Five Must-Have Newborn Items (And Three to Maybe Skip)

Walk through the aisles of any store, baby-specific or not, and you’ll quickly learn that there are
countless “must-have newborn items.” It can be really overwhelming to decide what you and your baby will actually need, especially if you’re a first-time mom! I remember when I was pregnant for the first time. I read every blog, book, and post on the internet trying to prepare and choose the newborn items we’d get the most use out of.

Now as a mom of three little boys, I have much more insight into what felt worth it to our family. These are all my own opinions, and it’s totally great if you didn’t love something I did, or if you got a lot of use out of an item that didn’t quite feel worth it for me and my babies. Every mama and baby is different, so of course we’ll all find the things we love most. That said, I do feel confident that you really don’t need nearly as much as you think you do! Babies need to eat, sleep, snuggle, and have their diapers changed. Everything else just exists to help and make our lives more convenient, and how great that is! So no matter what you decide to purchase as you prepare for you little one, just know that you don’t have to buy every newborn item on the shelf.

Here’s my list of five must-have newborn items and three that you may consider skipping!

Must-Have Newborn Items

  1. Halo Sleep Sacks – I truly can’t recommend these enough. As a mom and as a newborn photographer in Huntsville, I really have used so many swaddles on my own and others’ babies. While there are some that wrap really well and keep babies snug, the ease of the Halo sleep sacks just can’t be beat. I love that they allow infants to move their legs, which is important for healthy hip development, and that they’re easy to get even the wiggliest of babies into. Halo also offers wearable blankets that you can use to transition your baby into when he or she learns to roll over. We found that these made the transition out of the swaddle easier. We received a newborn size Halo sleep sack from Huntsville Hospital when our youngest was born, but I recommend having the next size up on hand just in case your baby is a little bigger at birth (like mine was!).
  2. Two-Way Zipper Sleepers – I promise that in the middle of the night when you change your baby’s diaper, you are not going to want to fumble with all the snaps! I’ve always preferred the zipper sleepers, but when my third was born we found two-way zipper sleepers! They are amazing. You can unzip your baby from the feet up to just above the diaper and keep him from having to completely undress – convenient for any time of day and just so much easier. I love these and these!
  3. Muslin Swaddles – I know I just talked about how I prefer sleep sacks for swaddling, so you may be wondering why I have swaddles on the list, too. In short, for everything else! I always carry a muslin swaddle with me when I go anywhere with my babies. They’re perfect to use as a place to lay a baby down, wipe a quick spit-up, or cover a baby in a car seat. Because a muslin swaddle is usually big, my favorite way to use one is to tie two corners together, slip it over my head, and use it as a nursing cover. It’s breathable for baby and comfortable for me. I love the Aden and Anais sets!
  4. Halo Bassinest – My list of must-have newborn items would not be complete without this one! We got the bassinest when my oldest was about a month old and we hadn’t found anything he would sleep comfortably in. He liked to be close to me, and I wanted to make sure he was safe and comfortable. After researching options, I came upon the Halo bassinest and decided to give it a try. I kid you not, after we started putting him in there at night, he started sleeping 8 hours through the night within just a couple of days. It was amazing! We used it for my first two for their first six months. My youngest didn’t take to it quite as well, but I still recommend this product to everyone looking for a great bassinet option. It swivels, the rail moves down with ease as you reach in for your baby, and you don’t have to get out of bed when your little one needs you in the night!
  5. A Good Baby Carrier – This one really should be at the top of the list. A good baby carrier is a complete must-have for me. I wear my babies for as long as I can – around the house for naps when they just won’t sleep on their own, on outings, when I need to get something done and want to keep my baby close. I started baby wearing as soon as my oldest was big enough, and I haven’t really stopped! My husband loves the Baby Bjorn (yes, he baby wears too!), and I love the Wildbird slings, Solly wrap, and Happy Baby carrier. Truly, this is an item that’s completely worth the investment!

What to Consider Skipping

  1. Multiple Baby-Holding Devices – I know I’ll probably have lots of people disagree with me here, but for my family, having multiple devices to hold my babies wasn’t worth it. When my first was born, we had a swing, a bouncy seat, and a rock-n-play (before they were recalled). The only one he really took to was the bouncy seat. My second never touched the swing or rock-n-play, and by the third we only had a bouncy seat (and he really didn’t like it!). I know some moms swear by the Mamaroo and Snoo or particular bouncers or swings, and that is wonderful! I would just suggest that you not go out and purchase multiple options until after your baby arrives. You don’t want to be stuck with multiple large devices that never get used (trust me). If you find that you do want to have something for your baby to rest in so you can be hands-free for awhile, see if you can borrow from a friend before you drop a lot of money finding the perfect fit. Babies only use these items for a short time anyway, so save money where you can!
  2. Wipe Warmers – We never used these. I’m sure they’re great and all, but I just don’t think they’re necessary. We also change our babies wherever is most convenient in those early days, so having a wipe warmer would have been more trouble than it was worth for us.
  3. Nursing Covers – Like I mentioned before, I think all you really need in terms of a nursing cover is a swaddle blanket. Covers specific to nursing are usually only used for that one task, or if they can be used for something else like a car seat cover they’re not as breathable as the muslin swaddles. Of course, you could also layer a nursing tank under your shirt, and that can provide enough coverage too. Or just nurse your baby and don’t worry! Do what works for you and your baby!

I hope this list of must-have newborn items will be helpful as you plan what you need for your little one! Of course, some of them may not work best for you, and you may decide that what I didn’t use is perfect for your family. Let me know what your favorite baby items are!

Mallory Bell Photography is a Huntsville, Alabama maternity, newborn, and family photographer creating timeless imagery to document every stage of motherhood and family, from bump to baby and beyond. I capture your family honestly and candidly so you’ll always remember exactly how the little details felt. In the rush of life, it’s easy to overlook the ordinary moments. I aim to document the love between you and your little ones in a joyful, heartfelt way so your legacy will live on for generations to come.

Contact me to inquire about documenting your family’s story.


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