Motherhood: The 25 Items We Loved in the First 12 Weeks


I mentioned in my “Simple Newborn Essentials” post that I planned to do a follow-up review in six months on the items we purchased for baby, but I realized a review around the three month mark might be helpful as well. It’s amazing how quickly infants grow and change, and I’m already finding that the “essentials” tend to change right along with them.

With that in mind, I am providing a summary and review of the top 25 items we have loved in the first 12 weeks of parenthood. Bringing home a newborn for the first time is quite the whirlwind. You try your best to prepare in advance, but you really just have no idea what is going to work for this new season of life. I did a TON of product research prior to Marin’s arrival, and I’m happy to say that we have really used and liked our purchases. If I were to do it all over again and stick to the most minimal approach possible, however, the 25 items shown below would be my list. There are so many ways to navigate this season. Only you know what is going to work best for your family, but I’m hopeful some of our lessons learned can help you too!

W E E K S 0 - 1 2 : T O P 2 5

These are the 25 items we use every single day. Each has seen excessive use and been put to the test over the last 12 weeks, making them the top products that I feel confident recommending and would buy again myself.

  • Swaddle : Of all the items shown above, this might very well have seen the most use in our household. Swaddling has proven to be essential for good sleep, and this swaddle is our favorite because of its lightweight fabric, beautiful color, and the perfect amount of stretch to keep a squirming newborn contained. The most challenging part is figuring out the perfect timing to wash this between naps!

  • Nail Clippers : After three months, we are huge fans of anything Frida Baby. Seriously! These nail clippers are extremely easy to use, and I’m never fearful of accidentally clipping Marin’s fingers or toes. We actually used the nail file for the first few weeks while we were super nervous, but I finally bit the bullet and started using the clippers one day and haven’t looked back. They are an awesome mix between traditional nail clippers and scissors, making them super safe for newborn hygiene care.

  • Footed Leggings : It can be really tricky to keep socks on those tiny feet, so these footed leggings have proven to be a smart purchase. The knit is super soft and warm, and they just look so darn cute! Marin loves them. We have the size 1-3 months and my only caution is that have been a bit big on Marin these first three months, so you may consider sizing down if you have a really little newborn.

  • Earth Mama Bath Set : We love the Earth Mama brand in our household. All of their products have served us extremely well, including this bath set. We have the orange-vanilla and lavender scents, and I actually like them both which is a little surprising since I don’t tend to like things with fragrance. These products have never irritated Marin’s skin. I previously mentioned that I was using coconut oil on her, but that proved to cause some baby acne in those first few weeks. It was just too oily for her skin, so I switched to this and haven’t had a single issue since.

  • Stroller : Oh, the beloved stroller debate. I’m happy to report that we have been VERY happy with our Thule stroller purchase. We use this thing every single night for walks. Marin is still pretty little, so we keep her in her carseat and then use this carseat adapter to attach it to the stroller, but it works like a charm. The large wheels have proven great on our long stone driveway and our country roads, although I will admit that we don’t push her down the driveway in the stroller quite yet. It’s just so bumpy that I feel like it’s on the verge of shaken baby syndrome. Yikes! So Tyler usually carries her in the car seat to the end of the drive while I push the stroller. We then attach her (super simple) and go on our walk like normal. We both agreed a concrete driveway would be the ultimate luxury (ha!), but the stroller really is fantastic. It took me a few tries to figure out how to open and close it quickly, but now it feels like second nature. I’ll be anxious to see how we like it once she’s actually big enough to sit in the stroller like normal (without the carseat), but so far I would recommend and buy again.

  • Babybjorn Bouncer : I bought this bouncer gently used on Ebay for a great price. I wasn’t sure what Marin would like, so I hated to spend a fortune. Well shortly after she was born, Tyler decided he wanted to give the 4Moms Mamaroo a try. Everyone seemed to swear by it, and he was convinced it would be the silver bullet. Well go figure, Marin didn’t care for the Mamaroo at all! She would sit in it for a few minutes but would quickly start squirming, which turned into fussing, which usually turned into full blown crying. We finally gave up on the Mamaroo after about 8 weeks and completely converted to the Babybjorn which she LOVES. She falls asleep in it often, and she can sit by herself for a good 30-45 minutes and keep herself entertained. I love that it folds up quickly and can be stored under the sofa, but it looks nice when it’s out too. The only downside is that we have to physically push on it to bounce her, she just isn’t quite old enough to do it herself yet. But honestly, it’s really not that bad because it bounces SUPER easy and when you do bounce her, she almost always falls right asleep. I will forewarn anyone looking to purchase this that it is kindly referred to as the “poop chair” by anyone that has it. Ha! Don’t underestimate the power of this chair to relieve your baby… :)

  • White Noise Machine : The perfect tool to block out sleep disturbing noises. Works like a charm!

  • Changing Pad : $130 may seem like a lot for a changing pad, but this thing is fantastic! It is incredibly easy to wipe up messes and doesn’t require an entire changing pad cover to be removed, washed, replaced, etc. I keep some all natural cleaner on hand to spray it down and wipe clean about once a day, but otherwise this thing requires zero maintenance.

  • Crib : I love the look of this crib just about as much as the price ($80!). It is sturdy, has a great modern design, and even converts to a toddler bed. Marin takes all of her naps in her crib, although she sleeps in a bassinet in our room at night. Once she’s consistently sleeping through the night, we plan to transition her to her crib at night as well. I would most definitely buy this crib again.

  • Flour Sack Towels : Buy a big pack of these and thank me later. My Mom left a pack on our kitchen counter when we arrived home from the hospital, and I have hardly used another burp cloth since. They are large but not bulky, super absorbent, and lint free (surprisingly important with little ones). Even if you don’t have little ones, buy these! They are perfect for cleaning windows - or anything, really.

  • Bath Support : When I put this on our baby registry, it was the one item I thought might only get used a handful of times when she was super little. As it turns out, we have used this for every single bath and Marin loves it! Little babies get SO slippery when wet, so it’s nice to have a safe spot that she can rest as opposed to me trying to hold her up the entire time. The one thing to keep in mind is that it’s kind of large. We have a double-basin sink in our kitchen, and it would never fit in there. We bathe Marin in the bathtub in her bathroom, though, so it works like a charm.

  • Cotton Gauze Onesie : So I know this particular onesie is sold out (sorry!), but it has been my absolute favorite. We brought Marin home in this and I squeezed her into it as long as humanly possible. If you can find any onesies in a fabric like this, I would highly recommend! Even if not, I would recommend any of the organic onesies from H&M. Nearly every single one we have for Marin is from there and they have been fantastic.

  • Bassinet : This was the ultimate last minute purchase. I originally thought we would have Marin sleep in her crib right from the get-go, but as we were getting ready to leave the hospital, Tyler decided we should have a bassinet on hand, just in case. As it turns out, she has slept in this bassinet in our room at night ever since. Tyler and I are such deep sleepers that we feared we may not hear her if she was in another room. This has allowed us all to get some quality sleep at night. Although it may not have been my first choice design-wise, it’s really not bad at all. It folds up nicely and I like the rocking feature, as does Marin.

  • Water Wipes : These came highly recommended, and we have had zero issues with them. No fragrance, no chemicals, no dyes.

  • Infant Lounger : Like the swaddle, the Snuggle Me Organic has been a life-saver! We started having Marin take naps in this thing from the day we arrived home from the hospital, and she has slept like a champ ever since. I’ve actually found she sleeps quite a bit longer when placed in this as opposed to bare in her crib, although we’re attempting more of the latter as we prepare to send her to daycare. I truly can’t imagine the last three months without this thing. I kind of want one for myself…

  • Snotsucker : Like I said before, we are huge Baby Frida fans. This snotsucker is no exception. It works SO WELL. Like disgustingly well. Sometimes I can hardly believe the boogers that come out of that tiny nose. Marin gets a little fussy as I’m using it, but as soon as the snot is out, she is all smiles.

  • Camera : I originally thought a baby monitor seemed like overkill, but it has proven to be a really great tool. I can check on her periodically without waking her and monitor if she starts fussing to determine if I need to intervene or not. I wouldn’t spend an arm and a leg on a fancy baby-specific monitor. Just a nice home camera has been perfect for us.

  • Diapers : I had grand plans to use cloth diapers for Marin, but 12 weeks later, I just haven’t gotten around to using them. Honestly, I thought about it a lot around the 10 week mark, but with daycare on the horizon, I just didn’t think it was going to be a great solution for us. Could we use them at daycare? Absolutely. Would it mean more work on me? Yes! I by no means think cloth diapering is too hard, I just haven’t wanted to put the extra pressure on myself to handle the care and cleaning of yet another thing. We all have to pick our battles, and that’s just one I haven’t had time for to-date. I keep thinking when she’s a bit older and has a more predictable bathroom schedule I may give it a go, but for now, I’m really happy with the Honest Diapers. As a side note, I did briefly give the Seventh Generation diapers a try. Marin hadn’t had a single reaction or issue with the Honest diapers, so I just assumed anything would work on her. WRONG. She did NOT like the Seventh Generation ones. As soon as she would pee, the entire diaper just felt damp - kind of humid? It was so weird. She would get super fussy and her skin would get irritated, too. I switched right back to the Honest and not a single issue.

  • Car Seat + Base : Marin loves her carseat, thank goodness. We have put this thing to a lot of use, and I would definitely buy again. Now I know they say this is the lightest one on the market, but I have to tell you, carseats are just heavy when you put a baby in them. I’m going to have some VERY buff arms. On a positive note, I absolutely love the magnetic shade that comes standard on the Pipa Lite. As opposed to a carseat cover that so many people buy, this one has a black shade built in and its AWESOME. If Marin starts dozing, we just shut it and she sleeps like an angel. I like that it has mesh sides so it’s still dark, but I can see her and make sure she’s doing okay.

  • Glider : Hours upon hours spent in this thing. So many hours! I would totally buy again. I looked high and low for a modern glider, and it was TOUGH to find one that didn’t cost a fortune. I like that this one has a high enough back to rest your head, has a super smooth glide, and that it is cozy yet petite. It fits both Tyler and I well, and I couldn’t be happier with this purchase.

  • Lamp + Sonos Speaker + White Noise : We bought this about a month after Marin was born on a random trip to IKEA, and it has been such a great purchase! I love having instant access to music in her room, and I love that IKEA partnered with SONOS so it links with the other speakers in our home. I turn it on during every feed, and Marin and I dance away during diaper changes. The light is great, too. I like pieces that serve multiple functions, and this one does just that. You could even forgo the sound machine all together and just use this thing.

  • Haakaa : Tons of recommendations for this guy, and it has proven to be an excellent purchase. It’s extremely easy to use, although did take a bit of maneuvering to figure out how to attach it and feed Marin at the same time (I have to use the football hold). I use it during just one feeding a day and catch a good 2-4 oz of milk, which I’ve been freezing. We have quite the stash after three months! I likely won’t use this quite as much when I go back to work since I’ll be pumping with my electric breast pump during the day, but I’m still glad I have this.

  • Baby Carrier : We have both the Solly Baby wrap and this Ergobaby Omni 360 carrier. This one has seem, by far, the most use. I haven’t worn Marin around the house nearly as much as I originally thought I would, but I do like carrying Marin on walks or in big stores like Costco. It took me a few tries to get it fitted to me, but now I can pop this thing on in no time. That is the one caveat, though… it’s not all that easy to switch between people if you’re not the same sizes. For instance, I have it fitted to me, but Tyler couldn’t use this unless he adjusted all of the straps and stuff. Regardless, I like this carrier for “active” wear. Marin feels secure, it’s easy to use, and she almost always falls asleep. Hallelujah!

  • Diaper Balm : Marin hasn’t really had a diaper rash (thank goodness), but whenever we see the first signs of redness, we put a bit of this on. By the next diaper change, the redness is always gone. Earth Mama products are fantastic!

  • Sleep Kimono : While a bit pricey, we have absolutely loved these kimonos for bedtime. We have two and it’s basically the only outfit we use for bed. They are super soft, extremely high quality, and she just looks SO CUTE in them. Highly recommend.

All in all, I would still highly recommend everything in my “Simple Newborn Essentials” and “Simple Pregnancy + Postpartum Essentials”, but these 25 items are the top picks I would recommend for a newborn in those first three months. We have truly used and loved each of them and would recommend to family and friends.

There are just a few others items I thought might be good notable mentions, just in case the information is helpful to others. These items are likely a bit more specific to each child/family, so I wanted to call them out separately.

  • Bottles : We had quite the rough introduction into the world of bottle feeding. I was told multiple times not to introduce a bottle or pacifier until AT LEAST six weeks of age to prevent “nipple confusion”. In hindsight, I think things would have been much simpler if I had done so around the 3-4 week mark (or earlier!), but you live and you learn. After some really hard days, Marin finally decided to take a bottle at about 10 weeks old. I worked for DAYS with her (as did others in the family, but I had the best luck), and the bottle that ended up being the winner for us was the Nuk Simply Natural. It has a much shorter nipple than many bottles we tried, which was really the key for us so that she didn’t choke. I like that the brand offers both plastic and glass bottles, too.

  • Pacifiers : Much like our experience with bottles, Marin just isn’t a lover of the pacifier. We have tried tons of different brands, but again, I was forewarned not to offer one until she was a bit older. Well apparently if a baby hasn’t taken one by the 7-10 week mark, most never will. Who knew! She will take it on occasion when she wants to, and the winner for us so far has been the Philips Avent Soothie.

  • Diaper Pail : I received a bunch of messages from followers saying a diaper pail was a complete waste of money, but I have to tell you, we have really liked our Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail! Since I always change Marin in her room, I like having a dedicated place to throw the dirty diapers. I suppose everyone has a different routine and preference here, but I would buy again if I were to do it all over. I like ours because you can use any trash bag you want. After a short three months, we haven’t had any odor issues.

  • Dyson V11 Vacuum : While this may seem like an odd thing to mention as a must-have for a newborn, I absolutely love the Dyson V11 Animal cord-free vacuum cleaner! We bought it a month or two after Marin was born, and it was been the BEST purchase. We ended up going with the brand new V11 because it seemed quite a bit quieter than previous models which has been a great feature with a baby, but honestly, I usually sweep with Marin in my arms and she just loves to watch. Cleaning has become SO easy with this thing, and I am amazed (disgusted?) by the amount of dirt that it sweeps up. HIGHLY RECOMMEND.

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.

Kelsey Johnston