Preparing for Baby: Simple Newborn Essentials

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At 30 years old, I am the youngest of five kids and still the baby of the family. None of my siblings have had children, so this little one is going to be the first baby in three decades! To say I am inexperienced in the baby department would be an understatement. It absolutely blows my mind when I see all of the STUFF for this stage of life, and it’s really hard for me to believe that most of it is really all that necessary. As with most things in life, however, I tried to take a very thoughtful approach and select items that I hope will have a long life and/or fit a wide range of needs. The verdict is still out on if any of our selections prove to be wise investments, but I guess you don’t know until you try!

I’ve received a number of requests asking what we decided to purchase for this little girl of ours, so I thought it would be helpful to summarize everything in one place. This isn’t a complete guide to everything we have, but it’s pretty darn close. I’m hoping to put together a “and this is what we actually used” post in six months or so, but the items below are our starting point. I hope this is helpful!


N U R S E R Y

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that when designing the nursery, selecting pieces that fit seamlessly into our home was a top priority. I wanted to ensure that the space flowed well with the rest of the home and that pieces could be shifted to other areas as needs change in the months and years to come. We stuck with a neutral color palette and multifunctional pieces.

  • Crib : The simple design and extremely affordable price tag made this an easy choice. It seems very sturdy and even converts into a toddler bed for extended longevity.

  • Crib Sheet : Tyler and I absolutely love our linen sheets, so I just couldn’t pass on linen in the nursery as well. I have found that linen holds up well over time, so I have high hopes for this guy. We also received a a really nice cotton muslin crib sheet from family, so we have a few nice options here.

  • Glider : It’s actually kind of surprising to me how few simple options are available when it comes to rockers and gliders. When you also don’t want to spend a fortune, it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. This Babyletto glider checked all of our boxes. My parents and siblings bought this for us, and I think it’s going to see a lot of use. It’s extremely comfortable and fits both Tyler and me well. It comes with a foot stool, but I actually decided to switch things up with a leather poof which I hope proves to be a really durable option both in the nursery and elsewhere in the house.

  • Dresser / Changing Table : After several failed attempts to restore a dresser I inherited from my Grandma’s basement, we worked with Hedge House Furniture to create a custom solution. The final product is a mix between their Avers Dresser and the Nelson Credenza. It is the most beautiful piece of furniture we own!

  • Book Shelf : Sleek and inexpensive. I like the texture and depth that the black metal adds to the space.

  • Crib Mattress : Lots of options out there, but we went with this one because of its breathability, washability, the fact that it is 100% recyclable. We received this from family and are thrilled with it thus far. It has a really nice snug fit with the IKEA crib. I love that we can just hose this guy down and set him outside to dry when needed.

  • Storage Basket : You can never have too many baskets! This one is a great size and extremely versatile.

  • Braided Rug : We ordered and sent back several rugs but ultimately landed on this one due to price, texture, and comfort. It is incredibly soft underfoot and is very affordable for an 8x10. The only downside I’ve seen thus far is that is does shed quite a bit, but I’ve been regularly sweeping it in hopes that subsides over time. Even still, I would purchase again.


C L O T H E S + A C C E S S O R I E S

The vast majority of clothes for this little girl are from H&M or Zara as they proved to have really cute options for reasonable prices. I also waited to purchase everything when I found a sale, with the goal of not spending more than $5 on a onesie. A few pieces were more expensive than that, but overall I was able to stick to the goal. I also tried to stick to the following quantities for EACH stage (e.g. 0-3 months, 3-6 months, 6-9 months, etc.):

8-10 onesies / tops | 4-5 bottoms | 2-3 sleepwear | 2-3 dresses / rompers | 1-2 outerwear / sweaters | 1 Hat | 6 Socks | 3 Bibs

  • Going Home Outfit : An organic cotton gauze fabric in a kimono style makes this perfect for those early newborn days when the umbilical cord has yet to fall off and the weather is hot and humid in Indiana.

  • Bloomers : A nice lightweight cotton option that should be easy to slip on and off.

  • Bow : A super minimal bow in leather? So cute!

  • Short Sleeve Onesies : Basic white organic onesies at a great price.

  • Kimono Gown : An incredibly soft sleep gown that can be knotted at the bottom to adjust length.

  • Sun Hat : A must-have for a summer babe!

  • Long Sleeve Onesie : I’m a sucker for anything striped and super soft. While a bit more expensive, this onesie is extremely well made.

  • Footed Leggings : Super soft footed leggings perfect for chilly air conditioned rooms and as the weather turns towards fall. I like that these mean no socks are lost!


T R A N S P O R T A T I O N

Quite possibly the most expensive category when expecting a first child, but one that I tried to be very intentional with our selections. While there are most definitely less expensive options on the market, we took a number of factors into account when making our selections and ultimately decided that we were willing to spend more if it meant buying an item that would serve multiple functions and require less “stuff”.

  • Jogging Stroller : I did a LOT of research on strollers. An embarrassing amount of research, if I’m being honest, but this was one of the most important selections to me because we are a really active family. We walk every single night. Not only that, we live in rural Indiana with no sidewalks in sight and a gravel driveway with all four seasons that like to put on a show. I didn’t feel as if it was smart for us to purchase just any old stroller, but I also didn’t want multiple (travel, jogging, all-terrain, etc.). I finally landed on the Urban Glide 2 by Thule and I have extremely high hopes. A number of you messaged me and said you had this and loved it, so I’ll take that as a great sign! I’ll be sure to report back on my thoughts after we give this a thorough run.

  • Solly Baby Wrap : Everyone seems to swear by baby wearing these days, and the thought of having both of my arms free to get things done around the house is quite appealing. There are several brands on the market, but we landed on the Solly Baby due to so many positive reviews and cost. I can definitely see this as being my “wear around the house and for errands” wrap when I don’t want to lug around a stroller.

  • Backpack : The verdict is still out on what type of bag is going to work best, but I have high hopes for my beloved backpack from Joshu+Vela. I bought this during a going out of business sale several months ago and have used it extensively.

  • Car Seat + Base : So many people recommended the Nuna brand when it came to all things baby. While none of their stroller options quite fit our needs, we did decide to go with their PIPA Lite car seat. Weighing in at just 5.3 lbs, it is the lightest on the market. I liked the clean design and the base is super sleek. We also purchased a car seat adapter so the car seat can work with our Thule stroller.

  • Ergobaby Omni 360 Carrier : We bought this through Target when they had a 15% off coupon through Cartwheel. Target tends to have a lot of great baby gear on sale if you use their app, so I would recommend checking that out before making purchases! While we already had a stroller and the Solly Baby wrap, I thought a more structured carrier that would work up to 45 lbs seemed like a smart investment. I’m hopeful this little girl will love her stroller, but I can see us walking every night with this carrier on as well. This one will be great for hiking, too - and something a bit better for Tyler to wear as needed.

  • Extra Car Seat Base : While the PIPA car seat comes with a base, we decided to have an extra on hand to make things really simple. We’ll likely keep one in my car and one in Tyler’s, but we also like to travel out to California in the winter while my parents are in Palm Springs, and it will be really nice to throw the extra base in their car before they drive out so that all we have to do is bring her car seat with us on the plane and we’ll be good to go.

  • Diaper Bag Organizer : I didn’t want to invest in a diaper bag nor did I care for the look of any I saw, so I decided to buy an organizer that I can easily slide in and out of my existing bags. This is the “mini” size, but it seems perfect for carrying a few diapers, wipes, outfit change, pacifier, etc.


G E A R

This is the category I see as the “nice-to haves”. I purchased many of these items on the recommendations of family, friends, and followers. Time will tell regarding what ends up working well for us, but I feel good about the selections we made. My biggest piece of advice? Wait for sales, look for second-hand, or see if you can find open-box or imperfect options. We bought several “used once and baby hated it” items on Ebay for a fraction of the retail prices!

  • Babybjorn Bouncer : You just never know what a baby is going to enjoy, so I hated to spend an arm and a leg on a bouncer out of the gate. I found this one on Ebay for a fraction of the retail price, and I’m hopeful it’s a winner! So far I really like that it lays completely flat and we can store it under the sofa in our living room. I also like that the cover slips off for easy washing.

  • Solly Baby Swaddle : I was able to snag this for the cost of shipping when Solly Baby hit 300K followers on Instagram. It’s extremely soft and the weight should be ideal for summer.

  • White Noise Machine : Everyone seems to swear by this thing, so we’re going to give it a try.

  • Max + Moose Swaddle : We have two of these, one in “Fog” and one in “Mushroom”. They are gorgeous and the perfect weight to be an everyday, all-the-things kind of blanket/swaddle. I think these are going to see a LOT of use.

  • Infant Lounger : I heard nothing but positive reviews about the Snuggle Me Organic infant lounger, so I decided to give it a shot. I bought an “imperfect” on their website at a great price, and I have to admit that I don’t see a darn thing wrong with it. Highly recommend checking out this section if you’re in the market and want to save a few bucks!

  • Baby Camera : Chris Loves Julia and Yellow Brick Home both raved about this baby camera and for the price, we had to give it a shot.

  • Pacifier : Love the style and color of these Bibs pacifiers, but we also have some Natursutten. We’ll see if she likes any of them.


D I A P E R I N G + F E E D I N G + B A T H i n g

I suppose this is the category that really gets down to the nitty-gritty details of it all. There are countless options available, but I believe in selecting what works best for you and your family. We’re taking the “one day at a time” approach and have zero experience, so it’s going to be quite the learning curve in our household! I relied on a lot of advice from friends, family and reviews online when making selections.

  • Keekaroo Changing Pad : Tons of people recommended this, and I love the simple design and ease of cleaning. Less laundry? Yes, please.

  • Cloth Diapers : Speaking of things I’ve done a lot of research about… I’m convinced that cloth diapering is the rabbit hole of all rabbit holes. There are an overwhelming number of options, and I ultimately decided that I’m just not going to know what works best for us until I give a few things a try. While there are a lot of pros and cons to all of the different styles (prefolds/flats, fitted, pockets, all-in-one’s), I decided to give the Charlie Banana One Size Hybrid All-In-One diaper a try. These diapers have a smart pocket for slipping in either washable or disposable inserts, hence the hybrid part. Each diaper comes with two super soft fleece lined inserts that are highly absorbent and soft and are supposed to fit babies from 6-35 lbs. Here is a really helpful video I’ve watched countless times all about Charlie Banana diapers for those interested.

  • Bath Support : Again, lots of options out there, but we heard great things about this guy for the price. I don’t like that it’s a bit bulky and likely will only be used for a short period of time, but you win some and you lose some.

  • Burp Cloths : Received several packs of these from family and friends. They seem very absorbent and I like that they are just a simple white design.

  • Diaper Pail : I liked that this pail was made of steel, helping keep smells at bay, and that it doesn’t require any special bags. I also found an “open box” one on Amazon for a great price, so we went for it. It did arrive with a slight dent in the side, but you have to really look to see it. Totally worth the cost savings in my book.

  • Bottle Starter Set : I’ve heard finding a bottle can be quite the challenge, but I liked the versatility of this starter set.

  • Disposable Diapers : While I’m hopeful we will really get the hang of cloth diapers and be able to use them the majority of the time, I’m trying to keep my options as open as possible. We purchased plenty of newborn and size 1 Honest Company diapers to get us through the first several weeks/months when everything is brand new.

  • Placemat : We obviously won’t need this right away, but I loved the sleek design and easy clean-up of this silicone mat.

  • Water Wipes : Everyone seems to rave about these wipes, so we’re giving them a shot. I like that they don’t have a scent as I’m really sensitive to smells.

  • Diaper Balm : Lots of great reviews about this organic diaper balm, so we’re giving it a try.

  • Haakaa Breast Pump : SO many people recommended this and at $12, I figured why not? I also have a Medela electric breast pump which I was able to get through my insurance company, but I’ve heard this little guy is a life saver.

  • Body Wash : Stumbled upon a giant pack of this at Costco, so we bought some to try.


H E A L T H + S A F E T Y

While all things baby-related seem to be inundated with very strong opinions, I’ve found none more so than the health and safety category. We’re just planning to give it our best and trust our intuition!

  • Nasal Aspirator : Everyone seems to swear by this thing. If it works, great!

  • Nail Clippers : I’ve heard this is one of the least fun tasks of having a newborn, but one that is very necessary. We received this kit from a friend, and I’m hopeful I can figure out how to navigate it without any mishaps!

  • Thermometer : I actually bought one of those temporal forehead thermometers but ended up returning it after the nurses/doctors at our hospital said how unreliable they are. You’re apparently supposed to rely on rectal thermometers for the first few months, and then either oral or underarm is best. I found this guy for a great price on Amazon and it does all three.

  • Gas Relief : Tyler is skeptical about this one, but people say it works! We’ll report back. :)


T O Y S + B O O K S

This category should be an interesting one to navigate in the years to come, but we’re starting out really slow and simple. We received so many fantastic books from friends and family. I’m looking forward to memorizing them all!

  • Books : When I Am Big and This is How We Do It were both highly recommended.

  • Rattle : Sleek, simple and beautiful. If only you could say the same about all kids toys! :)

  • Rhino : Tyler and I both just love this little stuffed rhino. We hope she does, too! The ears get me every time…


This post is not sponsored or in partnership with any of the aforementioned brands but the article contains affiliate links. When you shop via the links above I may make commission on a sale at no additional cost to you. All opinions are my own.