It’s finally here….my “Nursery Essentials Guide!” And it only took me about two years to compile (give or take). Before you dive in, be warned that no two moms will have the same opinions when it comes to their “ideal nursery list” or “ultimate baby registry.” This list is entirely subjective to my own journey, so I predict that many of you will have thoughts of your own or disagree with some of my selections. I provided options when I felt necessary, so pick and choose at your discretion.
I tried not to over explain my choices (otherwise this post would take me 10 years to write, as opposed to the two), so please comment if you have questions, and I will do my very best to answer as soon as I can! I really want this to be a conversation, so PLEASE feel free to add your own two cents in the comments. I want us all to share our expertise and experience with one another. I’ll update the post as needed.
1. Strollers: I’ve tried quite a few, but my suggestion is to splurge on a stroller with a bassinet if you live in an area that’s conducive to walking. It might just save your sanity. Also, this category is for an overall, multi-functional stroller.
- Nuna Mixx2 with Bassinet (checks all the boxes!)
- Uppababy Vista (the 2017 models are currently on sale!!)
- Joolz (luxe and gorgeous for the super posh mama)
- Britax B-Ready (budget-ish friendly, and some colors are on super sale right now. You can also add a bassinet if you want!)
2. Infant Car Seat: I only included those with high safety ratings! Warning: you’ll have to make sure that your carseat and stroller are compatible. Most have adapters, but I’d double check before purchasing.
- Nuna Pipa Lite X (I had such back problems after my first, so I splurged on the lightest, safest model available).
- Chicco Key Fit (universally the most common, and a good price…but it can be heavy.)
- Britax (good price and great product!)
3. Bassinet: Your baby will need to sleep in something prior to the crib, which was news to me before Tallulah was born. Here are some options for you…
- Halo (auto features for rocking and sound, as well as 360 swivel)
- Fischer Price Rock N Play (auto features for rocking and sound. This is what I used with Lu.)
- Graco Pack n’ Play On-The-Go (best all-round for the price)
- Snoo (I take serious issue with Harvey Karp, and have a difficult time supporting a $1160 bassinet. It is, however, the prettiest option and I hear it works amazing).
4. Mattress: If you listen to me on nothing else, I did my research on mattresses. Your baby will spend roughly 18 hours a day in a crib during his or her first year, so if anything is worth the investment, it’s a mattress.
- Moonlight Slumbers Starlight Supreme (pricey, but dual sided to transition into toddler years! Buy Buy Baby 20% off coupon applies. I used it with Lulu and she loved.)
- Lullaby Earth (this mattress will also transition into toddlerhood, it’s organic and a bit more cost effective. This is the one I hope to use this time around. Plus, anything that’s eco-friendly makes me feel like a better mom.)
- Naturepedic Ultra (luxe for sure, but many moms swear by it! It also transitions into toddlerhood.)
5. High Chairs
- Stokke: (this is a GORGEOUS high chair, but Lu was a big baby so I thought the seat would be to snug, so I returned.)
- OXO: (This is what you used for Tallulah and had the best experience. Would really recommend.)
- BabyBjorn (I don’t have personal experience, but I hear it’s amazing.)
6. Breast Pump: Most likely you’ll have limited choices based on your insurance plan, but here are the two with best reviews.
*Whichever you get, splurge on getting extra parts. Otherwise, you’ll lose your mind washing and re-washing all the tubes and valves. Also, I’m desperate to try “FREEMIE” cups with baby 2.
7. Infant Activity Mat
- Fisher Price (it’s bright and obnoxious, but that’s what babies like. I promise. Fisher Price has been around for a million years for a reason.)
- Skip Hop Explore and More (it’s pricier, but the moving arch is a huge bonus!)
8. Nursing Pillow
9. Swing: (Yes, you need one. It’s the only way my baby slept from weeks 4-8. It seems like a small amount of time, but a month of screaming feels like EONS.)
- Fisher Price (it’s not as obnoxious as it used to be, and it’s literally the only swing my daughter liked. Again, FP knows their shit.)
- 4Moms mamaRoo (Super pretty, but my daughter thought it was a torture chamber.)
10. Infant Carrier
- Solly Wrap (soft wrap for around the house, and a mama-built brand!)
- Ergo (better for on the go, and comfortable for men)
11. Car seat and Breastfeeding Cover
- Milk Snob (they didn’t have this brand my first time around, but I hear it’s amazing).
- Dock a Tot (def more luxe than other options, and so multi-functional! If you choose to co-sleep, you can do so with this lounger!)
- Boppy lounger (more cost effective, but not for co-sleeping)
- Pampers Swaddlers (I really wanted to like the fancy, organic ones, but there’s a reason that these bad boys are the tried and true of diapers.)
- Aden & Anais (these are new, and amazingly soft! They also have a pee strip and a lot of the functionality of Pampers. However, I can’t find them in newborn size.)
- Aden & Anais (the original all-in-one baby muslin—cover, blanket, swaddle, etc. I’d splurge for the luxe line vs. the more budget-friendly line they do for big box stores)
- Little Unicorn (a growing competitor of the above with super cute prints)
15. Diaper Cream: Test a few to see what works best for your baby!
- Desitin (It pains be to admit that my mother was right. I refused to use this for months, but Lu’s diaper rash wouldn’t go away. I was scarred from the scent from my own childhood. Eventually, I relented and found a scent free formula.)
- Butt Paste (my sister swore by this one)
- A&D (also a staple!)
- Honest Company (def more spendy, but I’ve used it and it’s really good.)
16. Swaddles: You may be a swaddling God, but chances are your husband and / or your mother-in-law won’t be. I’d invest in some swaddle aids to help make sure baby is nice and snug…and doesn’t wake up mid-nap because your husband made it too loose. As with most things, try a few and see what works for your baby.)
- SwaddleMe (best price, and good for itty bitty babies)
- Ollie (this wasn’t around when I had Lu, but The Bump has ranked it THE ULTIMATE SWADDLE. Worth a try!)
- Miracle (this worked, by far, the best for Lulu. I think it was the interior arm flaps to keep her from fighting her way out)
- Little Market Hamper (literally the best catch-all…whether for toys, a clothing hamper or to stack all your blanket. I have three in Tallulah’s room and two in baby boy’s nursery!)
18. Bottles: Unless your baby is an angel child, you’ll probably need to try a few. My suggestion is to buy/register for a few different types and finding what works before completing the set.
- Life Factory
- Dr. Brown’s (wide neck. I used these with Lulu because of her colic, and they were amazing, but there are SO MANY PARTS. However, there are new ones that offer OPTIONS of how many parts you need to use. Go figure!)
- ThinkBaby (I used with Lulu after 1 year)
** Small note: Many first time moms don’t realize there are different stage nipples to regulate the flow of milk. Depending on your baby, you will progress from “newborn” up through levels of faster flowing nipples. I had a friend who kept feeding her little one with a newborn nipple for months, and not understanding why her baby was so frustrated at feeding time.)
19. Feeding Supplies
- Drying Rack
- Bottle Brush
- Dishwasher Basket
- Bottle Sterilizer (I didn’t use one with Lu, because it wasn’t recommended at the time. It was, however, recommended two year earlier, and, once again, is recommended. So, I have no idea. But this is a sterilizer my BFF loves.)
- Bottle Wash Cleaner
- Formula Maker (not essential, but I used after weaning and LOVED EVERY SECOND.)
- Bottle Warmer (again, not essential, but I loved. You should find out what’s compatible with the bottles you use.)
20. Baby Food Maker
- Baby Beaba (It’s so beautiful, you’ll actually want it on your counter!!! I’ve also heard amazing things. Going to use with baby boy.)
- Cuisinart (I used it with Tallulah, and it was good and easy, just not as pretty…which is clearly how I judge this category)
21. Changing Station
- Skiphop: (People swear by this because of how easy it is to use and clean)
- Colgate Deluxe (I suggest this one. I wouldn’t splurge on a changing pad because of how little time they’re actually on it, and how disgusting it becomes.)
- Munchkin Changing Pad Protectors: (I got a bunch of these for on top of the changing pad cover, so I wouldn’t be switching it out after every diaper change.)
- SkipHop Changing Pad Station: (it’s the easiest, most convenient diaper changing caddy on the go).
- SkipHop Diaper Caddy (I’m not totally sold that I need one, but if I did get one, I’d get this one…)
- Water Wipes (When Lu was born, I didn’t realize you couldn’t use normal wipes on newborns. These ended up being a life saver, because having to wet paper towels with water every four minutes is a joke.)
22. Cool Mist Humidifiers (Admittedly, I’m not an expert in this department, but I did a decent amount of research for you all, and these are the ones I would use.)
- Crane Ultrasonic Cool Mist
- Honeywell HCM-350 (my research likes this one the best)
- PureGuardian 14-Hour Cool Mist (I use with Lu)
- Dyson (if you’re a baller, because they’re expensive AF. You have to REALLY love your kid.)
23. Pacifiers: You’ll want to try a few. Be warned that your baby may not be into them at all.
25. Monitor: It depends on what you need. Some people need dual camera support, others need monitors with further range, etc. Read the reviews before you commit!
- Project Nursery (what we use now and love, love, love!)
- Motorola (most people swear by this one!)
- Levana (I used when Lu was first born and had a really good experience)
- Nest Cam (I have in both Tallulah’s room and nursery, so we can check in while we’re out of the house. OCD Mama in full effect.
26. Sleep Aid (these can be controversial, and DO NOT take the place of thoughtful, cautious parenting…but it can prove to be just another line of defense when caring for your new child.)
28. Baby Body Products: Honestly, you should use whatever you’re given at your shower. Avoid Johnson & Johnson though.
- California Baby (for dry skin and so much else)
- Aden + Anais Gentle Lotion
- Honest Shampoo and Body Wash
- Babyganics Nightime Lotion
- Original Sprout Shampoo and Bodywash
- Noodle and Boo Ultimate Ointment (especially for cradle cap! Saved me!)
- Babyganics Hand Sanitizer
29. Wipes Warmer: People say this isn’t essential, but taking a cold wipe to a warm baby butt at 3 a.m. might change your opinion.
30. Sound Machine: This saved my life. My daughter still uses a sound machine…although I think it’s time to say goodbye.
31. Diaper Pail
32. Infant Bath and Wash Cloths
- Primo Euro Bath (I used this with Tallulah until she was 2, better for when they can sit up on their own, but there is infant support)
- Wash Cloths (you don’t need to splurge…you’ll probably also get gifted cute ones.)
33. Travel Crib
- FridaBaby Bundle (snot sucker, windi, etc.)
- FridaBaby Craddle Cap Brush
- Comfort Silkie (my daughter still sleeps with hers. I prefer over anything. The large silk back feels like skin to little one. I suggest that the mama wears it for a few nights, so the silk absorbs her scent.)
- Thermometer (splurge for the no touch….TRUST ME.)
- Carters Mittens : (many newborn onesies will have mittens attached, but grab a few extras just in case. No need to splurge.)
- Mesh Bumper (bumpers are SO controversial, and no bumper is considered the safest. However, if your baby, like mine, tries to routinely escape through the crib bars, you might want to consider a mesh bumper.)
- Cloth Diapers (amazing as burp cloths.)
- Aden and Anais Burping Bibs (these ones you can do the cheaper Aden brand. They’re bibs AND burp cloths.)
- Sheets (I love Pottery Barn sheets. They’re nice, great quality and not too pricey. The Emily & Merrit collection is particularly cute.)
- Naturepedic Waterpoof Fitted Crib Pad Cover (wiping down a mattress at 3 a.m. isn’t fun.)
- Kimonos! (Beyond the basics and the adorable outfits you’ll likely receive at your shower or from eager grandparents, I suggest hunting down newborn kimonos. Not only is a wrap kimono so much easier than having to pull a onesie over a newborns head, but it also allows the umbilical cord to breathe in the earlier days, which helps with healing!)
- OBall (this toy is considered the BEST first toy for your little person. He or she can start using around 8 weeks. Read up to learn how. I won’t bore you.)
- Halo Sleep Sack (I loved these. Tallulah wore one every nap and night instead of using a blanket until she was 2. They have different weights, depending on season, and also one with legs for when baby starts moving.
- Little Giraffe Blanket (They’re the coziest and beautiful. Totally worth it!)
Please share your thoughts/questions/ recommendations below in the comments section!