The Best Baby Stuff: Our Must-Have Items and Gear

It seems like everybody has an opinion about must-have purchases for your new baby…it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. So let’s get back to basics with some helpful tips on the essential baby items.

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Baby Items: The Basics

Baby items usually fall into two general categories- clothing and soft items (layette), and more rugged baby gear. Layette refers to all the cloth baby items your little one needs from the very beginning. Our favorites include onesies, footed sleepers, and blankets. has the best cloth diapers. However, the right clothes will vary depending on the season. Baby gear, on the other hand, refers to all the major purchases other than clothes, like a stroller and a safe car seat.

You will probably find countless checklists all over the internet that tell you what you should get for your baby. But beware: most of these lists are published by manufacturers of baby gear. These lists often contain unnecessary gear or just too much stuff. While a list like that can be a helpful starting point, you should discuss it with an experienced mom, midwife, or doula.

Less Is More

Don’t buy too much baby stuff at first. It may be tempting to buy a bunch of adorable, but impractical dresses in a moment of weakness. Or you might receive too many as a gift from well-meaning grandparents. Often, new parents can end up with clothes the baby never wears or impractical gear.

It’s better to have only the essentials ready at the birth date. Once the baby is born, you can venture out to buy more. Many parents get frustrated that they spent so much money on clothes or baby stuff that ends up going unused.

Unfortunately, you can’t always know what will work for you and your child beforehand. Let’s just say that finding the right baby items and gear for a newborn child works according to the “trial and error” principle. You’ll find out what works best for you and your child along the way.

How Do I Pay for All the Essentials?

As a new parent, equipping yourself with basic baby items can be expensive. For families with a tight budget, this can be a real burden. If that’s the case, or if you’re just interested in saving some money, here are 4 easy tips.

1. Buy Second-Hand Baby Stuff

You can get pre-owned children’s clothes, baby carriers and slings, baby changing units, and even toys for a good price. Your local thrift store is always worth visiting. A good consignment store is also fantastic since it has higher-quality items at lower prices. You can also look into meet-and-swap parent groups where you can buy children’s clothes and other baby stuff.

The internet can also be a great resource. Social media with groups or features like Facebook Marketplace are a fantastic place to check for second-hand goods in your area! You can also check apps like LetGo or OfferUp!

If you buy used stuff, it’s not a huge loss if you hardly use them at all. In addition, buying second-hand baby items saves not only money but it’s also environmentally sustainable. But you should always take a close look at quality, condition,and the date of production. There is also some baby gear you should never buy second-hand due to safety reasons, like cribs and car seats.

2. Borrow Clothing and Gear

Do you have friends or family who already have children? Most parents are happy to lend or even donate their items! Especially when it comes to clothes, it makes more sense to find some second-hand onesies from a friend. Your baby will often need the next size after only a few weeks.

With second-hand baby equipment, you should be cautious. Many safety regulations have changed in recent years. If parents want to lend you some baby gear, take a close look at the production date. You can also check most items on the internet to find out whether they still fit the safety regulations.

3. Have a Baby Shower and Make a Baby Registry List

You want to play it safe and go for new baby gear only? Let your friends throw you a baby shower and make a wish list. A website like Babylist makes this a breeze! Add clothing and other items you selected carefully yourself there. Many relatives and friends are happy to buy from a registry. Then, they know that they’re giving something useful that is really needed.

4. Look Into Financial Aid for Initial Baby Equipment

For expectant parents with a tight income or budget, there are some options for financial support. But you have to apply for those Family and Children Services. It’s important to find support at an early stage of your pregnancy, as there are certain deadlines. It may also take some time to process your application.

In most states, the Early Head Start program helps families with infants and babies, for example. There are also many Local Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) organizations throughout the US. Furthermore, the Child Care and Development Fund provides financial aid to low-income families. When you need child care due to work, work-related training, or attending school, go to this website for further information.

Baby Items for Mommy

Last but not least: The basic equipment for the mom-to-be. Here are some tips and suggestions we found useful for a babies’ first few months:

A good and comfortable nursing bra can make all the difference. We also recommend a nursing pillow, like a Boppy. This way you can safely nurse while giving your arms and back some relief. A breastfeeding pillow will also help you to adopt a healthy and comfortable posture when feeding. You can also buy nursing pads, nipple cream, and nipple shields in advance. If you have problems with breastfeeding, contact a trained lactation consultant. If you cannot or do not want to breastfeed, you should get some bottles and a sterilizer.

Pads for postpartum bleeding are always part of the essentials for new mothers. You will find what you are looking for in the medical supply area of your supermarket or a nearby drugstore. Most hospitals send you home with plenty of these, too.

Stick to comfortable clothes and shoes. Many women prefer nursing clothes in the first few months, and a lot of button-down shirts or easy knit dresses offer easy access for nursing.

A healthy, balanced diet with plenty of low-sugar drinks, and as much sleep you can get is an absolute must for new moms. Listen to your body’s signals and allow it to heal from birth. Don’t hesitate to seek support from your family and friends. Most women who already have had a baby will understand what you’re going through and can help you along the way.

Baby Essentials – Our Must-Have List

Every checklist for baby items will vary from person-to-person, but here are our must-haves for you:

Layette (each in sizes Newborn and 0-3 months)

  • 6 onesies
  • 4 shirts
  • 4 romper suits
  • 2 cotton hats for indoors
  • 4 pairs of cotton and wool socks
  • a cardigan
  • a winter suit (if necessary)
  • 2 small baby blankets
  • 3 sleep sacks

In general, long sleeves on bodysuits and tops are needed for babies born in winter and short sleeves apply to summer babies.

Home Gear and Hygiene

  • baby monitor
  • a good breast pump
  • 5 to 6 bottles and sterilizer
  • 2 pacifiers, preferably in a cherry shape
  • breastfeeding pillow
  • baby bathtub
  • gauze diapers
  • co-sleeping bassinet
  • a changing table or changing mat
  • approx. 15 cloth diapers or a pack of Newborn diapers
  • a grooming kit

Equipment for Mommy

  • 2 well-fitting nursing bras
  • nursing clothes
  • nipple cream
  • nipple shield
  • nursing pads
  • pads for postpartum bleeding
  • nursing tea
  • pre-cooked meals

You Can Do This!

No matter what baby stuff you get, remember: you’ve got this. You are equipped and able. Lean on the ones closest to you and seek out advice. Take a deep breath. You can do it. Be sure to share your experiences and photos with the ones you love on FamilyApp!

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