Baby Basics

I am writing this because I recently attended a shower and it got me to thinking about baby essentials.   If I could choose only 10 things to make it from birth to 6 months what would I choose?  What did I use the most?

Here's my list:
1. Swaddling blankets.  I am a huge fan of swaddling.  Especially after reading this book.  I can't pass an unswaddled baby without having my hands get all itchy.  And I know there are lots of fancy swaddling blankets out there now, but my absolute favorites are waffle weave blankets.  They are stretchy and light enough to get those babies all tucked in. They wash up nice and soft and guess what?  They are cheap!

My other favorite are the blankets my sister-in-law Julie gave me for my last two...cable knit cotton.  You still get that nice stretch factor and for winter babies, that added warmth.  Patrick still loves his.

I also loved the muslin blankets for Janey.

2. Pacifiers.  I had one baby that wouldn't take one, and it just about did me in.  Being a human pacifier is no fun.  I'll pay the orthodontia bill later, it's worth every cent to me.

3. A sling carrier.  (That's my 16 year old Isaac in there. Sob.)

4 . Good old cloth diapers for burping and and handy on the changing table too.  I like the old-fashioned kind because my mom used these for diapers.  The diaper man would come and pick up the icky-smelly ones and leave the ones that smelled so divine I will remember that scent forever.

5. I wore out (maybe one or two was "accidentaly" popped by a child?) 4 exercise balls bouncing fussy/colicky babies.  I couldn't live without one.  It beats walking the halls. 
6. I love Dr. Sears and have a well worn copy of The Baby Book.  I think he is the father of Attachment Parenting, before Attachment Parenting was something you were supposed to capitalize.

7. I had fun dressing my first and second baby in all sorts of cute things.  When I had my third and didn't have time for fussy clothes, or matching outfits, I decided that I loved a pair of clean Carters terry pj's and that's what my babies wore the majority of their days and nights.  It made things simple, and cuddly.  

8. A monitor.  I'd be a nervous Nellie without one.  

9.  An exersaucer thingy.  Anything to be entertained, upright and looking around, while I did all the stuff I had to do.  I would have loved to have one of those little bumpo seats everyone gets now...they are much cuter and don't take up so much space.

10. A good nursing bra.  Maybe that should have been #1.  You'll have to pay a pretty penny for it, but finding one you like is worth every cent.   There is no photo to go with this one.  That would be weird.

What did I miss that would be in your #10?


  1. I agree with them all Sarah! None of my kids would take a pacifier. With my third I bought every brand I could find and lined them all up. She spit out every last one of them!! Little stinker :)) So instead, I bought my favorite light fleece blankets and always used the same one to rock my babies with, and soon it became their "blankie."

    One more thing I would add is a good pair of socks that stay on their feet. I found Baby Gaps to be the best. Oh, and a swing...don't know what I would have done without it!

  2. Pacifier, definitely!! And my exersaucer got me through lots of showers as well.

    My little boy slept in his bouncy chair for the first few months of his life. It was a nice one that had a vibrator on it (and huge C batteries that died once a week, but it was worth it!). That would be my #1 probably.

  3. I think you got them all. I am totally with you on the binky and blanket. Bouncy chairs are good too! But I wouldn't say they were essential.

  4. Definitely the swing and an endless supply of batteries!

  5. In our family: 5-8 dozen cloth diapers, diaper pins, and plastic panties.

  6. A swing girl...a swing. Don't think I could have raised my babies without one. Oh, and all three of mine were pacifier babies. When my daughter's first child didn't take one, I didn't know what to do with her!

  7. I am with you on everything, and kicking myself for never trying the exercise ball for colicky nights. I was a human bouncy, tha ball would have been such a relief:-)

  8. I would add - a bouncy seat when my children weren't in the baby bjorn. Hats, hats, hats - my kids do;t mind wearing them because they wore them all the time. I get upset when I see a little baby out in the cold weather, especially snow without one on!

  9. Love everything on your list. We had them all...except the exercise ball!!:)
    We really loved our bouncy seat too. Great place for a short nap when they were out of the carrier.
    Enjoy the day Sarah

  10. My kids wouldn't take a pacifier either.

    I loved swaddling babies and terry sleepers! I could not have survived without those C ring things that link together and you can attach toys to them. Loved those. Also Balmex for diaper rash -- my youngest used to have a BM in the middle of the night. I used to set an alarm to check her several times during the night, but sometimes, I didn't catch it and she ended up with a rash.

  11. Agree with all of yours although I did the Baby Bjorn vs sling - LOVED it - vacuuming with a baby becomes a cinch as does dealing with your other kids because baby is happy and safe and cuddled with you and your arms are FREE!! 3 things to add 1) vibrating bouncy seat - I would take this into the kitchen while making dinner, into the bathroom while the other kids were bathed or when I took a shower, and in the family room where the babies could capture all the action (chaos?) of the family. I had a stash of batteries because the slight vibration really made the babies happy in it! this thing went on many a vacation! 2) white noise machine - I didn't discover this until my last baby, but he had a hard time falling to sleep and wouldn't take a pacifier - once I borrowed a white noise machine and set it very low near his crib and also bought one of the 3) fisher price aquarium crib thingies (hard to find now - ours is old school) that child happily put himself to sleep in his crib for naps and nighttime. lifesavers! and maybe #4 and #5 - one thing you can't buy - time, patience and absolute devotion to the baby stage because although it doesn't seem like it when you are in it, it goes TOO quickly. 5 - ability to listen to your gut and ignore lots of "advice" - pictures at jcpenney not that important if you are trundling unhappy kiddos and babies to the mall just to get that pic, baby and me classes a waste - instead head to a park and chat with another mom there while you get fresh air. embrace the down time.

  12. I am also a swaddling fan--makes me so sad to see babies out in the open--so vulnerable! I also loved the drawstring nighties. They don't make them anymore--had to resort to making my own for the last 2 babies. It is so easy for middle of the night diaper changes. I also like to encourage a "blankie" so they have some thing to comfort them if I am not home. Love blankie babies--mine didn't take pacifiers so the blankie was a great substitute --2 thumb suckers, though which was pretty awesome!

  13. Love your list!

    NONE of my kids (3 of them) took pacifiers - I was the pacifier:)

    LOVE swaddling! It's amazing how well it works! My last one (now 27 months, sniff) was a little Houdini and managed to wiggle out now matter how tight I swaddled her! I found something called the Miracle Blanket that worked about 80% of the time in keeping her swaddled. She slept swaddled until she was 4 months old!

    I would add into the list those gowns for when they're newborn and you change a gazillion diapers. One less thing to unsnap to get to the dirty diaper (esp. in the middle of the night) is a great help!

  14. I also loved my bumbo seat. Totally unnecessary, and I had it for my last two only, but they loved it.

    I never had an exercise ball but I am thinking about it now. I'm sure my 3 older boys would pop it.

    I am determined to get a sling for my last baby. I've never had one and I want one darn it.

  15. Hi Sarah,
    My oldest could do pacifier tricks and turn that thing around in his mouth and wow people in line at the grocery store- my youngest liked his so much we had to go to Paci fairy route to get rid of it! I'm thinking of channeling the Pull Ups fairy now. lol Let's see - I too loved the exersaucer ... plopped mine down in it all the time to cook and bathe too. Not at the same time mind you. Ha!

    Your list is great - I'd just add:
    -a play mat (those were great for stimulation play)
    -paci clip - which I invented those things
    -and a fully stocked DVD shelf for Mom for those late nights :)


  16. I treated Dr. Sear's baby book with great reverence when I was a new mom. I still love it--I feel like it made me really understand my babies. I would have to add a pack 'n play to my own list. Hands down, it ranks right up there with my sling for best baby purchase ever. My kiddos always slept better in that than they did the actual crib, for some reason.

  17. I recently attended a baby shower too and I totally agree with you on the diaper burb cloths! All of my kids were "spitters" and I think I went through 50/week! I made some "cute" ones for the shower that turned out really nice! Going to a baby shower always gives me that "itch" again! Here's a tutorial for the burp cloths...Have a great day!

  18. I'd add a Bumbo seat to the list. They are fairly recent to the public but have been used in Physical therapy for babies for a lot longer I found out. I only had one for my youngest (now 18 months).

    Agree 100% with the rest of your list!

  19. At every shower I give the gift I appreciated most, the book "A Guide to Your Child's Sleep: Birth Through Adolescence". It's from the American Academy of Pediatrics and I still use it for my big kids when problems arise. I had the BEST sleeping babies...EVER!

  20. I always give a mirror for the car as a baby shower gift. I love to be able to peek back and see the baby in the infant seat. When they cough or cry hysterically I know they're alive and don't feel the need to pull over and check. (I've done that before.)

  21. What a great list! The Baby Book should be standard issue to a first time mother! It helped me through so many perplexing times!! Fantastic list, and I agree, I will pay the ortho bills, pacifiers are a sanity saver!!!

  22. I think I would be one tired Momma without a swing... my youngest (11 weeks) won't sleep without sitting upright (unless we are holding him and that's not safe in bed). I love the pacifer- oldest has one, but new baby won't keep it in, human pacifer is more his route.

    After having kids I give 2 things at a baby shower, 6-9 month sleeper and a big box of diapers (or 1-2 cloth diapers) to the mommy. Mommies love to buy cute clothes for themselves and really like you said you don't need that much "stuff" for them! Diapers always come in useful, plus they are expensive!

  23. your list pretty much covers most of the same things I would choose, but I would have to add a bouncy seat, to gently bounce baby to sleep with your foot when you are fed up of carrying.
    A V shaped pillow, or 2, for comfortable feeding.
    Breast cups, I could not have got through breastfeeding my 3 without them, and will be using them again soon.
    and maybe as a treat Lilypads. Those sticky nipple covers. They worked for me and don't leave a big unsighly lump like breast pads do.

  24. I'm a first time mom with a 5 month old and I'm still learning what will be the absolute "must-haves" since we're kind of trying everything with our first (i.e. swing, bouncer, jumper, pack n play, etc - haven't decided what I can't live without yet). But I was wondering about your #10 - the nursing bra. Which brand did you find that you loved? I had to resort to Walmart and Target for this first go around but I still have plenty of time to wear one so I'd love to invest in a couple of great ones! The Target sleep bras have been great but the rest that I wear during the day time are seriously lacking. I'm going to email you too but maybe you other readers would have some suggestions?? Please???

  25. Sarah,
    I totally agree with ALL of your top 10!:-) There is soooo much useless baby stuff available and what you really need to only a few, select things and then you won't have that HUGE pile of unused stuff cluttering your house! LOL! I would add a fleece car seat cover....then you just put that baby in the infant car seat, tuck a swaddling blanket around, put a sweet hat on and whip the car seat cover over the car seat! No more bulky snowsuits and coats that they get hot in and sweat and cry!
    Thanks for helping out new and old mothers everywhere!

  26. With my third baby, we received this adorable stroller blanket that can only be summed up as a footy-pj-snuggie. It was star-shaped, with sealed legs to keep baby's legs and feet warm in car seats and strollers. Having the legs separated made for easier buckling.

    I loved our exersaucer and my collection of slings. Those things saved my days more often than I can count.

  27. A must have, and not a typical "baby" item is a sound machine! I'm not a fan of props for sleeping, but sound machines are portable and can go with them to college if the kids still want them! These have helped our babies sleep right through door bells, dog barking, other kiddos playing and much more!
    Oh, and zip-up sleepers or gowns!

  28. essentials for me, in addition to your list:
    *our summer infant video camera monitor (i've used it for two so far and love it)
    +cradle swing that plugs in (so they can sleep all night if needed)
    *lansinoh disposable nursing pads, and soft wool nursing pads once my milk is established
    *ERGO baby carrier, I use it from the beginning and the baby falls right asleep in it
    *I finally bought more expensive nursing bras from pea in the pod for my next one (coming in three weeks!), I was done with cheapo target bras.

  29. An expensive Medela electric pump is on the top of my list after 4 (soon to be 5) babies. I tried getting away with cheap ones, and they weren't worth it. The mega duty pumps get the job done in less than 15 minutes, and are so productive. An absolute must-have for a working mom like me :)

  30. oh boy, that's a great list. my kids didn't take pacis but loved their sophie the giraffe. podee bottles (for bottle feeding twins or multiples). and a swing. the boy had a hand crank one (ye gods!) the kiddos had one battery operated one and one with a power cord. those swings saved my sanity some days.

  31. You chose the very same things I would have. Basic sleepers, cloth diapers for burp rags, swaddling, pacifiers...all perfect.

  32. Oh, but there's one more thing! Mylicon drops. A MUST have for my babies!

  33. Great list!! I used a front pack (bjorn like) instead of a sling and it was amazing. The exersaucer was also a lifesaver! Only the oldest took a pacifier and needed it more than the rest. #2 refused the pacifier after about 6 weeks, #3 and #4 used me as the pacifier.
    One thing I found with the last one was the fleece sleeper thing that is like a vest/sleeping bag and zips up the front.

  34. Same list as you, though never tried the exercise ball, may have to try that. Two out of four would not take soothers, that's is horrible, they were the two who NEEDED them. Swaddling...this time found awesome Aidan & Anais(?) bamboo or muslin swaddling blankets and can't wait to try them on baby five in a few weeks:)

  35. Thanks for posting this! I have our #3 on the way, and I keep trying to think of/remember what I need. It's been a few years since we have had a new baby in the house :) This got me all excited.... and now I want to go buy a stack of waffle blankets. They are a MUST!

  36. 1-Aden + Anais muslin swaddling blankets are the best (cool in summer, warm in winter, & good size)
    2-Lansinoh nursing pads - no leaking, ever!
    3-California Baby Calming Bath Wash - gets rid of cradle cap in about 2 washes.
    4-Hyvee teething tablets, wow they work.
    5-Bum Genius cloth diapers - once you're used to them, you'll never go back.

    Great post idea - thanks!

  37. Breast friend so much better than the boppy. Gives so much more support and has a pocket for tissues. It has firmer but comfy foam in it that helps keep baby right up to you while you nurse. Rediculous name -but well worth the pun because every friend I have lent it to has gone on to buy their own.

    PIN XAV (pronounced Pink Salv) is the world's BEST diaper rash cream. Only $5 a tube and lasts a long time. Over the counter or they will order it for you if they don't have it in stock at your pharmacy. and it's all natural. will do wonders with just one application. give it to all friends when they have babies. never go on a vacation without it's that good. if you put it on your little ones bottom at night it will still be protecting their skin in the am. Even worked better than an $80 prescription cream from a wound dr. for my friends little girl on chemo when she had terrible diaper rash from all the meds. the $5 pinxav I gave them did the trick.

    Love these kind of posts thanks sarah!

  38. Great list, I agree! I've never tried a exercise ball though, I'm going to try it. I'm due with my fifth child in five weeks.

  39. A Boppy...love that thing, especially after a C/S.

  40. Sleep sacks! I loved mine. Y'know the baby sleeping bags with the holes for the arms?!

    Also, a good drive tru that sold iced coffee. It was my daily "moment".

  41. Good Post! Since we live in the heat I liked onsies. So much easier to change diapers and such with those.
    Also a nursing pillow, bumbo, and porta-crib.

  42. Great list! I'd add a Boppy pillow, a Moby wrap, and a bouncy seat.

  43. No one mentioned a good stroller!! I have four kids and am a huge fan of exercise. Every one of them went into the stroller for long walks from day one. My 4-year-old still goes into the Bob Jogging stroller when I walk or run in the park. I've been through many strollers from all the miles and miles of walking/running. Worth every penny.

    And agree with others on the boppy pillow.

    And I had an Ergo baby carrier with my last child and wish I would have had one for all of them. After having a Fisher Price brand carrier with the first three, I couldn't believe the difference a hundred dollars made!! :) SOOOOO comfortable.

    Great list!

  44. I just went to my sister-in-law's first baby baby shower and I couldn't agree more with you. I would add to this list a few good absorbent hooded towels - Ikea's are wonderful and cheap. I did that towel around the middle thing with both my boys when they were tiny to fit them in the exersaucer. And I think I would die if they didn't take the pacifier. It is a life saver. Mind you I am paying for it now that my three year old refuses to give it up. I'm working on him but it's no easy task to convince him he doesn't need it anymore.

  45. 2 binky babies for me! I LOVE the Healthy Sleep/Happy Child book. Best shower gift. Also, I love the pack & play with the changing table. Save me in my recovery of both c-sections.

  46. I completely agree with all of those! The only thing I would add is a glass (or 3) of wine. Completely necessary in keeping your sanity. :)

  47. I too read The Happiest Baby on the Block and it made so much sense to me and was really helpful! Great list!
    I would add:
    - a Boppy pillow
    - a play mat with the little mobile overhead
    - Baby Bjorn rubber bibs with a little "tray" to catch the crumbs
    - Lansinoh nursing pads
    - Bravo nursing bras
    - The Halo Sleep Sack (for baby)

  48. Nichole - I was in love with my nursing bra from Motherhood Maternity. I know there are more expensive ones out there, but this one cost me about $23 and it hid any lines from the Lansinoh nursing pads I used. It was slightly padded, but not too much (like you need a larger-looking chest!).

    I second the comment about having a good stroller...we had 3 for our first one - a jogger, a normal Graco one, and an umbrella. All of them got plenty of use.

  49. I personally would switch the exersaucer with a swing, but I've got one kiddo right now and she kinda surpassed the whole exersaucer thing. I would also add breast pump to your list...my daughter was such a greedy little monkey that I had to pump ha;f of her feedings, otherwise I'd never be able to sleep or do anything! Slings and swaddling blankets are also much needed. I love seeing swaddled babies too...they are so freaking cute!

  50. I had to chuckle when I read a similar list that a relative wrote. Pretty much all of her needs were superfluous to me. Your list is spot-on for me. I never did use an exersaucer or pacifier with my kiddos, but I do see the benefits. I had kiddos who were none to found of them (one even broke out in hives with a pacifier; talk about scary). I would add Lansinoh.

  51. A cradle swing! My family bought me the top of the line swing for my last baby and it saved me this time with a very fussy, high maintenance baby.

    Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child! This book has been my bible for all 5 of my kids. They are all great sleepers and happy babies/kids.

    Dr. Brown's bottles...my last baby was a reflux baby and these helped out a bunch!

    My best essential is an involved supportive husband who helps out, gets up in the night and loves and encourages me!

  52. We didn't have the exersaucer thing, but we had the vibrating chair thing. I had huge, 10, 11&1/2, and 12.6 pound babies...and at 3 months they were really too big for that chair, and the little soothing vibrator thing broke during week 2 of baby number 1, but even when the babies were so heavy, I just placed a pillow in the back to keep them upright...it saved my days. totally. They could nap there if I needed my hands, sitting in it they could eye everyone around them and that kept them busy & strapped in. I have years worth of baby photos with that silly chair. I look back and thank God for that blessing. We were young and had no extra money for any of the other fun stuff...but we all survived and did it happily with that sweet chair. :)

  53. I'm currently 26 weeks and I SO needed this list! Thanks a million :)

  54. Baby Magic baby lotion. Fresh from tubby, snuggly, smelly babies.... my favorite thing on EARTH! Or elsewhere.

  55. my #1 must have for my boy was a wipes warmer. When a cold wipe hit his boy parts is was pee city... but if the wipe is warm... they don't shoot pee when they're being changed! I loved mine :)

  56. I can't agree more with #7! My fourth baby girl has worn her little PJs most of the time. It's easier, not as fussy (don't lose socks) and they sleep so often that why bother with the cute outfits? Especially since I'm such a homebody now--no where to go show off our fancy duds! The ones from her big sisters are gathering dust. ;)

    Also, I use the same waffle weave swaddling blankets and LOVE them. She's 9 months (almost) and still loves to be swaddled. It's become her special blankie, too, that she dives for when tired. Ah, I LOVE lovies! And pacifiers!

    The other thing we've needed for a few has been a swing. It's seemed to work better than a bouncer, and while I have every sling under the sun (Moby wrap, Bjorn, Sears sling, Peanut Shell), sometimes they just need to nap or soothe in the swing. Our swing broke a month ago. I think we are done having kids. ;)

  57. Oh, and Dura Bibs can't be beat. I recommend them to everyone. They travel well, snap up into pockets, clean so easily. Must have.

  58. I think I have had absolutely EVERY.ONE.OF.THOSE! Honestly!

    Love coming here, love feeling like I've come home! Thanks for the help on the header...even though you didn't know you helped me. Still trying to get the hang of Picasa and how it works.

    Now it's time for you to go pick up the Stylish Blogger Award!

    Talented and Amazing Ellen over at Abounding Life gave this to me! I didn’t even know what an award was….total newbie here! How absolutely cool!

    Now I am to pass it along to some more stylish bloggers as well. Rules to play along..

    1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you this award.

    2. Share 7 things about yourself.

    3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.

    4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award.

  59. I'd love to know what brands you loved for nursing bras. I had the ones from Motherhood Maternity and they were okay, but definitely not LOVE.

    Speaking of love, love your list! I'm also a huge fan of The Baby Book and Happiest Baby on the Block. Great resources!

  60. What a great list! I have a 4 week old baby girl and my oldest is 21 months. Needless to say, what was important with #1 is not working for #2. My favorite thing I gifted myself is the Sleepy Wrap. I heard it is very similar to the Moby Wrap. The best part is that they are so snug near you and you have both arms free to help with the other little one. I also got these swaddle blankets from Target by The First Years Organic Swaddler - 2 Pack. It is the best thing late at night when you don't want to figure out how to get them tight. It is just a pocket that you slip them into and velcro.

  61. Telepathy works over the ocean, between USA and Romania :-) Check here: http://blue-jeans-girl.blogspot.com/2011/01/helpers-in-rising-our-baby.html

  62. Love your list. My NUMBER ONE would be the exercise ball. I would have been taken away in a straight jacket without it. The diaper burp clothes are a must too!! They are the best and I would know...my boys couldn't seem to keep anything down.
    Two other MUSTS would be a home video monitor and a car mirror so I can see my sweetie in the backseat. I really, really need those!

  63. Just came across this post...could you please tell me what brand of waffle and cable knit blankets you recommend? Thanks!

    p.s. I've very much enjoyed so many of your other posts. Thanks for writing from your experience. You are so knowledgeable and helpful!