What to Get for Baby: The Great Big List I Wish I’d Had

what to buy for baby “Nesting” is one of those terms that you cannot fully comprehend until the instinct hits you like a speeding locomotive that launches you, big belly and all, into a frenzy to get everything ready for baby.

With your first, a lot of that energy goes into obtaining the accoutrements you need for the tiny person who is the biggest change of your life.

For all of you first-time expectant mommies out there (and I know and am super excited for several!) here’s my great big list of what to get for baby and where to get it. (I’ve limited this list to items, not including clothing, that I think are good to get, if possible, before baby arrives.)

Hope this list helps a little during this most special time!! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or to comment with your own input. 

what to buy for baby stroller Stroller

If we had to do it over from the beginning, I think we would have gotten what we have now at the get-go. The Britax B-Ready can be used for one or two children, with or without a carseat, and while it’s definitely not a jogging stroller, the wheels are bigger and more maneuverable than a regular stroller’s. Good quality and superior customer service from Britax make this an excellent choice.

what to buy for baby britax b ready strollerIt is a substantial purchase, but it’s still less than what we’d paid for the combination of strollers we had before we got the B-Ready. If you run — even if you don’t — BOBs are amazing. (Britax has bought BOB since we got our stroller, and I’m sure fantastic strollers from that get-together are out there.)

Things to consider when choosing a stroller: how easy it is to fold up; how heavy it is and how easy it is to lift into a car trunk or the back of a van (or whatever your vehicle is); usability of cupholders, etc. for us “mama lattes” (this is my one complaint about our B-Ready); can you put a carseat in it? (Even if you think you’ll always wear baby, the option of putting a carseat in the stroller, if baby falls asleep in the car, for example, is nice to have.)

Take a while to look around, “test drive,” and think about what kind of stroller you want, and be sure to have Daddy come tooIf you can find the stroller you choose used, by all means, go for it. (But consider that warranties probably won’t be valid if you buy second-hand.) I personally think a stroller is a good registry item because a group can pitch in for it and it really pays off to have a good quality, lightweight, maneuverable, stroller that is a joy to use rather than something you get frustrated at.

what to buy for baby moby wrap

Baby Carrier

Baby carriers keep baby (and therefore mommy) happy and are great for keeping baby close to you in situations where you may not want others to have free access to her. I have tried many and own several different kinds. I use a sling for when I need to put baby into something quickly, but it isn’t the most comfortable. I prefer a Moby wrap for the comfort of both mom and baby, as well as versatility.

Downsides are that a Moby wrap can be tricky and a bit time-consuming to wrap — and if you’re out, prepare to have the straps drag on the ground as you’re wrapping, bummer. Moby wraps are now pretty widely available (check out Ebay and Amazon for good deals!), BUT they are easy to make, even if you can’t sew. I’ve used this tutorial for a DIY Moby wrap a few times. (If you don’t want to sew, just skip putting the decorative fabric panels on.)

what to buy for baby bassinett


Bassinetts make night nursing just a little bit easier and give you a small, cozy place for baby to sleep when she’s still very little. When baby feeds through the night, nothing beats having her right next to you. Not to get into the whole co-sleeping debate, but I personally am uncomfortable (for safety reasons) with the idea of purposely letting baby sleep with us in the bed (although it does end up happening quite frequently when I fall asleep during a middle-of-the-night nursing session). Waking up to feed a tiny human with a voracious appetite is hard enough; make it as easy as possible by having her within reach.

A bassinett is definitely something you don’t need to buy new. People usually only use them for a few months. Scout garage sales, Craigslist, or, best of all, a seasonal consignment sale for a good one. You can take off the cloth parts and wash them. Look for one with vibration, sound, and maybe a mobile — you’ll be glad, trust me. Don’t forget bassinet sheets.

what to buy for baby bathtub

Depending on your situation, you may be able to use a sink for baths in the beginning. Otherwise, I’ve liked the PRIMO EuroBath. It’s simple (equals easy cleaning), and grows with your baby. You can even put two kids in it when another baby comes. I use it in conjunction with a bath cushion. Don’t forget washcloths. A hooded towel is nice too.

what to buy for baby nursing pillow

Nursing Pillow

Boppy nursing pillows will save you some aches and pains; you’d be surprised at the back, neck, and shoulder aches that come with taking care of a newborn. Consider getting a couple if you have a larger home and you envision yourself nursing in more than one place.

Again, these are expensive new, and used ones abound. Although I tend to be squeamish about used items that can absorb liquid, you can always sterilize the pillow in the dryer. Personalize your Boppy with a cover that you like, widely available in stores, on Etsy, etc. Or make one. =)

what to buy for baby breast pumpBreast Pump

Every woman’s experience with nursing is different, but I recommend considering your needs (Will you return to work and need an industrial “double barrel” pump? Do you need one just for occasional babysitters?) and trying to have one on-hand before baby is born; you may need one just to relieve engorgement in the beginning.

Though they are available used, and even as rentals, I personally am most comfortable with a new one. I rarely needed to pump, but I still am glad I had an electric rather than manual pump.

Additional Nursing Accessories

Nipple creamI never needed it, but if you have issues, you’ll be glad to have some baby-safe relief on-hand.

Nursing padsto put in your bras. I’ve had great luck with washable ones; the less I have to keep buying and throwing away, the better. But some women still leak through these. You’ll have to see what works.

Nursing braI’ve had the best luck with Motherhood Maternity ones that are slightly contoured, providing additional leakage protection. 

Breastmilk storage bags:I loved the Lanisoh plastic bags.

Bottles: I can’t in good conscience recommend anything in this department because I hardly had/have any. My babies pretty much refused to take a bottle.

Nursing coverThis is a great item to make (or have made by a friend or family member who sews). I use this tutorial from Prudent Baby: DIY Nursing Cover.

what to get for baby baby swing

Baby Swing
A baby swing is wonderful for when you really need to put baby down but you want her happy and near you. (Maybe your back is bothering you from wearing her, or you don’t want to risk splattering her with hot oil while you make dinner, for instance.)

If you can find one at a consignment sale or used, go for it; they are pretty straight-forward. Otherwise, it’s a good registry item.

Look for one with a small footprint, a mobile because baby loves to look up at it, and good sound and motion options.

what to get for baby bouncy seatBouncy Seat

This is really nice to have because it’s a lot smaller and easier to move around than the swing. Great for putting baby near you when you are taking a shower, for instance. Look for one used — they are prevalent; no need to buy new, though they aren’t that expensive. Also a good baby registry item.


Pretty self-explanatory. The official answer is that you should never buy these used because you don’t know their history (if they’ve been involved in an accident, etc.). Your basic choice is whether you buy an infant carseat or one that grows with your baby from infancy on. Again, this goes back to the convenience of being able to take baby from the car to the stroller or inside without disrupting sleep. Travel systems (carseats that coordinate with a stroller) are popular but I’d place more emphasis on getting a good stroller, most of which can be fitted with a carseat attachment, since you’ll be using that a lot longer than an infant carseat.

what to get for baby booster seat

Wait on these; you don’t need them until later. Exception is if you want to include another bigger ticket item on the registry, if you know exactly which high chair you want. These are also easy to find used. However, I’ve found that I prefer highchairs with as few nooks and crannies to clean as possible. Also consider just going with a booster high chair that goes on a regular chair, which is also great for travelling.

what to get for baby travel crib

Travel Crib
You probably want one of these early on, for when you’re somewhere else with baby. Some people even use these in lieu of bassinets by the bed. Get a good brand like Pack ‘N Play because others don’t necessarily have the same support for baby or durability. Travel cribs come with a variety of options, like attached changing tables, etc. Personally, I think the simpler the better. This is a great consignment sale buy. You can get a great one for a fraction of the cost you’d pay for a new one. I have friends who love their KidCo PeaPod Lite, which is definitely easier to cart around. I have an infant travel bed, which has been so handy (but doesn’t grow with the child as much as a PeaPod would). Get baby used to these early on if you think this is the choice for you.

Crib and Changing Table

If you have a dedicated room for baby and you want to get the nursery set up, then you probably want to get a crib before baby is born. A crib is mostly a matter of personal preference. They are widely available on Craigslist, etc. Just make sure that if you get a used one, there haven’t been any recalls, etc. on what you choose to get. We have an Ikea crib and it’s been great. (Get a crib mattress there too.)

I wholeheartedly recommend using the top of a dresser for a changing table. Just stick a changing pad on top of it. You’ll also need a cover. I like to put small waterproof pads on top of the cover as well; it’s easier to change than the whole cover, which will get dirty often, especially in the beginning.

what to get for baby noisemaker
Noise Maker

In addition to sounds that come built in on bassinetts or baby swings, I’ve found this small and very portable noisemaker to be extremely handy. I can even throw it in the diaper bag and not have to worry about plugging it in, etc. (I think I got mine at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for about ten dollars.)

what to get for baby diaper bag

Diaper Bag

I’ve loved my Ju-Ju-Be, baby gift from my Mom. I have the Be All. It’s very well thought-out, with great compartments to keep everything organized. It’s durable: It still looks like new and we’re on the third kid. And this includes the bag travelling with us on several trips. It’s stain resistant, and you can wash it. Check out Amazon and Ebay for good deals and note that different styles and patterns have different price points (different patterned Be Alls are different prices).

Burp Cloths

You’ll definitely need some of these. I personally like soft and somewhat plush ones (as opposed to the stiffer waterproof ones). Some people use the “old fashioned” cloth diapers as burp cloths. They’re pretty widely available anywhere baby items are sold. These are a good thing to make because it’s a great way to use some fabric you love. For the absorbent part, I recommend this.

what to get for baby swaddling blanketsSwaddling BlanketsWe love our aden + anais swaddling blankets and use them every day with our newborns. I’ve heard that the ones you can find at Target are not the same caliber as the ones you buy directly from aden + anais online. Ages ago 😉 when I had Elora-Belle, they only had a girl set, a boy set, and a neutral one. Now, they have many to choose from. If I were to buy new ones, I love this jewel pack. I’m not afraid of color, if you haven’t noticed. =)


what to get for baby pacifier


I love WubbaNub pacifiers, and I wish I’d known about them with my first. They are the same kind of pacifiers the hospital gives you, but they have little stuffed animals attached, which help you position the pacifier, so they stay in baby’s mouth soooo much better. Definitely buy new and check the nipple periodically for wear such as cracking.

Expectant moms, was this helpful? What questions do you have? Veteran moms, what baby items do you love to recommend? 

Disclaimer: I do get a (small) cut of any purchases you make through my links to Amazon — but I mostly included those links for the pictures. =) Wherever possible, I’ve linked to the particular items I actually use and that I personally recommend; when not possible, I’ve included the closest possible thing to what I have and love. Of course, all opinions are my own.