Baby gear: What do you really need?

We’ve been looking into what we need for baby and we’re feeling a bit… Overwhelmed with the number things we’re seeing we need.

What would you consider your “bare minimum” needs for the first few months?


Somewhere to sleep
Somewhere to poop
Some way to eat
Some way to ensure warmth
Some way to transport

For us that was:
Bassinet (we did a halo swivel), then later a used plain wood ikea crib (sniglar) and fancy crib mattress
Bottles and a breast pump (you generally qualify for a free pump through insurance, thanks Obama!) she refused milk from lol
Swaddles (we liked the live to dream and hated Velcro ones)
We did disposable diapers, we like Huggies from Costco
Clothes- buy nothing hand me downs. Sleepers with zips or magnets to start, fuck all the rest of it lol
Ergo 360 Omni mesh
Car seat
Ergo diaper bag backpack
A small bouncer to set her in when I used the bathroom.

We barely used our stroller, she never took her pacifiers. We used a million Muslin swaddle blankets since she spat up a lot. We loved having a tummy time playmat (free hand me down) and a black and white high contrast book for tummy time.

IMO: Don’t bother with the hand cover mittens, wipes warmers, fancy designed diaper bags, anything for solids you won’t need for a while, “real” clothes you won’t need.

Things that are sold but not safe for sleep: dock a tot and anything similar, baby swings.


We keep seeing stroller on essentials but currently we’re leaning toward baby wearing predominantly. I figure if we get a week in and MUST HAVE a stroller we can find one in like an hour.


Look, Look! Look, Look!: 9780525420286: Linenthal, Peter: Books

This was the book she loved- we put it next to the changing pad on our dresser. She still likes it.

We always just used a muslin blanket over the shoulder for a “burp cloth”.

Boppy Changing Pad Liner | 3 Count | Crisp White Terrycloth | Waterproof Backing Makes Messy Diaper Changes a Breeze | For Changing Pads or On-the-Go | Machine Washable and Dryable

We used this sort of thing on our changing pad, but also just to change her anywhere.

Oh and it’s nice to have diaper cream on hand - our gal had sensitive skin so we put it on every time. Little babies poop constantly. It’s hard on their skin.


Yeah, the main thing is it can be cheap to get them as a travel system with a car seat (infant bucket) and people like to buy them as a gift. My MIL got our travel system. Next time though I would probably go straight to a convertible and skip the infant bucket, unless the baby was born super small maybe.


A few notes from our experience:

  • we used our stroller constantly. I had a baby who didn’t sleep so stroller walks were the only way to get his naps in. We probably spent 3 hours a day with him in that stroller. Granted - we live in Southern California so it’s a little different weather wise.
    Also - used strollers on fb marketplace are cheap! We still use our stroller on weekends.
  • i wasn’t able to baby-wear for quite some time because my baby would be incredibly angry if he was that close to me and not eating. Also - I had a c section and my back couldn’t handle baby wearing.
  • we used baby mitts because my baby constantly scratched his own face. I tried trimming his nails but it didn’t help.
  • love burp cloths. I stuffed them in my bra to catch leakage lol. We still use them now for my 2 year old for drying his hands and face after meals.
  • not an essential but I rented a snoo at 6 weeks out of desperation and it was the best decision for us. I went from sleeping in 30 min increments to 3 hour chunks. Something to keep in the back of your mind.

Yeah, the first few months are pretty simple, you don’t even need baby proofing or anything.

My minimal/useful list would be:
Car seat
Floor mat, washable (or blankets, floor mat at least had some structure to fold up less)
Small number of toys to look at, hit at, or reach for
Small absorbent cloths for spitup (more than you’d think to need)
Diapers and wipes (tried cloth, went with Pampers)
Bottles and standard milk-based formula
Breast pump, breast pads, and lanolin
Pacifiers (Avent Soothie and MAM)
Stroller with full recline
Moby wrap or other small baby carrier
Small blankets for car seat/stroller if cold
Onesies with or without pants
Footed sleepers (zip only, YMMV)
Swaddle blankets and/or sleep sacks (Halo)
Diaper bag with many pockets
Bath wash and lotion
Bath support


Ok,what’s the difference between a diaper bag and a backpack with a lot of compartments? Is it like smell-proof or something?



Some of the compartments might be insulated or shapes for specific things, and no laptop compartment.


For one, they usually have insulated side pockets to put bottles in. The ergo one comes with a sturdy changing pad inside too. And the pockets are more designed to fit wipes packs and stuff like that.


Yeah this really gets to the “each baby is so unique”. And parent. And family. :woman_shrugging: It’s why a little of everything, used/free, and with a plan to pass it on, was my strategy lol. Easy come, easy go. And what works one day won’t the next.


Ok, I think I’ll probably get/ask for a stroller/car seat convertible thingy. But $$$. My parents will probably get us one though?


Also for things where how safe it is is super important, like car seats etc, where do you go for info on what is good.


If I had to do it again, I would get a stroller with a bassinet insert instead of the snap in car seat. Knowing what I do now about development and safe sleep and all that.


For car seats,

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And you probably know this, but car seats are one of the only thing you should not get used.


Me too!!!

If I have a second child, I’m buying the bassinet for my stroller instead of using the car seat - which was not safe sleep.


Not safe sleep and also my absolute maniac from day 1 hated being contained like that :joy: the bassinet would give her more movement which she so desperately craves.


So what I’m hearing is that a car seat should really only be used for transport in the car, and not as many people seem to use it as an auxiliary sleep zone?


Yes absolutely. Both from a safe sleep (NO inclined surface is safe for sleep) and for physical development.