Baby Essentials – The First Year

Having your first baby can be exciting aaaand nerve racking at the same time.   There’s so much out there to buy and so many opinions on what you’ll need. My baby registry had like 240 items.  I just kept adding and adding.  Everything seemed like omg, I’m sure I’ll need this!  Some I didn’t get, some I didn’t use, and some were absolute lifesavers. 

I get asked a lot of questions on Instagram about where I got some of Olivia’s things, or what items I loved vs could do without.  So I wanted to put together this guide of my must haves.  These are all items I used almost daily, and was so grateful to have, and reasons why I loved them.   

If you’re expecting or have a newborn I hope this helps!!! (And big congrats! You’re expecting the most amazing thing ever).  

I’ve provided links to buy below. 

1. Snuggapuppy Soother – Target $11.89
The snuggapuppy plays sweet soft baby music and vibrates.  I used in the car to get Olivia to sleep and when we stopped the vibrating kept her asleep as if we were still moving.   Babies love vibrating. You probably noticed lots of baby items like swings and bouncers vibrate.  It calms them.  I buy this for every friend who is pregnant and they all tell me their baby LOVES it.  👏🏻👏🏻

2. Dockatot $169 – $269
The deluxe fits 0-9 months and the grand fits up to 3 years.  It’s breathable unlike crib bumpers and you can wash it.  It keeps baby from feeling like they are in a huge space.  Babies are crammed in the womb then all of a sudden put in a big open crib or bassinet.  Olivia loves hers and finds it so comfy.  We take it on vacation with a pack n play too.  It’s also great for co sleeping or just a place for baby to lay protected on the ground or couch.  We had Olivia sleeping in a rocknplay so she was used to being snug and at an angle. So when we had to finally transition to her crib, I put a rolled up hand towel under her head area and it kind of simulated the rocknplay.  As she got used to it I removed the towel till she was flat.  We tried a few nights in the crib without it and she screamed all night.  The first night with the dockatot, she went right to sleep and slept 7 hours!! 🙌🏻

Here is the small (left/deluxe) and the big (right/grand) in her crib. Olivia was about 4 months on the left and 10 months on the right. 

The grand definitely fills her crib perfectly.  

3. Rock N Play $39 – $99
Whether you use for sleep, or naps, or a place to put baby down for a bit, it’s AMAZING!! I don’t know a single mom who didn’t rave about the rocknplay, and I totally agree.  It vibrates too. Oh, and make sure to splurge a little more on the one that auto rocks if you don’t want to sit there rocking it for 45 minutes at 1am.  

Like I said above, we had Olivia sleeping in hers but we also used it for naps, or for when I wanted to set her down and do things.  Like shower.  Or go to the bathroom.  I was soooo sad when she outgrew.  We definitely got our money’s worth with it.  

4. Wubbanub pacifier $13
Babies love pacifiers and sucking for soothing.  But they love spitting it out and then having a meltdown when they can’t find it even more! 😂 The Wubbanub is great because when they spit it out, it kinda stays on their chest so they can find it again.  It also is easier for mom to see if they drop it.  Plus it’s kind of like their first toy/stuffed animal.  Once you decide to phase out the pacifier, you can cut the tip and they can still keep the animal for comfort.  You can also throw it in the washing machine to sanitize it.  👍🏻👍🏻

5. Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother $25

This soothed her to sleep every night and it was great entertainment for tummytime.  You can have it on music and lights, music with no lights, or just white noise waves. It goes for about 30 minutes but it starts off loud and gets quieter and quieter till it shuts off.  It has a remote so you can turn it off and on without disturbing baby.  Olivia would just stare at this and she loved it!  I would use the white noise option when I wanted her to sleep, and the music and lights option when I wanted her to be entertained.  You can also mount it on the side of the crib.  

Olivia on the Baby Einstein website “In a fishy trance” 

6. Little Unicorn Muslin Swaddle Blankets $14-$36 

Love love love these blankets.  They are muslin so breathable.  Lightweight so perfect for summertime too.  I used them to cover her for sleep, swaddling, car seat & stroller, and for taking pictures.  They come in the cutest prints too for both boys and girls.  Having a thick blanket is a big no no for babies because they can suffocate but I always felt safe with Olivia and these blankets because you can breathe through them.  And they are super soft too! 

7. Mylicon Gas Drops $9.99

Every night around 5-7pm Olivia would have what I called her witching hour.  She would be so fussy, eat and eat till she threw up.  Nothing seemed to calm her.  I was at my breaking point. Several friends recommended these gas drops.  And they instantly helped! She had gas and tummy pain.  Babies can’t tell the difference between an upset tummy from pain or hunger so she just kept giving me the hunger cues and I kept feeding.  Once I started giving her the gas drops she was fine and not fussy at all.  I have them to her for 1-2 months. And then I gave them to her a little when we transitioned to baby food to help with her digestive system.  You can give directly or put into their bottle.  I recommend directly so you know they got it and how much since they don’t always finish their bottle.   Please be advised I am not a doctor so please consult your pediatrician before giving your baby any medications.  

8. Beat Bow Wow $30 

There’s a few different versions of this toy. A girl dog (pink) boy dog (blue/green) and a beatbo person.  It plays songs and counts.  The buttons are easy to push.  I always use it to keep Olivia occupied while changing her diaper.  It’s stopped many meltdowns. 

9. UPPABaby Mesa Car Seat $350  & CRUZ stroller $530  Available at BuyBuyBaby and Nordstrom 

This is THE BEST stroller and car seat system! I get sooo many compliments and “what brand is that?” Questions.  

  • Most strollers required an attachment adapter and the car seat clips on top of the already bulky and heavy stroller.  
  • The toddler seat on the Cruz clips out and you can click the Mesa car seat right onto the base/frame of the stroller.  
  • It’s very lightweight. 
  • Both the car seat and toddler seat can be clipped in forward facing or rear facing.  
  • The toddler seat has a bar that can be removed and an added snack tray can be snapped in.  Or nothing at all.  
  • The car seat can be taken apart and washed.  It’s pretty easy to do and put back together.  
  • It comes in so many colors! I chose Lindsey/cream to be neautral.  
  • Basket underneath is very large. Holds so much!!! 
  • Vista stroller can adapt to fit 2 kids.  Also works with Mesa car seat. 
  • Lots of accessories like a snack tray, rain shield, bug shield, cup holder, organizer and travel bag.  
  • When highway patrol installed my Mesa car seat, the officer said it was the best car seat in his opinion.  Great side impact protection. 
  • Car seat is very easy to adjust for perfect fit. 
  • You can buy extra bases to install in multiple cars.  
  • Toddler seat can be adjusted for different inclines.  Laying down flat to upright. 
  • You can buy a separate bassinet for baby to sleep in while pushing. 

Vista stroller with toddler seat 

Vista stroller with Mesa car seat

Color options!! 

Side view, lots of storage space This is the color I chose, Lindsey. I chose because it was neutral. 

Both sears can be put in forward facing and rear facing 

10. 4Moms Breeze pack n play $199-$299 

I had never put together a packnplay before the breeze so I didn’t know what an amazing product this was…..until…I helped my mom put together their “other brand” one.  And oh man do I understand why this product was made and why it is superior.   It’s heavy but it opens and closes with one push and pull.   We take it with us when we travel and out the dockatot in for Olivia’s bed and she sleeps great.   If you use with a newborn it comes with a bassinet on top. 

Bassinet insert So easy to open 


11. 4Moms Mamaroo $219-$250 

Babies nap a lot.  And you always need something to put them in till they can sit on their own and crawl or walk.  They like movement and vibration. Anything that simulates rocking or a car ride is great! We had both a swing and the Mamaroo and both are great for different reasons.  

  • The Mamaroo has 5 different movements and 5 speeds.  
  • It plays 4 different white noise sounds.
  • It can be connected to an app on your phone and controlled with your phone. 
  • You can plug in your phone and play your own music.  
  • You can remove the mobile if you want. 
  • The balls in the mobile come out. Olivia loved playing with hers. 

12. Fisherprice Swing $130-$170

Like I mentioned above, we had both the Mamaroo and a swing.  We have a 2 story house so we kept the swing downstairs and the Mamaroo upstairs.  Since Olivia only spent 1/2 the time in each, she never got bored of either.  Unlike the Mamaroo that just moved up and down, the swing moved side to side or rocked front to back.  This swing put her to sleep every time! I miss it dearly.  The swing had some great features. 

  • 5 speeds
  • Played music or white noise and you can adjust the volume
  • Seat vibrated 
  • You could rotate the seat so baby can swing side to side or front to back
  • Seat cover can be removed and washed in washing machine 

13. 4Moms Bath Tub $50-$80 

We loved this infant tub! Here’s why: 

  • It has a thermometer so you always know what temperature the water is
  • There is a blue (cold), green (perfect temperature) and red (hot) color indicator 
  • New water comes in and the old water flows out so baby is always in clean water 
  • Baby can lay down or sit up in it 

The following are must haves if you plan to breastfeed or pump. 

15. Breastfeeding Pillow $40 

If you plan on nursing, get a nursing pillow.  It makes it so much easier! Puts baby at your breast height and you can relax and be handsfree. Olivia’s 14 months and I still use mine every day.  Plus it can be used for tummytime or to lay baby in it to prevent rolling over. 

16. Electric Double Breast Pump & travel pump $229 

I used the Medela double electric breast pump.  

If you plan on breastfeeding and ever want to leave your baby for longer than a few hours , you will want to pump bottles of milk.   I fed Olivia “straight from the tap” mostly but I liked the freedom sometimes of just giving her a bottle when we were out.   Or if someone watched her so I could do something.  Bottles are a great way for Dad to bond with the baby too.  Double pump saves time by pumping both at the same time.  

You can pump directly into storage bottles, storage bags or into your bottle.  You can buy reusable and disposable nipples for the storage botttles to feed directly from them.  I would pump into the storage bottles and mark the date.  Those would go into the fridge.  Then extras would be stored in bags in the freezer marked with the date.  Kaiser goes by the 5.5.5 rule.  5 hours room temperature, 5 days in fridge, and 5 months in the freezer.  

The Medela pump has a lot of coordinating accessories like an ice cooler to keep cold, extra parts, and a manual pump. I would use the manual pump in the car. You can also buy a battery kit for your electric pump. 

17. Breast Pumping Handsfree Bra $23-$40

If you plan on pumping, you will need this bra. I promise you! Otherwise you will have to hold the breast pump to your breasts the whole time! With this bra, you have your hands free to eat, look at your phone, whatever you want. It looks super funny, you and your partner will have a good laugh, but it truly was a lifesaver! 

18. Milk Thistle $9 & prenatal vitamin with DHA $25 

Milk thistle is known for increasing breast milk supply.  

You should continue your prenatal vitamin while you are breastfeeding.  DHA is great for brain support.  Again. I am not a doctor. Please consult your own doctor or OBGYN before taking any vitamins or supplements. 

Thank you for reading! I hope this information was helpful. Leave me a comment or feel free to ask any questions.  

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