July 21st 2023 I had my third baby boy! Because I had a baby in 2021, I had some baby items still that I had kept. But I also had sold a LOT at our garage sale before we moved from Montana to the East coast. And because someone dear to me is pregnant with their first and looking for recommendations on baby gear and all the things I actually used and didn’t use with my babies. Thing change so quickly in the baby world! My first was born in 2013 and let me tell ya, things are quite different now in terms of baby gear and brands. There were a lot of options in 2013, but not nearly as many as there are today. When researching car sears, strollers, bottles, diapers, baby swings etc. it can be so overwhelming with all the options! So since all the baby things are fresh in my mind right now being in the thick of it, I thought I would share with you what products and brands I have used and/or am using right now. From one mama to another, here is my honest opinions on the baby items I use the most.
This list is for what I use in just those first few months. If you are a new mama, it can seem like you need to spend a fortune on all the basics, but you’d be surprised on what you actually really need. I also encourage you to ask friends and family members for their hand-me-downs, and to shop at second-hand stores and on Facebook marketplace. I wouldn’t personally get a used car seat, but everything else I am open to getting second hand. Just remember that when you are buying anything from a stranger off Facebook, it’s best to meet at a public busy place during the day, or bringing someone with you if you have to meet at the sellers home.
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Baby Essentials Checklist from a 3rd Time Mama
If you’d like a printable PDF of my Baby Checklist, click HERE.
I have had a LOT of diaper bags over the last 10 years of being a mama, and I always go back to a backpack style bag. I like having my hands free and being able to carry a lot with me. My favorite bag right now is from MomKindess. You can read my whole review about this bag here.
I have tried a LOT of brands of car seats, but my favorite brand that I have ended up using for all three boys for infant car seats is Britax. They are at a mid-range price point, high quality, and they seem more comfortable than others we have tried. They are also easy to clean because all of the insert comes off and is machine washable.
With my first, we tried so many different brands of strollers! Both new and used and gifted to us, we got to test out different styles, too. With my second I was gifted a beautiful Uppa Baby stroller from a friend that no longer needed it. I LOVE this stroller, yall. The bassinet feature is so nice for those first few months, and it pops right off the stroller so I use it around the yard and down in the garden because it’s a perfectly comfy and shaded place to lay baby down in. The basket underneath is HUGE and holds so much. The handlebar is easily adjustable so my husband and I can adjust the height. I use this one a lot with this baby, too. This stroller is way out of our budget, though, to be honest. We were blessed to be gifted this! If you do have the budget for this stroller, I highly recommend it. The color I have is bright yellow, but the exact same style. My friend was originally from England, so she may have had other color options there? I LOVE this grey with leather handle below.
We were then gifted another stroller from the brand Veer and my goodness I can’t say enough good things about this stroller. Veer is known for their wagon, and not many people know they have a stroller, too! I get stopped by folks all the time out and about asking what brand my stroller is. This off road Switchback System stroller is fantastic and we have used ours non-stop for about a year and a half now. From bringing baby along to do farm chores at the ranch in Montana, to walks along the beach when we lived in North Carolina, and now here in Virginia it comes along with us to any trail or long walk in the city. We recently got the attachment to make this a double stroller so that both my 2 year old and infant can ride together. I will say though, that when the infant car seat is on and my toddler is in the front seat, it gets quite top heavy and cannot be maneuvered as easily on trails. But it’s still a really great stroller that has a ton of features. You can buy different attachments to turn this stroller seat into a bike seat or a camp chair! It has mountain bike style integrated suspension, has oversized wheels for rough terrain, and a large basket underneath that always fits more than we think it will. Again, this stroller is a bit of an investment. But if you plan to have more children or live an active outdoor lifestyle like we do, this may be worth it to you. I know we will be using this stroller for years to come.
I am blessed to have a handmade wood cradle made by my father that I have used for all three of my boys. So unfortunately I cannot share a link to that. But I do use a portable lounger that I really like. This is great for in hotels, co-sleeping, or really any place you need a soft spot to lay your baby down. I had sold my first one I used with my last baby but loved it so much, I bought another one for this babe. The exact one I have (all white) is currently unavailable but it’s just like this one here.
A baby monitor may not be a necessity, depending on where your baby is sleeping and napping in your home. I like to have a baby monitor because we can lay baby down and still work outside on the yard or have a bonfire and will be able to hear him if he wakes up. This is a wifi- free monitor at a good price that we’ve really liked so far.
Portable Play Yard
We bought a new playard for this baby because we sold our old one. I LOVE this one from Pamo Babe. It is a 4 in 1 that has a bassinet, changing table, and lots of handy storage for diapering supplies. We use this in our living room so I don’t have to go upstairs every time I have to change a diaper. Be sure to keep an eye on the price at both Amazon and Walmart- I got mine on major sale for I believe around $60!
Sometimes you just need to keep baby entertained. This baby play gym from Lovevery is amazing. I used it with my last babe and I just started using it with this new baby this week. I really like that it grows with your child. You can use this from age 0+ months. It comes with 4 detachable activity toys and 4 sets of high contrast cards. I attach other baby toys to this play gym, too. The Play Guide that comes with is pretty neat and it has stage-based tips and activities. Then there is a Play Space Cover that turns the baby play mat into a cute little cozy fort for toddlers! So fun.
Baby Swings & Seats
With my last baby, we got the Munchkin baby swing and absolutely loved it! It’s sleek and lightweight and the remote and settings are just real convenient. However, we went to use it with this baby, not even two years later, and it does not work. Munchkin only has a one year warranty, so there was nothing we could do. We did not have it in the budget to buy another one of these swings, so we got a cheap one from Walmart instead and already are returning it. It’s terrible. I loved loved my Munchkin baby swing, but if you are looking to use it for multiple children, I can’t recommend it. We just haven’t really had a baby swing for this baby and we’ve survived just fine. I had been looking on Facebook marketplace for one I liked, with no success.
We did get a rocker/chair that we use every single day. The Dream On Me 2-in-1 Rocker and Stationary Seat is super lightweight and folds up so you can travel with it. We brought ours with to a wedding in September. Look for sales, because we got ours for around $50. It does vibrate, which is helpful to put baby to sleep, but it plays music along with the vibration and there is no way to turn the music off. The music is one song and gets a bit annoying after awhile. But we still like the rocker and it gets moved from room to room around our house throughout the day.
If you need to get things done, take care of other children, do chores, or really anything at all… a baby carrier is your new bestie. I have tried so many baby carriers! And many moms have very different opinions about which is best. I really like a more structured carrier because I have neck, shoulder, and back problems that only have gotten worse since I was in a car accident at 39 weeks pregnant and got severe whiplash. I also have pretty large babies (this new baby was 9 1/2 lbs). So I need to have the weight more evenly distributed for me to carry my babies. I have tried a ring sling and several different kinds of wrap carriers. The two I use the most are the MomCozy carrier and the Kangarouse structured carrier.
This MomCozy carrier is kind of like a mix between a ring sling and a wrap carrier. I find that I have to adjust the tightness after a bit like I do with all other slings or wraps, but this one is just really easy for me to use and adjust. My husband can also use this one which is a plus. It distributes the baby’s weight a little better than other wraps and ring slings I have tried. It is also a really great price !
I can’t seem to find where to purchase the Kangarouse structured carrier I have (it was bought used). But I liked this one more than my Boba carrier by far. The straps are nice and thick and padded. I have not tried a Tula brand baby carrier, but those look really great too and I have heard wonderful things about that brand. A Tula baby carrier is on my Christmas wish list this year!
My favorite disposable diapers are Millie Moon. I have tried just about every brand of diapers there is, and I keep going back to this brand. They are a little more than Huggies, but they are just SO much softer and don’t seem to leak or have diaper blow outs like Huggies. My favorite baby wipes are Water Wipes, which are 99.9% Water Based Wipes, Unscented & Hypoallergenic. I do not like, however, that the tops of the water wipes packages don’t have a click top close like most. So they tend to dry out faster because they can’t close all the way. I recommend getting a wipes case for these or my second option for wipes is the Pampers Pure Wipes. When buying diapers and wipes, always check to see if Costco, Sam’s and Target has any good sales. Target often has specials like “spend $100 on diapers and wipes, get a $20 giftcard”.
A diaper pail isn’t totally necessary, but really nice to have. It really helps trap the smell and I just take the bag out to the garbage once or twice a week. Most diaper changes happen downstairs on the pack & play and go straight to the outside garbage. But morning and evening diapers are always changed in the nursery and they go in the diaper pail.
A good diaper cream is a must in my opinion. Diaper rash is bound to happen. We have used some creams from different small shops, as well as Badger Diaper Cream, Noleo 3-in-1 Cream, and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste.
We have used an old thrifted dresser that we painted as our changing table for the last two babies. On top, I have a Design Dua Baby Changing Basket that comes with pas liner and sheet. This is not a necessity by any means, but I really love mine and have used it for baby photos, too. This one is high quality, has been used for two babies, has been moved and carried around so much, and still looks brand new.
Clothing & Laundry
I try to thrift as many baby clothes as I can. Most places sell onesie’s for $.50-$1 a piece ! And I always stock up on onesies for those first few months because between spit-up and diaper blowouts, I am changing baby several times a day and don’t want to run out of clothes for him. When I am not thrifting for baby clothes, especially when I am looking for a specific style or an outfit for a special occasion, I have a few go-to’s for baby clothing. Walmart has a brand called Easy Peasy (they have their own website too) that has very affordably priced organic cotton clothes for babies and toddlers. I just adore the styles, too. SO cute. The Little Planet organic cotton line from Carter’s is also a favorite and pretty decently priced. Target has some of the most adorable and reasonably priced baby clothes. Hannah Andersson has the best selection of pajamas (their holiday PJs are my favorite!) and sometimes we have good luck at Old Navy for baby clothes. I have also found some really cute clothes on Amazon lately.
I don’t have a specific number of each type of clothing, but I always end up needing more than I think I do because of diaper blow outs or spit up. Here is what I think is necessary for basic baby clothing:
- Onesies – short sleeve and long sleeve
- Pants- soft & comfy to go over the onesies
- Footie pajamas for sleeping
- Baby socks
- Hats or bonnets (especially if you have a winter baby)
- Bandana drool bibs- To keep from having to change baby’s outfit as much with spit up and drool around their neckline
As for a gentle laundry detergent, there are a lot of great options out there now! I have used Dropps for years and trust the brand. It is one of the few brands that I can use because my son has very sensitive skin. Use my link for 30% off your first purchase. I have my subscription set up for every 4 months so I don’t have to worry about running out of laundry detergent.
Blankets & Swaddles
You can never have too many baby blankets! I try to be more of a minimalist when it comes to baby items, but I have learned that baby blankets are just really nice to have a lot of. Baby blankets get spit up on, dropped outside in the dirt, spilled on, and more. I bought a couple more large soft muslin swaddle blankets and really love them. They’re lightweight for those Summer babies, and can be used to cover up to nurse in public.
This organic cotton baby blanket is absolutely adorable and I love that it has the farm animals on one side and simple stripes on the other side. We use the baby blanket every day!
I have this little First Years tub that fits perfectly on top of a kitchen sink. You can also put it in a tub or I like to bring mine outside on our porch on hot summer evenings and let my baby take a warm bath to song of birds and crickets and smelling fresh mountain air.
I exclusively nurse for as long as I can, so this list doesn’t have baby bottles, but I did use glass baby bottles with my last baby and will again for this baby when it comes time to use them. I’d like to introduce a bottle sooner than later with this baby so my husband and I can enjoy a date night sooner than a year from now!
Burp cloths were not really necessary for my first two boys, but this baby spits up and pukes more than I have ever seen! I go through these SO fast, I’m thinking I need to order more. These are definitely a must this time around for me.
I have yet to even open my nice new breast pump I got through insurance! But I did use my handheld manual pump that first week home from the hospital. My breasts get extremely swollen and painful almost immediately after I have a baby. I use cabbage leaves and ice packs, and still need to express some just to get some relief. This was great to grab in the middle of the night when baby was nursing on one side, I would pump a bit out on the other breast and this helped me a lot. I still use it here and there and put my breastmilk in freezer bags for when I want to introduce a bottle. This pump is great because it’s so quick, there’s no tubes and plugging things in and setting it all up. I just keep it in my nightstand and I can grab it when I need it.
I LOVE my Boppy nursing pillow and I have had one for all three boys. It helps bring baby up to you for nursing or bottle feeding, saving your neck and back a little bit. It can also be used to help prop up a baby learning to sit up. You can find these second hand very easily, too.
Extra Non-Essential Baby Items
There are a few fun things to buy baby that aren’t really necessary, but still cute or just nice to have, and not too expensive.
Baby hair brush– none of my boys had hair as baby’s, but this brush is so soft and cute! I use it on my toddler now.
Nail clippers– You can use regular nail clippers, but baby clippers are smaller and a bit easier to use on those teeny tiny fingers and toes
Hooded baby towels – These are just SO cute!
Pacifiers and pacifier clips – These may be seen as necessary by some, but none of my babies really took to a pacifier. This baby takes one more than the other two boys did, but I don’t think we’d notice if we didn’t have one for him.
Humidifier– Lord willing, your little one never gets a cold. But, most likely, they will at some point. A humidifier is so nice to have when that does happen! Or even on dry winter evenings.
Nose Frida– This thing is magic when your little one has a stuffy or runny nose ! I still use this on my two year old who can’t quite figure out how to blow his nose in a tissue yet.
Sound Machine– I haven’t used one too much with this baby, but with my last two, we didn’t go anywhere without it! Get one that is portable so you can bring it in the car, the grocery store, a hotel, etc.