It’s been more than six months since my husband and I brought our child home, so it seems like as good a time as any to put together my first baby must-haves list.
In preparing to welcome our first child, I spent a lot of time talking to friends and checking out lists online to determine what we would need for those early days of parenting.
It did not take long to realize when it comes to baby gear, everyone has opinions about what’s essential and what’s not.
And that now includes yours truly.
This list includes 12* items I found most useful for baby during the first six months — and a shorter list of things that have helped me adjust to life as a mom.
*Note: one of the items on this list was recently recalled. I’ve removed the purchase link and I’m including a link to the recall notice. I left it on the list because it was useful for us at the time but I would not necessarily recommend purchasing it in light of the recall.
Note: this post includes affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you. I only share links for products I use and love. Thank you for your support.
My baby must-haves: 0-6 months
While there are items on my baby must-haves list that are unique to our family situation, I think most of the items could be used by just about anyone.
Also: this is just a selection of items we found useful. There are several things we either bought or received that we absolutely love that are not on this list. It comes back to the idea of wanting this list to be fairly universal.
Here are 12 of my baby must-haves for 0-6 months.
Boppy Newborn Lounger
Important note: The Boppy Newborn Lounger was officially recalled on September 23, 2021. Details on the recall can be found here.
The Boppy Newborn Lounger was such a useful purchase for us. Baby J absolutely loved it, which was great because every once in a while…well, we needed to be able to use both hands. I loved it because it was easy to move from room to room and easy to travel with. We used it regularly until J started rolling.
Tip: We always kept a swaddle blanket over our Boppy. While I’m sure it would not be terribly difficult to clean due to the type of material, I found putting a blanket over it helped in the early, spit-up heavy days.
Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad
The Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad is one of those things that turned out to be way more useful than I thought it would be. I mean, it’s a changing pad, right? It’s not exactly an exciting item.
This turned out to be SO handy for us before we moved.
Because we spent the first 3.5/4 months living in a two-bedroom basement apartment, we didn’t have a nursery. Baby slept in our room with us, but between our bed, the dresser, her bassinet and the crib…there was not exactly space for a change tab.
Enter this changing pad.
We used it primarily in the living room, setting it up sort of like a bridge across the couch and the coffee table when it was time to change a diaper. When we weren’t using it, we’d tuck it by the side of the couch (or sometimes just…leave it there, honestly). During the early days, there were times when she’d only chill out while laying on the change pad. It comes with a little buckle so we always felt very safe using it in the living room.
When we moved and she got her own room, the change pad fit well on top of the IKEA cart we have in her room for a change table.
Again, not a thrilling purchase but one that was surprisingly helpful in those early days.
Tip: Purchase more than one cover for this. We have two and there were times I wished we had more.
Dr. Brown’s Bottles
As far as I can tell, parents either love or hate these bottles. I love them.
We switched to Dr. Brown’s Bottles about two months in. They’re pricey and annoying to clean (so many parts) but we noticed an immediate difference in how baby was eating.
Tip: Don’t go all in on one brand before baby is born. We initially used a different style of bottle but they really did not work well for baby. Thankfully, I only purchased the starter pack (and was able to resell them). This advice can really apply to a lot of baby things. Find out what your baby likes before making too many purchases of every day items .
Dreamegg Sound Machine
A sound machine was not something I planned to purchase. We always run a fan and our baby monitor has a white noise feature on it. I didn’t think we needed one.
Then I bought the Dreamegg Sound Machine. Which we use every day, for bedtime and every single nap. It provides a lot of different options for sounds, volume and it’s a great price.
I will say this: the one issue I do have with this sound machine is it does not allow for battery backup. So if the power goes out — like it did a couple weeks ago — the machine shuts off. Not ideal.
Tip: When picking a white noise machine, choose one that gives you the option to play continuously. I started looking into sound machines because while it was great that our monitor had a white noise option, it only had an option to run for like, 90 minutes before shutting off. The more time I spent learning about baby sleep, the more I realized absolute silence actually isn’t best for babies — especially at night when they’re more likely to be aroused by different noises.
Anointment Baby Balm
A local favourite!
I purchased this initially because I intend to cloth diaper (hopefully starting soon!) so I needed a cloth-diaper safe diaper cream. Started using it as soon as we got home from the hospital and I love it so much — it’s effective while also being super gentle. I think it’s so awesome I’ve included a jar in every baby gift I’ve put together since J was born. A total baby must-have for me.
Tip: While I am a believer in the baby balm, I started with the smaller, 50g container — and suggest you do the same until you know if it works well for your baby. If you decide to keep using it, the 100g container is worth it.
Baby Einstein Mirror
This is another item I have included in every single baby gift since J was born.
This mirror props up nicely, has a couple cool tactile elements and has the high-contrast visuals on the flip side. I kid you not when I say J has played with this almost every day since it arrived.
Tip: This is an excellent tummy time toy! J hates tummy time with a passion, but the few times she has enjoyed it, this mirror has been involved. It’s a simple but excellent play item.
Look, I don’t regret the super nice swaddling blankets I purchased from a wonderful local shop here — we did get use out of the them and I held onto a few with the item that they can just be used as light blankets.
We had one velcro swaddle, which we did not notice in the dresser until about a month and a half before we had to stop swaddling. We made up for that lost time by using it every single night up to that point. These are amazing and so, SO easy to use. If I had to do it again, I would get SEVERAL velcro swaddles to use exclusively for swaddling purposes.
Tip: If you’re using swaddles of any kind, I really recommend having more than one.
Nested Bean sleep sacks
We moved into the sleep sack after our swaddling journey came to an end. I purchased one Nested Bean sleep sack because I was intrigued by the weighted chest piece.
Does it do what it claims? I don’t know.
What I do know is I love this sleep sack so much I bought three more in the next size up.
There are a lot of different brands of sleep sacks out there at a variety of different price points. The Nested Bean sleep sacks are a little pricier than some options, but they’re well made — excellent design, holds up well in the wash and they’re super cute.
Tip: Get more than one. Get more than two. Your kid is going to use these every night. You’ll want to have a few.
A friend gifted us a two pack of glow in the dark Tommee Tippee nighttime orthodontic soothers (similar to these except ours are orange and grey!). While the glow in the dark aspect of the soothers is just OK, these soothers have been our go-to. While soothers like the Wubbanub are great for keeping baby’s hands busy (and easy to work with in places like the car), I found these little soothers to be the right size and weight for baby to use on her own. They’re also very easy to clean.
Tip: J typically uses her soothers at night. It’s not unusual for her to spit it out at some point while sleeping. Not a big deal — she usually just keeps on sleeping. But if she wants it after her night feed, it can be a challenge to find it in the dark. That’s why I started keeping at least two in her room. If I can’t find the one she went to bed with, I just grab the other one and hunt them both down in the morning.
As a first-time parent, I had a lot of anxiety about baby’s sleep. Figuring out naps — how many, how often, how long — was something I found particularly challenging. A friend recommended Huckleberry and it has been a game-changer. The sweet spot feature has worked really well for us, taking all the guesswork out of naps. We also track diapers and food and I love being able to see all that data in graph form. Both Jeff and I have the app on our phone, which means we both have access to all the information we could need about the timing of those things.
Tip: It is worth noting that some features — like sweet spot — are only available beyond the trial if you pay for the app. There are different options available for the paid version; we started late, around month four, so we decided to pay monthly since I’m not sure how long we’ll want to use sweet spot. It comes to $12.49 CAD and it’s been worth every cent for us. But if you don’t need that feature, a free membership might work just as well for you!
Chatbooks have become my main method of memory keeping since the baby was born. Every month, I take the photos my family and I took of the baby and compile a new book. I don’t do anything to the photos other than crop them. Sometimes I order the new book right away, other times I create them and wait until I have a couple ready to purchase. They range in price depending on how many photos I include. They are worth every penny.
Tip: If you’re creating monthly albums but your camera roll is a disaster like mine, use the filter option to narrow down the dates!
One of the first things I did after J was born was set up her Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). While student loans make post-secondary education accessible for many, there’s no way around it: paying them back sucks. And while I would love to think we’ll eventually get to a place where post-secondary education is more affordable, I’m just not convinced that’s going to happen. Setting up an RESP now gives us time to save and hopefully be able to ease some of that burden for J down the road. As I am still learning about investing, I decided a robo-advisor would be the best option for this account so I set up with Wealthsimple (referral link*). I’ve been using them for a couple years now and really think they’re great. If you don’t want to manage your own accounts (or if, like me, you need to learn more before you can get into self-directed investing), I recommend checking out Wealthsimple.
(*if you sign up with Wealthsimple using my referral link, I’ll receive $10K managed for free for 12 months at no cost to you. I only share referral links for products I use and love. Thank you for your support!)
Tip: If you’re choosing to set up an RESP for your child, please, please, please make sure you’re not getting into a group RESP. These are trash products. Seriously. Open an individual RESP or a family RESP.
Postpartum must-haves: 0-6 months
Along with my baby must-haves, I also thought it might be useful to include a short list of some of the things that have bee useful to me as a new mother during the first six months. This list includes some items, services and practices that have served me well over the last six months.
Old Navy Tank Tops
I kid you not when I say I wore these almost exclusively for the first six months. They’re no fuss, they go with everything and they’re cheap enough that I don’t feel sad when they reach the point where the formula stains stop coming out.
Knix Modal Lounge Pants
On the other hand, these were significantly more expensive. But my oh my, have they been worth it! I purchased these because I wanted something comfortable to wear after baby was born. These were perfect and continue to be a favourite six months later. Cost more than I ever thought I would pay for a pair of lounge pants.
Interested in checking our Knix? This link will get you $15 off your first order (and I’ll get $15 off, too).
Tim Hortons Cold Brew
Perhaps the most shocking item on the list! I’ve never been a big fan of Tim Hortons coffee — I’ll drink it, but it’s never been a favourite. So I was surprised by how much I enjoy their cold brew! I’m still a Starbucks girl, but I’ve been getting the salted caramel cold brew from Tims regularly for the last few months and I don’t hate it.
Charmed Aroma bath bombs
Do I think I’m going to get jewelry worth any significant amount of money from a bath bomb? No. That has not stopped me from really enjoying the Charmed Aroma bath bombs. After four years without a tub, I’ll take any excuse for a soak. A sparkly ring, even if it’s only worth like, $20, is an added bonus.
I did not realize just how important journaling is for my mental health until the early days of postpartum when I did not have the time to do it anymore. It took a few months to get back to a place where I could find space to regularly put pen to paper — and when I did get there, I returned to my trusty Leuctturm journal. Although I have used different versions of these journals over the years, I always return to the dot grid A5.
Waxing service at a local salon spa
Because after giving birth, nothing’s embarrassing anymore. I’ll just leave it at that.
Thankfully, this was not something I had to buy. It did not take me long to realize I needed to talk to someone about my experience with pregnancy, birth and the early days of postpartum. I was able to access free counselling services through the employee assistance program at my husband’s work and I am so grateful. I did four sessions and found it to be very helpful.
There you have it — my baby must-haves (and postpartum must-haves) for the first six months.
The items on this list aren’t the only things that were useful for me during the first six months of baby’s life, but they are ones we got a lot of use out of and which I think are fairly universal to most families and living situations.
Friends with kids: what were your baby must-haves for the first six months?
Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst
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