Having a baby for the first time is such a life changing experience that having these 17 things every new mom needs will help her survive that first year! Because we all need some help getting through that transition! When I had my first daughter, my entire world was turned upside down in every good sense of that saying. I wondered how I had gone all my life thinking I knew what love was because when she was put on my chest, I finally felt the full force of what all-consuming love was. I didn’t even mind the endless feedings, sleepless nights, or the new appendage I had attached to me 24/7. I felt like my life’s purpose was to be a Mom, and I was finally fulfilling that.
But that’s not to say that on multiple occasions that first year I didn’t fall in love with certain companies that made a toy or tool that made my life easier by leaps and bounds. And unfortunately, I didn’t discover some of the 17 items below until I had my SECOND daughter!
My list doesn’t include the very basics – crib, crib mattress, car seat, changing table, diapers/wipes, clothing, blankets, or bottles. We as moms know we need these items and thankfully so do our friends and family! So hopefully you new moms out there will find this list helpful. And if you are going to a baby shower for a new mom, pick up one of these items for her! She will love you for it!
1. Pack-n-Play – I’m not loyal to a brand and the fancier it is doesn’t necessarily make it better. But being able to lay your baby down in a safe space near you is life saving. I would get one that has the bassinet sleeping area and a changing pad because as a first time mom, I felt more comfortable changing the baby’s diaper there than just on the floor or couch (as I did with baby #2). This Graco one worked really well for us!
2. Boppy – I nursed both of my girls exclusively for the first two years (I could not pump and neither would take a bottle) so we had Boppies all over the house! I have seen other brands but for us, the Boppy had the perfect amount of cushioning, comfort and cuteness! After a while, holding that little head feels like you are cradling 40 pounds in your elbow! The Boppy relieves that. I used it for feedings, for cuddling, and as they grew, for tummy time and support for that beginning sitter phase.
3. Waterproof cover for your Boppy – This is one I had to figure out later. Babies spit up…and if yours has reflux, your baby will spit up A LOT! And it’s often right after or during a feeding. I was washing my boppy pillow so many times, it was starting to lose it cushioning. Then I discovered the waterproof covers! I would just pull off the design cover and waterproof cover and pop those in the wash. Soooo much easier.
4. Waterproof Mattress Pad and Waterproof Multi Use Pads – The mattress pad is a no-brainer but the multi-use pads in 18″x27″ are the perfect size to cover a pack n play mattress as well as the main area of your crib mattress. These are easy to take off and throw in the wash any time there are any accidents. I still use mine to line my 3 and 5 year old’s beds because they are easier to wash than a cumbersome mattress pad.
5. Gliding Rocking Chair – New moms (and Dads!) will spend so much time here. My gliding rocking chair was my go-to spot for nursing and rocking the baby for nap times. Babies really respond to the soothing movement.
6. Fisher-Price Infant to Toddler Rocker Seat – A coworker of mine who had recently become a dad himself gave me this idea just before my first baby was born. We had registered for a standard bouncy seat but thankfully my friend told me that the majority of them are outgrown by babies in the first couple months.
Not the Toddler Rocker seat – the back support bar is much sturdier and therefore supports a great deal more weight. And as your baby grows, it converts to a rocking chair that both of my girls loved into their toddler years! 7. Exersaucer – I thought I didn’t need one of these with my first baby and as a result I ended up holding her 80% of the day. I knew when baby #2 came that wasn’t an option! My second loved her exersaucer and I immediately regretted not having one with the first. Yes it provides a safe place to put your baby, but they are made with so many sensory activities, it’s actually good for your baby to spend a little time in one. It never took the place of me holding and playing with my baby but for a break it worked wonders.
8. Variety of pacifiers – They will tell you this at the hospital and it is certainly true. Your baby will have a preference for the type and feel of specific pacifier nipples. Neither of my girls were big on pacifiers but I still was thankful for a few different types in those times of need!
9. Baby Sling/Carrier – Again, this is something I didn’t truly discover until I had my 2nd. Being hands-free became even more valuable. I know there are many on the market but I LOVED my Baby Bjorn Air Carrier. In fact, I had a different type of sling carrier with my first but it was so awkward and cumbersome that I never used it. The Air was lightweight, easy to put on, and super easy to get my baby in so it was a win-win.
10. Baby Bathtub and gentle, fragrance free supplies – A simple plastic bathtub will go such a long way in giving a new mom the confidence she will need in that most daunting of new baby tasks – the bath! I loved my simple one because it fit right over my kitchen sink. It helps put your baby at eye level which she will love.
And I suggest fragrance free supplies because even though it’s tempting to be drawn into those notions of lavender sleep lotion, a new baby’s skin is super delicate and you won’t really know if he/she is allergic to fragrances in the beginning. There are many great brands out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg. Aveeno is a good one to try.
11. Lotion Warmer – Okay, so I did not buy into the wipes warmer…it’s a quick little wipe and half the time you change their diaper somewhere other than where that warmer is. But a lotion warmer is amazing! Let me tell you, those little tiny bodies have terrible insulation (which is why they need a hat in the beginning). And then you are going to take that shivering body out of the warm water into the cold air and slather on freezing lotion??? For $15 you can get a simple lotion warmer that will make post-bathtime much more enjoyable for your little one.
12. Sound machine or fan – I know you are supposed to let a baby learn to sleep with all kinds of noise going on around them so they won’t depend on a fan or sound machine. That worked for my two girls for the first few months but then they started to wake easily and have a hard time going to bed. So for my sanity and their sleep, I was happy to put a fan in their room to help them sleep much longer stretches.
13. Umbrella Stroller – Most new moms spend ungodly amounts of time choosing the fanciest and most expensive stroller. And those strollers have their place I suppose. But the one I used the most and was the easiest to transport was my $18 umbrella stroller. 14. NoseFrida nasal aspirator – If you haven’t yet seen a picture on the internet about what the insides of one of those hospital aspirators looks like after a couple months, google it. Then come back to this post and buy yourself a NoseFrida! Works so much better than the traditional aspirator anyway!
15. Shopping Cart Cover – Yes, I know I was raised without these as were countless millions of other kids. But when it’s your first baby and you start to think about ALLLLL the germs on those shopping carts, you are going to want a nice cushiony barrier between your baby and that cart.
How cute and cushy is this Summer one?!
16. FirstAid/Toiletry Kit – Most moms have these supplies on hand but if you can bundle them into a little bag or basket it makes it so much easier to find them when it’s 2 am and your baby is screaming with a fever. In mine I include: a thermometer set with interchangeable heads (under the arm, rectal, etc); infant Motrin (6 months and older); infant Tylenol; 2 pairs of nail clippers; baby nail file; Desitin diaper cream; NoseFrida; and saline spray). You can add on items as you see fit.
Click here to see what I include in my on-the-go First Aid Kit!
AND MY #1 ITEM FOR THE NEW MOM…
17. The Miracle Blanket Swaddling Wrap – I did not discover this until my best friend told me about it with my second daughter. With my first daughter, I used the sleep sacks and the velcro swaddle wraps. But after a month or so, my girls would wriggle their way out, completely defeating the purpose and worse yet making me a nervous wreck that the fabric would get over their mouth and nose.
The Miracle Blanket is a swaddling blanket but with LOTS of extra fabric. So you swaddle your baby, then continue wrapping the fabric around and around until you run out. They look like little mummies but they are so happy and peaceful. And it was a miracle blanket because my little bug started sleeping right through the night! I buy one of these for all my new mom friends!