Kate's Newborn Essentials

Kate's List of Essentials Photo by Frances Beatty

Quote of the Week
“Love what is simple and beautiful.
These are the essentials.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson


My dear friend Kate is about to pop with baby number Dos. Kate is a bit of a researcher herself. Below is a list of items of what she found to be her essentials when having a baby.

Kate broke down this list by category and within each she mentions the “GOOD”, the “BAD”, and the “MEH”. I also wanted to include some MommaFinds commentary.

Note, this list is extensive. It’s all about #findingyourhappymedium and trusting your judgement on what you think you need.

Happy shopping!



  • This pillow is the best, because it has back support and a handy cup holder. From MommaFinds, I tried this pillow with my twins and while it helped to nurse them at the same time, I found it in the way when I nursed just one. I found it easier to just cradle baby. I also had to walk and bounce to get my girl to nurse so that could also be why the pillow didn’t work for me.
  • Basic burp cloths you can bleach.
  • Dr. Brown bottles are AWESOME - I only had to burp baby at the end of a feeding when we use these. I only have this set (so 5 bottles) and that’s been totally fine, don’t get a million bottles…but you MUST have a set of bottles. Note: I recently threw all of mine out. After 2+ years of being used they had started to smell like sour milk. At MommaFinds I used the Glass Dr. Brown bottles and found them heavy and a pain to clean. I preferred these Playtex ones. They are vented to help with gas as well, but because their plastic they were light which helped when you’re carrying twice the gear. You can also switch out the nipples to try different shapes. My girl really liked the one that was most like nursing.
  • Your boobs will be sore. I highly recommend a few of these and a tube of this - I’d recommend a second tube because some of them get hard and you can’t squeeze it out of the tube.
  • Your boobs are going to leak all the time. Protect your clothes and reduce laundry with these, bamboobies. At MommaFinds, I used these and also got a set of ice packs for those days you get engorged and everything hurts.
  • This bottle brush is great - I have two!
  • Pumps: ++ Check with your insurance company - a lot of them cover your pump. I got the Medela Advanced pump. ++ I also have a [https://amzn.to/2UB77j9] for my purse, so if I’m out and baby isn’t with me and I’m leaking I can at least save the results. This is also super helpful when you and husband are driving, baby starts crying and you can’t nurse. Pump, drop on a bottle top and serve. Best to ride in the backseat with baby in those early months. Also, be sure to get a hand pump that matches your electric pump so the bottles are all in the same system. ++ Get a hands-free pumping bra - I ended up really liking the Rumina ones but it’s all about fit… ++ These Boon Patch drying racks are AMAZING - you can get the narrow kinds (which we have) or wide ‘lawn’ like ones. You’ll also want the Twig and flower attachments. We have two of each and I use them every day.


I got a Dr. Browns bottle warmer and after about 5 uses it had horrible mold in it, like super gross. And it’s impossible to clean. So don’t even bother. Honestly, I think just putting milk in a glass of really hot water for a bit gets you 90% of the way there. I ended up splurging and got this one - totally worth it in the end. At MommaFinds, I also ended up with a similar bottle warmer, which I really liked because it warmed homemade baby puree as well.


  • I did buy a sterilizer I used it on everything that was new and have used it occasionally since. According to this article on the Bump, as long as you have access to a municipal water, you only need to sterilize bottles once. The easiest way is to hand wash, then submerge in a big pot until all air bubbles are gone from bottles, put on burner on high and boil for 5 minutes. Remove with tongs and let dry.
  • I also bought the dishwasher basket but I don’t use it that much. It does work great though. I will say that as baby got older I resorted to the dishwasher basket a LOT more
  • I have a nursing cover but have never used it. MommaFinds agrees with this. Neither babies would nurse under it. The only thing that worked were these giant capes that I naturally wore as a sweater.



  • I found a lot of these changing stations on Pinterest and I did something similar. It’s the best! I love the bins because it means I don’t forget what I have or lose something at the back of a drawer. Also when baby starts to roll over I only needed one hand to get in these bins and thus can keep a hand on him.
  • I’d suggest you get one of the curved changing pads. They’re all a pretty standard size and we got him some really soft changing covers (buy two, you’ll wash them a lot).
  • Diaper rash happens! When baby gets really bad diaper rash I put Aquaphor on him - it also doubles as a baby moisturizer. Also get some small tubes of Aquaphor for your diaper bag.
  • Wipes and Diapers are kind of a personal preference. We use Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive and Seventh Generation Free and Clear wipes. Diapers are kind of weird because they all have different styles and some fit kids better than others. Here’s a whole MommaFinds post about diapers to get you started.
  • Diaper Genies are the best, just make sure you invest in some refills early as you go through a LOT of diaper in the first few weeks.
  • For on-the-go-I-need-to-do-something-with-this-poop, get some doggie bags



  • Highly recommend a baby monitor with a video camera - you can check on baby to make sure they are breathing or just entertaining themselves without going into the room and checking on them. We have this one but this brand has been really good. I’d recommend reading reviews and choosing one that works for you.
  • For summer ask for the Aden + Anais muslin swaddles - they come in a box of four and you honestly don’t need more than that. They’re super soft.
  • For winter I’d recommend two cotton fleece swaddles (you’ll end up doubling them up).
  • There are a lot of crib mattresses - I just bought this one cause the reviews were good and it wasn’t badly priced.
  • Cribs are, again, a personal choice. There are two kinds - regular and mini. I know a lot of people who have chosen to just get a pack and play rather than a crib - you can get them with change tables and bassinets! Regardless of what you choose you MUST have somewhere for baby to sleep. ++ For the MommaFinds Twins, we did a mattress on the floor instead of a crib. ++ Also note, at MommaFinds we tried the pack n’ play and the twins slept WAY harder when we moved them to a proper mattress. The Pack N Play worked great downstairs for naps or somewhere to lay them when they fell asleep. A real mattress worked better at night. ++ Recent Update: Looking at cribs now as someone who has a kid in a real bed, the 4-in-1 convertibles feel silly. It was nice to have him in the toddler bed version for a while but we went through the drama of getting it into “full bed mode” which turned out to be full size not twin, and it was horrid. He’s been much happier with an Ikea kid bed that is fun and whimsical then a really formal looking full bed…We now have the original crib back in crib mode and it will never leave that mode again, we will sell it first ;p



  • 4moms spout cover - Recent Update: we are still using this with baby at 3!
  • We had this bathtub (a shower gift) that worked great!
  • Pick a hooded towel of your choice - I love the lobster one we got.
  • Get some really soft, thin washcloths - you’ll use them for baby’s face and hands and neck folds (where lint gets trapped!)


  • To be honest, you don’t need to buy any clothes. Everyone else will get them for you. But I would make a few suggestions about what you ask for:
  • Snaps suck. If possible ask for sleepers that zipper up like these
  • Sleep sacks are great. Baby was in these Carter sleepsacks when it was cold here (with a swaddle over top) and he was nice and toasty and I didn’t have to get his legs out when I changed him.
  • These look super weird but Halo Sleepsacks are AWESOME - it’s a swaddle built into a sleep sack. I’d recommend a cotton one and a fleece one (for when it gets cold) - they also come in all kinds of great patterns. At MommaFinds, my son hudini’d his way right out of these. I switched my kids to the Zipadee-Zip which took some getting used to but then they could chew on their hands, hold a cup, and cuddle their stuffies while sleeping on their backs and not startling awake.
  • Aside from the above I’d recommend picking out outfits you like and then putting them on a registry. Some folks will buy them for you
  • Also - ask for one newborn outfit, everything else should be 0-3 months or bigger because you don’t know how big the kid will be and you don’t know how fast they’ll grow!



  • Here are the 4 toys we have for baby at 4 months, they’re all pretty good - grabby ball, Sophie, Captain Calamari, the Winkel
  • Soothers are weird - we have like 10 and he sometimes likes them and sometimes doesn’t. The one thing he consistently likes is his WubbaNub - it’s easier for him to grab and hold in his mouth or pull out. Definitely ask for one of these we had to go through a million different kinds by the time he was 2. He loved them but different ones than all the other kids, seems like a personal preference thing on the part of the kiddo ;p
  • For the first 6 weeks an activity mat is nothing more than a place for them to lie comfortably. you can accomplish this with a nice blanket. But at about 8 weeks they suddenly notice that there is this stuff hovering over them and then they’re SUPER excited about it. Currently Captain Calamari is hanging on our activity center and baby loves it
  • You don’t need to get a fancy swing like this one (ours was a hand-me down) but do get some sort of swing/chair. We have this one as well and it’s great because we put it on the couch or table ((Yes, I know you aren’t supposed to do this….) with us when we’re trying to do something. Since we have the Mamaroo we didn’t get a swing but I know folks who swear by ones like this. Babies really do fall asleep in these so you’ll have a surprise 30 minutes to do something. Highly recommend.


  • We have a Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat - it’s one of the smallest, lightest car seats and it’s still quite heavy. Try to get one that comes with an infant insert and if you plan on transporting the kid in more than one car, try to get an extra base. The base is AMAZING because all you do is drop the car seat into it, it clicks and you’re good to go. No buckling the car seat in. (though that’s still an option)
  • Stroller - I would recommend looking on craigslist for a stroller, new ones are BRUTAL expensive and the used ones tend to be in really good condition and you can get them for 1/5th the price of a new one. They can still be expensive. When you choose one make sure you get a car seat attachment so you can just plug your carseat into the stroller (or get the stroller that goes with your carseat), it’s great when the kid is sleeping in the car seat and you just want to move them to the stroller We have an UppaBaby Vista which came with a bassinet that we used for baby to sleep in the first few months. Make sure the stroller you pick fits in your trunk, we’re having issues with that….
  • Get a stroller organizer of some sort. It’s great to have your phone, wallet, keys and drink close by
  • This sounds silly but I LOVE the carseat canopy - when it’s cold it creates a pocket of warmth for baby, when they’re sleeping you can keep it dark and quite so they sleep better and you can use it as a blanket! So good.
  • Get a supply of gallon freezer bags and stick them in your diaper bag for dirty diapers. You can buy dry/wet bags but I just use freezer bags and empty them into the diaper genie when I get home. I get 5-10 uses a bag before they get too smelly. As I said above, doggie poop bags work just as well.
  • You’ll need a diaper bag, but this is kind of a personal decision I think. But the baby is going to need a bunch of stuff and you’ll need a reliable bag to put it in. I do love my Lily Jade diaper bag, but there are a ton of amazing ones that are reasonably priced. Recent Update: as soon as I could transition back to a real purse I did. So in retrospect this was less of a MUST and more of a “fun purchase for mom”. I also found it really really difficult to wrangle a big side back with a small wriggly child. A backpack is much better.


  • We have one of these mirrors for the car. But at this point it’s a distraction for me. Maybe it’ll be better when he’s bigger and understands? (NOTE: I WAS SO WRONG, once he was >5 months I used this ALL THE TIME - I’d probably even say this is a MUST) MommaFinds concurs that after 5+ months, this is awesome. Helps you see if they’re asleep. They can see you and be engaged. Pain to get in the right position, but super helpful when you do.


  • This is going to sound utterly bizarre but babies get congested and will not breastfeed because they can’t breath through their noses. The hospital is going to give you some weird bulb that the baby will HATE. But they don’t fight the Nasal Aspirators nearly as much. Everyone in my peps group has one of these things and I just got one. Definitely works
  • Don’t buy yourself any blankets. You will get a ton of blankets as gifts.
  • You need a reliable thermometer. The forehead piece doesn’t seem to work great. Once you can use the ear piece it’s so much easier.


This list is extensive, but I wish I had it before I had the twins! So many great products and tips and tricks. Remember, this is one person’s experience. Be sure to do your own research and to look outside of Amazon. There are some great products out there not sold on Amazon.

Just today a colleague recommended to another colleague these for belly support. Wish I had these when pregnant!

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