela replacement valves.

For our top 3 picks, including travel friendly pumps, check out our breat pump reviews.

Baby Carriers

Cute baby in a baby carrier

Let’s face it – in this day and age moms are VERY busy. It is amazing what women can accomplish with a baby slung onto their hips, so imagine what can be accomplished when you have two free hands! There are a lot of different carriers out there designed to fit any mom’s needs, but we’ve picked the best one and listed its pros and cons below.

Which is the Best Baby Carrier?  Probably This One.

SIX-Position, 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier by LILLEbaby

SIX-Position, 360° Ergonomic Baby & Child Carrier by LILLEbaby

This carrier fits newborns and babies up to a whopping 45 pounds! With six different carrying positions, you are bound to find something that works for you and your little one. The LILLEbaby Carrier is machine washable and made of 100% cotton and breathable mesh so you do not have to worry about getting overheated while carrying your baby during the summer months. The adjustable hood is perfect for when baby falls asleep, which will most likely happen in this super comfortable carrier.

The LILLEbaby does have a pocket, but users have complained that it is inaccessible in certain positions and too small to hold anything of use.

For more information on baby carriers, check out our baby carrier reviews.  We break down some of the different options between wraps, carriers, and backpacks.


Old-timey stroller

Strollers deserve extra consideration as there are pros and cons to each of our top picks – no one stroller seemed to top them all.  We really had a hard time picking one to rule them all, so we suggest that you check out our in depth analysis on our baby strollers review article.  It can be an expensive purchase so it’s worth the time to shop between a couple of different styles.  Also, there’s a strong argument for buying a double stroller for much increased value.

Bathing Supplies

Baby taking a bath in a bucket

You will most likely never forget that first bath you give to your precious little baby. You will become a professional over the next few years, but until then, we’ve compiled a list of items you may want to consider having on hand for baby’s bath – whether it be his first and one of the many to come.  Here’s the essentials with our quick pick recommendations:

  • Bathtub (or just use your sink if it’s big enough!)
  • Towels (the softer, the better!)
  • Wash cloths
  • Baby soap (ALWAYS go with someting mild, avoid excessive scenting)
  • Comb or brush
  • Toys for baby
  • Diapers (we prefer Pampers brand disposables, but consider cloth diapers!)

Feel free to chose others picks, these are just personal preferences of our reviewers.  In general, try to stick to gentle, fragrance-free soaps to help avoid skin irritation.  Cloth diapers can make a big difference in dealing with diaper rash too, so if you’re running into that issue, consider making the switch!  We’ve compiled a guide to cloth diapers for you to check out if you do decide to go that route.

Thanks for reading through our list of baby essential items. Feel free to leave a comment below if you think we’ve missed anything!

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