My Ultimate Guide to Baby Essentials.

I was so into registering for my wedding.

And then 7 years later, I was suuuuuper into registering for my baby gear. I was the girl that read like 17 books and researched every inane product. A lot of my friends just swiped my baby registry list when they got pregnant because I did that must research. Of course, now that I'm an actual mom with real life experience (meaning, I've been pooped on, peed on and thrown up on), there are some things that I would nix from the list, add to the list, and some things I would circle and highlight and possibly blood sign as "MUST HAVE".

Today, I share these things with you.

DISCLAIMER: I have to put this out there because otherwise someone might get all up in arms, but obviously these recommendations and insights are purely my own opinion. Everyone's life situation is different, and where you live really does influence a handful of these choices, such as stroller, car seat, crib, etc. I can only offer my experiences to you, but I do so gladly and without restraint. I want to emphasize that everyone puts a different priority on things, so please use this as a reference and go with your gut. You will learn in this journey (as I am continuing to learn!) that going with your gut as a mama is usually the right choice. So trust your instinct, and just gather information as you go!

FEEDING.

  •  Glass bottles - Everett never took a bottle so we really struggled with me feeling like a human pacifier for, oh, 16 months of breastfeeding. So one of my #1 goals with Daxton was introducing bottles early, and it has proven to be such a success, #praisethelord. Also, I love the greener approach of glass bottles :)
  •  Breastpump with carry tote (includes an extra set of accessories!) - I don't love pumping, but this is a great double pump and it allows me to leave milk for my baby so that I can get a break. Check with your insurance company to see if you quality to get one of these for free, thanks to this new policy. P.S. - Many of my friends have also sworn by this pump, something I'd love to try in the future!
  •  Bottle warmer - Not essential, but it's been a really nice extra to have this time around.
  •  A few burp cloths. Okay actually like 12-15 would be ideal.
  •  High chair - You won't need this for the first few months, but it's worth investing in something you love and they love, because your kiddo will eventually spend hours eating in this little throne. I am so glad we went with something that looked semi-nice in the kitchen and that could grow with our babies into toddler life.
  • A bottle cleaning brush or tool is helpful for that transition from baby to toddler feeding, I love these plates, these utensils, and these water bottles.

DIAPERING.

  • I love using The Honest Company diapers. For the first year with Everett I used these exclusively and then switched back and forth between these and Seventh Generation diapers after that. Honestly, it was just out of convenience so that I could pick them up at Target vs. waiting on the monthly shipment in the mail. I recently tried a few other kinds of diapers to save on cost and ended up switching back to these two brands for both my boys, because I never have leaking problems with either of these diapers. But again, this is the kind of thing that depends on what works for you and your little baby's bum :) Though I look forward to the days of potty-trained children!
  •  Healing balm & diaper rash cream - We use both of these so much. We slather the Healing Balm on anything and everything - cuts, dry skin, rashes, etc. And the diaper rash cream clears up redness after one application, it's just like magic. So these are on heavy rotation over here.
  •  Baby wipes, and I love these giant packs :)
  •  A diaper disposal is so, so helpful! Make sure to register for refills.

SLEEPING.

  • Crib, waterproof mattress pad and crib sheets - I have less of an opinion about these items. Just get things you love and feel good about. I opted for organic options where I could find them, but they're not must-haves. And our crib was a hand-me-down and has worked out perfectly well.
  •  Sound machine for sleep (I also love running a diffuser with essential oils at night, but it's not a must-have)
  •  Sleep swaddle and/or swaddle blankets for newborn-stage - I used both of these for sleeping, and actually use the swaddle blankets for everything (I have at least ten of these!) - as a burp cloth, make shift nursing cover, to throw over the top of a stroller in case there's too much sun - they're very all-purpose
  •  Sleep blanket (for when you don't swaddle anymore, like 5 months - 18 months-ish?)
  •  Baby video monitor - I love being able to check on my baby using the video feed, but this isn't a must-have for everyone. I have friends who are really happy with an audio monitor. Totally a personal preference!
  •  Zipper onesies - These make middle-of-the-night changing so much easier. It's really hard to get buttons right when you're half-awake! I love the Baby Gap options (this and these) and Target has some convenient 3-packs options as well.

AT-HOME GEAR.
*I think it's helpful to borrow these items, if possible. My kids have varied on the different chair/swings they like, and it costs a lot to purchase these up front only to find out that your baby hates them. Also, you don't need one of each of these, just pick a few and see what works. I also like buying these items second-hand because they are mostly constructed of plastic, and its nice to have them air out and off-gas the chemicals in them, if possible. I know, I know, sometimes I'm even a little too crunchy for myself.

ON-THE-GO GEAR.

  •  Diaper Bag - This choice totally depends on where you live and what you need to carry around with you day-to-day. I love my Kate Spade diaper bag because it was a special gift from Stevie, but I don't always want/need to lug a big bag around. I recently switched to this non-diaper bag backpack, which has really helped with having two kids (I need my hands!) but I also really like packing a few diapers and wipes into a diaper clutch like this (I got a really cute Jonathan Adler one a few years ago, but it looks like they don't make it anymore, sad). Day to day I find myself switching out bags based on what works for the activity.
  •  Stroller - This is probably the #1 item that depends solely on where you live. If you live in a city, your stroller is basically your car and you will need to really consider how much you will use it for everyday tasks (like carrying groceries and picking up laundry) versus just walking around around an outdoor mall or your neighborhood, if you live in the suburbs. And if you're super into fitness, you might want to opt for a jogging stroller, some of which allow you to attach a carseat onto it. You also want to consider whether you will be folding it down daily to store in a closet or the back seat of a car. We opted for this stroller because it was really all-purpose (for city or 'burb life), has the ability to add seats on for multiple children and is great for travel (we got the travel bag too, which works as insurance if the airline damages the stroller or bag - a major added bonus!) I also really love that it comes with a bassinet for baby's comfort and development. We also got a jogging stroller because the heavy-duty wheels allow us to take our kids on more active adventures, and recently we got the double jogger for both the boys! I'm hanging on to the single version, though, because there are some days where I'll only have one of them with me and it's nice not to lug out the minivan version. So we are currently those people who own a mess of strollers, and we actually use all of them. This is one area where I am not a minimalist, sorrrry :)
  • Stroller hooks - You won't regret going for these. You can hang everything in the world on them!
  •  Car seat - I hate car seats because they are so heavy and bulky and awkward to lug around. But unless you live in a city where you walk absolutely everywhere, they are necessary! So we went with this one because it was compatible with the strollers we chose (utilizing an adapter here and there). But all carseats have to have the same safety measures so there probably isn't a bad option on the market - I would say just pick one that's in your budget and is compatible with your other gear :) We actually have a few of these seats because of multiple cars and you know, golf cart life, too ;)
  •  Carrier - After trying out tons, both me and Stevie's absolute favorite is the Ergobaby because it is so structured and supportive. Now there is the Ergobaby 360 which gives even more wearing options, and I would love to give that one a try. I have also really liked using the Solly Wrap this time around because it keeps baby so close and cozy, although with my big baby I find myself reaching for the Ergo the very most. I also recommend the K'tan, if you don't have super huge babies, it's a great one.
  • Travel Crib or Pack N Play - We have used both of these a lot, but this is another one of those categories that depends on your lifestyle. If you travel a lot, I can assure you that you will use and love this travel crib. Ours has been all over the world with us and kept our baby sleeping so well (at the moment, my we are actually traveling and my child IS sleeping soundly in it, so there you have it.) The pack n play is so helpful in those first few months of having the baby sleep in-room with you, and it's also so easy to take to Grandma's house when you want to nap your kiddo on the go.

TOYS, BOOKS, ETC.
Baby toys aren't must-haves, and you will probably find yourself accumulating them faster than you realize. A few that we have loved are this teether, this brand of stuff animals (we have so many of these, Everett calls them his "babies") and these baby books.

I thought this list would feel more condensed - it's kind of crazy how much STUFF babies can attract. Anything that I'm missing that you absolutely loved and would deem a *must have*? I would love to hear about it in the comments! And please let me know if you have any questions or need clarifications on any of this -  I am happy to share my experiences!

P.S. - My postpartum recovery essentials for a vaginal delivery and for a c-section delivery (I honestly still cannot believe I've experienced both of those and live the tell the tales...) and a guide for what to pack in your hospital bag :)