Baby Things You’ll Actually Use: The First 3 Months
As first-time parents, we’re told we need all kinds of stuff for our baby-to-be — lots and lots of stuff. Discover which baby things you’ll actually use during the first few months, letting all the doodads and gadgets take a back seat to the everyday essentials (at least for now).
While first-time parents might wonder where the powerful urge to prepare their home for the arrival of their little one comes from, “nesting” is a real thing. We’re instinctually programmed to get our home ready for our new family addition. Between clothing, bedding, nursing and bathing supplies, not to mention furnishings, toys and nursery decor, accumulating baby things can quickly become overwhelming, especially when space and finances are limited. The good news is that despite the avalanche of products touted as “must haves,” new parents need a whole lot less for their baby than they’re led to believe, especially during the first few months.
Here’s a list of baby things you’ll actually use and will be grateful you have at hand when your sweet (and sometimes smelly and often hungry) little bundle arrives:
Carrying & Transporting
As soon as you leave the hospital, you will need to have a backward-facing car seat for your newborn. You can choose between a traditional newborn seat with plenty of padding like Clek’s Liing Infant Car Seat, a convertible car seat that changes from an infant to a toddler seat (and sometimes even a booster) like Nuna’s bestselling Exec All-In-One Car Seat, or one that includes a stroller and base like Doona’s Infant Car Seat Stroller and Base.
While your first inclination as a new parents is to hold your child, you’ll soon appreciate the miracle of having both hands free while wearing a sling or carrier. Solly Baby’s Wrap Carrier calms even the fussiest babies, providing a secure, womb-like environment. Ergobaby’s 360 All Positions Baby Carrier is designed for maximum comfort for both baby and caretaker, and adjusts so your little one can sit in either a backwards or forward position.
When you’re out and about, it’s important to have a diaper bag. Luckily, diaper bags have come a long way in the last few years, with designs that are — dare we say? — remarkably stylish. Kibou’s hands-free, ergonomic bag is a game changer, with a detachable changing pad that unfolds from the back flap, a waterproof-lined pocket and even a pacifier hook! Jem & Bea’s Lola luxe ripstop nylon tote is one you’ll take everywhere, with plenty of room for essentials and extras, making it perfect for travel, too.
Dressing & Changing
Once you change and dress your newborn, you’ll realize the faster you can do it, the better, which is why we love onesies with snaps and footie pajamas with zippers, like Hart + Land’s Long Sleeve Crew Body Suit and Footed Bodysuit! While it’s tempting to buy plenty of newborn-size clothes, remember that they outgrow these quickly, so just get the basics: 5–8 onesies or other soft jammies, baby sleepers or sleep bags, baby socks and a couple of newborn hats, especially if it’s not extremely warm outside. Hart + Land’s Organic Essential Seven-Piece Gift Set is a great option, with everyday basics in soft, breathable Pima cotton.
Since newborns can go through 8–10 diapers a day, make sure you have a couple packs upon returning home. Don’t buy too many at one time, however, since before you know it, you’ll need to up their diaper size. If you prefer cloth diapers, get enough for at least two days, giving you ample extras for laundering.
While a changing table isn’t mandatory, it’s very helpful to have a secure, consistent place to keep diapers, diaper cream, a waterproof changing pad, a couple of cotton or terry changing covers and a diaper pail. Many dressers, like Babyletto’s Lolly Three-Drawer Dresser include a removable changing tray, giving you easy access to clothing, diapers and supplies.
Feeding & Nursing
If you’re breastfeeding, you will likely need a good, reliable breast pump like Willow’s Generation 3 Wearable Pump and breast milk storage bags so others can feed your baby while you’re out (or taking a much-needed break), along with nursing pads, nipple cream, a few nursing bras and a breastfeeding pillow, like Nook Sleep System’s Niche Organic Feeding Pillow, a perennial favorite. If you plan to bottle feed, you’ll need 5–8 bottles, formula, bottle nipples in various sizes and a bottle brush for cleaning. A stack of washable cotton burp cloths and bibs will also come in handy.
Bathing & Grooming
Because newborns’ skin is so sensitive, frequent baths aren’t necessary. Instead, spot clean with a baby sponge or washcloth, and use a gentle baby wash that doubles as soap and shampoo, like Gryph & Ivyrose’s Bare It All Shampoo & Body Wash.
Keep baby safe and secure in an ergonomic tub like Stokke’s Flexi Bath, which includes a newborn support for added comfort and safety. After bath time, bundle your babe in a cozy hooded towel, then give them a massage with Erbaviva’s soothing and nourishing Organic Baby Oil, helping relax body and mind as you strengthen your parent-child bond.
Infants’ paper-thin nails grow remarkably quickly, so keep a pair of baby nail clippers in reach to prevent them from scratching themselves. A few first aid supplies will come in handy, too, just in case: a digital thermometer, along with a medicine dropper and bulb syringe. Calendula cream works wonders for healing minor cuts and doubles as moisturizer, so keep this multipurpose salve at the ready for everything from eczema to diaper rash.
Napping & Nighttime
Whether you prefer a crib, bassinet or co-sleeper, you’ll need a safe spot for your little one to sleep. Convertible 3-in-1 cribs like Million Dollar Baby’s bestselling Liberty Crib converts to a toddler bed, while their Foothill 4-in-1 transitions from a crib to a toddler then a full-size bed. Add a crib mattress, a waterproof cover and a pair of fitted sheets, like Coco & Wolf’s charming Tana Lawn® Liberty print, handmade in England of premium cotton.
Rather than putting blankets in the crib with a newborn, which can accidentally cause suffocation, cover your child in a safe, warming sleep sack like Dreamland Baby’s Dream Weighted Sack, which helps promote self-soothing and is thermoregulating. If you want to keep an eye on your little one from outside the room, a baby monitor like Nanit’s Pro Smart allows you rest easy knowing you can watch over them from anywhere, play soothing nature sounds and even offer words of comfort through the built-in speaker.
While putting your newborn to bed, a rocking chair like Nursery Works’ bestselling Sleepytime Rocker or a glider like Babyletto’s Toco Swivel Glider and Ottoman offer a soothing spot for lulling baby to sleep. Keep plenty of blankets around for swaddling and snuggle time, especially those in muslin and cotton.
Most importantly, focus on being present and taking good care of not only your newborn but also yourself. To them, you’re everything – nourishment, comfort, safety, love – the true essentials.