Trying to build a registry but at loss with what to add? I’ve been there. As a new mom, I had no idea what I would actually need in the early days so I loved putting together this “must-have” list of my own now that I’ve actually experienced it. Here are 12 items that I use every single day (sometimes several times per day!) without any of the fluff.
Note: this post may contain affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on items purchased. Per usual I only recommend things I personally use and love!
I found the baby registry to be such an overwhelming part of pregnancy. It’s kind of a vicious cycle because I would read so much about a certain topic yet feel like I still knew nothing about what to actually expect. There’s just so much information available.
As a self-proclaimed minimalist I knew I wanted to keep things “lean and clean”. Basically I didn’t want a house full of cheap-y stuff that would never get used then added to the donation pile. “Clean” is in reference to style because I’m a neutral gal and prefer baby items to sort of blend in with my home decor style (read: less rainbow plastic and more grays/whites/natural wood).
I started to find that this usually meant a higher price tag, so I narrowed down my list to the things I thought we would really use to sort of make up for that. I figured if these could last through multiple kids it would be worth it! Here are the things we use and love daily.
1. Lovevery play gym. This play gym is equal parts beautiful and functional! There are all sorts of cute little sensory stations, mirrors, high-contrast cards and more. My favorite part is the little flip book included that gives you ideas for how to play with your baby based on their age (because I have no idea!).
2. Little Unicorn backpack. I ordered two other popular diaper bags before this one and sent both of them back because they were HUGE. I ended up loving this one for it’s size and because it’s buttery soft, has lot’s of pockets inside and as a bonus – Jacob would be willing to wear it if needed too.
3. Solly baby wrap. I never realized how beneficial baby wearing is but wow this thing is a life-saver. I can’t speak for all babies of course but this is always my go-to when Callan is fussy and he is fed/changed. I also use it to “extend” naps or if he’s overtired and won’t go down in the crib. It’s just really sweet to stay this close to him while having a free hand or two.
4. Newton crib mattress. We decided to go for inexpensive furniture in the nursery (IKEA crib + dresser) and invest in a high-quality mattress. Jacob made the comment early on, “same as our room!” which is is so funny because it’s true (we have an IKEA bed and nicer mattress). I love that this is breathable, easy to clean and doesn’t require a sheet.
5. Dock a Tot Deluxe. This might be our most-used item of everything on this list! One thing I learned after having a baby is you need some places to “dock” him/her because clearly you need a break from holding once in awhile. The dock-a-tot is amazing because it’s easy to move around the house. I’ve also used it for supervised naps and lounging/quiet time aka stare at the fan time as he gets older.
6. Baby Jogger City Mini Gt2 travel system. I found the stroller/car seat decision to be such a hard one. In the beginning I wasn’t sure what to consider but I ended up choosing this travel system because the stroller is on the lighter side compared to others, is easy to fold up with one hand, has an adjustable handlebar (since I’m petite), and rides smoothly with large durable wheels. As a smaller person it’s definitely not easy for me to maneuver all of this stuff around, but this system makes it more doable and I can tell it will last for years.
7. Aden + Anais swaddles. I remember reading that you can use these for multiple things but you guys we USE.THESE.FOR.EVERYTHING. I use them as a swaddle, lay them out for floor time and quick diaper changes, cover the stroller to block the sun, and use as a cover for nursing in public. The patterns are classy and neutral. Keep one in the car, one in the diaper bag, and scatter in different rooms around the house.
8. Baby Bjorn bouncer. Another docking station! As he gets older, Callan loves hanging out in here more and more. He’ll sit in it while we eat meals and it’s nice that he can see us (as opposed to the dock-a-tot where he is facing up). I’m glad I got the mesh version even though it’s slightly more expensive, because Colorado summers are HOT and this is a more breathable option.
9. Apple air pods. OK so this isn’t a traditional “baby” item, but I recommend them for every mom. I feel like I keep at least one in my ear for most of the day for calls or listening to podcasts without having to carry my phone around (because hello no free hands). They’re also great for stroller walks and… I feel like I got hours of my life back now that I don’t have to untangle a pesky cord all of the time.
10. Hatch Rest+. This sleek multi-purpose item is perfect for a minimalist. It’s a sound machine, clock, and audio monitor all in one and is controlled by an app on your phone. We have it on a timer so it automatically turns on at 7:15pm and turns off at 7:15am each day. Once your baby is older and sleeping in a bed, you can also use it as a “time to rise” clock and set the colors to mean different things (e.g. don’t come downstairs until it’s blue) which I think is pretty cool.
11. Ollie swaddle. Yes, this swaddle is definitely a splurge item but can you put a price on sleep? Seriously though, we’ve used a few different types of swaddles and this one is the easiest/quickest to put on and always seems to help him calm down and sleep well. Of course this could be related to a variety of things, but we really like it. The material is so soft.
12. Boppy pillow. When it comes to nursing pillows there seems to be two main options. I chose this one for the simplicity (no snack/drink holders and pockets, etc) and it’s perfect! I find it really easy to change positions while nursing by shifting my legs or lifting up on one side. Nothing fancy, but so so helpful. He loves taking short little snoozes on it – the cover I got is velvety soft. Now that he’s getting older we started using it to prop him up both on his back and for tummy time too. It will definitely get soiled with spit up so I would recommend buying the waterproof liner too.
- Baby Bjorn carrier (if you’re open to getting a second carrier, Jacob uses this one all the time)
- PJs. We were gifted these and I love that they have a zipper instead of snaps. So much easier for middle-of-the-night diaper changes. Plus the patterns are adorable and gender-neutral.
- Motherlove cream. This worked so well in the early days when I was still adjusting to breastfeeding. I found the ointment that the hospital provided to be slightly sticky and hard to apply. This one is way smoother, almost like coconut oil. Bonus: they’re a Colorado company!
I would love to hear from you! If you’re a mom, which items were on your “essentials” list? What was something you bought but never used?