MY ULTIMATE BABY ESSENTIALS LIST

I get a lot of questions in my Friday Q&A series about baby essentials and while this post on our baby registry is an exact copy of everything we registered for, I’ve been meaning to write an updated post with notes on which items we used and loved the most, several items I would swap out or skip entirely, which items we purchased over time after Teddy was born, and what items we’re purchasing duplicates of for baby #2. It’s a long one but I really hope it’s helpful for those of you who are expecting — please feel free to pass along to any moms-to-be in your life!

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*photo from my Uppababy stroller review

BABY GEAR WE LOVED

BABY GEAR I WOULD CHANGE OR SKIP

  • UPPAbaby Mesa car seat — started to feel snug well before Teddy hit the 35 pound weight limit (still nowhere close!) and 32″ height limit so we ordered the Nuna Rava. We’ll use this car seat again for baby #2’s first year but looking back, I wish we’d just started with the Rava from birth.
  • UPPAbaby Vista and Mesa travel bags — the Vista stroller would have been a pain to fly with (we ultimately bought the Doona for this purpose) and we hardly went anywhere due to Covid.
  • Halo Bassinest — got this thinking Teddy would sleep in our room for the first several months and learned quickly none of us were going to get any sleep with him in our room. Personal preference of course but definitely something I wish we’d skipped and saved on.
  • Jolly Jumper — this thing has an enormous footprint (we should have gone with the doorway version if anything), annoying to get the baby in and out of, and no more interesting to him than the Skip Hop jumper above.

*the Doona in action last February in Palm Beach… remember travel?! 😭

ADDITIONAL BABY GEAR WE PURCHASED OVER TIME

  • Doona travel stroller and car seat — truly a game-changer the two times we flew with Teddy pre-Covid. I personally don’t feel like it’s as sturdy as the UPPAbaby Mesa or the Nuna Rava as an everyday car seat, but for travel it’s an absolute dream.
  • 4moms swing — I ordered this out of desperation after watching Teddy peacefully drift off to sleep in it at a friend’s house around 5 months old but ultimately I think Teddy was getting past the age of wanting to sit still anywhere by the time it arrived. Will be curious to see how much use it gets with baby #2 as I have several friends who swear by it with their newborns.
  • 4moms high chair — I ordered this when Teddy was around four months and getting ready to start solids. I admittedly chose it primarily for aesthetic reasons but we’ve been happy with it.
  • SlumberPod — another desperate purchase when Teddy went on a sleep strike in the travel crib this summer. It got us through a really rough patch and prompted me to add blackout shades to his bedroom at home. I wanted to be the chill mom who taught her baby to sleep anywhere; I was ultimately the exhausted mom who would buy anything anyone told me would get my child to sleep past 4 a.m. and this (and the blackout lining on his roman shade) did the trick.
  • Nuna Rava car seat — see above under baby gear I would change.

*photo from Teddy’s nursery

NURSING/FEEDING GEAR I LOVED

NURSING/FEEDING GEAR I WOULD CHANGE OR SKIP

  • Luna Lullaby nursing pillow — I never got the hang of or need for a nursing pillow. A regular pillow always did the trick in a pinch but generally I found it so much more comfortable to breastfeed sitting upright in the armchair in Teddy’s nursery.

*photo from Teddy’s nursery

BATHING GEAR WE LOVED

BATHING GEAR I WOULD CHANGE OR SKIP

  • Munchkin safety bath ducky — I think you get an instinct pretty quickly for baby’s ideal water temperature but this is a cheap purchase if it’s something you’re really worried about.

*photo of Teddy at one month

DIAPERING GEAR WE LOVED

DIAPERING GEAR I WOULD CHANGE OR SKIP

DIAPERING GEAR WE PURCHASED OVER TIME

  • Tubby Todd all over ointment — I ordered this out of desperation to clear baby acne around 1 month and I swear it works actual miracles on everything from dry skin to diaper rash. Highly recommend.

design darling baby essentials

*photo from Teddy’s nursery

SLEEPING GEAR WE LOVED

SLEEPING GEAR I WOULD CHANGE OR SKIP

  • Baby Merlin magic sleepsuit — a desperate purchase that never worked amazingly for Teddy, but could prove useful for baby #2 as every baby is different!

HEALTH & SAFETY GEAR WE LOVED

HEALTH & SAFETY GEAR I WOULD CHANGE OR SKIP

ITEMS WE’LL PURCHASE DUPLICATES OF FOR BABY #2

I so hope this is helpful for those of you who are expecting!!! I’ll link a few similar posts here that might be helpful as you enter the home stretch:

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17 thoughts on “MY ULTIMATE BABY ESSENTIALS LIST

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  1. This was a great post! I’m expecting my first in March and you helped to confirm that we made the right choice on several of our big purchases! We got the a Uppababy Vista and Nanit – can’t wait to use them!

  2. Great list! Totally agree with so many of these. However, our baby slept in the Merlin suit for MONTHS. It was huge for us, but it’s so hard to know what things actually matter with baby sleep. Maybe she would have slept great in anything.

    I exclusively pumped with the Elvie for about 8 months (she wouldn’t latch, PPD, etc) and there is NO WAY I would have made it that long without the Elvie. It was an absolute godsend for me. I was able to pump outdoors on rail trails, at breweries (pre-covid), get chores done, etc. However, I had a lot of clogged ducts and I don’t think my output was as good as a spectra. At about the 8 month mark, I switched back to using my Spectra since I didn’t have to pump so many times a day anymore. My output increased and the clogged ducts went away. So I would 100% recommend the Elvie as something to use maybe once or twice a day, when traveling, etc. But I would recommend still using something like a spectra when possible. (Also – Spectra pump parts are just easier to clean and dry IMO). Good luck!

  3. No experience with the Elvie, but I used the Willow with Baby #2 and while I didn’t love the pump as much as I had hoped, it is so great not to be tied down to a pump with a toddler and an infant. I think if I didn’t have it I wouldn’t have pumped at all. The Willow is spill proof so I can pump and do laundry, play with the kids, workout, etc and not have to be stuck to the pump. What I don’t love: the containers are great in theory but I’ve gone through several that just stop working for no apparent reason so the bags are what I use and they’re not as cheap as the other brand storage bags. But mostly I don’t think the suction is as great as my old Medela. Sometimes I’ll pull that one out if I have some time and will use it to get more. I also love our ‘fast chairs’ that easily connect to most tables and counters. We have one for home and one for going out (rarely used though 😭) and prefer them over any high chair we’ve used. We have inglesina and Chicco ones; both are good but chicco is my favorite for on the go due to easy cleaning and quicker set up. Congrats on #2!

  4. Such a great list! You should try the Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair next. It brings them to table height while keeping their feet grounded and it can be used until they’re big enough for a regular chair. It’s not cheap, but reliable and aesthetically pleasing too…

    And a silicone bib… so much easier to rinse than washing bibs over and over.

  5. Agree with a ton of these, but especially on skipping the infant seat and going straight to the Rava. Even more so in COVID times, we’re just not doing store trips or things where putting an infant carrier on a stroller would be convenient.

    1. Just be sure to check state to state guidelines though before purchasing. I delivered in NYC and it was a good thing we had an infant car seat to take the baby home in because some states won’t allow you to leave the hospital in a “grow with me” type seat.

  6. My baby boy is due in June and I am completely clueless on baby stuff aside from reading Moms on Call and Baby Wise. Super helpful list! A lot of my friends have insisted that baby will sleep in my room for a year but your comment about not being able to sleep with him in the room affirms my decision to maybe skip the bassinet for now.

    1. Congratulations!!! You totally have to do what’s right for you. If you get a stroller with a bassinet attachment, you could always try having the baby sleep in that in your room for a few nights and see how it works for you before investing in a stand-alone bassinet with a stand — just a thought to avoid my mistake of investing in a separate piece of gear that might not work for you!

  7. I loved this part: “I wanted to be the chill mom who taught her baby to sleep anywhere; I was ultimately the exhausted mom who would buy anything anyone told me would get my child to sleep past 4 a.m.”

    Yes! Same here over in Seattle. Thanks for always keeping it real, Mackenzie! ❤️