*this post was originally written in 2013, a few months after i had my first baby girl, anabelle. since then, it’s been pinned on pinterest tens of thousands of times and even led to a feature in pregnancy & newborn magazine in april 2015, a month before my second baby was born.
now that i’ve had two babies i’ve updated this post with new favorites. updates are marked by an asterisk (*). xo, c.
i am so excited to finally bring you a post that has been in draft mode for months, edited and re-edited, added to, deleted, and perfected. it’s really been a labor of love. this is my ultimate best baby registry list of ALL the things you will need for your baby.
when i got prego i made it my business to know about all the hottest products and researched the crap out of every baby gadget out there. i interviewed interrogated best friends, co-workers, my sister in law, neighbors, even complete strangers in public on their favorite baby everything. i joined online mom forums. i religiously followed (stalked) baby guru experts. i think i read everything on the internet ever published about every stroller, carrier, diaper, binkie, and onesie out there. i’m only slightly exaggerating, but not much. before i even had my kid my friends were referring their friends to me for baby gear questions. if you want to nerd out on a convo about strollers or car seats, come sit by me!
as you can imagine, when i actually HAD my baby, i discovered even more what i actually like, don’t like, LOVE, can’t live without, etc. and that’s what i’m going to share today with all of you.
if you want my explanations of why i love these products, read on. if you want just the list with no explanation, click over to this simplified post.
my favorite place to create a registry? amazon baby registry because they have a generous completion program (15% off everything on your registry after your baby is born if you’re a member of amazon moms), free returns for 90 days – no questions asked, you can add things from ANY other website (not just amazon) to your amazon registry. it’s SO easy for people who shop amazon anyway to buy things off your registry, AND they have an amazing thank-you note organizer that automatically saves the mailing addresses of anyone who sends you a gift so you can easily send them a thank you note. need i say more?!
lastly, because my blog mint arrow is dedicated to deals, i promise that anytime i find a deal on any of these baby favorites and must haves, i’ll post them on my blog! so if you’re liking what you see below, make sure you sign up for my newsletter to get updates on the best deals i find on baby gear plus fashion, home decor, etc.
so, without further ado, here are my absolute MUST HAVE favorite baby items.
bumpin in style:
*used this with my second pregnancy and STILL not a single stretch mark on my belly! love this stuff!!!
speaking of be maternity, their BeBand is fantastic for that weird in-between stage where you aren’t quite ready for maternity pants but you can’t button yours either. of the brands i tried, these were my fave and (bonus!) least expensive.
*for my second pregnancy i tried out this belly band and i hate to say it but it worked WAY better! it’s just stronger, sturdier, better made, will keep your pants up all day.
*AG jeans maternity jeans: after my second pregnancy, trying everything from the cheapest to most expensive THIS is the pair i would wear every single day if i had to choose just one! so comfy and cute and flattering. 1000% worth every penny. one of my ONLY regrets from my first pregnancy was waiting so dang long to just buy maternity clothes. let me be crystal clear: THERE IS NO SHAME IN WEARING MATERNITY CLOTHES. they are awesome. AWESOME. comfy. cute. not frumpy like they were, um, a few years back. a million times better than uncomfortably trying to make your regular clothes work. just do it. you’ll wonder why you waited so long.
*gap pure body v neck tees: i seriously LIVE in these when i’m pregnant! soft, cozy, but pretty and flattering.
*caslon shirred v neck tees: another total maternity staple that has carried me through two pregnancies.
*asos maternity dresses: my favorite source for maternity dresses! you can find something for the most casual settings to the fanciest. the dress i’m wearing above came from them. it’s sold out completely now but they’re constantly adding new cute ones so check back frequently throughout your pregnancy.
in the hospital and going home:bamboo aden + anais swaddle blankets
how many: i was told you should have at least 12 swaddle blankets. i’m sort of embarrassed to say we had 20 something, BUT we used all of them! think about it, they spit up all day, have blow outs, etc, and you swaddle them in those constantly. if you want to not do laundry daily, i honestly suggest getting 16-20.
sidenote: i was also told to not bring my own baby clothes into the hospital. whatever. i’m SO glad i didn’t follow that advice! there was nothing better than dressing up my brand new baby girl in cuddly clothes that i picked out just for her. that’s just me though.
baby’s first clothes: we love gap’s first favorites collection! just remember that your little one will need to be in an outfit with legs (not a footless bundler) to ride home in his/her car seat from the hospital. also you’ll want to wash the clothes in baby detergent before you bring them to the hospital.
*i searched and SEARCHED for the perfect outfit to take lyla home in, and since we didn’t need to buy much for her i felt okay spending a little more on an outfit. i found this take me home set and it is absolutely the softest set of baby clothing i’ve ever felt in my life. runs a little big! she’s worn it well past when she grew out of her other newborn clothes, but it was still fine for taking her home from the hospital, and she weighed just over 7 lbs (pretty average). love that it comes in pink, blue or cream if you’re waiting on the gender to be surprised!
hair ties: these ones are my fave.
toiletries: bring your makeup, your favorite shampoo and conditioner, favorite lotion, deodorant, some dry shampoo (this dry shampoo is my very favorite. spendy but worth it!) and facial cleansing wipes, your toothbrush, etc. you will want to freshen up a little, i promise! it will make you feel so much better, especially if you’re in the hospital for more than a day. i was there 4, and i wish i would’ve stayed longer. you can read why in my c-section birth story here.
husband/partner’s bag: tell your hubs/partner to pack a change of clothes, and if he plans on staying at the hospital with you, his own pillow, maybe even his own sheets or a blanket he likes, his own snacks and any medication he might need, a laptop if he can do work from the hospital during down-time, and a movie or two (although our hospital had a red box).
*if you already have a kid at home, things will be a little different this time! this is how we did things: since i had a scheduled c-section, we had a planned babysitter for the day of lyla’s delivery. the babysitter brought anabelle to the hospital to meet lyla a few hours after she was born, then neil took anabelle home and i stayed in the hospital with lyla. each day after that we had a sitter in the morning come to the house and stay with ani while neil came for 3-4 hours to hang out and bond with lyla, then he went home around lunch time and after ani’s afternoon nap, early evening(ish) they both came back to the hospital for a short visit and to bring me dinner 🙂 that worked out really well for us! then the day you are discharged you for sure want to leave older sibling(s) at home with a sitter while dad helps you gather all your stuff and takes you & baby home.
hospital gown: make sure they give you one of these. being funny, but really. people made the biggest deal out of getting great/cute/comfy/stylish button downs and jammies and sweats and runway gowns (kidding) to wear in the hospital. and you know what? i wore the hospital gown the whole time. easy access for the nurses who need to check you every couple hours, easy access for nursing, baggy enough to comfortably cover everything you need and want covered while you’re recovering from just birthing a human.
*with lyla i did take a couple sleep shirts that buttoned to hang out in and i’m glad i did! it was nice for pictures on mother’s day (below) and when visitors came.
you’ll want something comfy to go home in too. not to burst your bubble, but there’s basically no chance in h. you’re going to fit into your pre-pregnancy pants. so plan on wearing something very comfortable, stretchy, think drawstring and what you comfortably wore 6-months prego. with anabelle i wore a velour sweatsuit home and uggs since it was winter in utah … nice and comfy.
*with lyla, since we’re in california now and it was end of spring, i wore a free people dress like this one home from the hospital that i knew i’d feel totally comfortable in. flowy, comfy, easy.
you can’t leave the hospital without a car seat so …
Peg Perego Primo Viaggio Infant Car Seat: my friend who is a nurse at a children’s hospital ER said the doctors in the ER recommend this seat as the safest possible in the event of a car accident. peg perego puts their seats through the most stringent safety tests in the world (even higher standards than US requirements) and their car seats are like tanks.
*peg perego’s updated seat (linked above) only weighs 9.5 pounds, a huge improvement over their former 11 pound version!
Maxi-Cosi Mico AP Infant Car Seat: my second favorite seat. it’s about $100 less than the peg and i love that it comes in all black. they claim to be the most lightweight infant seat on the market, only 8 pounds. this can come in handy when you’re carrying that infant around everywhere in there for the first few months!
*nuna PIPA car seat & base: we tried this new car seat out for lyla and LOVE it! it actually weighs less than the maxi-cosi at 7.7 lbs, and the privacy screen is so great! no need for a car seat canopy. it’s also extremely easy to install into a car. we use it with our city select stroller and it clicks right into the stroller base with this adapter kit.
i had a c-section, so these are my recommendations based off a c-section recovery. by the way, motherhood is amazing and beautiful no matter what way you become a mother, be that a c-section, natural birth, birth with drugs, or adoption. just had to throw that in there!
mesh undies: hoard these. take as many home as you can. you will be glad you did. just trust me on this.
belly bandit: i was SO GLAD i bought this. it kind of helps feel like you have something supporting/holding everything in while your c-section scar heals. if you didn’t have a c-section, it will still help with pulling everything in and moving your hips back into place while your body still has relaxin in its system – the chemical that helps your hips spread to prepare for baby to come out (ha thanks a lot right!) stays in your system anywhere from at least 6 weeks to a year. take advantage of when your hips will move easily and wear this thing every day for the first 6 weeks to help your hips go back to normal. when i used this mine went back for sure to their normal size and maybe even a bit smaller!
*this time i tried out a few post-pregnancy girdles to see if i liked anything better. i tried cheaper, more expensive, etc., and i still love belly bandit the best!
diapering, laundering, bathtime and first aid:
amazon moms: if you’re die-hard into name-brand diapers and wipes, this is the best way to go. you can sign up for a membership here and it will give you three months of free 2-day shipping, a 20% discount on diapers and wipes, and other special promotions throughout the year that i’ll always post about on my blog when they pop up, like the amazon moms appreciation events where tons of gear and baby products are offered at a huge discount.
i stressed and STRESSED about how many diapers to buy in what sizes and here’s my advice: take a deep breath and don’t worry about it. buy ONE jumbo package of newborn size diapers and then just wait and see how fast your baby grows. i swear my baby was only in size 2 for a few weeks, but she’s been in size 3 for months! kids are all different and it’s a little unpredictable what sizes they’ll be in at which ages and for how long.
one of my favorite diaper tricks: i like to buy up a size and put my baby in those at night with a little diaper cream. (we learned this trick from the baby sleep trainer). they’re her “nighttime” diapers and then when i realize she’s suddenly grown out of her current diapers, i already have the next size up on-hand. so for example, when she was in newborn diapers, she slept in a size 1 diaper at night.
target up&up diapers: when anabelle grew into size 3 diapers, i decided to get brave and try target brand diapers. i had low expectations but since i could get 180 diapers for $24.99 vs. 144 pampers for $37 (that was the best price i could find at walmart!) i figured it was worth a shot! and guess what. we LOVE them. so i’m still a fan of pampers swaddlers for the tiny newborn stage, but with the next baby, probably by size 1 i’ll switch to target up&up. they work just as well and they’re WAY less. hello, win-win.
*we still love target diapers! but we also were gifted lots of honest diapers this time and we really love those too! a little more spendy but they are undeniably thicker and better made, so they might be worth the extra expense to your family? definitely worth trying out!
wipes: i have tried LOTS and my favorite are the costco ones. soft and sturdy and inexpensive. pretty much all my mommy friends agree. these ones are the best.
*for some reason i forgot about the tried and true brand desitin until just recently when my mom had some at her house and we used it when we were visiting and ani had a bad rash. it worked wonders! i’m officially converted back. sassy sacks
*this time we tried out the ubbi diaper pail and it’s a total winner in our book! way better looking than any other diaper pail out there, and it’s been great so far for holding smelly diapers, but we also empty it about every other day AND lyla is only on breastmilk right now. with any diaper pail, once your kid is older and pooping more and eating regular foods, you gotta be either really diligent about emptying the garbage or just take them right outside each time! i’ve learned that diaper pails are really just convenient for when they’re tiny, their poop doesn’t stink yet, and you’re changing a zillion diapers a day. that’s about it.
*fels-naptha soap: one of my sweet neighbors came to meet lyla when she was just a couple days old and brought me a bar of this soap and told me it was the BEST for getting out baby blowout stains. she was right! i’ll never go back. immediately wash any of those blowouts out in cold water and scrub with this bar of soap, then throw in the wash and they’ll come out completely unscathed.
Munchkin Arm and Hammer Diaper Bag Dispenser: SO handy for on-the-go when you need to change a stinky diaper but don’t have anywhere to throw it away! or if you need to throw a diaper away at a friend’s house. stick it in one of these suckers and you’ll never even know it existed.
eurobath: hands down my favorite baby bath. a ton of other moms recommended this to me and it was a million times easier to use than the tummy tub (the baby bathtub i originally bought). it also converts nicely to a sitting-up tub once they’re at that stage.Baby Magic Gentle Hair and Body Wash
*my friend andrea makes this really yummy smelling wash now too called tubby todd. with anabelle we didn’t have much of an issue with eczema but lyla had it pretty bad at first. we started using tubby todd and it cleared up super fast!
*we got a little giraffe towel for lyla this time and it is THE softest towel i’ve ever felt in my life. it was a splurge (on sale during the nordstrom anniversary sale) but one of my favorite new items!
*we’ve since converted to using essential oils for our babies when their gums are sore. read more here.
*zoli buzz b nail trimmer: we LOVE THIS SO MUCH! saves your sweet little babe from getting their skin clipped with the clippers. super gentle but it still gets the job done. worth every penny!!!
i nursed and pumped, so these are my recommendations based off my personal experience.
covered goods nursing cover: this cover completely changed my life! i went from being nervous and uncomfortable to completely confident and not worried one bit about nursing anytime, anywhere. the best part about this cover is it covers your front and back! it’s soft, stretchy, machine washable, and can be used as a car seat canopy in a pinch, too.aden + anais burpy bibsjust buy the pump
*Medela Pump In Style: although i LOVED my ameda pump with anabelle, we actually lost part of it in one of our moves and i found myself completely desperately needing a pump when i had mastitis and was engorged with lyla, so i sent neil to target to buy anything he could get his hands on and this was the only all-electric one they had that night. turns out i actually LOVE my medela pump! it works even more efficiently than the ameda so if you’re going to pump tons it’s a really good option and great investment. plus most insurance companies will reimburse you for a pump but check with your insurance company first because they all have different stipulations on what they cover.dishwashing basketPhilips AVENT 9 Ounce BPA Free Classic Polypropylene Bottles
*Medela bottles: now that i use the medela pump, it’s SO convenient to have the bottles that work fresh off the pump! we pretty much just use these now.
Lansinoh Breastmilk Storage Bags
*madeline’s box paci clips: we love these leather pacifier clips for keeping lyla’s binkies clean! cute and functional – yes please.
*i wanted a new boppy cover for lyla since my first one was covered in spit-up stains and pretty hammered. i splurged on this soft cover and love it. washes up really well and is super well made!
we bought a bottle warmer and hated it. if you’re going to breast feed and pump, i suggest just running the pumped milk under hot water (refrigerated or frozen). it’s easy, quick, and will never be too hot for your baby.
baby food feeding:
ikea antilop highchair: the second best high chair and it’s $20. we have this at my mom’s house and love it! the boon flair still wins in my book because of the pneumonic lift, the fit (this ikea high chair has pretty big gaps for food to drop into when kids are learning to feed themselves and also to wiggle out of) but, having said that, it’s an excellent choice if you’re on a tight budget!
Boon Dishes: favorite baby food dishes! love the no-slip bottoms.
you can read more about making your own baby food and what i use to do that in this post.
cribs: here are a few of my faves!
pottery barn kendall crib $349 right now, super affordable, white, and classic.
Jenny Lind Crib: charming and timeless.
ikea also carries very affordable cribs that are super popular and perfect if you are planning a clean, modern design for your nursery.
*this time we wanted something a little more modern for the nursery so we got lyla this crib. i can’t wait to show you her full nursery! you know, when we finally put it together someday (ha)!
changing table: we actually bought a used changing table that had been refinished from a local craigslist-like site (KSL), but you can use any dresser that you have or find one at a thrift store and paint it, put a changing pad
*again, i was going for a more modern look for lyla’s nursery so i bought a West Elm dresser that i knew we could transition into a big girl room eventually or use in almost any room in our house later if we needed to switch things up!
pottery barn kids comfort swivel glider: this glider is one of my favorite purchases because i spent so many hours nursing our baby in it, and it’s so comfy i could fall asleep in it.
*not the cheapest but i absolutely adore this nurseryworks empire rocker, and have since before i even had anabelle! i still dream about getting it . . .
bedding: my favorite place for baby bedding is restoration hardware baby & child. their stuff is beautiful, soft, well-made, and not cheesy or tacky. also, target has some cute crib sheets that are super budget-friendly.
out and about:why i’m obsessed here.
*Baby Jogger City Lite Stroller: an even less expensive option, this stroller is amazing for travel!! we have an older version that’s been discontinued and it’s a must for traveling with one.
solly baby wrap: one of the only things i didn’t have but wish i would have is a wrap for when the baby is really tiny and too small for the ergo. next time i will for sure be getting a solly baby wrap. i’ve heard nothing but rave reviews.
*now that i’ve had my second baby, i can’t imagine doing anything with two kids without the solly baby wrap! it’s an absolute MUST HAVE for infants and mamas who need to be hands free. see us traveling with the solly wrap in the picture above! we also love it for trips to the beach, walking around the mall, doing housework (on the rare occasion that i get around to that!), walks around our neighborhood, and just about everything else. really.
once you have two kids you’re just grateful when your kid stays in the shopping cart for more than 3 minutes. can i get an amen?!
petunia pickle bottom diaper bags: i am a huge, HUGE fan of ppb diaper bags. their bags are so thoughtfully made, with pockets and compartments for everything and they all come with a built-in changing pad. these don’t go on sale that often but they’re always part of the nordstrom anniversary sale in july.
*since this original post was written i’ve tried out many, many diaper bags and have found that my very favorite one, especially for TWO kids now, is this one. huge enough to fit everything i need, anywhere i go, with two kids. but it weighs almost nothing – a HUGE plus when you know you’re gonna load your bag up with tons of crap. it’s nice enough to go with me to a nice dinner or to a casual park date and cleans up like a dream.
**we are also now HUGE fans of fawn design bags, and i’d say these get used the MOST in our home now.
other baby gear:
BABYBJORN Travel Crib Light: i cannot say enough good things about this amazing travel crib. SUPER light weight, super easy to install (you literally pop the legs out and that’s it. takes me 10 seconds).