UPDATED Must Have* Baby Gear

*According to one mom

Updated in 2022 after having my second son:

This is a little off-topic for my blog, but I’ve found myself sending lists to friends and family compiling all our baby gear favorites so I figured I’d put it here in one place with links. That being said, I know there are things on other people’s “must have” lists that we didn’t use or need and probably vice versa. In the end, if you’re worried about too much stuff, stick with the basics and rely on Amazon prime for those panic moments. I’ll explain in the list below what our panic purchases were.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. The links below are affiliate links to the products we use and love!


Moonlight Slumber Little Dreamer Mattress

We were gifted a used Pottery Barn crib and an expensive but used infant mattress. It looked to be in great condition so we didn’t think much of it. After Grant moved into his room around 4 months old I started researching and there was one study that showed a second-hand mattress (from a non-sibling) did increase the odds of SIDS. It was only one study and hardly a consensus opinion but that combined with seeing a slight indent in the mattress from the previous baby was enough for me to order him a new mattress. I liked that this one is greenguard gold certified, waterproof, and dual-sided. So far it has held up well. You also need a waterproof mattress pad, or two. We’re using it again for our second son and there is no visible indent at all.

Nanit Plus – Smart Baby Monitor and Floor Stand

Our first baby monitor has been discontinued. The Nanit is the closest alternative but is more expensive. Good quality night vision is really the most important thing. I don’t really use the alerts, I just leave the volume up high enough that I could hear him if he cried. We never used the two-way audio. We did use the free included year of Nanit Insights which was helpful if we forgot when the baby had gone to bed and it would tell you. Or if you and baby slept through the night, to get a quick recap of how much he moved around or woke up and put himself back to sleep. We didn’t renew the Insights and after that has ended it’s pretty much just a camera. I think you could get away with a Nest camera and then when you’re done using it as a monitor set it up as a security camera.

Nest Temperature Sensor

We have Nest thermostats so we bought a Nest sensor to report the temperature in the nursery. We set the thermostat to adjust the heat based on the temperature in the nursery and not in our bedroom where the main thermostat is. That meant sometimes our room got hotter than we’d like, but we didn’t have to worry about the temperature in Grant’s room. We bought a second one when Grant moved rooms so now we can monitor the temperature in everyone’s bedroom. It may be overkill, but it puts our minds at ease.

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

We love this diaper pail but (as I hear is common with all diaper pails) it really starts to stink around the 1-year mark. We panic purchased a second one shortly after returning home with Grant to set up a downstairs changing station. Eventually, we got rid of the first, most used one and used only the one. We needed to get a new one for the new baby. We highly recommend using diaper bags to double-bag the poopy diapers after baby starts eating solids. Trust me.

Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine

This nightlight/ sound machine is one of my favorite things. It is what finally got our son to nap in his bassinet. We even bought a second one to send to grandma’s house for nap time there. He still uses it and I see us continuing to use it well into toddlerhood. We bought a new one for baby and both boys still use it every night. We take it on vacation. It is a must-have in my book.


Silicone Bibs

The bibs we bought for Grant don’t seem to be available anymore, but these look similar. They have the “comfort” cloth neck, a pouch that sits open, and they can roll up for eating on the go. They catch almost everything and are super easy to clean. They roll up to throw in the diaper bag for meals out. We bought lots of other bibs but these are the only ones we used for eating. We started with one and added a second once we realized how perfect it was. I think two is plenty, they’ve held up well to daily use. We use the same two now for our second baby and haven’t needed to buy any more.

Graco Blossom 6 in 1 Convertible High Chair

This high chair has served us well. The fact that it’s on wheels lets us store it in the corner of the room, since there wouldn’t be enough room around our table with it in place all the time. We like that soon we’ll be able to upgrade to the included booster chair. Our oldest never wanted the booster, of course, but we’ve been able to use the high chair again for baby #2. Hopefully he’ll use the booster!

Nursing Cover

I only used muslin cloths tied around my neck for my first, but for my second I tried this cover. I found it sits away from my body so I can see baby and also it doesn’t get too hot. Of course, you don’t NEED a nursing cover, I just felt more comfortable covering up while I was *not gracefully* getting myself and baby in position.


Pampers Sensitive Water-Based Baby Diaper Wipes

When we learned Grant has sensitive skin we switched to these wipes. I don’t remember what we started with but these are great and we’re still using them now.

Pampers Pure Protection Disposable Baby Diapers

These are the diapers we ended up needing to avoid diaper rash. Again, they’re great for sensitive skin. We tried lots of different brands before landing on these. Grant fit in newborn (size 0) diapers when he was born but the hospital put him in size 1 anyway so we really didn’t ever NEED size 0.

Summer Contoured Changing Pad

Highly recommend two of these if you have a two-story house or a large house. We had a changing station in the nursery upstairs and panic-purchased everything for a downstairs station shortly after coming home from the hospital. It was especially convenient during maternity leave.

Munchkin Waterproof Changing Pad Liners

These prevent you from having to wash your changing pad covers constantly. We bought more of these and less covers, but if you’d rather just get more covers, that works, too. I learned with baby #2 that this depends on the baby. Harris hardly ever peed during diaper changes but he was (and still is) squirmy, so we used these less, but still had one on the changing table constantly for the first 4-ish months.

Diaper Cream Applicator Set

I think these are a must-have and my husband has probably never even used them once. I don’t like getting diaper cream under my fingernail, so the applicator is great. I put the little one in the case in the diaper bag so I had one on the go and keep the other in the nursery. I still use it when our little guy has diaper rash.


Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Sling ‘n Seat Tub

We used this infant tub and loved how it grew with him until he was able to sit in the big tub. We used it again for our second and it has held up great.

Health & Safety

Vicks SpeedRead Digital Thermometer

We’ve run through a lot of thermometers in the last few years. This one is currently my favorite, under the arm. It is quick and pretty accurate, better than the forehead & ear one we started with and way better than the “baby” one we had that took about 2 minutes to complete a reading. When you’ve got a sick cranky baby, 2 minutes might as well be an hour.

Play & Learn

The First Years Stack Up Cup Toys

Buy these stacking cups. They will be an early favorite toy to bang together and continued fun way longer than you’d expect. In fact, my three-year-old and one-year-old both love them.

Skip Hop Baby Activity Center

Our little guy loved this activity center and still uses the table. Love that it was able to grow with him. It stood up to plenty of abuse from both kids and still looks great.


Breast Pump Bag Tote for Work

If you’re pumping and going back to work, I highly recommend a bag like this, especially for the Spectra. The one I bought is no longer available, but this one is very similar, actually, this one is a little cuter than mine. It cleans easily, holds a lot, and you never have to take your pump out, just connect to it in the bag. This worked great for my everyday pumps in the office and also in the car from time to time.

Mini Insulated Lunch Bag Backpack

For my second I decided to get Elvie hands-free pumps, this lunch bag is perfect for carrying two Elvies with an insulated section below where you can add a couple ice packs and milk. It’s much smaller and when you’re done pumping it becomes a cute lunch bag.

Wet/Dry Bags

You’ll need wet bags. For the dirty outfits, for wet outfits, for the bathing suit after swimming. We keep one in the diaper bag at all times. We also kept one in the backpack going to daycare for any messes throughout the day (to avoid using lots of plastic bags).

CuddleBug Baby Wrap Sling + Carrier

For our first, I used this wrap 90% of the time. I found it was more flexible and adjusted better to fit our little guy. However…

Ergobaby 360 All-Position Baby Carrier with Lumbar Support

For our second, I used the Ergobaby 360 we had but rarely used for our first. I found the Ergobaby much sturdier for the types of activities I was doing: chasing a toddler, hiking with a toddler, visits to the playground with a toddler. You get the idea.

HALO Sleepsack

We LOVE Halo sleep sacks in this house. Grant wore them right up until he moved out of his crib into a big boy bed at 2 years old. I recommend the ones with the Velcro for the first two months to swaddle or give them the swaddle feeling even when their arms are out.

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