Baby Must Haves: What You Really Need ( & What You Don't!)
Confused about what you really need for your newborn? Here’s a list of the best natural, non-toxic and eco-friendly baby must-haves I actually used as a first-time mom–and what I will continue to use with my second baby! Plus, we share what products you DON’T need to spend your money on.
This post is sponsored by buybuy BABY. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
Not gonna lie: being a first-time mom is utterly confusing at first!
There is SO much to learn, from how to change a diaper to how to swaddle (and what a swaddle even is!), to what you’ll need to nurse and feed, how to help your baby sleep, and the list goes on and on (and on and on!).
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, which is why I put together this list of what you ACTUALLY need for your baby. My son Jackson is 19 months and I just had our second, a baby girl, a couple weeks ago, so I feel confident now that I know exactly what I need–AND what I don’t need to waste money on!
I do a lot of my shopping at buybuy BABY, since it’s a one-stop-shop for all things baby (gotta love convenience and saving time!). Plus, they have a great selection of non-toxic, eco-friendly brands as well (which is super important to me to keep my baby safe and healthy–no thanks, toxins!).
While I love online shopping, sometimes you just want to see and feel things in-store, so occasionally I go see things in person before I buy because buybuy BABY’s massive store usually has whatever I need in stock.
Ready to get clarity on your baby must-haves checklist? Let’s dive in!
Baby Must Haves: Traveling Gear
- UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat: This is easily the safest car seat on the market, super easy to install, has an adjustable headrest, an included infant insert (for babies between 4-8 pounds), a canopy with UPF 25+, and was by far the lightest car seat we tested at the store. I love that it clicks in and out of the VISTA stroller so easily, too (one-handed release and no adapters needed)! We went with the Henry blue color and it’s so adorable!
- UPPAbaby VISTA Stroller: This is the Mac Daddy of all strollers, beloved by natural and conventional mamas alike. I love it because it’s one of the only strollers on the market that doesn’t contain flame retardants and comes with the bassinet attachment, which we loved, instead of having to pack a big pack ‘n play. Plus, it’s super lightweight, and easy to collapse and change car seats, bassinets and rumble seats out with just the click of a button. Plus, it’s so pretty–check out those leather handles–we went with the Henry color.
- Baby Wearing: Yes, in the early days, this is 100% a sleep tactic. Literally anytime I wore Jackson, he immediately fell asleep. While you really only NEED one kind of baby wearing device, I found that different activities required different types. When I was at home and just hanging out, I loved popping Jackson in the Baby K’tan wrap, which is so easy to put on compared to other complicated baby wraps and ring slings, which I never could figure out. When we went for walks outside, I loved my Lillebaby organic carrier and the ergobaby carrier.
Baby Must Haves: Feeding + Nursing
- Obviously, you NEED a highchair. We adore our STOKKE ‘Tripp Trapp’ Chair. I love its Classic Scandinavian design and the fact that it’s made from solid European beech wood (not plastic). Its intelligent design grows with your child, providing a comfortable, ergonomic seat at any age, so I know we’ll have it for years to come!
- While this isn’t a must in the first six months, I absolutely love the versatile option of the Inglesina Fast Table Chair for traveling, going out to restaurants, and any time we’re on the go. It’s super convenient–we just snap this lightweight chair onto any table so baby boy can join us for dinner.
- Tommee Tippee bottles: These are my favorite–they’re BPA-free and it’s super easy to get the tops on and off. They’re also the only brand with black lines on the outside so you can actually see how much milk you’re putting in each one. It’s these small details that make such a big difference (because who doesn’t love easier prep and cleanup)!?
- Kiinde Bottle Warmer: I was surprised how often we used this device. It lets you warm milk without exposing bags and bottles to dangerous steam, hot/boiling water or a microwave, so is a much safer option; plus, it helps keeps the milk’s valuable nutrients intact without zapping them with too much heat.
- Willow Wearable Double Hands-Free Electric Breast Pump: Y’all, I can’t believe how much I loooove this pump! No cords, no attachments, no spillage, no loud sucking sounds. Yes, it’s pricey–but so freakin’ worth it!
- Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump: I used this when I was breastfeeding and milk would leak out on the opposite breast. A great way to not waste milk and avoid excess mess!
- Milk Snob Cover: No matter how natural it may be, I just can’t see myself comfortably breastfeeding in public without a cover. These modern and natural multi-use covers aren’t just for nursing–they can fit on any infant car seat, shopping cart, highchair, infant swings and more!
- Nook Organic Niche Nursing Pillow: I know, the Boppy is everyone’s favorite. BUT, I went with the Nook Niche pillow, which doesn’t use PVC/vinyl as a waterproofing layer; rather this organic pillow is made with a 100% organic cotton cover and 100% organic kapok fill. The Niche fits around your waist while you’re breast- or bottle-feeding, and it’s incredibly soft, cozy and supportive.
- Muslin burp cloths: Seriously, we needed nearly a dozen burp cloths a day in the beginning and Aden + Anais are THE MOST absorbent!
- Silicone bibs with catcher: This is a MUST for Baby Led Weaning! So helpful to catch the mess. LOVE!
- Holistic + Healthy Medicine and Remedies: Have you ever read the ingredients of most conventional baby medicine? It’s disgusting–parabens, artificial dyes and flavors, sugars, and so many nasty additives. I honestly can’t believe it’s even legal. My favorite brand is Little Remedies. Try their New Baby Essentials Kit for a mix of every remedy you might need for various symptoms (my favorite is the Infant Fever + Pain Reliever). I also like Zarbee’s and Boiron.
Baby Must Haves: Diapering Essentials
- WaterWipes Sensitive Baby Wipes: Most conventional baby wipes (i.e. Pampers, Huggies, Luvs and even some green-sounding brands) contain harmful preservatives, and harsh alcohols, toxic fragrance. That’s why I went with WaterWipes, which are made with 99.9% purified water and a drop of Grapefruit Seed Extract, perfect for your baby’s sensitive skin. I actually use these wipes for all kinds of things, not just diaper wiping.
- Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail: Everyone I talked to suggested this pail, which is made of powder-coated steel to achieve maximum door control. It works with any standard trash bag or reusable cloth liner, making it easy to load, use, empty and clean. Plus it’s sleek looking–we went with the gold and it goes perfectly in our nursery!
Baby Must Haves: For the Nursery + Bedroom
- Babyletto Scoot 3-in-1 Convertible Crib: I was so excited when I came across Babyletto ‘s eco-friendly furniture! Not only is it incredibly affordable and super cute and modern, but their cribs are made with sustainable pine, and don’t contain harmful substances like lead and phthalate finishes. They’re also GREENGUARD Gold Certified, which means it has been screened for 360 VOCs and over 10,000 chemicals. Bonus: it easily converts to transform the crib into a daybed or toddler bed.
- Naturepedic Organic Crib Mattress: I adore this mattress made with organic cotton fabric with easy-to-clean, stain-resistant polyethylene waterproof surface. It’s got all kinds of healthy certifications and passes all flammability standards without the use of any fire retardant chemicals or chemical flame barriers. We went with the 2 in 1 Organic Cotton Ultra Quilted Mattress because it can grow with our little guy. The waterproof side is perfect for the diaper years, while the quilted side will give him a more luxe, cushy sleep when he gets older.
- Naturepedic Organic Waterproof Fitted Crib Pad Cover: This has proven to be a lifesaver! Jackson has thrown up or peed and it’s been such a relief that the messes didn’t leak through and ruin the mattress.
- Armsreach Co-Sleeper: This bassinet was a literal GODSEND. It basically allows you to co-sleep with your babe without having to bedshare. It makes middle of the night feedings a breeze, because, hey! He’s right there and I don’t even have to stand up. Easy to check on him, soothe him or pop his paci back in and it’s also pretty dang cute! And easily portable. Jackson slept in this until about 14 weeks old, when we moved him into his nursery into his crib.
- Video baby monitor: You need a baby monitor, and there are so many different ones. To be honest I have a cheap one and it works just fine, but this HD one with night vision has amazing reviews!
- Hatch Baby Rest Sound Machine: I can’t believe how much babies respond to sound machines to help them sleep. This one is particularly awesome because it’s also equipped with a night light and time-to-rise light and connects to your smartphone. I also just recently got the Baby Dream Machine and can’t wait to try it! It’s the first all in one device that uses a combination of scientifically proven methods such as night light, pink noise, red light therapy, humidifier, and ultrasonic aromatherapy to help your baby fall asleep and stay asleep. How cool?!
Baby Must Haves: Clothing + Cleaning
- Swaddles: My favorite swaddle brand is Love to Dream. Being able to just zip him up was so great! Around 3 months old when we were transitioning out of the swaddle but still needed something cozy, we loved Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit.
- For newborns, you need lots of cheap onesies (ideally organic)–they get dirty SO quickly unless you do laundry daily, so need a lot. Another must is footed jammies that are ZIP UP. Lots of snaps or buttons = a big pain in the butt!
- Non-Toxic Baby Bath Products: My favorite clean brand is Pleni Naturals. Their products are certified MADE SAFE for babies and kids using premium fruit + veggie ingredients, and they’re also certified vegan + cruelty-free. (Use the code ROOT15 to get 15% off your purchase at Pleni Naturals!)
- SKIP*HOP Moby Waterfall Rinser: Love this cute rinser to help wash baby’s hair–so helpful!
- Fridababy Snotsucker: The best way to clear stuffy noses! I can’t believe how much we use this handy contraption. So important to have on hand!
Baby Must Haves: Entertainment
- Pacifiers: Soft plastic teethers are typically made of PVC and are softened with phthalates–and even products marked PVC, BPA, and phthalate-free can have estrogenic properties. That’s why I opted for BIBS BPA-Free Natural Rubber Baby Pacifiers–these 100% rubber pacis are Jackson’s favorite! MAM is also a great brand.
- Lovevery Play Gym: Raise your hand if you hate that a-rainbow-threw-up baby scheme that so many toys have? I was psyched to find this play gym that I’d actually like seeing in my house. And let me tell you, Jackson loves it so so much. Tummy time with the high-contrast black and white cards, staring at the adorable hanging toys for hours, and even snuggling with the pup and kitties on the mat, he is in heaven. Highly recommend for stylish mamas looking for stimulating, sensory activities for their babes. Lovevery’s Play Kits are also his favorite toys!
- Snuggle Me Organic Lounger: My favorite lounger! The hugging sensation calms and keeps baby gently wedged into place for rest, tummy time, and also makes a perfect travel mat.
- BABYBJORN Bouncer: An ergonomic bouncer made from safe materials that’s sturdy, easy to clean, not bulky at all and easy to move it around.
Baby Products You DON’T Need
Okay, so what are the baby items and fancy gadgets that seem great and everyone tells you you need… but that you’ll actually never use? Here’s my list:
- bottle sterilizers
- baby food makers
- wipe warmers
- baby bath (I personally didn’t find this necessary, though maybe some people will. It can help, but we preferred bathing him directly in the tub per Moms on Call recommendations.)
- excessive amounts of toys
- crib bumpers (this is actually a big no no! Bumpers have been proven to increase the risk of SIDS.)
- drop-side cribs
There you have it! What’s on your baby must haves list? Let us know in the comments below!
Photo Credit: Heidi Geldhauser
Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I will earn a commission if you purchase through these links. Please note that I've linked to these products purely because I recommend them and they are from companies I trust. There is no additional cost to you.