Hi, mama! Whether you’re pregnant and planning your baby essentials, already a mama, or still in the planning phase, these 10 baby essentials for the first year will help you make sure you have everything you need.
If you’re a new mommy, researching baby essentials can quickly become overwhelming.
There are millions of products, thousands of trendy items and just stuff, stuff, stuff everywhere. So here’s a list of 10 baby essentials for the first year to help you out.
I remember being pregnant with my first baby and watching vlog after vlog about necessary items. While a they were helpful, a huge amount of items I thought I needed weren’t necessities at all.
To help you find a frame of reference, I’ve compiled a list of 10 baby essentials for the first year.
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10 Baby Essentials for the First Year (I Still Use These!)
I received a lot of gifts and wonderful items for my first baby. I purchased a lot of my own stuff, too. A lot of the things I received were wonderful additions and I used most for the first several months.
After about 6 months, however, there were some items that became staples in our home.
I’m going to list each one of these 10 baby essentials for the first year so you can be sure to add them to your registry!
If you don’t have a baby registry and you need one, I recommend an Amazon baby registry. It’s convenient and super easy for everyone, including out-of-town friends and family.
You can even set up a diaper fund!
Top Baby Essentials #1: Baby’s Sippy Cup
My first son never took a pacifier or a bottle. When it was time to introduce other fluids besides breast milk, I started a mad search for a sippy cup he’d accept.
I tried many, and they all ended up failing. It was so frustrating and worrisome, too. How would I introduce water and other good things if he wouldn’t use a sippy cup?
To make matters worse, many of them leaked everywhere. Worse still was that a lot of sippy cups out there are really creative–like, a little too creative.
A lot of sippy cups have so many small pieces and details in the lid that you can’t clean them properly–ew!
No amount of scrubbing or scraping ever got them truly clean. Besides, no mom wants to spend an extra 25 minutes with a tiny little brush meticulously scrubbing mold off hard to reach places, am I right?
Enter The Munchkin Miracle Cup
I purchased the Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup, and that’s where my search ended.
Baby Boy was pretty little and learning to hold things was a new skill. That’s why I introduced the cup with handles first.
This sippy cup is awesome because it doesn’t leak and there are no straws or “sipping” attachments. All Baby needs to do is tip the cup and suck on the side. The entire lid acts like a straw.
Cleaning the Munchkin Miracle Cup isn’t hard either. The rubber seal on the top of the lid can easily be popped off for a good cleaning. The bottom of the lid is smooth plastic as well.
Now that Baby Boy is over a year, I still use the Munchkin Miracle cup, but we’ve now switched to the sippy cup without handles, which has been an amazing way to train him to hold a glass properly.
While super basic, this sippy cup is a staple and we don’t go anywhere without it. This one easily was at the top of the list of 10 baby essentials for the first year.
2021 Update: I now use the Miracle 360 Cup for my second son as well, and it’s still a baby/toddler essential!
Top Baby Essentials #2: Portable Bowl and Spoon
Okay, who would have ever thought a bowl and spoon would make the top 10 list?
A year ago, I certainly never would have! Well, for me it now has. It’s another item I can’t live without. Do I use that bowl and spoon every single day? No. But when I need it, I NEED IT!
There are times we’re in a hurry and I don’t have time to prepare a creative, on-the-go meal for Baby Boy. Instead, I just pour cereal into the Nuby Easy Go Suction Bowl, snap the lid on and head out the door.
When Baby needs to eat, I can easily add water to his cereal, stir it with the spoon and feed him. Thank you. I can’t tell you how many times this has come in handy.
Yes, baby puree pouches are awesome for on-the-go snacks, but as Baby grows, you’ll find that one pouch doesn’t cut it, and those pouches quickly add up.
Buying baby cereal in bulk (and there are a lot of organic options, too!) is much less expensive!
The Nuby Easy Go bowl is great for travel, as well. When traveling, I simply pack the bowl and its spoon, a box of his cereal, pouches and whatever other snacks I need. It’s a staple, making it one of the most important baby items I still use.
Pro-Tip: To add variety on the go, mix baby’s cereal with 1/2 of a baby puree pouch for extra flavor. Baby will love the flavors, and will probably polish off the other half of the pouch, too!
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Top Baby Essentials #3: Boon Grass
I’ve mentioned this in a lot of my blog posts already, starting way back, and I still love my boon grass drying rack. It’s something you can live without, but if you’re able to get one, it’s super convenient.
Baby dishes are mostly not dishwasher safe. They require good, old-fashioned scrubbing and air-drying.
Having a designated place to put all of Baby’s dishes to air dry and keep things sanitary is a simple way to keep moving and have peace of mind.
It’s not a big deal if you don’t have one but they don’t take up a lot of space and having one does add some serious convenience.
I wondered if I’d eventually forego the boon grass, but it surprised me and turned into one of the baby items I still use, even after a year.
I have found that all the little attachments to the boon grass are unnecessary purchases. The most valuable item is simply the rack all by itself.
Top Baby Essentials #4: Diaper Pail
If you’re a new mommy, this one may seem like “duh”. Well, yeah, it is. But a lot of items out there also seem like “duh” and end up being “meh” after a few months.
A diaper pail is a necessity from the start and only grows more important as the months go by and the diapers get more stinky (trust me, they do).
I started out with the Diaper Genie hands free pail and I actually don’t recommend this product. We received two of them as gifts, and both of them broke.
While the idea of hands-free is nice, the springs and pedal/lid function of the Diaper Genie just couldn’t hold up to even gentle everyday use. Both pail lids failed after a short amount of time.
I ended up purchasing the Diaper Genie Expressions pail where you press a button on the lid and then push the diaper down into the pail. This version has lasted twice as long as the previous pails combined.
I haven’t tried any other diaper pail brands so I can’t recommend any others. While hands-free seems nice, I found it’s not a big deal.
Honestly, you’ll get peed on and you’ll wear poop at some point. You learn how to function like you have six arms. Going with a basic diaper pail that is basic and reliable is simple and the best route I’ve found.
Top Baby Essentials #5: Baby Banana Toothbrush
Obviously you don’t start out needing a toothbrush but this one becomes a necessity at some point.
I started out with one of those tooth brushes that you put on your finger, and it was okay at the very start.
After a while, however, Baby Boy became curious about the toothbrush, and he grew annoyed with me shoving my finger in his mouth every day.
That’s when I knew it was time to teach Baby to appreciate the toothbrush, not view it as a mortal enemy and turn it into a negative experience forever.
I ordered the Banana Toothbrush because it was cute and interesting looking and had good reviews. Turns out it was a good choice.
The toothbrush is obviously fun-looking and attracted my son’s curiosity. It’s flexible and super bendy, making it extremely user-friendly.
I also like that the bristles are made of the same rubber material, not the hairy kind.
The Banana Toothbrush also comes with the silicone finger brushes in case you need to use them.
This is how I got Baby Kai super excited about brushing his teeth:
- I put a silicone brush on my finger and then gave him the Banana Toothbrush.
- He immediately put it in his mouth and then I brushed my teeth with the finger brush to show him how to use his special one in his own mouth.
- He was obviously clumsy at first, but after some practice, Baby Boy is pretty good at brushing his own teeth, of course with intermittent help from mommy.
Top Baby Essentials #6: Highchair
Of the list of 10 baby essentials for the first year, this is another one of the “duh” baby items I still use. The reason I’m listing it is because there are all sorts of baby seats, boosters, rockers, swings… it could go on forever.
Of all baby chairs, swings, boosters and so on, a good, old-fashioned high chair is the one chair I consistently use for Baby, every day.
We used a baby rocker and swing and all that good stuff at first, but only for a few months (it’s a newborn essential).
As Baby’s world opened up, he just didn’t want to be confined. He wanted to roll and crawl and explore. All those swings and chairs got put away after a few months.
Of all the “chairs” in baby world, a highchair is the staple you’ll find you need more than anything and for the longest period of time.
Which Highchair Makes the Top 10 Baby Essentials for the First Year?
I’m not even going to begin to recommend a brand of highchair. It’s like trying to recommend a car. The only person who can make the best choice is you.
I will say that I selected a simple highchair design with no fabric and I’m glad I did!
Baby’s highchair is all wood with a plastic tray, making it a cute addition to our dining room. More important than that, however, is the fact that I can easily wipe the highchair clean and keep it looking nice.
My highchair of choice is extremely basic. It doesn’t have any crazy functions, and it’s literally all I need.
You can get as extravagant as you want with your highchair, but really, Baby simply needs a safe place to sit and learn to eat. It’s definitely on the “most-used” section of 10 baby essentials for the first year.
Top Baby Essentials #7: Changing Pad
You’d be surprised at the amount of people who don’t use a changing pad. In fact, a lot of moms simply grab a diaper and wipes and just change their baby wherever in the house they are at that moment.
I am not one of those moms.
I prefer to change my baby’s diaper in one designated spot because It’s safest. It’s already set up for possible explosions, mishaps, unexpected “squirts” and all the items necessary to deal with it.
As a mom, you’ll learn how to change your baby’s diaper just about anywhere. It’s a matter of survival.
But at home, when there’s no pressure, I have found that keeping everything localized in one spot is the best way to stay organized and stress-free.
Baby’s changing pad sits inside a square box my dad built for us on top of his dresser, and all of Baby’s diapers, wipes and such are in the top drawer.
Everything is literally within a flick of the wrist. Should there be any mishaps, all surfaces are easily cleaned and sanitized. So yeah, while a lot of moms may purchase a changing pad and end up not using it, I’ve worn mine out.
Pro-Tip: Changing pad covers are an unnecessary expense. Keeping your changing pad bare is the easiest way to keep things clean and spare you the extra washing.
Pro-Tip 2: Changing pads come in different sizes. If you purchase the larger size first, you won’t have to replace it when baby grows. I purchased a large changing pad and I’m using the exact same one for my 17-month-old son.
Top Baby Essentials #8: Baby Soap
Not so obvious, right? I mean, it’s kinda so obvious it’s not so obvious. If you’re a new mommy, you’ll probably get a lot of baby soaps and washes at your shower or as gifts.
While it’s appreciated, it may not be the type of gift that makes you jump up and down in excitement.
This is actually a great time to experiment with the soaps and see which brands and types you like best. Trust me, you may think you want a certain kind, but there is absolutely no way of knowing just what will work until you’re using them on Baby regularly.
It’s very possible that the soap you thought you had to have is the one that gives Baby a rash or ends up not working all that well.
Once you have a soap of choice, it becomes a necessity as important as toothpaste, underwear and socks. It’s such a small thing it’s constantly overlooked, which is why I’m including it in this list.
Regular soaps and washes will sting baby’s eyes and are simply too harsh on their fragile skin. This is why having a supply of baby soap is one of those baby items I still use.
I personally prefer the Burt’s Bees brand, but again, you’ll have to experiment and choose which type works best for your baby.
2021 Update: I now use the Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort bath wash. It’s gentle on the skin and easy to find anywhere!
Top Baby Essentials #9: Muslin Swaddles
I’ve been a huge fan of muslin swaddles since my baby was born.
And yes, I’m still raving about them a year later!
Muslin blankets serve so many purposes that they’re still useful. Now that Baby Boy is nearly a year-and-a-half, the purpose of these blankets has shifted, but are still used.
They’re no long my nursing covers, but they’re great to spread out for a picnic. They may not swaddle Baby anymore, but they still get tucked around Baby when he falls asleep in the stroller and it’s chilly. I also use them to drape over the stroller to provide extra shade for Baby.
I never travel anywhere without a least one muslin. They always come in handy and I miss them when I don’t have them.
They roll and store so easily they’re convenient to bring along, making them one of my to 10 baby essentials for the first year.
Aden & Anais is still my top brand.
Want more tips on baby items and essentials? Check out my top 10 Money Saving Baby Hacks. (change link)
Top Baby Essentials #10: Diaper Cream
This is another baby item that is so simple and small it’s almost disappointing.
Here’s the truth about it all: you can actually get by with very, very little when raising Baby. The reason I’ve compiled this list is to give a realistic and honest idea of what you actually use every day or almost every day.
A lot of lists include big products and expensive gadgets, which is fine.
But I’ve found that these smaller things are used more often and are actual necessities–meaning life would be a lot more stressful without these items.
I was gifted more than 4 or 5 different types of diaper cream and my favorite is the Honest Company’s All-Purpose balm. It’s a clear ointment which I prefer over the thick, white ones (I feel like those can get really messy).
Every baby is so different, so you’ll need to experiment with different types to see which ones are most compatible with your baby’s skin.
2021 Update: The old-school A&D brand diaper cream has become my go-to. My second baby boy has very touchy skin and gets rashes super easily. I have found the old-fashioned A&D diaper cream is the fastest acting and most effective.
A Few Items Worth Mentioning as top 10 Baby Essentials for the First Year
I’ve listed the top 10 baby essentials for the first year that I still use, even after 1 year-plus with Baby. While these next items didn’t quite make the top 10 list, they’re worth mentioning. I may not feel I cannot live without them, but they definitely are important and used pretty frequently.
- Portable Changing Pad: This goes everywhere in the diaper bag with me but is used more to hold the diapers in one place.
- Baby Tylenol: If you’re a pro-med mommy, this one is super helpful. However, there are a lot of other alternatives if you prefer homeopathic methods.
- Baby Puree Pouches: I personally make sure I never run out of these. I didn’t add it to the top 10 simply because there are a lot of other options for feeding Baby.
10 Baby Essentials for the First Year
I hope this top 10 list helps add some perspective to your baby essentials list. Every mama is different and so is every baby. There’s just no way 1 list will fit for everyone, but I hope it provides some insight into what’s really important as Baby grows.
If you appreciated this list, read about 15 Baby Essentials that are Not Baby Essentials to see what baby items I found to be a waste of time and money.