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an "essentials" list

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

What are the essentials that a first time mama needs to have, in your opinion? What types of products have you come to LOVE, and which ones could you do without? This is our first baby. We've got nothing, yet. I'm specifically interested in cloth diaper and babywearing options, but I want to know what some of you experienced moms think. What do we register for- and what can we do without? Thanks :) 

post #2 of 19

As a first time mom, I had:

12 prefolds and 15 fitted cloth diapers

3-5 (can't remember) prefolds seconds covers. These lasted through 3 kids and were awesome (but plain)!

15-20 baby wash cloths to be used as cloth wipes

3 baby sleepers

2 outfits

A home made sling

2 convertible carseats (one for each car)

A second hand crib

A pack n play that we used as a bassinet in our room

A bath sling that someone lent us

A feeding seat that we put her in pretty early so she could sit at the table with us.


Above is mostly the bare minimum.


Things I've loved with the others:

My Ergo and Beco Gemini Carriers

More clothes were nice to have with the others

Fuzzi Bunz/Bum Genius diapers for night time


I would register for everything you want if you have a lot of people willing to buy for you.  We really didn't so we were bare minimum

post #3 of 19


Edited by 1babysmom - 4/7/13 at 11:16pm
post #4 of 19

I was in love with our velcro swaddlers and my beco butterfly carrier. We never used our crib and instead had DD in bed with us but we had a little prop thing that kept her in place and prevented her from rolling over. It also helped us keep our distance from her. I forget the correct name for it. I'll have to think some more on this subject and come back.

post #5 of 19

I would add large muslin swaddle blankets, like the Aden & Anais ones.  Gives you so much more to work with when you swaddle, and good for warm weather. 

I second a stretchy wrap like the Moby or Sleepywrap for newborn period, and then a soft-structured carrier for infant/toddler period.  There's a learning curve to all carriers, but keep at it and give baby time to adjust to it too- it'll be worth it!   I love love my Action Baby Carrier, less bulky than other ssc's, you can criss-cross the straps for super easy/comfy wear, and has a nice streamlined hood/head support.  http://www.actionbabycarriers.com/

post #6 of 19

I couldn't have gotten through labor without my doula, but I had to deliver with an a$$hole doctor I didn't choose (long story). If you've got midwives, or a doctor you like, that might not be as important.


A swing is crucial IMO (but it could vary based on your baby). I know when I was a baby I wouldn't sleep anywhere but in the swing. My mum had to get up several times a night and rewind the darn thing (didn't have battery-operated ones back then)! lol.gif And DD was really fond of hers. She didn't like being put down much, except in the swing.


Nursing pillow is a must have if you're breastfeeding. It lets you use a hand for other things during long nursing sessions. Speaking of which, an e-reader (I love the Kindle, though I traded up for an iPad...which has a Kindle app) is fabulous because you only have to use one hand. But that's a luxury, not a necessity.


I liked using a stretchy wrap until DD got big, then I switched to the Beco Butterfly. This time I bought a Lilleby Organic on a daily deal site. I'm excited about that one because it can do more positions than the Beco, such as a hip carry.


I ended up using Rockin' Green detergent for the cloth dipes...it was great, but I may search around again this time. I never could get the dipes to come out completely stink free. They'd smell fine until getting peed on again, then the stink would come back. We used Bum Genius diapers. They're great except the velcro doesn't hold up great. If I buy any more this time, I'll opt for snaps (which they didn't have when we bought ours for DD).


A convenient camera. If you've got an iPhone, that would work. Basically something small, and easy to keep within reach (preferably something that can take snapshots AND video). Unless you're good with cameras, you don't need a dSLR, and while I love mine, it's not good for grabbing a quick shot because by the time I get it out and ready, DD has stopped doing whatever it was I wanted to shoot.


Speaking of photos...if you can afford them, I highly, HIGHLY, HIGHLY suggest getting GOOD portraits done by a GOOD photographer (not every dummy with a fancy camera knows what they're doing re: color, composition, editing, lighting, etc.).  Many pros offer special packages that will come with maternity, newborn, and portraits within the first year. That's what we got with DD, we opted to get 6 month  portraits. She was super cute at the 6 month stage.


I did not need:

*wipes warmer (or very many wipes for that matter, we just used baby wash clothes with a spray bottle full of water and washed them with the dipes - DD never got a diaper rash. We used regular wipes in the diaper bag for when out and about though)

*baby mittens (if their nails get sharp and they're scratching themselves, socks will work in a pinch) - though I might make some this time since it looks like it'd be an easy five minute project

*a change table - we just attached the changing pad thing to a long dresser, worked great because we could keep her clothes, blankets, cloth diapers, etc. in the drawers - technically you don't even need a designated changing area, a bed or the floor with a waterproof pad will do, but I like having something higher so I didn't have to bend over or get on my knees all the time

*snowsuit - DD was a winter baby, so she wasn't old enough to play in the snow or anything. We just kept her bundled well with blankets for the short periods we were outside - I'm not sure if I'll do the same this time, since Turducken will be half a year old by the time it gets cold

*baby bath - we were loaned one and it got used a grand total of ONE time - the rest of the time I just brought DD in a tub with me, or used the sink (once she could sit up) When she'd bathe with me, DP would take her and dry/dress her while I got myself clean. It gave me a chance to get bathed as well (which is rarer than I'd like when caring for a newborn)- honestly, I think little babies get bathed more than necessary, and since we were in a very cold, dry area, bathing was a concern regarding drying out DD's skin

*special diaper pail - we just tossed them in a plastic garbage pail with a lid, it had a handle which made it easy to haul the dipes down to the laundry room

post #7 of 19

This is a great thread! It really helps to weed through the non-necessities, when most baby websites or magazines are somehow out to sell you something!

post #8 of 19
My essentials for the first month or two-
Newborn diapers- sposies for the first week or so, then we used 24 prefolds, 10 kissaluvs fitteds, and 5 covers. We started with Rockin Green, too, but it didnt get our dipes clean and DD got nasty ammonia rash. Now we use plain powdered tide and love it.

Moby wrap and ring sling (I have a Sakura bloom and love it. If this is a boy, I'm going to get a new one or see a knock off.)

Clothes- not a lot as they grow so fast. We liked the footie pajamas. Zippers, not snaps!

Swing- didn't think we would want one, but my mom bought us one and it was a life saver.

Swaddling blankets

Easy snacks for momma. Food I could just grab and eat one handed was great. Big reusable cup with a lid for water and a carafe, too. Before DH would leave for work he would fill up my reusable venti Starbucks cup and carafe. I was thirsty!

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post #9 of 19

Virginia, Not to get too off-topic- but I keep seeing this and wondered-if you have the fitteds and the covers, what are the prefolds for? Thank you:)

post #10 of 19

The fitteds are probably for convenience and the prefolds for the rest of the time. The recommended number of diapers is about 24 in order to wash every other day.  It's always nice to have a few others to use while the diapers are in the wash.

post #11 of 19


Edited by 1babysmom - 4/7/13 at 11:16pm
post #12 of 19
Originally Posted by Virginia884 View Post

Zippers, not snaps!

YES! So true!
post #13 of 19

Prefolds look like rectangles of fabric. Are they meant to line a diaper or be folded and pinned into diaper form? Thank you for helping a new girl out:)

post #14 of 19
Originally Posted by MaineCoastMama View Post

Prefolds look like rectangles of fabric. Are they meant to line a diaper or be folded and pinned into diaper form? Thank you for helping a new girl out:)

Prefolds and fitteds are basically the same thing, only one is a rectangle and the other is in diaper form. Neither is waterproof, so they both need a cover.

I did bikini fold for my DD with prefolds- lay the prefold down with the series edge along the top, line it up with her belly button to be the back of the waist of the diaper. Bring the bottom edge through her legs and up to her navel, twisting while you move, so the left corner ends up on the right and vice versa. Pin or use a Snappi to secure. Put her cover on. If that is not clear, search 'bikini fold' on YouTube.

The fitteds were great for the middle of the night when it was just snap a diaper on, cover on, nurse and sleep. Much easier than a prefold.

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post #15 of 19

I hope this is the link to their FAQs. Can't see it on my phone.

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post #16 of 19

My essentials list is very basic


Diapers/wipes (whichever version cloth vs sposies that we end up using)



nursing pads

baby sling/carrier

boppy or other pillow to help with nursing the first month or so.

That is basically *all* my essentials...there are other "desires" but this is all I "need" :)

post #17 of 19
Oh yeah! Nursing pads!

I leaked a ton so I love the ones by WeeEssentials on Etsy. They're lined with PUL, so I didn't soak through them and end up with huge wet spots on my shirts.
post #18 of 19

With 1st baby this is what I found I needed, and what I didn't:




- stretchy wrap like the Moby (mine was the Sleepy Wrap)

- Ergo with infant insert

- baby bunting/snowsuit for winter baby (we called ours The Magic Snowsuit b/c when we would put DS in it and then take him for a walk outside Ergo, he would stop crying instantaneously and fall asleep!)

- pack-n-play with bassinet next to our bed for the start of the evening and for naps, so baby was in a safe spot until I went to bed and could co-sleep

- baby monitor with breathing monitor (so I didn't feel the need to check to see if DS was alive 50,000 times a night)

- cloth diapers, cloth wipes, trash can as a diaper pail, wet bags, and washable pail liner

- camera and video camera

- snap-in stroller frame for infant carseat for easy in and out from car and baby could keep sleeping




- baby food maker system (ended up just cooking his food with regular cookware we had)

- Puj tub (DS screamed...ended up bathing with us and was happy)

- Swing (DS hated...but I hear some babies love...maybe try and borrow one to see if your child likes it before buying?)

- crib for about a year, but now we use exclusively at 20 months so I guess it was worthwhile at some point

- all the clothes! We used onesies and a lot of clothing but wow, I had so much and some he never even wore

- baby food cookbooks- there's tons of ideas online

- baby mittens

- baby first aid kit, only used snot sucker and nail clippers

- Bumbo seat

- bouncy seat has mixed reviews- I used sometimes as a place to put him down, but he didn't like to stay in it long

- ring sling- DS hated it


I agree on the nursing pads!! Register for a ton...I didn't and ended up having to buy a whole bunch out of pocket. Or find some good quality reusable ones.

post #19 of 19
There is already a lot of good info and recommendations here...so I will just add a few thoughts...

Stretchy carrier: I love my Baby K'tan. It is the same idea as a moby or sleepy but set up as two loops instead of one long piece of fabric. I found it much easier to use when out and about.

Soft structured carrier: we have an Ergo and used it from day 1 with the infant insert. (my DH called it the Mutero - as in male uterus...hehe)

You don't need too many clothes. What I found worked best for us were one pieces that snapped or zipped up the front...so you could lay baby in instead of pulling over the head. DS hated all the on and off of clothes.

The NoseFrida is the best invention ever. I still use it on my 3yo. It gets the boogers out waaaaaaay better than any bulb ever could. I actually buy these for friends as shower gifts...

Swaddlebees makes a liner pad that is roughly the size of a PnP (20x30?). We cosleep and had two of these liners that were awesome to lay down under DS in the bed. He spit up a ton and these kept our bed from getting nasty. I have used them for everything, though. Ours are now not totally waterproof anymore (PUL wearing out) and I will be buying new ones for this babe.

I am sure I will think of other things...just trying to share info that I didn't see yet in the thread...
Edited by sunpath8 - 9/17/12 at 7:53am
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